I’m a big fan of home automation and the promise of the “Internet of Things” (I hate that term but that’s what everyone calls it). I have big concerns about some aspects, mostly security, but after spending the last year or so forging headlong into adding automation and voice control into my life wherever it makes sense to, I’d struggle to give it up for anything other than a huge security disaster. I’m sure one of those is coming to something like Amazon’s Alexa, but until then…

Anyway, one of the core components of my setup is a piece of open-source software called ha-bridge. It sits on your network and answers network requests as if it were something like a Philips Hue light, so that things that can control Hue lights can also control things behind the bridge.

The bridge will let you do a wide range of things on the network, such as call arbitrary URLs. So I build things using little Raspberry Pi Zeroes, write little web services for the things the Zeroes are controlling, and have ha-bridge call them.

“Alexa, turn fish tank off”, does just that. Alexa makes a request to turn a Hue light called fish tank off. What really happens is it talks to ha-bridge, which calls the web service on the Zero which in turn signals GPIO pins which in turn drives the 433MHz RF module which in turn signals a plug socket that the fish tank’s pump is plugged into.

ha-bridge is great, check it out.