Kickstarter for a RaspberriPi/Particle HomeBridge


#1

Hello Particle.

Since you guys are collaborating with the Raspberry folks, have experience with KickStart and are an awesome hardware/software company, it would be too cool if you could al get together and build an Apple approved HomeKit bridge using the Raspberry Pi that works with Photons.

I have been able to make a HomeKit bridge using the Raspberry Pi with Photons for the accessories, I am just concerned that soon, Apple will not allow unlicensed bridges and all my efforts will go to waste. I think you could sell bunch of these to individuals and/or manufactures of accessories.

The coolest thing is the ability to control photons via my Apple Watch using Siri. Since end users can program the Photons, they have full control of the accessory and you can do some great stuff.

Another neat thing is the ability to create a virtual accessories. An example would be to create a virtual accessory named Raining with an on/off parameter. When the photon is queried by HomeKit, it could go to weather.com and see if it is or will soon be raining. You can then add that accessory into your Apple Home Automation app and do something like. When raining is turned on, turn on porch light and turn on another virtual accessory Notify Me which would publish event to IFTTT and you would receive a notification. An event publish by IFTTT or another Photon can be associated with a virtual accessory (SENSOR) that can trigger other events in your home. One Photon can host 15 actual / virtual accessories due to the limitation of functions, but with some good Pub/Sub code one Photon could host hundreds of virtual accessories that can be incorporated into Apple’s Home application and all controlled via Siri. All of my photon controlled devices (real/virtual) work seamlessly with my store bought accessories. (Eve, Harmony Hub, etc).

I am not that smart, but below are a few things I have done so far using my homemade HomeKit, Photons, Apple Home application, IFTTT and Apple watch.

  1. Open my gate automatically when I approach my home.
  2. Switch the HDMI input on my TV to my security camera when motion is detected and publish an event to IFTTT that tells me so.
  3. Bought a 6 outlet HTML power strip from China, added a photon in the mix and for 40 bucks, I now am able to control outlets via Siri. Much cheaper than the $50 per plug you purchase at Walmart.
  4. Flash lights when someone rings my doorbell during my daily PowerNap instead of actually ringing.
  5. Say good night to ‘Siri’ which shuts my gate and turns off the lights.

I just ordered a Raspberr Pi 3 with Bluetooth and am writing a virtual accessory that looks for my Tiles. I can’t control them, but I can recognize their presence them which makes them a perfect On/Off Sensor. I will be able to tell my Home Application to do something the Tile is detectable or not. You can already do this with your iPhone, but my dog nor my children have a phone.

Anyway, I will happily be your first contributor because I know it can be done and has unlimited possibilities.

Bill Freeman

Once you have a licensed bridge, manufactures could make all kind of accessories using the photon.


#2

I was under the impression that you could only use Apple approved devices (and bridge?) with HomeKit. Could you expand a bit on what you’ve done? What exactly is the bridge you built (I don’t have any experience with HomeKit, though I have done a lot of iOS programming)?


#3

@Ric,
@wdfreemanjr is referring to Homebridge.

Homebridge is a lightweight NodeJS server you can run on your home network that emulates the iOS HomeKit API. It supports Plugins, which are community-contributed modules that provide a basic bridge from HomeKit to various 3rd-party APIs provided by manufacturers of “smart home” devices.

Homebridge can be run on a Raspberry Pi. @krvarma developed a homebridge plugin to add Particle devices.


#4

Thanks for the info.


#5

This post is mostly wishful thinking. However … money, attorneys, release of liability, limit agreements, etc can get many thing done. Currently, the Home app does support support legacy bridges, but that will probably go away. Thus this post.

Obviously, Apple wants to insure software integrity since ‘Home’ is an Apple application and not some third party app. Security is their biggest concern though due to the potential liability of a ‘Door lock getting hacked’. I heard that you will not be able to perform certain services unless you or an accessory are in range of the bridge.

Building the bridge consisted of getting a RaspberryPi, downloading some free software and starting it up. Once configured, Home recognizes it as a bridge. There are all sorts of plug-ins that work with Photons. You add new Photons as accessories by changing a configuration file and restarting. A homebridge-plugin onlys needs is your photon access code, device id and accessory type. Each plug-in requires certain functions and variables to be present on your photon, but they usually provide an example.

Just google and github ‘homebridge’, ‘homebridge-plugins’, ‘homebridge-particle’. All the work on the bridge side has been done by many very smart people. Have fun … I felt like Dick Tracy the first time I opened up my gate by flipping my wrist, and saying 'Hey Siri, open the gate".


#6

Thanks, I’ll be hittin’ the google this evening.


#7

That’s exactly what I have been dreaming of!
But I don’t have the skills to do it myself or contribute to this…

Trying out Kvarma’s bridge with Photons is high on my wish list, but if an improved (and even better “approved”) version could be made, I’d jump of joy!

I would surely back up a Kickstarter project if it is started…

:wave::older_man:


#8

I just want to offer my assistance to this project, let me know if any kind of help is needed to get it done :smile:


#9

I have received an RPi3 B+ yesterday and I’m in the middle of setting up Homebridge now.
But right now I’m stuck!

=> See this thread: