Thumbelina: meet the winner of UDOOHackThings Hackathon!

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So guys, u know we supported the RIOT Hackathon on the 10 to 12 October with the UDOOHackThings award – 4 UDOO were there expecting the winners – and now we are pleased to post you an interview with the winner of the UDOOHackThings hackathon.

UDOO: Hi guys! First of all, how would u present yourself to the UDOO community?
Thumbelina: We are Mattia and Gaspare, two Robotics and Automation engineers, we studied at Pisa and like working with embedded systems and electronics. We chose to take part in the RIOT contest to measure with the challenges proposed by the companies and to have the possibility to expose our project.

UDOO: And u won the UDOOHackThings prize at the RIOT. Great! How was it? I guess that a 3-days non-stop coding has been really proving! Still imagining you inside a tent, tinkering with UDOO…
Thumbelina: Yes, it has been quite proving but at the same time, it was a great occasion to know other people with the same passions and to share ideas!

UDOO: Ok, now, let’s talk about your project! How would u explain it to a UDOO beginner?
Thumbelina: Originally we had a project regarding a greenhouse automation system through Arduino connected to a PC. Then, after the CNA challenge has been announced we thought to enlarge the field of application to whichever sensors-actuators system using UDOO.
So, practically the project has been suited for the CNA challenge to help artisans to integrate the objects they realize with the Internet Of Things. With our application it is possible to create and manage a sensors-actuators system, that is, the user can configure which sensors to use, which actuators (e.g. motors) to drive and the system automatically generates and runs all the necessary code to have an automated system, but with the possibility to have also a remote control for it. In other terms, the artisan has only to connect sensors and motors to the UDOO board and to follow simple instructions to configure the whole system and it’s all.

UDOO: and how would u explain your project to an expert? Give us some more technical views!
Thumbelina: The linux-based operating system on UDOO communicates with a PC, smartphone or another device through UDP network packets and exchanges information such as sensors values, remote controls and actuators commands. The PC application has been supported with a QT-based GUI to make the system configuration and management easier – as shown in the picture below.

Thumbelina GUI

UDOO: is it open source?
Thumbelina: Yes it is, even if it is not downloadable yet. Btw, we are going to upload it on GitHub in a matter of months!

UDOO: Ok. So, imagine I am first-time maker: what is the necessary level of competence to realize this project? I mean, is it something a DIY lover with a bit of experience could make after some days of work? Or is it something more “industrial”?
Thumbelina:The level of competence to use the application is nearly null because the user has only to follow the instructions on the GUI. To realize the project, however, you need to know a few electronics to get involved with C++ programming and network protocols.

UDOO: Got it. So, next question is about your experience with UDOO. What has been the biggest issue u faced developing your project? And how UDOO helped u solving it?
Thumbelina: It helped me to create network protocol communication between the system and the user application. UDOO made this task easier to accomplish, exploiting the linux-based OS and its primitives.

UDOO:and what has been the moment of deepest happiness?
Thumbelina:To show the effectiveness of the implemented project on a greenhouse system called Thumbelina. In fact, a simple automated greenhouse has been realized

configuring the system with a photocell, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor and using a led, a fan and a DC motor as actuators, linking each sensor to a different actuator. The greenhouse worked automatically regulating light depending on the brightness of the environment, activating the fan when the temperature was higher than a threshold and activating a motor to irrigate the plant if the soil is dry.

UDOO:what should we expect from your project in the future?
Thumbelina:The project can be improved with the addition of different tasks such as showing a remote webcam or play audio files at distance, so that the system can suit different types of applications. Anyway, we aren’t a startup actually, we are just two makers and friends, thus we are going to improve the project in the future with some new features, but not that much as u may expect 🙁

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