The Mail Beacon

It is a bluetooth mailbox monitor. You’ll receive notifications when letters or parcels are added to your box.

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We all have a mail box, and Mail Beacon is the first smart gadget to manage it (in house, flat or office). The Mail Beacon is perfect for older or disabled folks for whom getting to the mailbox can be difficult. This way they don’t make the walk for nothing. It’s also ideal for people whose house is far from their mailbox. It can save them a walk ‘all the way to the mailbox’ just to find it empty.
On hackaday we want to show the project details (components, circuirs, docs, software) to develop the product in geeks community.

Firstly I started with NRF51 development board and ams sensor. We decided to do not use camera to scan content, but only optical sensor to measure distance and color. It reduced a cost of the beacon.
Based on these details we can compute how many items were inserted and who can be a sender (it helps to omit junk mails - they have more colorfull look).

The app for smartphones have simply functionality, just show the list of the items inside the mailbox. With NRF51422 only bluetooth lowe energy enabled devices can be used. In future we plan to adjust radio power depends on user location with periodically gps enabling.

  • 1 × NRF51422 MCU (in the commercial relase replaced by NRF52 series)
  • 1 × LIS331DLH MEMS
  • 1 × TMG39933 The main very advanced optical sensor
  • 1 × 16 MHz crystal High speed oscillato
  • 1 × 32kHz crystal RTC oscillator

View all 11 components

  • Hardware development status

    Robert05/09/2017 at 17:15 0 comments

    Hi Guys,
    Recent time was hard due to our new campaign of AmbiVision 4k (if you want to support us:

    The Smartphone app is ready except smart networking. We want to use firebase as database but it is not easy for rookies. Especially make it secure and easy in implementation (custom auth require external server). Any advice will be appreciated.

    The Beacons is finished, but some hardware changes are required. The 16 MHz crystal needs a specific capacitors to make Bluetooth device visible. We need to use different one with external capacitors (now we use crystal with internal capacitors). Very strange for me, was range in fully metal mailbox with some holes. It seems to
    work well despite on the metal box.

    Development of a detection algorithm took a lot of time to make it stable and reliable. Finally it works well in 99% cases.

    Today I will show you how the PCB (0.2 mm) looks now. We need to change the 16MHz crystal. Soon we will send the project for Nordic to advice us how to design a proper antenna.


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