Home automation with Make: and OpenHAB

The good folks at Make: have been working with open-source home automation software OpenHAB to make a touch-screen device to interact with your house.

home automation led control

OpenHAB allows you to control objects in your house with voice commands; to monitor sensor networks; to set up rules for your devices via email or IFTTT, and a whole lot more. The device this video shows you how to build can interact with up to 150 different smart home products, and provide an interface for control and task scheduling.

For this project, you’ll be building your own array of neopixels (which are great for kitchen counter lighting and for adding some mood colour to lighting schemes, if you’re looking for an excuse to get started) rather than interfacing with a pre-built device, so you can get right into the guts of what’s going on here. Other devices are easy to add once you’ve got the base model built. Here’s Jordan Bunker to get you started.

You can read more about this project over at Make:, where there’s a step-by-step guide with photos to accompany the video.




Alex Enkerli avatar

Easy peasy, right?
Does sound like a weekend project. The rest of OpenHAB might open up neat possibilities but our imagination may get tickled more easily if we start with something unusual or with some innovative use of technology about which we’d never think.
Still, it’s useful to know that such integration is possible with this long list of components.

Liz Upton avatar

I really liked the approach of starting with something you’d made yourself; gives you a much deeper understanding of what’s going on. OpenHAB’s terrific – hearty recommend!

Calvin Klopp avatar

Home Assistant


Has a raspberry pi install & following as well and a good alternative to OpenHab (for non Java programmers).


Frederick avatar

Been using OpenHAB for a while now. You really don’t need to be a Java programmer to be able to have it do fancy things. :)


John avatar

Thanks, Awesome tip on home-assistant.io – I don’t know how mature it is, but I’ve been keen to find something python-native to try with my HA setup.I’ve nothing in particular against OpenHAB, but if I do want to get deep under the hood, I’m far more capable in python than java.

Sandria Warne avatar

Wow what an innovative use of technology. I am a gadget geek and just loved your ideas. I am looking for some easy home automation systems that will be helpful in every aspects.
Keep it up!!

Lachlan avatar

OpenHab is great software with a huge library of support, but even for a seasoned programmer it can be a massive pain in the neck to set up. Massive! You need to wade through a heap of incredibly complicated text files to configure each and every item you’re trying to control. A beginner has virtually no chance.

OpenHab version 2 is much better, but it’s still in beta, and has a long way to go, particularly in regards to bringing all their libraries up to the version 2 “gui config” standards.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see another product that can match OpenHab’s stability, flexibility or versatility. I suppose that’s what makes it so complicated to set up.

Bill Lintner avatar

Brilliant article, thank you so much. This has enabled me to finally get a stable version of OpenHab up and running, it’s great!!

Home Automation avatar

Hi Thanks for this useful and step-by-step process description. I have been searching for an article on to make some changes to OpenHab I have installed as a part of my home automation system Chennai. Thanks once again.

Joseph Mack avatar

I really liked the Lutron Serena Shades option, not only for the convenience but also as a method to improve energy efficiency in the home. You could have them automated to close on a sunny day whilst your Nest Thermostat doesnt have to work as hard perfecting the internal temperature. One of my favorite devices to make life easier is the doorbell camera which I have done a review of the doorbell camera on my blog http://smarthomesage.com/reviews/doorbells-reviews/doorbell-cameras/best-doorbell-camera-review-2016/ – you can use in conjunction with a smart door lock. You can let friends and family into the house, receive a package, or just check on the front of your house to see what is happening.

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