roliHome (Room automation)

Smart homes were allways interesting to me because they look like something from a sci-fi movie. I allways wanted to make a smart home for myself but comercial systems were too expensive for a simple student. So I started looking for something a little simpler - room automation. Why automate the whole house in the start when you can build a smart home over time. And since there are no commercial systems for room automation (that I know of) - I started building my own. And so the roliHome was born.


RoliHome is a simple and very cheap room automation system that features almost everything that you need. It is made with simple components so it is easy to make and costs less than 100EUR.

Some of the features of this system:

- Presence detection (it actually counts how many people are in the room (using IR sensors installed around the doors) instead of using motion sensors)

- Automatic light control (turns lights on/off based on the presence and light conditions in the room)

- Remote control of the function (you can control the light using a standard IR remote control)

- Simple control application for your mac or PC (it can control one or many rooms with roliHome systemso you can control your whole home with one application)

- Included web server (roliHome application includes a simple webServer so you can control your home from the internet)

and more!


Here are some pictures of this system:

Main system in a nice box

This is the roliHome system packaged in a nice little box. This picture was made during the build process so the LCD screen is not yet mounted.


roliHome control application


roliHome web control


IR door sensors

These are the IR door sensors mounted on the door for testing. And yes I damaged the paint :-)


So if you like this system and would like to have your own - you can download the whole package (including the PCB schematics) here:


Control software should work on any machine with Windows or Mac OS. Also needed is Java support. The hardware section of this system is  connected to the computer via USB port so you will need one USB port for every room that you wish to control via computer/web. You also don't need to connect the system to the computer if you don't want to.


If you have any questions about this project you can email me at (roli.r00li[at] or ask me on the arduino forum here:,59948.0.html


I plan on adding more features in the future (like controlling the window blinds) so stay tuned!

Look on the next page for more details!


Some people were interested in a little more details about how things are working. Here is a little FAQ abot some things:



How are you counting people in the room?

It is quite simple actually. I am counting people with IR door sensors. Two IR emitters are positioned on the one side of the door, and two IR recievers are positioned on the other side. So when you come into the room or leave you trigger both sensors. And then I simply check which sensor has been triggered first. If sensor one has been triggered before sensor 2 - you came in, if sensor two has been triggered first - you left.


How are you controlling the lights?

I bought a few of those cheap remote controlled power sockets and used them for this. I simply opened up the remote, connected the on/off buttons to the two relays on the main PCB and connected one of those sockets to the light. This is cheap, safe (nothing on the board is actually connected to the high voltage) and removes the need for cables for the light (remote controlled sockets usualy work with RF).


Under what license is the hardware/software part of your project?

For now under no license at all. But I am thinking about releasing it under BSD, MIT or Creative Commons license in the short future. But everything should stay open source.


Can you make one of these for me?



Are you going to sell this commercially?

Proabably - no. For a mass production of these things one would need a large amount of money which I don't have. And I don't think that people are that interested in projects like these.