Tag Archives: GPS tracker

Rewind: 12 projects you wish you had in your office

Whether it’s eliminating distractions or enhancing convenience, every workplace could use some of these things.

An Electric Standing Desk


StandiT is a modular, patent-pending system that can take ordinary desks or wooden tabletops and transform them into electric stand-sit desks capable of raising and lowering on your command.

An Ergonomic Keyboard


Keyboardio is an open source ergonomic keyboard that gives your pinkies a break and puts your thumbs to work.

A Listening Table


The brainchild of the New York Times R&D Lab, the Listening Table is like any other piece of office furniture except for the fact that it can record the most important moments from a meeting. A microphone array focuses on the speaker, no matter where he or she is seated, while custom speech-processing software generates a word-for-word recording and a semantic overview — what topics were talked about, in what order, and by whom.

A Connected Coffee Pot


You’ve all been in the situation before: You arrive at the office coffee pot only to find that it’s empty. If only you could curb that disappointment with up-to-the-minute reporting on exactly how much coffee is left in the pot. Well lucky for you, PubNub has developed an IoT Coffee Maker with real-time coffee capacity monitoring.

A Coffee Age Timer


In most offices, coffee tends to go pretty fast throughout the morning. However, as the day goes on, caffeine consumption dwindles down a bit. And when it’s time for that late afternoon pick-me-up, it’s sometimes difficult to guess just how long the coffee has been sitting in the pot. Fortunately, Paul Kerchen has created a solution to keep track of that: BrewDoo.

A Boss Tracker


Ever wonder whether or not your boss is in the office? As part of a recent demonstration, the Atmel team in Norway built a SAM D20 GPS tracker that lets you receive an SMS alert whenever your supervisor enters the building.

An Arduino Alarm System


Hate when your colleagues steal things from your cubicle without asking for permission? Thanks to Stefano Guglielmetti, you can now devise your own Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4) alarm. Discreetly place the device around whatever it is that you’d like to monitor. If and when movement is detected, the alarm will emit a siren and then proceed to take a picture and email it to you. What’s more, you can shame the thief by automatically posting their photo to friends on Facebook or Twitter via a simple IFTTT recipe.

A Productivity Sign


Every office has that one guy. He walks around the floor, gazing into each cubicle, looking to spark a conversation. Not before long, he glances your way, makes eye contact and begins to head in your direction. As he approaches, he utters the infamous words, “It’ll be quick.” But let’s face it, it’s never quick. An hour later, not only has he drained you of your creative energy, but you just lost 60 minutes of productivity. Wired In is a Bluetooth sign that eliminates unwanted distractions by telling your coworkers you’re busy.

A Personal AC Unit


Especially in the summertime, finding the perfect indoor temperature to accommodate others can be quite challenging. Some buildings blast the AC to help with airflow, but this results in goosebumps even when it’s hot outside. Evapolar is a personal air conditioner that humidifies and purifies the air around you. The gadget sits on your desk, enabling you to enjoy your own climate, tailored to your temperature needs.

A Real-Time Commute Display


Transit is a conveniently-placed sign displaying commuter information from the web every 30 seconds. Although most of us can simply glance at our smartphones to check public transportation updates and weather forecasts, it’s easy to forget to do so when ‘in the zone.’ Sometimes, the only way we pay attention is when that information is served to us conspicuously. That was the thinking of iStrategyLabs, whose project ensures that you never miss a train, always know how many bikes are available, and stay one step ahead of the weather.

An Office Chairiot


Sitting behind the same desk in the same chair can get a bit boring after a while. What if that same chair could whiz through the building at 15 to 20 miles per hour? Meet the Office Chairiot Mark II — a motorized IKEA Poäng chair that employs some off-the-shelf scooter parts like wheels, axles and batteries to roll around.

A ‘Skip Track’ Target


Hate a song playing on the radio? Hope you have good aim! The Neo-Pangea crew’s Boombox Blaster adds a gamification element to their workplace’s music selection by turning a suspended NERF target into a “skip track” button.

LightBug is a solar-powered GPS tracker

LightBug takes the best features of a Bluetooth tag and combines them with the functionality of a full GPS/GPRS tracker.

While there are plenty of trackers available today, a vast majority of them rely on Bluetooth to detect the whereabouts of the device. However, once out of range, these trackers essentially serve very little purpose. That’s where LightBug is looking to come in handy.


No larger than a stick of gum, the LightBug is small enough to discreetly clip onto a keychain, bag, clothes, pets or anything else you don’t want to lose, and unlike others on the market, packs GPS capabilities. Meaning, in the event a Bluetooth connection is broken, you’ll still be able to pinpoint an object with an accuracy of 50cm. The gadget works by sending its location over any available mobile phone network via a roaming SIM. What’s more, the LightBug is solar powered, and can be charged through its microUSB port should it need a quick boost of juice.

Aside from everyday items, LightBug can also help parents keep tabs on wandering children or caregivers to monitor the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can even be employed for fitness-related activities as it can be worn on your shoe and used to track your runs.

How it works is pretty simple. GPS satellites tell LightBug where it is. The GPRS network sends the location to the cloud, where the information is securely stored. This data is then relayed to LightBug’s accompanying app. The app allows you to manage push notifications, establish geofences, retrieve historical data, sound a buzzer and launch navigation.


Additionally, alerts can be setup for a wide range of things, such as proximity to your phone. Proximity alerts will detect if the unit is no longer nearby using Bluetooth and will trigger automatic position updates. Alternatively, you can draw areas on a map that are either “safe zones” or “danger zones” and receive notifications when boundaries are crossed. Other notification triggers include time of day, detection of a falls and speed.

“LightBug is like a Bluetooth proximity tag on steroids because it’s still useful when you’re not near it. Unlike other tags, it doesn’t rely on loads of people having the same app installed because it can determine and send its location on its own. Like Bluetooth Tags though, you can use the app to make the buzzer ring to help you find stuff, and also use your phone to home in on it, helping you find stuff quicker indoors,” the team writes.


Measuring just 45mm x 23.5mm x 11mm in size and weighing only 20g, the LightBug can be unnoticeably attached to anything from your bag to your drone. In terms of hardware, the device is equipped with an ATxmega128A4U MCU, an accelerometer for movement detection, a pair of solar panels and a microUSB port for charging, a LiPo battery, a piezo buzzer for alerts, an LED and an GSM/GPRS modem.

“Basically, LightBug integrates an old school mobile phone, solar panels, a solar charger, Bluetooth, a really, really good GPS and has amazing battery life,” its creators add.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to release a public API early next year, which will enable you to build apps around LightBug — whether that’s a location-based game for your pet or a scavenger hunt for you and your friends. Aside from that, they will be integrating the tracker with IFTTT.

Tired of losing things? Head over to its Kickstarter campaign, where LightBug is currently seeking $77,782. Delivery is expected to begin in January 2016.

HidnSeek is a tiny GPS tracker that’ll help you locate just about anything

HidnSeek uses the SIGFOX network to provide users with accurate geo-localisation updates every five minutes.

Developed by French entrepreneurs Stéphane Driussi and Xavier Torres-Tuset, HidnSeek is a smart GPS tracking device that connects to the low-cost SIGFOX network and provides users with accurate geo-localization updates.


The solution is comprised of a palm-sized, open source unit that attaches to any object in need of being monitored and a smartphone application. Based on an ATmega328P MCU, the lightweight tracker packs an accelerometer, a battery and a micro-USB port for recharging. Whereas most gadgets use GSM networks which tend to consume quite a bit of energy and heavily limit tracking capabilities, HidnSeek employs the ultra low-power SIGFOX network instead. Meanwhile, its accompanying app (available for IOS, Android and Windows) lets users easily manage the number of HidnSeek devices being logged, customize geo-fences and configure alert messages.

The system works by determining its position through GPS and transmitting up to 140 geo-localization updates per 24 hour period to its servers via the network. SIGFOX permits two-way communications with HidnSeek, giving users the ability to change their settings up to four times per day and to facilitate geo-localisation updates every five minutes, if necessary.


To get started, a user simply drops HidnSeek inside a suitcase, a child’s backpack or even a car’s door panel, then keeps tabs through its mobile app. Thanks to an embedded accelerometer, the tiny gadget boasts a range of additional features including a “Body Guard” mode that sends an alert if a device remains stationary for an extended period of time and a “Motion Sensor” security system that can inform a user if an doorway has been opened.

“Perhaps you can’t check on an elderly relative as often as you would like or you want to ensure your loved ones are safe during their sporting expeditions. By sharing your tracker ID and with ‘Body Guard’ mode activated, anyone you trust can be alerted directly and notified of the exact location should there be no movement observed for a period of time from 1-15 minutes,” its creators explain.


HidnSeek goes beyond just revealing the whereabouts of one’s belongings. With its built-in geo-fencing technology, users can predefine a set of boundaries, such as a school, neighborhood or workplace, and if a HidnSeek gadget enters or exits the area, a notification will be immediately sent to their phone. This function will be come in handy should a drone go out of reach as it will be able to assist the flier in retrieving their UAV when it goes down.

“HidnSeek determines its location accurately with GPS technology and broadcasts your data using SIGFOX network connectivity, meaning its range extends as far as the SIGFOX network coverage. SIGFOX have committed to rolling out their connectivity across the globe; Europe is nearly fully covered and America is on the way,” the team writes.


“This makes HidnSeek so versatile you can find just about anything, anywhere! Other tracking devices use Bluetooth or cellular tower technology to locate their devices, both of which have limitations. Bluetooth has a limited detection span of 40 meters maximum, and cellular tower technology has limited geo-localization accuracy, which may be greater than 500 meters.”

Whether you’re a worrywart or actually prone to losing things, your car or even grandma, head over to HidnSeek’s Kickstarter campaign to get a tracker of your own. Stéphane Driussi & Xavier Torres-Tuset are currently seeking $13,688. Shipment is expected to begin in October 2015.

Tracking Alzheimer’s Disease patients with Arduino

This DIY GPS tracker will let you know when a loved one with Alzheimer’s wanders off.

Anyone who has ever had a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease is all too familiar with the significance of taking the necessary steps to ensure that person’s well-being. As the disease progresses, those with the disease experience worsening memory loss, difficulty in responding to their environment, and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. In fact, a number of patients tend to wander from places of safety.


So in an effort to help solve this problem, Maker Logan Prasser — in collaboration with Sean Halloran and Gvozden Suvajlo — has devised a GPS device that can track a sufferer’s movements and send an alert to a caregiver if and when they leave a pre-defined range. The gadget, which consists of a 3D-printed case, can be easily slipped inside a pocket by a caretaker, who can then monitor the patient’s movements from afar. While there are a few commercial solutions on the market today, most are a bit complex and costly when compared to this DIY project.


Housed within the device’s 3D-printed shell is an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), an Adafruit FONA board, a GPS breakout board and antenna, along with a 9V battery. The Maker programmed the Micro to communicate with both the cell and GPS modules. When the GPS module is not within its specified boundary, the tracker notifies the caretaker via text.


Though not required, Prasser suggests using a solar board for charging the 3.7V battery and using solar panels. Another optional step includes adding a button and LED to the device.

Have a loved one who could surely benefit from this DIY solution? Check out the Maker’s step-by-step breakdown on Instructables here.

OpenTracker v2 is a SAM3A8C-based GPS and GLONASS tracker

OpenTracker v2 — which made its Indiegogo debut back in June — has become the latest partner in the Arduino At Heart Program. The device is an open-source, commercial grade GPS/GLONASS vehicle tracker that is packed with a powerful 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 CPU (Atmel SAM3A8C), and equipped with a free web interface for tracking on both Google Maps and OpenStreetMap.


Whether it’s monitoring a single vehicle or a fleet, the Arduino-compatible OpenTracker v2 enables a user to divide the devices into groups for easier management of larger convoys. Users can track the location, speed, altitude, direction, and address of the vehicle, as well as save logs of location data for later use.

Ready to run right out-of-the-box, the OpenTracker v2 includes the same powerful 32-bit Atmel ARM controller as the Arduino Due, a GSM/GPRS modem for wireless connectivity, a GPS/GLONASS module with assisted-GPS, CAN-BUS, plenty of I/O, and a wide operating temperature range of -35°C to 80°C. Not only limited to being used as tracking device, the included CAN-BUS, plentiful I/O and on-board GSM/GPRS modem can be used to create countless apps, ranging from a CAN-BUS logger to a weather station with SMS notifications. The on-board GSM/GPRS modem also enables a user to change the tracker settings remotely using a mobile device and to transform the OpenTracker v2 into a completely different application where wireless data transfer is useful.


When describing the reason for selecting OpenTracker v2, its creators say that “adding GPS functionality to an Arduino application can be a tedious process and requires at least an additional GPS Shield and a GPS antenna. This adds considerable cost and size to the application. In addition, this setup only allows the creation of rudimentary GPS data logging applications without real-time tracking.” Fortunately, the Atmel-powered, all-in-one device is a much more cost-effective, easier-to-use solution than compiling the bill of materials and working through the challenging online interface development.


The thinner, more affordable second version comes equipped with several improved features, such as the powerful ARM Cortex-M3 controller and increased number of I/O options. Interested in learning more or funding this campaign? Head over to its official Indiegogo page here.

You can also learn more about the SAM3A8C as well as the other Atmel® | SMART™ line of ARM-based MCUs here.

Video: Building a GPS tracker with Atmel’s SAM D20 MCU

A GPS tracking unit uses the Global Positioning System to determine and record the precise location of a vehicle, device or individual. Key design requirements for a GPS tracker include a small form factor, low power consumption and flexible connectivity options.

Atmel’s versatile SAM D20 ARM Cortex-M0+ based microcontroller (MCU) can be used to power such a device, taking all of the above-mentioned design requirements into account.

Indeed, the SAM D20 MCU – embedded with serial communication modules (SERCOM) and low power consumption – provides the flexibility, connectivity and low power required for GPS tracker applications.

In terms of low power consumption, the SAM D20 boasts <150µA/MHz in active (CoreMark) and <2µA with RTC and full RAM retention. Meanwhile, the peripheral event system and intelligent peripherals with Atmel SleepWalking technology further reduces CPU activity and power sipping.

It should also be noted that the SAM D20 MCU offers design engineers 6 highly flexible serial communication modules (SERCOM), each configurable to operate as USART, I2C and SPI – thereby facilitating easy and flexible connection to external sensors, memories, PCs and wireless modules.

Atmel supports a wide range of dev tools and software, including FreeRTOS, Atmel Studio 6 (free IDE with GCC compiler), Atmel Software Framework (free SW libraries of production ready source code), Atmel Gallery (open to extensions) and the SAM D20 Xplained Pro Kit which is packaged with programmer and debugger, as well as connectors for expansion wings.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Atmel’s SAM D20 GPS tracker reference design here.