Tag Archives: Xively

AMQUMO is a Xively ambient quality monitor

Based on an ATmega328, this monitor logs ambient noise, temperature, humidity and brightness data on Xively.

Created by Davide Gironi, AMQUMO is an indoor ambient quality monitor powered by the versatile ATmega328. The DIY device works by logging the data of four environment parameters on the Xively platform: ambient noise, temperature, humidity and brightness. This information is displayed through four bi-color LEDs, labeled with an N, T, H and B, respectively.


Built on the Xively Logger ATmega328 Library, Gironi used a web-based interface to set up the network parameters and the Xively tokens. The network can be configured using a static IP, gateway, netmask or DHCP.

Aside from the ATmega328 at its core, AMQUMO is equipped with an EC28J60 Ethernet controller to handle communication, a DHT22 sensor to measure temperature and humidity, an analogic noise sensor with an electret microphone and op-amp to monitor ambient noise, and a BH1750 board to detect brightness. Ambient noise and brightness are sampled twice every second to provide instant LED feedback, while humidity and temperature have a bit slower sample rate with ambient levels computed and posted to Xively each minute.


“The PCB is quite simple, it’s just a bridge board for a low cost Arduino Mini board and all the sensors board. The main board and all [of the] sensors can be, of course, designed as a single board,” Gironi notes. “The temperature and humidity sensor need to be exposed outside the main electronics board, because both the EC28J60 chip and voltage regulator heat up to almost 40°C. And to solve this issue, a step down switching regulator should be used.”

Interested? Check out the AMQUMO’s original page here.

Build your own pool and hot tub monitor with ATmega328

SpaSitter is an open-source monitor that provides you with access to water conditions right from your smartphone.

Lounging in the pool as you bask up some sun and sitting in the hot tub after a long day at work may enjoyable, keeping up with the maintenance of them not so much. Having grown tired of monitoring the water chemistry of his aquatic area, Instructables user “bhuebner” decided to develop an open-source device that would notify him of water conditions in real-time, all through his smartphone and a web interface.


The aptly named SpaSitter is built around an ATmega328 based Nanode (essentially an Arduino with Internet connectivity) and Xively’s easy-to-use API. Three sensors housed inside a waterproof box are connected to the Nanode and placed in the hot tub or pool to remotely measure pH, oxidation reduction potential and temperature. Once collected, this information is uploaded to Xively where the data is tracked over time and displayed in graph form.


After a little calibration and testing of its probes, the Maker configured his system to send emails and text messages to his smartphone whenever the water levels began to dip. At the moment, he still needs to put the chemicals by hand whenever attention is required, but hopes that in the future he can automate this process as well.


Want to build your own spa monitor? Check out the Maker’s step-by-step breakdown on Instructables here.

Sullivan says the IoT is becoming a reality

Patrick Sullivan, VP of Marketing at Atmel’s MCU Business Unit, hosted an Internet of Things (IoT) Engineering Summit co-sponsored by Xively at EE Live! 2014.

Essentially, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a future world where all types of electronic devices link to each other via the Internet. In 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices; most of these were mobile phones, PCs and tablets. By 2020, there will be over 30 billion connected devices of far greater variety.

“IoT is definitely a mega-trend in our industry. Everyone is talking about the IoT, it is everywhere,” said Sullivan. “That is why numerous companies are working to set up specific business units to manage various aspects of the Internet of Things.”

However, Sullivan noted that while the IoT is well on its way to becoming a reality, only a minority of devices are currently connected to the Internet.

“The IoT is still in a relatively nascent stage. Nevertheless, the Internet of Things will quickly evolve as it becomes a particularly explosive market. Security and privacy are going to be especially critical for the IoT, specifically when it comes to wearables,” Sullivan explained.

“Similarly, managing IoT-related Big Data will be another challenge for the industry. How does one efficiently store, process, track and analyze terabytes of real-time streaming data – all while tailoring the information for a specific individual? Companies that figure out that formula, namely making IoT data useful and easily accessible for the non-technical masses, will be successful.”

In addition to monitoring exercise stats, wearables like smartwatches or pendants can be used to improve the health of individuals, no matter what their age or level of physical fitness.

“Health insurance companies can leverage wearables such as fitness trackers to monitor individual heath in real-time, with healthy lifestyles helping to drive down premiums. Obviously, such devices must be easy to use and comfortable to wear,” he noted.

“Health-based wearables can also help doctors more easily monitor and analyze a patient’s blood sugar, heart rates, sleep patterns, exercise and daily activities.”

Smart energy platforms is another topic Sullivan discussed, as designing an efficient, connected grid will go a long way in helping to reduce waste in residential and commercial buildings.

“Pumps, gas-lines and related infrastructure will ultimately be connected to the IoT, helping utility companies to pinpoint issues before they become a real problem for people,” Sullivan added.

Image Credit: Daimler

“We’ll be seeing the very same approach when it comes to next-gen vehicles, as both cars and trucks roll out of the factories loaded with advanced sensors to help alleviate traffic and significantly reduce accidents, whether on a crowded city street or fast highway. For example, your car will tell you, perhaps via a HUD (heads-up display) when a specific route is jammed and automatically choose another route. Your car will also talk to other vehicles, helping to avoid collisions.”

Last, but certainly not least, Sullivan talked about the automated IoT home, which, in the not too distant future will be protected by smart locks, cleaned by intelligent vacuum cleaners and filled with connected appliances such as intelligent lighting and thermostats, washing machines, refrigerators, coffee makers and ovens.

“The IoT will play a big part in connected homes, providing instant market intelligence to companies and remotely alerting users when their refrigerators are empty, clothes are clean, coffee is hot, food is ready, house is too cold and room is too dim,” he concluded.

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out Atmel’s recent IoT SoMa panel on the subject here and our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.

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.”

ATMega1284P powers this web-logger/server

A Maker by the name of Stewart has designed a web-logger server powered by Atmel’s ATMega1284P microcontroller (MCU).

As the HackADay crew notes, the board can be tasked with collecting and posting data to logging sites such as Thingspeak or Xively.

Dubbed “Pokewithastick,” the device boasts a rather small 50x37mm footprint (approximately 2″x1.5″). Key specs include a Wiz820 Ethernet module, a micro-SD card slot, two serial ports, one battery backed Real Time Clock (RTC), one radio connector (nRF24L01 2.4GHz), one power & user LED and a reset button.

“There are two power rails on the board which can be split (5v + 3.3V) or combined (3.3v only) which may allow you to connect Arduino shields to it,” wrote HackADay’s Mathieu Stephan. “You can program the board using the standard 6-pin header or via a serial programmer if an appropriate (Arduino) bootloader is installed.”

The open hardware project was designed using Kicad, with the relevant files available for download here (.zip). Additional information about the Atmel-powered “Pokewithastick” can be found on Stewart’s project page here.