Let's talk creative uses for motion sensors

Continuing on the theme of Let's talk creative uses for _____ sensors. This time let's hear some of your creative uses of motion sensors. Nothing is too weird or wild so get the creative juices flowing and share with your fellow Hubitat enthusiasts. Theoretical discussion is definitely encouraged.

Previous discussions
Contact Sensors

Lex Sensors

I'll go first

  1. You can tape some paper around your motion sensor to in a cone type shape to confine the field of vision. I used this for awhile to see when mail would fall down my mail slot. Can't remember why I gave up on it.

  2. Cheap motion sensors not only detect motion, but heat can and will set them off. This is partially why they're useless outdoors or in unfinished basements and detached garages. Anyways you can strategically set it to look at your stovetop to detect steam from boiling water. It will take some patience and experimenting but it can get pretty accurate, though a humidity sensor would probably work better. This could not only let you know when your water is boiling but could be used to trigger your range hood to exhaust that moisture.

  3. This one is theoretical but you could set one up in your garage (might need something like the outdoor hue motion sensor) and use the ole paper to confine the vision trick mentioned in #1 to alert you when your car is pulled far enough into your garage. I'm sure using a tennis ball on a string is far simpler, but I did say NERDS Unite.

  4. Security, can be achieved in your dresser drawers and such just by mounting these inside of the drawers. In my early days I bought those damn Aqara vibration sensors for this (God I hate Aqara). When the door is opened it will detect motion. Again this could be done easily with a contact sensor but what if you have a pile of motion sensors around? This will do the trick.

These are just some ideas. I want to hear your ideas. I hope a few of these examples show how you can achieve your smart home goals using non traditional sensor types.

I use a motion sensor under my bed to trigger LED light strips that I have attached to the bottom of the bed frame. Makes a great nightlight if I have to get up when the room is dark.

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Me too, forgot to mention that one. Just wish Hubitat allowed for them to be on for less than 1 minute.

You could probably have a Rule Machine rule turn them off in X seconds…

I have some motion sensors close to the mouse/keyboard so that lights in those rooms wont turn off when I am focused on work and not moving much. For the same reason, I have one under the kitchen table, as the kitchen lights would always turn off while we were eating and not moving enough…

My other uses are pretty standard - motion turns on room light, no motion for a bit turns them off.

  1. Nothing new, put one in the back of the mailbox to know when to check it.
  2. Inside my liquor cabinet to know if someone is starting the party!

I have a centralite nightlight across from the master bath. Any time after 11:00 based on motion in the master bath, the night light comes on at 10% in blue. Enough that I don't miss the toilet but not bright enough to make me fully awake...

@rlithgow1 you might consider turning that red instead. It will help preserve your night vision. Granted I bet a blue glow looks nice on the tile where red is rather blargh.


It's mostly just while going to the bathroom. Turns off after 5 mins of inactivity. Easier for me to see the blue vs red. Wish I could auto set the color on the damn thing but they stopped working on the firmware for it and @mike.maxwell could never get that part right because of it. Still a cool little device though (it repeats)

It’s so hard to offer up ideas that will apply to another person‘s house. But hopefully ideas that are appropriate for your home will come from them.

Similar to the @mike.maxwell paper tube idea to limit the field of view for a motion sensor, I used this Konke motion sensor that is typically most appropriate for overhead ceiling applications, in a very limited area due to its small field of view by design.

In my particular case, there just happened to be a place I could stick the motion sensor underneath our raised hearth, onto the racks where I have our AV equipment semi-hidden from view. This gave another source to turn on the step lights I installed. There is a motion sensor at our front door just a few feet forward, and there is a motion sensor at the back window just a few feet behind to turn on the step lights. However sometimes you end up in this reset cycle and one or the other doesn’t trigger them. This was the case when my wife’s 70 year old cousin tripped up the steps when visiting, and thus this new use case for this specific type of motion sensor was born.


Ok I have one option;

I fixed a MS close to a glass door/window facing my backyard/pool. It is a door you would never go close to if you are not going out, so if you get close (3-4 ft) after sunset then outside lights will turn on for 5 minutes, so you can get a good look outside.

The MS is oriented toward the door so it will only detect someone really getting close to the door inside the house, and not somebody walking around.

Wife told me it is too much ( :wink: ), but I believe this is what we nerds do, right?

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I put an Iris v2 that I dropped and the motion sensor no longer worked into the freezer to use as a temp sensor.

I'm not sure if breaking a motion sensor falls into the "creative" category, though. :slight_smile:

Also have one stuck to the bottom of a desk to catch leg movement so lights don't go out.


:rofl: First thing that came to mind…


Wow...just, wow. :wink: !!!

Kinda makes me feel sorry for the little thing... :smiley:

Do not listen to her. Too much is frequently barely just enough. :wink:


Wow now that's smart home automations done right. WAF 100%

I combine all the motion sensors to determine if the house is occupied. I can then shutdown all lighting and even set the alarm (always to STAY mode just in case someone is there). This is done after considerable time of no motion and the correct time of day. For example it is not activated at night or if the alarm is set to STAY mode.


What app are you using for this. It seems like this would be the ideal way to determine mode.

The Ring Floodlight sensor hack is great... in a War of the Worlds kind of way.

What this does is replace the usual Ring floodlight motion sensor with Z-Wave one from HomeSeer. Note: this does NOT interfere with the Camera motion sensor which is different. Your motion zones etc will still work as expected for video recording. You also get direct control of the lights which is nice - no forced timeouts if you don't want them.


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