Thursday, December 12, 2019

measuring the cooking and cooling of your microbits

This represents the educational equivalent of sensor analytics, which commercially is a killer app. Not advocating commercialism here but learning from it.

The micro:bit can be part of a data rich educational pathway. I didn’t realise this until I googled microbit data and discovered the microbit app (Windows 10 only) as well as some great tutorials at Data Collection and Data Analysis

This app has a few extra features over the online editor at The important extra feature here is you can directly read serial data from your micro:bit for data logging.

For this experiment I need 3 microbits, two for transmitting temperature data at different locations and one to receive it. I placed one sender near a hot plate and the other was taped to an air conditioner.

The receiver microbit transmits the data, through a USB cable, to the microbit app running on my computer. In turn, the microbit app displays the data and graphs on a data console.

I’ll show both the block code and the corresponding JavaScript. I’ve added the explanatory comments to the JavaScript. You can add comments to the block code but it quickly becomes cluttered.

This code was flashed to the two separate micro:bits, one near the hot plate and the other near the air conditioner.

This microbit was connected to my computer and the data is displayed in the microbit app console as both scrolling results and graphs.

Once again I’ve added the explanatory comments to the JavaScript file

The data can also be downloaded as a csv file and processed in Excel. I made a graph as follows:
Other ideas for remote data collection with the microbit:
  • measure the acceleration of a dropped microbit or one attached to a rocket
  • check soil moisture of a pot plant
(checkout the links in the first paragraph for more detail about other projects)

Note that the temperature experiment was done without any extra data collectors, just the microbit app. I think that this app extends the range of what can be done with the microbit tremendously.

Related: Making sense of the microbit

Footnote: explaining the "killer app" statement in the first paragraph
Persistent identity is the "killer" feature and sensor analytics and mobile payments are two "killer" apps, while more immersive first-person videogames and live event experiences could become another “killer” app for some wearables
Wearable Devices The ‘Internet of Things’ Becomes Personal by Morgan Stanley Research 2014

No comments: