Ben Heck transforms his apartment into a "smart home" in new episode of element14's "The Ben Heck Show"

In the latest episode of the "The Ben Heck Show" Ben Heck, morphs average household products into time-saving and convenient solutions.

London – 25 July 2011 – In the latest episode of the “The Ben Heck Show,” sponsored by element14, the first collaborative community and electronics store for design engineers and electronics enthusiasts, modding guru Benjamin J. Heckendorn, a.k.a. Ben Heck, morphs average household products into time-saving and convenient solutions.

Inspired by countless trips to shipping hubs to retrieve packages that couldn’t be left on the doorstep, Ben configures a standard door buzzer to be controlled remotely from an Android-powered smartphone. Using a Parallax Spinneret Web Server development board complete with a propeller microcontroller and an Ethernet cable, Ben creates a Java-powered Web page application to buzz the door open from any location using his mobile phone.

“It would be awesome to live in a fully-automated robo-home straight out of a science fiction movie, and not have to worry about those tedious tasks like waiting for a package to be delivered,” said Ben. “But since that’s a little out of reach for most people, I’ve come up with a few simple tricks that can help turn your humble abode into an automated, intelligent oasis.”

Ben wraps up the episode by showing viewers how to turn a manual thermostat into an automated system that adjusts to pre-set temperatures at programmed times. Using a stepper motor, the built-in Real-Time-Clock (RTC) in the Parallax Spinneret Web Server, and a makeshift timing belt made from a microphone wire, Ben rigs the original Honeywell thermostat to precisely regulate the temperature controls throughout the day.

“In this episode, Ben uses 21st century technology to improve everyday household products,” said Kevin Yapp, chief marketing officer, Premier Farnell. “This aligns with element14’s goal to provide engineers and electronics enthusiasts with up-to-date technology, tools and peer collaboration to develop innovative projects.”

Show fans are invited to join the element14 community to send Ben a challenge for a future build, engage with community members, and enter for a chance to win one of Ben’s builds featured on the show, including his Xbox 360™ CD disc changer and portable 3D printer. In addition, element14’s two-year birthday celebration continues until the end of July, during which 214 prizes will be awarded to new and existing community members.

Editor’s Note: A high resolution and low resolution image of Ben Heck can be downloaded at:

Photo Caption: Ben configures a standard door buzzer to be controlled remotely from an Android-powered smartphone. Using a Parallax Spinneret Web Server development board complete with a propeller microcontroller and an Ethernet cable, Ben creates a Java-powered Web page application to buzz the door open from any location using his mobile phone.

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About “The Ben Heck Show”

“The Ben Heck Show” is a bi-weekly online television series aired in English that’s dedicated to the science and art of system and hardware modding with a global audience of design engineers, students and electronic enthusiasts. Sponsored exclusively by element14, each episode spotlights Ben’s mods of popular electronic devices while educating viewers on the underlying technology powering each project.

About element14

Launched in June 2009, element14 is the first information portal, collaborative community and electronics store specifically built for electronic design engineers. The community recently unveiled its element14 knode, a unique automated platform that enables engineers to quickly research, design, develop and prototype in a single, intelligent environment. element14 is an innovative offering from Premier Farnell plc (LSE:pfl), FTSE 250, a leader in multi-channel electronics distribution trading throughout Europe (Farnell), the Americas (Newark) and Asia Pacific (element14). The company had group sales of £990.8m and underlying profits of £93.3m last year.

For more information visit: www.element14.com.