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XBee Tech Tip: How to conduct an XBee range test

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Have you ever wanted to test the strength of connections in your XBee network? Within the XBee configuration software, XCTU, you can perform a range test. This will tell you the amount of packets received and the RSSI values at the local and remote nodes. This video will take you through the steps necessary to perform a range test.

You can download XCTU at this link: http://www.digi.com/xctu

We hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let us know what you’d like to learn in the next XBee Tech Tip: http://bit.ly/xbeetechtip

Introducing The Official XBee Java Library

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Creating XBee applications just got way easier. Gone are the days of toiling away for every inch of code. In order to make it as simple as possible for you to write applications that interact with XBee, we have created the XBee Java Library. This library supports ZigBee, 802.15.4, DigiMesh and Point-to-Multipoint XBee devices!

xbjlib_diagram_hd

The project includes Java source code, unit tests for the library, and multiple examples that show how to use the available APIs. The examples are also available in source code format.

Here’s a list of what’s included in the library:

  • Configuration of local and remote XBee devices:
    • Configure common parameters with specific setters and getters.
    • Configure any other parameter with generic methods.
    • Execute AT commands.
    • Apply configuration changes.
    • Write configuration changes.
    • Reset the device.
  • Transmission of data to all the XBee devices on the network or to a specific device.
  • Reception of data from remote XBee devices:
    • Data polling.
    • Data reception callback.
  • Reception of network status changes related to the local XBee device.
  • IO lines management:
    • Configure IO lines.
    • Set IO line value.
    • Read IO line value.
    • Receive IO data samples from any remote XBee device on the network.

So whether you’re designing an intelligent lighting application, completely automating your home, tracking your dog’s activity level, or anything else you can dream up– you no longer have to start from scratch. Visit github.com/digidotcom for access to the library and more information.

UPDATE: The Germinator is Alive!

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A couple weeks ago, we shared the projects our team in Logroño built for the Digi Employee Hackathon. Here is quick  update on ‘The Germinator Plus’ project. These pictures were taken two weeks after planting and as you can see, the project is in full force!

The Germinator Plus makes it easy to adjust the environment for different species of plants by using Device Cloud, XBee, a microcontroller, and sensors. The sensors monitor heat, light, and water levels and the system maintains the conditions needed for that species of plant. Read more about the project in the full Digi Employee Hackathon post.

Digi Deploys 500-Node Internet of Things Network for the Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O

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It’s an exciting week as we are taking part in deploying over 500 sensor motes at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, May 15-17. The network will make up the Data Sensing Lab, a project that utilizes Digi’s XBee ZigBee modules and ConnectPort wireless gateways. The sensor data will be collected and managed by Device Cloud. The project demonstrates how real-time machine-to-machine data can provide insight into customer behaviors and preferences.

The senor network will provide more than 4,000 data streams running over Device Cloud with continuous updates on temperature, pressure, light, air quality, motion and noise levels in San Francisco’s Moscone Center during the conference. The Google Cloud Platform team will gather, transform, and analyze the information, then share heat maps and other data visualizations in collaboration with the Google Maps team.

“Google is getting a global view of their entire multi-million dollar event, as it plays out in real time. They’re learning where people are going and when, how loud the applause is for each presentation, where it’s figuratively hot and where it’s literally cool,” Rob said. “But they’re also learning how easy it is to integrate Device Cloud’s APIs with their own cloud-based business systems. Google and Digi collaborated to create a complete end-to-end solution in just a few weeks, one that’s ready to hand us 40 million fascinating data points.”

The Data Sensing Lab crew, Alasdair Allan of Babilim Light Industries, Kipp Bradford of Kippworks, Rob Faludi of Digi International, Michael Manoochehri, Amy Unruh and Kim Cameron of Google and Julie Steele of O’Reilly Media, created the project to collect data to answer questions about the physical world in a fun and awe-inspiring way.

For more information about the software involved in this project, attend the “Behind the Data Sensing Lab” session on May 16, 5:20 – 6 p.m. PDT.  You can find live updates from the conference on Digi’s Machine Talk blogFacebookTwitter and Google+ and updates from the Data Sensing Lab team on Google+ and Twitter.

Read more about the Data Sensing Lab:

Google I/O sensors will detect motion and generate data for real-time visualization on Gigaom

At its conference, Google will be tracking your every step on Venture Beat

Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O 2013: Google Cloud Platform meets the Internet of Things on Google’s Developer Blog

The Data Sensing Lab: Recap and Visualizations

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Last week, we took part in the Data Sensing Lab at O’Reilly Strata Conference. We even hung out with the Data Sensing Lab team live from Santa Clara where the conference hall had been equipped with XBees and a wireless sensor network.

Here’s where you can find more information and updates from the Sense Lab team: 

Do you have questions about the Data Sensing Lab? Let us know in the comments section below, on Google+ or Twitter.

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.

The Internet of Things and Retail: What to Expect on Black Fridays to Come

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Black Friday is only a couple of days away. With all of the talk about shopping, we couldn’t help but think of the Internet of Things and its impact on retail experiences. Here are 5 ways your shopping experience could or may have already changed as the Internet of Things evolves.

On Demand Information 
One of our favorite XBee projects, the TeamLab Hanger, demonstrates how the Internet of Things can offer an on demand information to shoppers while they’re making purchase decisions. This interactive hanger is used as a platform for the fashion industry. As a customer picks up a piece from the clothing rack, a television screen displays the piece on a runway providing a visual experience and options for how the piece can be worn.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) & QR Codes
RFID technology allows automatic identification of objects with the help of a small electronic chip. The data stored on a RFID tag can be read by wireless devices. Retailers can use these tags to increase inventory accuracy and better meet customer expectations. While RFIDs are helpful to manufacturers, QR codes can be helpful to buyers. There are many mobile apps, like Consmr, which allow consumers to get inside information on products that isn’t readily available by examining the product on the shelf.

Products and Shelves that Care for Themselves
The Internet of Things can help manufacturers and store owners optimize efficiency by receiving automatic alerts when products need serviced or shelves need stocked. Anything from a vending machine jam to an empty endcap– devices can communicate when human action is needed.

Store Environment
Sensors can detect the store’s environment and affect it accordingly. This can help staff ensure that you’re getting the intended and usually carefully crafted experience. It can also give stakeholders real-time information on the store’s condition at any given point in time. Sensors can communicate and control the physical environment such as light, sound and temperature– they can even count people in the store to analyze foot traffic.

Consistent Experience
Data from machines paired with sales data can help businesses ensure a quality experience across multiple locations. As a simple example, take fast food. When visiting a fast food restaurant, we rely on a consistent experience. If the corporate division of a fast food franchise can see when a location needs to make a change based on local machine data, stakeholders have more control on quality and consistency without being physically present at store roof-tops.

Which technologies will prevail and reshape our retail experiences? Only time, and you, will tell. As Marc Weiser said, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” The next time you’re in a store, maybe in the early hours of the morning this Friday, ask yourself if the Internet of Things has changed your shopping experience without you noticing.

Do you know of a great Internet of Things innovation you’d like us to talk about? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.

Look What I Made: XBee Project Updates

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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 are just a few of the latest additions– from an apron that notifies guests when the meal is ready to a DIY tweeting weather station.

Also, check out our XBee Project Pinboard that includes all of the projects from the XBee Project Gallery.

 

Apron Alert by Smart Design’s Interaction Lab

Apron Alert is a wearable apron that tweets when a meal is being prepared and when it’s ready. The project was an experiment around “improving the communal kitchen experience.” The Smart Apron uses XBee radios affixed to Lilypad Arduinos to create an apron that automatically notifies your diners when you’ve started cooking and when you’ve finished.

Read on and watch the video

 

DIY Tweeting Weather Station

An Arduino-controlled weather monitoring system that is easily programmed, has the ability to add-on sensors including temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The data to be recorded or shared via its USB output, or wirelessly with an optional XBee or Bluetooth module.

Read on

 

The Cat Doorbell by Don Schleede

This doorbell that sends an SMS text message to your when your cat approaches the door. Created with an outdoor device that detects when a cat (or anything else) is at the door.

Read on

 

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.