Tag Archives: sensors

Make your cat behave when you are away using Arduino

via Arduino Blog

catprotector

The goal of this project was to create a small device, which detects movement in protected areas (e.g. tables) and allows you to speak usual phrases in your voice to the cat to control its behaviour when you are away. It’s called Cat Protector and prototyped on Arduino Uno  by Lucky Resistor, a creative guy who enjoys software development and electrical engineering:

I started with a prototype, using an Arduino Uno and a large breadboard. The first step was to realize an acceptable sound output. To realize this I added a shield with SD card adapter and wrote some optimized code to stream sound from the SD card in 22.1kHz using a 12bit DAC. The amplification to a speaker completed this part of the project where I have two solutions. Next I experimented with different motion sensors to detect the motion of the cat and finished the hardware part using a dual color LED for a simple status display.

Creating a compact device from the prototype was the next challenge, I could place the whole circuit I used on a small prototyping area and squeezed everything in a small casing. From outside, the device looks simple and tidy.

catprotec

He documented everything in details on his website, especially the software part:

I read so many Arduino related articles and tutorials, but most of them stop when the prototype is running. I hope this documentation helps people to see how to structure Arduino software to make it extensible and keep it readable. This is especially necessary to write more complex logic than just to blink some LEDs. Also I hope to give some inspiration how to develop the prototype to a final device.

cp-final-1

Check the full  documentation here.

Becoming Alina with a couple of interactive Gauntlets

via Arduino Blog

hallow-lilypad

We’ve been amazed by the great projects coming up the week before Halloween on Twitter and Gplus community and still being submitted to our blog.

Leah Libresco published an Instructables about a pair of interactive gauntlets made with Arduino Lilypad:

This Halloween, I decided to be Alina Starkov from the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. In the books, she’s the one and only Sun Summoner, doing magic with light and heat.

Since those powers were beyond me, I put together a set of Arduino-controlled gauntlets instead, that would light up on gesture commands and slip under my sleeves. [This set up, with a few tweaks, would probably serve you well for Iron Man, too]

Instead of using a single position value from the accelerometer to turn the LEDs on and off, I picked two different triggers, so that it would be easy to *choose* whether I wanted my hands illuminated when they were straight out in front of me (a necessity, since I plan to host a party in these!)

lilypd-acceler

Full construction and code are available at this link, below you can see the project in action!

Share hyperlocal air pollution data with Sensing Umbrella

via Arduino Blog

senisng01

The Sensing Umbrella is the second project I’m featuring on this blog (see the first), coming out of the class at  the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design called Connected Objects, with Massimo Banzi and Giorgio Olivero. 

sensing02

The project created by a team of students Akarsh Sanghi, Saurabh Datta and Simon Herzog is a platform to gather, display, and share hyperlocal air pollution data:

Each umbrella serves as a node for measuring CO and NO2 pollution levels and can provide exceptionally granular data to pollution databases and for scientific analysis. Simultaneously, the light visualisations inside the umbrella respond to pollution levels in real time and spread awareness of air quality in the city for its inhabitants. The umbrella uses open hardware and software to gather and interpret data through a built-in sensor array, displays CO and NO2 pollution locally in two modes, and logs the timestamped and geolocated data to the cloud for analysis.

Check the video to watch the team introducing the project:

Open Source Hardware Camp 2014

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp will take place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. For the second year running it is being hosted as part of the technology festival, Wuthering Bytes. However, this year OSHCamp will have the Waterfront Hall to itself on the Saturday and Sunday, with a separate Festival Day taking place on the Friday and with talks on a broader selection of technical topics.

Details of the OSHUG talks and workshops can be found below and the Wuthering Bytes website will be updated in due course with details of the complete programme of events.

Note that socials are planned for both the Friday and Saturday evenings, with the former being hosted at the Town Hall and where there will be a bar, food available and music and a live performance, and the latter will be hosted at a local hostelry that serves food.

Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

Any questions should be directed to the Discussion List.

Saturday :: Talks

Linux bootloaders and kernel configuration

Linux is popular in embedded devices, but most use it once the kernel has booted and don't consider how it was started. This talk explores just what happens when you first start an embedded device that is running Linux, and will look at common bootloaders, such as U-Boot, along with kernel boot options. Finally, we will look at useful kernel configuration options for embedded devices.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors. Recently Melanie became a sporty person and now spends a lot of her time hitting girls. She will probably bore you with tales of roller derby!

Open source archaeological geophysics - is it achievable?

The advance of technology into Archaeology has allowed geophysical surveys to "peer into the ground" and direct the diggers to the most likely "targets". However, as anyone whose watched Time Team will know, using Resistivity and Magnetometry doesn't always guarantee results. Such equipment is not usually within the financial reach of most hobbyists. However, the recent explosion of the Arduino, Pi and other cheap electronics has meant making such surveying equipment may be possible.

A small research project involving an informal collaboration between members of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS) & Derby Makers is exploring whether a high accuracy GPS unit, Magnetometer and a resistivity probe can be made and yield worthwhile results within a budget of £1,000. DAS has kindly funded this research and we are about 50% of the way through the GPS project. This talk will introduce the project and take a look at progress to date.

Tony Brookes was firstly an engineer and then worked in IT for a while (!) Now working part-time, hobbies easily fill the time available. Drawn to archaeological and historical research by way of Time Team, he now tries to apply open source software (Scribus, Inkscape, Qgis) and hardware (Arduino, et al) to investigating parish history and other interesting topics.

An open source aquaponics control system

Aquaponics is a closed system of food production that farms fish alongside vegetables, and this talk will look at the development of an open source aquaponics control system for the Incredible AquaGarden project in Todmorden, highlighting certain features of the design and exploring some of the difficulties encountered and how these have been addressed.

A control and monitoring system with an event-driven 'flowchart' interface will be presented, where data about aspects such as pH, temperature and light level etc. are collected and logged in order to monitor the environment. The system responds dynamically to control the level of water in the plant growing bed, to maximise the yield. Some design decisions and technical aspects of the system will be demonstrated and discussed, together with the open source model for sustaining the project.

Finally, we will look at the operational Node-RED installation in Todmorden, showing how the system is collecting readings and controlling the water level, and we'll talk about how MQTT has been used to loosely couple the code running on the Arduino with Node-RED on a Raspberry Pi.

Gareth Coleman is a inventive hardware hacker who's talent lies in connecting diverse devices. Dr Naomi Rosenberg is a freelance software developer with a background in formal logic who works on a wide variety of platforms. They both get a especially enthusiastic about open hardware, free software and empowering humans.

From Idea to Finished Product: A Tale of DFM and CEM

With numerous easily accessible embedded platforms around and concepts such as rapid prototyping and crowdfunding now being useful things as opposed to just buzzwords, designing the Next Big Thing without leaving your study is becoming a common story for makers and tinkerers.

While it is true that going from an idea to a finished product has never been easier thanks to the abundance of design resources and affordable manufacturing services, designing for volume manufacturing requires a different mindset that usually does not apply to casual weekend hacks. From component choice to packaging and logistics, there are several elements that needs to be taken into consideration, as they may cause significant headaches otherwise.

This talk will provide an overview of electronics manufacturing process, covering details such as managing design data, handling dependencies, component and process choices, testing and certification and several other aspects of DFM: Design for Manufacturability.

Omer Kilic is an Embedded Systems hacker who likes tinkering, a lot. He also likes tiny computers, things that just work and good beer.

Driving milling machines with Linux

Driving a milling machine with Linux is fairly easy and LinuxCNC (previously known as “EMC”) even provides a real-time distribution install disk. However, driving the machine is only half the story and gcode generation is at least as important.

This talk will share experiences using a mill and a router with Linux, looking at PCB manufacture, engraving, 3D milling, casting, tool paths, materials, tools and parametric design.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matt plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

Oxford Flood Network - easier to Apologise Than to Ask Permission

Oxford Flood Network is a citizen sensing project which monitors water levels around the city, in streams, rivers and even under floorboards, sending water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless.

The network explores the possibilities of a smart city that is created by its citizens, rather than a more typical top-down deployment. Sensor networks are generally used to collect data about us for reasons and agendas chosen by others, but we can build sensor networks too; crowd-sourced data can be gathered for your agenda — providing evidence for your issues.

In this talk we will hear how Oxford Flood Network has developed an open source model for hardware and software, and the challenges of sticking mysterious boxes under bridges.

Ben Ward is founder of Love Hz, promoting the use of white space spectrum for open innovation in the Internet of Things. A survivor of the dotcom bubble, subsea bandwidth glut and the UK broadband wars, he's still surprisingly optimistic about the future.

An introduction to writing applications for the Parallella board

Parallella is a credit card-sized computer with a many-core accelerator that allows it to achieve high floating-point performance while consuming only a few watts. In this talk we will take a look at the Epiphany architecture and how to use the eSDK to write highly parallel applications for it, using hardware and software features to benchmark code and optimise performance.

Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation and is lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

Radio Then and Pararchive: decentralised, pervasive, and open story telling

Radio Then is a citywide cultural history experience, telling stories about Manchester’s jazz and popular music heritage using a small, Arduino-powered radio. Participants explore the city and tune in to archival broadcasts related to places, people, and events of note. In actual fact, the ‘radio’ contains GPS and audio breakouts to track its location and cue audio tracks depending on its coordinates.

The project is being created to showcase findings from Pararchive, an AHRC project being conducted by the University of Leeds, in partnership with the BBC, National Media Museum, Science Museum Group, and Manchester Digital Laboratory, among others. Pararchive represents an opportunity for members of the public to engage with archives, decentralising the material from archive holders, and offering alternative and personal perspectives on events.

James Medd is an artist, musician, and maker based in Manchester. He teaches all things digital in the north west of the UK, and creates whimsical, entertaining, and accessible interactive artworks. He currently leads Arduino Manchester, a community group for Arduino users in Manchester, and will be developing more interactive audio experiences at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio later this year, as a winner of their graduate and new talent competition.

Commercialising your ideas

Whether you're taking the time to build something fun, or have a solution to a problem you have faced, you are 'in your own right' an inventor.

One of the biggest challenges inventors face isn't making their product work, it's generating a living to continue inventing. Having spent over a decade in both sales and business development I have witnessed people use various methods to overcome this hurdle. I hope to share with you some of my experiences to provide you with some ideas you can take away and use when looking to turn a hobby or bright idea into a financial success. Our topic of conversation will take us from having a light bulb moment, to securing orders and reaping the rewards.

William Stone is the Head of Channel Strategy for hardware manufacturer, Ciseco. He is responsible for various commercial areas of the business including the very familiar responsibility of growing Ciseco's rapidly expanding chain of partners and distributors. Now with 36 recognized distributors worldwide, Ciseco has a growing presence and reputation in electronics manufacturing and Internet of Things (IoT).

OpenTRV: energy technology that saves householders money

The OpenTRV project aims to provide software, hardware designs and excellent interoperability to allow UK and EU householders to as much as halve their heating bills and carbon footprint with simple to fit hardware costing around £100 per house. Everything is freely available under liberal licensing — even our 3D printed enclosures — to enable adoption and cost savings.

Damon Hart-Davis gets excited about electronics, parallelism, robotics, distributed systems and resource efficiency, and solar PV and halving space-heating carbon footprint with cheap microcontrollers (OpenTRV) are two of his current passions. Damon has been working on “mission-critical” systems in banking for most of the last 20 years and before that founded one of the first UK Internet Service Providers.

Interfacing with SPI and I2C

SPI and I2C are industry standard methods of interfacing IO devices to micro-controllers and CPUs using just a few connections. SPI requires four wires and I2C just two.

This talk introduces SPI and I2C. It describes how they work and how you use them. It will look at common IO devices that connect via SPI or I2C. Finally it will look at controlling SPI and I2C devices from two example controllers, the Arduino and the Raspberry PI, in languages such as C and Python.

Speaker: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Introduction to Baserock

Baserock is a new set of open source tools for creating "appliance" operating system images. The aim is to close the gap between source code repositories and the code running on a device. This talk will go over Baserock's philosophy, what it provides and how you can try it out today.

Sam Thursfield likes it when technology is surprising in a good way but does not like it when it is surprising in a bad way. He spends a lot of time trying to reduce the amount of code that is required to do things. He has been known to play the trombone in and around Manchester.

Concurrency in the real world with xCORE and XC

There are many cases where a simple microcontroller won't cut it and the FPGA design route may be too drawn out and costly, particularly if your background is in software.

With the XMOS multi-core microcontroller architecture and toolset it's now possible to tackle complex hardware problems using familiar software and algorithms, avoiding the need to work with Verilog or VHDL. The XMOS XS1 microcontrollers provide tens of nano second resolution and deterministic, predictable, real-time operation in software. The XMOS toolset enables designs to be simulated and analysed, and signals to be monitored and scoped all within the IDE.

The XC extensions to C provide simple interfaces and tasks to write concurrent programs, taking care of nasty race conditions and parallel usage errors. xCORE open source libraries help break down complex domain-specific tasks, allowing you to focus on developing applications. While XMOS Links enable microcontrollers and boards to be chained together in a divide and conquer manner, allowing you to orchestrate your own hardware solutions.

This talk will introduce the XMOS technology and explore a selection of real world applications.

Alan Wood has been working with concurrent and distributed programming for over a decade. His recent work includes smart grid, control, and motion systems based on XMOS' concurrent technology. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE and other SHW communities, such as TVRRUG, as well as a founder of hackspace, SHH.

Compered by:

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

Sunday :: Workshops

Some workshops will provide tools, boards and components etc. However, subject to demand this may involve an element of sharing and please feel free to bring along equipment and components, but note that you must be able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others in respect to these. Common sense must be exercised!

Let's build a flood network for Hebden Bridge!

Split into two teams, one will attempt to install flood sensors on the beautiful Hebden Water just outside the venue, while the other links these these to the Internet using readily available technology.

Proven hardware designs will be used to show you how can send water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless links, and sustainable approaches to citizen sensing will be explored.

Run by: Ben Ward.

Workshop notes: you may want to bring wellies if you plan to join the sensor installation team! Also feel free to bring sensors and boards that you think may be useful.

Building applications that sense and respond to the real world

Following on from their talk, Naomi and Gareth will be joined by Paulo Marini, the Tormorden project's resident aquaponicist. Together they will facilitate a hack session to help you build applications that respond to the real world.

Run by: Gareth Coleman and Dr Naomi Rosenberg.

Workshop notes: Bring your own hardware to work on, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino etc. if you can, and they'll try to find ways to get your projects connected.

Do you want to build a robot? #meArm assembly workshop

How about starting with an Arm? With just a screwdriver and enthusiasm you can build an Open Source Robot Arm. If you bring an Arduino or Pi with you, you're free to stay on with your meArm and tinker with the code too.

The meArm is a project to get low cost robot arms into the hands of as many people as possible. Started in February this year it's made fast progress through open development. Already "home brew" (those not from the laser forges of phenoptix in Nottingham) versions have been spotted in the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico!

Ben Gray is a proponent of Open Hardware and founder of phenoptix, a maker business based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Ben graduated from the University of Exeter with a chemistry degree and a fledgling phenoptix before moving to Nottingham to complete a PhD in theoretical physical chemistry. Through the open hardware movement he has been able explore the wonderful world of electronics and take phenoptix from a pocket money project to the full time job it is today.

Workshop notes: Bring along a laptop and, if you like, an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Introduction to Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate is a universal open source hardware device that can be used to communicate using various buses, such as SPI, I2C, UART and JTAG, with various devices. The Bus Pirate is, per the designers, intended to "Eliminate a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips."

This tutorial will introduce the Bus Pirate. Describe how to configure it and install the software required to use it. It will then look at some basic interfacing to devices via SPI and I2C. It will work through how you can 'sniff' buses. Finally it will look at use the Bus Pirate as a simple frequency measurement and generator device.

Run by: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop (Bus Pirate is supported under Windows, Linux and OSX) and, if you can, some hardware to debug. There will be a limited number of Bus Pirates available, but if you have one please bring it along.

Building your first Parallella application

This workshop follows on from the previous day's talk and participants will build a simple project which targets the Parallella board and uses all 16 cores of the Epiphany floating-point accelerator.

Run by: Simon Cook.

Workshop notes: Please bring along a laptop and, if you have one, a Parallella board (a limited number of boards will be available for use by those who do not own one).

The real world works concurrently and so can you

This workshop will take you through the basics of embedded concurrent programming using an XMOS multi-core startKIT. We will cover basic parallel processing extensions to C (XC) using tasks, interfaces, timers and ports. We will also get some insight into our running code using xSCOPE, a real-time debugging system built in to the XMOS tools. In addition we will use software modules to drop in rich functionality from the open source xCORE libraries.

Run by: Alan Wood.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop and any devices you would like to interface.

Design a PCB Shrimp and have it fabricated

The Shrimp is a super low cost Arduino clone. It makes an excellent teaching resource, and is usually delivered as a 'breaded shrimp' - using a breadboard. For hackers, it's a great way to knock up a quick, cheap microcontroller circuit.

In this workshop we'll make a PCB version of the shrimp — a more robust and Arduino shield compatible version — and you will be guided through the process of drawing the schematic, laying out the PCB and optionally placing an order with OSHPark for your very own PCB shrimp.

Participants will be working in pairs. Boards will cost about £6 each. Kits of components can conveniently be ordered from shrimping.it for £4.

Run by: Matt Venn.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop.

OpenTRV build and getting started

Kits will be available to solder and boards and cables to buy, along with valves that will be used to demonstrate how you can use Arduino-based technology to halve your heating bill.

Run by: Damon Hart-Davis.

Workshop notes: Please bring your own soldering iron, solder and AA batteries if you would like to build a kit to take away, and be aware that SMD soldering experience and a steady hand will be required to solder the TMP112 temperature sensor.

NOTE:

  • There are separate tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.
  • Please aim to arrive between 09:00 and 09:15 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:20 prompt.
  • Make your lasercut datamonster with Intel Galileo

    via Arduino Blog

    datamonster

    Datamonsters are creatures that respond to you. They can see you and respond to your presence and movement. In addition to responding to immediate interactions, they can also be influenced by events happening in the world outside.

     

    The project you see in the picture was made by Lucas Ainsworth  using Intel Galileo board and needs 3 main things:

    - a physical structure
    The physical structure uses commonly available materials and a relatively easy-to build wooden kit pattern, so that the physical form “gets out of the way”
    as much as possible. If you cut this kit and put it together, you will have a robot with 5 joints: waist rotation, waist elevation, mid-body elevation, neck rotation, and head movement.

    - sensing
    For this version, we’re using 3 long range active IR sensors for simplicity and low cost. This sensor pack estimates object location in 3D space. Next gen could possibly use a webcam and OpenCV to include face-detection and motion in addition to presence.

    - software
    This is where the fun is and where the most work remains to be done. We have code for the Arduino IDE (written for the Intel Galileo board) that you
    can use to calibrate and control your monster. If you use our code unchanged, you’ll have some basic reactions to objects, and a connection over WiFi to Thingspeak. Thingspeak is an easy-to-use repository for data collected from the internet or any data sources you create.

    You can make your own Datamonster following the detailed documentation at this link. The Galileo code to get started (for the Arduino IDE) is on GitHub.

     

    datamonster2

    Monitoring and visualising dual temperature and humidity sensor

    via Arduino Blog

    Plotly

    We recently featured Plotly and discovered how easy it is to analyse and beautifully visualize  data using their platform and API.

    Now they shared with us a simple instructable to show to Arduino Community a hands-on experiment with ambient sensors:

    The purpose of this instructable is to demonstrate how to hook up an Arduino + Ethernet Shield  and send data to Plot.ly’s Servers and create beautiful graphs. We will be using a dual temperature+humidity sensor (DHT22), and sending the results directly to Plotly.

    Follow these easy steps, here’s what you’ll need:

    materials

    And this is an example of the output:

    plotly_output

     

    Feeder Tweeter

    via Raspberry Pi

    This is hands down the best bird feeder project we’ve seen yet. I got an email from the folks at Manifold, a creative design agency in San Francisco, this week. One of their developers works from Denver, Colorado, and has been spending some time building the ultimate bird table. It’s autonomous, it’s solar-powered, it feeds, it photographs, it tweets images when a bird comes to feed, and it’s open source.

    A PIR (passive infra-red) sensor detects when a bird lands at the table to feed, and triggers the camera. Photographs are then uploaded to Twitter. PIR’s a great choice here because it only responds to warm-body heat; if a leaf blows in front of the assembly, nothing will trigger, but if a toasty-warm little bird stops by for some seed, the sensor will detect it, and set off the camera.

    This was not a trivial build. Issues like waterproofing, power constraints, and all those fiddly annoyances you find with outdoor projects had to be dealt with. The prototype (built from the ground up out of bits of wood: no pre-made bird feeders for these guys) took around 25 hours to put together. Here’s a time-lapse video of what happened in the workshop.

    The first iteration of the Tweeter Feeder had a few bugs: the webcam in the assembly didn’t offer high enough resolution for decent pictures of the birds, and was swapped out with a Raspberry Pi camera board. But the camera board’s focal depth wasn’t right for this project, so an additional lens was put into the assembly – and then all the camera code had to be changed to reflect the switch. With cracking results: here’s a before and after picture.

    The PIR sensor was getting false positives from changes in temperature due to the sun on the feeder: an additional motion sensor was added to iron those out. A light sensor found its way into the assembly to stop the camera triggering when there wasn’t enough ambient light for a reasonable photograph. The solar panel positioning wasn’t optimal. And so on and so on – but the bugs have all been stomped now, and the end result is a thing of beauty.

    Read Chad’s account of what they were up to on Manifold’s blog (which has a ton of information on the development of the Feeder Tweeter), and then head to the Feeder Tweeter site itself, where there is an area for developers with a hardware list, wiring diagrams, links to all the code you’ll need on GitHub and much more. And let us know if you decide to make or adapt the Feeder Tweeter for your own use – we’d like to see what you come up with!

     

     

     

    AirPi – the next step

    via Raspberry Pi

    Liz: When Clive and I are asked what schools project in the past year has really knocked our socks off, our response is usually the AirPi, an inexpensive pollution and weather monitor developed by Alyssa Dayan and Tom Hartley, a pair of sixth formers from Westminster School in London. AirPi won the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition earlier this year, where entries had to “make the world a better place”, and we regularly use it in talks as an example of the amazing things that can be achieved with a Pi and some ingenuity.

    Tom, Alyssa and Air Pi

    AirPi is an open-source weather and pollution monitoring system, with the ability to record and stream data. Including the Pi, it comes in at £55: tens of times cheaper than equivalent off-the-shelf equipment. Things have come a long way since the first, competition-winning iteration of AirPi: Alyssa and Tom have been learning about PCB design and entrepreneurship  and have just launched a Tindie to raise funds to sell the kit. I’ve asked them to write about what they’ve been doing, and what progress they’ve made with AirPi over the last few months. Here’s what Tom had to say: 

    For the last 10 months, I’ve been working with Alyssa Dayan to create the AirPi. Its a shield for the Raspberry Pi capable of recording data about the air quality and current weather conditions, coupled with code to upload its recordings to the internet in real time. Just last week, we started a fundraiser for our kit on Tindie!

    AirPi in its current incarnation. Note shiny PCB.

    The project started back in October 2012, when one of our teachers (we’re both sixth form students) told us about the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition. The challenge was to create something, using a Pi, which would “make the world a better place”. We didn’t have a very clear idea of what to design, so we looked at the different kinds of hardware we could connect to the Pi. After checking Adafruit’s website, we discovered a vast assortment of sensors, many of which measured meteorological information. Over the next 4 months, we purchased and added on various parts from all over the world (testing and calibrating as we went along), starting with the DHT22 which measured temperature and humidity, and finishing with the UVI-01 which measures UV levels. That was the very first incarnation of the AirPi.

    Simultaneous to developing the hardware, we started developing the software. It was split up into Python scripts (which are currently undergoing a complete rewrite!) running on the Pi, and a live updating website (with HTML5 websockets!). By February, we’d started putting basic instructions on how to make your own AirPi onto our website (this was a stipulation of the competition), and one of the most incredible moments we had was when an awesome guy from the UK, Paul, emailed us and said he’d already put one together. Before that point we had no idea that people would actually be interested in building an AirPi themselves!

    Early version of AirPi on breadboard

    In March, we were invited to the finals of the competition. After polishing up our website and tidying our breadboard (above), we headed to PA Consulting’s offices near Royston. We started by getting a tour around, and seeing the awesome workshop and labs that PA had. In the afternoon we were judged the winners in our category. After the event was over, the project gained some interest online, and about 10 other people have put an AirPi together by hand since then. Of special note however, was Taylor Jones, an electronics engineer in the US, who emailed us saying he wanted to design a PCB for the AirPi. I have now started learning that dark art, but at the time neither I nor Alyssa had any experience making PCBs so we were incredibly glad to have his help!

    Final AirPi kit

    After three iterations, we had a functional PCB – this made the AirPi much more compact and easy to assemble, so we decided to start making kits for it. We signed up for a stand the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire - this was brilliant as it gave us a fixed date we had to get the kits ready by. After reinvesting the prize money from the PA consulting competition into components, PCBs, packaging and stickers, we were ready to head off to the Maker Faire with the kits. We sold out of all 15 kits we had purchased for the day! In the weeks after the Faire, we were contacted by several very awesome groups of people: a new green initiative in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam has purchased three kits in order to measure the air quality there, and the Chaos Computer Club in Germany has bought 15 in order to teach children to solder. We’ve even had several archivists in the UK who’ve asked us to give them some so they can accurately monitor the temperature and humidity of the books they’re looking after! In the near future, we’re hoping to develop a 3D printed case for the AirPi which will allow people to put it outside a lot easier.

    AirPi hooked up to a Pi

    After many requests for a kit, we’ve started a fundraiser on Tindie (sort of like a Kickstarter, but especially for electronics). If you’re interested in ordering a kit to measure temperature, humidity, UV, NO2, CO, light and air pressure for £55, then you can go to this page - we’ll be shipping them out in late September. Alternatively, we have published all the source code, instructions, components needed and even the PCB files and schematics online, so if you want make and assemble one yourself (or improve upon our design), feel free to do so. We love open source – without the amazing work of so many people online, there could be no AirPi. If you build one, we’d love to hear from you and add it to our website. Thank you for reading!

    PiPlanter: a plant growth monitor

    via Raspberry Pi

    We’ve see a lot of clever irrigation devices for gardeners being made with the Pi, but PiPlanter is the most complete (and the best documented) system we’ve seen so far. It does far more than simple irrigation. PiPlanter monitors temperature, ambient light, ambient humidity and soil humidity; it outputs that data to a MySQL database, controls a pump to water the plants depending on that data, and outputs the data as graphs and text. (It also tweets that text and uploads the graphs to Flickr hourly so that Devon, the PiPlanter’s owner, can keep an eye on things.)

    Devon has documented the build minutely, with circuit diagrams, a ton of code, and several videos. Here, he explains more about the sensor array he built.

    You can read much more at Devon’s blog, and replicate the project yourself. Thanks Devon: more power to your green thumb!

    DIY Air Quality Sensing from HabitatMap and Sonoma Tech

    via Arduino Blog

     

    High-precision air quality monitors are normally very expensive, but Tim Dye of Sonoma Technology is on a mission to change that.  He’s been working with Michael Heimbinder and habitatmap.org to create a low-cost sensor system that when designed properly and integrated into a software platforms can provide valid data.

    AirCasting is a platform for recording, mapping, and sharing health and environmental data using Arduino and Android. It combines an Arduino with a set of sensors for air quality measurement; temperature, humidity, and carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. The system combines the sensors using an Arduino Uno and then sends the data to an Android app using Bluetooth. The plans are all open for modification, so you can add your own sensors as needed. A heart rate monitor and an LED vest can also be linked to the AirCasting app, providing a complete the system for realtime, wearable feedback of your body’s reaction to the environmental air quality.

    There are many DIY air quality measurement projects online, but most of them are not calibrated against known standards or professional equipment. But Dye and his colleagues have tested the AirCasting particulate matter sensors against the same equipment Sonoma Technology uses for precise measurement, and they’ve gotten surprisingly good results. Correctly constructed and deployed, the AirCasting shows promise as a low-cost alternative to complement the expensive high-end air monitors.

    AirCasting is a collaboration between many groups:  Michael Heimbinder of habitatmap.org manages the project, and Tim Dye of Sonoma Technology consults on design, data evaluation, and field deployment; Dr. Iem Heng and Raymond Yap of the City Tech Mechatronics Technology Center designed and built the hardware; Dr. Andy Zhang designed and built the monitor casings; Valentine Leung designed and built the LED garments, and Brooke Singer has helped guided the project with a mind towards interactivity and public engagement.

    The data from your AirCasting air monitor can be uploaded to the AirCasting database, which aggregates data from all AirCasting contributors, or can be sent to your own database and all the code for the project is open source and available through GitHub

    The website AirCasting.org provides links to all the software and hardware plans.

    Recantha’s only gone and made a tricorder.

    via Raspberry Pi

    I’ve been waiting for…ooh, just over a year, for someone to do this. Recantha, an old hand here in the comments and on the forums, has built a tricorder.

    There surely can’t be anyone here without a passing familiarity with Star Trek, but just in case: the tricorder is a made-up thing used by the crew of the Enterprise to measure stuff, store data and scout ahead remotely when exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations, and all that jazz. Despite its made-up-ness, the tricorder remains a terribly desirable thing. I’ve always wanted to be able to tell whether my planet is M-class or not.

    Recantha has bodged together his home-made tricorder using a Pi, some sensors (two for temperature, and one each for magnetism and distance), an LCD display, some switches, a light-resistant resistor, a thermistor and an Arduino Leonardo clone. We hope he keeps adding sensors to it, and maybe, later on, a camera board, until he runs out of space. How about a Geiger counter (this one already works with the Pi)?

    Here’s a spot of video explaining what everything on the Picorder does:

    (Best of all, the whole thing is cased in LEGO.)

    And here’s some more video, showing the thing in action.

    If you’re interested in reproducing or building on this project, Recantha’s blogged about it (he has an excellent website, all about Raspberry Pi), and has left a guide to the project over at Pideas, the new site for collecting Raspberry Pi projects. (Go and add something of your own!) Thanks very much for this, Recantha; our office costume parties will now have a dash of added realism. Jamesh has drawn the short straw and will be dressed as Nog.

    Wearable soundscape from Canada

    via Arduino Blog

    BioCircuit by Dana Ramler

     

    I’m reblogging from Core77 this interesting wearable project because I’d like to highlight the using of Arduino Lilypad board:

    Bio Circuit stems from our concern for ethical design and the creation of media-based interactions that reveal human interdependence with the environment. With each beat of the heart, Bio Circuit connects the wearer with the inner workings of their body.

    It was created at Emily Carr University by Industrial Design student Dana Ramler, and MAA student Holly Schmidt and provides a form of bio feedback using data from the wearer’s heart rate to determine what “sounds” they hear through the speaker embedded in the collar of the garment. Here’s the schematic of technology:

    BioCircuit - Technology

     

     

    Have a look at the video below to see how it works and don’t miss BioCircuit Project page on Dana’s Portfolio:

     

     

    Wireless Sensor Network for Temperature Sensing

    via Arduino Blog


    This is an interesting implementation of Arduino and Wireless comunication. The user [priyansmurarka] posted:

    Ok, so here is the basic problem statement. I need to develop a temperature sensing system such that the temperature from the sensor node is relayed to a co-ordinator sensor and then the co-ordinator node shows the user in a simple graphical form.

    For the wireless communication, I used Xbee Series 2 modules with Arduino Board Shields.

    Uses Melexis Temperature sensor and Arduino Board to monitor and plot ambient temperature.

    The realization of this project is well documented on the [blog], with code, graphs and pictures.

    Sharpy

    via Arduino Blog

    How about a new way to make music? [cpeckmusic] has it’s way to do it, with is project Sharpy.

    Sharpy is an electronic instrument that was designed and built by composer Charles Peck. The instrument utilizes three infrared distance sensors to control the sound, which is produced digitally with an Arduino board and GinSing shield. So as users interact with these sensors, there is a clear auditory connection to their physical actions.

    Despite having only three sensors, the instrument is capable of a variety of sounds. This is because Sharpy has three possible operating states, each of which assigns a different set of parameters to the three sensors. State 1 is initiated by covering the sensor on the user’s left first. The instrument will then stay in State 1 until no sensors are being covered. Therefore, the user must completely remove their hands form the instrument in order to change states. Concordantly, State 2 is initiated using the middle sensor and State 3 using the sensor on the right. The short improvisation in this video demonstrates a few of these sonic possibilities.

    I suggest you to watch the [video] of the live performance. If you’re interested in more works check his official [website]

    [#arduinotour] Matera Report, Prossima Puntata: Reggio Emilia

    via Arduino Blog

    Ecco un piccolo video report della puntata dell’Arduinotour a Matera (c’é anche un set su Flickr). Questa edizione del tour é stata caratterizzata dalla partecipazione di un ragazzo francese (partito dalla Bretagna e volato per un week-end a Matera – Grande Baptiste!) che ha condiviso con noi la sua esprienza di sviluppatore di open energy monitor, un framework open source per la visualizzazione di consumi online, di cui parleremo presto in una intervista ad hoc. (il blog di Arduino ha trattato precedentemente questa storia, vai al post).

    Causa maltempo il workshop é stato ospitato presso le Monacelle, un bed & breakfast poco l’ontano dall’Incubatore, all’interno dei Sassi. Un grazie a Sviluppo Basilicata per il supporto e l’aiuto nell’organizzazione dell’evento.

    Per chi si stesse chiedendo quando e dove si farà il prossimo workshop #arduinotour, eccovi serviti: Reggio Emilia a fine gennaio (26-27), presso il neonato Fablab ospitato all’interno dello Spazio Gerra.

    Se volete portare l’#arduinotour a casa vostra riempite questo form. Se volete spargere il verbo fate il like sulla pagina dell’arduinotour su facebook.