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Home Automation Interface with Selective Requests for Use with Low Power Personal Computer

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118640D
Original Publication Date: 1997-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 3 page(s) / 173K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Benson, PH: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Home Automation (HA) is the ability to have various household devices, from light bulbs to washing machines, work in concert in order to provide a better home environment. Current HA devices offer very basic HA controls, such as on, off, dim. More advanced functions, such as data exchange, self configuration, polling, etc., are available with some of the more advanced devices. Today's HA system generally has one or more control units and many slave devices. The control unit can send data to the slave devices, but few control units have the ability to receive data from the slave devices. Current control units typically limit the devices to be controlled at certain times or tied to specific events. The slave devices are limited in function, primarily due to the need for them to be low cost and easy to use.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 31% of the total text.

Home Automation Interface with Selective Requests for Use with Low
Power Personal Computer

      Home Automation (HA) is the ability to have various household
devices, from light bulbs to washing machines, work in concert in
order to provide a better home environment.  Current HA devices offer
very basic HA controls, such as on, off, dim.  More advanced
functions, such  as data exchange, self configuration, polling, etc.,
are available with  some of the more advanced devices.  Today's HA
system generally has one  or more control units and many slave
devices.  The control unit can send  data to the slave devices, but
few control units have the ability to receive data from the slave
devices.  Current control units typically limit the devices to be
controlled at certain times or tied to specific  events.  The slave
devices are limited in function, primarily due to the  need for them
to be low cost and easy to use.

      Current control units can be programmed by a Personal Computer
(PC), but the PC is generally used as a user-friendly front-end for
programming the unit.  Integrating the control unit into the PC
allows for more complex device controls and reduces the cost of the
control unit since many of its features, such as a clock and memory,
are already  in a typical PC.

      Computers, like the IBM Aptiva*, have the added advantage of
being able to enter low (standby) and extremely low (suspend) power
states while being able to rapidly restore full functionality from an
asynchronous external trigger (event).  Using these features, it is
possible to utilize a high level of home automation while generally
keeping the PC in a low power state.  When the HA control unit needs
the PC's assistance, it has the capability of triggering the PC to a
full power on state, even if the PC is in the off state.

      This article addresses both the advantages of truly linking a
HA control unit to a PC and the interface which allows the HA control
unit to wake up the PC.

      The demand for a higher level of Home Automation is the wave of
the future as the PC becomes more integrated into a person's home and
begins to provide true home control.  Current HA systems allow the
user to turn on lights or appliances at certain times or at certain
events.  Linking a computer with the HA system allows better
monitoring of events and device control.  For example, pressing your
automatic garage door opener would also turn on your outside yard
lights, as well as the interior lights for you.  The computer can
control lights while you are away, giving your home the "lived in"
look which provides added security and personal safety without having
to leave your computer powered on.

      In this invention, many redundant components contained in both
the PC and the HA control unit (like the clock, memory, processor,
display, input device, and power supply) have been removed from the
HA control unit.  With these components r...