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Triggy - Multi-purpose Smart Companion Tag

This smart companion can trigger an action on a smartphone each time a physical change is detected (temperature, displacement, click...)

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A multi-purpose sensors tag to alert, inform or trigger an action on your smartphone when a physical event occurs, based on predefined rules. The ultimate ambition of Triggy is to be a "swiss knife" for IOT and to offer a solution for an incredible number of everyday life situations.

An Android application is used to find tags and to create rules between triggering events and actions to be executed. Also when using it with IFTTT, the possibilities become even wider: home automation, remote notifications, cloud automation...

Only an Android device is required with the Triggy board, making automation very simple and cheap. Also it will be ultra-low power and small, enabling a lot of usages.

Basically, Triggy aims to be a smartphone or tablet companion tag, sensing the environment and automatically triggering actions based on physical events. A Triggy module can detect an event such as: this door is opening, the temperature in the fridge goes above x degrees, someone pushed the button, etc... Then a fully customizable rule allows to decide what to do: generate a notification on the phone, play a ringtone, or a lot more.

Among possible actions, one can trigger an IFTTT recipe and as a result choose an action among a very large choice. Triggy can be used as a component of a home automation system, however not limited to home applications.

Here below are few examples of situations where Triggy can be used, based on actual rules:

Some actions are local to the device connected to the tag (notification , play a sound/ringtone, put the device on vibrate...), others are available through IFTTT. Cloud connection + IFTTT = extended possibilities.

Video showing an exampIe of IFTTT recipe creation and action triggering:


MOTIVATIONS

Today one can easily buy and install a more or less expensive smart home solution. Some of them allows a connection to the cloud, others also support the IFTTT service. With Triggy, we want to enable new possibilities, new usages. Hereafter the key points that have guided this project:

  1. Low investment required
  2. Most of home automation solutions use a hub, a box to centralize and connect the different parts of the system (sensors, actuators ...) The price of that hub makes the whole solution generally expensive. Using an already owned, a spare or second-hand smartphone or tablet, the hardware cost of a Triggy solution will be far lower. With one Triggy board and a smartphone, it is already possible to do wonderful things. Additionally buy a WiFi smart plug, smart light or any available smart actuator that supports IFTTT, and you can easily do home automation. Low cost and easy to use!

  3. Small form factor and low power
  4. These two constraints go hand in hand, because the size of a WiFi-connected sensor (no hub required) is generally imposed by the size of the battery required to operate it for a decent duration. Components choices and efforts to reduce the power consumption of the Triggy module allow now to make it work on a coin-cell battery (CR2032) with at least a year of battery life. The board dimensions have been decreased down to 25mm x 25mm, which allows to stick it almost everywhere (mailbox flap, cat flap, small objects ...) while being discreet. Existing sensors, such as a movement detector, working without a hub or gateway (WiFi) are a lot bigger than this, due to the WiFi peak consumption.

  5. Open standard
  6. Bluetooth Low Energy is used for the communication between the Triggy board and the smartphone. This protocol is both publicly accessible and low power. BLE GATT servers (such as Triggy) expose a standard data structure, allowing to use it with other applications. Another advantage is a seamless integration of Triggy with any smart home solution compatible with IFTTT. It can work also with the numerous WiFi actuators (IFTTT compatible), without being bound to a solution manufacturer that uses a proprietary protocol.

  7. Extensible and scalable
  8. The Triggy board embeds few sensors (displacement, temperature, proximity to the smartphone, push-button) and still allows to create a significant number of useful usages. But we also want to allow easy connection of expansion boards in order to detect new events, according to the needs. One can easily imagine the interest of adding a CO2 sensor, a humidity sensor, a light sensor... Moreover an expansion board is already under development (rain or water presence sensor + light sensor). Another one will come to measure the soil moisture (plantation).

  9. Multi-purpose and versatile
  10. Probably the most important goal is to create a hardware + application which can help in as many use cases as possible. Home automation is one thing, but we can do a lot...

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Paper case - front .pdf

Printable paper enclosure for the board - front side

Adobe Portable Document Format - 522.26 kB - 09/07/2016 at 20:26

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Paper case - back.pdf

Printable paper enclosure for the board - back side

Adobe Portable Document Format - 102.63 kB - 09/07/2016 at 20:26

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nRF52832_PS_v1.0.pdf

nRF52832 official datasheet

Adobe Portable Document Format - 5.86 MB - 08/23/2016 at 12:05

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Main board schematic.pdf

PDF view of the Triggy board schematic

Adobe Portable Document Format - 41.69 kB - 08/22/2016 at 07:57

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Triggy.lbr

Eagle library containing specific components footprints

lbr - 35.39 kB - 08/12/2016 at 19:51

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ms-excel - 1.40 kB - 08/12/2016 at 19:51

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Triggy 0.1.sch

Eagle schematic, main board

sch - 150.09 kB - 08/12/2016 at 19:51

See BOM Download

Triggy 0.1.brd

Eagle layout, main board

brd - 125.93 kB - 08/12/2016 at 19:51

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  • 1 × Nordic nRF52832 Bluetooth LE Microcontroller
  • 1 × STMicroelectronics LSM303D 6-axis Accelerometer/Magnetometer
  • 1 × Johanson 2450AT43A100 SMD 2.4 GHz chip antenna
  • 1 × Murata XRCGB32M000F2P00R0 Crystal 32 MHz
  • 1 × AVX ST3215SB32768E0HSZB1 32.768 kHz crystal
  • 1 × Panasonic EVQ-Q2F01W Tactile switch
  • 1 × LED APBL3025ESGC-F01 Bi-color R/G LED
  • 1 × Molex 87340-0613 Header pitch 2mm
  • 1 × Linx BAT-HLD-001 CR2032 battery holder
  • 1 × Various RLC components (402+603)

  • Some news

    Vinch12/13/2016 at 20:17 0 comments

    Since the decision to create rules directly on the Triggy Hub app, there is a lot of work to do before making everything work. This is a complete new screen to create, and this will take time. The good news: this way of mapping events and actions will improve a lot the usability of the system. Triggering local actions avoids the internet connection requirement while enabling more low-latency automation.

    An additional local action I though about is an emulation of a keyboard press. Many applications have hotkeys that can be activated with a physical keyboard. Here we can simply create a rule to emulate any keyboard press. A typical application would be to take a picture from the Android camera app when clicking the triggy module button.

  • Android app changes

    Vinch11/12/2016 at 08:37 0 comments

    Triggy Hub Android application is being heavily modified to enrich the possiblities. I wanted to make the system less dependent on IFTTT, for those who don't want to use this service. In fact, most of the time the user wants to be informed of an event (when a door opens, when it rains, when the temperature goes too low etc ...) This can be done with a notification or a kind of alarm. Moreover, notifications could be pushed to other devices with third party applications.

    So now it will be possible to create rules (local, not IFTTT) to run on the Android device. When an event is detected, one could decide to send a notification, play a sound, mute/unmute the phone, turn on/off the WiFi (any other idea ?) All this without internet connection required, but of course the phone must be in the BLE range of the Triggy module which generates the event.

  • First demo in real conditions

    Vinch10/10/2016 at 21:48 0 comments

    It's here now: a video showing Triggy in action through two IFTTT recipes. I also give instructions on how to create a recipe on www.ifttt.com. The prototype is functional for a while now, but it doesn't have all features. After many trials of different video editors, I chose VSDC free video editor. I've found it both easy to use and powerful, at least perfect for what I wanted to do.

  • New Recipes Collection

    Vinch09/29/2016 at 20:29 0 comments

    The firmware and Android app will soon be functional, but before showing a video with IFTTT in action, here are some new recipes with Triggy as the source of the events.

    Simply stick a module on the cat flap. When it moves, a notification is sent. You can also record the time of all these movements directly on a cloud service of your choice.


    With Triggy and Manything app, the camera of a spare phone will start recording a video if someone opens unexpectedly a cupboard or a drawer. Who put his nose in your stuff?


    Never forget to close a door or a window for the night. Every day at 10 pm (for example), you will receive a notification if the "open" position is detected.


    With a module stuck on your guitar, you can automatically inform your friends on Twitter or other social network that you start playing, as the displacement is detected.


    If your car is moved in the street, you could know it instantly, even if far away. Just let the connected Android device in the car too.


    You may want to know when an icebox with your picnic inside is heating up, indicating that it's time for lunch...

  • DIY enclosure

    Vinch09/07/2016 at 20:21 0 comments

    Now that the prototype board is fully functional, I decided to create a nice looking enclosure for it. Of course, 3D printers are the most appropriate tool for this purpose, but I have no access to a 3D printer and also I've never used one. I can only spend a limited amount of time for it, so the best solution I found, for now, is to make it with cardboard paper. The dimensions of the board are small enough to obtain a quite strong enclosure even with paper.

    My experimentations showed that a paper of 270 g/m2 is enough, and still can be used with most inkjet printers.

    This is the equipment used and the result obtained once printed and cut

    I used the following equipment, in addition to an inkjet printer:

    • An A4, 270 mg/m2 paper sheet
    • An iron ruler
    • A box cutter
    • Wood glue

    The result

    The enclosure once folded and glued


    The triggy board in its box

    I've put the printable pdf files of the enclosure (front and back) in the files list. It has correct sizing for A4 paper.


  • IFTTT Recipes with Expansion Board

    Vinch08/20/2016 at 12:06 0 comments

    The first expansion board built for Triggy (see first project log) adds the rain/water and ambient light sensors. This board further extends the possibilities and service provided by the system. See hereafter few IFTTT Recipes made possible.


    As soon as the first drop of rain is detected, receive an SMS reminding you to close the roof windows or to pick up the clothes drying outside.


    You may have a tap leaking so slowly that you cannot keep watching it. Use Triggy to log any drop falling.


    It's preferable to irrigate the garden once the sun is setting down, but the real time change every day. Triggy and a smart irrigation system can do the job.


    For the romantics, Triggy can warn you when the sun starts to go down.


  • First Demonstration Video

    Vinch08/16/2016 at 20:59 0 comments

    Here is a video showing the Triggy device in action, connected to the Android application running on a nexus 7 tablet. The goal of the video is to show the movement detection and how the displacements are logged into the app. Note that the application is the part of the project which will evolve the most. An other video showing actions triggering through IFTTT will be done later, once all this is more mature.

  • Power Consumption Table

    Vinch08/13/2016 at 20:30 0 comments

      Now that we have optimized the firmware embedded on the nRF52832, we are able to perform nearly final power consumption measurements. These have been done in all three modes of operation. The connected mode consumption has been measured with a Nexus 7, Android 6.0. The battery life is given for an "ideal" discharge of a CR2032 battery. Here are the figures:

      1. First we can see the interest of the shutdown mode: the consumption becomes negligible so that the battery can be left in the holder, avoiding handling the module unnecessarily. This mode is entered through the app or with a long push on the button.
      2. The UNCONNECTED and CONNECTED modes consumptions are almost the same, whereas normally it should be lower when connected to another BLE device. This is because the advertising interval of the unconnected mode has been increased to 2 seconds. The drawback is a longer time to enter in the connected mode, but at the end that's not really problematic and seems to be an acceptable connection delay.
      3. The consumption of the movement sensor is nearly half of the total. By default this sensor will not be enabled, and it should be only if the displacement trigger is required on a given device.
      4. With all triggers enabled, we can consider having a battery life around one year and a half, which is really good for this kind of sensor.

  • New Fresh Recipes

    Vinch08/08/2016 at 19:29 0 comments

    Here are new IFTTT Recipes enabled by the Triggy module. More to come thanks to the expansion board...


    This is only allowed by Triggy, thanks to its size: stick a module on the cat flap, and get notified when it moves, i.e. when your cat is entering or leaving the house.


    With a module on your guitar, you can automatically inform your friends on Twitter or any other social network that you start playing, moving the guitar from its regular position.


    Never forget to close a door or window for the night. Every day at 10 pm, you will receive a notification if the "open" position is detected.

  • Expansion board prototype

    Vinch08/06/2016 at 21:04 0 comments

    The first expansion board is ready and seems functional.

    Only 2 components need to be soldered: the 6-pin header (male) to be plugged on the main Triggy board, and the light sensor. The remaining part of the board is the rain/water sensor. It is composed of an anode and a cathode with interlaced copper traces (spacing ~0.5 mm). This allows first the first drop of water to be detected. This has been confirmed by measuring the resistance between the 2 inputs.

    The dimensions of this board are 7 cm x 7 cm. This area is a good compromise between cost and ability to quickly detect when it starts to rain.

    Some resistors need to be put in series with the two sensors: theses have been soldered on the Triggy board. We measure then a variation of voltage through the ADC available on the nRF52832.

    Next step: develop the firmware to support these new sensors and trigger an action on the next rain.

View all 10 project logs

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Adam Fabio wrote 09/30/2016 at 00:02 point

Hey [Vinch]! Triggy is a featured project on the Hackaday front page! Congrats!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vinch wrote 09/30/2016 at 07:37 point

Wow, that's great! Thanks a lot for the information.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vinch wrote 09/06/2016 at 16:15 point

Hi Francois. Thanks for your interest and, by the way, thanks to all followers of this project! As of today, I managed to trigger IFTTT actions from the Android app, using a dedicated function. The next step is to develop the part which makes the link between the information received from the board, in BLE, and the call to this function. I'll make a video once all this is working together.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Francois wrote 09/05/2016 at 19:28 point

Hello. Nice project! There is a great potential for this affordable iot solution. But have you been able to actually make it work in real condition and trigger an IFTTT action? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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