Tag Archives: blueIOT

Why connect to the cloud with the Atmel | SMART SAM W25?

The “thing” of IoT does not have to necessarily be tiny. 

The Atmel | SMART SAM W25 is, in fact, a module — a “SmartConnect Module.” As far as I am concerned, I like SmartConnect designation and I think it could be used to describe any IoT edge device. The device is “smart” as it includes a processing unit, which in this case is an ARM Cortex-M0-based SAMD21G, and “connect” reminds the Internet part of the IoT definition. Meanwhile, the ATWINC1500 SoC supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n allowing seamless connection to the cloud.

What should we expect from an IoT edge device? It should be characterized by both low cost and power! This IoT system is probably implemented multiple times, either in a factory (industrial) or in a house (home automation), and the cost should be as low as possible to enable large dissemination. I don’t know the SAMD21G ASP, but I notice that it’s based on the smallest MCU core of the ARM Cortex-M family, so the cost should be minimal (my guess). Atmel claims the W25 module to be “fully-integrated single-source MCU + IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi solution providing battery powered endpoints lasting years”… sounds like ultra low-power, doesn’t it?

Atmel claims the W25 module to be “Fully-integrated single-source MCU + IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi solution providing battery powered endpoints lasting years”…sounds like being ultra low-power, isn’t it

The “thing” of IoT does not necessarily have to be tiny. We can see in the above example that interconnected things within the industrial world can be as large as these wind turbines (courtesy of GE). To maximize efficiency in power generation and distribution, the company has connected these edge devices to the cloud where the software analytics allow wind farm operators to optimize the performance of the turbines, based on environmental conditions. According with GE, “Raising the turbines’ efficiency can increase the wind farm’s annual energy output by up to 5%, which translates in a 20% increase in profitability.” Wind turbines are good for the planet as they allow avoiding burning fossil energy. IoT devices implementation allows wind farm operators to increase their profitability and to build sustainable business. In the end, thanks to Industrial Internet of Thing (IIoT), we all benefit from less air pollution and more affordable power!

ATSAMW25 Block-DiagramThe ATWINC1500 is a low-power Systems-on-Chip (SoC) that brings Wi-Fi connectivity to any embedded design. In the example above, this SoC is part of a certified module, the ATSAMW25, for embedded designers seeking to integrate Wi-Fi into their system. If we look at the key features list:

  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (1×1) for up to 72 Mbps
  • Integrated PA and T/R switch
  • Superior sensitivity and range via advanced PHY signal processing
  • Wi-Fi Direct, station mode and Soft-AP support
  • Supports IEEE 802.11 WEP, WPA
  • On-chip memory management engine to reduce host load
  • 4MB internal Flash memory with OTA firmware upgrade
  • SPI, UART and I2C as host interfaces
  • TCP/IP protocol stack (client/server) sockets applications
  • Network protocols (DHCP/DNS), including secure TLS stack
  • WSC (wireless simple configuration WPS)
  • Can operate completely host-less in most applications

We can notice that host interfaces allow direct connection to device I/Os and sensors through SPI, UART, I2C and ADC interfaces and can also operate completely host-less. A costly device is then removed from the BOM which can enable economic feasibility for an IoT, or IIoT edge device.

The low-power Wi-Fi certified module is currently employed in industrial systems supporting applications, such as transportation, aviation, healthcare, energy or lighting, as well as in IoT areas like home appliances and consumer electronics. For all these use cases, certification is a must-have feature, but low-cost and ultra-low power are the economic and technical enablers.

This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Eric Esteve is a principle blogger and one of the four founding members of the site. This blog first appeared on SemiWiki on November 15, 2015.

These smart socks will let you know what’s up in the washer

Get ready for the I-o-Feet.

When you think of the billions of “things” that will one day be connected to the Internet, socks may not be one of the first items that come to mind. However, as recent reports have suggested, the smart clothing and electronic textile segment is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, so it was only a matter of time before the IoT would head to our feet.


First reported by our friends at Adafruit, Maker Guido Burger has developed an intelligent sock prototype packed with a LilyPad ProtoBoard, a LilyPad RGB LED, an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), and most importantly, an Adafruit FLORA 9 DOF sensor. The sensor is tasked with driving the RGB LED and enables a user to do one of two things: monitor the sock during the washing process and find answers to questions that they may’ve never thought about. For instance, have you ever wanted to know how many g-forces a sock has to survive or how many times will it be washed?

The idea was first conceived after Burger had been working on a smart home hack. When presented with the option of a smart oven, fridge or washing machine, he decided the latter was the most interesting one.

“Because why the heck do you need a smart washing machine at all? They are already smart (weight sensor, special washing programs), but I got interested as the cloth in the washing machine was not at all connected,” the Maker reveals. “So, taking the possibility to transmit data from a sensor being under water was a great basis – a must have.”

While working on the project, Burger discovered that he needed to coat the electronic components with acrylic resin — except on the through-holes for the conductive thread. The Maker also tells Adafruit that he switched from a LiPo battery to a coin cell, as it had a better rating for this rough and tumble temperature changing life.


With the prototype complete, the Maker has embarked on the next iteration of the smart sock. This time, it will be equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy, which will allow for it to work with an accompanying app to collect and visualize data from a smartphone. As seen in previous projects from Burger, Platinchen (or blueIOT) is a platform from Fab-Lab Germany that combines a certified BLE module along with an ATmega328P MCU.

Want to learn more? Head over to Adafruit’s official write-up 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.

Hacking a Nespresso machine with an ATmega328P

If there are a couple of things engineers love, tinkering and coffee rank high on that list. To our delight, a Maker by the name of Guido Burger brought to our attention one of his latest builds powered by an ATmega328P, of course.


Along with fellow members of his Fab-Lab team, Burger has created the first open sensor platform for the Internet of Things, which uses a combination of Arduino IDE and Bluetooth Low Energy driven by just a single coin cell battery. Aptly named blueIOT, the platform is equipped with a certified BLE module and an ATmega328P MCU at its core.

Here, you can see the hacked Nespresso Inissia coffee maker. The black box is hosting the blueIOT module, optocoppler and a relay to physically decouple the machine from the control unit.

A closer look at the hacked Nespresso Inissia coffee maker. Here, you can see the black box that hosts the blueIOT module, along with an optocoupler and a relay that physically decouple the machine from the control unit.

Most recently, the Maker successfully hacked a Nespresso machine using the blueIOT to control his new makeshift device. Among the various tasks the ‘smarter’ coffee maker can carry out include awaking the device from power safe mode, beginning to brew a morning cup ‘o joe, changing the coffee/water mix, as well as starting the cleaning process — all made possible through a simple Arduino code running on the ATmega328P and the blueIOT’s ultra-low power design.

A peek inside the coffee maker.

A peek inside the coffee maker.

Furthermore, the gadget serves as an iBeacon, sharing the proximity of a user to the coffee maker via its companion smartphone app.

“This will be the cheapest BLE-enabled coffee maker based on a Nespresso mass market coffee maker… and simple to rebuild in less than two hours… It might be the first coffee maker actually being an iBeacon too,” Burger adds.

blueIOT and a Darlington driver running the relay (black on bottom), optocoupler (red) running Arduino code on the ATmega328P.

blueIOT and a Darlington driver running the relay (black on bottom), along with an optocoupler (red) running Arduino code on the ATmega328P.

Did this project perk your interest? If so, head on over to Fab Labs official page here to learn more about blueIOT and other related hacks.