It’s been a while since I posted, but I’ve been busy… Somehow, despite having no interest in it six months ago, I got into Home Automation, or setting up a “Smart” Home. Over the last 6 months I have:
- purchased a variety of sensors and electronic components, Fresnel lenses and NodeMCU boards from China
- designed/ modified circuits, learnt to solder (badly!)
- written firmware for NodeMCU based multi-sensors
- modified 3D designs in TinkerCAD
- printed 3D models via 3D Hubs
- flashed firmware of wi-fi light switches
- (re)written a NodeJS/ MQTT and Amazon Lambda function that drive a Node-RED Alexa add-on
Lots more posts to come, but I wanted to share the latter of these activities with you first.
In my quest to enable voice control over a variety of devices I came across a Ben Hardill’s Node Red Alexa Home Skill Bridge. Ben created a Node-RED Alexa Smart Home Skill API version 2 add-on that enables Alexa interaction with flows. No sooner had I found this and started to use it I wanted more… ! This is where the Smart Home Skill API version 3 comes in – it allows for a swathe of new voice commands to control playback, volume, inputs and other devices that version 2 did not cater for.
Unfortunately (for me at least) the API syntax has fundamentally changed. This meant figuring out Ben’s service and re-writing elements of it to work with the new API. Whilst I was at it I also updated the web interface to Bootstrap 4, and remediated some NodeJS/ Mongoose functions that were no longer supported in the original service.
The net result… My wife and kids love the fact they can turn on/ off the TV, pause, play and stop video, increase/ decrease and mute volume as well as control the lights with their voice. Couple the lighting control with Alexa “room awareness” and the whole system becomes very user friendly – i.e. “Alexa, turn on the lights.” The multi-sensors add some additional functionality/ capabilities, but I’ll save that for another day.
At this point the skill is in “Dev” – meaning it is not a publicly available Alexa Skill – however, get in touch and I can add you to the list of people able to test the service out.