ThingTank Lab


This article was written on 25 Jun 2011, and is filled under Projects.

Warming up the Yurt of Things

A DigitalLunch + DDiMIT project. When Peter Foley first set out to design his Yurt of Things, he had a simple goal in mind: creating a device that would allow him to remotely monitor and track the temperature of his yurt and activate heating when necessary. However, what he discovered through the process of building his device was a real and urgent need for telecoms to explore the connectivity models for the Internet of Things and this, especially in rural areas.

The Yurt of Things, built in collaboration with Charlie Liban, quickly became a testbed for exploring rural connectivity and sensing. This project is DDiMIT’s first steps in exploring new service models for the Internet of Things.

Background: This setup is for a Yurt that has been setup in the Beaver Valley. There is power to the site, and good 3G network access. There is no phone line.

Requirement: Build a solution to automatically turn on or off an electric heating system in a remote rural location based on temperature thresholds. In addition, provide the ability to turn on or off the heating system remotely through a mobile application

Proposed: an existing solution has been deployed utilizing a mac mini with a temperature monitor with notifications, and web based software to turn on/off the power to oil based electric radiators. THis is an expensive solution that relies on a server, dedicated devices and costly 3G network bandwidth. The goal is to find an inexpensive solution.

The proposed solution could involve the following components:
– Arduino board with a temperature monito
– Power switch that is programmable
– Reflex25 RF module to transmit over paging network
– Data logging over paging network to twitter or pachube
– Web and Mobile based remote management application

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