IoT Overview

Rishabh Berlia, a BTU Lab member and one of the minds behind inFormu (posted on our blog June 16th) wrote an excellent blog post over at SparkFun Electronics about the Internet of Things! Here’s a snippet:

Simply put, the Internet of Things is a network of physical objects including but not limited to cars, buildings, animals, electronic devices and even people. These unconventional objects embedded with different sensors are now connected to the internet, transmitting and receiving data as you read this.

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There are three key elements of IoT:

  • Devices – Rather than conventional devices like smartphones and computers, “devices” in IoT can be anything from a toaster to complex machines in industries.
  • Data – This is where IoT holds its value. Data is of utmost importance, as this is the basis for intelligent decision making.
  • Connectivity – Obviously, the devices require some sort of network connection to communicate. There are a bunch of network architectures available today, which can be used for seamless transmission of data. A lot of IoT-specific networks are also in the works.

Read more at SparkFun Electronics…. There are some wonderful visualizations!

iNFormu: Stop losing your stuff!

IoT – Wearable – Arduino – Open Source – This project has it all. iNFormu uses IoT technology to help people keep track of their important items preventing loss or theft before it happens.


Check out the post on the wearable part of their project written by Lang Mei and Rishabh Berlia

iNFormu is a start-up formed by 4 CU students, 2 of which are BTU Lab members. They were also chosen to be one of the Catalyze CU start-ups! Congrats iNFormu!




DIY Video Lights

How I Made These Video Lights for Less Than $10

Last summer I found nearly 100 LED strips in a dumpster behind Target. They were embedded into display case racks, but after a bit of hacking I was able to get them out. The really exciting thing about them was that they ran off of 12 volts – think of all the incredible uses! I started making replacement turn signals and running lights for my car last fall, but gave up before finishing… But that’s another story.

Anyways, I had a ton of cool LED strips to play with. And I wanted to make some video lights. So I did.

Find the rest of the steps and photos on Cooper’s blog

Finger Puppet Theater: Apocalypse at the Swamp, Act 3, Scene 6

From the genius of Corrina Espinosa: Finger Puppet Theater: Apocalypse at the Swamp, Act 3, Scene 6

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Don’t touch the Art! Everyone knows that’s the #1 rule for visiting art museums and galleries.  So what do you do when you actually do want your viewers to touch the art?  You make the whole thing controlled by a pair of power gloves!


To make a “power glove” controlled finger puppet theater on a hacked thrift store painting, using 4 flex sensors to control 4 servo motors, which will move 7 puppets.  Add lights for added drama and intriguing aesthetics.

Check out all the steps on Corrina’s blog.

Meridith Richter’s Custom Tilt Switch

From the Blog of Meridith Richter:


I set out to find the best way to achieve the best layout for the switch so that the user interaction would be as simple as possible.

I tried out three different sizes of tube as well as three different sizes of ball bearings, settling on tubing with 5/16 in. inside diameter and the smallest ball bearing size I had. The medium size fit nicely as well, but with my constructed pins out of brass nails, the smaller balls made a better connection as they sat firmly between the pins rather then resting on their tops.

I decided on using two balls of the same size at once in order to achieve a better connection thanks to the added weight pressing down on the first ball.

I ended up with a rounded “L” shape as depicted below, which remedied the problem of someone lying on their right side as well as their left (for the most part).

Read More on her blog.

Jarrarium – Part Jar, Part Aquarium

Inspired by the many posts at /r/jarrariums, I put together an aquatic jar for my desk here at the BTU, along with an Arduino temperature readout!

Water in the jar gets replaced every other week or so from my aquarium at home. The current inhabitants are two bits of Water Wisteria, a small bit of Amazon Sword, and a Nerite Snail!

The temperature readout is just an Arduino (really, a SparkFun RedBoard!), a DS18B20 Temperture Sensor, and an LCD screen. I’ll add a Fritzing diagram and code snippet soon!

For now, here’s some pictures.

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