IoT Projects Showcase

We had an event in our office (Xoriant) last week where any group of employees could come together and put up a stall. The stall could be a game, some food stuff or any other skill you want to show case. In a technical company, these events are usually a channel to utilize some of your other ideas, interests and talents …. and in most of the cases, people usually do that in non-technical areas.

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One team stood out in my opinion (of course I am biased towards technology… did you have any doubt?) with a stall that showcased multiple gadgets and technologies like Microcontrollers, Microcomputers, various Sensors (via the IoT Route) and other personal devices that are likely to lit up our homes (or are already doing so). The result was a smorgasbord of all of the above that received positive reviews.

Specifically when it came to Internet of Things, there were 2 mini projects that demonstrated the concept quite well in my opinion. This may look trivial to some of you but using multiple boards from different vendors, integrating with the cloud, setting it up while having a normal working job and doing this in under a day speaks volumes of the persistence but also how easy it is becoming to connect devices to the cloud and thereby produce actionable results.

In summary, when it came to IoT, the following 2 kits were used:

Now, lets get to the projects that were demonstrated:

Home Automation via littleBits

littleBits is a great kit that helps you put together electronic circuits in a lego-like fashion in no time. In my opinion, it is a great vehicle for anyone new to electronics to understand how the basics work and then combine them in an innovative way via a bit of your everyday craft material knowledge.

The project demonstrated the cloudBit module, which is able to receive and send commands to the littleBits Cloud and then in return drive the rest of the bits connected to it. It also provides neat integration with IFTTT.com, that can be used to trigger actions via a variety of other common internet tasks.

The project demonstrated how you could control the following things in your home via the littleBits Cloud module:

  • Fan
  • Light
  • Bell

To simulate the above stuff, littleBits modules for Fan, LED and Vibration were used. In my opinion that is good enough and in real life, you would use a relay to drive these things. The ON/OFF was done via the cloudBits Control Panel that littleBits provides. The API could have been used to create an app to do that but that is no big deal.

Here is the project in action. Once the cloudBit receives a “1”, it will drive 3 parallel circuits i.e. the Fan, the lights and the vibration motor that will ring a bell.

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Environment Monitoring with Tessel

Tessel.io is a more sophisticated micro-controller that allows one to program using JavaScript (yes, you read that correct in case you have never heard of it before!).

In this project, 2 Tessel sensor modules were used:

  • Ambient module : This provided the Light and Sound data values.
  • Climate module : This provided the Temperature and Humidity data values.

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The data was then transmitted to an excellent cloud service called ubidots. It provides you with an ability to define your variables (in this case 4 of them i.e. temperature, humidity, sound and light) and gives you an API to populate them from your client application. Tessel runs Javascript and all that was needed was a simple HTTP POST to put the values into ubidots.

ubidots is then able to visualize the variables via a variety of ready-made widgets like a time-series line chart, gauge and more. The User Interface that you see above is the Dashboard exposed by ubidots.

In Summary

There were several other gadgets/devices on display. They included Raspberry Pi, Android TV, Chromecast, NFC stuff and more. But the above were specific to IoT where the devices were in the connected cloud.

If you have any questions on the above, let me know. In case you would like to setup similar stuff and discuss ideas around this, drop a line. The possibilities are endless and the fun has just started.

Stay tuned for more on IoT.

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