BrickPi and EV3 progress update

There has been some nice progress on the pure c# library for the EV3 Lego Mindstorm Brick from Lego and the BrickPi3 from Dexter Industries.  The BrickPi is great as it adds loads of extra processing power and more importantly memory for the EV3 kit using a Raspberry Pi.

 

The library is for both Xamarin.IoT and Android Things.    As soon as it’s ready I’ll post the source to GitHub.   If there is interest, I can also spend some time and port the Android Things implementation to Java or Kotlin for Android Studio.

 

The ultimate plan is to use this in a Lego based robot as a play project, but the experimentation will form basis of an actual larger artificial intelligence project.      It will also be hooked up to Azure IoT for the telemetry.

 

BrickPi Sample

 

BrickPi with 2 sensors

Happy IoT’ing

Azure and the Internet of Things at GXUGSA

Always fun to fly to Johannesburg and speak at GXUGSA.    I hope it was useful.

I’ve made all content available.

 

Event:  https://www.meetup.com/Gauteng-Xamarin-User-Group/events/241783761/

 

Presentation:   https://github.com/apead/XUGSA/tree/master/12092017

 

Android Things Weatherstation (Android Studio):   https://github.com/androidthings/weatherstation

 

Android Things Weatherstation (Xamarin):   https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-AndroidThings-Contrib

 

MX Chip kit Twitter Shake-Shake:  https://microsoft.github.io/azure-iot-developer-kit/docs/projects/shake-shake/

 

MX Chip orders available from DFRobot:  https://www.dfrobot.com/product-1616.html

 

This session featured

 

Azure Functions

Azure Iot Hub

Azure Stream Analytics

Azure Machine Learning

Power BI

Android Things

MX Chip Azure Iot Kit

And other Iot platforms and devices (Arduino, Netduino, Raspberry Pi, Windows 10 Iot, Xamarin Iot)

 

MXChip Iot Kit

 

IoT at GXUGSA

Happy Cross Platform IoT’ing

 

Azure Cape Town – Azure and the Internet of Things

Last night was a fun evening of Azure Iot at the Azure Cape Town user group.   Thanks to all for coming, I hope it was useful.   The turnout was awesome!

 

I’ve made all content available.

 

Presentation:   https://github.com/apead/XUGSA/tree/master/12092017

 

Android Things Weatherstation (Android Studio):   https://github.com/androidthings/weatherstation

 

Android Things Weatherstation (Xamarin):   https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-AndroidThings-Contrib

 

MX Chip kit Twitter Shake-Shake:  https://microsoft.github.io/azure-iot-developer-kit/docs/projects/shake-shake/

 

This session featured

 

Azure Functions

Azure Iot Hub

Azure Stream Analytics

Azure Machine Learning

Android Things

MX Chip Azure Iot Kit

And other Iot platforms and devices (Arduino, Netduino, Raspberry Pi, Windows 10 Iot, Xamarin Iot)

 

 

More Devices!

 

Weatherstation

 

Happy Iot’ing!

Visual Studio: The one IDE to rule them all

This week there was some great news about .NET MF and the return of the Netduino!(http://blog.wildernesslabs.co/netduino-is-back/)

 

I was inspired enough to dust off one of my older projects which included .NET MF and the Xamarin Monkey Robotics project. I then decided to consolidate and rearrange it with some of the newer stuff I’m playing with in the “Iot” space.    It’s also an example of how Visual Studio can handle projects of all types, held together and fully “debuggable” within one solution.     This seems like a good time to do this especially with the recent talks at the Xamarin User Groups in Cape Town (http://explorationspace.co.za/2017/07/20/cross-platform-iot-at-ctxug/)  and Johannesburg (http://explorationspace.co.za/2017/07/12/cross-platform-iot-at-gxugsa/) on the topic.

 

 

Visual Studio Controller of Things Solution

 

I do still have to port all this to Visual Studio 15.3 preview 3 so I can have Xamarin Iot working in the solution as well.

 

Still a lot of on the list to do today, so I’ll end off here.

 

Happy Iot’ing!

Cross Platform Iot at CTXUG

Last night was the Cross Platform Iot Session at CTXUG in Cape Town.    The turnout was absolutely amazing!    Thank you to all for coming it was a really fun evening!

 

Roger Weiss from Aliens kicked off with an overview of Windows 10 Iot Core and a few demos.  These demos featured some awesome use of Microsoft Cognitive services and also some nifty voice controlled home automation.

 

It was then my turn.   Unfortunately Chris van Wyk couldn’t make it this evening.  🙁

 

The session featured

 

Visual Micro for Visual Studio

Visual Studio Code with Arduino Extension which is now Open Source.

Xamarin Forms and Xamarin.Android with Android Things 0.41 Preview

The new Xamarin Iot preview for Linux based devices

Azure Iot Hubs

 

Devices wise 

 

Raspberry Pi 3

Intel Edison

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Latte Panda and Arduino Leonardo

MXChip Azure Kit

Devices everywhere! Latte Panda, Pi With Android Things. NexDock

 

The awesome new MXCHIP Azure Iot kit (Arduino)

 

The presentation can be found here:  https://github.com/apead/XUGSA/tree/master/19072017

Android Things Weather Station Sample with Azure Iot Hubs:    https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-AndroidThings-Contrib

Cross Platform Generic Xamarin Forms sample that ran on Phone, Android Things and Windows 10 Iot (I didn’t demo this, but it works too):   https://github.com/apead/XUGSABuildAutomation

 

Xamarin Android Things Nuget:  https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.Android.Things/0.4.0-devpreview

 

Xamarin Android Things Contrib Drivers:  https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.AndroidThings.Contrib.RainbowHat/0.40.0-beta

 

Getting Started with Xamarin Iot:   http://explorationspace.co.za/2017/06/21/xamarin-iot-comes-to-visual-studio-2017-on-windows/

 

MXChip Azure Kit:   https://microsoft.github.io/azure-iot-developer-kit/

 

Android Things Starter Kit with Rainbow Hat:   https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/rainbow-hat-for-android-things

 

Rainbow HAT

 

There’s a Xamagon!

 

Interesting VR Stuff happening in Aliens office

Cross Platform Iot at GXUGSA

Last night was the Cross Iot Session at GXUGSA in Johannesburg.    It’s always fun presenting all the Iot toys, but also what can actually be done with Xamarin and the rest of the Microsoft tooling.

 

It’s also not always clear that you can basically do anything you want with Xamarin, so always nice and exciting to showcase it outside the usual phone type scenarios.

 

 

Gert Talking Windows 10 Iot Core

 

 

The session featured

 

Visual Micro for Visual Studio

Visual Studio Code with Arduino Extension which is now Open Source.

Xamarin Forms and Xamarin.Android with Android Things 0.4 Preview

The new Xamarin Iot preview for Linux based devices

Windows 10 Iot Core

Azure Iot Hubs

 

Devices wise 

 

Raspberry Pi 2 + 3

Intel Edison

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Latte Panda and Arduino Leonardo

MXChip Azure Kit

Devices Devices Everywhere

The presentation can be found here:   https://github.com/apead/XUGSA/tree/master/11072017

 

Android Things Weather Station Sample with Azure Iot Hubs:    https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-AndroidThings-Contrib

Cross Platform Generic Xamarin Forms sample that ran on Phone, Android Things and Windows 10 Iot:   https://github.com/apead/XUGSABuildAutomation

 

Xamarin Android Things Nuget:  https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.Android.Things/0.4.0-devpreview

 

Xamarin Android Things Contrib Drivers:  https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.AndroidThings.Contrib.RainbowHat/0.40.0-beta

 

Getting Started with Xamarin Iot:   http://explorationspace.co.za/2017/06/21/xamarin-iot-comes-to-visual-studio-2017-on-windows/

 

MXChip Azure Kit:   https://microsoft.github.io/azure-iot-developer-kit/

 

Android Things Starter Kit with Rainbow Hat:   https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/rainbow-hat-for-android-things

 

Rainbow HAT

 

Behind the Scenes Fun 🙂

Android Things Contrib Drivers for Xamarin Sample Added

Last week I pushed the Xamarin version of the Google Contrib drivers to Nuget.    I’ve now added a sample project, to illustrate how it all works.    The sample also includes the use of Azure Iot Hubs.

 

The sample and the Xamarin components for Android Things Contrib can be found here:  https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-AndroidThings-Contrib

 

The Google Contrib drivers provides for the following components:

 

  • Sparkfun ADC Block for Intel Edison – adcv2x
  • Apa102 RGB LED strip
  • Bmx280 temperature and pressure sensor
  • Push button over GPIO
  • Cap12xx capacitive touch buttons
  • GPS
  • Ht16k33 7-digit alphanumeric segment
  • Mma7660fc accelerometer sensor
  • PWM speaker/buzzer
  • Metadriver for the Rainbow HAT
  • Metadriver for the Sense HAT
  • Ssd1306 OLED display
  • Tm1637 4-digit numeric segment display

 

You can find more details on each can be found within the Android Things Github repo:  https://github.com/androidthings/contrib-drivers

 

A great test of the contrib drivers is Pimoroni’s Rainbow Hat.   https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/rainbow-hat-for-android-things   The Rainbow HAT brings together a lot of the components mentioned above on one board.   It’s provided with the Android Things Starter Kit so it’s a very good place to start.       The first sample I’ve added here focus’s on this specific HAT.

 

I’ve added a Nuget package which contains the entire contrib library.    The nuget is built on version 0.4 preview of Android Things  It can be found on nuget.org:   https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.AndroidThings.Contrib.RainbowHat/0.40.0-beta   Something to note, it’s still a pre-release nuget package.

 

The sample added is based on the google Weather Station sample.  It has one difference, it uses Azure Iot Hubs for cloud messaging.

 

Sample Functionality

  • Temperature Monitoring
  • Pressure Monitoring
  • Push Button (A) to swap display from Temperature and Pressure on the board display
  • Native UI for RaspberryPi to display weather based on air pressure
  • Telemetry sent from Android Things Device to  Azure via Azure Iot Hubs
  • Message support from Azure to Android Things Device.

 

To uses the Iot hub in the sample, the DeviceId, DeviceKey and HostName of an Azure Iot hub will need to be provided.    I will do a post specific on Iot Hubs to provide more detail on this in subsequent blog posts.    These variables are set in the MainActivity.

 

 private bool _useHubs = true;   //  Set this to true to use Azure Iot Hubs

 _weatherDevice.DeviceId = "<Add Azure Iot Hub Device Id Here>";
 _weatherDevice.DeviceKey = "<Add Azure Iot Hub Device Key Here>";
 _weatherDevice.HostName = "<Add Azure Iot Hub Hostname Here>";

 

Weather Station

 

The sample  uses Xamarin’s own 0.4 Preview nuget for Android Things:   https://www.nuget.org/packages/Xamarin.Android.Things/0.4.0-devpreview

 

I’m in the process of creating more samples of the rest of the contrib library.    I’m also packaging more third-party drivers from around the community into reusable Nuget packages for Android Things with Xamarin.

 

I’m also having a lot of fun at the moment with a version of these drivers, built from scratch to work with Xamarin Iot.  We can then have these components (and Rainbow HAT) working on Linux devices which will of course be awesome!

 

Happy Iot’ing with Xamarin!

 

Android Things GPIO Callbacks

Following the blog post to get you up and running with Android Things, Visual Studio and Xamarin.  http://explorationspace.co.za/2017/02/26/using-xamarin-and-visual-studio-with-android-things/

 

Android Things has GPIO callbacks which are triggered on certain trigger events.    This is great for event handling.    I’ve added a sample to Xamarin bindings which illustrates this by means of a Grove PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensor much like what’s in your home alarm system.   If we use that in conjunction with a buzzer, you have a primitive alarm system.

 

The source can be found here:   https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-Android-Things

 

Intel Edison with PIR and Buzzer

 

 

Gpio callbacks are classes implemented inheriting from the abstract class Gpio Callback.    This call back is triggered on certain trigger types.   This are set on the gpio pin with the settriggertype method.

  • EDGE_NONE: No interrupt events. This is the default value.
  • EDGE_RISING: Interrupt on a transition from low to high
  • EDGE_FALLING: Interrupt on a transition from high to low
  • EDGE_BOTH: Interrupt on all state transitions

 

 public class AlarmCallback : Com.Google.Android.Things.Pio.GpioCallback
 {
 public Gpio BuzzerPin { get; set; }

 public override bool OnGpioEdge(Gpio p0)
 {
 if (p0.Value)
 {
 if (!BuzzerPin.Value)
 {
 BuzzerPin.Value = true;
 Thread.Sleep(1000);
 BuzzerPin.Value = false;
 }
 }

 return true;
 }

 public override void OnGpioError(Gpio p0, int p1)
 {
 Log.Info("Alarmcallback", "Error");
 }
 }

 

The class has two methods to override.   OnGpioEdge and OnGpioError.     The OnGpioEdge method is called on a trigger event.     The OnGpioError is called on an error.

 

This class is registered on the actual input gpio pin.

_callback = new AlarmCallback {BuzzerPin = _buzzerGpio};

_alarm1Gpio.RegisterGpioCallback(_callback);

 

Happy Android Things development with Xamarin!

 

Using Xamarin and Visual Studio with Android Things

Android Things is Google’s new IOT Android based platform.    In essence it’s a slightly altered version of Android which can run on Iot type devices such as the Intel Edison and the Raspberry Pi3.

 

“Android Things lets you build professional, mass-market products on a trusted platform, without previous knowledge of embedded system design.”

 

Personally I’m not yet too impressed with Android Things.   It is still very new and very raw and is lacking a lot of what you’d expect from an Iot platform.   However, having finally a standard Android implementation officially from Google running on these devices has to be a good thing.    The platform should just get better from here.

 

 

 

Running in Visual Studio using Xamarin

 

Of course being Android, Android Things works with Xamarin too.     Using Xamarin will also be a benefit for all those awesome cross platform benefits it offers, like sharing your Iot code with your backend services, Android, Ios, Windows Phone, Windows 10, OSX, XBox and whatever other devices you’d like to be supporting in your solution.

 

Getting the devices to appear in Visual Studio is exactly as you’d expect.    The devices will use the standard Android Debugging Bridge (ADB).      Plugging in an Intel Edison via USB will be reflected as “Unknown Iot_Edison”.    You can obviously also use the network debugging features of ADB.   eg.   adb connect <ip address>   The device will then also be detected in Visual Studio.   A Raspberry Pi will appear as “Unknown iot_rpi3”.

 

Using Xamarin is very simple.    All we need to do is bind to the Android Things API Jar to be able to make use of all the features provided by the Android Things SDK.   At this moment in time there isn’t an official release Nuget package from Xamarin to do this.   It is however very simple to do this yourself.     In this sample (and I’ve shared the code on GitHub) I’m binding to the new Dev Preview 2 API for Android Things (androidthings-0.2-devpreview.jar).    Once the binding project is referenced from your Android Things project, everything will work as expected.   Just of course with the benefit of using C# and not Java!

 

I’ve created some samples based on the Standard Android Things Samples

 

Samples:   https://github.com/apead/Xamarin-Android-Things

Blink Led

No Iot sample and demo is complete without a blinking LED.   This sample is a conversion of the Android Things sample.

 

 

Simple UI

This sample is a simple illustration of using a UI on an Android Things device.   It also illustrates GPIO pins and how to set the high/low values of the pins.

 

Simple UI Android Things Sample

 

 

 

Learning Resources:

 

SDK Samples:  https://developer.android.com/things/sdk/samples.html

How to install Android Things on your Device:   https://developer.android.com/things/preview/index.html

A great article on the basics of electronics and hardware:  https://riggaroo.co.za/android-things-hardware-basics/

 

Happy Android Things Development with Xamarin!