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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 SensorTag 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...

New CC2650 SensorTag sending data from my office!

New CC3200 Wifi SensorTag sending data from the same location!


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 grab and visualise your data.

Dweet may be thought of as like "twitter for devices" - internet-enabled devices can easily exchange data using this platform. No need to sign up or create an account - just create a unique name for your "thing" (in this case, your CC3200 LaunchPad with suitable sketch) and then read the live data stream from anywhere in the world.

For example, I created a "thing" called "CC3200_Swansea" and it is sending live data from my house.




Classroom-ready Apps, the SensorTag and other BLE fun

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The free apps and web interface above, 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 either a free or paid option.


DataWorks (free, from Instrument-Works)

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The excellent free DataWorks apps for iOS and Android, from Australian company, Instrument Works, offers the ability to display, record and share data, not only from SensorTags, but from the internal device sensors as well. In the case of the iPhone 6 or later, these include barometer, accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope!

The data can even be made "location aware" using the device GPS system, allowing students to link their data points to location. I used this feature on a drive between Sydney and Canberra, collecting barometric pressure readings along the way, which could then be plotted against latitude and/or longitude to easily link barometric pressure with the varying altitude/elevations of points along the way!

This is a great, ready-to-use app for students to collect data, both in and outside the classroom,data which can then be readily stored, and shared using email, messages, or even AirDrop (if using iOS).

These features make it an ideal tool for use with any STEM-related classroom.




While the free SensorTag apps are great for observing live data, and the DataWorks app offers means to capture and share that data, neither provide tools to interact directly with the live data, allowing students to explore different applications and develop deeper understanding of the various real-world attributes being measured. For that we turn to GeoGebra and to TI-Nspire.


GeoGebra and the TI SensorTag (free)

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Some time back I came across a really nice SensorTag application that runs in a browser - in fact, it runs in Chrome on Macs, Android devices and ChromeBooks (alas, not iOS nor Windows - at least not without some fiddling...)

I got mine running on my Mac without too much trouble: you do need to go in and switch on Chrome’s experimental flag to support web Bluetooth but this was pretty straightforward.

You can enable it turning on the enable-experimental-web-platform-features flag.

In the Chrome browser, type in the web address chrome://flags/. This action results in a list of experimental browser features available to you. You want the Web Bluetooth one.


I have not been able to test this on Android or ChromeBook, since I don’t have these, but perhaps someone might like to and let me know?

I was recently dusting off my GeoGebra skills involving communicating between the HTML page and the embedded GeoGebra applet and I wondered whether the browser-based SensorTag app might talk to the GeoGebra applet - and they can!

So if this sounds like something interesting, enable that flag on your Mac or crank up your ChromeBook or Android tablet and head to this page...

TI CC2650 SensorTag Monitor and GeoGebra

The really interesting part for me is the ability to create interactive GeoGebra documents that can support student exploration using the SensorTag - I have included a couple of starter problems at the bottom of the linked page.


TI-Nspire Apps for iPad (paid, from Texas Instruments)

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There is also the amazing 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.


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.




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