Remote Monitoring of Solar Hot Water Heating System

Engineer extraordinaire Guy Marsden of ART TEC has created a web monitoring system to keep track of his solar water heating equipment. Guy installed temperature sensors at various points in the system and connected them to the ioBridge IO-204 web gateway module. The IO-204 pushes the sensor data to his data logs and from there he can report the data as chart and gauge widgets.

“The ioBridge monitors the solar water heating system temperatures of the 40 sq. ft. Solar Heat Collector, the 40 gallon storage tank, the outside air temperature, and indicates when a solar powered circulation pump is operating.”

Guy decided to share his setup and also give you the ability to see the real-time values on his blog by embedding the ioBridge widgets. Here is a screenshot of the custom user interface that he created with the ioBridge widgets. Click on the screenshot to see his live data.

ARTTEC Solar Heating System User Interface

ARTTEC Solar Heating System User Interface

Check out Guy’s blog ART TEC for more information about this project and see other really interesting projects that he has created in the name of “Sustainable Living”.

Network and iPhone Controlled Mini Fridge, Drink Cannon

Just in time for New Years, here’s a network-controlled mini fridge that shoots drinks at you that you select with an iPhone web app. The fridge is connected to the web app using an ioBridge IO-204, sends video clips to Twitter (@MyBeerRobot) , and has a web cam to aim the “50 psi” air cannon.

From the YouTube description:

This is the maiden voyage of my mini fridge that now shoots beers via iPhone. It is controlled by an iobridge via a web based iPhone interface and shoots the beers from an air cannon in the housing. Special thanks to Graham Phero for air cannon construction and Josh Lilly for web and graphic development.


  • Vends 4 types of beer
  • Broadcasts temperature
  • Adjust temperature via iPhone
  • Aim via webcam
  • Auto tweet video per shot
  • Fire beer with 50psi of deliciousness
Mini Fridge Beer Cannon Close-up

Mini Fridge Beer Cannon Close-up


We got a chance to talk with the inventor of the Mini Fridge Beer Robot and here are some more details.

The app is served from a NetBeans server and interfaces with the ioBridge Widget API to send the controls for selecting the beer, aiming / firing the air cannon, and setting the fridge temperature. The app also displays the fridge temperature.

Here are screenshots of the iPhone web app in action:

Mini Fridge Beer Cannon Robot

Mini Fridge Beer Cannon Robot

“Perhaps the Best Beer Bot Ever To Grace a Dorm Room.”

This project is sure getting around with over 120k 200k views so far between YouTube and To check the blog roundup, visit TUAW, Gizmodo, Break, BroBible,, Engadget, and Comedy Central’s Tosh.0 Blog.

Here’s another take of the beer cannon in action:

Combine this with the Serv O’Beer and you have a complete drink delivery system.

Happy New Year! Cheers!

Real-time Resource Monitoring at Wired Wessex Event

Aleka Design, Ltd. is an ioBridge design partner based in the UK. Aleka specializes in mixed signal electronic designs for test & measurement systems, instrumentation systems, and resource monitoring systems.

Aleka will showcase some of their new products and services based on the ioBridge Platform at the “Innovation for a Smarter Planet” event by Wired Wessex located at the INTECH Science Centre and Planetarium. Aleka will demonstrate real-time power and resource monitoring technology, as well as, a home lighting control system accessible from a mobile phone.

The event is hosted by Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Futurist, and features discussions on home automation, monitoring power consumption and water usage, remote control of electrical appliances “to make the planet smarter.”

Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor

Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor

Wired Wessex
Innovation for a Smarter Planet with Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Futurist

Date: Thursday 30th of September, 2010
Time: 18:00 – 20:00

INTECH Centre, Telegraph Way, Morn Hill, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HZ

Weather and Location-based Home Automation

An important part of home automation is automation. The system must be able to automatically react to you and to changes in its environment without your direct control. In order to make better decisions, the automation system needs access to lots of data, for example, the location of the people in the building, location relative the building, the current weather forecast, historical weather information, or current energy costs.

Hans Scharler, of ioBridge, set out to make his thermostat aware of his location and the weather forecast. His project started off simple - adjust the thermostat as he leaves and when he returns. His real goals were to return to a comfortable house despite his schedule and to save money.

Scharler has lots to say about the matter…

A preset heating/cooling schedule only works when you are on schedule. What if you come home late? You have been wasting energy. What if you come home early? You might find a cold house.

Hans taps into location and weather data via an Application Programming Interface (API). He tracks his location using the Google Latitude service on his mobile phone and reads in the weather forecast from WeatherBug. Based on his position and the current weather, the system automatically sets his thermostat which is connected to his web application by the ioBridge IO-204. The IO-204 sits on your home network and what ever is connected to the IO-204 now has access to the web and any of the ioBridge web services.

Google Latitude ioBridge Mashup

Location Aware Home Automation

What’s next for this project? How about multi-person tracking? How about a coffee pot controlled by location? How about an office building regulating its power use considering only the location of its employees!?

ioBridge will incorporate location-awareness as a Plug In to the web services. You will be able to drop in Google Latitude connectivity native to the ioBridge platform. Other APIs that you have access to are Yahoo Financials, Google Calculator, WeatherBug,, Google Weather, NOAA, Digg (although the API access is broken at the time), and Twitter. The ioBridge Plug In feature will allow you to connect to any API, even ones that are not prepackaged for you. With access to so much information, plus the ability to monitor and control devices, who knows what you will come up with. We were able to make a real-life Digg counter in about 10 minutes. Stay tuned.

For other coverage of this project, visit ReadWriteWeb, and MIT’s Technology Review.

Hans has all of the project code on his web site and details on how he linked the Google Latitude, WeatherBug, and ioBridge APIs together to create his location-aware thermostat.

Solar Hot Water Monitoring System

Eric Edwards of created a system that takes solar energy and heats water for his home. He uses Sun Strip Solar panels to heat the water. With a single solar panel Eric is able to heat a 60 gallon tank to temperatures beyond 160°F. He uses the ioBridge IO-204 to data log and actively monitors the water heating system by getting alerts and updates on his mobile phone.

Water Tank and ioBridge IO-204

Water Tank and ioBridge IO-204

ioBridge IO-204 with Temperature Sensors

ioBridge IO-204 with Temperature Sensors

Eric monitors and data logs the temperatures of the the hot water storage tank, the collectors, and the outside temperature in real-time using the ioBridge IO-204 and temperature sensors. This data allows Eric to calculate BTUs collected per day and translate into a dollar figure to track savings. He has surrounded himself with the data to make sure there is no system damage, freezing, etc., by creating a web site to view the data, setting ioBridge message alerts, and using a Google Gadget to display the temperatures collected by the IO-204.

Visit to see a live view of the data collected by the solar hot water system as well as some more details behind this solar hot water heating system. Ingenious!

Screen Shot of Solar Array and Collected Data (

Screen Shot of Solar Array and Collected Data (