Magic for Muggles: Using a Wand to Control Your Home Is Finally Possible

Remember when you saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the first time? Do you remember that jaw-dropping moment when you finally “saw” what the Burrow looked like on the inside? The dishes washing themselves, the knitting needles knitting like crazy without any help whatsoever? From that moment onward, we’ve all wished that we had a house even just a fraction as magical as that. It turns out that a fraction of that is indeed possible for us Muggles.

You have Adam Thole to thank for this magical new development. He decided to pull out all the stops when his son asked for a Harry Potter-themed birthday. Why do something halfway when you can go all out? Thole went ahead and borrowed an idea from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where interactive wands let Muggles feel like real witches and wizards. Thole used the same concept, but he’s using his spells to control some things in his house. How cool is that?

You’re probably wondering how Thole managed this – if we knew how to do it, our houses would all be obeying the commands from our wands by now. It’s actually not as complicated as you might think. Thole uses a wand that is 3D printed and has a highly reflective tip. That’s the only tech at work here. To make all the “magic” work, Thole simply designed a custom Raspberry Pi Zero spell detector.

The detector makes use of a camera that is paired with four infrared illuminators. The IR light fills the room, and even though Muggles can’t see it, it works its magic to make the tip of the wand glow brighter than anything else in the room. This means that the camera can “see” what spell you’re casting. The wand’s motions are recorded and then used to generate a long-exposure image. The system matches the image to the one in its database and then it knows the spell you cast and proceeds to obey your command through an open-source application called Home Assistant.

So what is Thole making his house do? The cool software allows him to use his wand to switch lights on and off, control music playback, change the color of the lights in a room, and a nice little addition – turn on the popcorn machine. We’d be munching down popcorn just to have an excuse to use our wands to turn the popcorn machine on. Turning lights on and off is pretty cool too. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never whispered Lumos or Nox to your lights. Now it could actually work.

We know this is not nearly as cool as the stuff the students at Hogwarts get to do, but it’s a huge improvement on what was possible in the past. Turning lights on and off with your wand is super cool. Wizards do it all the time, and now Muggles can do it too. We bet Mr. Weasley would be extremely interested in how this works. We can already hear him commenting on how brilliant Muggles are. We’re not too shabby, Mr. Weasley, not too shabby at all.

You can have a look at Thole working his magic in the video below.