Tag Archives: Beacon

This quarter-sized device will make your car smarter for $9

AwareCar will let you know where you parked and save you from getting a ticket. 

Finding a parking space in a city can be tough enough, but when each quarter only gives you a fraction of a minute, running errands in the allotted amount of time gets even tougher. Making matters worse, if a meter goes unfed with change, the consequential parking ticket can cost upwards of $70. Luckily, that may be all be thing of the past as one Bay Area startup has created a system that can make your vehicle smarter while saving you from costly (and annoying) violations.


AwareCar is essentially a Bluetooth beacon that fits inside your glovebox and communicates with your smartphone via an accompanying app. Using data provided by cities and GPS, you will be able to receive updates on the whereabouts of your ride, when a meter will expire and how long it will take to walk back to throw in some more coins.

While AwareStack’s latest platform isn’t much different from others available today, what sets it apart is the inexpensiveness of the hardware, a greater focus on user interaction and its unique ability to leverage context awareness to make an automobile smart. Aside from that, the $9 AwareCar is being billed as the “first app to remember parking levels.” So if you’re among the countless others who’ve experienced a Seinfeld-like conundrum, where you were unsure as to which floor you left your car, the system uses your smartphone’s built-in sensors to track elevation. The app will then let you how close you are, even if that means on a different level of the garage.


“AwareCar is the first system that combines the insight from your car’s context with measurements from your phone’s sensors to solve some of challenging and interesting problems related to driving cars,” the team writes. “Instead of packing these sensors again in a new smart car device, we leverage the car’s context and the phone’s sensor data by using a simple device.”

Looking ahead, its creators hope to add new features to the app using feedback provided by its initial backers. Among the upgrades include IFTTT integration, multi-car tracking support, gas mileage efficiency, fuel warnings based on trip length, as well as a do not disturb mode that reduces interruptions and eliminates the urge to text.


Want one of your own? Head over to AwareCar’s Kickstarter campaign, where the AwareStack crew is seeking $15,000. Units are expected to begin shipping in December 2015.

FemtoBeacon is a dime-sized, open-source wireless IMU

Based on an ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU, this board features an altimeter, a 9-DOF IMU and wireless capabilities.

In recent months, the Femtoduino crew has been hard at work developing a range of new boards, including their highly-popular IMUduino BTLE, and even more recently, the uber-mini FemtoUSB. Now, after much anticipation, the crew has returned with a dime-sized FemtoBeacon.


Currently live on Kickstarter, the tiny board (only 18mm in diameter) is based on an Atmel | SMART SAM R21 Cortex-M0+ MCU and is packed with a 9-DOF IMU, a temperature sensor, an altimeter and integrated wireless capabilities such as ZigBee and mesh networking.


Built around the ARM Cortex M0+, the FemtoBeacon features 256KB of Flash and an on-board voltage regulator outputting 3.3V. At the moment, the device uses a 26MHz crystal with 9PF caps, but it should be noted that the SAM D21 is capable of going up to 48MHz. The chip also supports uploading programming over USB, thanks to the SAM-BA bootloader, and the FemtoIO fork of the BOSSA utility. The entire flash storage may be used if programmed with the Atmel-ICE dongle via SWD.


“Hopefully, this small Kickstarter campaign can raise enough money to get a small batch built, and subsequently have libraries developed,” CTO Alex Albino writes. Ideally, with enough funding, the team is looking to extensively upgrade its wireless IMU and programming capabilities, as well as add other features like Arduino compatibility.

Intrigued? Head over to the FemtoBeacon’s Kickstarter page, where Femtoduino is seeking $500. Shipment is slated to begin July 2015. In the meantime, you can follow along with their latest work, libraries and examples on Github here.

These 3D-printed Easter eggs will hide themselves

Get ready for the Internet of Eggs.

While going on the hunt for colorful Easter eggs typically filled with chocolate, jelly beans and sometimes even cash may be fun, Guido Burger has decided to bring the age-old game into the Internet of Things era. The Maker has crafted self-hiding, 3D-printed eggs using Platinchen (or blueIOT), a platform that combines both a certified BLE module along with an ATmega328P MCU.


The beacons bring a variety of exciting new features to the egg hunt, including proximity detection (which senses when someone is nearby and takes action) and retrieval avoidance (which allows them to emit sound and hide themselves).


Each unit features a 9-axis, absolute orientation sensor that is used to detect motion, allowing it to change color and make noise when touched. Burger also implemented an Adafruit vibrating mini motor disc and controller to enable unique movements of the eggs while out in the yard or scattered throughout the house.


What’s more, the devices are entirely open-source, meaning Makers can add their own ideas to it as well. And yes, there’s still room to hide a few treats inside its 3D-printed shell.


Interested in this eggs-ellent idea? Head over to Hackster.io for a complete step-by-step breakdown of the build.