What an amazing weekend at World MakerFaire! I demoed the Visualight prototypes, had the latest DontFlushMe sensor and saw all sorts of crazy awesome stuff! The Parsons booth won an Educators Choice award!
Dontflushme encourages citizens of New York to conserve water at critical times in order to increase to overall health of local waterways. By using a network of unique custom sensors, readily accessible communication tools and internet connected visualization devices, users will be kept informed about the realtime status of the NYC sewer system. This information will then allow participants to make informed decisions about their water use. Dontflushme aims to increase the community’s level of awareness, knowledge, and sense of value towards the environment which can result in positive attitude and behavioral changes.
The momentum behind the idea of internet connected lightbulb pushed me to get a prototype working. I decided to give the Twilio IVR system a try since their SMS system was super easy to get working. I found a blog post that outlined a lot of what I was interested in doing which made things much smoother. Props for the great projects there!
To get the whole thing small enough to fit into a 2 1/4″ sphere I needed to create a custom PCB. Getting the xbee to work with the arduino and Digi Connectport was super easy using Rob Falundi’s XIG python script.
The arduino code is available here, the php (mostly from the above blog) is available here, XIG (xbee internet gateway) is available here, the Fritzing file and Gerber exports are here.
I hope to get the bulbuino visualizing the data from my “Flush-o-meter” sensor sometime in the next week or so. Check out the “Flush-o-meter” here.
So since last week I have created an internet connected light bulb. I cut a custom PCB for an atmega328 chip with the bare essentials. I added a socket for my xbee and soldered the whole thing up. Using a 5v usb power adapter and a light bulb socket adapter I got everything set up. The current prototype only fades colors but as soon as I can program a data stream I’ll set up the bulb to respond to an internet feed.
On sunday I got the final approval from Usman Haque at Pachube to access their SMS beta system. I can now begin testing the sensor module with a direct feed to Pachube. The best part about using Pachube is that I don’t have to re-invent an API. Their API is well documented.
So I’m making progress on sensor unit and the end device. I’ve slowed the development of the sensor to make sure that it will be working properly and stay working when I finally get it installed. I’ve been working on power management of the arduino and cell phone. I’ve been using some nice code that I found to put my arduino to sleep. Here are two places to look for this.
I cut the first version of the breadboard for the sensor and will have it soldered up for monday.
I also have the pelican case that I’m going to use:
As for the end device, I’ve decided to make a change on how its going to look and work. In thinking about the look and feel of the device I noticed that there was no really good place to install a light in my bathroom. I also noticed that there are light fixtures over my sink that have exposed lightbulbs. I then came up with the idea to create a internet connected lightbulb. The lightbulb can replace any normal bulb in any fixture. This allows people to use their existing light fixtures and removes the need for an addition device in the house. The nature of the design that I came up with also allows for the bulb adapter to be removed and for the device to be plugged directly into a electrical socket.
I ordered all the parts need to build a prototype this weekend.