The SensorMote project was educational, but I found Zigbee to be a bit difficult to set up, and wanted to explore other wireless options. My search led me to a variety of CC3000 boards, in both shield and breakout form.
At the time (April 2014) Xively.com was offering free Internet of Things (IoT) developer accounts and Adafruit had a great tutorial, so I dove right in. The main objective was to gather temperature and humidity data, and make that data accessible from my home network wirelessly, viewing the data from a mobile device (in my case Android phone or iPad).
Below there are just a few pictures, though there’s not much to “see”. Most everything is happening behind the scenes. It’s the concept that is important. I used my laptop for the Arduino IDE side of things, and verified connectivity via my iPad browser. It went together pretty smoothly.
This was one of my favorite projects. From a practical standpoint, it gave me something that helped me understand how these sorts of systems work, and what is involved with the web connection. From a professional perspective, this relates directly to my day job in healthcare where we will eventually be connecting things like FitBit to patient web portals. And though I am much more involved on the project management and user experience side of things, it’s good to understand the concepts involved.
Things are moving very quickly in this field. Since April 2014, when I first did this project, Xively has discontinued their free accounts, but you could just as easily develop something using other IoT platforms that have cropped up. Good examples are the ones Adafruit and Sparkfun now offer. It makes good sense for maker sites like these to offer the IoT platform for their customers. After all, customers are prototyping things using parts from the same site! So it just seems to be getting easier.
There are numerous other vendors in the space, and it seems like every day I see a new one – particularly in the healthcare sphere. This is an area of particular interest for me, and I hope to one day be working with this stuff a bit more (and dare I say, getting paid for it?)