Tag Archives: Facebook

Parse for IoT launches four new SDKs

Parse for IoT has expanded its SDK lineup with four new kits built with Atmel and other industry leaders.

The Internet of Things is one of the most exciting new platforms for app development, especially as more and more people interact with connected devices every day. But it also poses a host of challenges for developers, as they must wrestle with the complex task of maintaining a backend with a whole new set of constraints. Many IoT devices also need to be personalized and paired with a mobile companion app. Cognizant of this, the Parse team is striving to make it simpler.


At F8 this year, Parse for IoT was announced — an official new line of SDKs for connected devices, starting with an SDK targeted for the Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4). Now, Parse has shared that they are expanding their lineup with four new SDKs built with Atmel, Broadcom, Intel and TI. This will make it easier than ever to use Parse with more types of hardware and a broader range of connected devices. For example, you can build an app for the Atmel | SMART SAM D21 and WINC1500 — and connect it to the Parse cloud in minutes, with nothing more than a few lines of code.


“We’ve been excited to see the creative and innovative things our developer community has built since we first launched Parse for IoT at F8. Already, hundreds of apps for connected devices have been created with the new SDKs,” explains Parse software engineer Damian Kowalewski. “Our tools have been used to build exciting and diverse products like a farm-to-table growing system that lets farmers remotely control their equipment with an app (Freight Farms); a smart wireless HiFi system that syncs music, lighting and more (Musaic); and even a smart BBQ smoker that can sense when meat is perfectly done (Trignis). Here at Parse, we had fun building a connected car and a one-click order button. And we’ve heard that our SDKs are even being used as teaching tools in several college courses.”


As to what’s ahead, this lies in the hands and minds of Makers. From a garage hacker’s weekend project to a production-ready connected product, manufactured at scale — Parse can power them all. Ready to get started? You can download the new SDKs and access QuickStart guides here.

Parse for IoT is connecting hardware with the cloud

Announced at F8, Parse for IoT is an official new line of SDKs for connected devices. Here is what Facebook’s Parse team had to say…

At Parse, our passion is making developer experiences easier on any platform—including platforms that extend beyond mobile. Of these platforms, one of the most exciting new spaces is the Internet of Things. We believe that connecting more hardware devices with the cloud has the potential to change the world for the better. We are already seeing devices that add tremendous value to people’s lives, from wearables that help you sleep better to insulin trackers that aid people living with diabetes.


But, as with mobile, connecting these devices to the cloud can be difficult. In addition to maintaining a backend, developers must contend with notoriously constrained environments on the client. We’ve been listening to feedback from a wide range of Parse customers who are already using our platform in hardware products — like Chamberlain, who makes a line of smart garage door openers that interact with our REST API; Milestone Sports, who make the wearable running tracker Milestone Pod; and Roost, who make smart batteries for smoke detectors. From these conversations, we decided we could go one step further.

Today, we’re proud to announce Parse for IoT: an official new line of SDKs for connected devices.

Arduino SDK

The first is an Arduino SDK targeted for the Arduino Yún, a [ATmega32U4 based] microcontroller board with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. The SDK interface is in Wiring, and, in the spirit of Arduino, we designed it to be as simple as possible. For example, all it takes is a few lines of code to save temperature data from a smart thermostat:

ParseCreateObject create;
create.add("currentTemperature", 175.0);

From there, the data will be available in your Parse app ready to be retrieved by your mobile app, another device, or simply logged for analytics purposes. Beyond the Yún, we’re already working on SDKs for upcoming platforms such as the Arduino Zero [Atmel | SMART SAM D21] with the Wi-Fi 101 Shield [ATWINC1500].

In addition, we’re releasing an Embedded C SDK, targeted for Linux and Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS). These open source SDKs serve as reference implementations that are being used by leading chipset manufacturers to provide support for their hardware platforms. If you are a chipset manufacturer interested in working with us, please reach out at iotpartners@fb.com.

The C SDK provides a simple interface for our REST API. For example, to save the same temperature data you would do:

char data[] = "{ \"currentTemperature\": 175.0 }";
parseSendRequest(client, "POST", "/1/classes/TemperatureReading", data, NULL);

You’ll be able to find these SDKs on GitHub, as well as a full set of Quick Starts and Guides on Parse. With these SDKs, your device will be able to receive push notifications, save data, and take advantage of the Parse Cloud. It’s easy to get started from scratch, and the process should be very familiar for developers who already use Parse. Check out the Quick Start guide and start adding Parse to your hardware device in minutes.

The possibilities are endless. You could make a smart thermostat that can be controlled via a mobile app, or a security camera that saves images every minute, or even a music device that can be controlled via a web app. We’re so excited to see what you build.

This post was originally written by James Yu and published on the Parse Blog. You can read it here

11 Maker projects to celebrate Facebook’s 11th birthday

Trust us, you’ll ‘like’ these projects.

Today, February 4th, Facebook celebrates its 11th birthday. To commemorate the occasion, we decided to surf the web trying to find some nifty little projects. While a few of them are on the older side, none however, date as far back to the days of TheFacebook.com. (Remember that?)



Created by Matt Reed, the aptly named LikeLight will surely excite any click-happy Facebook user. The light not only looks great, but actually illuminates whenever someone hits the ‘Like’ button on your Facebook page. To create the light, the Maker first made use of LEGO’s very own Digital Designer software, re-creating the infamous ‘Like’ icon on his Mac. Once the light was designed, and the bricks were ordered, Reed got to work on building the light from scratch. Aside from the plastic building blocks, the project is powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), which was connected to some LEDs. With just a tad bit of coding, the job was complete. Thumbs up on a job well done!

The Poking Machine


As its name implies, the Poking Machine is a wearable device designed by Jasper van Loenen and Bartholomäus Traubeck that physically pokes you whenever you are poked on Facebook, no matter where you are. The gadget is built around an ATtiny2313, a servo, a battery, and a Bluetooth module that connects to an Android phone, letting it keep track of incoming pokes. The electronic components are housed in a laser-cut box that you can wear on your arm.

Like Counter


Whether you’re a small business looking to demonstrate your Facebook presence or just an avid social media user looking to show off their popularity throughout the dorm, this project from Skolti Lab has made that possible. Using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an Arduino Ethernet Shield, an Arduino LCD Keypad Shield, a USB cable and an RJ45 cable, anyone can now make a device that reveals their page’s fan base without running the risk of embarrassing Facebook updates.

Facebook Dashboard


The Smart Atoms team recently devised a highly-customizable smart ticker that tracks everything important to you in real-time. Dubbed LaMetric, the hackable gadget is a suitable match for both home and office life with its multi-faceted functionality and stylish design. Three elegant touch buttons on the top of the device let a user to switch between items, while its sleek form factor allows for it to be placed wherever desired. LaMetric can also synced to web through its companion application via both Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Meanwhile, a trio of widgets let enable the ticker to be connected to anything on the web, include your latest Facebook updates and messages, each of which are provided in the form of notifications that a user can replied to by simply tapping its top-middle button.

Motorized Facebook Thumb


Developed by Tobias Sonne, Motorized Facebook Thumb (MFT) is an Internet-connected device that listens for like-worthy events for a specific person or page. Whenever a person, anywhere in the world, likes the Carnegie Mellon University’s Facebook page, the MFT lights up and the thump goes up. Modeled in Rhino, the device’s parts were constructed out of acrylic with a laser cutter while the stand was milled in plywood. MFT was powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), a small stepper motor, a few blue LEDs, and an Arduino Ethernet Shield.

Check-Ins Get a Facelift


Facebook check-ins are a powerful mechanism for businesses to deliver discounts to loyal customers, yet few businesses — and even fewer customers — have realized it. That’s why ad agency Red Pepper has devised an ATmega328 based facial recognition system that, after passing by, a patron checks in at their location. Simultaneously, the user will be notified via smartphone of a customized deal based on their Like history as well.


FB ike

Instructables user “aashby1” had sought out to create an innovative way to share Facebook photos for a Christmas party he was throwing, knowing all too well that attendees wouldn’t want to take too much time in take and tag their images online. The project, which is powered by an ATmega328 and utilized an SLR camera, allows guests to simply snap a picture and immediately share it to their friends all with the press of one button. What’s more, the FaceBox can also be connected to a TV or computer monitor so that the photos to be shown throughout the party, as well as is equipped with photobooth software that can print, email or text the images.

Facebook Lamp


Facebook Lamp is an RGB LED light that alerts you in the event of a Facebook notifications by changing its color or fading from one hue to another. Built around what appears to be an ATmega328, the lamp in connected to a laptop via USB and is controlled by a custom software, which syncs and retrieves information from a user’s Facebook account.



French startup Smiirl teamed up with Sculpteo to design Fliike, a 3D-printed Facebook counter that literally sits on your counter as well — or your desk, or shop window. The gadget is easily plugged into a wall and connected via Wi-Fi, allowing business owneres to display and easily convince customers to become fans. Meanwhile, Flike is comprised of polyamide material, thus enabling owners to customize their unit by polishing and painting the gadget in 11 different colors.

“Like This” Button


Maker Mario Klingemann elected to construct a display for the UAMO Festival in Munich, all in an effort to create a self-referential piece of art that shows how many people like it. While the button itself may not be connected to Facebook, the installation demonstrated just how large of a cultural icon the social network has already become and the fact that most people will immediately understand how to use it. Those passing by simply pressed the button for about a second or so, which was then added to the project’s final tally. On a hardware level, it contains an Arduino which takes care for permanently storing the count of button presses and which also controls the display.

Facebook Flagger


Inspired by old-fashioned mailboxes, Colin Karpfinger produced an Arduino-compatible Facebook Flagger that alerts a computer user of a new notification. As soon as a message or status update comes in, the flag pops up above the screen using a servo. When done, the flag is pushed back down.

Open source aquaponics with APDuino

Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

Essentially, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are used by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.

Recently, a farmer by the name of Rik Kretzinger decided to mesh aquaponics with open source technology by creating an automated garden using an Atmel-based Arduino Mega, Ethernet shield, along with various sensors and valves.

According to CNX Software, Kretzinger’s firmware is based on the popular APduino, an open source project designed to run on an Atmel-based Arduino Mega (ATmega1280). The open source aquaponics platform is tasked with processing and analyzing a comprehensive data feed from numerous sensors including those that monitor humidity, temperature, pH balance and light levels.

In addition, Rik’s aquaponics system is designed to automatically upload data to the cloud via Xively, post emergency SMS alerts as well as stream updates over Facebook and Twitter. 

Kretzinger says his open source aquaponics system is quite versatile, vertical (optional) and can be set up in both urban and suburban locations.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Rik’s Aquaponic DIY Automation blog here. Readers may also want to browse through some of our previous stories on automated farming including “The Internet of Things, Stalk by Stalk,” “Smart Urban Aquaponics in West Oakland” and “DIY Farming with Atmel and Arduino.”

And the AVR Hero Design Contest winners are…

Back in September 2013, Atmel kicked off its global AVR Hero design contest for Makers, with 
participants submitting videos of creative designs based on AVR microcontrollers (MCUs)
Five winners were ultimately chosen by the public on Facebook and in China between September 17, 2013 and January 31, 2014.

Winners for this year’s contest included Sumit Grover and Rahul Kar (two runner up prizes) from India and Juan Luis Gonzalez from Mexico. The grand prize winner? Pamungkas Sumasta from Indonesia, who designed an Inertial Mobile Phone Unit based on AVR-Arduino.

When told he had been chosen as the grand prize winner of Atmel’s AVR contest, Sumasta was delighted.

“I am extremely excited to have won the grand prize for this design contest,” Sumasta exclaimed. 

”Atmel’s 8-bit AVR MCUs provide the best small footprint controllers available in the market, especially when they are coupled with Arduino support. Atmel AVRs continue to be my MCU of choice.”

“Congratulations to our five winners for providing thought-invoking, popular AVR-based designs,” said Sander Arts, Vice President of Marketing, Atmel Corporation.

“These innovative designs demonstrate the simplicity of Atmel’s AVR MCUs, which go beyond the core to help differentiate individual projects. Our AVRs continue to spark the imagination for professional engineers, makers and students in consumer and industrial applications because of its specialized peripherals, real-time performance, high integration and low power.”

Interested in learning more about the AVR Hero Design Contest Winners? You can check out Sumit Grover’s project here, Rahul Kar’s projects here and here and Juan Luis Gonzalez’s here.

Atmel kicks off XSense design contest

Atmel recently kicked off its “Bend Your Mind XSense Design Contest.” We are searching for contestants from students to engineers, hobbyists, designers, fashionistas and more who want to stretch their imagination by submitting unique designs that utilize Atmel’s flexible XSense touch sensor.

Anyone who is a fan of Atmel’s Facebook page may submit an original design drawing with a photo on Atmel’s XSense Design Contest page. Contestants may also enter the technical design contest based on the design contest sensor specifications, with Facebook fans voting for their favorite design until June 2014. Final winners will be selected by Atmel judges, based on originality, creativity and uniqueness of the design.

Contestants are encouraged to share this contest and their designs with family, friends and colleagues, since public voting will be a considered an important factor in the final contest. Two first prize winners and two second prize winners will be chosen, with first prize winners receiving $1500 and second prize winners $500.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s XSense is a high-performance, highly flexible touch sensor which allows engineers to design devices with curved surfaces and even add functionality along product edges. This means manufacturers now have the capability to build light-weight, sleek, edgeless smartphones, tablets and other touch-enabled devices. XSense is currently shipping in production from Atmel’s Colorado Springs (CSO) facility after achieving Windows 8 certification.

Jennifer Colegrove, who owns Touch Display Research in Santa Clara, Calif., estimates the potential market for XSense and similar technologies will increase from $200 million this year to $4 billion by 2020, primarily for tablet computers and other larger mobile devices.

Similarly, Hans Mosesmann, a technology analyst for Raymond James & Associates, says the market for touchscreen sensors will grow at an annual rate of 44 percent during the next three years to about $10 billion due to its lower cost, size and performance.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s XSense technology? You can check out the official XSense page here.

Will.i.am hearts Makers

Wikipedia describes the Maker Movement as a “contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture.”

Typical interests pursued by Maker culture include engineering-oriented projects such as electronics, Arduino-based robotics, 3D printing with Atmel-powered printers like the MakerBot or RepRap and the use of CNC tools.

Larry Magid, a technology journalist who writes for the San Jose Mercury News, recently noted that the Maker Movement is growing exponentially by taking advantage of 3D printers, inexpensive microcontrollers, robotics, CAD and the ability to control machines with computers, tablets and smartphones.

The truth is, says Magid, we are all Makers to a certain extent, even if some of us don’t know it yet.

“All of us – even Leonardo da Vinci – were late comers as far as the Maker movement is concerned,” he explained. “Our prehistoric ancestors millions of years ago, figured out how to turn stones into tools so that they could make things. Only they didn’t have fairs, books and websites to document the process.”

And now Will.i.am, the technophile founder of The Black Eyed Peas, has offered a ringing endorsement of the Maker Movement and related culture on Facebook.

“Every young person is going to be inspired to be a maker from now on,” said Will.i.am. “It’s like how everyone used to want to be a musician, an actor, an athlete — but a maker is what people are going to want to be.”

Indeed, as Arduino’s Massimo Banzi once famously noted, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”

These falcons are monitored by intelligent nests

The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small falcon that can be found across the Mediterranean and south-central Asia. The bird is a summer migrant, wintering in Africa and Pakistan and sometimes even India and Iraq.

A number of Lesser Kestrel falcons are currently participating in HORUS, a real-time monitoring project headquartered at the Doñana Biological Station, a public Research Institute in Spain. According to Horus Project staff, the falcons breed in smart nest-boxes on the window sills which are equipped with sensors, cameras and other equipment controlled by an Arduino board.

“The [Arduino] board is based on Atmel’s ATmega2560, an economic, low-power and robust microcontroller. It controls and processes the nest’s sensor information,” the Horus Project researchers explained. “This board [links] with sensors and other components, processing the collected information sent to the process server over the communication interface.”

Specifically, the program implemented in the microcontroller performs the following tasks:

  • Links with the process server over a communication interface and synchronizes clock times.
  • Checks infra-red barriers. Each nest-box has two infra-red barriers at both extremes of the corridor. The sequence in which they are activated indicates whether birds are entering or leaving the nest-box.
  • Checks if the RFID reader has read a code from ringed kestrels.
  • Obtains the body mass measurement from a digital balance.
  • Monitors the temperature and humidity of the nest.
  • Controls the RFID reader to identify individuals.

Additional information about the Horus Project can be found on the official Facebook page or Wiki here.

Arduino-Powered Bartender Takes Orders Via Facebook, Twitter

How’s this for the life of the party? A robotic bartender, powered by Arduino and connected to Facebook and Twitter. Use a Facebook app, or a Twitter bot, to order your cocktail from the Social Drink Machine. And use the same app to tell your friends what you just ordered!

The creativity that fuelds the Arduino community is always impressive. And so are the underlying megaAVR microcontrollers inside the Arduino boards. Low-power, highly integrated megaAVR devices support the fast development process that enables designers to take fun and quirky ideas and quickly turn them into working products.

What have you made with Arduino?