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Where Will You Use Your XBee?

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Around the world, XBee RF wireless modules are extending the reach of wireless technology. They can be found anywhere — streetlights, homes, power plants, forests — the possibilities are endless. Check out some of the real-world applications in the video below.


Stay up-to-date with XBee by subscribing to the XBee Broadcast. The newsletter features XBee news, tips for developing and even the chance to win XBee hardware. You can subscribe here.

 

Here are just a few other interesting XBee projects

Garage Siren in Mongolia

Battushig Myanganbayar is a brilliant 16 year old from Mongolia with a talent for building electronics with a purpose. His work with XBees has even been featured in the New York Times. His goal was to keep the younger children in the neighborhood safe. To do this, he has developed a wireless alarm system. Children often play along the street where cars frequently pass by while leaving or entering the garage. Whenever a car is going to or from the apartment’s garage and a child is in harm’s way, Battushig’s alarm will emit a high frequency sound and flash a bright red light. This ensures that children are still able to continue playing outside all while being safe.

Detecting Forest Fires in Spain

XBees are also used in the well-known Waspmote by Libelium. They needed both long range connections and the ability to connect wireless networks of varying frequencies. The exceptional range of XBee made it ideal for the large deployments needed to monitor forest fires, agriculture, and floods. The Waspmote can use infrared and ultraviolet sensors to detect flames as well as the release of compounds CO and CO2 that are abundant during combustion. Libelium is also able to adjust the networking protocol, so whether they need to use 802.15.4 or ZigBee, they can adjust accordingly with XBee.

Monitoring Road Conditions in Norway

A Sweden based company, Mowic, has developed a wireless network to monitor road conditions and improve driver safety. The network, called TrackIce, uses a DigiMesh network to establish long range and low powered communication between sensors. The same network will be adapted to monitor airports, ski resorts, and hydro-electric power plants. Read more about the TrackIce network here.

 

XCTU: Next Generation Configuration Platform for XBee

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XCTU is a free multi-platform application designed to enable developers to interact with XBee RF modules through a simple-to-use graphical interface. It includes new tools that make it easy to setup, configure and test XBee.

Unique features like graphical network view, which graphically represents the XBee network along with the signal strength of each connection, and the XBee API frame builder, which intuitively helps to build and interpret API frames for XBee modules being used in API mode, combine to make development on the XBee platform easier than ever.

  • Multi-platform application compatible with Windows and MacOS
  • Graphical Network View for simple wireless network configuration and architecture
  • API Frame Builder development tool for quickly building XBee API frames
  • Module Discovery mechanism enables automatic discovery of modules connected to your PC
  • Device Cloud by Etherios-integrated, allowing configuration and management of XBee devices anywhere in the world

Download XCTU

Other highlights of XCTU include the following features:

  • You can manage and configure multiple RF devices, even remotely (over-the-air) connected devices.
  • The firmware update process seamlessly restores your module settings, automatically handling mode and baud rate changes.
  • Two specific API and AT consoles, have been designed from scratch to communicate with your radio devices.
  • You can now save your console sessions and load them in a different PC running XCTU.
  • XCTU includes a set of embedded tools that can be executed without having any RF module connected:
    • Frames generator: Allows you to easily generate any kind of API frame to save its value.
    • Frames  interpreter: With this tool you can decode an API frame and see its specific frame values.
    • Recovery: Allows you to recover radio modules which have damaged firmware or are in programming mode.
    • Load console session: This tool allows you to load a console session saved in any PC running XCTU.
    • Range test: Gives you the ability to perform a range test between 2 radio modules of the same network.
    • Firmware explorer: With this tool you can navigate through XCTU’s firmware library.
  • An update process allows you to automatically update the application itself and the radio firmware library without needing to download any extra files.
  • XCTU contains complete and comprehensive documentation which can be accessed at any time.

Download XCTU here and learn more about XBee RF modules here.

XBee Tech Tip: Using the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to Toggle Power to an A/C Circuit via WebApps

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This Tech Tip is brought to you by Digi Applications Engineer Brenton Mock from the Lindon, UT team.

Be sure to answer the XBee Puzzler at the end of this entry for a chance to win an XBee t-shirt hot off the presses!

There have been an increasing number of requests for Tech Tips and How-to articles regarding the XBee Wi-Fi and the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Due to the protocol-bridging nature of the XBee Wi-Fi, many communication project infrastructures are simplified. One such project is controlling an AC circuit remotely using web applications. This makes control from any web-connected device possible.

This Tech Tip relies heavily on the Getting Started Guide for the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit. Please ensure that you are familiar with the procedures contained within that guide.

Overview

In this tutorial we will be using the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to toggle a digital output line on the XBee which will control an AC relay. We will be using the Heroku website service to accomplish this in conjunction with Device Cloud by Etherios.

Since dealing with high voltage electricity can be dangerous, we’re going to stick to using the PowerSwitch Tail, a product that packages the relay circuitry in a nice little box that we can plug into the wall. Any device that we plug into the other end will be at our command. This guide will get you started using the PowerSwitch Tail with the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Setup

1 – XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit (XBee Wi-Fi, Cloud Kit Development Board, micro-USB cable for power)

1 – XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit account (To create an account, please follow these setup instructions)

1 – PowerSwitch Tail II (This product can be found here)

2 – Solid Core, 22 AWG or 24 AWG, insulated wires

1 – AC-powered device (in this case, a fan)

Procedure

During the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit setup, you will be asked if you would like to configure the XBee Wi-Fi for the Cloud Kit. Please do so. This will configure all the DIO lines for use with the HerokuApps that are used by the kit.

Once your XBee Wi-Fi is added and configured to your account, you will see a screen as shown below:

We will be using DIO 9 (pin 13) for our example. This will correlate with the User LED toggle:

Wiring

The DIO line (pin 13 on the XBee) connects to pin 1 of the PowerSwitch Tail.

Ground (pin 10 on the XBee) connects to pin 2 of the PowerSwitch Tail.

Final Connections

Connect the PowerSwitch Tail to an AC power source.

Connect an AC device to the PowerSwitch Tail.  In this case we are using a fan.

Test

Now you should be able to click on the User LED toggle. This will then send a web services instruction to the radio via Device Cloud by Etherios (which interfaces with the HerokuApp on the backend) that will toggle the DIO9 (pin 13) to a high state. This in turn toggles the PowerSwitch Tail to complete the AC circuit.

The fan is now on:

But seeing as this isn’t a User LED that we are toggling, we must re-label the widget to accurately reflect the device that will be used. This can be done by clicking on the Widget Settings icon that will appear when you hover over the widget:

This will take you to the following screen:

You can change the label from “User LED” to something more appropriate such as “Most Awesome Fan of the Heavens.” (I love this fan.)

Conclusion

The XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit demonstrates an easy way to web-enable your devices. Device Cloud by Etherios and the Heroku web apps service together simplify the process of remotely controlling AC devices anywhere in the world.

Ready to get started with an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit? Head over here.

XBee Puzzler

You are working on a project with an XBee ZigBee Coordinator radio installed high up in a tower. You have an XBee ZigBee Router radio connected to your PC and want to test the link between the coordinator and router.

Digi ZigBee radios support a loopback cluster to enable link testing to a remote radio without the need for a physical loopback adapter. You decide to use the loopback cluster in API mode to test the link success rate of many transmissions.

You have the following information:

Coordinator 64 bit address: 0013A200 40506070
Router 64 Address: 0013A200 12345678

You want to send “Hello World” without the quotation marks as your test payload.

What is the correct API frame to accomplish this?

Submit your answer below. The deadline for entries is March 7, 2014. Winners will be notified by email. Employees of Digi and its subsidiaries are not eligible for the prize drawing. Good luck!

We are no longer taking submissions for this XBee Puzzler. The correct answer is:

7E 00 1F 11 01 00 13 A2 00 40 50 60 70 00 00 E8 E8 00 12 C1 05 00 00 48 65 6C 6C 6F 20 77 6F 72 6C 64 F4

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

IPv6PocLab

Photo Courtesy of IPv6PocLab.org

Arduino Tutorial 1: Let’s Make XBee Talk! via Norwegian Creations

Internet of Things in Five Words: Sensor, Monkey, Radio, Cloud, Paris on Computer World

Winners of Postscapes Internet of Things Awards

Beer and Tech Collide: It’s all Science in Wired

Motion Sensor via XBee Connected Arduino from IPv6PocLab

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

A Year in the Internet of Things: 2013 Wrap-Up

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It’s been a busy year for the Internet of Things. Everyday we see more people covering how the IoT is changing our lives and our businesses. As we look back on what has been an exciting year, here are some of our most read posts from the Digi Blog and a few other articles we think are highlights.

Sensors and Cloud Connection Enable Self-Sustaining Garden
This summer, we created a video that takes you on a tour through the Digi garden. Learn a bit about what technologies we have implemented and what vegetables we have growing during the summer months. Read more…

Digi Deploys 500-Node Internet of Things Network for the Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O
In collaboration with the Data Sensing Lab team, Digi helped deploy the massive sensing network at Google I/O. Throughout the conference over 500 sensors were continuously gathering data and being collected by Device Cloud. A number of parameters were montiored such as foot traffic, noise level, and air quality to name a few. Read more…

Mote in the Wild
An Idea Worth Spreading: Internet of Things TED Talks
We’ve compiled all of the IoT-related TED Talks in this blog post. Hear from a number of thought leaders in the industry and learn where they see the IoT in the future. Speakers include Arduino creator, Massimo Banzi, and other leading engineers in the field. Read more…

TED Talks Photo 
Makezine’s Urban Sensor Hack
Makezine put together a seven part series based on hacking sensors and creating your own IoT implementations at home. Each installment of the educational series focused on a different aspect of hacking IoT hardware. The series culminated in a sharing of projects from participating teams over Google Hangouts. These videos are a great resource for both new and experienced developers. Read more…

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 1.21.17 PM
The Economist’s Comprehensive Internet of Things Study
The Internet of Things business index: A quiet revolution gathers pace is an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by ARM. It is intended to gauge the current and future use of the Internet of Things by the global business community. Read more…

iPhone BBC
The Wireless Connections that may Transform our Lives
The number of internet-enabled devices is accelerating with the ubiquity of mobile phones and ease of connecting devices. This BBC article looks at how wireless connections are being used to improve every aspect of our lives. Read more…

These are just a few highlights from what has been busy 2013 for us at Digi. Let us know what your favorite stories are from this year in the Internet of Things. You can share with us either in the comments or @digidotcom. Here’s to an exciting 2014!

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

Smarter Oil and Landslide Prediction: Here’s How the Internet of Things is Changing the World on Fast Company

People as Sensors at ThingMonk Conference

The Real Magic of Christmas: How to String Lights without a Single Extension Cord on QZ

Super Computing Advance Manufacturing from GE’s Industrial Internet Blog

Oh, and here’s a neat project from the Digi offices this week. Happy Holidays!

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit

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Last week, we had another Digi Employee Hackathon and put the new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to the test. This is one of the many, not to mention most fun, ways we ensure an outstanding user experience for our customers. With the kits, the teams were able to build projects that connected to the cloud in a matter of minutes. One team member was even surprised at how true the tagline #IoTASAP was. He said, “I got from the box to the cloud in under 20 minutes.” Using the kit’s dashboard, widgets we’re made to visually represent the data being collected by Device Cloud.

Here are some of the highlights:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Team Barbara

Summertime thunderstorms can bring heavy rain and if the sump pump goes out, you need to know immediately! Team Barabara aimed to solve this problem.

Their project consisted of using a water sensor  to measure the water level in the sump pump basket. When the water hits a level that indicates there may be flooding, a widget, located on the Cloud Kit dashboard, turns to “Flooded!” The app also tracks the on/off history of the sump pump so you can make sure the pump is functioning properly.

Another issue the team looked to solve was frozen pipes during the winter months. For this, they installed a temperature sensor, which reads out the basement’s temperature. If the sensor is reading a value that could lead to frozen pipes, an email or SMS is sent to the homeowner. This alarm and notification system is set up using Device Cloud’s alarms feature.

R-Squared

If the power goes out or the door is left open, and you don’t know the current state of your refrigerator, you run the risk of spoiled food. R-Squared saw this problem as an opportunity for their hackathon project.  This application would be extremely valuable for both restaurants and home owners. The team monitored three parameters and designed a widget for each. From the dashboard, you can see whether the door is open or closed, whether the power is on or off, as well as the current temperature in the fridge. If either of these parameters reaches a condition that could lead to spoiled food, a user is notified via an alarm within the dashboard.

Bradometer

What do you get when you combine a hacked a scale and motivational messages? The Bradometer of course.

The team hacked a digital scale that sends values to Device Cloud. A widget, designed to look like a scale, displays the scale’s value within the dashboard. Depending on what the scale is reading, the Bradometer reveals motivating messages with an accompanying photo of the one and only Brad Cole.

WhoVille

The project, “Who Left the Lights On?” was made to reduce energy use by tracking light usage and make the lives of parents a little easier. The main use case is to give homeowners a way  to determine who is needlessly leaving lights on in the home. But, it could also be used by parents who want to make sure their children are in bed with the lights off by bedtime. Let’s say the application determines the child’s lights are on past their bedtime, it could automatically send a friendly reminder to the parents, child, or both, to turn the lights out and get to sleep!

The team used two sensors to build this project. First, a light sensor, which come comes with the kit, to measure whether the lights in the room are on. And to detect whether the room is occupied by someone, an infrared sensor was installed to detect motion. Data from each sensor is collected and stored using Device Cloud’s Data Streams feature.

Future plans for the project are to turn the app into a game between the family members and see who can save the most energy. You can see a screenshot of the web page that was setup to track light usage in the thumbnail above.

Wrap Up

The WhoVille team came away with the win, but all projects were worthy of praise. It’s always fun to see the creativity of the company come to life during our hackathons. We hope these projects serve as a source of inspiration as you start building your own projects with the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

BerkeleyGoogleGlass

Photo from Engadget

Architecture Design and the Connected Environment from O’Reilly

Le Web: What Will the Next 10 Years of Innovation Reveal?

The Future is Enchanted Objects, Not Glass Slabs on Venture Beat

Latest Gizmo to Join the Internet of Things is Your Christmas Tree from Quartz

Google Glass Mod Gives you Control over Home Appliances with One Touch Pairing on Engadget

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

XBee Controls Adam Savage’s Robugtix Spider

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A Hong Kong based company, Robugtix, makes bio-inspired multi-legged robots. That’s right, robotic, XBee-enabled, spiders. And, it just so happens that this eight legged robotic is a favorite of Adam Savage, host and famous maker on the show MythBusters. It was even featured on his YouTube series, Inside Adam Savage’s Cave.

The realistic (and slightly terrifying) arachnid is a 3D printed robot that is extremely lightweight and can very closely mimic the biological movements of a spider. It’s controlled wirelessly by joysticks on a remote control with XBee. The remote includes four joysticks for complete control of the robot, so you can do more than just move left/right and forward/back.

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

Posted on: No Comments

The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

Oso Tech. Kickstarter

A Guide to the Internet of Things from Intel

A Surgeon’s Review of Google Glass in the Operating Room on Fast Company

Internet of Things: A Quiet Revolution Gather Pace via IT ProPortal

Urban Agriculture Meet the Internet of Things from Silicon Angle

Sensors and Sensibility from GE’s Industrial Internet Blog

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

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