Home Toys Article
- February 2002 -
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DOLLx8 Home Automation and
Remotely Controlled Multi Room Audio System (MiRAS)
by Attila Sandor Fiko,
CEO
AKIRA Company Group

The combinations of DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface and the DOLLx8 Mini Web Server using TCP/IP together with D8ML will give an endless list of web controlled applications where only the fantasy gives the limitation. The DOLLx8 is not designed for high speed music and video transfer, but the interface is able to control such lines to channel the signals to its destination by using music and/or video chips controlled by DOLLx8.


Akira Innovations for e-Gravity Ltd. (www.audiotwister.com) located in central London together with the Thai BOI (Board of Investment) approved company AkiraSoft (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (www.akirapages.com) and Cyber Media Park for e-Gravity Co., Ltd. (www.cmpeg.com) in Thailand will by end of May 2002 release it's Internet ready, TCP/IP controlled DOLLx8 (Digital One Line Link) Home Automation and Hardware Control Interface. 

Ever since 1995, the Akira Group has produced ad-on cards for PC's based on Home Automation and Music Amplifiers. When they first started their production back in 1992 and the company was then based in Hungary, they managed to develop the first ISA-Bus card with built in 10 Watt Amplifier with one way DOLL Interface built in. The product was named SAMA or Stereo Amplifier for Multimedia Applications. The card had it's own software and had many unique functions such as Volume, treble, Bass and Balance with 4 line input and mixer. The second generations SAMA cards had also Dolby Pro Logic built in and was carrying the name Q-SAMA OCTAL (Quad Stereo Amplifier for Multimedia Applications with Original Cinema and Theater Audio Logic). At that time the new 18-bit two-ways communication Interface DOLLx8 was introduced and are today the grass roots for the third generation DOLL Interfaces which are now acting as a Mini Web Server using the TCP/IP protocol.

Cyber Media Park for e-Gravity or CMPEG are the first private and foreign owned Software and Technology Park built in Chiang Mai, Thailand and are fully owned by the Akira Group. Phase I of the project are expected to be ready by March 2002. Beside software developments, CMPEG will also become a Research and Development (R&D) Center for Akira's Home Automation and Hardware Control activities in Asia. Their main product categories are the DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interfaces and the MiRAS (Multi-room Audio System) as an Audio-Visual Home and Business Entertainment System. The new Interfacing will be based on their DOLLx8 TCP/IP Mini Web Server Technology and will be able to connect to and control i.e. alarms, web camera with X, Y, Z, zoom, vertical and horizontal movements, Relays, Triac's etc. over the Internet.

The users will be able to control the DOLLx8 units from any web browser window using Akira's own hypertext format named D8ML for the TCP/IP protocol. The Interface will be able to read data from various sensors and then transmit its data over the Internet as the illustration shows.

Figure 1. The D8ML Server and how it works.

With the right equipment, today anyone is able to monitor his or her home or business via a web camera. What's new with Akira's system however is that the user will not only be able to log into a web site to see the live images but in addition also be able to zoom and move the camera up/down, left/right and at the same time physically move the camera both horizontally and / or vertically where such installations exist. This would enable the user to for example move one camera around the house or for the Police to survey a larger area than what's possible today.

If the users are away on holiday and would like to control a camera installed at home from the holiday destination all they would need to do is to login into their password enabled web site and from there "tell" the camera to perform various tasks including remotely turning on the VCR to record the live images. The live images are sent to the browser where the owners can now not only see what's going on in the home or business, but they can also control lights, temperature, and open and close ventilation or air-conditioning, heaters etc. by using Akira's own D8ML (DOLLx8 Markup Language) as browser enabled DOLLx8 control software.

The DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface is based on 18-bit serial code split into three data blocks where 8 bit is used for the DOLLx8 IOCD (DOLLx8 In and Out Control Data), 8 bit are the SRC (Switch Response Code) and the remaining 4 bits are the SRC-ID (Switch Response Code Identity) that enables as many as 8192 independent switches or sensors to be controlled over one system. The DOLLx8 TCP/IP system can also be built in several independent networks if even larger number of switches or sensors are required.

The use of the DOLLx8 TCP/IP Mini Web Server together with the DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interfaces, can therefore also be build as an Advanced Web-based Alarm System with several zones controlled independently of each other. The software structure however could also be linked as one larger system. 

The DOLLx8 Alarm System would be based on Server Sided Technology where all functions, settings etc. are collected in one DOLLx8 Web-based Alarm Central. The company would run a Franchise in several countries where the DOLLx8 Alarm System would be supported and where the Franchisee would take care of all sales, support and customer services.

When the DOLLx8 alarm switches and/or sensors are trigged as an intruder breaks into a property, the alarm will then be activated and designated responders would automatically be notified by their choice of e-mail, pager, text messaging, cell phone, PDA etc. as in the same time the alarm would notify Police, Fire brigade, Ambulance or other institutions as necessary.

The owner can then log into their web site and survey the problem over the Internet if they would not reach the home in time and if necessary record the action to a VCR located in their home or elsewhere. 

Figure 2. The DOLLx8 Units like the IVSDN 6 can be cascaded where each unit has a Unique SRC-ID.

The list of devices and uses of Akira's DOLLx8 TCP/IP Technology are endless as it also includes TCP/IP controlled home appliances - however the company will at this first stage focus on developing products for Camera, Alarm and MiRAS based systems before moving into home appliances.

Mr. Attila Sandor Fiko, CEO of the AKIRA Company Group, has worked several years on its PC based 18-bit serial DOLLx8 (Digital One Line Link) developments for controlling switches, triacs, relays etc. via wire using standard telephone cable and connectors. For years most alarm and monitoring systems have been controlled over Central Control Units, but today as high speed Internet connections become available, he believes people can use the company ideas to "farm" Home Automation (HA) in the same way as Internet takes over for many well known computer system and services.

Ever since Mr. Fiko's first touch of Internet back in 1995, the idea of using TCP/IP for its controls has been in his mind. Today as the technology is more "touchable" and the company got its own web servers, the way to "talk" over TCP/IP has even come closer. The idea was to bring the existing DOLLx8 interface one step closer to the Internet by developing the mini-web server with Web Enabled DOLLx8 I/O ports using the DOLLx8 I/O chip in conjunction with communication processors and the TCP/IP Stack.

The new Web Enabled DOLLx8 I/O circuit are also able to communicate over standard PC serial ports like (RS-232) or USB with I2C interfacing giving a grater advantage for the many "handyman" users worldwide. The Web Enabled DOLLx8 I/O circuit stacks not only with HTTP, PPP, FTP and SMTP but also with Telnet for Telnet users even if Telnet is not secure.

Take for instance communication satellites and terrestrial transmitters, they have always been controlled remotely and many laboratories and research facilities would not work without remote control or remote maintenance and management. Even the medical sector are experimenting on remote communication of medical instruments and tools, so sooner or later communications over TCP/IP will be as "normal" as moving from boiling coffee on the stove to using a electric coffee maker back in the 60's.

However many scientists are concerned about  the fast move in the telecommunication field due to the danger that TCP/IP technology is posing to humans by people that do not respect the purpose of such technology ... i.e. hackers and technology terrorists. So for the success of our Web Enabled DOLLx8 I/O circuit there is some issues that we must consider heavily like security and the path of data transmission. There is no doubt about that the Internet is fully suitable for hardware control over TCP/IP in the same way as we are receiving data today in the form of information, music and video.

The Internet "language" (TCP) is a proven language for Internet communication and together with the stack of protocols (IP) we get TCP/IP which in conjunction with our own DOLLx8  Interface gives the perfect hardware control tool over the Internet.

In Networking Technology, a Client Server is a well know terminology where converting this into the Internet World, it would be possible to access any DOLLx8 or other systems from anywhere where the Client (User) have access to Internet connection regardless of distance or time zones. Data collected or sent to the system can be encrypted and password protected to prevent unauthorized access or expose of valuable data. 

The good thing about TCP/IP communications is that even if the control were managed from the other side of the world, the system would still treat it as it was managed locally which would involve an enormous cost saving for the user and/or owner. 

The cost of software or software developments controlling the Web Enabled DOLLx8 I/O would in normal circumstances be more expensive then standard software, therefore the company group is also developing its own Mark-up Language named D8ML (DOLLx8 Mark-up Language) similar to HTML and CFML (ColdFusion Mark-up Language). The D8ML would be based on Open Source and would enable any web developer to develop its own web site for Home Automation or any DOLLx8 communication and control it over the Internet. This would give many revolutionary advantages and bring a New World into Home Automation and TCP/IP I/O. It would also have many advantages compared with many today existing systems like sending data over e-mail, mobile phones and pagers to give status or alarm of collected data if parameters where set to do so. 

The key task for the D8ML is to identify and master the unique recipient addresses received, not only for the data packets, but also for the DOLLx8 data itself named SRC and SRC-ID (Switch Response Code Identity). 

Most of people are aware of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and its pattern. The IP consists of four numbers separated with a dot where each number is between 0 and 255 (i.e. 141.87.70.100). The most used and well known IP address in the world is the reserved localhost (127.0.0.0) which is used by all web servers as an internal looped IP address and IIS and Apache are always using these addresses as a default under installation. This block of numbers consists of two parts namely the Network Address and Host Address. Together this address forms a 32-bit word, however Internet addresses are divided into five classes ranging from A to E and has also SubMasks for further break down. To be able to reach a server over the Internet, the IP address must be registered with a registrar like i.e. InterNIC (Internet Network Information Center) in the States. The WhoIS database serves not only to keep track of owners, but it will also translate the http://www.yourname.com into a real IP address consisting of numbers only as mentioned above.

So, in conclusion, Akira Group of Companies are offering high technology based TCP/IP enabled Home Automation, Hardware Control and MiRAS Systems based on serial processor technique using SMD (Surface Mount Device) technology for its products to reduce sizes and save power consumption. The DOLLx8 Home Automation and the MiRAS system including both software and hardware was fully developed by Akira Group of Companies consisting of Innovation for e-Gravity Ltd. - London, AkiraSoft (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and Cyber Media Park for e-Gravity Co., Ltd. (CMPEG) in Thailand. Software codes and the Akira's Multimedia software family Audio Twister WMS 2000 will all be DOLLx8 Enabled and integrated with the drivers for the DOLLx8 System.

The 2002 TCP/IP models of the DOLLx8 Home Automation system are named DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface using 18-bit serial, two-way communication between the PC and the external DOLLx8 units. The system is a true alternative to other Home Automation and Hardware Control systems offering wider flexibility, reliable Internet enabled products, easy to program in D8ML scripting language and easy to install and use without any special technical experience. Users will soon discover the grate advantage of using this system that are based on Plug and Play using standard 4-wire US type telephone connectors and cables for the connections between the units. 


Figure 3. The electronics of our IVSDN 6 DOLLx8 Unit

Akira Innovations initial focus will be on the European markets based on two groups, EU countries and countries outside EU, Asian markets, Oceanic markets, Canada and the US markets. The rest of the worlds markets will be reached via the Internet and its e-commerce web sites. End user Software for the DOLLx8 and MiRAS system will be free for download from the company web site while the DOLLx8 Advanced Server Software Package (DOLLx8 ASSP) for commercial use will be sold to ISP's, hosting- and general companies running Internet or Intranet Servers.

Future Products

In the future Akira will expand the product range by introducing the world first DOLLx8 TCP/IP "intelligent" coffee maker, toaster and other kitchen appliances as well as machines for the office with built in DOLLx8 SMART Web Enabled interface.

They are also planning communication protocols and interfaces for transmission of DOLLx8 commands via IR (InfraRed), RF (Radio Frequency) and ultrasonic transmission on the Client side. The software range will have speech recognition for its commands together with a combination of speech and sensor inputs for its AND, OR, NOT logic. 


Figure 4. The IVSDN 6 Circuit Timing Standard

There is almost no ending of what can be control with the new 18-bit digital DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface. The Serial Data transmitted over the Internet are converted into Latched or momentary 8, 16 or 32 bit parallel data at a speed of 160-180 Khz.

The interfacing will be available true ISA, PCI, RS-232, USB and IEEE 1394 ports where one unique DOLLx8 Card and Virtual Drivers will be developed for each card.

The DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface has the following features:

  • TTL/CMOS construction and Technology.

  • Software programmable 18-bit address settings.

  • Software programmable Data I/O.

  • Single voltage supply.   

  • Built in TCP/IP kernel and RAM to store Control Codes.

  • Long distance Client Side Communication (more than 300 meters).  

  • Built in non-critical oscillator for wide operating temperature range.

  • Easy interfacing with wire, IR (Infra Red), RF (Radio Frequency), Fiber Optic and UltraSonic transmission.  

  • Easy to program (no DMA or IRQ required) in i.e. VB.  

  • Transmission rate: 160-180 Khz.  

  • LED indication for TX/RX.  

  • Digital PCM wave form I/O communication protocol. 

  • 10 Address bits and 8 data I/O bits.  

  • Maximum 1024 unique addressable units with 8-bit binary data (max. 8192 switches).  

  • Also available as 8-bit ISA Bus with SMD Technology.  

  • SRC-ID for secure and unique SRC's (Switch Response Code). 

  • Easy installation with PnP style Technology. 

  • 6P4 telephone connectors and 4-wire cable for the DOLLx8 I/O.  

  • Low Cost

Figure 5. The ISA version of the DOLLx8 SMART Interface Board. 

The DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface card is a programmable controller based on the DOLLx8 18-bit Digital PCM Waveform Communication Processor especially developed for Home Automation. The processor is based on SMT (Surface Mount Technology) using TTL/CMOS circuitry for low power consumption so many modules can be used with a relatively small power supply. To prevent interference with other devices, the transmission between the TX and RX units is done twice with 64ms intervals before a "valid" signal is generated and the internal circuit counters are reset and the unit is automatically set to STAND-BY mode ready to receive a new command.

The PC interface cards has two LED's (Red and Green) for the MODE select indication. The Red LED indicates RX (Receiver Mode) and the Green shows the TX (Transmit Mode). The system is based on two-way communication with automatic acknowledge and STAND-BY mode and the wiring is based on standard 6P4 telephone connector (US-Style) and standard 4-wire telephone cable. 

 
Figure 6. The chart shows the DOLLx8 Interface connected to DOLLx8 Modules. 

The combinations of DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface and the DOLLx8 Mini Web Server using TCP/IP together with D8ML will give an endless list of web controlled applications where only the fantasy gives the limitation. The DOLLx8 is not designed for high speed music and video transfer, but the interface is able to control such lines to channel the signals to its destination by using music and/or video chips controlled by DOLLx8.

Some of the DOLLx8 applications would be; 

  • Energy control and measures

  • Office and Home Automation

  • Software controlled timers

  • Alarm control

  • Multi Room Audio System (MiRAS)

  • Dimmers

  • Security systems

  • Power monitoring systems

  • Remote management of electrical equipment

For businesses and households to defend against crime they need more than just an ordinary alarm which is ignored by neighbors and passerby's. You need something that it is intelligent and that will communicate with the relevant parties that cares for others valuables (such as friends, relatives and police) so that positive action is taken when you are away from home if needed. Often even when the Police comes - the criminals is usually long gone. With Akira's Interactive DOLLx8 TCP/IP web camera, which can be controlled over Internet, TCP/IP and D8ML - it can zoom in or out, move left, right, up and down etc, so criminal's live pictures could be recorded on a VCR and used as evidence against the offender if later on taken by the Police.

So if the owner of such DOLLx8 system had gone to their dream vacation but wanted have peace of mind - then they could go the nearest Internet café and log into their Username and Password enabled Web Site and check out the status of their home. From Akira's subscription based Control Panel they could also see live pictures  - control the alarm and camera to move to different position, switch it on and off and so on and they could control an endless number of appliances at their home at the same time.

TCP/IP is a standardized way of communication over the Internet. If your personal computer is switched off you can't communicate over the Internet, but if i.e. the Alarm goes off, the unit will dial the Internet on its own, log in and send the alarm information without using any PC. The PC function is only if you are doing it manually like i.e. playing game with one person on the other side of the globe over the Internet. You use the joystick to control the game and the information is traveling over TCP/IP till it reaches the other end and they can play together. Now with the DOLLx8 web enabled interface, instead of controlling only the images etc., it will also control the hardware depending on something named SRC-ID (Switching Response Code Identity) which are a part of the built in 18-bit DOLLx8 processor. In other words each IC has an ID like a Pager that people use today. If your number matches the message sent then you receive the message, if not it just passes by.

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