Tag Archives: IoT

Internet of Things Opens Possibilities

via hardware – Hackaday

While a lot of hardware gets put on the “Internet of Things” with only marginal or questionable benefits (or with hilariously poor security), every now and then a project makes use of this new platform in a way that illustrates the strengths of IoT. [ThingEngineer] turned to this platform as a cost-effective solution for an automatic gate, since new keyfobs were too expensive and a keypad was not an option.

Using an Electric IMP, [ThingEngineer] began by installing his IoT patch into the LiftMaster gate control box. This particular gate has easily accessible points that the controller can access to determine the gate’s status, so from there, an API was written to do the heavy lifting. A web server was deployed as well, so anyone with access can use a smartphone or other device to open the gate.

For anyone else looking to deploy a similar IoT solution, [ThingEngineer] has put all of the project code, schematics, and a thorough write-up about the project on his GitHub page. There are many useful ways to get on board the Internet of Things, though; so many that it’s been possible to win a substantial prize for using it in a creative way.


Filed under: hardware, home hacks

YouTube channel IoT view counter

via Dangerous Prototypes

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Kenneth Finnegan built this YouTube channel IoT view counter, inspired by Becky Stern’s IoT counter:

I’ve wanted an Internet connected read-out for some time now, inspired by the awesome shadow box IoT projects Becky Stern has been doing (weather, YouTube subscribers). I’m certainly not to the same level of packaging as her yet, but I’ve got a functional display working with a Hazzah and an eBay seven segment display module.

Project info at Kenneth’s blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Introducing the Arduino MKRFOX1200

via Arduino Blog

On Arduino Day, we announced the latest member of the Arduino MKR family: the MKRFOX1200. This powerful IoT development board offers a practical and cost effective solution for Makers looking to add Sigfox connectivity to their projects with minimal previous networking experience.  

The MKRFOX1200 shares several similarities with other MKR products, like the MKR1000 and MKRZero, including a compact form factor (67 x 25mm) and a Microchip SAM D21 32-bit Cortex-M0+ microcontroller at its core. The recently unveiled board also features an ATA8520 module for long-range, low-energy consumption, and is capable of running for over six months on two standard AA 1.5V batteries.

Designed for Makers ready to take their IoT projects into the real world, the MKRFOX1200 comes with a GSM antenna that can be attached to the board and a two-year subscription to the Sigfox network. This provides users with full access to Sigfox’s efficient messaging system (up to 140 messages per day), cloud platform, webhooks, APIs, as well as the new Spot’it geolocation service.

MKRFOX1200 can be used in a wide variety of settings, from agriculture (livestock management, smart irrigation and weather stations), to smart cities (dumpster monitoring, air quality networks, street lighting or parking lot tracking), to utility metering and other industrial applications.

“Sigfox loves Makers,” says Nicolas Lesconnec, Head of Developer Relations at Sigfox. “Sigfox aims to empowers billions of new IoT solutions. We’re proud to partner with Arduino, the leading open-source electronics platform, to offer the simplest way to connect anything.”

Sigfox currently operates in over 30 countries, with more to follow in the next few years. (Use this map to see whether it has been deployed or is rolling out in your area.) The first version of the MKRFOX1200 is compatible with Sigfox Radio Configuration Zone 1 (868MHz, 14dBm), meaning it is only supported in network-covered regions of Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.

The board is now available on Arduino’s European online store!

Pi for the connected home

via Raspberry Pi

This column is from The MagPi issue 55. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.

Since the original Raspberry Pi Zero came out, I’ve seen many makers using it for connected home projects. Its size, low price, low power consumption, and software package have made it a great option, even if makers had to use a USB peripheral to add connectivity. Now that wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity are built into Raspberry Pi Zero W, it makes this mini computer platform even better suited for home Internet of Things projects.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Let me get this out of the way first: ‘Internet of Things’, or ‘IoT’, has all the trappings of an overhyped buzzword. But even if the term Internet of Things doesn’t stick around very long, the concept of connected devices is here to stay for good. It’s a clear side effect of increasingly affordable wireless connectivity technology.

It’s not just development boards that are becoming more connected. The consumer electronics devices that we buy for our homes are more likely to have wireless capabilities. Even a product as simple as a light bulb can be equipped with connectivity, so that you can control its intensity and colour with a mobile app or home automation platform. I recently connected our Google Home to our WeMo Smart Plugs so that I can control the lights in our home using my voice. Last week I was carrying a load of laundry into a dark bedroom. Being able to say “OK Google, turn the bedroom lights on” and having it instantly do just that was a magical moment.

As makers and technology enthusiasts, we have even more power available to us. We benefit from affordable connectivity when it arrives on hardware platforms like Zero W, and can create the connected devices that we hope to see on store shelves one day. We also benefit from being able to interface with consumer-connected devices. For example, a simple hack with a Raspberry Pi lets you use Amazon Dash buttons to control almost anything you want. (Dash buttons are usually used to order a particular product, such as laundry detergent, from Amazon with just a single press.)

Advanced IoT

If you want to go beyond the basics, there are cloud-based platforms that let you manage many devices at once, and create intelligent alerts and actions. Many platforms are already Raspberry Pi-friendly, including the Particle Cloud, Initial State, Cayenne, and Resin.io. Each has its distinct advantages. For example, Initial State makes it really easy for you to create custom web-based dashboards to show you the state of your own sensors and internet-connected devices.

And if you’re a beginner, there are platforms that make it easy to get started with connected devices. One in particular is called IFTTT, which stands for ‘If This, Then That’. It’s an easy-to-use service that lets you connect consumer and maker platforms together without needing to write any code. IFTTT can also go beyond your devices: it can interact with the news, weather, or even local government. In the first partnership of its kind, the City of Louisville, Kentucky recently announced that it’s now on IFTTT and sending real-time air quality data, which you can log or use to trigger your own projects. I hope that it’s just the beginning for IoT partnerships like these.

With all the recent developments in the Internet of Things realm, Raspberry Pi Zero W comes at the perfect time to offer affordable, portable, and connected computing power. The best part is that exploring IoT doesn’t mean that you need to go too far into uncharted territory… it’s still the same Raspberry Pi that you already know and love.

The post Pi for the connected home appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Help Google develop tools for Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Google is going to arrive in style in 2017. The tech titan has exciting plans for the Raspberry Pi community, with a range of AI and machine learning services ready to roll.

A robot built at one of our Picademy@Google sessions

To make this happen, Google needs help from the Raspberry Pi community. Raspberry Pi fans are the best makers around, and it’s their ideas that will give the tech company direction.

Here’s what they have to say:

Hi, makers! Thank you for taking the time to take our survey. We at Google are interested in creating smart tools for makers, and want to hear from you about what would be most helpful.  As a thank you, we will share our findings with the community so that you can learn more about makers around the world.

The company can produce some serious tools for the maker community, so make sure you have your say to get the tools you need.

Let Google know what you would like by clicking here and filling out the survey.

What Google has to offer

Makers at PiCademy at Google

Makers at Picademy at Google

Google has developed a huge range of tools for machine learning, IoT, wearables, robotics, and home automation.

From face- and emotion-recognition and speech-to-text translation, to natural language processing and sentiment analysis, the firm has developed a lot of technology in the fields of machine learning and AI.

The tech giant also provides powerful technology for navigation, bots, and predictive analytics.

The survey will help them get a feel for the Raspberry Pi community, but it’ll also help us get the kinds of services we need. So, please take five minutes out of your day and let them know what you would like by filling out this survey.

The post Help Google develop tools for Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Solving IoT Problems with Node.js for Hardware

via hardware – Hackaday

Tod Kurt knows a thing or two about IoT devices. As the creator of blink(1), he’s shipped over 30,000 units that are now out in the wild and in use for custom signaling on everything from compile status to those emotionally important social media indicators. His talk at the 2016 Hackaday SuperConference covers the last mile that bridges your Internet of Things devices with its intended use. This is where IoT actually happens, and of course where it usually goes astray.

I think this device is a good reference for thinking conceptually about Internet of Things. It’s dead-simple hardware: a thumbnail-sized PCB with a USB connector hosts two WS2812 RGB LEDs and a microcontroller. The enclosure is a little metal frame with a plastic diffuser that completes the look. You need to give it connectivity (and power) through the USB connection for it to work.

Does this qualify as IoT? Absolutely. Think of IoT as anything that brings data into the real world (or vice versa). LEDs have been on face plates of computers forever, but since the day that panel-programmed machines were put to rest, those LEDs have rarely ever conveyed meaningful data. Blink(1) can be set up through just about any API you can imagine to tell you something meaningful at a glance and at a distance. But that “last mile” is where the magic actually happens.

Cost and Complexity

Users need a way to interact with connected devices. But without a sizeable screen and multiple inputs that is a daunting task. Also, these devices often lack some important stuff like encryption (think SSL) and the ability to know when a device needs to be upgraded, plus an easy mechanism to do so. Tod contends that for a large swath of use cases, the best thing you can do is to make the device a computer peripheral.

This is most obviously done in the case of USB devices. The computer is the gatekeeper of that USB port and provides a direct and easy connection for software access to it. This can be true of wireless devices as well, but your best bet on that front is devices that are LAN only and depend on another gatekeeper to regulate access to them.

Lacking One OS to Rule Them, Tod Looks to Node

Tod heralds the many benefits of including a computer in the deal. You get a robust and continuously modern way for the user to interact using a GUI. And these central devices come with heavy lifting capabilities, like the option to handle encryption and orchestrate firmware upgrades when necessary. You will even have a mechanism to alert users when an upgrade is necessary.

This is no small thing. We are in the pit of despair with botnets right now because of early devices that didn’t think deeply about security and upgrades. Households that include devices in these botnets are completely unaware that their device is up to no good, and even if we found every device that has been pwned there’s no way to notify the owners. But I digress.

Of the myriad options to explore for cross-platform apps, Tod is preaching for Electron, a browser-based framework that uses Node.js for your every whim. This last part isn’t hyperbole. One of the chief benefits of Node.js is the extremely widespread adoption that means if you can think of a use, a library probably already exists. There are numerous examples of support for common hardware (from ESP8266 to Sphero BB-8 toy robots). Even if your programming chops can’t keep up with the new hotness there are tools like Node-RED which help you stomp out complexity with a graphic programming flow.

Think Security, Think User, Then Think Product

This is not a sales pitch for Blink(1) — although you find it in the Hackaday store — but a proven example of the way we need to be thinking about building up the Internet of Things. The default has been to build it and think about everything else if it turns out someone wants to buy it. We’re eating our humble pie for the hubris of early designers. Only a paradigm shift in thinking about these issues early will make future IoT devices secure, but also deliver on the promise that has so far failed to materialize. We’ve been told that IoT will be awesome, fixing the last mile will let you deliver on that by making users love what you build.


Filed under: cons, hardware