An Attractive, Open Source Control Interface for Home Assistant

Home Buttons is an attractive ePaper control interface for Home Assistant.

While a lot of the industry is full of useless products that complicate things for no reason, IoT (Internet of Things) and home automation systems can provide real value. They can do that by either saving you time or money, or by doing tasks better than “dumb” alternatives. A smart thermostat, for example, might do all three: it keeps your energy bills down, it adjusts the temperature for you, and it maintains the set temperature better than a conventional thermostat. But a complete smart home quickly becomes overwhelming, which is why Matej Planinšek built Home Buttons.

Home Buttons is an open source and quite attractive Home Assistant control interface. Home Assistant is open source smart home management software. It can talk to both your home security system and your smart thermostat to coordinate them, such as by turning off the air conditioning whenever you leave the house. With the exception of some proprietary devices, Home Assistant can work with most IoT and smart home devices. There are many ways you can control Home Assistant, including through your smart phone. But a standalone control panel is ideal, particularly so guests have an easy and intuitive way to access some functions. Home Buttons is a great example.

Home Button’s most enticing feature is the 2.9” ePaper screen. That provides a very readable and reconfigurable set of labels for the buttons. And because ePaper screens are so efficient (they only consume power when changing the content on the screen), Home Button can run for a year on a single battery charge. You can mount it or place it anywhere without dealing with wires.

Aside from the ePaper screen, Home Button’s custom PCB contains an Espressif ESP32-S2 microcontroller (with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth), buttons, LEDs, a temperature/humidity sensor, TP4056 charging and battery management, and a 19650 lithium battery cell holder. The inclusion of the Sensirion SHTC3 temperature/humidity sensor means that Home Buttons can act as a smart thermostat if you’d like it to. That PCB with all of those components fits inside of a nice, minimalistic, 3D-printable enclosure.

Home Button’s functionality depends on your particular Home Assistant setup. It gives you access to a list of favorite presets. Those could be specific commands (like “turn X light on”) or they could be entire modes (like “turn the lights off, play Barry Manilow, light the fireplace, and text the wife ‘come downstairs’”).

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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