A Summer of Sensors – Part 1

We’ve been notably quiet on the blog this summer. Normally, our readers have come to expect a few blog posts with updates on research and activities being conducted by our summer research team. We’re getting caught up now and I’m excited to share some of what we have been doing – this summer has been a summer of sensors!

Historically, Proving Ground hasn’t had services that focus directly on the use of sensors – or more broadly the internet of things. That is not to say we don’t think this concept is not important or significant to our work – there is no doubt that our built environment continues to grow smarter and more connected. This all changed this summer when we brought on Anna Lukens and Madhurya Udayakumar to take a deep dive into the world of Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and more sensors than you can shake a stick at!

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Environment Sensor Prototype

In this first post, we are pleased to release some documentation of a prototype which combines Arduino light, temperature, and humidity sensors with a Raspberry Pi that collects sensor readings at regular intervals and pushes the data to a MySQL database. The setup involves a mix of code for Arduino, Python scripts, and a basic MySQL table. In our case, we set up MySQL on Amazon Web Services and had the Raspberry Pi connected to it via WiFi.

One of the more impressive takeaways – the total cost of all hardware involved came in under $50 USD.

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Download the Guide Here!

We have created some documentation on how this prototype was set up including command line entries to get important packages, scripts for Arduino, Python scripts that send data to MySQL, and wiring diagrams for the sensors. We hope this documentation can be useful for those of you who would like to start learning about the uses of sensors and build on the work that was started here this summer.

I’m looking forward to our next post on this subject where we take a look at uses of OpenCV and TensorFlow to perform object tracking with a basic camera and Raspberry Pi setup… stay tuned!

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Arduino wiring diagram showing a few of the tested sensor configurations.
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A test of running capturing conference room environmental data to a database over a weekend period and visualizing the data with Power BI