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Tech Log #027: Message logger

Tech Log #027: Message logger

There’s now a program that will listen for all the messages sent to the MQTT broker and log it to a csv file. This is useful to store the data. Right now, the parameters that are saved are simply the date, time since the epoch, topic, payload, qos and retain. It was interesting to see the retained messages on the server be instantly sent when the logger program subscribed to the topics. There is currently one uncertainty with the code, the logger opens and closes the file each time it is being written. Will this become a bottleneck when there will be plenty of messages and a queue forming? It will be interesting to test. For a prototype, it works. The next step was to write the intelligence program. That was simple, and it is complete too. The next step following that is to find the real sensors electronics for the device.

Tech Log #026: Hardware – software integration step 1

Tech Log #026: Hardware – software integration step 1

First step of integration between software (AR) and hardware is complete. Now, instead of the device simulator program, there’s an actual device. Using a microcontroller with Wifi connectivity for preliminary testing. The device connects to MQTT, sends sensor data (randomized for now), and subscribes to the relevant topics. For testing in the field, the device will connect to an access point (aka hotspot) from a phone to send the data.  Future versions will use a microcontroller with cellular connectivity in the field. The next steps for software are to write a python program that logs all messages on the MQTT broker to a csv file. The next steps for hardware are to find some sensors I have around and add some LEDs, a speaker, and make a board with it. Integration with the map will also need to be completed at some point in the future.
Kit Log #045: Programming instructions outline

Kit Log #045: Programming instructions outline

In between progress on the collaborations on Wednesday night (Wednesday night = Robot Missions meets), we were outlining the programming instructions. We also made a very simple sketch to test the assembly of the Bowie Brain Kit, without the need of all the libraries. So far, here are what the software instruction outline looks like:

  • Software Instructions
  • 1. Install Arduino IDE
  • 2. Install Teensyduino
  • 3. Download BowieLib
  • 4. Install BowieLib
    Move BowieLib folder to your Arduino libraries folder. Eg, on Mac it is: ~/Documents/Arduino/libraries
  • 5. Open Arduino IDE
  • 6. Open BowieBrainBlink in Arduino
    File > Examples > BowieLib > BowieBrainBlink
  • 7. Change the board to Teensy 3.6
    Tools > Board > Teensy 3.6
  • Here are the other settings, they should be fine by default, but it’s good to double check.
  • 8. Plug in micro usb cable to the Teensy 3.6 on the Bowie Brain board and your computer. Note that this must be a ‘sync’ cable (because it needs to send data back and forth). If it’s just a ‘charge’ cable, it won’t work.
  • 9. Press verify on the code
  • 10. Press upload on the code
  • 11. Verify that the LEDs are blinking!
    It should be the big green LED on the Brain Board and the little LED on the Teensy 3.6. They will be on for 1 second, then off for 1 second.
  • 12. If something is not working, please send us an email

We will have to go through it again and verify that no steps are missing. Often times this step can be the most frustrating one when things are missing or not explained properly. After this, we will need to make instructions for it – mainly making the images. The process will be pretty similar to the electronics instructions on google sheets.

Oh yeah, just placing this image here for the board settings, in case it gets forgotten…

Hopefully we will complete this before Wednesday, because have a hunch that Beck and Brenda might be able to reach this far after the last of the soldering! That’s exciting