Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Get Current Time from Bed while sleeping (without seeing Watch/Phone) by simple Hand waving

As a part of  Home Automation jobs, one of my use case is:

  • Know the current time in night (in pitch dark room)
    • with following requirements
      • I am still sleeping 
      • I don't want to open my eyes for seeing time on watch/phone
      • My phone or watch are 4 meters from bed, I don't want to go to that place to pickup phone/watch
So thought that let me use latest hot/cheap wifi-chip ESP8266 (NodeMCU version) to do this job.

I used a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR - ~1$) , ESP8226-NodeMCU-Board ( ~4$) and Android phone (~your capacity)  for this purpose.

  • PIR 
    • Will sense any movement. I had kept this sensor at back of bed. If I wave my hand near PIR sensor, it will sense and give input to ESP8266 Chip
  • ESP8266
    • This will work as WiFi Access Point for Android mobile
    • Runs embedded firmware to sense the PIR reading & debouncing the PIR signal
    • Sends a HTTP call to Android Phone for speaking the time 
  • Android Phone
    • It will connect to WiFi-AP (from above ESP8266 )
    • It works as HTTP-Server for requests from ESP8266
    • It will run a Speaker service for any incoming requests from ESP8266
    • Ensure that works when phone in deep sleep mode

I have finished 3rd version of the code (FW at ESP8266 & Android-App in Smartphone). I will put code and pictures in the weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

9$ Chip Computer is posted from hongkong

Finally my 9$ computer chip-board is dispatched (after whole manufacturing and testing is finished by the chip manufacturer) today from Hongkong. It might arrive after 1 or 2 weeks.

What is this 9$ Computer from

It  has following important specs (I am putting my comments on  w.r.t. Raspberry computer):
  • 9$ System-On-Chip board9Soc Board) that runs most of the modern Linux OS ditsributions -- Raspberry costs 35$
  • It is powered by 1GHz ARM processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB Flash Space (which can be used as booting medium for OS,applications, etc) -- Raspberry does not have it, we need to use SD-card
  • WiFi  -- Only Raspberry 3 has WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0 -- Only Raspberry 3 has  Bluetooth 4.1
  • GUI
    • HDMI port -- can be connected to any modern TV/monitor
    • RCA connector -- can be connected to any old TV
  • Power charging processor  -- Raspberry does not have this vital part for standalone IoT system
    • Which can take power from 5V and supply processor
    • Concurrently charge a Li-Po battery while taking power from 5V power supply
    • If power supply goes off, run the CPU with Li-Po battery without a reboot
  • USB ports 
    • Connect to USB key boards and USB mouse.
    • Also connect to USB flash disk and portable Hard Drives (please keep in mind to not to excess 500 mA when powered from a USB hub)
  • By default comes with Linux-OS (without any OS loading from user part) -- on raspberry we need to load OS
  • Has power switch -- raspberry does not have power switch :(
  • Power from external Li-PO battery
  • Has a camera interface. USB cameras are also can be connected
  • General Purpose IO pins (GPIO) for doing IoT stuff
  • Good development echo system
  • Open sourced (mostly) drivers and Linux kernel

What way it is useful to you

  • Use it to convert your HDMI/RCA/CRT-TV as Smart-TV
  • Run as a computer and connect to your TV monitor
    • Browse Internet without starting Laptop/PC on your TV
  • Use it for Internet of the Things (IoT)
    • Killer point is it has Power supply unit that allows it to be powered from a Li-PO battery
  • Use it for educating your kid on Linux (just like Raspberry does )
  • Use it for reading e-books from TV monitor (though it is not recommended due to eye-strain)
  • Use it for streaming Video from your Laptop/PC to TV
  • Possibilities are limitless -- only your imagination can stop :)

Documentation and Links

So please use this super affordable chip that can do a lot (based on your needs and imagination) for you.