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The buzzword being Internet of Things, we wanted to build something simple, yet powerful, that could extend beyond the hackerspace and be applied to the real world. It had to combine software and hardware, and allow people at home to build it and try it themselves.
Arduino came to mind, but we’ve already written a good bulk of real-time tutorials using the Arduino board, so we wanted to try something different. Then we thought of our good friends over at Atmel, and decided to combine the Atmel MCU and PubNub. Our project? A real-time temperature sensor.
All the code is available for download! Click here to download it.
The Atmel temperature sensor monitors temperatures and streams the data to a live-updating dashboard, in real time, anywhere in the world. The temperature sensor measures the ambient temperature and publishes it as a data stream to a channel via the PubNub Data Stream Network. A web browser that subscribes to this channel displays the data stream on a live visualization dashboard.
A prerequisite is that you upgrade the firmware for SAMD21 using the .bat file provided with the PubNub Atmel example before you run this demo. Make sure no other software like putty or teraterm is using the com port). Close Atmel Studio and the putty terminal. The firmware upgrade is successful if you see a PASS sign on the terminal after running the code.
3.1 Open the PubNub example: pubnubAtmel/PubNub_EXAMPLE.atsln (included in the code download) in Atmel Studio and you will see the following page. Make sure you choose the debugger/programmer and interface as shown:
3.2 Include the following lines in pubnubAtmel/src/main.h:
3.3 In pubnubAtmel/src/main.c, add the channel name and pub, sub keys.
3.4 Build (F7 / Build -> build solution), run(continue/ green arrow/ F5/ debug -> continue).
3.5 Open PubNub Developer Console, use the same channel name and pub,sub keys as in the code and SUBSCRIBE.
3.6 If all is well, you should see a constant stream of messages in the following format :
That’s all! We’re now able to collect and stream temperature data in real time. But what’s next? Well, we need to do something with that data, right? Let’s visualize it!
We didn’t just want to display raw data off the sensor as a live-updating number. That’s boring. So my partner-in-crime Tomomi built our beautiful temperature visualization, which you can see above! It mocks nursery or greenhouse monitor (a typical, realworld use case for real-time temperature sensors).
In this scenario, the UI shows the current temperature, also a simple line graph, updating in real time so that you can tell the relative changes of the temperature, raising and dropping. This particular data is simple, but when you have multiple, more complicated data, data visualization plays more crucial role.
This demo is read-only and reads the ambient temperature, but in reality, you want to develop products that lets your users monitor and control, i.e, bidirectional communication between devices. For instance, if you have a smart A/C, not only monitoring the current room temperature, but you need to make it controllable from a remote devices.
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