Super-Clean Alexa-Controlled Smart Blinds

Follow Jamie Leech's tutorial to make your own clean, budget-friendly, Alexa-controlled smart blinds.

Home voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, are designed to make our lives just a little bit easier. By automating various tasks, we can save some time, effort, and willpower every day. There are plenty of products on the consumer market to help you achieve that, and you can now find just about any device with integrated smart IoT (Internet of Things) capability. Unfortunately, not all of them are affordable or easy to install in your home. Smart blinds can be quite expensive, and require technical knowledge to install. But if you have that technical knowledge anyway, you might as well follow Jamie Leech’s tutorial to make your own budget-friendly smart blinds.

There are lots of online tutorials on how to build your own smart blinds, but this guide stands out because the results are particularly clean. Everything is hidden within the support tube at the top of the blinds, so your carefully-curated décor isn’t disrupted. Even better, you can retrofit your blinds for less than $20 per window. Anyone who has experience with modern maker electronics should be able to handle this project, and it will integrate nicely with the Amazon Alexa voice service. If you have another system, such as Google Assistant, you should be able to follow similar steps to make it work with these smart blinds.

The most important components for this build are a NodeMCU ESP8266 board and a high-torque 270 degree servo motor. Assuming your blinds are of a typical size, you should have room inside the upper support to connect that servo motor to the mechanism that flips your blinds open or closed—this isn’t designed to roll the blinds up and down. 3D-printed parts will help you mount the motor and control board. The ESP8266 development board controls the servo, and its WiFi capabilities let it connect to your home network. The Espalexa library makes it possible to add the device to your Amazon account, so you can control it via any of your Amazon Echo assistants.

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