Trying Out a Particulate Matter Sensor

The Lab is currently working on a new project that involves environment monitoring. The device will be built around a particulate matter sensor – PMS5003. It will be driven most likely by a Sparkfun SAMD21 Mini and will use Adafruit ST7735 TFT as a display. All those components have been tested today with a help from a little candle. The candle provided sample particulate matter and boy did it deliver…

Note, the acceptable amount of particulate matter in air is approximately 25 µg/m3.

IoT Tech Expo Berlin 2017

On the 1st and 2nd of June 2017 the Lab visited the IoT Tech Expo in Berlin. The event gathered a respectable amount of business representatives, researchers and hobbyists interested in various aspects of the so called “Internet of Things”. There was also a side event dedicated to the Blockchain which was interesting in its own way, but the Lab did not pay too much attention to it.

There were two free conference tracks hosted on the main Expo arena. The topics of presentations and panels ranged from case studies and product presentations to very broad, high level issues.  It seemed to me, that the dominant themes discussed during the general presentations and discussion panels were: connectivity, interoperability, power consumption and edge computing. The one topic that, to some extend, was left out was security. This is strange as during the last few months we’ve seen some of the most high profile attacks on internet infrastructure and internet users in history. There was a closed trail titled “Data & Security”, but judging from the list of topics on that trail, there was more talk about data than security.

Some of the presented trends were somewhat surprising. For example, considering the amount of hype around cloud-based solutions, one could get the impression that most IoT systems will be built around the Cloud and that there is a tendency to push as much data to the back-end as possible. It turns out that this is not exactly true and a lot of effort is put to the so called “Edge Computing”, which by the way, is now called “Fog Computing”. You know, fog being close to the ground is supposed to be in contrast to clouds being high in the sky… Anyway, the idea is to have more data processing done on the device and send only processed data through low-bandwidth solutions like Sigfox or LoRa. This is very good news for anyone interested in building smart, autonomous devices as it means that processing power on the “edge” will continue to grow. The Lab is pleased with this.

There were many companies presenting their products on the Expo. Some of them were large corporations like Rohde&Schwarz, other were tiny start-ups. There was one (and only one) representative of Poland on the Expo: BM3 from Warsaw. They presented a very interesting product called Meshenger. It’s a device and a service that allows hardware makers to incorporate into their products an ability to create ad hoc radio mesh networks. This is not completely unique as such networks have been around for quite some time, but a comprehensive approach to creating and managing them with focus on low power consumption and reliability is definitely something worth looking at.

Here are some photos from the Expo. Enjoy: