Internet of things in eight hours

Internet of things in eight hours

I studied micro and nano electronic systems in undergrad [insert resume plug 😜], and I still have a strong passion for hardware, but I don’t get the chance to mess with it very much these days. Since undergrad, I’ve spent most of my time in web development, design, and management. It wasn’t a conscious choice per se, but it is the way it worked out. I probably enjoy designing the web more than messing with hardware, so I ain’t mad or anything… but I still miss it! I have always thought the IoT(Internet of Things) is a nice way to combine my software and hardware skills, and I love to think through different IoT applications as they come up in my everyday life.

In late 2016, Sam Stavinoha and I spent a 3-day weekend hacking with boards. We had been talking about them for a few years, and finally had the time to mess with them. We used our go-to skills at the time, a react frontend (I was doing a bunch of react/redux stuff) and an AWS server-less backend to communicate with the board (Sam was doing devops/infrastructure stuff with terraform). By the end of a fun, albeit long, weekend, we were able to toggle a LED on the board remotely from the react app. A few weeks ago, I got the itch to mess with IoT once again, and I spun up a similar project in about 8 hours total, by myself. Much of that time was relearning stuff I had forgotten, I also went down the rabbit hole of trying to get an old Spark Core working. I gave up though… I had plenty of Particle Photons on hand.

It’s nice to know that I’m getting better at my craft, I saw an improvement in speed and quality! This new design uses a much simpler approach to the project using ruby on rails (it’s simpler to deal with a monolith for these smaller projects, especially when you are working by yourself). It also supports more than one device.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, here’s a video of me walking through the project:

Here is the tech stack I used:
Here’s the code on github | Version

About Brandon C Sammons

Brandon is a versatile and passionate engineer that uses design thinking and web technologies for creative problem-solving. He is currently working as the Director of Software at SXSW and teaching Web Design at FIDM.