Hackster Projects of the Month: August 2016

August’s Hackster Project of the Month follows the winners of our IoT for Everyone contest. All entrants put in a lot of really hard work, and we’re excited to showcase the winners!

The Blynk Board is a powerful little microcontroller that leverages the ESP8266 chip, so it is designed as an IoT device at its core. It was also built specifically to leverage the Blynk app, which allows you to use widgets to create your own IoT phone apps.

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More than 200 ideas were submitted to the contest, and we gave away 50 Blynk Boards. This post will highlight the third, second and, yes, the first place winner of the contest.

In third place we have Luis Ortiz, who built a system that monitors plant moisture levels and automatically waters them when they are getting dry. His Smart Modular Watering System has a collection of sensors that give him all of the information he needs to be sure the plants are healthy.

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Luis also made some pretty cool 3D-printed parts and enclosures for the project. The entire write-up is great; I suggest you check it out. If you’re like me and have a hard time keeping plants alive (Mr. Planty is in my office and doing fine), then this may be the project for you.

Second place belongs to team SUAI/IHPCNT (members Alexey Syschikov, Sergey Pakharev and Boris Sedov. They wanted a better way to understand what crazy things they were doing on their bikes.

Now, I’ve been known to do some crazy things on my bike. I want to think those days are over, but it is projects like this one that make me want to try out some new things.

The Bicycle Crazymeter is a “black box” much like a flight recorder. The idea is that it is capturing just how crazy your ride is. It uses a gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS board to measure what you are doing and feed real-time updates to a mobile app. The team even made an actual black box enclosure for the Crazymeter.

Disclaimer: Please don’t look at your phone while biking! This is designed for you to watch after the fact. We all have that friend who does it with Pokémon Go, but be warned it is extremely dangerous!

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I have always encouraged riding bikes. I don’t always encourage crazy riding, but if you are going to ride crazy, just remember to wear a helmet and track with Crazymeter.

And first place in the IoT for Everyone contest goes to … drum roll, please … The Bipedians team, submitted by Akash Chandran!

Their project is one near and dear to our hearts – an autonomous vehicle (Check out AVC 2016, coming up Sept. 17). This one just happens to also be a biped, which means it walks on two legs.

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One of the challenges in biped motion is balance, as anyone with an inner ear condition or a boat in rough seas will be able to tell you. Once balance is off, it becomes very easy to fall. Robots and vehicles don’t have the natural systems; they have to be built.

The Bipedians built a cool robot, worked hard to come up with an interesting design, and their write-up goes into great detail about all of their design decisions. The Blynk app helps them collect information about the status of the biped. As the situation changes, it can adjust its balance accordingly.

Watching the biped in motion is an experience – one that I highly recommend. They did an amazing job.

All of the ideas and projects associated with the IoT for Everyone contest were fantastic. Seeing the teams' involvement, creativity and passion was a joy. I look forward to reviewing more projects and hopefully seeing more great IoT projects out there using our Blynk Board. Check out our contest website for inspiring ideas!

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