Internet of Pets: it’s not only about Things

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Throughout daily life, there are so many joyful things to experience, and the Internet of Things is here to help us track items that matter to us. But it’s not only items that technology empowers us to interact with.

A project created by students from University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) (Allan Pooley, Sofía Muñoz and Anuraag Pardeshi) shows how microlocation can result in managing your home environment and particularly, your beloved pets.

While taking an Internet of Things course, engineering students were encouraged to develop an IoT related idea and a prototype for it. Allan, Sofía, and Anuraag had never been in touch before, but for the project they put their efforts and creativity together to come up with a solution.

The solution came in the form of home environment management, and ability to locate pets around the house. This kind of home communication was enabled by Estimote Beacons attached to pet collars, and RaspberryPi reading BLE signals transmitted by Estimote Beacons. Thanks to the interaction between them, it was possible to establish an approximate location of pets and inform users on their devices. The physical parameters of Estimote Beacons fit perfectly with the concept of the project, as their size, weight, and materials are convenient for attaching to a dog’s collar.

The team chose Android as a platform for their prototype. The architecture of the app was designed in such a way that Android devices were not directly interacting with our Estimote Beacons.Instead RaspberryPi was receiving BLE signals of Beacons, and recording detections periodically into a cloud database. The database was hosted by Parse.com, where Sofía, Anuraag, and Allan recorded activity between the Estimote Beacons and Raspberry Pi Receiver, so it could be interpreted by their app and displayed to the user.  

One more element was used, BlueZ - the protocol stack that allowed Raspberry Pi to catch the BLE signals emitted by the Estimote Beacons. They did a great job at finding a solution to establish the interaction between RaspberryPi and Estimote Beacons. What they did was track and record every time a BLE signal of the Estimote Beacon was received by a Bluetooth dongle on the Raspberry Pi. They have also developed a way to grab the UUID and RSSI of any Beacon in range of the Pi, and then recorded this periodically to the Parse.com database. Measuring RSSI (the signal strength) allowed to pick the strongest signal to say where the pet is.

The App retrieved the latest entries in this database to achieve localization of pets moving around the house.

That’s how it all looks:

It’s fascinating how three Estimote Beacons, three Raspberry Pi’s, one Android device, interest in Internet of Things, and creativity brought together three students from the University of Technology, Sydney all to deliver a tool to track moving pets around the house.

We are excited to see how Estimote Beacons are used in ways that add location context to various solutions, and are looking forward to meeting more creative, young talent like Allan, Sofia, and Anuraag!

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