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Digi Employee Hackathon: Minnetonka Tech Support Team

The Digi Employee Hackathons have now become a tradition we all look forward to. We’ve hacked in Digi offices around the world, built cloud connected projects, and above all else, have just had tons of fun. This week our Tech Support team battled it out to see who could build the most impressive project with the XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit.

Here are the projects that went from idea to reality in just hours.

The Coffee Busters

The injustice stops now. No longer will we fall victim to those topping up their morning cups of coffee– only to leave an empty pot for the rest of us. The Coffee Busters’ goal was to make sure no one can flee the scene of an empty coffee pot after pouring the last fresh cup.

 

The team started off by 3D printing a base to hold the coffee pot. Within the 3D printed base is a force resistor that is continually taking measurements and checking to see if the coffee level is getting low. Once the coffee gets low, the device plays a jingle to notify the coffee drinker that ,”Hey, I need to be refilled!” In addition to playing a jingle, the team connected a Digi Watchport Camera to a ConnectPort X4, which snaps a photo when the alarm goes off. If the the coffee drinker fails to fill the coffee pot back up in a timely manner, the photo that was taken at the scene of the crime is sent out to the department via email.
Team Members: Charlie Kotasek, Ron Kinney, and Michael Shatirishvili.
Awarded: Best Buzz

Cool Bees

Servers are expensive and they can get hot. If a server room is approaching warmer than normal temperatures, it’s important that you know as soon as possible, so you can prevent a disaster. Or better yet, let the server room prevent it’s own disaster. The Cool Bees’ project enables servers to let IT staff know when the temperature starts to approach a dangerous level.

 

The team connected a temperature sensor and a cooling fan to the XBee Wi-Fi. Temperature sensor readings were continually sent up to Device Cloud. If a reading was greater than 74 degrees, an alarm was triggered and turned on the connected fan to bring the room’s temperature to a safer level.
Team Members: Jeanne Garmon, Knight Jensen, Margaret Kronenberg, and Scott Peterson.
Awarded: Coolest Project

For the Birds 

Bird feeders are great, but turn your head at the wrong moment and you might miss seeing your winged visitor. Or it turns into a squirrel feeder and no matter what measure you take, you can’t find a way to keep them away. For the Birds channeled this frustration into developing a cloud-connected bird feeder that is full of useful features.

 

First, the feeder snaps a picture when a bird stops by for a bite. A motion sensor attached to an XBee Wi-Fi recognizes when a bird is near the feeder. A picture is taken and the user is sent an email letting them know a bird has stopped by. The team also wanted to be notified when the feeder needs refilling. To do this, they attached a weight sensor to the feeder and when the amount of feed reaches 20% the user is sent an email letting them know it’s time to refill the feeder.

Next item on the road map is to create an anti-squirrel system that keeps the bushy-tailed creatures off the feeder, but also leaves them unharmed!
Team Members: Cheryl Busch, Michael Toenis, and Jennifer Getty
Awarded: Most Shocking

Closing
The Coffee Busters were awarded first place, but each project showcased the creativity of our employees and what is possible with the Internet of Things–even if you only have a few hours to develop your project. Like always, we gained valuable feedback on how to improve the user experience with our products. Now, hopefully we can get a few coffee busters set up around the office and finally solve the mystery of the empty coffee pot.

Meet the Kit that Connects You to the Internet of Things ASAP

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In this video, Digi’s Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, shows you how easy it is to build a Wi-Fi enabled hardware prototype and develop an application for the Internet of Things with the XBee WiFi Cloud Kit. The kit wirelessly connects with Device Cloud by Etherios out of the box, so you can build custom widgets that interact with your cloud-connected hardware.

Interested in seeing more ideas of what is possible with the XBee WiFi Cloud kit? Check out the projects that came out of our employee Hackathon in Logroño.

XBee Has a New Home

XBee has a New Home

XBee information has a new home! We’re always looking for ways to share information with our customers, so we’re excited to announce the launch of the revamped XBee resource center. This page has everything you need to know about XBee– how to connect to the cloud, choose the right module, and how to find example projects that will help get you started with XBee.

XCTU Computer

You can also check out what others are building with XBee, whether it be large-scale networks or a project from the XBee Gallery. And if you ever need help with your projects, you can contact an XBee expert by submitting your questions via the ‘Contact an Expert’ form.

Click here to visit the new page.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee WiFi Visits Logroño

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For the latest Digi Hackathon, Rob Faludi took the show on the road and crossed the Atlantic to hold the first ever hackathon at our office in Logroño, Spain. With XBee WiFi Cloud Kits in hand, the four teams hacked away for what was the most competitive hackathon yet. In a matter of hours, each team had to quickly brainstorm, build, and present their cloud-connected projects.

 

The Garbage M.A.N.

Garbage M.A.N. Smart garbage containers monitoring for smart cities. In Spain, garbage is sorted into four different containers that fill up at different speeds. Garbage trucks need to collect every container no matter how full it is and they do this mainly during the night. The containers may overflow, which is smelly, or be collected when they don’t need to be which is a waste of time, energy and creates unnecessary noise.

The Garbage M.A.N. monitors the fill level with sensors and transmits the information to a central program that calculates routing so that full containers never overflow, and empty containers are not visited unnecessarily. This reduces noise, pollution, smells, collection time and the truck fleet. The prototype uses an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit, Device Cloud and an Android application to display optimized routes. Yes, the Garbage M.A.N. can!
Team members: Sebastián Pastor, Javier Viguera, Ernesto Vara, Arturo Buzarra, and Héctor Palacios.
Awarded: “Least Smelly” and First Prize

 

Germinator Plus
Germinator Plus

An automated system for remote greenhouse seed germination monitoring. Seeds germination requires unique light, temperature and humidity conditions for each species of plant. Germinator Plus provides an automatic germination greenhouse to  monitor and control each of these conditions. It’s easy to configure and use for a variety of different seed species, and everything can be done remotely. Heating, light and watering are all triggered by sensors. When the plants have reached the proper height, the grower is alerted that they are ready to transplant. Germinator Plus prototype uses XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, a ConnectCore 6, water pump, lighting controls, heater, moisture, light and temperature sensors. The result? Perfect plants.
Team members: David Escalona, Diego Escalona, Francisco/Paco Gil Martínez, Carlos Marín, and Isaac Hermida.
Awarded: “Industrial Light & Moisture Award” and Second Prize

 

Lie-Detect-o-Meter
Lie Detect-o-Meter

A mobile battery-operated wristband lie detector for public questioning. Ask your question remotely through the web interface and get a real time answer with an instant decision about its truthfulness. Lie-detect-o-meter is the must have gadget for your political career. The project uses XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, Arduino and sensors for moisture and pulse.
Team members: Mike Engel, Daniel Alesanco, Hector Bujanda, and Alex Gonzalez.
Awarded: “Most Judgmental”

 

The Smart Plug-Y-Play

Unattended computers waste energy. The Smart Plug-Y-Play monitors power consumption and can automatically switch off the computer. In addition users can turn any device on or off remotely, and configure notification alarms to alert them to excessive power consumption or unauthorized use. The system was prototyped with the XBee Wi-Fi, Device Cloud, a motion detector, smart plug and controlled by either a web application or smartphone app.
Team members: Pedro Perez, Ruben Moral, Tatiana Leon, Jesus Nieto, and Alejandro Vaquero.
Awarded: “Most Shocking”

 

With an office full of hackers it was no surprise that every project was a home run. But, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what the IoT makes possible. Are you a maker, builder, or DIYer looking to build your own Internet of Things project? Learn more about the XBee WiFi Cloud Kit here.

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:

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.

How the Cloud and Big Data Are Changing Entertainment on Forbes

Our 2013 Forecast: The Internet of Things is Changing Your World, So Pay Attention

Digi and the Intel Intelligent Systems Framework

The Internet Of Things And The Data It Will Produce on MediaPost

CES 2013: Connected Devices and the Internet of Things on BusinessWeek

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.

Making Connectivity Easy: Freescale and iDigi with Arrow’s Online Development Tool

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We’re excited to play a role in Arrow Cloud Connect– with technology from Freescale and Digi International, Arrow Cloud Connect is a free development environment that helps designers realize the potential of adding connectivity to their products.

The free online tool for building internet of things applications on the Cortex M0+ platform allows you to write, compile and program code to your Kinetis L Freedom board. You can also connect to iDigi Device Cloud through a software gateway, giving you instant capability to sense and send data for various end points.

Arrow Cloud Connect was designed for efficiency and convenience, with a comprehensive code library for rapid development and enhanced dashboard and collaboration tools. For more information and to get started register for Arrow Cloud here.

Wireless Devices Answer the Call for Help via McKnight’s

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This article was written by Kelly Besecker, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at AFrame Digital and Steve Popovich, our Vice President of Business Development at Digi International.

As a result of rising medical costs and an increasing number of patients with chronic conditions, many senior living facilities are seeking wireless monitoring solutions for managing patients’ health in addition to life-safety. For all patients or residents, any change or decline in their condition needs to be detected as quickly as possible to allow for early intervention.

According to a study conducted by IMS Research, more than 50 million wireless health monitoring devices will ship for consumer monitoring applications during the next five years. Such devices offer personalized care for a variety of health scenarios, including fall risks.

Falls are a major health risk. It is estimated that one in three persons over the age of 65 is likely to fall at least once a year. Personal emergency response systems can help by providing a “panic button” device that a senior can press if an accident occurs.  However, a 2008 study by the British Medical Journal found that 80% of people over the age of 90 who wore monitoring devices never pushed the alert button after a fall, either because they didn’t want to bother anyone or were unable to do so.  If a fall goes undetected, the results can be devastating for both the patient and the senior living facility.  Remaining on the floor, even for a few hours, can lead to problems such as dehydration, low body temperature and skin sores due to pressure. Additionally, senior living facilities can face the loss of revenue, lawsuits and license revocation if falls go undetected.

To prevent undetected falls, senior living facilities are now looking for solutions that feature a built-in accelerometer that measures movement and orientation, and can automatically sense falls. When a fall is detected, it sends an alert where it is deemed appropriate, such as a caregiver or nurse station. With automatic alerts, caregivers are able to act more quickly to provide assistance. In addition, automatic detection allows a trend to be developed over time that may indicate an increase in instability over time. If the system also determines the location of the resident, a pattern of difficulty with certain locations or time of day may emerge.

Of course, it is everyone’s goal to prevent falls before they happen. Most falls are associated with one or more identifiable risk factors such as weakness, confusion and certain medications. Research has shown that identification and attention to these risk factors can significantly reduce fall rates. Companies such as AFrame Digital have introduced technology that is designed to detect changes so medical personnel and caregivers can be alerted before a fall happens.

AFrame’s MobileCare™ Monitor system, a wrist watch-like device, wirelessly communicates a user’s motion and location data to a cloud-based monitoring and alerting system. The AFrame system’s capabilities include emergency call, impact detection, location tracking, along with activity and vitals tracking and trending. The solution uses ZigBee wireless technology, provided by Digi International, to connect to the network, and the iDigi Device cloud to make system management easy.

Read the Full Article on McKnight’s 

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