At Digi we are constantly looking for ways to stretch our imagination and find new and creative applications for the technology we work with every day. This was the first hackathon held at our Wireless Design Services office, so we were excited to see what our talented hardware engineers could dream up. Here’s what the teams created in just a few days.
Pet Management System
As pet owners, we all want to treat our four-legged friends well. The pet management system does just that. Gone is the guilt of being away from home for an entire day, because now your furry companions can feed themselves.
There are two elements to the pet management system. The first being a self serving dog food bowl (note: this system can be adapted for cats, we like them too). The other component is detection of animals when they are on the furniture.
The feeding system gives your pet the ability to dispense food into their dish all on their own. They just need to place their paw on a pad on the ground. This activates a motor that delivers food to the bowl. The schematic below will you give you an idea of how it all works.
The detection system will alert the owner whenever the pet hops up on the couch. An infrared sensor detects when your pet is up on the couch and you can choose to receive alerts via email or SMS. The sensor is connected to a microcontroller, which is sends data to Device Cloud via XBee.
Also, the data is streamed in real-time into a web-based dashboard. This live feed captures activity from both of the sensors involved in the pet management system.
The Active ID project is made to simplify the exchange of information between two people. Whether it be at a trade show or a social gathering after work, the Active IDs eliminate the need for barcode scanners and computers in order to gather someone’s information.
How does it work? Bluetooth low energy modules in each tag notice each other and use the criteria entered by the user to determine compatibility. If the badge finds a compatible match, the tag will light up or play a sound to notify the user of the matching profile. If the people that are matched up want to exchange information, they each press the connect button and they will each receive an email with each other’s information via Device Cloud.
Software Defined Radio
Software defined radio allows you to decode RF signals across a large frequency band with one device. Traditionally, wireless signals are decoded with proprietary hardware that can only read a very narrow band, like a Wi-Fi module for example. With the lowering cost of high performance CPUs/MCUs, the decoding of RF can be done through software rather than hardware.
Dustin and Mike put together their own software defined radio using an i.MX28 for processing and an ultra-wide band antenna, which was built from scratch.
The project was based on this open source software library for SDR. Mike implemented changes to decode a group of environmental sensors (humidity, temperature, anemometer, and rain level) that operate at 433 MHz. The software decoder was also linked up to the Cloud Connector, so the platform can send data up to Device Cloud.
Like we mentioned earlier, this was our first hackathon at Wireless Design Services, and it was great to see what our WDS team was able to create in just a short amount of time. Hackathons are always a fun way for us to test the usability of our products and build projects we might otherwise never get to. Hopefully these will serve as a source of inspiration as you build your own Internet of Things projects!