Smart Home Laboratory

Students learn about the various systems for home automation (KNX, Bacnet, radio system) in the Smart Home Laboratory at Campus Feuchtwangen. Building on this, the automation of processes in buildings is discussed. Networked components are used to create a smart home – or a smart building for commercial properties. In addition, the control technology and the acquisition and evaluation of data are tested on the test stands.

The students have several test stands at their disposal on which both the hardware and the software can be modified. The research hall at Campus Feuchtwangen with its control technology is also used as a demonstration object.

Established standards such as KNX and the associated professional ETS configuration software are used at the test stands. For this purpose, the software is available at the university with corresponding licences. The university is a partner in the “KNX Scientific Partnership” programme.

In addition, the students should be able to work and try out as much as possible themselves – also at home. The control technology was therefore designed entirely with free software. The students can install the software on their own laptops.

A Raspberry Pi mini-computer with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is used for the control technology. The software used is openHAB with its own web server and a MariaDB SQL database, which enables manufacturer-independent home automation.

This means that the test stands can be controlled from the master computer as well as from a smart phone or by voice commands. Octave, also free software, is used to evaluate the monitoring data.

With hardware costs well under 100€, students can begin their own experiments in “smart” living. Perhaps this is how the smart student flat will emerge.