Siri, Apple's voice assistant for the iPhone, is extemely limited in what it can do while trapped on Apple's hardware. But, pair Siri up with one of those hack-friendly Raspberry Pi computers, like how YouTuber "Elvis Impersonator" did in this video, and suddenly the voice assistant isn't so stifled anymore.
As Elvis Impersonator shows in his video, the hack allows him to tell Siri to do a number of things it normally wouldn't be able to do. His Siri can open and close the garage door, arm and disarm his home security system, adjust his Nest thermostat, bring up a video feed from the camera surveilling his porch, turn the living room lights on and off and change TV channels on his TV.
The hack is really simple and anyone with a weekend to kill can follow Elvis Impersonator's instructions. All of the software used is open source, which means you can download a copy of his Raspberry Pi SD card image with SiriProxy pre-installed here and also the plugins for controlling each gadget here. For a full rundown of components he used, be sure to check out the description on his YouTube video here.
There's no doubt in our minds home automation is the future (even people in 1967 thought we'd have it by now), but there's no universal protocol to make it easy for people to set up. We had high hopes for Google's AndroidAHome initiative, but it's been nearly two years since we heard a peep about it, which probably means Google's killed the project. Oh well, Elvis Impersonator's solution isn't half bad and looks like it works pretty well.