And trust me it was one of a kind. In fact, my Supervisor, up until it actually worked, kept asking me if it would work.
As a teaser, here is the Chapter 1. Be ready to be blown away! And did I mention that I still have an open offer in Cotonou? Well, a company was impressed by my final year project and offered to make a business model out of it.
Imagine how helpful it would be to be able to switch on your air conditioning
system ten minutes before you get home on a hot afternoon in January. How about
having a security system that will detect smoke, excessive electrical power usage,
burglar attempts and unauthorized movements in your house and alert you? This is
what home automation is about and there is no end to its application. In fact,
sophisticated home automation systems are now being developed that can maintain an
inventory of household items, record their usage through an RFID (Radio Frequency
Identification) tag, and prepare a shopping list or automatically order replacements.
Home automation has made it possible to have what is often referred to as a
'smart home', a home that can detect and identify you, automatically adjust the
lighting to your predefined taste, open doors automatically, play your favourite music,
water your flowers in the morning, switch on the security lights at night and switch
them off in the morning, heat water for bathe and tea, stream to you anywhere in the
world via the internet a live video of what is happening in and around your house. It
makes it possible to link lighting, entertainment, security, telecommunications,
heating, and air conditioning into one centrally controlled system. This allows you to
make your house an active partner in managing your busy life.
Nowadays, you can hardly find a house without a home automation system
which can range from the remote for the television, burglar alarm and hi-tech security
gates, to an automated air conditioning system that maintains the temperature at a
Automation is the use of control systems and information technology to
control equipment, industrial machinery and processes, reducing the need for human
intervention. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond
mechanization. Mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist
them with the physical requirements of work while automation greatly reduces the
need for human sensory and mental requirements as well (Wikipedia, 2009).
Automation plays an increasingly important role in the global economy
and in daily experience. Engineers strive to combine automated devices with
mathematical and organizational tools to create complex systems for a rapidly
expanding range of applications and human activities. Many roles for humans in
industrial processes presently lie beyond the scope of automation. Human-level
pattern recognition, language recognition, and language production ability are well
beyond the capabilities of modern mechanical and computer systems. Tasks requiring
subjective assessment or synthesis of complex sensory data, such as scents and
sounds, as well as high-level tasks such as strategic planning, currently require human
Automation has had a notable impact in a wide range of highly visible
industries beyond manufacturing. Once ubiquitous telephone operators have been
replaced largely by automated telephone switchboards and answering machines.
Medical processes such as primary screening in electrocardiograph or radiography
and laboratory analysis of human genes, blood plasmas, cells, and tissues are carried
out at much greater speed and accuracy by automated systems. Automated teller
machines have reduced the need for bank visits to obtain cash and carry out
transactions. In general, automation has been responsible for the shift in the world
economy from agrarian to industrial in the 19th century and from industrial to services
in the 20th century.
1.1.1 Office automation
Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software
used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed
for accomplishing basic tasks and goals. Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the
management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an
office automation system, office automation helps in optimizing or automating
existing office procedures.
1.1.2 Building automation
Building automation describes the functionality provided by the control of
a building. The control system is a computerized, intelligent network of electronic
devices, designed to monitor and control the mechanical and lighting systems of a
building. A building automation system is an example of a distributed control system.
The building automation system (BAS) core functionality keeps the building climate
within a specific range, provides lighting based on an occupancy schedule, and
monitors system performance and device failures and provides email and/or text
notifications to building engineering staff. The BAS functionality reduces building
energy and maintenance costs when compared to a non-controlled building.
1.1.3 Power automation
Power automation is the automated control and monitoring of power
plants, substations and transformers for effectiveness, efficiency and fault detection. It
has made it possible to have a reliable municipal or national electricity system, which
often comprises remote and hard-to-reach transformers and power sub-system units. It
makes it possible to monitor different power units, relay their status and health
information, and even carry out fault detection and correction without human
Example of power automation system is the Supervisory Control and Data
Acquisition (SCADA) system.
1.1.4 Home automation
Home automation may designate an emerging practice of increased
automation of household appliances and features in residential dwellings, particularly
through electronic means that allow for things impracticable, overly expensive or
simply not possible in recent decades. Home automation includes all that a building
automation provides like climate controls, door and window controls, and in addition
control of multimedia home theatres, pet feeding, plant watering and so on. But there
exists a difference in that home automation emphasizes more on comforts through
ergonomics and ease of operation.
1.2 PROJECT AIM
The aim of this project is to design and construct a home automation
system that will remotely switch on or off any household appliance connected to it,
using a microcontroller, voice dial on phone, and short message service for feedback.
1.3 PROJECT OBJECTIVE
The objective of this project is to implement a low cost, reliable and
scalable home automation system that can be used to remotely switch on or off any
household appliance, using a microcontroller to achieve hardware simplicity, low cost
short message service (SMS) for feedback and voice dial from any phone to toggle
the switch state.
1.4 PROJECT SCOPE AND LIMITATION
This project work is complete on its own in remotely and automatically
switching on and off of any electrical appliance not limited to household appliances,
and sends a feedback message indicating the new present state of the appliance. It
does not implement control of multiple appliances or automatic detection of faults in
the controlled appliance.
1.5 PROJECT JUSTIFICATION
This project is of contributory knowledge to the development and
implementation of home automation systems in Nigeria using low cost, locally
available components like microcontroller, free voice dial service (popularly referred
to as 'flashing') and very cheap short message service (SMS) text.
1.6 REPORT LAYOUT
The entire project is composed of five chapters, each covering a section of
the work as summarized below:
• Chapter one gives an introduction to automation as a whole and the
different types of automation.
• Chapter two covers an extensive literature review of previous works on
home automation systems, the different established standards and
protocols, and the platforms over which home automation can be
• Chapter three highlights the project methodology, giving reasons for choice
of specific platforms and components, and also, comprehensive details on
both hardware components and communication services used.
• Chapter four is on the project design and implementation with clear
practical details of the project design, construction, testing, microcontroller
coding and debugging. Special emphasis is also made on the flexibility and
scalability of the project work with real life illustration.
• Chapter five is on the conclusion and recommendations based on the
project work with emphasis on the reliability, maintainability and
flexibility of the design. Also, recommendations based on the challenges
encountered and further possible development of the project work are