Adafruit's FunHouse Makes DIY Home Automation Less Scary and More Stylish

Get started with home automation or add this all-in-one development board to an existing network.

Adafruit's latest board tackles the spooky world of DIY home automation projects. FunHouse is an ESP32-S2 powered WiFi development board that packs sensors, expandability, and IoT-focused features into every one of its goth-decorated rooms.

One look at the PCB, and you can tell that Adafruit's FunHouse is different from other home automation products. Their own Phil Burgess crafted the haunted house-like silkscreen design to be both visually striking and incredibly functional.

For example, there are three crows on the left side of the board. These make use of the ESP32-S2's integrated capacitive touch controller to create three touch-sensitive buttons. On the right side of the 1.54" color TFT is a tree that makes up a five-element capacitive touch slider. That slider is perfect for dimming lights!

FunHouse's skeuomorphic design extends to other features as well. At the top of the house are 5 RGB DotStar LEDs. These LEDs are similar to NeoPixels but have more relaxed timing requirements. On FunHouse, they resemble Christmas lights hung around the house's roofline. At the front door, there is a noise-making buzzer where you might find a doorbell.

Instead of a porch light, there is a light sensor! Other environmental sensors include temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. This combination is popular among home automation projects.

There are three STEMMA ports and one STEMMA QT port for expanded capabilities. STEMMA opens FunHouse to hardware like NeoPixels, speakers, servos, or relays. The STEMMA QT port works with a wide array of I2C devices, such as an IMU.

Mechanically, the mounting hole pattern is the same as the Raspberry Pi. Matching that hole pattern gives you at least two options. One option is to use these holes for mounting FunHouse to existing Pi accessories. Alternatively, you could attach FunHouse as a shield to a Raspberry Pi running Home Assistant using long screws.

If you are new to home automation or have never heard of it, Home Assistant is an open-source home automation framework focused on privacy. It has two significant advantages: first, it does not require third-party cloud access (e.g., run the server on a Pi), and second, it supports many commercial IoT devices. Integrating a DIY device like FunHouse into Home Assitant should be a straightforward task.

For programming, Circuit Python and the Espressif Arduino Library both have added support for the ESP32-S2 processor. With Adafruit's strong support for both development toolsets, interfacing FunHouse with a new or existing home automation network should be no problem.

Jump to 14:01 to watch LadyAda introduce FunHouse

To learn more, check out the "Ask an Engineer" video above or the blog post introducing FunHouse. Available now, FunHouse runs 34.95 USD at Adafruit's store.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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