Eden of Things – Day 3


Hot Stuff

It’s really starting to take shape today, code has been deployed to production servers, site surveys completed and sensor boards soldered.

Networking started to present an issue at the end of yesterday and this morning.  Whilst we could connect to the free wifi using the ESP8266 in the biomes and similarly connect the server in the project room, but there was no guarantee that the devices would be able to see each other, plus we didn’t have a static IP for the servers, we could see a whole morning being lost. Rather than waste time trying it investigating it, fault finding, confirming the problem and trying to find and work with the network team, we choose to get a hosted server on the internet.  This solution would mean it didn’t matter which network a device was on, as long as it could get to the internet it could report data.  10 mins later and we had two servers costing a whole $10 from DigitalOcean.  The added bonus was the teams got to practice building a server again and got to experience using a cloud hosted server, something they hadn’t done before. We’re not quite ready to share our great work yet, we’ll share the IP addresses of the servers later this week.

Meanwhile, the UI team finished converting static html to be dynamically generated in Javascript based upon data being ajax called in from the Core server.  More protocols to learn about, the default action of modern browsers is not to permit cross domain/server ajax calls, so a quick lesson on Cross Origin Resource Sharing(CORS) and a tweak of an .htaccess file and the team were pulling data from the server.  We debated whether we should be calling the data from the UI server as a proxy which loads it from the data server, this would overcome the CORS issue.  We decided for speed (not having to write more code on the UI server) we would go for the CORS route, it also meant that longer term, our API server could be used by others directly in the browser.


By the end of the day we had live data being updated on the webpage and setup a second TV outside of our base room with a Rapberry PI displaying the teams work to visitors – the teams work is on display to the paying public!

The team started with a quick retrospective, a short lesson on Kanban and they created a plan for the day. Once the server team had setup a new server in the cloud, they were able to get back to coding up the APIs, UI and Data logging.


Just in the nick of time at the end of the data the data logging endpoint was created ready for the sensors team to send data across the network to them.

Having provide that the team could read the input from a light sensor, the sensors team had a fun day of site surveys, coding and building. The first challenge was making the ESP8266 mobile by adding a voltage regulator and connecting it up to a LIPO battery.  A trip around the biomes and a hot and sweaty team came back confirming we could get connection! With Risk Assessments logged, Hot Works Forms submitted and smoke sensors deactivated, the soldering started. The team designed a generic board that could accept different combinations of sensors.


All was going well until it came to sloting in the ESP8266 and the sensors, only then did it become apparent the the ESP8266 format meant it covered the pins for the sensors – doh!  We’ll work around for the first sensor, but version 2 of the board will be slightly modified!


It’s been another great day, watching the teams interact with eachother, setup ad-hoc meetings and work out solutions to interaction problems. Feedback from the teams has been great, with one member even staying up all night learning watching arduino videos!

We’re hoping for sensors deployed into the Biome by tomorrow lunch……. (although we’re losing our key embedded software specialist and the team have got me and Pete to help get them live, eek!)



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