by May 14, 2014 0 comments

By now, we have learnt about the hardware and services that enable IoT by hacking and other means. So we at PCQuest thought to build an interesting project using the discussed devices and services to explain you how they can be used and integrated. But then we realized that there are so many projects and devices out there that it would be lame to just discuss about one. So here is a round-up of selected IoT projects and commercial devices which you would love, and which will also inspire you to build your own
IoT hack.

From the Hacker’s World

1. An IoT Coffee Maker
Here is a Delonghi Bean to Cup coffee maker modded with a RasPi, a custom board and a Cloud Based SMS service called Zipwhip. What it does is, that it starts brewing the moment someone sends an SMS to a phone which is configured with the Coffee Machine using the Zipwhip’s cloud based SMS account configured to the RasPi.
And once the brewing is done, it sends back an SMS alert saying your coffee is ready and waiting. The guys from Zipwhip had actually gone a step further and had explained the entire building process in full detail. All you would need is a Pi, a coffee machine and some soldering knowhow to build this cool IoT device at home. And believe me, the same trick could be used on many different types of devices. So don’t let your imagination remain stuck at the coffee maker only. You can find the complete howto here – http://bit.ly/1mc1ftH . Or just scan the QR code below to read the article.

2. An IoT Microwave Hack
Now this is something, which I am certainly going to build as my next project. Not because I liked it over the IoT coffee maker, but because I already have my coffee maker hacked and hooked with a Spark Core. This one is a very elaborate Microwave control using a RasPi, which can be controlled over the Internet using a smartphone/tab or just by voice commands.
It also has a barcode reader which can be used to scan and download directions for cooking specific things. What else would you need in your kitchen?
Read the full hands on here – http://bit.ly/1n0HHWk. Or just scan the QR code below to read the article:

A Spark Core Powered Temperature Sensor
Now this is a simple project, but could be used for enabling many imaginative projects. The project basically talks about how you can use a temperature sensor transistor to capture and record the ambient temperature.
Read the full hands on here – http://bit.ly/1kg5NIQ. Or just scan the below QR to read the article

This is the project which we were thinking of hacking and doing an article about for this part of the cover story, but as I already mentioned, I couldn’t resist myself to talk about so many other projects instead of focusing on just one. But as we have been thinking around this specific one a bit more in detail, we actually realized that we can do so many things by hacking this project around. For instance:

1. We could build an AC which can turn itself on, the moment the ambient temperature goes over 35 degrees, and shuts it off the moment the room temperature is below 21-degrees.

2. You can put a battery operated kit with the same circuit in your car, and check the inside car temperature and turn on the car engine and AC before actually getting in. So that the car is slightly more comfortable to get in during summers. This should be of interest to all those people who live in hot areas, like Delhi.

3. Create and maintain a per minute temperature variance chart for your neighborhood and post it on services like https://thingspeak.com. This could be further used by your friends around to automate various things by just consuming your data via the thingspeak’s API.
And that’s what Internet of Things is all about.
And these ideas came after taking two shots of espresso. Believe me, if we spend some more time on this (and consume some more caffeine), we can think of hundreds of similar projects. Like let’s say adding a photo sensor to it to automate turning on your porch lamp when the sun sets, or adding a Carbon Monoxide sensor to it to detect fire and send tweets/facebook/email alerts using IFTTT.com.

Key Commercial IoT Apps

Smart Citizen Kit
This could be probably the most impactful IoT device around. The vision of this project is to build a global environmental data repository, which could be used to monitor both historical and real-time status of every neighborhood.
The project consists of a hardware device which connects to a backend cloud API to log the sensor data from the device and present it on a digital map. The hardware device consists of sensors that measure air composition (CO and NO2), temperature, light intensity, sound levels, and humidity. Being an Amateur Astronomer, I would love to use this device to churn out Light Pollution data, which could be used by Amateur Astronomers to identify nearby dark sites for observation. Though sadly right now only 3 devices are alive from India and that from the southern part of our country. Probably because it costs $175, which indeed is not a small amount when clubbed with international shipping charges. Hope to see this device becomes cheap or our government subsidizing this and similar devices to capture more and more granular environmental data in the country.
Check out the site at – www.smartcitizen.me

And the Funny One – The Intelligent Egg Tray
This could be the fate of IoT in next 5 years, that every hardware will become Internet aware and connected and powered by the cloud. Here is a sneak peak to the future–Your WiFi enabled egg tray. It not only alerts you when you are running out of eggs, but also tells you which could be potentially an old egg and should not be consumed. The device works with the quirky Wink app and lets you check your egg status and receive alerts using your smartphone.
The LED next to each egg holder indicates which is the oldest egg and should be consumed first. It also alerts you if any egg is too old and potentially rotten. You can order your own egg minder from https://www.quirky.com/shop/619

The Multi-purpose IoT- Spotter
This comes from the same shop–Quirk.com, but looks to be more useful to me at least (no offence to the egg minder!). This is a nice looking circular device with a bunch of sensors that can track and monitor motion, sound, light, temperature, and humidity all from your mobile device. What it basically means is that you can hook it up with anything to get many kinds of alerts.
Fix it on your door and get alerts whenever the door is opened or closed by using the motion sensor. Keep it next to your cooking stove and get an alert whenever it’s on by using temperature sensor. Place it in front of your TV and know when your kid is watching TV by using its light sensor and so on. And all this for $50. Isn’t it awesome? You can buy it here – https://www.quirky.com/shop/609-spotter-multi-purpose-sensor.

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