Thursday, March 27, 2014

WebCamp KL Internet of Things

WebCamp KL is LVL KL now
WebCamp KL changed it's name to LVL KL (Level up KL?), each speakers has 18 minutes to talk.

The kickstart for 2014 event is on 27 Mar, Internet of Things (IoT). The speakers are Ikhwan, Mike Smith, Swee Meng, Calvin Tee, Chern Shue and Sathyvelu K.

Below is my version of the summary. I pick up those content that I like, and add-on a little bit.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Connect all devices, other than PC and mobiles to the Internet. Common examples are TV, refrigerator, less common example is temperature sensor to report temperature to the internet.

Ikhwan shares what he saw at Mobile World Congress 2014. The use of NFC, sensors used in cars, and android wear.

How can we build our own IoT?
Swee Meng brief on the hardware available like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone etc. Calvin Tee shows a live demo on remote control the room lighting through network. The lighting device is build with Tiny85 chips (which cost $2 USD only), can be programmed with Arduino software.

What is Arduino?
Arduino is a low power microcontroller, it connect to sensors, can be easily programmed by Arduino Software. Arduino is open-source platform, the hardware circuit design is freely available. It means anyone can use the design and manufacture their own arduino.

Use Arduino to build Segway

Arduino vs Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi is a low cost credit card size PC board. It doesn't have hard disk, but use SD card as external storage for OS system and data. Raspberry Pi can be used as a microcontroller like Arduino, to connect sensors, but many people use it as a PC eg. make it into a media streaming box.

The different for me is, Arduino is much simpler, but it is slightly more expensive than Raspberry Pi. For Arduino UNO, the cheapest you can get is about USD29, but it doesn't come with ethernet port. Raspberry Pi price is USD25 for version A, USD35 for version B.

BeagleBone Black vs Raspberry Pi
BeagleBone is a low cost, credit card size pc board like Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black price is close to Raspberry Pi (still a little bit higher). BeagleBone is open hardware, but Raspberry Pi is not.

Personally I still prefer Raspberry Pi as it has a better software support. Raspbian is a debian linux optimize for Raspberry Pi hardware.

ATtiny85 microcontroller is from Atmel. You can program ATtiny85 with Arduino Software like you are programming with Arduino. ATtiny85 is very limited compare with Arduino, but very much cheaper as well. ATtiny85 is about USD $2-$3 compare with Arduino UNO cost USD29. As the lighting device shown by Calvin Tee, he just need a ATtiny85 will do.

How to shrink an Arduino project to ATtiny85? Refer here.

How IoT apply to our life?
Sathyvelu K. shows us the Nest thermostat.

Some of you might already heard of Nest, it was created by Tony Fadell, the engineer who created Apple iPod. Google acquired Nest for 2.3b USD in January 2014.

Copenhagen wheel is superpedistrian now. It is a rear bicycle wheel, it works together with your smartphone apps. It learns how you cycle, and the electric motor will kick in automatically when you cycle uphill.

I find this interesting, it doesn't change a lot to the existing system, but with little modification, it improve with today's technology. But I doubt the Copenhagen wheel can be easily installed on all bicycle.

Thermostat and bicycle is not that common in Malaysia here, and people already done it. What else we can do here?

Home appliance
Chern Shu gave a good example. Many household installed with alarm system, many have auto gate as well. But the auto gate system don't talk to the alarm system.

I think you can build a "Nest" for alarm panel, or build a TV set top box as the hub of all the home appliance devices.

What was missing?
What was missing in the IoT talks? No one talks about protocol. When you connected all devices together, they need to communicate with each other. How your alarm controller knows the auto gate has open for more than 5 minutes? You need a protocol, a protocol like MQTT-SN.

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