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Hardware IoT Development as Simple as Drag and Drop

IoT, Internet of Things, Google, Android, AI, artificial intelligence, Cayenne, mydevices, Adafruit, Javascript, C++, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, iOs, LED
Earlier this year Google held its IO 2017 conference where the latest in Android and Artificial Intelligence tools where presented through demonstrations to attending developers.

Some of the software tools discussed at the event were Tensorflow, Kotlin, and Android Things platform using Android Studio. The Android Things session presented new coding features of Android Studio that allow hardware developers to build IoT devices.

At first glance, high level coding may sway novice IoT developers because of the steep learning curve in using traditional programming languages such as XML, Javascript, and C++ used to build wireless devices. Cayenne has removed this coding roadblock by creating an online and mobile development platform where IoT applications can be built by dragging and dropping device widgets onto a dashboard.

The mydevices Cayenne website provides IoT Project tools based on drag and drop of device widgets. (Source: Cayenne)

Getting Started

To gain access to the online IoT development tools requires a simple registration. Once registered, you have the complete online IoT development tools suite at your disposal. The mydevices Cayenne website provides an introduction video which shows the key features of the mydevices IoT platform and how to setup the hardware and download the programming tools to your microcontroller development platform. The Raspberry Pi, and Arduino microcontroller-based platforms, along with the LoRa devices, are compatible with the mydevices IoT development tool suite.

The mydevices Cayenne IoT development platform works with the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and LoRa programmable devices. (Source: Cayenne)

Once the device is selected, the programming tools to connect with the mydevices Project Screen will need to be installed. There is a procedural guide that will assist in installing these tools onto the selected device. For the Raspberry Pi, the tools can be installed by a communications terminal using SSH (Secure Shell), or using the Cayenne Mobile app. The installation process can take up to 10 minutes.

The programming tools for a Raspberry Pi can be installed using a communications terminal using SSH (Secure Shell) or using Cayenne Mobile app for iOS and Android devices. (Source: Cayenne)

After the tools have been installed, an online dashboard will appear on the desktop PC or notebook computer’s screen.

The Cayenne dashboard will display on the screen after a successful programming tools installation to the Raspberry Pi. CPU performance and RAM usage of the wirelessly connected Raspberry Pi are immediately displayed on the dashboard. (Source: Cayenne)

Developing the IoT Application

Building the IoT application is as simple as dragging and dropping a device widget onto a dashboard. To expedite the IoT build, Cayenne provides a variety of widgets. Also, project templates for actuator, sensor devices are provided to help assist in building IoT concepts quickly. In addition, the look and functionality of the actuator or sensor can be changed by selecting from a list of event and visual attributes.

An example of sensors that can be used with the Raspberry Pi and mydevices IoT platform. (Source: Cayenne)

Hands-On Experience

To test Cayenne’s drag-and-drop method of building IoT applications, I built a simple wireless LED Light switch using the mydevices actuator widget. The software tools were installed on my Raspberry Pi 3 by SSH and the Tera-Term communication terminal. Once installed, I selected the simple LED light template for mydevices IoT project. I built the LED circuit using an Adafruit T-Cobbler breakout board and a solderless breadboard. I selected a pushbutton to activate the LED and placed it on my project dashboard. Also, I added a LED icon to the pushbutton to reflect the IoT project’s control function.

A simple LED – IoT controller built with a mydevices pushbutton for the Raspberry Pi. (Source: Cayenne)

Toggling the pushbutton on the dashboard with the mouse turns on and off the wired LED circuit on the solderless breadboard. The total development time of this project was 30 minutes.

LED circuit wired to a Raspberry Pi using an Adafruit T-Cobbler breakout board. (Source: Don Wilcher)
LED turned on using the mydevices digital pushbutton on the project dashboard. (Source: Don Wilcher)

I plan to further explore technology areas in robotics, industrial, and home automation controls using this simple drag-and-drop IoT platform development tool. Additional technical information and resources may be found on Cayenne’s website.

Don Wilcher is a passionate teacher of electronics technology and an electrical engineer with 26 years of industrial experience. He’s worked on industrial robotics systems, automotive electronic modules/systems, and embedded wireless controls for small consumer appliances. He’s also a book author, writing DIY project books on electronics and robotics technologies. Besides being an Electrical Engineer, he’s a Certified Electronics Technician with ETA International and Alabama State Certified Electronics Instructor.

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