We thought we would share some of the interesting initial thoughts straight from the minds of the winners:
"I have an affinity for Open Software Systems, and I was tickled to have the chance to apply this device to some real-world problems. Because of the increasing cost of home heating and cooling systems, there is an urgent need for intelligent monitoring, control, and analysis tools allowing homeowners to know how well their system is working, so they can improve efficiency and reduce costs. The OpenMicroServer (OMS) may be the right combination of robust packaging, communications, processing, and flexible I/O for such an application. My initial objective is to connect the device to monitor operation of a "hydronic" heating and domestic hot water system. The OMS can collect data autonomously for web display and download to a local PC or through an Internet connection. High-level programming tools (hopefully, Python) should allow tailoring the system for specific installations with minimal programming skills. Longer term, the system can be enhanced to support intelligent control strategies for utility systems, including electric power usage."
"I intend to use the OpenMicro Server as an irrigation controller. Paired with the Rainbird Rain8Net controlled by the server's built-in RS232 interface and my purpose-built software, the controller will manage the irrigation needs of my 5-acre mini-ranch. The server controls activating the irrigation pump as well as up to 16 valves simultaneously. Currently, the software works on a set schedule, but, with the addition of inputs like a rain sensor, a wind sensor, and ground conductivity moisture sensors, the software can actually decide what needs water and when the appropriate time is to water. Additionally, the server calculates the most efficient combination of valves to turn on at once to match the performance curve of the irrigation pump. This prevents pump cycling, which uses excess electricity and increases wear and tear on the equipment. I was really excited to have a piece of hardware designed specifically for my environment. I think that the Plat'Home's small size and power requirements along with its resistance to heat and dust make it the ideal solution for my problem."