Smart home automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are supposed to make your life easier. It’s easy to see the appeal of, say, a WiFi thermostat that you can control from your phone. If you go on vacation and forgot to turn off the air conditioner, you can do so remotely. But many IoT devices end up making your life harder, like an IoT socket for a lamp. Nobody wants to have to ask their Amazon Echo to turn on the light when they get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. That’s why Andrew Hoover put together a guide on how to build your own bedside control panel.
This control panel is designed to sit on your nightstand, and has three primary functions: button-based IoT device control, a digital clock, and wireless device charging. The buttons are intended to be used with DIY smart home setups through the MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) protocol. But, you could theoretically have them work with commercial home assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home if you’re willing to take the time to setup the necessary skills. Once you do, you’ll be able to turn on an IoT lamp, or anything else, with a simple press of a physical button on the control panel.
Hoover’s design is based on the popular NodeMCU ESP8266 development board. That’s combined with a VEEAII Qi wireless charging board and coil, and a 0.96″ 128×64 OLED display that is controlled via I2C. Other than that, you’ll only need some momentary buttons, a photoresistor, and a few other common components. The case is 3D-printed, and designed in Tinkercad so you can easily modify it to fit your needs. This control panel isn’t plug-and-play, as it has to be configured to work with your particular smart home, but it is a good place to start.