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XBee’s First Hip-Hop Performance

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Adam W Dessa ProjectAdam Wolf, an engineer at Wireless Design Services by day, electronics maker and creator by night, received a request to build a light show for an upcoming Doomtree concert. Dessa, a singer and rapper in Doomtree, wanted to create something ‘beautiful and spooky’– the main source of inspiration being a scene from the Little Mermaid. The hope was to create glowing lights in the singers’ mouths and on their clothing that could dim and brighten with the music.

First order of business was to a find a way to get the singers’ mouths to glow.

As you might expect, the mouth isn’t the greatest environment for a circuit, so some clever engineering was required. The circuit had to be enclosed in mouth-safe plastic to ensure any saliva wouldn’t close the circuit.

For control of the lights, Adam used magnets as a way to regulate voltage, so each singer is able to turn the mouthpiece on by bringing a magnet up to her face.  A lot work went into this little device, it even required a trip to the dentist to create a well-fitting mouth piece!

[meteor_slideshow slideshow=”doomtree”]

The lights on each of the singers’ sternums is where XBee comes in. Each LED module was connected to a MOSFET, which was connected to the PWM pin on an XBee Series 1.  This setup allowed Doomtree’s light guy, Arlo, to control the lights’ voltage over a wireless link. Above is a picture of the control interface. By adjusting the knob on the top of the control box Arlo is able to adjust the brightness of the lights to match the music.

Below is a short clip of the LED lights in action.

The Pool Makes Headlines Around the World

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The Pool, built by Jen Lewin, is an interactive light sculpture connected with XBee. It’s been a busy year for Jen as she’s been touring around the world sharing The Pool everywhere from Singapore, to Australia to Burning Man. Here are a few recent articles and videos that detail the travels of one of our favorite XBee projects.

[Video] Jen Lewin: Artist dazzles with light and sound installations | BBC

An Exclusive First Look at the Other-Worldly Art of Burning Man 2014 | Huffington Post

Festival of Lights Illuminates Downtown Cleveland | Design Boom

Sustainable Art Glows Bright in Singapore | NBC News

You can learn more about The Pool in the XBee Gallery. Check out Jen Lewin’s website and like her on Facebook to get more information on what she’s working on. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to see The Pool first-hand? Share your photos with us at @XBeeWireless.

The Pool by Jen Lewin: XBee Art at i Light Marina Bay Festival

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The Straits Times
Jen Lewin’s project The Pool, is stealing the show at this year’s i Light Marina Bay Festival. The festival aims to promote environmentally-responsible behavior and artists are incorporating recyclable materials and energy efficient lighting in their interactive art installations.

The Pool consists of over 100 interactive pads that emit colorful light and react to users’ movements. As participants move across the installation the pads send out colors and blend together to create a stunning visual display. Each pad has a simple set of rules that reacts to information being sent to and from sensors on every pad throughout the Pool. More than 100 XBee 802.15.4 radios send this information wirelessly from an Arduino in each pad that creates the colorful reactions. The project is monitored and updated remotely using a Digi ConnectPort X2e XBee gateway via Device Cloud.

The Pool was even featured on the front-page of The Straits Times, Singapore’s most widely read newspaper. Congrats Jen! The next stop for The Pool will be at Vivid Sydney May 23.

Check out Jen Lewin’s website to see more of her work.

Disneyland Creates New Experiences with Digi Technology

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Disney’s World of Color has always been a favorite among Disney Land attendees, and a recent update to the show has made it an even more unique and immersive experience. In 2012, Glow with the Show was introduced as a way to bring a new level of interaction between the show and audience.

Glow with the show is the result of thousands of audience members wearing hats that each contain LED lights in each of the hat’s ears. The hats are synched together to flash and change colors. The Disney Tech Crew is able to control the colors of the hat’s ears from one central location. From this spot, commands are broadcasted via infrared. Each hat contains an infrared sensor, which reads the signal and the LED lights respond accordingly.

The device that makes Glow with the Show possible is Digi’s System-on-Module, ConnectCore, which serves as a base station for the light show. Signals are sent to the ConnectCore via Ethernet and the module broadcasts the infrared signal out to the hats. The effect of thousands of hats synched together creates an ocean of color that washes over the audience and creates exciting special effects.

The hats have also been a part of Cars Land, Mad T Party, Fantasmic, and even the nightly firework display Magical. As you walk through different areas of Cars Land, the hats will change in response to the environment. Future plans are  to incorporate Glow with the Show with more areas within Disney parks. Glow with the Show hats are bringing Disney fans closer to their favorite characters and audiences are becoming a part of the show.

We often hear of M2M technology being a solution for business inefficiencies, but here we see it can be also used to create unique and immersive experiences.  Wireless connected devices can be used to create exciting experiences, by making it easier to integrate into our lives and providing a higher level of interaction.

Webinar & Twitter Chat: Connecting Light, The Ultimate XBee iDigi Project

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As many of you know, Digi took part in the innovative art installation Connecting Light that took place on August 31 and September 1, along Hadrian’s Wall in the UK. Connecting Light, which has been called the longest art installation in the world was part of the London 2012 Festival, a 12-week cultural celebration for the London 2012 Olympics. The installation consisted of hundreds of large-scale, light-filled balloons transmitting colors from one-to-another, creating a communication network spanning Hadrian’s Wall.

On Thursday October 4, at 8:00am EST Rob Faludi and Jordan Husney will host a webinar explaining how Connecting Light came together, and how Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, along with over 400 programmable XBee radios and 20 ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways helped make it happen. While Rob and Jordan explain the technology behind Connecting Light, you have the opportunity to participate and ask your questions in real time on Twitter with the hashtag #DigiConnected.

Start your Thursday morning learning about how the technology used for Connecting Light, which recently won the M2M Best Practice Awards at this year’s M2M Summit in Dusseldorf, can be used for industry projects.

Date & Time: Thursday October 4, 8:00am EST

Presented By:

Rob Faludi, Collborative Stategy Leader

Jordan Husney, iDigi Product Manager

Key Topics:

  • An explanation of the Connecting Light project
  • An iDigi and XBee product description & how they were used in this project
  • A step-by-step explanation of how the application logic is distributed and how that relates to other, “real-life” applications, such as the way a vending machine or medical device system might architect their app across our systems.
Live Commentary and Q&A: #DigiConnected

We’re looking forward to chatting with you soon. You can register now here.

Digi’s Involvement in Connecting Light Lives On

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Digi‘s involvement in the art installation, Connecting Light, continues to live on as people explore the inner workings of the 73-mile long presentation. Here are three articles that take a deeper look into the network of 400 connected balloons.

Hadrian’s Wall Roman heritage site uses M2M to enable 73-mile art installation on M2M Now

“The light installation consisted of hundreds of large scale, light filled balloons transmitting colours from one to another, creating a light-operated communication network spanning over seventy miles. Connecting Light was driven by Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, Programmable XBee radios and ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways. Digi Professional Services helped to design the network architecture as an ‘internet of things solution’.”


M2M technology powers a 70-mile-long art installation
on Land Mobile

“The art project was connected by the company’s iDigi Device Cloud, a ready-to-use device cloud networking platform. This provided the backbone of the project, supplying the infrastructure required to access, control, configure and upgrade each illumination device securely over the Internet.”



Apples and Walls in Components in Electronics (page 42)

“…400 illuminated balloons were lit up along its [Hadrian’s Wall’s] length to demonstrate M2M communications powered by the iDigi Device Cloud. The balloons pulsated in clour and in sync with each other thanks to XBee RF modules in what was basically a 117km long Zigbee network.”



Learn More About Connecting Light

On Thursday, October 4 at 8:00pm (EST), Rob Faludi, Collaborative Strategy Leader and Jordan Husney, iDigi Product Manager will present the Webinar: Connecting Light – The Ultimate XBee & iDigi Project.

This webinar is your chance to discover how Connecting Light came together and how Digi International’s iDigi Device Cloud, along with over 400 programmable XBee radios and 20 ConnectPort X4 cellular gateways, helped make it happen. Rob and Jordan will also cover how the application logic of such an art installation, which recently won the M2M Best Practice Awards at this year’s M2M Summit in Dusseldorf, can be used for industry projects.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

The Awe of Connecting Light Continues

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Connecting Light may have taken place over a week ago now, but there are still amazing photos surfacing and the awe of the pure scale of the project continues. Here are some of our never-before-seen photos from the setup and presentation.

Do you have photos of the event you’d like to share? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below. And, if you haven’t already, check out Digi’s own Rob Faludi explaining our involvement in Connecting Light on BBC National News.

Connecting Light Highlights

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Connecting Light made for an exciting time in northern England last week. From the preparation to deployment, Connecting Light was an experience to be remembered. We shared real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter, but here’s a collection of highlights and a behind-the-scenes look at preparation, before-launch demo, press and more.

After a long night of sorting XBees on Wednesday night, on Thursday, the Connecting Light team setup shop at Vallum Farm to prepare for the first on-site demo. The demo went well, and a few news outlets, including BBC, came by to get their first round of coverage. You can see photos from the prep and demo below, and you can check out more photos from the Connecting Light team here.

Also, here’s a great BBC video with David Sillito featuring some of Thursday’s preview footage and the installation’s premier on Friday night.

After mingling with VIP guests at the Roman Army Museum on Friday, Digi’s Collaborative Strategy Leader, Rob Faludi, had the opportunity to appear live on BBC News to explain how Connecting Light worked. It was the perfect time to please curious minds with the details of the installation. To film the piece, we went to a beautiful cliff that became home to a series of balloons for the night.

Here’s a full diagram to accompany Rob’s explanation and another video with even deeper detail.

Check out more photos and behind the scenes footage from the Connecting Light team on their blog here. Do you attend Connecting Light? Did you send a message? Share your experience and photos and videos!

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