Gladys Project: a Raspberry Pi home assistant

If, like me, you’re a pretty poor time-keeper with the uncanny ability to never get up when your alarm goes off and yet still somehow make it to work just in time — a little dishevelled, brushing your teeth in the office bathroom — then you too need Gladys.

Raspberry Pi home assistant

Over the last year, we’ve seen off-the-shelf home assistants make their way onto the Raspberry Pi. With the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, it’s becoming ever easier to tell the air around you to “Turn off the bathroom light” or “Resume my audiobook”, and it happens without you lifting a finger. It’s quite wonderful. And alongside these big names are several home-brew variants, such as Jarvis and Jasper, which were developed to run on a Pi in order to perform home automation tasks.

So do we need another such service? Sure! And here’s why…

Gladys Project

According to the Gladys creators’ website, Gladys Project is ‘an open-source program which runs on your Raspberry Pi. It communicates with all your devices and checks your calendar to help you in your everyday life’.

Gladys does the basic day-to-day life maintenance tasks that I need handled in order to exist without my mum there to remind me to wake up in time for work. And, as you can see from the video above, it also plays some mean George Michael.

A screenshot of a mobile phone showing the Gladys app - Gladys Project home assistant

Gladys can help run your day from start to finish, taking into consideration road conditions and travel time to ensure you’re never late, regardless of external influences. It takes you 30 minutes to get ready and another 30 minutes to drive to work for 9.00? OK, but today there’s a queue on the motorway, and now your drive time is looking to be closer to an hour. Thankfully, Gladys has woken you up a half hour earlier, so you’re still on time. Isn’t that nice of her? And while you’re showering and mourning those precious stolen minutes of sleep, she’s opening the blinds and brewing coffee for you. Thanks, mum!

A screenshot of the Gladys hub on the Raspberry Pi - Gladys Project home assistant

Set the parameters of your home(s) using the dedicated hub.

Detecting your return home at the end of the day, Gladys runs your pre-set evening routine. Then, once you place your phone on an NFC tag to indicate bedtime, she turns off the lights and, if your nighttime preferences dictate it, starts the whale music playlist, sending you into a deep, stressless slumber.

A screenshot of Etcher showing the install process of the Gladys image - Gladys Project home assistant

Gladys comes as a pre-built Raspbian image, ready to be cloned to an SD card.

Gladys is free to download from the Gladys Project website and is compatible with smart devices such as Philips Hue lightbulbs, WeMo Insight Switches, and the ever tricky to control without the official app Sonos speakers!

Automate and chill

Which tasks and devices in your home do you control with a home assistant? Do you love sensor-controlled lighting which helps you save on electricity? How about working your way through an audiobook as you do your housework, requesting a pause every time you turn on the vacuum cleaner?

Share your experiences with us in the comments below, and if you’ve built a home assistant for Raspberry Pi, or use an existing setup to run your household, share that too.

And, as ever, if you want to keep up to date with Raspberry Pi projects from across the globe, be sure to follow us on social media, sign up to our weekly newsletter, the Raspberry Pi Weekly, and check out The MagPi, the official magazine of the Raspberry Pi community, available in stores or as a free PDF download.

15 comments

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Excellent. Now if it had only been GLaDOS instead… It could update me on the state of the cake in my fridge.

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This. And we need the same voice prompt and character.

“GladOS, turn off the light”

“Turning the light off for the human who can not be bothered with a light switch”

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But the cake is a lie… ;)

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I was with you until you mentioned George Michael.

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Did you not like his music?

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When Google first announced its time management assistant, I thought it sounded great — until I realized that for it to work I would need to give Google Calendar details about my life and schedule, which Google would sell to advercrappers. I decided not to get Google’s assistant/”spy-ware”, even though Google had a good concept.

Gladys sounds interesting, but only if the data is purely local (or at least there is an option to keep the data purely local) and can’t be accessed by advercrappers.

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Just in case you’re wondering, the song being played in the video is called “Careless whisper” by George Michael featuring the saxophone cover by Kenny G.

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George Michael in Wham! (With Andrew Ridgeley?)

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Hi,

I must say I find the documentation lacking. Where is the hardware info on the zero? No mention of it on
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/raspberrypi/gpio/

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Hello everone!! I’m studying raspberry pi 3 to connect led…please help me..i thank!! ()

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Check out my home hub ecosystem. It incorporates Amazon Dash and Google Voice integration.

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Dear Paul,
after long and painful search of a proper guide for a voice controlled automation project, I found your project page ! I must say I am amazed by the professional work, structured and logical design, by the project management skills you have and finally – amazed by the flexibility of our solutions. Well done ! Thank you for your work and for sharing it with us ! Good job

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Sadly, the only assistant I would ever want does not exist:

http://farnhaan.com/

“Hey, farnhaan? Add toilet paper to my shopping list.”

“OK. Now playing ‘Paper Toilets’ by Auf Hausen”

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Umm, that’s really cool. I was actually going to work on a raspberry pi or arduino device like 5-6 years back to help automate some things like open and closing A/C vents for individual rooms to conserve air flow and set up optimal temperatures where people are actually using the rooms. But now I’m thinking about tying in Gladys or something similar to help make that voice activated. It’d be a really cool project. The other thing is that it helps me identify some of the things that we can do to spice up our own real estate projects. It’d be a really neat addition.

Thanks for the cool info!

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