Pinetab Smart Home expansion board?
#1
Lightbulb 
I believe it would be worthwhile to create another add-on for the PineTab that adds smart home controller functionality to it. The expansion could support a few popular radio types, such as:

- 433Mhz, by adding a RFM69 radio module. This is already open hardware. The MySensors project supports this radio. Candle builds on MySensors, for example.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=rfm69&iax=images&ia=images

- A zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy module (I believe the existing bluetooth chip doesn't support LE?). Recently there have been some great community developments, such as Zig-A-Zig-Ah and the Shepherd project, which underlies the Zigbee2Mqtt project. I don't know to what degree the TI chip they use can support Bluetooth LE and Zigbee at the same time.

https://www.reddit.com/r/homeautomation/..._hardware/
https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee-herdsman

- Alternatively, add/use a NRF24 chip to add Zigbee, Bluetooth LE and/or MySensors support in one chip? 


- Perhaps add a Z-wave radio too?



Such a module would allow this tablet to function as a complete portable smart home controller. It would allow for the development of a more open counterpart to the "smart displays" being sold by Google, Facebook, Xiaomi, etc.


The backpack

Alternatively, a stand could be created that connects to the keyboard pins (which I read act as a USB 2.0 connector), and adds these radios that way. It could also add a speaker and microphone array to allow for fully local, privacy friendly voice control.

[Image: pinetab_backpack.png]

But then the downside would be that the tablet would have to stay fixed to that stand for the radio modules to be connected. If there was a built-in module, it could stay mobile and control the home at the same time.
#2
Couldn't this be more easily done with, for example, a pcie card in a RockPro64 (or PC) and just use the 'Tab to interface with the server? Seems to me it would be much more flexible. You could then use any device - PinePhone, PineTime(?), desktop, laptop, etc - for home control.

Your use-case may be different, though.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
#3
(05-20-2020, 10:20 AM)Paraplegic Racehorse Wrote: Couldn't this be more easily done with, for example, a pcie card in a RockPro64 (or PC) and just use the 'Tab to interface with the server? Seems to me it would be much more flexible. You could then use any device - PinePhone, PineTime(?), desktop, laptop, etc - for home control.

Your use-case may be different, though.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

Thanks for your feedback. I totally get where you're coming from, but as you say, this is a very deliberate choice. Let me explain a bit.

I'd like to build a privacy friendly smart home product around the Pinetab. It has to be something normal mortals can use and install. So far we've been trying to use the setup you describe, but it's still too complicated.

- If the server has a screen, it's very easy to setup a network connection. No fiddling with temporary hotspots, just a nice interface.
- If the pinetab is itsef the communications hub, then it doesn't depend on a local network to manage the smart home. If the router is down, it doesn't matter. Related to this is the goal to avoid using wifi as much as possible, since in 9 out of 10 IoT security issues, these issues could have been avoided by not using WiFi as the commmunications layer.
- Instead of hiding a server, and then using a browser to access it, I'd like the server to be more readily accessible, and able to show data 'at a glance'. It can show dataviz, photos, appointments, you name it. The very fact that the Pinetab is a small server with a big display makes it very attractive for this use case.

The goal is, essentially, to create a 100% privacy friendly, trustworthy alternative to the Google Home Hub. And with the PineTab, this becomes possible.

About the flexibility argument: you could still use your other devices (such as the Pinephone, which I'm a happy owner of) to connect to the server. It's just that the server has a nice big display.

Really concrete situations in which this would be great are health- and elderly care. Ive spoken to numerous organisations and individuals interested in this subject. Smart home systems could offer a lot of value. Speech control for lights and other small devices is an obvious case for those who aren't as mobile anymore. Measuring air particles for those with resporatory issues. The list is endless. But these parties are rightfully hesitant to use the current crop of commercial products, because they want to avoid exposing the elderly to the surveillance industry.

Funnily enough, a lot of people I've spoken to in the industry about this project said "why have a separate server when you could integrate it into once device?" ;-D
#4
OK. That's a wonderful use case. What about a USB dock stand with radios? Set the tab onto the dock, making certain there is a good USB connection and sturdy support. Tab is powered from dock.

It becomes less mobile, which might be an issue, though.

Either way, you're looking at a custom PCB for the radios, but this prevents your customer base having to open and install things in the tab internals. Unless you're considering a full custom solution where you supply the tab already with radio and software installed and working.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
#5
Hey @Paraplegic Racehorse, just to check, are you able to see the picture in the first post? It visualizes exactly what you say, so perhaps there is a misconfiguration on my server (happened before). Can you see it?
#6
Dear mods, could you move this thread into the pinetab forum?
#7
(05-22-2020, 04:03 AM)eaglecup Wrote: Hey @Paraplegic Racehorse, just to check, are you able to see the picture in the first post? It visualizes exactly what you say, so perhaps there is a misconfiguration on my server (happened before). Can you see it?

Sorry to get back here so late.

Yes. I can see the picture; and that is substantially similar to what I was thinking. Really, just a docking station with all the foo built into the dock.
#8
(05-23-2020, 08:03 AM)eaglecup Wrote: Dear mods, could you move this thread into the pinetab forum?

Already move to PineTab forum. Likes your concept, when you need the USB docking pogo pins for your project, just PM me and I will ship some to you.
#9
(05-20-2020, 03:28 AM)eaglecup Wrote: But then the downside would be that the tablet would have to stay fixed to that stand for the radio modules to be connected. If there was a built-in module, it could stay mobile and control the home at the same time.

Maybe use something like an ESP32 in the base as an access point, have the PineTab auto-configure to use it when it's docked (i.e. no user configuration required). Then the PineTab can connect to it when it detects that it is removed from the dock. Therefore you get the best of both worlds - essentially 'hard-wired' when docked, or wireless when it's not docked.
#10
(05-30-2020, 06:31 PM)pfeerick Wrote:
(05-20-2020, 03:28 AM)eaglecup Wrote: But then the downside would be that the tablet would have to stay fixed to that stand for the radio modules to be connected. If there was a built-in module, it could stay mobile and control the home at the same time.

Maybe use something like an ESP32 in the base as an access point, have the PineTab auto-configure to use it when it's docked (i.e. no user configuration required). Then the PineTab can connect to it when it detects that it is removed from the dock. Therefore you get the best of both worlds - essentially 'hard-wired' when docked, or wireless when it's not docked.

That's a pretty nice idea. The PineTab could detect the USB hub in the backpack. A slight variation on your theme: the tablet could have a built-in Zigbee radio, and the user could add additional radio modules in the dock (e.g. Z-wave usb stick).

It would make a lot of sense with voice. The builtin microhone could be used for voice control when mobile, and when docked it could switch to a cheap $10 conference microphone or a more advanced ReSpeaker USB Microphone

Similarly with audio, it could connect to a USB audio card and some bigger speakers in the backpack when connected.

My point was mostly that such a USB hub back-pack could be something the Pine foundation could offer as a way to seemlessly and attractively expand the tablet's functionality in all kinds of directions.


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