Temboo and Texas Instruments Are Teaming Up!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Texas Instruments to bring Temboo support to their LaunchPad Development Boards! Now, Temboo comes bundled into the LaunchPads’ Energia IDE, meaning that you can program connected LaunchPads using any of the Choreos in our Library with IoT Mode. You can read more about how TI and Temboo are working together to build the Internet of Things in our launch announcement and on their blog!

A Temboo Home Brew

Drew McGlashen had been brewing his own beer at home for quite some time, but was looking to perfect his craft—he wanted to find a way to remove the characteristic “home brew taste” from his batches of beer. He knew that keeping the temperature of the fermenting yeast as close to the ideal level as possible while brewing was the best way to do this, but also that maintaining a constant temperature in the fermenter would require close monitoring and continuous attention. At the time, McGlashen was teaching a high school electronics class, and he was inspired by the idea behind the UberFridge to automate his temperature monitoring with the microcontrollers he was using in his course.

“Basically, the beer goes into my standard 40L fermenter, which then gets put into a fridge along with a heat mat. An Arduino microcontroller with a couple of digital temperature sensors attached measures the temperature of the beer and the fridge air and uses a PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) algorithm to keep the beer temperature within half a degree of the target temperature. The microcontroller controls a relay circuit to switch on the fridge when the beer is getting too hot and the heat mat when it is getting too cool.”
McGlashen also used Temboo’s Google > Spreadsheets > AppendRow Choreo to track the temperature of his brewing environment on a Google spreadsheet. He logged the temperature every 20 minutes, and also took a reading “if something interesting happened, like the fridge got turned on, or a variable was updated to better reflect the heating properties of my heat mat and quantity of beer I was fermenting.”

He found the fermenter’s data logging abilities to be especially useful when he traveled out of town: “I could keep an eye on the progress of my fermenting beer from my phone. With a simple chart in the Google spreadsheet I could watch the data in real time. I am sure other people like myself who love making stuff with technology and making beer would enjoy a project like this.”
His next step will be to add more sensors so that he can track other variables such as fermentation rate, and he also wants to integrate Google Calendar into his tracking system so that he can look back at data from the past and compare the fermentation processes of different brews to their tastes. He’s planning to use Temboo to enable him to adjust the temperature of the beer remotely as well. And, of course, he’s not just focusing on beer: “I will definitely be using Temboo with my electronics classes in the future to get their projects recording information online!”

We thought the whole enterprise sounded like a tasty Temboo application! Be sure to email us at hey@temboo.com if you’ve come up with any similarly creative ways to connect your hobbies and interests to the Internet of Things!

The Adafruit CC3000 WiFi Shield is Here!

The Adafruit CC3000 WiFi Shield is one of the most popular ways out there for makers to connect an Arduino board to the Internet, and the number of requests that we’ve gotten in the past several months asking us to introduce support for it certainly backs that up. Well, request no more! We’re very excited to now have the Adafruit CC3000 on the list of connectivity shields that we support, which also includes the Arduino WiFi, Ethernet, and GSM shields. Now, you can tackle more projects like building weather stations and connected security cameras more easily with Temboo’s IoT Mode. Break out your Arduino board and Adafruit shield, give it a try, and email hey@temboo.com to let us know what you create!

GirlDevelopIt: Success!

We had a blast with GirlDevelopIt last week! Twenty-two Makers came to StartUp Institute at WeWork in downtown NYC to learn a bit about programming hardware with Temboo and Arduino from four of our Temboo experts. Great fun was had by all, and we’re already looking forward to leading another workshop soon. Stay tuned for details!

The Temboo Adventures: GirlDevelopItNYC Edition

We are stocked and stoked! The components for the upcoming GirlDevelopIt workshop have arrived, and our desks look like a cross between the insides of a birthday pinata and the coolest hardware expo you ever saw.

We are thrilled to be teaching a workshop at WeWork, hosted by GirlDevelopIt, and spearheaded by three of our female engineers. On Thursday we’ll make Arduinos tweet, talk, and text—a movie theater’s worst nightmare, but a smart environment’s best friend. We can’t wait to create, make and code along with the GirlDevelopIt community.

Back to School with Temboo

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in classrooms, this one’s for you! Just in time for the impending school year, we’ve released a brand new Education page for students, teachers, professors, workshop leaders, and anyone else who wants to teach or learn with Temboo. Whether you’re a middle school student learning about data collection, a master’s candidate working with interactive hardware, or a university professor leading a web development seminar, our free high-usage Education plans and resources will have you covered. Questions? Send us an email at education@temboo.com and we’ll get you up and running in no time! Happy studying!

Drumroll: Introducing The JavaScript SDK

Calling all JavaScriveners! We’ve just added JavaScript as our eleventh SDK so that you can do more designing and building on the web with all of Temboo’s 2000+ Choreos. Get started here and send us your thoughts at hey@temboo.com. We can’t wait to see what you create!

A Planetarium with Sense and Sensibility

Today, the more interactive the entertainment, the better—there’s an incomparable stimulant when a user’s actions affect the plot unfolding in front of his or her eyes. This principle drove a group of students at Kutztown University to make their campus planetarium interactive. “It is definitely a more meaningful experience when you can actually have a part in the show rather than just sitting back and watching,” explained Nate Renninger, a designer of the project.

“In simple terms, our project is a visualizer that uses multiple instruments, one being Twitter, to manipulate the appearance of an animation [projected onto the Planetarium’s ceiling]. This project was the result of a pitch our group had during the Interdisciplinary Team Project class taught by the brilliant Professor Josh Miller. We had a lot of motivation to do this because we wanted to create a way for each student to interact with the Planetarium like never before.”


The project in action.

The four pupils, Nate Renninger, Brandon Stack, Nicole Cresse, and Michael Pandel, created their responsive animation using Processing, Beads (for the music), and Temboo, particularly our Twitter Choreos. The audio came from different instruments and was digitized with an audio interface box. Adobe After Effects was used to create the array of images that played during the “mood” transitions of the exhibit.

These moods, ranging from “fun” to “angry,” were dictated by spectators’ Tweets, and were reflected in the facial expression and color of the animation on the ceiling. “There are so many cool things that you can do using the API from a social media platform. I’m very happy that we were able to interact with Twitter this way. The possibilities are endless,” Renninger said.

“We hope that this will inspire future experimentation with the Kutztown University Planetarium.”

We love seeing interactive projects that really engage an audience (and we think planetariums are cool, too)! If you are working on anything that challenges convention, send us an email to hey@temboo.com and you could be our next featured project.

Temboo and PagerDuty: Alert on the Internet of Everything

Today we have a guest post about our new PagerDuty Choreos from Vivian Au at PagerDuty; the post originally appeared on the PagerDuty Blog:

Our customers are natural tinkers and builders, and we’re excited to launch our integration with Temboo. Many PagerDuty customers have found great success in using our solution to alert the right person and teams when issues occur in their systems and software. Some PagerDuty customers have been applying our alerting and on-call capabilities to other unique use cases such as creating an on-call rotation for roommate chores and sending alerts when trees are illegally cut down.

Temboo offers a unique programming platform that normalizes access to 100+ APIs, databases, and code utilities to give developers the ability to connect to other applications without all the headache.

APIs are powerful, but require maintenance

Applications aren’t useful when they are siloed. APIs are a common set of requirements to help disparate applications to talk with one another. For developers, the need to maintain these integrations and keep up with API documentation is a hassle. Temboo sits on top of APIs to abstract the complexity from managing and integrating with other applications. With Temboo, you can generate just a few lines of code in the programming language of your choice from your browser, and use those few lines to easily incorporate the benefits of over 2000 API processes into your project.

Helping makers connect

Arduino is an open-source, lightweight computer designed to provide an easy way for makers to create devices that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators. The uses of Arduino are endless. With the ability to sense the environment, tinkers have created robots, thermostats, and motion detectors from scratch. Temboo partners with Arduino to make it easier for projects to interact with web applications. With Temboo, every Arduino can easily grab data and interact with web-based services like Fitbit, Facebook, Google, and now PagerDuty. Temboo’s integration with PagerDuty (aka PagerDuty Choreos) will make it easier for Arduino and other hardware to trigger PagerDuty alerts.

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For example, if you really want to buy a drone on eBay and want to get real-time alerts when it is listed, with Temboo’s eBay and PagerDuty Choreos, you can do just that. Or if you want to receive an alert whenever the humidity in your greenhouse dips below a certain level, you can use Temboo’s PagerDuty Choreos for that, too. Or even if you just want an alert every time the weather at the beach is warm enough to go swimming, Temboo and PagerDuty can take care of that as well—all this and more can be done with just a few short lines of code thanks to Temboo’s integration with PagerDuty.

Let your imagination take you far and away. Read this integration guide to start connecting PagerDuty with the Internet of Everything.

Tongue Twister of the Day: The Critter Twitter Trap

John Mangan, a friendly humanitarian, Vermonter, and self-declared “lazy engineer looking for creative solutions to do less work,” was battling a tiny home infestation and the ethical conundrum that such an infestation brings. For many, pests are always to be dealt with by extermination, but instead of going the traditional deadly route, Mangan wanted to find a more humane solution. A Maker at heart, he decided to buy Havahart cages and build his own connected IoT traps for the critters using Temboo.

“Havahart traps are really nice if you have pests to rid your home of but you don’t feel the need to do this through means of killing the animal,” Mangan explained.

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These caring control cages trap the animal alive, allowing you to release it into the wild; however, it wasn’t long before Mangan started to notice a troubling pattern:

The problem we are faced with is constant monitoring of the trap. If you forget to check back frequently, usually at least once a day, you risk having the animal die in the cage simply due to shock or anxiety. As a result, you end up being more cruel to the animal than if you had just put it out of its misery to begin with. It is this problem that spawned my “Critter Twitter Trap.” The goal is to be notified as soon as the trap is “sprung”—thus, we know when to check it.

Using an Arduino Yún, a tilt switch, and Temboo’s Twitter Choreos, Mangan was able to build a trap that will send him an alert whenever it is triggered, and he has written up an excellent tutorial for anyone looking to recreate what he calls “a simple modification to a common pest trap.” The Choreos allow him to send a Twitter message whenever the trap has been sprung—check out what happens on his Critter Trap Twitter account.

“Most of these posts were tests, but a few were live catches!”

The text of the messages is generated from Team Fortress 2, a video game, allowing each message to be unique. Mangan also receives a text message if anything new is caught.

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We love seeing an IoT spin put on traditional devices, so if you have any creative projects of your own, reach out to us at hey@temboo.com. You might be our next featured story!

EAT And Temboo

EAT is a food supplier that specializes in “fresh and uncomplicated” sandwiches, soups, pies, and salads; every day, it distributes its freshly prepared breakfast and lunch foods to over a hundred locations throughout the U.K. One of EAT’s primary concerns is optimizing its use of data to control quality and ensure loss prevention—the short shelf life of its products and its commitment to freshness, makes precision in production absolutely essential.

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The data needed to make sure that everything gets to where it needs to be when it needs to be there, however, is not as straightforward to gather as one might think—warehouse supply levels, store locations, employee schedules, sales patterns, and even weather reports must be considered when planning an efficient strategy. These data points come from different sources and in different formats, creating discrepancies which can cause shortages or waste.

EAT’s IT department wanted a better way to cope with this disparate data. Their tracking system consisted of spreadsheets and hit-or-miss attempts with fickle FTP services, but these solutions only notified them when there was issue; they failed to provided specifics or ways to fix the problem. Rene Batsford, the head of IT at EAT, shared his reason for turning to Temboo: “We needed something with intelligence built into it. Temboo gave more feedback, and did something with that feedback.”

Temboo was the solution that could interact with the different data sources and EAT’s servers. Every night, a scheduled Temboo Choreo kicks off for EAT, retrieving several large files that contain various data. The Choreo then transforms the fairly complex XML files to a simpler XML schema and inserts all of this aggregated information into EAT’s SQL server database.

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Since Temboo is external to EAT’s systems, there is no risk of causing a domino effect of data failures if any of the individual data bridges malfunctions. Instead, the Choreos will communicate information about the failure even if EAT’s internal systems are offline—they include extensive error handling that can alert people if something goes wrong, or retry an insertion if connectivity to a service fails. “Temboo is a prime example of where [cloud computing] really works,” Batsford said. “By having Temboo external to our network, it actually gives us a lot more information. Temboo is a perfect fit not just for us but for lots of other companies similar to us out there.”

GeeksGiving: A Love Story

Once a year, we’re rewarded for completing yet another lap around the sun with an extravaganza of cake, candles, presents, and party hats. To this list, the advent of social media has added another birthday tradition: a spike in posts on our Facebook walls. Gerardo Ruiz-Dana, a developer, maker, and romantic from Guadalajara, Mexico, saw this as an opportunity to do something extra-special for his wife’s birthday. He set out to build the ultimate birthday present—a “Birthday Chocolate Machine”—to bring these virtual well-wishes into the material world and sweep her off her feet. His plan?

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Gerardo wanted to build a machine that would dispense a piece of chocolate every time someone posted a birthday message on his wife’s Facebook wall. He knew he needed to connect Facebook’s API to some sort of device that could release the chocolates, and, being a self-declared maker of “amazing moments,” he decided to begin with Temboo and an Arduino Yún. However, he soon realized he’d be patching a bunch of disparate steps together to bring his elaborate idea to fruition. No single Choreo retrieved and parsed all of the information he needed, so he turned to Twyla, our personalized Choreo-building platform. With the help of Aaron, one of our Twyla experts, Gerardo was able to design a new, customized Choreo for the occasion.

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The image above shows the Choreo as they designed it; you can see how all of the different steps work together to retrieve the appropriate comments from the Facebook wall. And it doesn’t only work for Facebook and chocolates—Gerardo has used the Choreo as more than just a creative present since its successful first run. For example, to build buzz for Startup Weekend Guadalajara, he used the Choreo to add some air to a balloon every time someone tweeted about the event. The tweet that popped the balloon received free tickets to attend! Both the chocolate dispenser and the balloon were a great success; you can watch a demo of the Chocolate Choreo Magic in action here:

Make sure to reach out to us at hey@temboo.com if you have any cool projects you’re working on. You may be our next featured project!

DIY Fitness Dashboard for the Quantified Self

At heart, DIYers are non-conformists. We scan the shelves at stores and see many choices that sort-of, almost, kinda nail what we were going for. But being slightly dissatisfied is never an afterthought—we take matters into our own hands and build the missing link: a better, cooler, customized version that does exactly what we need it to do.

In spirit of Father’s Day, we are featuring a DIY project built by Michael Woolfenden, a rising senior at Penn State, for his dad, who needed a better way to track his activity and fitness levels. It’s the ultimate fitness dashboard that integrates data from various self-tracking devices and centralizes the information in one easily accessible place. Michael took some time to tell us about the project, and the motivations behind it:

My dad has been a “gadget nut” for as long as I can remember. His latest fascination is with his own activity and fitness tracking and gadgets that can help him do it better. When I started to overhear him talk about how limited the sharing of the data captured by each device is and how some vendors would share—via pre-built interfaces—with other vendors but not all were openly sharing with each other, I became inspired to help him use multiple activity, weight, and blood pressure tracking devices from multiple vendors to track his activity and fitness better.

The challenge here is that my dad did not want to use only tracking devices from a single vendor; he wanted to use devices that were of lower cost and more specialized to his needs than generic trackers provided by the dashboard vendor.

Michael was able to build his own centralized dashboard with an Arduino Yún and Temboo’s Choreo-building tool, Twyla. He designed a customized Choreo to link together the various data sources that he was reading from such as Runkeeper, Fitbit, and the Human API, and then store the information he gathered in his dashboard; that way, he was able to run the whole process through his Yún. Michael explained:

I am not a developer, so to keep things simple, I chose to develop my project using Arduino Yún hardware, its supporting Sketch language IDE, and the Temboo Twyla builder tool, which was used to orchestrate the HTTP requests and Choreos together into a master Choreo that is executed by the Arduino Yún to perform all of the data sharing on a daily basis.

The result is that, on a daily basis, Michael’s dad is able to check all of his vitals, aggregated and organized for a clear view of his progress. Thanks to this integration, he no longer needs to dig through all of his different fitness apps to make sense of the data his devices throw at him; he can simply check one place, once a day, and understand his fitness progress—seamlessly.

Michael closed with some advice for non-developers like him who are giving programming a try for themselves:

I did run into a few minor roadblocks and learning curve issues with both the Temboo platform/Twyla IDE and the Arduino Yún, its IDE, and its Sketch language. It turned out that every one of my challenges could be overcome with a little help from Temboo support.

If you are building anything cool with Temboo, reach out to us with details at hey@temboo.com and you could be our next feature!

Temboo Likes This

One of the unofficial requirements for working at Temboo is that you have to be a fan of 3D printing. This isn’t particularly imageonerous, of course, because 3D printing is very cool, and most people who have seen a 3D printer in action walk away impressed. The technology has applications ranging from surgery to space exploration, and, as it turns out, it comes in handy for building cool Temboo projects as well! Manuel Orduño, a hardware specialist from Hermosillo, Mexico, combined Temboo and 3D printing to make his Like Lamp, which was a big hit around our office.

Manuel was participating in a local Arduino Day event, and wanted to find an interesting way to show what can be done with Temboo and an Arduino Yún. He also wanted to bring some attention to D’Sun Labs, a group working to promote physical computing in his area (we’ve encountered Mexico’s growing tech scene before!). To accomplish both tasks at once, Manuel created a lamp that would light up every time someone liked the D’Sun Labs Facebook page. He used Temboo’s Facebook>Reading>GetObject Choreo to track the total number of likes on the page, and then programmed his Yún to blink a set of blue LEDs for each new like that came in.

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Photo credit: Víctor Aranda

There are two elements of Manuel’s lamp that we particularly liked. The first, of course, is that he chose to enclose the LED string in a custom-printed 3D Facebook “like” icon. It looks great, it drives home the point of the device, and it’s a cool integration of 3D printing and Temboo. The second is that, in his own words,

I had never worked with the web before, so terms like OAuth, APIs, tokens, etc., were totally unfamiliar to me. But the Temboo service simplified this A LOT—I think I would not have managed to make it in time without it.

We’re always trying to make it easier for hardware developers to tap the power of the cloud and for software developers to get their hands messy with physical devices, so that’s exactly the sort of thing we want to hear. Or, if you will, that’s exactly the sort of thing Temboo likes!

Flip the Switch and Get Going

Now you can connect even more Arduinos with the power of Temboo by simply flipping our IoT Mode on. This new feature opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the Internet of Things.

What is IoT mode, you ask?

It’s a new way to access our 2,000+ Choreos on any of your Arduino or Arduino-compatible boards. By just hitting a switch at the top right of any Choreo page, you “got the power” to call that Choreo with a sketch tailored specifically for the device you pick from our drop down menu. Previously, this feature was only available for the Yún, but now it is open to the larger Arduino family. All you have to do is select the type of shield your board uses and the code will generate accordingly.

So how do I begin using this amazing IoT feature?

Select a Choreo from our vast Library and turn on IoT Mode. In the example below, we chose the Data.gov API and the GetCensusIdByCoordinates Choreo. Data.gov is a cool way to access APIs from a number of US governmet agencies and to query government datasets, including the US Census!

The “Arduino” option encompasses compatible boards that lack the Yún’s built-in wifi capabilities, but can connect to the internet with a shield. Fill out your shield’s specifics when the popup appears and save for future use. Run your Choreo and scroll down to retrieve the code for the sketch, ready to be pasted into your Arduino IDE. You can even plug this into a sketch generated by our nifty Device Coder to start mixing and matching!

We are thrilled just thinking of all of the possibilities this unlocks for the Internet of Things. We want to hear all about what you cook up with this new capability, so if you are working on an interesting project, reach out to us at hey@temboo.com!