Attention electronics geeks: The Internet of the Backyard competition is here


Wednesday, 16 July, 2014


Here’s a challenge for those who like to geek out on electronic design: a new competition called The Internet of the Backyard.

Launched by element14, Plotly and Texas Instruments, the competition challenges designers to use the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad from Texas Instruments and the online collaborative platform Plotly to design innovative garden-based technology products for parties and activities.

The CC3200 LaunchPad is reportedly the industry’s first single-chip programmable MCU with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The device has a high-performance ARM Cortex-M4 combined with onboard temperature sensors and a 3-axis accelerometer.

A few examples of how an IoT device could be used:

  • Pool safety alert: a system to notify adults when children are playing too close to the pool or have fallen in.
  • Cooler alert: the system tells you when it’s time to refill the esky with ice or beverages.
  • Garden watering system: detect the hydration level of backyard planters and adjust watering levels as necessary.
  • Barbecue monitors: an IoT-enabled barbecue that can send text messages to let you know your food is ready.

To enter the competition, go to element14.com/backyard, sign up for free and detail your proposed idea. Ten finalists will be selected and will receive a CC3200 LaunchPad, plus help to purchase additional parts. The finalists will post blog updates every fortnight to show their progress, and the winner will be announced 13 October 2014.

First prize is a trip to an upcoming Maker Faire to show off the winning design.

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