Water your plants with a DIY Smart Sprinkler using PiFace and Ubidots

One of the reasons I mostly have cactuses at home is because I often forget to water my plants. This is why I build this project to control an electrovalve remotely to irrigate my plants from any place just using my phone.

At the end of this tutorial, you should be able to do something like this:

  Continue reading “Water your plants with a DIY Smart Sprinkler using PiFace and Ubidots”

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How to monitor your Internet connection using OpenWrt and Ubidots

Is your Internet provider delivering a good quality service? If the answer is “no”, then how can it be measured? A nice way to get a sense of your Internet’s quality is to ping a remote host and watch the response times. This is what we call “Latency”.

This guide explains how to use an OpenWrt router to log the response times returned by the PING program, and send these times to the Ubidots cloud. Continue reading “How to monitor your Internet connection using OpenWrt and Ubidots”

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How to build a parking sensor to solve the pain of finding a free spot

In this project we’ll build a simple parking sensor using a Raspberry Pi. It turns out that every morning I have to face this question: is the ONLY parking spot in front of my office already taken? Because when it actually is, I have to go around the block and use at least 10 more minutes to park and walk to the office.
So I thought it would be cool to know whether the spot is free or not, before even trying to get there. At the end, the result was a nice widget that I could check from my Ipod or mobile phone:

 

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Designing for the Internet of Things

If you’re thinking about designing an ideal data structure for your Internet of Things application, then here’s what you should do: don’t do it.

As it turns out, the Internet of Things requires a huge deal of flexibility. Why? Because there are millions -if not billions- of heterogeneus objects that will begin interacting with each other in ways we can’t predict. The structured and rigid tables offered by traditional databases won’t help us because they require a pre-defined set of properties and tables, which again, we can’t predict.

To understand why this is important, let’s take an example of a water management application. Continue reading “Designing for the Internet of Things”

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Live Tracking the International Space Station

During last october’s Python Boston User meetup, we put together this simple but fun project. Because this was a software meet up -not a hardware one- my goal was to read some already-available realtime data and make sense of it through the Ubidots service.

Luckily I found this service made possible by Nathan Bergey which updates the ISS position in real-time. By reading its live data we are able to measure the distance between the ISS and Boston, and then post the whole data to Ubidots

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Building a Cross-Platform System Monitor with Ubidots

System monitors are tools that report information on the resources and performance of a given computer system. Data points about the CPU, memory, and hard disk are common to system monitors. But what use are these variables? In a production system, measurements of these variables provide critical insight into how your code is running and how well the machine is handling it. Reports can lead to software diagnoses of memory leaks, need for faster hardware, and cause behind failed I/O operations.
With the psutil module in Python, we gain a simple cross-platform interface between Python and the system for accessing a wide array of system information. By reporting these values to the Ubidots API at regular intervals, we will have a method of visualizing and analyzing these statistics on the cloud.

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Building a People Counter with Raspberry Pi and Ubidots

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People counters are mostly used in the retail industry to gain better insights of how shoppers behave. They are also found in security, event management and smart cities applications. Imagine you manage a large mall; these counters would help you know how many people enter your mall, which paths they take, where they stop, and foremost, when does it all happen.
Just like most sensors, people counters have been around for a while. However, their data is not always centralised and connected to enterprise systems where they can support decision making.

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