Herald: Control the environment with one click – Herald Goa | Salisbury Pipes

September 13, 2022 | 06:02 IST

Control the environment with one click

Eight third-year undergraduate students in Computer Applications from St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, have been working on a project called ‘Smart Home’, which would allow users to control their home appliances from their phone, including operating the garage door
Control the environment with one click

Third-year college students must go through the process of choosing a topic for their annual project that not only piques the students’ interest but also gets them to think outside the box and develop their own research. Every year, new ideas emerge from different currents that the students teach

and professors more on the topic.

St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa has many firsts to thank. The College introduced BCA (Commerce) in 2005 with an enrollment capacity of 40 students. With four full-time faculty members, students are eager to learn as their professors are very approachable. This encourages them to push their boundaries and learn more about the subject. Students have diverse perspectives worldwide with jobs such as programmer, software developer, software engineer, web designer, hardware analyst, hardware designer, software quality assurance manager, software designer, graphic designer, etc.

The 3rd year Bachelor in Computing Applications (TYBCA) for 2021-22 worked on an interesting project, “Smart Home”, under the guidance of their project leader, Worrel D’Souza, Assistant Professor, Department of BCA. The team consists of Austin Lobo, Andrea Menezes, Aryesh Asolkar, Carrisha Rodrigues, Glen Dias, Haran De Souza, Marvin D’Souza and Penwyn Tavares.

“’Smart Home’ is a home automation app. It allows users to control home appliances wirelessly via WiFi. Raspbery Pi is a unique application designed to work with certain built-in WiFi-enabled hardware boards. It has an easy-to-use interface suitable for most Android phones. It has a number of predefined spaces for categorizing switches dedicated to lights/fans/sockets,” says Aldona’s Austin Lobo, who directed the projector.

He continues: “Towards the end of the second year, we got together as eight friends. All we had was an idea in mind and we didn’t know what hardware the project would require. We knew we were working toward something that will help us learn and grow. It was an amazing experience working as a team and it was fun working with both hardware and software.”

The features of the project include a home lighting system, an automatic garage door, a security system and intrusion detection. “The app allows the user to control various devices in the home such as lights, fans and other devices, making it easy for the user to do everything at their fingertips. An automated garage that opens and closes at the touch of a button in the app, making it more convenient for the driver. A Wifi enabled camera that can be used for surveillance and accessed remotely via the app. This ensures the security of your home. A motion sensor alarm system that alerts the user to burglary, theft and other potential intruders,” adds Lobo.

Although the students were taught about software in class, they had no experience getting the hardware to work. They borrowed hardware from their high school and ordered some parts online. “We had to do our own research for the project and although we were taught the basics in class, this was very different. YouTube tutorials were mostly a trial and error method as some parts even burned out during the process. We wanted to learn and grow more in this area,” he explains.

The advantage of this project is that it has an easy to use interface, is easy to understand, energy efficient and has a camera that can be accessed remotely via the app. It also has working Android app controls. Therefore, no unnecessary movement is required. “The app was built for today’s fast-paced work environment where everything is at your fingertips. It will make daily life easier and more convenient. It’s also helpful for people with disabilities or the elderly who have difficulty controlling electronic devices,” says Lobo.

As with any other project, they had to do a lot of research, for hardware or the app or other technical aspects of their project, which got boring at times. “We also had to work very hard on the coding for the Android app as well as the hardware. It was frustrating when we worked together for hours, sometimes at home, sometimes at the university, and didn’t get the desired output. But we only believed in ourselves and kept trying. Our project leaders, teachers and family have supported and encouraged us during this time. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for standing by us. With all the hard work, dedication, persistence, right technical expertise and guidance from our project leader and teachers, we worked on this project for a year and successfully completed it,” adds Lobo.

“I am pleased that, despite the difficulties of the pandemic, the students managed to get a working project, ‘Smart Home,'” says Worrel D’Souza, assistant professor, department of BCA.

The “Smart Home” application is in the first phase and has a lot of room for development. Future improvements would include a greatly improved user interface, voice commands, firefighting network, weather detection system, gesture control, etc.

Leave a Comment