Looking for a low-cost way to automate or "smarten up" parts of your home? There are several single-board computers (SBC) that you can purchase for less than $100. Some popular choices of SBCs are Raspberry Pi, Asus Tinker Board, Marvell Espressobin, PINE64 Rock64, Orange Pi R1, MYIR MYS-6ULX, LeMaker Banana Pi Pro, and Sparkfun BBC micro:bit. Here are some examples of ways you can use an SBC around your home:
A Smart Sprinkler System
Instead of having your sprinklers set on just a timer, you can program the sprinklers to deliver variable amounts of water depending on the weather or type of plant.
A Magic Mirror
You can create a mirror that looks like your smartphone's home screen with one-way mirror glass and a flat display device. The mirror can display the time, weather, news alerts, and more.
You can set up cameras to stream or take photos of the inside or outside of your home. Common uses for this are home security and to look in on your pets. You can also set up motion sensors and have it only take pictures or record/stream video when the sensors notice movement or when the camera detects a human face. That way you will not get a bunch of pictures of cars driving by throughout the day.
Lighting and Thermostat Control
If you set up temperature sensors in several rooms, you can better control when the heat or ac comes on. By also adding motion sensors to the rooms this enables you to decide when the heat or AC comes on based on a given temperature threshold and if the room is occupied or not. You can also set up your light switches to be controlled by your smartphone. This can make you look like you're at home when you're away and you can stay in bed if you're done reading your book for the night.
Convert any TV to a Smart TV
You can take any TV and connect it to an SBC running media center software. This will allow you have "smart TV" features, such as streaming video from popular on-demand video services and accessing files on your own home network.