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Discuss the aspects involved in the creation an implementation of a network switch controlled home appliance management system.

The Aim of this project

Engineering Design and Practice is a learning subject, which gives the students a real time experience of the practical problems that are faced by systems engineers in their day-to-day life. This enable the students to develop a problem solving as well as analytical skills. There are benefits of developing problem solving skills as it gives the students an idea on how to understand and develop a solution to a particular problem based on the different practical requirements in an organization. Management skills are also important since it gives an idea on how to efficiently handle a task and determine its different aspects such as cost factors, deadlines for delivering outputs etc. Similarly, it also gives students a hang of the communication skills, which helps in developing trusts within and outside the organization.

Efficient communication skills takes into consideration both written as well as spoken communication. Earlier we had portrayed that by delivering a presentation based on a topic that was selected throughout the entire second semester. We mainly covered using technical terms in order to clearly understand the different technical terms and aspects faced by the engineers. The design process of the technologies were clearly explained after which came the testing phase and finally the outputs. The report was systematically structured which had covered all these important aspects in details. Speaking abilities were also clearly explained and justified using oral presentations, where we had to speak about the different technologies on our own. We spoke using mainly technical terms in the fields of operations, designing process, testing and finally the outputs, which were obtained at the end.

This project will talk about the technology that will be used to control the operations of the domestic electrical appliances and how the user will be able to power them on and off through a web browser using an HTML page. The mode of communication will be through internet.

In earlier days designing, an electrical circuit used to be a very complicated process making use of huge electrical circuits. In today’s world, most of these electrical circuits can be designed within a single small chip, which cannot be seen without a microscope. The aim of this project is to develop one such complex yet easy to use small chip that will be responsible to manage and operate the domestic electrical appliances and can power them on and off from a distance using the internet. The technology should be compatible with HTML so that the devices can be controlled through a web browser using the internet (Zeynal, Eidiani and Yazdanpanah  2013).

This report will help in identifying the suitable technology for designing a system management technology that will be able to control the electrical home appliances using a remote control device using the internet as a medium. Development of such a technology will involve different factors such as high costs; implementation of wireless technology, which should be Wi-Fi, the router should also have a pre-installed software program as the gateway so that network configuration become much more user friendly. Additionally, different portals are required for the router (Lamine and Abid 2014).

Problem Identification

The major problem or requirement of the project is to configure the technology in such a way so that it makes use of Wi-Fi and the devices can be operated using a mobile phone even form a distance. There are different applications that are used in the present day in the day-to-day life in order to switch on /off an air condition using the mobile phone. Even other electronic devices can be controlled by making us of the mobile phone. It uses a remote control technology, which is embedded in the applications within the smart phones. This project will describe how the devices can be managed only when the devices are connected to the Wi-Fi network inside the home (Want, Schilit and Jenson 2015).

In today’s world, the complexities of the domestic electrical appliances have increased largely. Therefore, it is important to come up with more advanced and technological techniques to manage them more efficiently. This project will highlight the technology that is used by a mobile phone in order to control the electronic home appliances, which are connected through Wi-Fi. It will also be accessed and operated through an HTML webpage and the associated terminologies will be discussed (Mowad, Fathy and Hafez 2014). Such a circuit makes use of a universal remote control, which has numerous buttons, thereby making it a complex circuit. In this project, we will be designing an android application that can run on an android smartphone that will be able to control all the electronic home appliances effectively (Leen and Honeywell International Inc 2015). The circuit will make use of a microcontroller that will be connected to a relay device and the Wi-Fi connected home appliance like a T.V or an air-condition. As soon as the user powers on or off a device, the specific command is then collected by the Wi-Fi, which is in turn connected, to the microcontroller. On receiving the command, the relay is activated which powers on or off the device (Zhang et al, 2013).

The universal controller helps in improving the interfaces of the complex electronic devices. The controller that we will use will automatically download the options of the device and then create a suitable interface for it to be operated. The appliance specifications typically include a detailed function description of each operations, a proper hierarchical grouping of these functions, and a bit of information on the dependency (Leccese 2013). The controller then relates the availability of these functions to the state of the appliances. Dependency information will make it easier for us to create automatic interfaces generators to meet specific needs of the device.

Fir: 1: Particle photon used in the microcontroller (Source: as used by the author)

Here we will briefly explain the main components required to develop such a technology. The components are:

  1. Photon: Its main function is to send and receive signals on time (Patrignani and Particle Data Group 2016).
  2. Wi-Fi: The electrical devices will be connected through this network
  3. 120 MHz ARM cortex m3 with specification STM3PF205
  4. A flash memory of 1 MB.
  5. A Random access memory of 128 KB RAM.
  6. A RGB status LED , placed on the board, that we can use for testing the program
  7. 18 GPIO of mixed signal (Input and output general purpose) (Jain et al. 2016).

Arduino coding is one of the most important aspects of developing this technology. The Arduino programming language is a set of C or C++ functions that the code is capable of calling. The variations can be customized depending on the automatic generation of function prototypes and after which it can be directly passed on to the compiler. Arduino consists of a physically programmable circuit board (often a microcontroller) and a software, an Integrated Development Environment or an IDE that uploads the software to the physical circuit board (Richard et al. 2015).

Mobile Phone Remote Control of Appliances

Arduino is an electronics platform for prototyping, which is based on easy to use hardware and software integration. The main function of Arduino programming include code segmentation into functions, in order to create task specific codes and come back to code area from which the function was originally called. I other words it is an application program resulting from embedded systems.

We had already studied earlier about Embedded and Networked Systems as well as Engineering Design and also Practice 3B using different tools in MATLAB (Pasha 2016).

Some of the aspects of Arduino programming are described below:

  1. C language based server: The Arduino language makes use of C/C++ functions that is capable to be called by the code. Therefore, the programming done in the server as well as the microcontroller is also using the C language (Bayle 2013).
  2. Automatic receiving of data from client side: Periodic AJAX requests have to be made by the JavaScript that runs in the webpage to receive the updated data in the database. A proper ajax interface is available for the jQuery in order to make such requests. A proper C code is added which handles the ajax calls and just returns the relevant data instead of the whole page form the client side (Lee, Teng and Hou 2016).
  3. Natural interruption when client gets disconnected
  4. Must be responsive to internet protocols such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) so that the devices can be operated form webpages too (Piyare 2013).

Fig 2: Client side webpage of Arduino (Source: As used by author)

  1. Controller: The Adruino microcontroller is the main device, which uses functions of the C programming language. It is capable of working with HTML pages as well.
  2. The particle photon: It is programmed using the arduino programming language and also enables or disables the relay to power on/off the systems (Javale et al. 2013).
  3. Relays: The signal that is transmitted to the relay either enables or disables it, resulting in the devices being powered on or off. The power supply is connected to the relay.
  4. Devices: Consists of the electrical appliances like air conditioning systems, televisions etc (Kim et al. 2016).

      Fig 3: Working of the system (Source: As used by the author)

Problems and limitations of the technology:

  1. Cost is very high
  2. Internet connection should also be there on client side
  3. Many router portals are required
  4. Limited devices can be connected                     
  5. Wi-Fi is mandatory for its proper working
  6. Special space is required for the app in the mobile.
  7. Main wiring components cannot be modified
  8. Only few devices can be operated.

Conclusion:

Therefore, it can be concluded from the above report that if the problems such as high cost of implementation, limited device connectivity and other associated limitations can be removed, the technology implementation to control and manage electrical household appliances will be a success. The technology can be updated and mobile friendly apps that should also be compatible with HTML webpages can be designed which will eliminate the drawbacks to some extend thereby improving the technology and ensuring a smoother operation.

References:

Bayle, J., 2013. C programming for Arduino. Packt Publishing Ltd.

Jain, V., Gieseler, J., Moritz, C., Dellago, C., Quidant, R. and Novotny, L., 2016. Direct measurement of photon recoil from a levitated nanoparticle. Physical review letters, 116(24), p.243601.

Javale, D., Mohsin, M., Nandanwar, S. and Shingate, M., 2013. Home automation and security system using Android ADK. International journal of electronics communication and computer technology (IJECCT), 3(2), pp.382-385.Patrignani, C. and Particle Data Group, 2016. Review of particle physics. Chinese physics C, 40(10), p.100001.

Kim, J., Kim, S., Park, S. and Hong, J., 2013, October. Home appliances controlling through Smart TV set-top box with screen-mirroring remote controller. In ICT Convergence (ICTC), 2013 International Conference on (pp. 1009-1012). IEEE.

Lamine, H. and Abid, H., 2014, December. Remote control of a domestic equipment from an Android application based on Raspberry pi card. In Sciences and Techniques of Automatic Control and Computer Engineering (STA), 2014 15th International Conference on (pp. 903-908). IEEE.

Leccese, F., 2013. Remote-control system of high efficiency and intelligent street lighting using a ZigBee network of devices and sensors. IEEE transactions on power delivery, 28(1), pp.21-28.

Lee, K.M., Teng, W.G. and Hou, T.W., 2016. Point-n-Press: An Intelligent Universal Remote Control System for Home Appliances. IEEE Trans. Automation Science and Engineering, 13(3), pp.1308-1317.

Leen, C., Honeywell International Inc, 2015. Display for HVAC systems in remote control units.

Mowad, M.A.E.L., Fathy, A. and Hafez, A., 2014. Smart home automated control system using android application and microcontroller. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 5(5), pp.935-939.

Pasha, S., 2016. ThingSpeak based sensing and monitoring system for IoT with Matlab Analysis. International Journal of New Technology and Research (IJNTR), 2(6), pp.19-23.

Piyare, R., 2013. Internet of things: ubiquitous home control and monitoring system using android based smart phone. International Journal of Internet of Things, 2(1), pp.5-11.

Richard, G.T., Kafai, Y.B., Adleberg, B. and Telhan, O., 2015, February. StitchFest: Diversifying a College Hackathon to broaden participation and perceptions in computing. In Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 114-119). ACM.

Want, R., Schilit, B.N. and Jenson, S., 2015. Enabling the internet of things. Computer, 48(1), pp.28-35.

Zeynal, H., Eidiani, M. and Yazdanpanah, D., 2013, December. Intelligent Control Systems for Futuris c Smart Grid Initiatives in Electric Utilities. In Conference Paper· January(pp. 315-319).

Zhang, C., Anzalone, N.C., Faria, R.P. and Pearce, J.M., 2013. Open-source 3D-printable optics equipment. PloS one, 8(3), p.e59840.

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