The automobile is a place where you are often cut off from your own data, especially while driving. Of course there is always the smartphone, but its integration with the automobile often amounts to just synchronizing your contacts with your car, so you can use the speakerphone, if you have a car capable of that. That is fine, but it is not enough. More desirable things can be done with a little better integration.
For instance: turn down environmental controls when car has left office; turn up environmental controls at home if the car has left office, but only once car is proceeding towards the home for 10 consecutive minutes (or configurable value). Overridable via voice command.
Or: Ten minutes after leaving the house, you ask car “did I leave the stove on?”; car replies “yes”. “Shut the stove off”; “Successful”. (Yes I will need to modify the stove.) But, excellent once working. I won't just lose 20 minutes of my day, and however many dollars worth of energy heating the air in the kitchen.
These examples are of physical effects, but the non-physical is important too - they come from your thoughts, some of the most important things you have. Another extremely important thing you have is time. This integration is designed to streamline usage of machines to obtain data requests (as well as physical results) so you can use your time for what you like.
"Do I have any important email?" "Hows the stock market?" "What's the latest on Hackaday?" These non-physical data requests, but contextualized to you and your preferences - the Processors may be located elsewhere, your home, office, on your actual smartphone, so you don't have to set up a separate instance with everything in your car.
- "Do I have any important email?" is different from you looking at your smartphone at all your email. You may have set up some rules about what is important for that day. Your car will use speech synthesis to give you the results of the query. When you are back at home, you can ask you home Integron the same question, and hit the same Processor. Build once, use many.
- "How's the stock market?" can mean whatever you want it to mean. A specific portfolio or watch list, the general status of the Dow Jones, or just the Nasdaq alone, or the Nikkei. You decide what is important. This is more efficient than you hunting around on your smartphone for all the data components to piece together what is important to you.
- "What's the latest on Hackaday?" Scrape your feed, and return only those items since you last asked, or some maximum number. Again, rules specific to you.
The Automobile Integron is not really too different from the normal, living-space based Integron being described in the main Reactron project. It uses a BeagleBone Black to process and synthesize speech, and has the same RF connectivity. Added are a GPS module, a GPRS module, and a camera for gesture interactions instead of PIR sensors. If the living-space based ones could move around, in changing environmental and lighting conditions, I would consider making all of this standard. The other difference is that the indicator lights are reduced to two separated LEDs.
One is meant to be seen from outside the car (on the driver's door). The car originally came with an LED on the door lock stem. It is a 3mm LED and blinks when the car is locked and the anti-theft system is on. This LED can probably be directly replaced with a bi-color common cathode LED (red/blue) where the red one is attached to the existing system, and the blue is attached to the Reactron Integron.
The other possibility is that I use a 3mm diameter light pipe tied to a NeoPixel, and take the input to this original LED as a digital input to the microcontroller. I may do that, because then I am free to use any colors...Read more »