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Now control your home appliances through a phone

By Maria Fernandes | NT KURIOCITY

As part of a final year project, Denver Braganza, Chrisel Carvalho, Clayton Sequeira and Lance Trinidade, BCA (Bachelor of Computer Application) students of St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, have developed an app which allows you to control your home appliances thorugh a phone wirelessly. A one-of-a-kind application that is designed to work with specific bluetooth enabled hardware boards, the Anadrone Universal Switch Controller System, may have up to 16 devices connected to its output ports. In a chat with NT Kuriocity the enterprising foursome tell us more about their app, its purpose, scope, limitations and more.

What inspired you’ll to come up with the idea for the app?
Denver: At the start of the final year, we were instructed to come up with our own ideas of applications for our final Project. I looked into previous years projects of students. We also sought to get ideas from our batch mates and found different apps and websites that were quite easy. So I decided to take up something more challenging and came up with this idea. 

Chrisel: At first we had no idea what hardware would be required for the project but we went ahead with it. Wifi and Bluetooth were the two options we had in mind but we finalised on Bluetooth because its hardware is available online. There were mini projects on the internet that involved using Bluetooth to control small LED lights and motors. We referred to those projects and developed ours in a similar way.



What is the purpose of this app? 
Lance: This application is designed for people who mostly have problems moving around. It is very helpful for someone with a disability or the aged who face difficulty in controlling electronic devices. It is also designed to assist normal people by making life easier on a daily basis.



How is your app different from existing systems?
Clayton: There are quite a number of applications like Anadrone that control electronic devices via Bluetooth but very few of them are official. The few official apps are designed to control door locks. Other applications are designed to control small LED lights and motors, remote controlled cars, miniature robotic devices, etc.

Denver: None of the existing apps can control 110v/220v devices of everyday use like fans and lights. They are also designed to first search for the device and then the device can be switched on or off. In the case of a lock, it can be used to lock and unlock doors. However, what can be frustrating is that the searching of devices every time through the app could take a lot of time.



Tell us about the features of this app? 
Clayton: Anadrone, is designed to control devices connected to the outputs of Bluetooth enabled hardware boards. The app has many features and some of them are as follows: It is an easy to use interface which is designed to work on most Android phones supporting Bluetooth communication. It has a set of predefined rooms for categorising switch buttons. The app allows you to search for the Bluetooth hardware, select a slot to which an electronic device is connected and give it a desired name e.g. main light or table fan, and then classify it under a selected room like hall or bedroom. Thus, the user doesn’t have to search for a device he has already named and saved. He can directly switch the device on or off.

Chrisel: There is also an extra category labelled ‘miscellaneous’ to store miscellaneous buttons that do not fit into room categories. Users can dynamically add virtual switch buttons and give them desired names. This provides easy referencing for later use. Users can also add any number of buttons to the application besides deleting unwanted buttons when not required.

Lance: The app contains scroll views so that buttons and categories not fitting on the screen can be scrolled through. An extra mode included in the application allows users to search for devices and control them without saving the details of the device. This is helpful for controlling devices just for one-time use.



What difficulties did you’ll face during the project?
Denver: Like any other new project, we had to do a lot of research which could get really monotonous at times. We also had to work really hard on the coding, especially, of the hardware. It was very frustrating at times when the command was not accepted. But then we persevered and continued with our efforts with constant encouragement from our teachers and family. We are extremely indebted to them for standing by us. 



How long did you’ll take to complete the project?
Chrisel: We took approximately eight months to complete the project. While I was sick and hospitalised, the work went on as we had divided the work load in the very beginning according to our abilities. 



What are the limitations of your app?
Denver: Anadrone is an application in its first stage and has a lot of scope for development. Future enhancements of the app would include a much improved user interface, ability to add any number of categories/rooms to the app, ability to control speed(fan) and power of the devices using the analog pins and control more devices like radio, UPS, pumps, etc.

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