Apio lets you create smart objects in five minutes, while its SDK guides you along the way.
Apio is an open-source platform for the Internet of Things, which lets Makers and designers create their own smart systems and connected objects in a matter of minutes. The platform is comprised of two USB devices, the General and Dongle, both of which are based on an ATmega256RFR2 and ATmega16U2, along with a custom operating system and SDK.
The General is a low-cost, low-power board that communicates wirelessly with the Dongle. This is tasked with connecting up to 65,000 General units, and through the Apio OS, controlling them via a mobile device or PC.
The General is entirely Arduino-compatible, which means users can write their own code in the Arduino IDE, and features an integrated IEEE 802.15.4 communication channel, the LWM. This allows for every board to “talk” with one another in a wireless mesh network. Apio makes it super easy for Makers to get started right out of the box, thanks to a comprehensive set of libraries. Being open-source, more advanced users can also modify existing or write their own codes, thanks to a powerful framework that supports a number of applications including IFTTT, Unity3D and Temboo.
So, what sort of IoT applications can the General be used for? For starters, Makers can develop an automatic watering system that lets them know when their plants are thirsty, or smarten existing household units like a smoke alarm or thermostat. Additionally, users can design an intelligent set of blinds or even connect a General to an electronic door lock to access remotely. The possibilities are endless.
Meanwhile, the Dongle connects wirelessly to each General through the Apio’s OS, permitting anyone to control the boards from a smartphone, tablet or PC. The Apio Dongle integrates with Atmel’s Lightweight Mesh protocol using the ATmega256RFR2, which paves the way for all single devices to become signal repeaters. The signal becomes stronger as the devices are brought closer, therefore overcoming Wi-Fi’s typical coverage problems. According to the team, Atmel’s LWM combined with XBee can provide a more affordable, lower power solution than Wi-Fi when it comes to radio communication. Beyond that, the pairing of a Dongle and a Beaglebone Black or Raspberry Pi gives users the ability create their own smart home gateway.
“With Apio, you can interact with your creations as in an orchestra and you’re the leader. You don’t need wires or expensive installations to create your own symphony,” the team explains.