One of my acquaintances pinged me today asking for suggestions/ideas for his Engineering project themed around IoT. At first, I gave my standard reply:
And at that instance, it hit me to get ideas from use-cases provided by leading IoT Companies such as the Kaa Project (http://www.kaaproject.org/) and many others.
I’ve compiled below a list of IoT Project Ideas for your Engineering Projects or IoT use-case demos and have listed them below with links back to the source. You can use these as a starting point and generate your own use cases or directly implement one of these. I’ll try adding in more use cases from other vendors. Happy Making (instead of ready-made buying :P). Ohh, it’s Engineer’s Day today. Happy that.
One cool thing/feature I learned from the Arduino Uno WiFi board was how to implement/add an extra hardware Serial Port to the existing MCU using a I2C to Serial Bridge.
The Atmega328P MCU on the Arduino Uno has only one Hardware Serial port. If we’re interfacing a Serial Device to this MCU and would also like to use Serial debugging, an option is to use SoftwareSerial (which comes with it’s own set of issues and limitations). A better option is to have an I2C – Serial Bridge that’d allow the host MCU to interface with another Serial Device.
The Arduino.org team did this splendidly and used this SC16IS750IBS to have the MCU talk with the on-board ESP8266 through this I2C to Serial Bridge.
If you natively develop firmware on the ESP8266, you’d eventually have to flash multiple bin files to different locations on the Flash Module of ESP8266 (or on SoC itself for ESP8285).
In order to create a single bin file, populate the individual bin files at their respective addresses in the official Espressif Flash tool as shown below:
Once done, select the checkboxes of the individual files that you’d like to include and hit the Combine Bin button shown above:
That should give you a single bin file as shown below:
Now, you can simply use the Flash Tool itself or esptool.py/exe to flash this single bin file at address 0x00000.
I found a simple batch file online that uses esptool.exe (for Mac/Linux, you can use esptool.py with the proper arguments) to flash bins to the ESP.
The following code goes into the batch file that calls the esptool.exe and flashes the bin file (mare sure esptool.exe and the bin file are in the same folder).
set /p comport= Comport (example 3, 4, ..) :
echo Using com port: %comport%
esptool.exe -vv -cd nodemcu -cb 115200 -cp COM%comport% -ca 0x00000 -cf at.bin
The above script will simply ask the user for the COM port of the USB-Serial Cable/Adapter to which an ESP (in boot-mode) is connected and flash it.
The above method can be also be used if you’re provisioning users themselves to flash/update firmware over to the ESP if FOTA is not implemented (at least that’s how I plan to use it for my ESP dev board).
I’ll wait till someone builds a wrapper/library around it.
I’ve been thinking of using the Arduino MKR1000 instead with the AWS IoT. Let’s hope this get’s done quick 🙂
Pre.Scriptum: (Edit: 21, Dec, 2015) Amazon released the AWS IoT suite of applications and services a while back and I now feel it’ll be more helpful if we base our tutorial on the AWS IoT platform. It’s a TODO for me and hopefully I’ll have something up and running.