Last December, we’ve got the opportunity to have Tom Collins, a researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark in town with us. He organized a meetup at our maker space Chaihuo x.factory, shared a lot with the local community about how he and his students have been using our Grove and Wio Link series to turn their campus into a smart IoT sensing and perception testbed.
Now Tom’s 2 students, Wahid and Matteo, is involved in a project that uses Grove sensors from Seeed Studio to develop a device that collects environmental data.
This is a repost of a blog post by Juliana Ouktiakova:
What is the project about?
Wahid and Matteo are developing a device which will collect data from its environment via various sensors that connect to the IoT gateway, through which data is sent to cloud platform for storage, analysis and evaluation purposes.
“The main feature of the device is its ability to auto-connect to the Wi-Fi and create a mesh network.” Says Wahid. In the situation, where the connection to the Wi-Fi network is not possible, the device uses sim cards, donated by Vodafone, to connect to the 3G or 4G network.
“We can change the configuration of devices and then automatically update their code to reflect the changes.” Says Matteo.
The IoT Gateway Device currently includes 8 different sensors, which measure and track temperature, humidity, air quality and air pressure, gas concentration, motion and the amount of light and sound present in the environment.
120 IoT sensors will be deployed in Herning, Denmark
50 IoT Gateway Devices were built during the last 3 weeks of July. These devices will be strategically positioned at the university campus in Herning as a part of the IoT Testbed to gain data that will be later used in other students projects.
Another 70 IoT sensors are planned to be assembled during August and September. “We are also working on a project where we deploy 70 sensors and gateways at a textile manufacturing company here in Herning as apart of a larger EU-supported project.” Says Wahid.
All captured data is visualised on the Heat Map
“The Heat Map was one of the first things we have developed in June.” Says Matteo, who programmed the map and has been improving it the last couple of weeks.
“You can hit the play button and see for example how temperature and gas concentration change over time.” Says Wahid.
This is a very beneficial application for the operation managers at the various production facilities, who could gain a quick overview of night shift development by viewing recordings.
Wahid builds while Matteo codes
“I am responsible for the hardware and planning side of the project and Matteo handles the software.” Says Wahid.
“The code is written in C++, with a few additional libraries tailored for the Particle Argon platform, which we are currently using,” says Matteo, “however, I am planning to also use Particle Borron and Xenon.”
To manage the project, Matteo applies a development model called the DevOps Cycle. “It makes the process of developing our IoT Gateways much easier and quicker.” Says Matteo.
Gateways are built using many electronics components from Seeed Studio, a Chinese based firm which produces many types of open-source hardware. IoT Microcontroller from Particle.io also used as the main processor is the gateway.
Strive to help companies gain a competitive advantage
The device is built to help manufacturing companies to gain a valuable insight into their operations and to create new knowledge about the production environment.
In other words, the IoT Gateway Device has the potential to help companies to create a competitive advantage.
“Our goal is to make the companies’ production more efficient, to record and analyse the downtime of machines, find error locations in the production line, and to help companies with continuous improvement.” Says Wahid.
Aim to help students to learn about technology
Another goal is to get other students involved in IoT technology and help them to get a deeper understanding of how it works.
“Buying the device would be too easy, there would be no challenge and not much to learn neither for us nor for other students.” Says Wahid and Matteo agrees.
A challenge can be very rewarding
For Wahid, the main motivation for participating in the project was to apply his knowledge and skills in practice and to generate value for his environment.
“Being able to contribute can be a challenge but it is definitely very rewarding.” Says Wahid.
Matteo has similar reasons for joining the project, yet, he adds: “It sounded like a very interesting project to work on. I couldn’t say no.”