Designing some Internet of Things – The Town Light

I have been experimenting lately with some Internet of Things (IoT) object. Some time ago, I attended a workshop at the MadLab at Manchester. Adrian McEwen presented his Bubblino, an Arduino bot that makes bubbles triggered by a Twitter message. He has written a book about designing IoT things. Based on all these examples I started experimenting myself. Working with some IoT myself, I started planning how user interfaces (UI) might affect how do we use the data that is streamed on the Web.

The Night Light Town

This is an experiment that reads the amount of light. The light data is sent to a server, which then is returned. Once the data is sent back, the Arduino reads the value and depending on the intensity, it turns on or off a LED.

To set up this you need:

  • Arduino
  • Arduino Ethernet/WiFi Shield
  • Photocell
  • 1k Ohm Resistor
  • 220 Ohm Resistor
  • A Breadboard

Here is the layout. You can use Fritzing to check more in detail how to set it up.


Fritz File

Alternatively you can download the Fritzing File:

Using Xively to Monitor Data

 Xively is a service that allows you to monitor data and then make other services or object react. In this case I use it to dump the light data to it and then get it to send it back to me. I followed the basic tutorial from the Xively website. Nevertheless, they provided the code for the WiFi Arduino Shield, so I had to make some basic modifications. This final script was based on the ones provided by Xively and Paul Bellamy.

Here is MY final code. (Make sure you include the libraries)


The Deity Collector

The Deity Collector

A Downloadable Tangible User Interface for Constructivist Museums

Now that I have started my PhD in Web Science, I wanted to talk about my MSc research project. I managed to produce a comparative study in between three tangible user interfaces (TUI). I was under the supervision of Dr. Enrico Costanza and Dr. Leif Isaksen. I learned a lot about Constructivism for museums and for educational theory. On the other hand I realised how much I still have to learn, or how little I actually know about Physical Computing and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This was a very nice eye opener and motivating to carry on with my research pathway.

This post is more about where this is taking me, instead of the actual research method. If you would like to know more, I recommend you to go to my research blog .

My research poster

This is my poster from my MSc research project.


MSc Javier Pereda

I would like to thank PixEden for the characters kit from my poster. They produced a manga characters kit (Vector Based) completely free. I strongly recommend checking their work and their freebies! Here is the link for the characters:


Some nice events

I have been presenting the project in some conferences and academic events. I have been getting very good feedback.

This video is an interview from the DigiFest, where I presented my poster for the first time.


I also presented in the Digital Transformations Moot in London. This is a video where Nicole Beale and Dr. Gareth Beale were interviewed and presented some of the work that we are doing in the areas of Web Science and Digital Humanities at the University of Southampton.