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.
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.
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.
A Hong Kong based company, Robugtix, makes bio-inspired multi-legged robots. That’s right, robotic, XBee-enabled, spiders. And, it just so happens that this eight legged robotic is a favorite of Adam Savage, host and famous maker on the show MythBusters. It was even featured on his YouTube series, Inside Adam Savage’s Cave.
The realistic (and slightly terrifying) arachnid is a 3D printed robot that is extremely lightweight and can very closely mimic the biological movements of a spider. It’s controlled wirelessly by joysticks on a remote control with XBee. The remote includes four joysticks for complete control of the robot, so you can do more than just move left/right and forward/back.
Super Long-Range 900 MHz XBee-PRO® Module with DigiMesh®
This little 1.3 x 1 inch XBee® radio packs a serious punch, with a 28 mile range in the 900 MHz frequency band. With interfaces that include UART or SPI, 15 digital I/O pins, 4 ADC pins, and 2 PWM outputs, the XBee-PRO 900HP is capable of wirelessly connecting virtually any device or sensor and transmitting data across long distances.
Companies have utilized this module to develop some amazing products, like intelligent wireless street lighting systems, mission-critical radiation detection systems at power plants, and even beacon systems used in firefighting suits.
“We wanted to be up and running quickly and Digi provided us with the rapid development environment we needed. Its solutions were easily integrated into our IT platform. The solution was ready in less than two months, and enabled us to get to the market quickly.” – Robert Boualit, health services director at almerys
Heart failure is the leading cause of emergency hospitalization in patients over 60 years old. For those suffering from heart disease, changes in body weight are a crucial indicator of their health and response to treatment. Remote monitoring for patient weight “warning signs” can avert emergency hospitalization, improves the health of patients and has massive cost-saving implications for health care systems worldwide.
Digi and almerys, a subsidiary of Orange Business Services, have helped develop and implement a cardiology telehealth pilot project in the Auvergne region of France. The Cardiauvergne project, which utilizes Digi’s ConnectPort® X3, Digi TransPort® 41 and Device Cloud by Etherios™, performs in-home monitoring to collect a patient’s weight data daily, and transfers it quickly and securely to a medical co-ordination unit where medical decisions are made.
Since the Cardiauvergne project began in September 2011, 315 patients have been monitored and 600 health crises have been averted. This is just one example of how Digi is improving patient care by connecting critical devices – see our Medical Brochure to learn more about how Digi and Etherios are expanding the mobility and frequency of patient health care.
The business of connecting machines may seem as far from nature as you can get. But, this remote monitoring system is a great reminder that machines are incredible tools we can use to learn more about the things we care about– in this case, bears.
Digi developed a remote monitoring solution for the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) that allows the Institute to monitor bears in their dens during hibernation. One particular bear, Lily, has hibernated deep in the Minnesota woods where there is no access to landline Internet service. To establish a camera uplink to Lily’s remote den, WRI is using the Digi TransPort WR21 wireless router which provides a high-speed Internet connection over Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network.
“We are allowing the Wildlife Research Institute to gain valuable insights into the activity of bears during hibernation by establishing a 4G connection in the wilderness,” said Joel Young, senior vice president of research and development and CTO of Digi International. “We have connected hundreds of thousands of remote devices throughout the world, and this application is a great example of how technology can be used to take control of widely-deployed assets.”
Using the video uplink, researchers could see how Lily prepared for birth during hibernation and how she reacted to the cubs just after birth. A second camera was also installed outside of Lily’s den that records activity near the den during warmer months.
Digi also helped the WRI connect scales that detect when a bear is present in the den. When the bear steps on the scale, weight is recorded and the sensors trigger the camera to begin recording.
“It’s incredible that with a small amount of money and effort, these low-tech devices have been made smart just by adding connectivity,” said Jim Stroner, a research program volunteer and special products development manager with Digi International. “This application is a great example of how connected devices can impact society, and we are extremely pleased to be a part of this exciting and valuable research.”
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.
We’ll be talking wireless technology, M2M solutions and device cloud connectivity at the seventh annual WaveForum this November in Miami, Florida. WaveForum brings together industry experts from around the world to share knowledge and experience. The three-day event will feature over 25 different sessions covering a variety of topics including: