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]

CheerLights: a social network of lights

It’s that time of year to spread some cheer and strengthen our connections. We are all connected on this little planet and our latest projects hopes to prove this. ioBridge introduces  CheerLights - a social network of lights that stay in sync with the rest of the lights linked to a messages from social networks. It’s kind of like following a trending topic on Twitter but with physical objects.

Here is a video introduction to CheerLights:

To join the CheerLights project all you have to is build a controller that subscribes to the “cheerlights” keyword, receives the latest color command, and sets the color on your lights. So, when you see the color change know that the color it is now changing all across the world. Instructions on how to build your own physical controller are based around GE G-35 Color Effects Lights and the ioBridge IO-204, ConnectPort X2, or Arduino Ethernet.

The last color processed by CheerLights is accessed through the CheerLights Channel hosted on ThingSpeak. With that data you could this a lot further and build all sorts of applications that read in that color value and do something with it. Your application could be an Android widget that shows the latest color, a set of Christmas lights, ambient orb, or dynamically setting the background color of a website.

ioBridge has been working on a way to distribute a command from a social network and distribute to thousands of end points in real-time – a many to many issue. The technology behind CheerLights paves the way for an alert system that could cascade across the globe.

[via CheerLights.com]

Tide Sensors, Hurricane Irene, and the Internet of Things

As we announced last year, we have been running tide level points around Cape Cod to more accurately alert boaters about high and low tides. Our tide sites are connected to the Internet via the ioBridge platform. We also provide real-time alerts and tweets to boaters in Cape Cod and surrounding marinas.

One of our many TideAlerts.com subscribers had the idea to “watch” the tide levels during Hurricane Irene. After analyzing the data, we observed something interesting. The period of the tides did not change, but the amplitudes (the high tide and low tide marks) were greatly exaggerated as Hurricane Irene passed through Cape Cod.

The ioBridge tide project is another example of how the Internet of Things is emerging. We started this project 3 years ago and it provides an extremely useful service and is only possible by aggregating tons of sensor data and sharing it with users, developers, and researchers. This application is based on open data from NOAA and users monitoring environmental information and tries to find more meaning than just being a collection site of data.

By the way, here is what the tides looked like during Hurricane Irene at one of our public monitoring sites:

Tide Sensor Charts During Hurricane Irene

The good news is that by the time Hurricane Irene made it to Massachusetts, the storm was weak and all of our tide sensor sites survived.

Check out the Technology Review article, Cape Cod is Tweeting, Thanks to the Internet of Things, for more information about our tide project or contact us at support@iobridge.com.

A Doorbell Joins the ‘Internet of Things’

Here’s a scenario seemingly from the future. Imagine a world of connected things, lets call it the Internet of Things. There are lots of useful data around us in our environment. There are lots of useful things we may want to know about and may want to interactive with remotely (in a different space and time). If every thing had a voice, there would be a lot of data to collect and to make meaningful. If we can do it, we would be connected to our environments.

This is not as far off as it sounds. The ioBridge Platform was created to make it easy to connect anything to the web, store data from sensors, relay data to other networks, and present the data on websites. People are already creating very interesting projects, products, and services on top of the platform. And everyday we are surprised by the diversity of the projects.

The Internet Doorbell

The Internet Doorbell

Now joining the Internet of Things…The Doorbell. The Internet Doorbell project is by Jason Garland. He created a super easy project that connects his doorbell live to Twitter or really any social network via Ping.fm and ioBridge push services. The instant someone presses his doorbell, the doorbell updates the input status on the ioBridge IO-204 and pushes the message to ioBridge and Ping.fm which updates Twitter (@jgarland79). This is a first step, just think of where it could take you. One day your doorbell gets pressed, you get notified, and you start up a voice-over-IP session with your intercom system. You could interact with (or annoy) your visitor from anywhere in the world.

Check out Jason’s blog for more details on the Twittering Doorbell and other very interesting projects. We also noticed a web-enabled water meter updating water usage.

On a related project, one of our Maker Faire projects this year was the “transcontinental doorbell” – involving two IO-204s linked together. When the doorbell button at one site is pressed it rings a doorbell 2000 miles away in less than 300ms.

Remote Controlled Cat Door and Alert System

Rogier Honselaar is a tech consultant in Germany. He wanted to be able to control a cat door remotely and also be notified when his cat came home.

"Gonzo" loves his automated cat door

"Gonzo" loves his automated cat door

As with most projects, Rogier started searching the Internet and found some interesting projects. He got the idea to combine some of his favorite projects and make a remotely controlled cat door and alert system for his cat, “Gonzo”.

Here are some projects that inspired him:

When the idea was there, the execution was very easy using the IObridge module and components.

Rogier installed a Cat Mate Cat Door in his basement. The cat door opens when the electromagnet senses a magnet in the cat’s collar. By running the sensor and switch over the the ioBridge IO-204, Rogier can be open and close the door remotely. He is also able to monitor  when the cat comes in and out of the door. The messages get pushed to Ping.fm via the IO-204 and ioBridge web service. Rogier and his neighbor follows his cat on Twitter @fellnasegonzo to make sure Gonzo is home safe and sound.

Cate Mate Automated Cat Door

Cat Mate Automated Cat Door

Cat Door Switch and Sensor

Cat Door Switch and Sensor

At ioBridge.com, Rogier created a few control and monitor widgets. With some help from a friend, he controls and reads the widgets via a net-connected Windows Mobile app on his cellphone and can open and close the cat door on his Windows Home Server.
Windows Mobile Cat Door Control App

Windows Mobile Cat Door Control App

Windows Home Server Interface

Windows Home Server Interface

Thanks for sending us the project details – we are happy to share. You combined some very interesting things together and created a very useful project. We wish you and Gonzo well and hope you enjoy the new cat door! Who let the cat out? Meow.