His Gadget Affair, Making of Arcadia
Comments 4

Sensing things

Fibaro System - Motion Sensor

Another update on getting our home more smarter – We can now detect “presence” – for real! Nope, we have not become ghostbusters (it would be pretty interesting if we did though), so let me explain.

We have basically installed sensors in the hallway and living room. In the hallway ceiling we have fit in the AEOTEC Multisensor. It is a powered by mains electricity (via a mini USB connector) so we had to get an electrician to do this. In the living room ceiling corner, we have mounted the Fibaro Motion Sensor. This one however is battery powered. And it literally only needed to be glued into place. Super easy to install.

They sense motion:

Both of these sensors are able to detect motion. And it feeds that info back to the ‘home controller’ device, and then on to our phones apps via the openHAB software. This means that via the openHAB app on our mobile devices, we can see if there was “someone” at home. And I just learnt that detecting presence by sensing motion is called the Wasp In a Box technique – as in we know there is a wasp inside a box if we sense motion i.e. buzzing or vibration. Similarly, these motion sensors are able to detect there is someone at home by sensing the motions inside the house. But we also needed to be able differentiate that “someone” from either of us or an intruder. So the openHAB software has been configured to ping to our mobile phones and if it successfully gets a ping back, openHAB also shows our presence individually with names. (P.S. Could be handy to stalk your boyfriend?… Just saying…)  This pinging the phone technique is not really the best technique because of simple scenarios such as my phone battery could be down or if I could be home but my phone was in the garage? And SS sees “someone” at home but it doesn’t identify the “someone” as me. And what if he raises the alarm bells only to find an amused me. Anyways, until a better solution is found this is it.

They sense light:

I really like the luxury of the hallway sensors auto turning the lights on when it detects motion AND that it senses there is insufficient light or its dark. This means the lights in the hallway only go ON when its needed. The sensitivity levels are all adjustable via the openHAB software. And it turns off when there is no motion – Auto-magically. Believe me it has contributed to a saving a number of arguments before bedtime!

They sense temperature & humidity:

These devices can also sense the temperature & humidity inside. For now, the function of this is limited to just collecting info & displaying it on the app – nothing useful. But I am looking forward to this being connected to our air conditioner. Imagine the device detecting a really hot temperature inside, then turning on the AC to cool the house and turning it off when done – just in time for you to get back home. Yes please 🙂

Aeotec MultiSensor


I am sure there is a lot more these sensors can do. But the above is what we have started/plan to use. And they are pretty smart compared to how plain/simple they look. On the outside, they just look like giant eyeballs.  Thankfully, they are both white and blend in with the ceiling colour. And because they are high up in the ceiling, we forget that we are being “watched”.

And these devices certainly don’t come cheap:
AEOTEC MultiSensor : $87
Fibaro Motion Sensor: $117

To the thief thinking of robbing our home – Don’t you dare. We can sense you!





  1. Markus says

    Thanks for sharing/posting your progress. Just out of curiosity, did SS ever get openhab on the asustor NAS to work?


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