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Three Things You Can Build with XBee This Weekend

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Have a couple spare XBees, microcontrollers, and some free time? Here are a few simple projects that you can build to put those RF modules and other electronic goodies to use. Below, you’ll find project descriptions as well as links to step-by-step instructions.

 

Wireless Text to Speech Device
Want to transform serial data into sound? This project allows you to type into a serial terminal connected to an XBee, and when you press enter, the words are sent to another XBee enabled text-to-speech module that speaks the words out loud on a connected speaker. Click here for instructions.

Wireless Disco Ball Controller
Is it party time? We have the perfect solution! This project uses a set of XBees and an Arduino to control a disco ball’s lighting as well as how fast it revolves. Click here for instructions.

XBee Rock, Paper, Scissors Game
Need a fun way to determine who should do the dishes or take the trash out? How about a wireless and interactive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors? This project uses two Mbed microcontrollers and a couple of Digi XBee radios to enable two people to choose a button representing either Rock, Paper, or Scissors and determines the winner on your own LCD screen. Click here for instructions.

Check out examples.digi.com for more projects. There, you can browse tutorials for beginner, intermediate, and even experienced XBee developers. Once you’re done building, feel free to share them with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ using the #XBee hashtag. Happy building!

Digi Employee Hackathon: Developing with Arduino and Mbed Microcontrollers

Last week, Digi engineers convened at our headquarters in Minneapolis for their annual meeting. We also took this time to hold a Hackathon. For this Hackathon, there was a requirement of using both an Arduino and Mbed microcontroller in each team’s design and connect the two microcontrollers via XBee. Here are a few of the projects that were created.

Aquariometer

The goal of the project was to give fish tank owners and pet shop managers a complete solution for monitoring their aquariums. Temperature changes can be detrimental to aquatic life.  Additonally, continuous monitoring of the tank’s temperature can prevent serious damage to a heater if there is an issue. It’s also important to maintain a proper water level. If the levels get too low, it can cause damage to the aquarium’s filtering system.

The project shows the tank level and temperature at a glance with a shiny RGB LED light strip. The height of the lights represents the level in the tank and temperature is reflected by the color of the lights. So, when the temperature is warm, the lights turn red and when the temperature is cool, the light strip turns blue.

The mbed microcontroller was connected to the temperature sensor and the scale, which is used to measure the level of the tank. XBee sent the sensor readings from the tank to an Arduino which processes the sensor readings and controls the LED strip.

Team Members: Don Schleede and Jayna Locke 

Wireless Scoreboard

We’re a competitive bunch. In the heat of competition, you need a way to keep score. That’s why the wireless scoreboard was created.

The design consisted of an Arduino board and mbed board to meet the competition criteria. The mbed was connected to buttons that the user can push to enter a point. There are buttons for the home and away team as well as a reset button to set the score back to zero. The score is displayed on an LCD screen connected to an Arduino. The two microcontrollers communicate via XBee, so you can place the scoreboard and control panel in convenient locations.

Team Members: Jonathan Young

ReMorse

People still use Morse code… right? That’s beside the point. Now, there’s finally a way to send your friends and colleagues Morse code messages.

ReMorse is a high-end, lo-fi, vintage, wireless communication device that makes it easy to send very important, highly secure, messages to those you need to reach. The user simply enters in their message on a laptop, hits send, and the message begins playing from the speaker. The receiver processes the morse code and translates the message.

Team Members: Aaron Kurland, Gene Fodor

CarDuinoIMG_0118

Have you ever left for work in a hurry only to second guess whether or not you closed the garage door? Fear no more. The CarDuino ensures this is a problem of the past.

The team’s prototype consisted of an RC car and miniature garage door, but could easily be expanded to work in the real world. On board the remote control vehicle is an Arduino and XBee. If the door is left open, the driver is notified with a jingle. They can then choose to close the garage door from their car or acknowledge the alarm and turn it off. The range of the device is about one mile out on the road!

 Closing

The goal of the Hackathon was to familiarize everyone with developing on both the Arduino and MBed platforms. We learned a lot and identified strengths and weaknesses in both platforms and we got some amazing projects as a result. Click here to check out past Hackathons we’ve held at Digi. Here’s to more hackathons in the future!

The Pool by Jen Lewin: XBee Art at i Light Marina Bay Festival

 

The Straits Times
Jen Lewin’s project The Pool, is stealing the show at this year’s i Light Marina Bay Festival. The festival aims to promote environmentally-responsible behavior and artists are incorporating recyclable materials and energy efficient lighting in their interactive art installations.

The Pool consists of over 100 interactive pads that emit colorful light and react to users’ movements. As participants move across the installation the pads send out colors and blend together to create a stunning visual display. Each pad has a simple set of rules that reacts to information being sent to and from sensors on every pad throughout the Pool. More than 100 XBee 802.15.4 radios send this information wirelessly from an Arduino in each pad that creates the colorful reactions. The project is monitored and updated remotely using a Digi ConnectPort X2e XBee gateway via Device Cloud.

The Pool was even featured on the front-page of The Straits Times, Singapore’s most widely read newspaper. Congrats Jen! The next stop for The Pool will be at Vivid Sydney May 23.

Check out Jen Lewin’s website to see more of her work.

Look What I Made: XBee Project Updates

We come across amazing XBee projects every day, so we wanted to remind you that we’re constantly updating the XBee Project Gallery. Here are just a few of the latest additions.

Glassees
Students at UC Berkely hacked Google Glass with XBee to enable control of home appliances. If you want to turn a lamp on, all you have to do is look in its direction! Learn more about the project here.

Indigo V Water Sensor
The Indigo V research team used XBee to collect data from sensors as they traveled across the Indian Ocean from Cape Town to Singapore. Learn more about the project here.

Dog Detection System
Axel built this system after discovering his dog causing havoc in the trash bin. Using a couple Arduinos and some XBees he is now alerted when ever his dog enters the room. Learn more about the project here.

Do you have an XBee project you would like featured in the XBee Project Gallery? You can submit your own or someone else’s project here.

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.

Look at What I Made: New XBee Projects

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We come across amazing XBee projects every day, so we wanted to remind you that we’re constantly updating the XBee Project Gallery. Here’s just a few of the latest additions.

XBee Piano
This project was built by a team of students as a part of Duke University’s first hackathon. The build consists of large pads set on the ground that detect pressure and relay signals to the computer. Attached to the a computer is an Arduino Uno with an XBee. Click here to learn more about the piano.

Social Synapses
Inspired by the co-reliance that enables students to push their intellectual boundaries, Alexandra Olivier and Andrew Reiter created an interactive installation, “Social Synapses”, in the science center of Wellesley College. Get more information about ‘Social Synapses’ here.

Multi-Robot Formations
Multi-Robot Formation Control by self-made robots. The robot formation responds to the users shape drawn on a tablet. Robots are controlled by wireless communication with XBee and Arduino FIO. You can read more here.

Have a project you’d like to be featured? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at @XBeeWireless. We also tweet about projects and XBee news and updates every day, follow us to see the latest and greatest!

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.

Arduino TRE

A video overview of the XBee product line from Parallax

The Urban Sensor Hack Series by Makezine

How We’ll 3D Print the Internet of Things on Readwrite

Optimize Field Operations with Remote Monitoring from Field Technologies Online

Arduino Announces Two New Linux Boards on Makezine

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.

Building Sensors with Alasdair Allan using an Arduino and XBees

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Building data streaming sensors with Alasdair Allan:

As a part of Make’s Urban Sensor Hack series, Alasdair Allan builds a temperature and humidity sensor live and streams the data to his computer. He carefully walks you through each step of the building process by building a circuit with an Arduino, writing code, and creating a wireless connection with a Digi XBee. If you’re just starting out or interested in making your own sensor network, this is a perfect video to help you take that first step.

Urban Sensor Hack

Make’s Urban Sensor Hack series sets out to bring makers together to discuss how to set up your own sensor networks.  The series takes place over Google Hangouts until October 15 and features some amazing makers such as Alasdair Allan, Kipp Bradford, Sean Montgomery, and many more. This is a great resource of information as you build your own sensor networks and search for creative uses for sensor data.

More videos to come from Make’s Urban Sensor Hack series, so stay tuned and check out the upcoming schedule.

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