Home > Blog > Design (Page 2)

Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Make Your Own with the XIG: The Cat Doorbell

Posted on: No Comments

About the author: Don Schleede currently manages the iDigi security office. Don has worked in the IT field for 25 years. He has served as a Chief Technology Officer for 12 years in mid-sized level financial and technical companies. For the last 7 years, he has exclusively served in security roles as a Senior Security Analyst, Engineer, and Architect. Don holds a number of certifications such as the CISSP, MCSE, RHCE, CCNP, CEH and others. Today, he works in at Digi International, where his love of embedded things, microcontrollers and security can be expressed.

Why a Cat Doorbell? 
Recently, a friend of mine moved. This friend has a few cats who like to go outside. Because of their new surroundings, we weren’t sure that the cats would know where to return to. One night, all the cats except for one came back home. While the cats have been trained to come in when they hear a whistle, this cat must have been out of whistle range– doing whatever cats do. It was getting to be a cold night so we were worried. We did notice that the cats would stand at the door when they were ready to come in, but of course, we would have to see them standing at the door and open it for them. In the morning, we found one cold kitty waiting at the door. No major harm, but we felt guilty for not letting the cat in– the idea of the Cat Doorbell was born.

Here’s how I made the Cat Doorbell and how you can make your own. 

Supplies:
I didn’t want to get too in depth and design our own board for this project, so I used standard parts that I had around. Here’s what I picked from my supplies:

Instructions:
This was assembled as a prototype. For longer term operation, I would suggest mounting things better, and using a level converter for the data pins.

1.  First, I wired up the PIR sensor to the end of the box. The PIR sensor fit perfectly where the waterproof Cat-5 connector was, so I added some crazy glue. I connected the GND and 5V lines to the Arduino, and I connected the sensor line directly to the Arduino, pin 7.

2. I glued the Piezo to the bottom of the box, and I soldered in a 1Kohm resistor in series and plugged it into the Arduino, pin 8.

3. I used some pins to solder the XBee Series 2, which was already programmed with a XIG configuration to the 3.3v and GND lines.

4. Next, I connected the data lines to the Arduino pins 5 and 6. I have heard that the data lines of the XBee Series 2 are not 5v tolerant, but I know many people who have connected these to Arduinos without a problem. For more information, see Rob Faludi’s web page at http://www.faludi.com/bwsn/xbee-level-shifting

5. With some double side tape, I taped the XBee to the side.

6. With the XBee using the XIG, I have a Digi ConnectPort X4 gateway in my house. I loaded the XIG code onto the gateway and validated that the communication works with the XBee. You can find more information on the XIG project here.

7. Next I programmed the Arduino, the program follows this flow:

  • Look for activity on the PIR sensor
  • Send a URL string to the XBee (is used the SoftSerial library)
  • Beep the Piezo like a doorbell
  • Wait 60 seconds. Don’t want multiple activations.
  • Go back to step 1

The URL that was called went to a server that is hosted at Rackspace. The URL is actually a PHP web page, that will interface to SMS to my cellphone (via email). After testing and validating, I put the device outside so it would detect when a cat (or anything else) is at the back door. To call this complete, I waited for a bit for one of the cats to come back. And, sure enough, I got an SMS message on my phone. I went and opened the door and a cat proudly walked in.

Have questions or comments about the Cat Doorbell? Let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter. As I iterate the Cat Doorbell I’ll continue to update this post.

Where Will The Internet Of Things Take Service Design?

Posted on: No Comments

On Tuesday, October 9th, Fjord presented the “Where Will The Internet Of Things Take Service Design” event in New York, co-hosted with IxDA. The evening brought together a packed house of guests ready to explore how the Internet of Things will influence and shape important areas for service design like the future of content, retail, payments and health.

Moderated by Fast Company’s Cliff Kuang, the panelists included:

Steven Dean, Partner, Prehype. Adjunct Faculty, ITP.
Rob Faludi, Collaborative Strategy Leader, R&D, Digi International. Professor, ITP/SVA.
Scher Foord, Executive Director, Design, Condé Nast Technology.
Tim Queenan, Director of Strategy, Google Creative Lab.
Rachel Ramoni, Executive Director, SMART, Harvard Medical School.
Jacob Styburski, VP Customer Experience, Enterprise Growth, American Express.

Some of the highlights and key themes of the evening:

  • The Internet of Things is here, and will become more ubiquitous and invisible.
  • Good service design will continue to humanize the technology and the data around us, making its complexity disappear into the background.
  • Given that, our panelists agreed that it’s high time to kill the term “Internet of Things.” What’s important is to create an “Internet of Things People Want,” that should eventually evolve into the “Internet of Things People Expect.”
  • To make this a reality, designers must create a shared language that allows for collaboration across the companies, industries, and individuals creating the services of tomorrow.

You can find more details and photos of the event here. Have a question or comment about how the Internet of Things and service design? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter, we’d love to hear what you think.

Fjord Panel: Internet of Things meets Service Design

Posted on: No Comments

I spoke this week at the New York headquarters of Fjord design for their Fjord Kitchen event, “Where Will the Internet of Things Take Service Design?

Moderated by Fast Company‘s Cliff Kuang, the two groups of panelists included:

  • Steven Dean, Partner, Prehype. Adjunct Faculty, ITP.
  • Scher Foord, Executive Director, Design, Condé Nast Technology.
  • Tim Queenan, Director of Strategy, Google Creative Lab.
  • Rachel Ramoni, Executive Director, SMART, Harvard Medical School.
  • Jacob Styburski, VP Customer Experience, Enterprise Growth, American Express.
  • …and me: Rob Faludi, Collaborative Strategy Leader, R&D, Digi International!

Some of the key themes that overlapped in both groups:

  • The Internet of Things is here, and will become more ubiquitous and invisible.
  • Good service design will continue to humanize the technology and the data around us, making its complexity disappear into the background.
  • Given that, our panelists agreed that it’s high time to kill the term “Internet of Things.” What’s important is to create an “Internet of Things People Want,” that should eventually evolve into the “Internet of Things People Expect.”
  • To make this a reality, designers must create a shared language that allows for collaboration across the companies, industries, and individuals creating the services of tomorrow.

We had fun and great food. Here’s some more pictures and more about the event.

Webinar & Twitter Chat: Connecting Light, The Ultimate XBee iDigi Project

Posted on: No Comments

As many of you know, Digi took part in the innovative art installation Connecting Light that took place on August 31 and September 1, along Hadrian’s Wall in the UK. Connecting Light, which has been called the longest art installation in the world was part of the London 2012 Festival, a 12-week cultural celebration for the London 2012 Olympics. The installation consisted of hundreds of large-scale, light-filled balloons transmitting colors from one-to-another, creating a communication network spanning Hadrian’s Wall.

On Thursday October 4, at 8:00am EST Rob Faludi and Jordan Husney will host a webinar explaining how Connecting Light came together, and how Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, along with over 400 programmable XBee radios and 20 ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways helped make it happen. While Rob and Jordan explain the technology behind Connecting Light, you have the opportunity to participate and ask your questions in real time on Twitter with the hashtag #DigiConnected.

Start your Thursday morning learning about how the technology used for Connecting Light, which recently won the M2M Best Practice Awards at this year’s M2M Summit in Dusseldorf, can be used for industry projects.

Date & Time: Thursday October 4, 8:00am EST

Presented By:

Rob Faludi, Collborative Stategy Leader

Jordan Husney, iDigi Product Manager

Key Topics:

  • An explanation of the Connecting Light project
  • An iDigi and XBee product description & how they were used in this project
  • A step-by-step explanation of how the application logic is distributed and how that relates to other, “real-life” applications, such as the way a vending machine or medical device system might architect their app across our systems.
Live Commentary and Q&A: #DigiConnected

We’re looking forward to chatting with you soon. You can register now here.

The Coolest Cube Around, the Skube: an XBee Enabled Listening Device

Posted on: No Comments

Today, we spent some time with the team behind the Skube to get the inside scoop on the new listening device that’s causing a buzz.

Who doesn’t love listening to their favorite music? Better yet, who doesn’t love sharing their favorite music– especially when it’s playing from a beautifully designed cube that’s slightly skewed? Enter the Skube.

Andrew Spitz, Andrew Nip, Ruben van der Vleuten, and Malthe Borch created the Skube as a way to rethink the audio experience as a project for the “Tangible User Interface” course at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. The team conducted interviews in people’s homes to see how they listen to music. Through that research, they saw an opportunity, especially in communal and shared spaces like dorms and living rooms. They wanted to make an impact on how people share music that lives on the cloud.

“It is a fully working prototype through the combination of using ArduinoMax/MSP and an XBee wireless network. We access the Last.fm API to populate the Skube with tracks and scrobble, and using their algorithms to find similar music when in Discover mode. Then using Applescript, we get Spotify to play the music. We use XBees for the wireless communication between the Skubes and to the computer using custom software that manages all this.”

Three fully working prototypes and a total of 5 Skubes later, the project has received recognition from a number of tech publications including:

Tech Hive
The Verge
Gadget Soup

“We were very happy with the Skube as a design piece, but we weren’t expecting it to be so received so well. Now that we have had time to reflect as to why, we think that it’s because of shift in digital music consumption, and people are keen on having something tangible again,” said Andrew Spitz.

The team hasn’t made a distinct decision on what’s next. They are an ambitious team, so as expected, they have a number projects going on. To pursue the Skube, they would have to give their other explorations much less time. Andrew Spitz explained that a great scenario would be to co-develop the Skube and the team would continue to lead its designer. As another option, the team is thinking about a Kickstarter campaign.

As for giving advice to other makers and interaction designers on making something that creates buzz, Andrew Spitz says, “Do it and move on and learn from that. Try again and try again. Build an intuition for what systems and technologies are popular.” Malthe Borch mentioned that he thinks part of the team’s successes stems from the fact that they each have different backgrounds and come from different cultures. It’s great to be multidisciplinary.”

Want to learn more about the Skube? Here’s everything you need to know. We’ll also continue to share updates about the Skube and if it will makes its way to the consumer market. Want to see other awesome XBee enabled projects? You can visit the XBee Project Gallery here.

Digi’s Involvement in Connecting Light Lives On

Posted on: No Comments

Digi‘s involvement in the art installation, Connecting Light, continues to live on as people explore the inner workings of the 73-mile long presentation. Here are three articles that take a deeper look into the network of 400 connected balloons.

Hadrian’s Wall Roman heritage site uses M2M to enable 73-mile art installation on M2M Now

“The light installation consisted of hundreds of large scale, light filled balloons transmitting colours from one to another, creating a light-operated communication network spanning over seventy miles. Connecting Light was driven by Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, Programmable XBee radios and ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways. Digi Professional Services helped to design the network architecture as an ‘internet of things solution’.”

 



M2M technology powers a 70-mile-long art installation
on Land Mobile

“The art project was connected by the company’s iDigi Device Cloud, a ready-to-use device cloud networking platform. This provided the backbone of the project, supplying the infrastructure required to access, control, configure and upgrade each illumination device securely over the Internet.”

 

 

Apples and Walls in Components in Electronics (page 42)

“…400 illuminated balloons were lit up along its [Hadrian's Wall's] length to demonstrate M2M communications powered by the iDigi Device Cloud. The balloons pulsated in clour and in sync with each other thanks to XBee RF modules in what was basically a 117km long Zigbee network.”

 

 

Learn More About Connecting Light

On Thursday, October 4 at 8:00pm (EST), Rob Faludi, Collaborative Strategy Leader and Jordan Husney, iDigi Product Manager will present the Webinar: Connecting Light – The Ultimate XBee & iDigi Project.

This webinar is your chance to discover how Connecting Light came together and how Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, along with over 400 programmable XBee radios and 20 ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways, helped make it happen. Rob and Jordan will also cover how the application logic of such an art installation, which recently won the M2M Best Practice Awards at this year’s M2M Summit in Dusseldorf, can be used for industry projects.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

The Awe of Connecting Light Continues

Posted on: No Comments

Connecting Light may have taken place over a week ago now, but there are still amazing photos surfacing and the awe of the pure scale of the project continues. Here are some of our never-before-seen photos from the setup and presentation.

Do you have photos of the event you’d like to share? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below. And, if you haven’t already, check out Digi’s own Rob Faludi explaining our involvement in Connecting Light on BBC National News.

Connecting Light Highlights

Posted on: No Comments

Connecting Light made for an exciting time in northern England last week. From the preparation to deployment, Connecting Light was an experience to be remembered. We shared real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter, but here’s a collection of highlights and a behind-the-scenes look at preparation, before-launch demo, press and more.

After a long night of sorting XBees on Wednesday night, on Thursday, the Connecting Light team setup shop at Vallum Farm to prepare for the first on-site demo. The demo went well, and a few news outlets, including BBC, came by to get their first round of coverage. You can see photos from the prep and demo below, and you can check out more photos from the Connecting Light team here.

Also, here’s a great BBC video with David Sillito featuring some of Thursday’s preview footage and the installation’s premier on Friday night.

After mingling with VIP guests at the Roman Army Museum on Friday, Digi’s Collaborative Strategy Leader, Rob Faludi, had the opportunity to appear live on BBC News to explain how Connecting Light worked. It was the perfect time to please curious minds with the details of the installation. To film the piece, we went to a beautiful cliff that became home to a series of balloons for the night.

Here’s a full diagram to accompany Rob’s explanation and another video with even deeper detail.

Check out more photos and behind the scenes footage from the Connecting Light team on their blog here. Do you attend Connecting Light? Did you send a message? Share your experience and photos and videos!

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! CONTACT US

Desktop Site