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Recommended Reading: The Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we do business, collect information and live our lives. We’ve compiled a growing list of recommended books that will get you (or keep you) at the forefront of the inception and growth of the IoT.

We’ll be updating this list with your suggestions and newly released books on a regular basis.

Update: January 24, 2013

M2M Communications: A Systems Approach by David Boswarthick, Omar Elloumi, Olivier Hersent

The Internet of Things: Key Applications and Protocols by David Boswarthick, Omar Elloumi, Olivier Hersent

Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP: The Next Internet by Jean-Philippe Vasseur & Adam Dunkels

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication services: High-impact Technology – What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors by Kevin Roebuck

LEGO and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronics by John Baichtal, Matthew Beckler, Adam Wolf

—March 26, 2012 

Building Wireless Sensor Networks by Rob Faludi

Getting Started with the Internet of Things: Connecting Sensors and Microcontrollers to the Cloud by Cuno Pfister

Making Things Talk: Using Sensors, Networks, and Arduino to see, hear, and feel your world by Tom Igoe

Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists by Dustyn Roberts

Programming Interactivity by Joshua Noble

Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling

ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network by Ata Elahi

Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design by Mike Kuniavsky

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

What have you read lately? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us your suggestions for the list.

XIG Stock Tracker

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Digi’s own Dave Olson created the XIG Stock Tracker or a “stock fortune teller.” It wirelessly provides real-time updates of the DIGI, or any, stock status using the XBee Internet Gateway for windows. Stock updates as soon as they happen– talk about a great office ornament.

Dave used an Arduino UNO, an Arduino XBee Shield, an XBee, XStick and a USB Serial Programming Board.

He then set the AT commands for the XBee and XStick to sync them. If you’re creating your own, you can use this reference for the proper XBee settings.

Next, download and run the XIG code for windows, located here.  Select the COM port that your XStick is plugged into.

Plug the XBee into the XBee shield and plug the shield into the Arduino UNO. Connect the UNO to your machine with a USB serial chord.

The Arduino code reads in and parses the DGII NASDAQ website. If the DGII stock is up pin 13 (green LED) is turned on. If the DGII stock is down pin 12 (red LED) is turned on.

Green and red LEDs connected to pins 13 and 12, respectfully.

Using a 9V battery and an enclosure that can be hung on the wall, you now have a real-time, wireless view of the Digi stock price status without any direct internet access.

Note: The XIG DGII Reader only requires internet connection from your laptop and can get you a live reading as long as you are within XBee range.

Are you interested in trying other projects? Visit the Digi Examples Site. You can also see Dave’s other project, the XBee Enabled Ice Fishing Pole here.

Sega Rally Cabinet Hacked for Racing RC Trucks via Gizmag

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Of all the ways to catastrophically break a Sega Rally Championship Arcade cabinet, Artica’s hack at Portuguese hackathon Codebits earlier this month must surely go down as the most creative. With the addition of an Arduino board and an XBee RF module, the cabinet was made to race two camera-equipped radio-control trucks around the floor at Codebits VI.

With the addition of an XBee wireless radio frequency module, the cabinet is ready, in theory, to communicate with a radio-controlled truck. In practice, the truck needed to be modified with a receiver allowing signals from the Arduino board to be mapped to the truck’s wheels, throttle and a video switch.

Read the Full Article on Gizmag

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.

How To Start A Hackerspace by Eric Michaud on Adafruit

The Internet of Things: Coming to a Classroom Near You by David LaMartina on EdCetera
Pairs well with: 5 Ways to Learn Even if You’re Not Headed B2S4 Resources for Learning Electronics

Digi Launches XBee-PRO 900HP RF Module With a Range of Up to 45 Km on CNXSoftware

Toyota Tests Cars That Communicate With Each Other by Yuri Kageyama on Wireless Week

Smart thermostats are taking over Las Vegas by Katie Fehrenbacher on Gigaom
featuring EcoFactor

Arduino Wireless Connectivity with XBee by Roy Wood on Wired

Do you have a link to share? Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @XBeeWireless — we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

Make Your Own with the XIG: The Cat Doorbell

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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. 

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:

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.

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.

Digi Hosts the Data Sensing Lab at O’Reilly’s Strata Conference and NYC Data Week October 23-25
You can find real-time updates about the Data Sensing Lab on Google+

Driving Energy Home on Connected World Magazine
Featuring Digi International and Digi’s Director of Business Development, David Mayne

The Check ‘N Chew Spotted on Foursquare’s blogLegal Sea Foods’ foursquare-powered gumball machine
You can see the Check ‘N Chew on the XBee Project Gallery here

What happens when computers are cheaper than LEGO blocks? by Emile Petrone on Gigaom

Industrial Internet Links: Robots, railways, the Internet of very small things, and SQL injection in solar panels by Jon Bruner on O’Reilly Radar

Do you have a link to share? Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @XBeeWireless — we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

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

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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.

The Cool Kids

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Have you heard of Caine’s Arcade? Caine’s creative cardboard box arcade got the attention of thousands of people when a flash mob surprised him at his father’s auto parts shop in East L.A. Then, his story touched millions as the video went viral this week.

Caine’s story got us thinking– there are so many amazing kids in the world. Specifically, so many kids in tech– kids that are building, inventing and creating. Here are a couple that caught our attention.

“Restoring Your Broken XBee” made its way around the Web last week. The Instructables post was shared in communities, forums and on social networks. A number of XBee users found the information to be extremely helpful. The author is 11 year old Instructables member, “Qtechknow.”

Qtechknow has an impressive bio for an 11 year old innovator: “I’m an 11 year old who has a major interest in electronics and Arduino. I’ve done many advanced projects and I make my own PCBs.”

What’s next? Qtechknow tells us, “I am working on an Xbee project with the help of Building Wireless Sensor Networks [by our own Rob Faludi]. I will have a functional project by the end of this month and at Bay Area Maker Faire.”

Make also recently interviewed Ella Smith, a 4th grader who created a Zevrino Arduino-powered cat feeder. Smith and her father built The Zevrino with an Arduino Uno, Arduino motor controller, DS1307 real-time clock with battery backup, a toggle switch, 2 low-speed motors and 2 Zevro dry food dispensers.

Do you know a kid in tech?

We want to help kid innovators get as much attention as Caine did. Tell us about kids you know that are playing with tech in the comments section or on Twitter. We’d love to continue to feature these cool kids. We’d also love to feature these young makers in our XBee Project Gallery.

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