Using the built-in LIDAR distance sensor on the new TrackALL device, we can instantly turn a garbage/recycling bin into an IoT connected 'thing'. We'll send the information from the TrackALL (you can use either Sigfox or mcAir) to the cloud and visualize that data into thethings.io Cloud dashboard application.
Using either mcAir or SIGFOX, there are tons of feasible and truly realistic IoT solutions:
- Smart City - Imagine smart Garbage/Recycling/Bin/Container levels relayed back to a city control/dispatch center to increase efficiencies with vehicle routing, statistics, etc
- Large Facilities - Large facilities with hundreds of bins (like amusement parks, airports, hospitals, universities/colleges, etc)
- Agriculture - Imagine smart water troughs/feed/silo bins for livestock for real-time alerts on levels, etc
- Parking/Object detection - Imagine an easy to deploy object and distance sensor system for all sorts of different use-cases (keep an eye out for another project on this coming soon!)
- Fun Stuff - how quickly are your tomato plants growing? how high your cat can jump? guess your height? etc?
Note - The LIDAR sensor on the TrackALL has a range of up to 1.5 meters. If you want to measure further distance, you can connect a different LIDAR sensor with longer range or use an ultrasonic distance sensor instead (check out this project where we used an ultrasonic sensor instead)
With the advent and soon to be released mcCloud feature, the mcThings platform now provides the ability to connect to devices remotely, from anywhere in the world and within range of an mcGateway, so that you can easily debug and make programming changes to the application on your mcThings device. New mcOS (device firmware) is also updated OTA through mcCloud and the mcGateway.
After writing a programming script within mcStudio and uploading that to your mcCloud security domain, you can then deploy applications to your devices easily from anywhere. Information incoming from your devices travels either to Sigfox to the cloud or to an mcGateway over mcAir (a LPLAN) and are forwarded, through integrations that you setup within your security domain, to any type of application that can receive webhooks (HTTPS). You can even send the same information to multiple different applications like Microsoft Azure, Ubidots, AWS, Losant, etc. Check out this visual:
You can use either Sigfox or mcAir to send the data to the internet and onto the application of your choice to view/capture/etc. the data. Sigfox, where available, provides fantastic range and is perfect for sending location (and other data) from Sigfox enabled devices. If you are not within Sigfox coverage, you can send information from the device to the cloud within range of an mcGateway (theTrackALL device has an mcAir range of up to 1.2km!) . You can also log data to the device and send it to the cloud when the device comes back into range of an mcGateway. And finally, you can also use both networks in tandem (store data on the device while sending exception reports out using Sigfox) if you wish.
Using our local garbage cans, we installed the TrackALL onto the inside of the lid so that it could measure the fullness easily.
After writing a short script to measure the distance using the LIDAR on the TrackALL, we then uploaded that script to mcCloud and deployed it to our device. We setup an integration in mcCloud to direct the information to thethings.io using webhooks!
thethings.io allows for lots of different ways to visualize your data including graphs, gauges, LED's, etc
You can also create customized dashboards for your clients and even customized applications as well!
Join our hub here on Hackster to stay up to date with many more examples and projects to come using the mcThings platform.
Thanks for reading