Exploring IoT Devices

I was giving a small demo on Raspberry Pi 3, using windows 10 IoT core. Some people asked me if the Raspberry Pi 3 is the only device which can be used for IoT. Then, I explained to them that we have different types of IoT devices, ranging from microcontrollers to system on board. I decided to write this article for the same reason.

Microcontroller vs. System on Board

Microcontrollers are compact computers with processors, memory and peripherals,  but they are very compact in size and can perform a limited tasks whereas System on Board are full-fledged computers that can be used for a lot of activities, like playing games, playing music, watching HD videos, performing complex computing, and installing different types of apps and software etc.

IoT Components

Components

So, I am going to explain about all those devices, along with peripherals used with IoT devices. But, before that, I will explain some area where we can use IoT.

IoT Usage Example

Control electronic devices: We can control any electronic device using Pi. If you are using Windows 10 IOT Core Insider for Raspberry Pi 3, you will find a sample program Blinky, already created, which can be used to set and control blinking of a LED light. You can also control other electronic devices, like DC fan etc.

Control electrical devices: You can control your electrical devices also, using a relay circuit and connecting through Pi.

Real world implantations

The above examples are simple which can be done very easily by a few lines of codes. But, real implementations start when we use a combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared rays, Azure data posting stream analytics, and many more things with the help of sensors. So, we can say that sensors play a vital role in IoT implementations. We can use a wide range of sensors with IoT. Some real world implementations can be done like:

Smart Parking, Smart Lighting, Smart Roads, Smart Fridge, Smart AC, Smart House, Smart Power Grid, Smart Product Management, Smart Animal Farming, Smart Agriculture, Smart Storage Tank, track your activity, Smart Retail, Smart Supply Chain, Connected Cars, Smart manufacturing, and many more smart things around the world.

The basic purpose of IoT is connecting the devices through the internet. Those devices can be anything, e.g., mobile phones, camera, music system, audio player, video player, smart watch, wall mounted watch, fans, calendar, hospitals, home, hotel, restaurant, healthcare devices, bus, car, cycle, TV/monitor, chair, beds, water bottles, purifiers, gas cylinders, traffic signals, printer, scanner, 3D printer, medical appliances and many more things.

I am going to give you a simple example how these thing can be implemented very easily. Let’s take an example of searching a lost Key Chain.

Searching your lost key chain: Suppose you lost your key in the car parking lot or inside the shopping mall, then, it is very hard to find it. But, if your key chain is having Wi-Fi, you can search it easily because when you reach a Wi-Fi coverage area, your smart phone will automatically show you that the particular Wi-Fi network is available. So, you can search in that specific area. Or suppose, if your Key chain is having some preloaded music, you can play that and find it within a second.

It can also be implemented through infrared rays. We can use different types of sensors with key chain which can send data to a particular data center and we can find it based on the analytics of those data. It’s a very simple example and IoT can be implemented on thousands of different scenarios, which totally depends upon our requirements and thinking. Let’s have a look on some IoT boards.

IoT Boards

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a very low cost computer of credit card size, by Raspberry Pi Foundation. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a registered educational charity of the UK.

Features of Raspberry Pi

  1. Low cost: starting from $5
  2. Compact size: credit card sized
  3. Connect your monitor/TV:

    • You can directly connect your Raspberry Pi with your monitor or TV, using HDMI port.
    • If you have an old monitor which doesn’t have HDMI port, then, you can use HDMI to VGA cable for that.

  4. Connect Standard Mouse and Keyboard:

    • If you have a wireless keyboard, you can connect it using Bluetooth.
    • Connect your wired keyboard/ mouse using USB port.
    • Use USB to PS2 converter cable for connecting your PS2 mouse/keyboard.

  5. Beneficial for exploring computing, by people of all ages. We can do a lot of things with it. We can play games, work with spreadsheet software, play HD video, internet surfing and many more things.

  6. We can use it for explorin the Internet of Things. We can write programming for it in different types of languages. Being a Microsoft technology developer, I’ll prefer coding in C#, but it also supports C++, Java, python, Node JS, Ruby etc.

    For IoT, Raspberry Pi 3 can be used in different ways. We can do a lot of thing using Pi.

There are 5 models available on the official website of Raspberry pi. Those Models are,

  1. Raspberry Pi Zero
  2. Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
  3. Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+
  4. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  5. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

I am not going to explain about all the devices, but I can put a layout of Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B so that you can understand very easily what changes are done and what is the difference between the first Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Zero) and the latest Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi 3 Model B)

Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3
Image Source: www.element14.com

IoT Devices from Intel

Many of us are familiar with Intel boards and processors for our PC and laptop. We know that Intel is a leading manufacturer of CPU and boards. Intel has developed some boards which can be used for IoT development.

Intel® Galileo
Intel® Galileo
Image Source: https://www.cooking-hacks.com

There are different versions of Intel Galileo e.g. Intel Galileo Gen. 1, Intel Galileo Gen. 2 etc. If you are interested in Intel Galileo, you can explore it.

Intel Edison

Intel Edison

Arduino
Arduino

You can explore a complete list of Arduino boards for Internet of Things, here .

Netduino

Netduino is .NET-programmable microcontroller which is available in different models. Some of them are:

  1. netduino (.NET-programmable microcontroller)
  2. netduino Plus (.NET-programmable microcontroller with Ethernet)
  3. netduino 2 (.NET-programmable microcontroller)
  4. netduino Plus 2 (.NET-programmable microcontroller)
  5. netduino 3
  6. netduino 3 Ethernet
  7. netduino 3 Wi-Fi (.NET-programmable microcontroller)

    Netduino

The above Image is for netduino 3 Wi-Fi which is the latest version of netduino board.

Minnow Board MAX

Minnow Board MAX

 Minnow Board MAX

Qualcomm Dragon Board™ 410c

board

IoT Sensors

IoT is a very vast subject and it cannot be covered in a few articles; but, sensors play vital role in the smartness of a devices in the field of IoT. We can use a wide range of sensors with IoT. Some of them are:

  • DHT11 Temperature and Humidity Sensor, DHT22 Digital Temperature and Humidity Sensor, Temperature Sensor LM35, Digital Temperature sensor
  • Motion sensor
  • Ultrasonic Range Finder Module sensor
  • Sound Detection sensor
  • Photosensitive Resistor sensor
  • Pressure sensor
  • RF IC card sensor
  • Antenna
  • Camera Image Sensor
  • Carbon Monoxide Detecting Sensor, Air Quality Gas Sensor, Gas Sensor - Methane, Butane, LPG, smoke Sensor, Infrared Flame Sensor, Smoke Sensor, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Digital Touch Sensor, Touch PAD sensor
  • Vibration sensor
  • Rain Sensitive Sensor/ Rain Drop Detection Sensor/ RainDrops Humidity Sensor
    etc.

Other Hardware

Other Hardware

Jumper Wires

We use jumper wires with IoT boards, like Raspberry Pi 3, for connecting devices, so that we can write and execute our code which can be used to pass power and data using GPIO port.

Jumper wires come in different categories and styles. Please make your correct selection depending on your requirement.

Types of Jumper wire

Single wired

  1. Male to Male jumper wire
  2. Male to Female jumper wire
  3. Female to Female jumper wire

24 pins/ 40 pins jumper wires

  1. Male to Male 24 pins/40 pins jumper wire
  2. Male to Female 24 pins/40 pins jumper wire
  3. Female to Female 24 pins/40 pins jumper wire

40 pins jumper wires can also be detached separately and we can use it as separate 40 jumper wires.

Electronic Components

  1. RED LED
  2. GREEN LED
  3. Resistors
  4. Capacitor
  5. Push button
  6. Male breakable header strip
  7. Break Away Headers - Straight

Power Options

  1. 5V Power adapter with micro USB cable
  2. Power Banks
  3. Polymer Lithium Ion Battery
  4. Flexible 6V 1W Solar Panel
  5. Solar Charger Shield
  6. Voltage Regulator

Micro SD Card

8GB/ 16GB /32GB class 10 microSD card with NOOBS pre-installed

Note:  For 64 GB, please check the list of supported devices.

Other Components

Breadboards, ProtoPi NifTee, Raspberry Pi Case, HDMI cables etc.