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TI SensorTag: Putting the SensorTag to Work

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire Scripting Support Page

Download the SensorTag TI-Nspire document

    
  
  
  

Putting the SensorTag to Work

Free Apps for iOS and Android - and sending your data to the Cloud!

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A click of a button and the Tag begins advertising, ready to start sending streams of data to your mobile device. Free apps are available for both iOS and Android, which will display the data graphically. Not only that: these apps can quickly and easily send your data to the Cloud! This little device is a very capable citizen of the Internet of Things. Use your connected phone or tablet to link to the Cloud, and share the web address with students in your class, or at home - or even overseas! They will see the data stream live in their browser. The default system uses the IBM QuickStart Internet of things, but there are now other options...

  

IBM QuickStart Internet of things

  
  

Send your Data to the Cloud with Dweet.IO

Do even more with your SensorTag data using Dweet, a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform which makes it easy to not only grab and visualise your data, but create powerful web documents using FreeBoard.

Dweet may be thought of as like "twitter for devices" - internet-enabled devices can easily exchange data using this platform, and the free SensorTag Apps for iOS and Android now link to Dweet. No need to sign up or create an account - just create a unique name for your "thing" (in this case, your SensorTag linked to the App) and then read the live data stream from anywhere in the world.

For example, I created a "thing" called "MySensorTag2650" and it is sending live data from my house.

To use the SensorTag (iOS) app to create your own live dweet feed:

  1. Open the App and connect to a SensorTag. Once the data feed is active, tap on the first section (Cloud View) to take you to the SetUp screen.

  2. Tap "Edit" in the top right corner. Choose Dweet.IO from the first list and enter a name for your SensorTag ("thing"). Press Save.

  3. Press Advanced Configuration and select Dweet.IO. You may also need to remove the Key (default is "My Key" - I tend to remove this). Save, then go Back to the main screen.

  4. Tap "Push to Cloud".

  5. Go to any browser and enter "https://dweet.io/follow/your_thing_name".

  

Dweet.IO

  

Visualise your Data with Freeboard

Dweet becomes even better when linked to their partner, FreeBoard.IO. This platform picks up data from Dweet (and other sources) and allows you to create your own display page, using a range of tools that include graphs, text, HTML, even Google Maps and more. Have a look at the live data link from my SensorTag in Australia.

You do need to create a (free) account for this one, and then use it to link to all your data sources. Build your own sites and share these with your students or colleagues - or have your students create their own sites and share them with you!

Using both Dweet and FreeBoard is very simple, and a great way to get your data live online.

  

FreeBoard

  
  
  

Evothings: Create your own SensorTag App

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For something a little different, Evothings is an interesting tool which makes it surprisingly quick and easy to create Apps for iOS and Android, with a particular emphasis upon BLE - either simple web apps which run through the free Evothings Client App, or (with a little more effort) free standing Apps using the open source Apache Cordova software. Free desktop tools for Mac and Windows work with the free Apps for iOS and Android to support quick and easy App development and deployment.

You can try this right now:

  1. Grab the iOS or Android app for your device.

  2. Run the App and scroll down past "Scan for workbench" to "Connect with address". Type in "http://compasstech.com.au/evothings/"

  3. Turn on your SensorTag, and try the links which I posted easily on my website after copying the SensorTag support files from the desktop version.

  

Evothings

  

TI-Nspire iPad Apps, the SensorTag and other BLE fun

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The free apps and web interface, however, are only for viewing the data, and do not support capturing and storing that data, which is what you will want to do in your classroom. For that, look to the TI-Nspire iPad App. Using the on-board Lua scripting capabilities, I have created a simple document that links to your SensorTag (and, indeed, to several common BLE devices, including a heart rate monitor). This tool provides the perfect complement to the SensorTag, putting a range of options for collecting and working with the various components that are on offer. Students and teachers with the Nspire App can quickly and easily link to an available SensorTag, collect as much or as little data as they desire, share with others, and begin analysing, exploring and manipulating the data sets in order to actively engage in their mathematics and science learning.

  

  

BlueSlider: Control your Mac with a SensorTag

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For something really different you might like to try BlueSlider.

Would you like to use the buttons on your SensorTag as a universal remote for your Mac? Replace the left and right arrow keys with SensorTag button clicks: change the pages on your PowerPoint or other presentations, run any app that uses arrow keys...

We can do this and much more using Lua and the TI-Nspire iPad App but blueSlider takes things to quite a different level.

For blueSlider, you need to be on a Mac, and not afraid to open the Terminal. This interesting little open source utility connects your BLE-enabled Mac (recent model - since 2012) to your SensorTag, and maps the left and right buttons to left and right arrow keys... anywhere on your computer!

Using the OS X Terminal app, first download and run the installer for the open source Node JavaScript utility. Then follow the directions on the BlueSlider page to install this on your Mac.

Run BlueSlider in Terminal, connect your SensorTag... and have fun!


  

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