ioBridge Project by Ryan Rusnak Featured in Best Buy Commercial

If you happen to be kicking back and watching TV over the Holidays, chances are you are going to see a Best Buy Commercial. Best Buy’s new commercial campaign is called, “Gifts That Do”.  [Ryan Rusnak] created a beverage cannon using a mini-fridge, air compressor, servo motors, and network connectivity with an ioBridge gateway. Using his smartphone, Ryan selects, aims, and fires a “beverage” over 20 feet to himself sitting on the couch in front of his flat screen TV from LG. The TV being a gift from his mom. Best Buy was inspired by Ryan’s project and featured him on their latest advertisement. Check it out on YouTube!

Congrats, Ryan! It’s great seeing an ioBridge project on TV mixed in with a movie marathon of The Christmas Story, football, and reruns of Seinfeld.

Successful Internet of Things DCWEEK Workshop

First I’d like to give a thank you to all the attendees of ioBridge’s DCWEEK Internet of Things Workshop.  It was a great turnout even though it was one of the last events of a long week.

We accomplished all of our goals:

  1. Explain to people what the “Internet of Things” is
  2. Have everyone realize where it is in their everyday lives
  3. Understand just how BIG it is going to be
  4. Get people to experiment first hand with IoT
  5. Get involved with the Washington, DC tech scene and contribute to DCWEEK 2011
  6. Get people giddy like school children when they are controlling their own “Things” on the Internet!

All the attendees were very involved in the presentation.  It was great to see the wheels start to turn as they learned about basic digital and analog inputs/outputs.  Once they understood those concepts they started to see how seemingly complex devices like a touch screen could be broken down in to it’s basic inputs and outputs.

The hands on part of the workshop was very rewarding and we thought everyone had a lot of fun.  We brought ioBridge Dev Kits that include IO-204 and multiple buzzers, temperature sensors, buttons, servo motors and LCD screens for the attendees to play with.  Four separate groups got to go through the module setup process and begin interacting with their items through the Internet.  Once they got that down, it started to get a little creative.

One group used a combination of the temperature sensor and the buzzer to have a buzzer go off when a certain temperature was reached.  They monitored all the inputs and outputs right from the Internet.  Another group took it a step further and had their IO-204 tweet once a certain temperature was reached.  Once they got that down, they used a simple button to trigger a tweet.  Sort of like a motion detector tweeting when someone came into a room.

Here are some of the photos of everyone in action:


ioBridge Powered Beer Cannon Featured on Science Channel

We all have been hearing about the Internet of Things and Internet-connected refrigerators – fridges that tweet, fridges that suggest recipes, etc. Ryan Rusnak took that concept one stop further by strapping an air cannon to a to a mini-fridge and adding Internet control with an ioBridge module. Using an iPhone, Ryan’s creation allows someone to select a beer, aim the fridge, and shoot the beer across the room — a truly remarkable invention. And in addition, Ryan is able to monitor and control the temperature of the fridge to make sure his choice beers are staying cold.

Ryan released the beer cannon around New Years 2011, and since then, he has captured the imaginations of TV producers behind great shows on the Science Channel, Discovery, and The History Channel. The producers were creating a new series called, JUNKies for the Science Channel, where people turn junk into new things. They wanted to recreate Ryan’s mini-fridge beer cannon as part of one of the episodes. Hopefully, this episode will introduce the mainstream into Internet-control of things and inspire a whole new crop of innovations.

ioBridge Beer Cannon on Science Channel

The “beer cannon” episode of JUNKies premieres on the Science Channel on September 8, 2011 at 10pm (EST). For more information about JUNKies, visit the Science Channel website.

Congrats, Ryan!

Make Your Own Snowbird Snow Meter

If you head over to Instructables, you will find many how-to guides and step-by-step instructions on how you can make things. It’s kind of like recipes for everything. Today I came across another brilliant project from Noel Portugal from the My Web of Things blog. This time Noel builds a snow meter displaying the live snow fall for any ski resort right on your desk before heading out to the slopes.

As my snowboarding trip approaches, I find myself checking Utah Snowbird’s snowcam a few times a day, wishing for more snow to accumulate on my favorite ski resort.

Snowbird Snow Meter

Snowbird Snow Meter

Noel shows you how to create your own snow meter using the ioBridge IO-204 and the Servo Smart Board. He connects the Snowbird’s weather data to ioBridge using the Widget API that controls a servo motor position that corresponds to the snow accumulation. Here’s a video of the Snow Meter in action:

As a bonus project, Noel also shows you how to link the Snowbird weather feed to Twilio, so you can get personalized snow updates via the phone or SMS. Check out the complete “” on Instructables.com.

Let it snow!

Candy Dispenser is a Twilio, Twitter, and ioBridge Mashup

Halloween would not be complete without some novel electronics to spook the trick-or-treaters. Noel Portugal created a system that allows you to send text messages or tweets to his Halloween Candy Dispenser to drop some treats into your bag. Commands are relayed from the web via the ioBridge IO-204 to his microcontroller controlled candy dispenser. There’s a big red button in case you forgot your mobile phone in your Iron Man costume.

Internet-enabled Halloween Treat Dispenser

Internet-enabled Halloween Treat Dispenser

Noel wrote a web application using Oracle Application Express that connects all the parts together. At the heart of the design is an Arduino-based microcontroller that drives the servo-based dispenser mechanism. The commands are relayed from the web app to the Arduino using the ioBridge IO-204 via XBee radios. The Internet connectivity part is what allows tweets (@tweetfortreats) or text messages processed by Twilio to control the candy dispenser. The web application makes use of the ioBridge Widget API to parse commands from the Internet.

ioBridge IO-204 Module with XBee Radio

ioBridge IO-204 Module with XBee Radio

Just think of where this type of technology can go? Vending machines?

If you are interested in learning more, Noel has put together an Instructables so others can create their own DIY Halloween project this year. There’s also more information on Adafruit, MAKE, Hacked Gadgets, and Noel’s My Web of Things blog. Happy Halloween!