IoT, or Internet of Things, is one of the most hyped technologies of today. It’s basically very simple – just a device that has access to the Internet and can either write to it, read from it, or both.

The biggest point is that IoT devices are not real computers in the sense of computers having an operating system and user interfaces. IoT devices, often called embedded systems, don’t usually have any means of doing things other than what they were designed to do.

Let’s take an example. Outside the Haaga-Helia 3D + Robo Lab there is a gatekeeper, the Morse Moai. It’s a 3D printed replica of an Easter Island moai statue. Inside it, there are two LEDs and a buzzer, and inside its stand there is an ESP32 device and a display. It looks like this:

The Morse Moai

When someone comes closer than 60 cm of the device, and stays there for more than half a second, the device comes to life. It connects to the Internet to see if there is a message for it to play, and if not, it will use one of the 20 stored messages on the device to advertise the 3D Lab.

However, if there is a message to play on the server, the device downloads it, and shows it. It also uses Morse code to add a visual and audible response to the message it shows on the display. When the message has been played out, the device falls silent and awaits for the next unsuspecting passer-by.

What makes this a true IoT device is the reporting. Every time it is triggered, it also writes the date and time of the trigger as well as the information whether it had a message to show, or just a stored advertisement.

Another key feature is that the message can be changed using a web page.

Web page for message management

And that is all there is to IoT. Just figure out what you need to measure or sense, then develop a device that can do just that and nothing more. Follow up by designing the data collection system, which can be a database, or just text files that contain your collected info. This is a sample of the Morse Moai data:

The 3DR + Robo Lab is able and willing to help you enter the world of IoT – just get in touch!