Let Google Raise and Lower Your Desk

Standing desks appear to have more and more adherents every day, citing health benefits, and perhaps just the opportunity to tower over…

Jeremy S. Cook
10 months ago

Standing desks appear to have more and more adherents every day, citing health benefits, and perhaps just the opportunity to tower over sitting coworkers. After getting, and very much enjoying, his own height-adjustable desk, Wassim Chegham wasn’t content to “merely” push buttons to have it rise to the occasion. He wanted to be able to verbally ask it to do his bidding, i.e., “Hey Google, set my desk to standing mode!”

What followed next was a flurry of hacking that produced a working prototype in just five hours. Upon taking the desk controller apart, Chegham’s first attempt at control was to emulate the outputs of the microcontroller — an STM8S103F2 — directly. While this would have perhaps been an elegant solution, after damaging one of its pins, he decided to go a different route and electrically “press” the buttons. This was accomplished using an NPN transistor setup, along with outputs from an Onion Omega 2+ module.

With this Internet-enabled Omega 2+ in place — connected to an undamaged control unit that he purchased before starting in anticipation of problems — voice activation was a matter of setting up the neeced software. His setup included the use of IFTTT, and of course Google Assistant, but he also outlines a more involved integration involving the Smart Home API that would be a the recommended way to do things.

Optimal or not, with some clever hacking, Chegham can use his standing desk as he likes without even the touch of a button. He simply has to ask Google to do it for him!

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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