Chattanooga 48Hour Launch: Internet of Things Business Hackathon

48Hour Launch

Image courtesy of The Company Lab,

The term “Internet of Things” doesn’t say it all.

Even though it’s generally understood to mean smart toasters, fitness bands, and the like, “Internet of Things” is a curious name, because it’s not really about things. It’s about humans—or at least making things more useful to humans.

This intersection between technology and human need has always interested me, and it’s why I’m looking forward to 48Hour Launch happening this weekend at the Edney Innovation Center in Chattanooga.

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Project Magnet at View Source Conference

Project Magnet - Physical WebLast June, when Mozilla met in London, we took advantage of having so many Mozillians concentrated in one place to distribute early builds of the Project Magnet mobile apps, as well as a beacon broadcaster for laptops. This allowed participants to see and engage beacons from their fellow participants, as well as a few hardware beacons managed by our team.

We were pleased with the tsunami of data and feedback received, but were left concerned with the amount of people that didn’t get to participate, because installing the test builds was so difficult: Test Flight process for iOS and side-loading an APK for Android.

So, we prioritized streamlining user onboarding for our next experiment, to ensure that we could properly test out our hypothesis in another, controlled Mozilla event: the upcoming View Source conference in Berlin, Germany.

“Given an easy app installation process, event attendees will engage with schedule and venue-related beacons, resulting in an improved conference experience.”

We’re inviting attendees of View Source Berlin, via the event’s registration list, the opportunity to explore the event via the Physical Web, thanks to app store availability of Project Magnet for Android and iOS (yes, we made it into the Apple app store!).

We’re telling participants to “think of it as Pokémon Go, but with a real world mission!”

What does this really mean? When you install the Project Magnet mobile app, you’ll be able to get real-time information about the booths, venues and schedule, supplied by strategically placed beacons throughout the event.

If you’re attending View Source (or would like to attend, as there is still some availability), you can come prepared by installing the app, and swing by our booth if you have any feedback or questions.

We hope you’ll join us for this fun experiment, and you can look forward to us sharing the results of our test in the days following. Meanwhile, if you want any other details about our project, you can check out the Project Magnet wiki.

The Project SensorWeb Poster Experiment

The Project SensorWeb team is on a mission help people leverage the Web to bring open transparency to the physical world around us. Open data, Open platform, Open web, Crowdsourcing… these are the attributes we have in mind when we innovate and design prototypes. We believe that with the right (and open) data, we can make better decisions and improve our quality of life and the experiences of everyone in our local communities.

Our first PM2.5 sensor at Ping Sing Elementary School

We installed our first PM2.5 sensor at Ping Sing Elementary School (April 2016)

As you may have seen, we chose to monitor air quality in our pilot project, measuring particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5), since it is a major component and standard for an index of urban air pollution. The most recent WHO study shows that excessive exposure to PM2.5 can cause cancer, lung damage, heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, premature births, and respiratory diseases in children. Since PM2.5 presents a growing health risk to people around the world, it seemed like the right place for us to start.

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August Meetup at MozSF

August Connected Devices Meet Up in San Francisco

August Connected Devices Meet Up in San Francisco

This past Tuesday night, we hosted the seventh CD/SF meetup. Once again the content was good and the attendance was solid. Thanks to all the Mozillians who made it out. And special thanks to our speakers:

Elizabeth Hunt (Mozilla) project_haiku.iot on Github
Mahendranadh Potharaju (Mozilla) project-haiku on Discourse
Mozilla’s Project Haiku team shared some of the things we’ve learned working with a young audience and ambient communication.


Elizabeth Hunt (Mozilla) Mahendranadh Potharaju (Mozilla)

Luke Ma (Nut Technology) @nut_technology | @NutTrackers
Luke showed us Nut Technology‘s premium Bluetooth smart trackers that can help you find your keys and track just about anything.


Luke Ma (Nut Technology)

James Pace (Mynewt) @James__Pace
James spoke to us about Apache Mynewt, an open source operating system for constrained IoT devices.


James Pace (Mynewt)

Next month’s CD/SF is in the works. We expect it to be at MozSF towards the end of September. Once we have a date set, we’ll send out the details and you can reach us on Twitter @allthedevices if you have suggestions.

Reza & Lindsay

Project Vaani Moves to Prototyping Phase

Project Vaani: Shopping List

As you may already be aware, Project Vaani aims to bring a voice interface to the connected devices using open, Mozilla-backed technologies that do not tie you down to the silo’ed services like some existing offerings do.

Our Approach: Products Before Platform

Before we decide to build a platform, or create a set of technologies to enable this, our approach is to first focus on releasing a narrowly defined product that solves a specific consumer problem(s). So far, we have conducted several market surveys and user studies with initial concepts. During the user studies and surveys, we consistently heard one common problem: keeping track of things. One such verbatim quote is here:

“…The stress of keeping track of a hundred things to do – errands like groceries and household items… I mentally note those when I am in the middle of something at home…

But when I am at the store, I am scratching my head about what all I needed to buy… I forget buying some items… When I need them next, the cycle continues”

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Project SmartKitchen Wants to Smarten Your Dinner Menu

pixabay photo by sneeze shared under a Creative Commons (CC0) license

pixabay photo by skeeze
shared under a Creative Commons (CC0) license

Last June, we were excited to get the go ahead to explore our project of passion, “Project SmartKitchen“. The connected devices group at Mozilla is taking a “lean” approach to developing products that solve consumer problems. Because many of us find ourselves in the same, stressful situation each day, wondering “What’s for dinner?”, we chose to start in the kitchen.

As a busy parent, I get asked this question on a daily basis by at least four people. It really irritates me when I don’t have an answer. It’s even more irritating when I know I have tons of food in my kitchen (from that last trip to Costco!) and can’t come up with anything to feed my family. The initial concept of Project SmartKitchen is really about uncovering the many recipes that are ready and waiting to be cooked in your kitchen with the ingredients on hand. I know that there are many more exciting and tasty combinations of my current kitchen inventory than I can come up with in my head.

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Making a Research Prototype

Project Haiku Prototypes

Project Haiku Prototypes

The last round of user research for my project with Mozilla’s Connected Devices team threw up a ton of useful ideas and insights. We shuffled them around on a gazillion post-its and narrowed in eventually on a theme of communication – specifically simple, non-intrusive/non-interrupting ambient messages. We saw a recurring need for ways to say “I’m still here”, “I’m OK”, “I’m thinking of you”. I was reminded of the Goodnight Lamp – one of the first really nice IoT products I remember seeing.

We wanted to validate our thoughts, and dig a little deeper into this area, so we came up with another study, this time using a simple functional prototype. Not so much a product prototype, more a prop and a way to move away from the abstract and focus in on actual reactions when interacting with a thing. In this post I’ll go into some detail on what we built, how we went about it and what we learnt.

Read the full post at the Sam Foster blog…

June Meetup at MozSF

June CD/SF Meetup

June Connected Devices Meet Up in San Francisco

On Tuesday night we hosted the sixth CD/SF meetup. The turnout was strong like last month and the content was informative and relevant. Thanks to all the Mozillians who made it out. And special thanks to our speakers:

Morgan Fabian (Autodesk) @morganjfabian
Morgan discussed some of her recent projects: an environmental data collecting robot, a modular sensor package, controlling devices via a game engine and the latest (and ongoing) project of designing multiple connected devices that work in concert.


062016 CDSF Meetup Morgan

Willi Wu (Thermodo) @williwu | @thermodo
Willi showed us Thermodo’s first product, a tiny thermometer for mobile devices. Thermodo is being used by new parents, mountaineers, homebrewers and in different commercial industries.


062016 CDSF Meetup Willi

Tomomi Imura (PubNub) @girlie_mac
Tomomi talked about her KittyCam project. This device is created using a RaspberryPi with a camera module and a motion sensor. It’s written in Node.js using the Johnny-Five and KittyDar modules. It even includes feline facial detection.


062016 CDSF Meetup Tomomi

Call for speakers! Come share your work, hacks and ideas. We’re enrolling speakers for our next meet up in August, and you can reach us on Twitter @allthedevices if you have suggestions.

See you in August,

Reza & Lindsay

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Connected Devices “Connects” at MozLondon

As you may have heard, Mozilla met up this June in London for an all-hands-on-deck work week. This was a great opportunity for us to work face-to-face and across different teams, to share ideas and even hack on some code. Below are only a few highlights, but you can expect more updates in the weeks to come as we dive deeper into sharing our progress and look to you for some help.

Connected Cruise on the River Thames

Connected Devices team took a cruise on the River Thames.

Connected Devices All Hands
Ari and team gave an update on the latest plans including an overview of the Connected Devices team strategy. In short, the plan is to still pitch and innovate on product ideas that create compelling user experiences; they should solve real problems, connect us with others, or provide entertainment.

The longer game is to turn the projects with traction into products, that will give us the focus we need to build out the supporting platforms and integrations into essential services. Eventually, we’ll make these platforms available to developers and partners so they can create their own “powered by Mozilla” products with platforms that are open, interoperable and advocate user privacy.

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Project SensorWeb: First Air Quality Station Is Working

SensorWeb Station 0330 looks so cute.

Our first PM2.5 air quality station SensorWeb Station 0330 (birthday in GitHub) is working for Mozilla Space Taipei now. The station is created by Particle Photon Arduino-like board and LEGO.

Now, you can check real-time PM2.5 data in Mozilla Space Taipei on SensorWeb platform. If you would like to set up an air quality station in your office(or anywhere), please leave your contact info here.

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