IoT Podcast Episode 8

GearForge Software
Internet of Things (IoT) Podcast


Hello and welcome to episode #8 of the IoT weekly Podcast, our lighthearted take on the week's IoT news, brought to you by Gearforge Software. My name is Matthew, and I'm joined by my co-host and good friend, Cliff and a special guest today, our new teammate Zeineb.

What We Have Been Doing

Matthew: This week I've been in client land, listening to their challenges and coming up with solutions for them. Oh, and lots of python development.

Cliff: Worked on servos this past weekend and had fun playing with the rpm and cycle rate on a bipolar motor using an Arduino and DRV8825 driver. Also, went to a local meetup (IoT Fuse) and listened in to the discussion around IoT. It really feels like there is a lack of an overall IoT community.


Contest: Follow us @gearforgeiot on Twitter. When we get 50 followers, we'll choose one of you at random to receive an IoT Button from Amazon. If you boost our tweets by retweeting them, we'll put your name in the hat extra.

We now have 60 followers on Twitter - we will announce the winner next week after contacting the winner.

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Community News

DistribuTech - Utilities Conference

JANUARY 23 - 25, 2018 | SAN ANTONIO, TX

Show sponsor

GearForge Software was founded to focus on and develop internet of things (IoT) technology and create custom IoT solutions. There are so many things to consider when you're trying to develop a new idea. There's the hardware. There's the software. There's connecting all of it to the cloud. There's all of those nasty hackers that want to tear into your data and steal your secrets. What you need are some techie advisors to help guide you through the wild west of this new digital frontier. With 2 IoT labs, GearForge can bring any prototype to life.

Learn more at

Main Segment

“IoT Cube for Greenhouse”, a continuation of “Climate Cube for Greenhouse” with live updates:

Iot Cube for Greenhouse:

Climate Cube for Greenhouse:

Climate Cube Status Centre - Test for n° 27:

Istvan Sipka uses a Climate Cube for his 2,000-square-meter greenhouse and IoT sensors to control 26 windows. The homemade project tracks water and air temperature, pressure and humidity and adjusts the windows to keep the environment at a preset status. Istvan Sipka hopes to increase the number of settings trackable. He had published a detailed tutorial on how to make an “IoT Cube for Greenhouse” as well as well as a status center for visitors to watch sensors sending back data from one of his greenhouses in real-time.

100,000 IoT sensors line canal in China’s ambitious water diversion project:

China South-to-North Water Diversion Project’s developed an internet of things (IoT) network, consisting of 100,000 sensors, along the waterway of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project’s middle route. The canal runs some 1,257km to Beijing, supplying the city with 70 percent of its water.

The project began in 2002 and with $79 billion spent by 2014, it had fast become one of the most expensive engineering projects in the world.

Over the last year, the network has been scanning the canal for structural weaknesses, testing water quality and flow rates and watching for intruders.

Sensors below the waterline can detect pollutants and toxins. All-in-all 130 different kinds of connected sensor were used to oversee the canal.

With the canal producing such a wealth of data the team faced the challenge of relaying this information, particularly in remote areas without fibre-optic internet or reliable cellular connections. Yang’s team created a system called Smart Gateway that would receive data from nearby sensors and transmit it to a cloud server via whatever cellular, wired, Wi-Fi or Zigbee connection was available at that time.

The destination servers then feed into a web platform that allows the management team to see up-to-date information and respond immediately.

The IoT network’s technical lead Yang Yang believes that lessons learned from the system will be applied to similarly large infrastructure projects, including the South-to-North Water Diversion Project’s two other routes.

L'Oreal's UV sensor sticks to your fingernail

L'Oreal introduced a new wearable UV sensor today that you can stick on your nail. It's truly just a sensor; it doesn't pair over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to your phone. Instead, it's NFC-enabled so you can scan it with your phone to retrieve the UV data it's collected. It should work with both Android and iOS. The UV Sense, as the company calls it, is meant to help people track how much time they spend in the sun without being overbearing. The nail sticker is a statement, but not a massive one.

The UV Sense will determine how long you've been outside, and once synced with your app, provides a score that says whether you're spending too much time in the sun. The amount of sun everyone can handle varies, L'Oreal tells me, so it'll ask you some initial questions about your skin tone to set a baseline. Of course, the app also recommends products based off your skin score. It'll suggest its own products along with more general advice.

The sensor comes with replaceable adhesives, so you can rewear it, although you can snap it onto other items, like a watch or sunglasses.

Singapore uses robot swans to monitor water quality in reservoirs:

According to the article, the Singapore national water agency PUB announced the Smart Water Assessment Network (SWAN) project on January 15. It uses 5 robotic swans to monitor raw water quality in various reservoirs on the island. Beneath the shell that is designed to resemble a real swan, the durable device is made up of propellers and water sampling equipment. As they float on water bodies, the robotic swans collect real-time water data while blending in with the natural surroundings in the reservoirs.

The robotic swans are to be used to collect data and monitor key indicators of fresh water quality, such as pH value, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll. They can also monitor reservoir condition and algae growth in case of an outbreak. According to NUS, the robot swan has the capability of performing simultaneous multi-node, high speed sensing for observing concentration gradients for better characterization and detection of time varying hotspots.Using GPS technology, the robotic swan is able to track the dynamics of water quality as it will not revisit monitored areas unless programmed to do so.

How robots are helping create drought-resistant crops:

A robotics project in Missouri, USA is looking to tackle world hunger by using autonomous vehicles to collect data that will aid the development of drought-resistant crops.

This new robotic architecture for plant phenotyping (an organism’s observable physical or biochemical characteristics) consists of two platforms – an autonomous ground vehicle, known as Vinobot, and a mobile observation tower, or Vinoculer.

As the ground vehicle navigates crop rows, collecting data from individual plants, the tower oversees a 60ft radius of the surrounding field, identifying specific plants for the Vinobot to inspect.

The Vinobot, meanwhile, has multiple sensors and a robotic arm to collect temperature, humidity and light intensity at three different heights on the corn plant. This allows it to assess growth, development, yield and other aspects, such as tolerance and resistance to environmental stressors, by correlating these to the physiology of the corn shoots.

The system can assess large areas of a field at any time, night or day, while identifying biotic or abiotic stresses in individual regions. It allow high-throughput plant phenotyping without the need for expensive aerial vehicles or confined field platforms.

Most significantly, the use of 3D models supplied by the robots expands the traditional measurements of leaf angels, areas and number of leaves to enable the potential discovery of new traits. This could provide the means to give scientists the data needed to develop new genotypes of drought-resistant crops.

Machfu Announces Release of MACH-3 Industrial Internet of Things Platform and Gateway

Machfu, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology company, announced today the release of its MACH-3 IIoT Gateway, a device allowing companies in energy, water, oil and gas as well as other industrial segments to seamlessly connect legacy infrastructure to cloud based IoT and existing SCADA systems. The product was designed to both simplify the connection and management of devices as well as provide a secure and easily customizable application framework to process and manage data at the network edge. The versatile functionalities of the MACH-3 IIoT Gateway will be demonstrated at the 2018 DistribuTECH show, January 22-25 in San Antonio, Texas.


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Wrap Up

Alright, that just about wraps things up for this week's episode. Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

Cliff: I have to add storage space into our laundry room this weekend, not much techie stuff as I work on my to do list around the house. I’ll also be watching the football games on Sunday.

Matthew: Thai food and a deep dive into django's storage backend code?

Thank you so much for listening and we hope you'll join us again for next week's show. Until then, so long and be well.