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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Home Automation – In the Beginning and Beyond! Rudy Ramos

Some would argue that home automation started with The Clapper. A sound activated gadget that lets you turn on/off any electrical device connected to it by simply clapping your hands. It made a great gift for Grandma, all she had to do is “Clap On!” and “Clap Off!” her nightstand light.



The Clapper was first sold to the public in 1986 and can still be bought from places like eBay.


Personally, I think home automation pre-dates The Clapper by about 15 years; to the many times my Dad told me to go outside and rotate the pole mounted TV antenna in order to get better reception on our black and white TV so that he could continue watching the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite!




Walter Cronkite at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News.

Source: The New York Times, July 17, 2009 by Brian Stelter and Jennifer Mascia, accessed May 18, 2015


Home automation has come a long way since The Clapper was first introduced back in 1986. Today you can find a plethora of home automation products to augment all of the creature comforts already found in most American homes. Products like the Nest, a learning thermostat that can learn your temperature comfort levels and a matching Smoke +Co Alarm that can give you an audible “head’s up -there is smoke in the room.” Which you can then acknowledge from the convenience of your smart phone, without having the actual smoke alarm go off. Other popular home automation products include smart lighting products like the Philips hue, the Belkin’s WEMO or smart bulbs from LIFX.


When it comes to security home automation, there are smart door locks and security system products like the August Smart Lock or the Kevo by Kwikset are there to help keep you and your loved ones safe with the added benefit of monitoring when your front door was opened or giving you the freedom of remotely giving someone access to go into your home.


Today’s home automation products aren’t exclusive to the inside of your home, they can also extend outdoors where you can find smart sprinkler controllers by Skydrop, outdoor landscape & deck lighting or Piper security cameras and pool and spa controllers by Pentair, which allow you to start up and warm your spa for a customize bath you can enjoy. Ah, the perfect bath just a touch away.   


So whether you are a DIYer and use a product like Insteon or openHAB to brew together your own version of home automation or you’re one who prefers a professional’s touch like Control 4, today’s abundancy of home automation gadgets are ready to fulfill your every desire, from setting just the right lighting ambience for the occasion, adjust just the right room temperate for your comfort, give you positive assurance that you are safe and secure with smart locks and cameras, or turn on or off all of your favorite audio video equipment all from a touch of an icon on a touchscreen or your smart phone or tablets.


What do you think will be the next addition to the home automation trend? Perhaps a coffee table that automatically lifts to become a computer or work table, or maybe moving lamps that direct lighting where you want it. Perhaps it’s a lamp table with built in indirect LED lighting that come on when you approach or perhaps it’s a futuristic water and waste management system for your kitchen or a robotic pool cleaner similar to the iRobot Roomba? Get started on any of these ideas or create something with some of your own using Mouser’s Open Source Hardware site as your starting point and get creative!






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Rudy RamosRudy is a member of the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, bringing 35+ years of expertise in advanced electromechanical systems, robotics, pneumatics, vacuum systems, high voltage, semiconductor manufacturing, military hardware, and project management. As a technology subject matter expert, Rudy supports global marketing efforts through his extensive product knowledge and by creating and editing technical content for Mouser's website. Rudy has authored technical articles appearing in engineering websites and holds a BS in Technical Management and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, Rudy worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

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