Raspberry Pi Smart Target #piday #raspberrypi

[Noel] posted a tutorial on Instructables on how to build a “Raspberry Pi Smart Target” using a Raspberry Pi and an ioBridge Serial LCD screen. This target tracks and plays sound effects when it gets hit by a flying monkey. It also updates the new Oracle Social Network and Twitter with status updates and photos from a Dropcam. Noel released this project at the Oracle Open World 2012 and it was a hit. Everyone was having fun flinging monkeys at their target.

[via Instructables]

The Social Graph + The Internet of Things

As I get ready for the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, I have been thinking about the intersection of social and objects, and just how I fit into the middle of things. As time goes on we are leaving little trails of data on social networks. Our things are becoming connected and aware of their location and environment and reporting that data to the cloud. This data will get more interesting over time. These thoughts have been lingering for quite a while as for some reason I connected my toaster to Twitter and built interactive lights that link together over social networks. My latest inspiration comes from the Social Graph and the Graph API released by Facebook.

social graph and interent_of_things

What I have created is a socially aware Elmo toy. Instead of tickling Elmo, you Twitter him or Like his Facebook page to get him going. Interestingly enough, Elmo has over 3.6 million likes on Facebook. And, he gets a few likes every minute (trust me I have been tracking him for weeks). The experiment that we are running is what will happen at the Maker Faire. We have written a RealTime.io plugin for ioBridge that is tuned into things, location, and the social graph using Facebook’s API. We are excited to see what will happen at the Maker Faire when makers from all over Pittsburgh come together with their location-aware devices and Facebook accounts. Visitors to the ioBridge demo area will be able to Like Elmo via a QR code. If the graph of you, us, Elmo, the location, and/or your friends all line up, Elmo will get activated in real-time. Elmo has an infectious laugh and we’ve got hear him start singing quite a few times this week.

As our things generate more data, we hope to keep pushing the limits and find meaning. Connections are forming and how we find about what are things know, “who is at the house,” and “if my basement is flooded” will be told to us like other info that we find out about our friends on the Twitter stream or the Facebook news feed or our Google Circles. In fact our friends on our graph may find out before we do.

Internet-connected Geiger Counter Happens to Detect Solar Flares

[Guy] is “Living Sustainably” and has created some great projects such as his Solar Hot Water Heating System and Electric Car Mods. His latest project involves a Geiger counter and some unexpected applications of radiation detection systems. Guy built an Internet-connected Geiger Counter so he could monitor the radiation levels near his home in Maine.

Internet-connected Geiger Counter

“The Geiger-Muller tube is rated to detect alpha, beta and gamma particles.  This means that while it can be used for local testing of radiation, it should also be able to detect astronomical events such as the radiation from solar flares.  So I interfaced it to the web using a spare port on one of my ioBridges so that I could see charts of radiation over a 24 hour and 7 day period.”

Geiger Counter CPM ioBridge Chart

The normal “clicks-per-minute” is 9-12 in his location in the United States. But, one day the radiation level jumped to over 20 CPM! The unexpected jump in radiation was due to a coronal mass ejection (CME) which is better known as a solar flare. Sure enough, there was a reported solar flare that coincided perfectly with the data collected by his Geiger counter.

For more information this project, visit Guy’s website where you can check out the live radiation levels in Maine from his Internet-conencted Geiger Counter.

Connected Bumblebees: Use Twitter to Follow Bees #buzzisback

Nik Sargent likes to “do things differently”. Nik is a technologist, artist, data collector, photographer, and bumblebee conservationist.

Busy Bees

Nik’s Bumblebee Project started off in 2011 with the goal of getting to know these amazing, social creatures. As he learned more, he found that the bees documented behavioral patterns were different from observed behavioral patterns due to climate change and unusual weather conditions. Nik observed countless hours of camera footage and discovered that the Queen’s hibernation schedule has been completely disrupted leading to disaster of new bumblebees and subsequent pollination which is critical to our food supply. There are many reports of a decline in pollination and is of global significance.

Earlier this year, Nik added sensors and a gateway from ioBridge to help automate and collect more data generated by these busy bees. The bee boxes now monitor temperature, track movement, count bees, and provide real-time feedback from the bumblebees by being connected to the cloud. The project looks to be evolving as new sensors and ideas will be incorporated over time.

“ioBridge is a big step forward in allowing us to automate and correlate environmental and activity data without resorting to manual CCTV analysis,” said Nik in an email interview. “It gives us the freedom not only to view and collect the data from anywhere remotely,  but also share it and tweet it – again helping to raise awareness.”

Nik was able to capture a photo of the first tweet triggered by a Bumblebee.

Video Still of Bumblebees

And, here’s what she said…

Bumblebee Tweet

We were so happy to find out about this project. We didn’t know much about Bumblebees and learned a lot by following Nik’s project. Thanks for sharing and we hope to do our part to help raise awareness of the global impact and never ending curiosity that bumblebees generate.

To get more info about the Bumblebee Project visit LoveBumbl.es and follow the project on Twitter.

Socially Aware Lights, Now Wireless with XBee and ioBridge

Check out the iDigi blog for details of a new project involving CheerLights - a network of interconnected lights. In this project, Noel Portugal created a wireless version of CheerLights using Digi’s XBee radios and the ioBridge IO-204 web gateway. Lights, apps, and objects all stay linked together by listening to the Twitter Stream for colors. When a color gets tweeted to @cheerlights, all of the objects change to that color.

“It’s a way to connect physical things with social networking experiences. We are all connected.” -CheerLights

ioBridge Internet Gateway with XBee Radio

Colors from Twitter are processed via ioBridge’s Internet of Things Platform called ThingSpeak. ThingSpeak is a suite of apps to make things social and interact with each other and social networks. CheerLights takes advantage of the TweetControl app. This app can be used to monitor Twitter and then send a control signal to anything that supports HTTP like thermostats, ioBridge X10 Home Automation gear, kid’s toys, interactive trade show displays… and whatever you come up with next.

[via iDigi / My Web of Things]