Wii Hacks


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nintendo Wii Controlled Smarthome

This is my Nintendo Wii Controlled Smart Home. Using the Wii-Mote and my Nintendo Wii, I have an onscreen Flash User Interface that lets me control the following aspects of my home: Lights, Thermostat, Security Camera, Music Playback, Cable DVR, and more.

Watch the Video:

Q: How did you do this?
The heart of this control system is a custom script written in PHP that does all of traffic directing. A mysql database holds command sets and ip addresses for each device, and forwards the appropriate status signals to the Flash GUI. Simple button press events in flash trigger PHP scripts which blink the IR emitters, and communicate with the lighting controller.

Q: What gear did you use?
Smarthome Insteon Lights w/ ControlLinc
Aurora Multimedia WACI NX
Debian Linux PC running LAMP services
AXIS PTZ IP Security Camera
Proliphix IP Thermostat

Controlling the lights:

Controlling the A/V equipment:

The same interface that works on the Wii can also used on a Nokia 770


PSP Controlling the WACI NX

These pictures are from an older interface I created to control everything wirelessly from the PSP.

By using a controller device called the WACI NX I can make a macro to turn on the TV, turn on the XBOX, switch to the correct input on the TV, and send the PLAY command to XBMC all in 1 button press .

PSP Tivo Control

PSP Home Control 1.0

PSP Home Control 1.0

PSP Home Control 1.0

So far I have the ability to turn my lights on and off. Have full control (Play, Stop, Pause, Menu) of my DVD player, TIVO, and High Def TV, all wirelessly from my PSP. I can also send commands to my PC running Winamp to tell it to Play Stop and Pause my music, or even browse my playlists.

To do most of the controlling I used this tiny little web server control box called the WACI NX. It's great because it has an HTTP and FTP server and uses regular HTML to issue the commands making it the perfect match for my PSP, Wii, or just about any other web browser enabled device. The PSP or Wii talks to the WACI NX via wifi through the network. In turn the WACI emits the IR signal to the TV through one of my IR Emitters, just as if I had pressed the button on the remote.

The WACI NX has a built in IR Learner so you can grab all of your remotes, learn all the button commands, and save them in the WACI to be played back and emitted later. You could even do macros so it sends out a sequence of button presses with a specified delay between each button press.

So for example, a single button press can: Turn on TV, wait 2 seconds, change input, turn on dvd player, wait 5 seconds, press play on dvd player. In 1 button press your TV is on with the DVD playing.

WACI NX IR Learner

WACI NX Event Manager

The actual links are name value pairs going to a script I made on the WACI NX. rpcpost.asp?method=IRSend& Param1=1&Param2=DVD&Param3=Play
That script is written to execute the IR Send then report back it's status. To change which command I run, I just change the url string in my link.

cuteftp asp

I'm sure that if you rigged something up you could do something similar with special software that runs on your PC. However, by using the WACI I have a dedicated piece of hardware that's only function is to send commands to my stuff no matter which interface I create to control it. If you are looking into going into home automation you should check out some of the open protocols which you can access from just about any web programming language. I can program the same home automation scripts using, Flash, ASP, HTML, Javascript, C#, C++, and Java. It's great for developers, and fairly simple to get started using the provided sample code from Insteon or one of the other do-it-yourself home automation packages. For more info on home automation you can check out:

Techmall SmartHome Forum

$120 Mini PC that will run LAMP
Global Cache Ethernet -> Ir & Serial Devices
SmartHome Insteon Lighting

HomeToys Links
Home Automation Links Directory
Linux Home Automation

If you are a PHP/AJAX developer and interested in home automation, send me an email (liquidice629 at gmail).
I could also use some help taking this project to the next level. Contact me to discuss.

Feel free to leave me any questions and feedback in the comments of this post. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts...

More Pictures:


Sean Scribner said...


BlaXun said...

I was hoping for something that could be use to me :(

Keilgo said...

It's cool, but too bad it's nothing that any of us could use.

Unknown said...

how about just getting off your ass and turning the lights offe

Keilgo said...

Someone get out a stopwatch, and time it:

1.) Turning on your Wii, going to the page and doing everything.


2.) Getting up and doing everything

And see which is quicker.

Not saying this isn't cool, and it's a good use of Flash, PHP, a $159 Dimmer Switch, and a bunch of other equipment, but I just don't think it's practical.

Unknown said...

Bah, all you negitive types =)~

This is awesome =) I hope to do something similar to this once I get a house of my own.

Its not about if its quicker...its easier...not to mention that you can know the status of your whole house without even getting up =) And you can also check on your house if you are away (not that you'd take your Wii with you...He had this system in place previous to getting his Wii).

I think its really neat and my wife now hates you Liquid =)~ Grats!

Can't wait to get a house and pimp it out.

mitchell-o-t said...

This is really cool, and practical.
My only question is is it not possible for some person to get lucky, find his way to your internet page, and start messing with your house from Hong Kong???

Vivilros said...

Dude, I've been watching your site since you did the Decals, and this is by far the coolest thing you've done/found, though, the remote RC car is cool too. And... maybe the computer, I was able to do it myself, which is cool.

LiquidIce said...

@Nate, Your wife and my gf should hang out. I bet they'd have a lot to talk about.

@Mitchell, My network is protected by a firewall, so they would need to get through that first to get to my webserver. Internally on the network, no password is required, and if I want to access the pages when I'm not home, I do so through a VPN connection, so it is secure.

@Richard, As i said in the video, this interface is web based, so it will work on anythign with a browser. If i'm at my computer I can control things from there, I can use the Nokia 770 tablet wirelessly from anywhere, my laptop has VPN to my house and so when I am on teh road I can access it from there, and now when I am sitting in front of my couch browsing from the wii, or watching TV in side-by-side mode I can now control it from the couch as well with the wiimote.

Another hack I am working on uses the Wii-Mote and GlovePIE to talk directly with the Insteon software eliminating the need to bring up a webpage. So the idea would be to just pick up the wii-mote, select a light (by using a combination of LED's on the wiimote to show which light is selected) then hold A and wave the wii-mote up to dim the lights up, and wave it down to dim the lights down.

@Valalvax, Thanks for the positive feedback. I can't take credit for the other hacks, i was just passing along the info.. but for this one a lot of my own time and energy went into it to get it to where it is. Glad you think it's cool.

@Everyone else, I'm sorry this is not the holy grail game backup method you dream about... Unfortunately, you will need to go somewhere else to find out about that. This site is all about making the Wii do things it was not intended to do (without ripping off Nintendo in the process). I encourage everyone to send in your Wii Hacks and Homebrew creations to share your creativity with the community.

Unknown said...

could you maaaaaybe make a kind of how-to page about this system..? i mean i think it's really awesome and would love to make a similar setup at my home... but i haven't got the knowledge at how to start this... if you don't mind sharing your stuff of course.. i would understand.. :)

Unknown said...

Hi Liquidice: nice work. I'm wondering about the song you used for the Wii video??? It's very cool. Thanks.

InvisibleVisible said...

Indeed nice, great job Liquid, and thanks for the hints

leingod said...

Nice :)
I wish I could do the same thing , but alas, I don't have the main equipment; The Nintendo Wii :(
Still this was very cool.

Unknown said...

You do realize, you could make a mint installing this stuff for people. I know it seams easy to you, but to the rest of us mortals it's mind-blowing.

Unknown said...

you're some kind of a bad-ass-genious!

gumboenator said...

wow...amazing. i am in awe of your php skillz and hacky nature. the nokia is what truly impresses me. excellent work.

LiquidIce said...

@dharma, Yes, i know.. and I do :-)

LiquidIce said...

Those of you requesting the song..

I am really sorry guys, but I have searched for hours and I can NOT find the original source of the music loop.

If anyone can identify the song being played, please contact me so I can give the author the proper credit.

dot w said...

That is crazy insane. I just made the Insteon move and can control them with my URC remotes. This is taking it to a whole other level. I wish I knew something about linux and programming. I'd kill for a setup like this.

dot w said...

Hey LiquidIce,
What city are you in? If I buy the hardware, could you help me thru some software config? I've become determined w/in the last 2 minutes. :P (drool)

LiquidIce said...

dot w, if you have the "Smartlabs Device Manager" installed, it's really simple to setup the lighting control stuff...

Which part of the setup do you have questions about? Happy to help and share knowledge, but i'd like to keep it online.

dot w said...

i'm still using an ir to x-10 controller which I plan on replacing. I am going to put insteon switches on just about every light in my house, so i'll need more than 16 channels. Which one do you suggest? I would love to get a simple web server going and one of those nokia controllers with a nice web interface for my lights, heating/air, and possibly my home theater (and maybe security cams at some point). Then I could work my way into another web interface for the wii.

LiquidIce said...

dot_w, I think all you need is the Insteon ControlLinc. It's backwards compatible with X10, so if you already have X10 switches and lamp modules, all you need is the ControlLinc and the SmartHome Device Manager software.

Once that's installed, sending a command to tell the X10 lights to turn on is as simple as calling a url: ON

dot w said...

I'm a bit confused. Is the only way to control them via my universal remote have to be thru a computer? Or is there a way to continue using it like I have been with an IR to X10 box and my IR flashers attached to it?

LiquidIce said...

universal remote is one thing.. web based control system is completely different. If you have X10 gear you should be able to control it through the powerline using an Insteon controller.

IR to X10 is good for the universal remote, and if that works for you you could also do something like have the WACI or Global Cache send out the same X10 IR commands that the universal remote emits to control the lights.

dot w said...

Very cool. It's starting to make sense. So where would you recommend I begin with the hardware? I have a spare computer that I could install Debian LAMP services, so that part is covered. Do I need to know much linux to get the server going? I guess the only thing left would be the WACI NX. Which model should I pick up? Are they all expandable? I would definitely like the ability to add IP Thermostat control and Cameras at some point. How do you integrate the insteon lights with this system? I'm still not sure how you're controlling them from the WACI. Are you also receiving realtime feedback to your server for light level status, temperature, etc?

Eric said...

Could you share that XBMC AJAX script you used with the Wii? That's awesome!

Luís Miguel Silva said...

Hello Liquid Ice,

Congratulations on thinking about this! ;o) It is really a great use for the browser on the WII!!!

I was wondering how the web interface controls the X10 devices?

Does the insteon have drivers on Linux so i can access the powerline over ethernet? (or any other type of method?)

I'm guessing it's ethernet since i saw one of your examples where you sent a request to localhost port 9020 (or is that the Linux machine? ;oP).

Thank you,
Luís Silva

sistemasorp said...


It's a good idea controlling domestic hardware through a video game console.

Some time ago I finished a domotics project, which can control the on & off state of any electric based hardware.

The system's heart is a device with 4 relays and connected to a computer centronics port. Then the computer gives some interfaces for working with the system: (telnet, web, IR and mobile sms)

You can watch the article & video (spanish) at http://sistemasorp.blogspot.com/2006/11/manejar-aparatos-elctricos-desde-el-pc.html

Perhaps we colud exchange some information about domotics.


Unknown said...

Hey , Great job

Im having a bit of trouble.

You may not even be able to help me.
It's just i thought i may aswell ask than just throw the thing away.

Basically i bought a remote light switch.

Worked fine.

Bought an 8 in 1 Universal Remote.

Which.Claimed to be able to control ANY electronic gadget.

The control is An omega urc-08

A cheap one i know.

I bought as a test run.

Aslong as i know its No good, i will be happy spending £90 on one .(Im english:P )

Basically i would like to know if you know of any good Remotes that are capable of Controlling Lights.(Mains)
And if the remote i have is any good


SoTellMe.. said...

Vraiment très bien!

Ocramius Aethril said...

use a DS... faster, much faster... otherwise a wiimote connected via BlueTooth with a PC with glovePie running should be very handsome ;)

Unknown said...

excuse me,I am a Chinese reporter.I have some question with the wii.Can you help me?My mail is wangwt767@sina.com ,if you can help me please give me a message.Thank you very much.

Blackpool Hotels said...

Wow how cool is that change the lights dim turn the tv channel over I want one :)

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Scott said...

Can any of you guys recommend someone that provides a good run book automation service? I’m actually doing a project for school and will be working in IT when I graduate. This has been a really tough project for me too because I’m not familiar with any of the companies out there. I hear names tossed around from time to time but they must be smaller companies because I can’t find them online. I need to know the name of the company so that I can research their automation solutions and compile a list of them all as part of my project. We have to build a virtual network and do it with a budget and guess who got tasked with the research? Help!

zoneyp said...

nice thing you got going on there. i'm trying to do something similar but on a much smaller level but it's harder cause i can't really afford a waci. could you email me at bboyxan@gmail.com if you see this. thanks

salemsticker said...

wow, inspirational, I really mean it.
I was considering making a home integrated network, but i never dreamed of using my wii for an iterface point, now i consider it a must.
i've got a few qs
1. whats the total retail cost of your setup (manhours not included)?
2.how long til we can play dvds on our wiis?
3.could a ds be used for interface in your system?
4.could you write a program to use a ds as a classic controller.
5.can you change the "desktop" appearance of the wii?
6. last but not least, how long did it take to set everything up?
seriously though thanks for some great ideas, and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

could you please post the scripts?

Anonymous said...

could you please share the scripts you used?

Ladicius Khan said...

You add me Ill add you.

Wii Number:5308-3193-4329-6001
My name is Austin.

Unknown said...

ignore those noobz! your teh sh*t!

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