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Is anyone out there doing home automation projects with a special needs / sensory focus? My home is getting smarter, and I'd love to see how that could help my daughter...

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@Floppy What sort of thing are you thinking of? I haven't much and don't know any of the special needs/sensory side, but I'm interested in whether there are building blocks for such options that could fill as . The sort of approach talked about in twitter.com/amcewen/status/133

@Floppy There are a bunch of folk hooking the WLED software (that's on my mcqn.com/ibal223/ boards) up to their HA setups with , if triggering LED patterns fits?

@amcewen I've ordered a Wemos D1, looks like I should be able to circuit bend what we have into an MQTT device with that. Fun!

@amcewen I’m imagining some combo of big red button type control, and a bit of powering lights on an off via usb power. Maybe some circuit bending as well. My daughter has a bunch of lights in her room, like a star projector, etc, and it would be great if she had control of them.

@amcewen yeah, this is totally the attitude I’m interested in seeing more of. I guess maybe the most sensible thing for what I’m thinking is to hack MQTT control onto individual items as a start. Think I’d better read your book to get me up to speed :D

@Floppy hehe, it's a bit out of date now. The publisher was trying to persuade us to do a 2nd edition, which would be nice, but would take quite a bit of time that I'm not sure I can find right now. However, turning these sort of problems into a software-only, or ideally a set-some-options-in-a-web-UI, problem is the sort of thing I'm thinking I should be doing more of.

@Floppy The mcqn.com/ibal223/ board is the first step at that - making it easy to do addressable RGB LEDs: out of the box you plug in a PC power supply and a strip of lights; and there's a served-from-the-board web UI to configure segments and hook it up to MQTT to let something control the colours and patterns. Probably going to add a Amazon-dash-style button to do "send MQTT message" or an email or webhook as the next option. And am on the lookout for other pieces of the jigsaw to add

@Floppy Have you seen the Sonoff boxes too? They've got an ESP8266 inside too, so you can reflash it to do MQTT control. That means you can turn mains things on/off via MQTT, and with the Sonoff Pow R2 it'll monitor usage too so you can (a) track power consumption and (b) trigger things when something else gets turned on or starts drawing more power (there's an LED matrix in DoES Liverpool that tells you how old the coffee is based on the power spike from it brewing 😃) ebay.co.uk/itm/Sonoff-Pow-R2-W

@amcewen ah, nice, that would certainly work for some aspects.

@amcewen That would be really good. Basically what I'm wondering is how to to get a bunch of devices like fibre optic lamps, ceiling projectors, to come on when she hits a button in her room, and turn it into a sensory den when she wants. Currently by the time we set the space up for that, she's wandered off! And it would need a "usable by a 3 year old" level of interface :)

@Floppy hehe, I don't have too much experience of 3 year olds, but can imagine 😃 What would an ideal UI be? Push button to toggle on/off? Separate buttons for on/off? Something that isn't a button? A dial for more/less?

@amcewen I think pretty much just a big red button for on/off would do it :)

@Floppy Or what about an arcarde button? They're generally 28mm diameter, so not as bit, but you've got a much bigger choice of colours... 45mm and 60mm seem common options too for arcade buttons, but don't look quite so nice, e.g. ebay.co.uk/itm/Push-Button-DIY

@amcewen yeah, something like that could work. Presumably a tasmota device would do then tell something to turn on the other MQTT devices. I am running homebridge, so that could do the bit in the middle probably.

@Floppy Thanks for the user-research :-) I've got a selection of arcade buttons on order now to have a play with sometime. I've not looked into the Tasmota stuff in detail, the Espurna software seems to be the default in DoES Liverpool - github.com/DoESLiverpool/someb but we've also got a Pi running NodeRED which is doing most of the logic. Julian and Alex Lennon are the folk poking that the most

@amcewen hah no problem! Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll have a little play around with these D1s, see what I can do.

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