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.

Powercast and ioBridge Partner to Create Cloud-connected Wireless Sensor Networks

Powercast met ioBridge last year at the Remote Monitoring and Control Expo and we quickly hit it off.  Powercast saw pairing their wireless sensor technology with ioBridge’s web gateways as a complete solution they could deliver to customers.  ioBridge’s cloud service gateway for professional applications was a great fit to connect their wireless sensor network to the cloud.

Last month Powercast put a live demo of their remote monitoring in the cloud solution on their website.  The layout below displays various Temperature, Humidity, Light and Carbon Dioxide sensors at different locations throughout the Powercast headquarters.

Powercast Sensors and ioBridge demo

This is a great example of how ioBridge technology can be the missing piece of the puzzle in someone else’s solution.  We are seeing a growing level of interest from solution providers like Powercast that have their own existing technology, customers and applications.  We love these types of partnerships where our cloud connecting technology makes their solutions better and easier to manage.

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:


Breast Milk Storage, Real-time Freezer Monitoring

ioBridge team member, Josh, and his wife recently celebrated the birth of a baby… congrats! After a few months of settling into the sleep patterns and the whims of their bundle of joy, Josh came up with the idea to put ioBridge to work to solve a basic need for the family. They wanted to preserve breast milk in the freezer. With some research, they found that breast milk has precise temperature requirements for long-term storage.

Josh had some clear goals to ensure that the breast milk was stored properly:

  1. Know the real-time temperature of the freezer
  2. Send alerts if temperatures get too warm
  3. Monitor the state of power at our home
  4. Send alerts if power is out

Breast Milk Freezer Monitor with ioBridge

In this case, adding some remote monitoring smarts to the otherwise “dumb” freezer, is the perfect solution. Josh ran a temperature probe into the freezer and connected it to a channel on the ioBridge Io-204 web gateway. On ioBridge.com, he created a data log to monitor the temperature of the freezer and set an email alert for the temperature required to store breast milk for an extended period of time. Josh also connected the Io-204 to the same power source as the freezer, so that if power was lost to the freezer it would also be lost the IO-204. ioBridge tracks whether these devices are connected, so that you can monitor their Online / Offline status. Josh cleverly connected an API call to the device to a site monitoring service and now is able to monitor the up time of his freezer just like monitoring the up time of a server.

The Internet of Things is in its infancy, but it can be very practical despite the recent articles referring to the number of devices to impress upon us just the sheer volume. To us it’s all about finding useful applications and introducing them to consumers to find our early majority product and service. We believe in and see a connected future, but we want it to be so useful that people don’t have to think about the technology. Like when you are using an iPad, are you concerned over capacitive touch technology or that it’s really easy to play games? Maybe by the time Josh’s baby grows up and enters college, the Internet of Things will be as common place and transparent as indoor plumbing.

Check out Josh’s blog for more details on setting up his breast milk monitoring system using ioBridge and a bonus project on using the Edimax Nanorouter to add Wi-Fi to the ioBridge IO-204 Monitor and Control Module.

[via MojoHo.com]

New Gauge Widgets for Displaying Sensor Data

We have a new option for displaying sensor data on the ioBridge Dashboard or on your webpage. You can now select the Gauge Widget style for analog input widgets, external monitor widgets, and expression widgets. The external monitor widget lets you pull in data from external sites, such as NOAA, WeatherBug, or ThingSpeak, and display their data along side your own data on your secure, private dashboard. Everything works on IE6+, FireFox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, iPhone, Android-based browsers.

Dashboard with New Gauge Widget

To use the new gauge widget, create an Analog Input Widget, External Monitor Widget, or Expression Widget, and select “Gauge” under the style option.