Habey unveils HIO Project ARM board, launches HIO Wallpad home automation Kickstarter campaign

Habey makes small form-factor, fanless computers for industrial use. Now the company is getting into the Maker/independent developer space with the HIO Project.

The HIO system is a modular computer board with a Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 dual or quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage, plus HDMI and USB connectors, a microSD card slot, Ethernetm and developer features including GPIO, UART and JTAG as well as support for expansion boards.

Habey expects to ship the first HIO Project mainboards in May for $100 and up. But the company is also launching a Kickstarter campaign for a home automation system based on the HIO Project.

hio pins

The HIO Wallpad is an Android or Linux-powered home automation controller based on the HIO Project. For a pledge of $139 or more, backers can reserve one of the first units expected to ship in July (when the price will go up to $300 for an Ethernet-only model or $350 for a WiFi unit).

While the Wallpad is interesting as a standalone device, it also shows just one of the things you can do with a modular board based on the HIO platform.

hio wallpad_03

The Wallpad includes a HIO mainboard with a dual-core processor, a 3.5 inch, 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen panel, a Power over Ethernet (PoE) board, and plastic, aluminum, and steel enclosure designed to let you slide the unit into your wall. It ships with Android 4.2 and software for home automation functions including controlling lights, security cameras, and thermostats, among other things.

Theoretically if the HIO platform takes off, we could see additional stackable expansion boards like the PoE board and display board, or you may be able to develop your own boards designed to use the 200 pin connector.

hio wallpad_02

While Freescale’s i.MX6 processor isn’t exactly a speed demon, Freescale has a reputation for releasing documentation and driver source code for its processors, which makes it an attractive option for open hardware and software platforms like the HIO Project — and as Habey points out, the 1 GHz multi-core Freescale i.MX6 chip is significantly faster than the Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor used in one of the most popular single-board computers, the Raspberry Pi.

Hio Project

  • Riya Dutt

    Android is the trend in market for home automation these days. Linux based Home Automation Systems are better known for their security. It was my pleasure to have Home Automation Systems in my home recently by Smart Automation (www.smartautomation.in). After installing automation systems complete home gets a new feel I’m so exciting about the amazing features of it. I came to know many but still I have to learn more.

  • Kate

    Hi Brad, I am new here and I dont want to disturb u.I left comment under ur article:

    A possible fix for HP TouchPad Android “sleep of death” problem. Please help me with the link to the patch… ok???

  • EricRead

    I understand the advantage of this over something like a Raspberry Pi + Android phone running apps.

    1) Yes, the Raspberry Pi is slower than the Freescale’s i.MX6 processor on Habey, but for home automation, you’re not crunching enormous amounts of data. There’s really no need for lots of horsepower, and for something that’s on 24-7, you’d rather have a lower power device, that’s super cheap to replace if the hardware goes bad. The raspberry pi is plenty fast enough to do the data collection and serve out a webpage.

    2) The display in most RPi solutions are much cheaper than what they’re providing. It’s a BYO device model – what ever 2-year old model phone or tablet you got. You can have several interfaces on the cheap.

    3) “The Wallpad is an open architecture design, allowing you to code your
    own software and develop your own hardware to control almost anything. ”
    There’s a lot of community support for RPi/Arduino solutions already. Libraries for interfacing with devices are readily available, just plop it in. A new device means you have to wait for someone else to write the code if you’re not able.

    4) “As mentioned in the video, many home automation installers are using
    Apple products like iPods and iPads to serve as controllers. This only
    adds to the overall cost of a wall-mounted touchscreen controller.”

    They pick the least attractive home automation solution as a basis for comparison. They are competing with the Android/RPi/Arduino type systems.

  • nelfilcon

    Why not use a Wandboard?

  • SFX Group

    I like the idea… however:

    – $350, way to expensive (Moonshine is $150).
    – Doesn’t seem to be selling (another no go starter idea?)
    – Yes more power, however don’t need it, good output with touchscreen is all thats needed, its going to be a client device anyway.
    – Doesnt fit a 1G box (Decora), the Moonshine board does.
    – POE is nice, however a POE splitter is about $15 and the size of box you need i could fit one of those in it, so the extra cost of a POE splitter and a PI with a screen doesnt work in the long run.
    -Appears i will be making my own from a screen and PI.