Hacking with Particle

Particle.io are purveyors of a number of different IoT modules to help you get connected. Their modules are designed to integrate with existing or planned hardware, doing all the hard work for you. They have Wi-Fi and 3G modules and several of development boards and kits. This weekend we got to do a hands-on with the Particle Internet Button. The Internet Button is an expansion board for the included Photon Wi-Fi Board.

Photon Specs:

  • Wi-Fi Chip
  • ARM Cortex M3 processor – 120Mhz
  • 18 GPIO pins

photon-wo-headers-wifi-module-sideview-resized_640x480

The unit comes in a neat tin container with transparent lid and includes a micro-USB cable that is used for power. Setup for most will be straightforward. You connect to the unit with the Spark app and give the unit the Wi-Fi details it needs to connect. If this doesn’t work (as in our case due to the way the Wi-Fi is set up), you can connect the unit to a computer with the micro-USB cable and follow straightforward (if a bit extensive) steps to connect your button to the internet.

After the unit is connected you login to the Particle Development site, link the unit to your account and you are set to go. All programming is done via the online IDE and rolled-out over the internet to your device, where ever in the world that may be. Programming is simple and supported by many libraries and examples to get the most out of your device. The Particle is also able to interact with a number of online platforms such as IFTTT.

Internet Button Specs:

  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 11 RGB LEDs
  • 4 buttons
  • Buzzer

internetbutton

Particle’s online console allows you to monitor any number of photon’s linked to your account, as well as receive and send commands to the units, update firmware or software. We setup our unit to monitor various of our websites to check whether they were online or not and react accordingly.

For small use cases the Particle platform is free, but when you want to start implementing these into customer products, various monthly and annual packages are available depending on your requirements.

Particle.io run their own online shop, but their products are also available on Amazon through Seeedstudio and Adafruit.

For an idea of how you can connect your Internet Button, check out this project where a Web Status Notifier was created.

 

images: Particle.io