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Input Devices Build Technology

Reinventing the Clapper With a Knock-Based Home Automation Controller 92

An anonymous reader writes with a snippet from Hack a Day: "Clap On! Clap Off! was super awesome when The Clapper came out in the mid-eighties. Now [Mathieu Stephan] is trying to make the concept much more functional. He put together a controller that lets you knock on walls to control things around the house. It's called the Toktoktok project and uses small boxes to receive user input and control items like lamps and computers." As the project website points out, Stephan is keeping the project intentionally open.
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Reinventing the Clapper With a Knock-Based Home Automation Controller

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  • Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2012 @07:43PM (#39314859)
    Great idea! Well, great until you've a lady friend over and the bed scoots just a little too close to the wall.
  • Can I set this up with port knocking. So maybe every time I get a knock on 22, then 23, and eventually 80, in any particular order on my external IP, that my lights go on and off? That would be cool. Maybe rig it to the stereo system, too. 137/138 would control the volume. Fun times.
  • the clapper work for old tvs with out a remote like the one in the ad. With the ones with remotes killing the power like that just made it lose the channel map.

    Now days trying to kill the power like that will just mess up the cable box.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @08:19PM (#39315105)

    "Once", "Twice", or "Thrice ... well done."

  • I don't think my neighbors in my apartment complex would like me banging on random walls to turn things on and off. Like wise I would get pretty mad if i heard someone just banging on the wall throughout the day.
  • has a tail like a broomstick and she is a very happy girl. Crap would be flashing on and off all over the house.
  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @09:01PM (#39315299) Homepage

    My grandfather had an old Zenith TV set with an ultrasonic remote. Every time someone jingled their keys or flushed the toilet, it would change the channel or adjust the volume. This seems like it will have the same problem.

    • My grandfather had an old Zenith TV set with an ultrasonic remote. Every time someone jingled their keys or flushed the toilet, it would change the channel or adjust the volume. This seems like it will have the same problem.

      From TFA:

      "What is a contact mic? Well, it is just a fancy word for a piezoelectric element. It is very simple to produce, has a non linear response curve and a resonant frequency around 3kHz. Why is it well suited for this project? Because it will only 'listen to' the vibrations of the surface it is fixed to."

      Sounds like he might have isolated that particular problem.

      • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        Wouldn't soundwaves going through the air cause the wall to vibrate, even if only slightly?

        What about when an airplane flies over head or a large truck drives down the road? In both cases my house shakes a little bit - you can certainly feel the vibration in the walls.

        • by karnal ( 22275 )

          I would guess the part about the resonant frequency being around 3kHz in addition to the part that it has a non linear response curve helps with this. It would be very very difficult to resonate a wall at 3kHz via a sound wave. Judging by the walls in my house, it's typically 150Hz or less (as cars with subwoofers/missing mufflers drive by.)

  • My poltergeist is going to have fun now!

  • I immediately thought of "The Fonz" from Happy Days when I saw this story. Now we can all be cool.
  • Prior art (Score:4, Funny)

    by trold ( 242154 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @09:47PM (#39315467) Homepage

    The product is clearly a knockoff

    • The product is clearly a knockoff

      Yes, but he already discussed the issue of paten...ooooh, I see what you did there.

  • How long before we take this unit and have it turn on a mp3 player of a large dog barking viciously...

  • ... can just shut off your loud stereo themselves by knocking on their ceiling with a broomstick.

  • So when my Asian friends come over and turn off my lights can I take them to court for infringement?

  • "Penny...Penny...Penny..."
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @04:01AM (#39316695) Homepage

    If you have more than one thing to control, you'll need some encoding scheme, like Morse code. This won't scale up well.

    • And the first night of hot-passion-and-burning-lust in your newly-automated pad leads to madness and chaos

      Of course, some people prefer things that way....
  • So when folks knock on my door, my living room lights turn off?
  • Implementing Sesame Street For Fun And Profit! []
  • It's already noisy enough without everyone banging on the walls.

  • It's been 30 years, and I still can't get "Clap on! Clap off! Clap-on-clap-off..." song out of my head. This is worse than Ch-ch-ch-Chia Obama.
  • Every time anyone knocks on the wall in my house the dog bolts to the front door, tail wagging madly with joy, thinking a visitor has arrived. Think Dug from Up!... Definitely not an option in my house.
  • The commercial and jingle etched into the memories of all who were sentient in the 80's: []
  • The current apartment neighbors are a bunch of idiots that can't close a door, drawer or cabinet without slamming it. Now all I have to do is place a speaker near the wall and have it play some annoying sound back to the neighbors each time they slam a door.
  • I would have hoped in the 21st century, you could just say "lights on" or "lights off" to control a lamp, not thump on the wall like a caveman.

Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!