Wireless Sensors?

I'd like my Create to be able to receive data from some nearby sensors wirelessly. Perhaps from an Arduino via Bluetooth or some other means. I've considered WiFi but the application is intended to be used in the field, so I'd have to carry and power a router (unless an ad-hoc networking scheme is possible). Is there hope?


  • Hi,

    I've got more questions than answers to start, but I think we can get you what you need.

    At this point, have you selected any of the specific sensors you wish to use? If so, do any of them ship already integrated with any sort of wireless scheme?

    Whether you've selected the specific models or not, what kinds of things are you trying to sense? About how far away are the "nearby" sensor locations?

    Finally, is your Create an original model or a V2 (if you're not sure, about when did you buy it)?

    We have some really strong options for integrating with other wireless equipment across a range of technologies - I just need a bit more background to be able to advise you.



  • edited May 2016

    Hi Will,

    I've got an original Create - ordered before it was released. I've got some I2C baro/temp sensors that I've used successfully with the Create on a vehicle. They need to be 15-20 feet away and the wires and plugs have proven to be cumbersome to route and somewhat fragile. I've got some simpler analog force sensors for a similar application. I've had those working with both an Arduino and with the Create. I've got a RasPi 3 w/Bluetooth but have only gotten it to glimpse a BT speaker I have, so far, plus there's the whole display issue. Arduinos with BT (or BTLE?) shields and sending to the Create seems to be the most promising.

  • Hi,

    I've got a WiFi-based suggestion for you. For the following scenario, I'm going to assume you're using Kinoma Elements (available for purchase soon); however, with a few limitations, other Wifi-enabled microcontrollers (like the ESP8266) could stand in. This is a high-level overview. If this solution will work for you, I'll be happy to work up some example code to help implementation.

    Here's the plan: First, the "hub" Element. This Element will act as a Micro AP and link to your Create and each sensor "node" you setup. The software running on this device can be very simple - all it needs to do is run a web server to accept data from the sensor nodes. Each time the server receives a call from a sensor node, it will pass the data to a public handler (web server) on the Create.

    Next, for each sensor "node", setup your sensors on the Element (you should be able to largely reuse the BLLs you've used on your Create). Next, in the callback function for each BLL, wrap the sensor type or name and sensor data in a JSON object and call the web server on the hub Element.

    The pass-through web server on the hub is required because the Element in Micro AP mode cannot route packets between connected clients. It does offer up some potential advantages for field use, however. An Element has a much lower power draw than a Create and it would be quite possible to program the hub to store the sensor data whenever the Create is not connected and then forward all the cached data when the Create is reconnected.

    Let me know how well this will fit your scenario. If it doesn't let me know what the sticking points are and we'll work something else out.



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