Z-Wave module connects Raspberry Pi to home automation

January 08, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Home control technology group Z-Wave intends to tap the potential of the popular Raspberry Pi single-board computer for applications in the realm of home automation including light control. A plug-in module connects the two worlds.

Z-Wave.me, a member company of the Z-Wave alliance, has introduced the RaZberry kit consisting of the Raspberry Pi and the plug-in module at the CES 2013 in Las Vegas. The module is plugged onto the Raspberry's serial I/O channel and contains the RF circuitry. In addition, the designers have equipped the computer with the Z-Wav firmware and the Z-Wave wireless communications protocols. The combo gives users access to the huge Z-Wave ecosystem of home control products and software. As a result, developers can implement cost-effective yet powerful home automation solutions, the company said. The platform can be controlled through smartphones, tablets, internet browsers or HDMI devices.

The module also enables the Raspberry Pi to act as a Z-Wave gateway. This makes it possible to use the computer as the platform for any home automation application, regardless of potential compatibility limitations of specific products.

The module simply plugs in to the computers' GPIO slot; no specific knowledge is required. The Z-Wave controller software stored on the module enables the Raspberry Pi to understand the Z-Wave wireless protocol.

To users, the software initially presents a demo user interface. Here they can test all Z-Wave functions. In addition, the software contains a JSON (Java Script Object Notation) interface, a compact data format that offers a textual description of the functions that can easily be read and understood be humans and machines alike. Thus, even software novices can generate their own user interface for iPhone, Android or a web browser.

www.zwave4u.com