Procrastination be gone! Be an IoT completer-finisher for the holidays

By | 4 minute read | December 13, 2016

IoT projects and recipes with Instructables

The elephant in the room

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? Now, about that IoT project you’ve been meaning to finish… We all have one. Okay, some of us have several, maybe seven, actually. You know the one – it’s that idea you talked through at lunch in October. The one about figuring out how to reduce the noise from speeding cars in your neighborhood; or, the alert app you want to install in your Grandma’s bathroom – the one that has a sensor attached to the toilet flusher; or, is it the tweeting Christmas decorations that blink red when anyone traveling over the speed limit passes your house? Yeah, wouldn’t it be cool if the app not only gave the passer by an angry blink, but if it used visual recognition to determine the make of the car, and sent a tweet to say, ‘Yep, another Audi driver doing 50 in a 40 mph zone.’ Maybe it’s finally time to see what your cat gets up to when he slinks out the back door – is he really lurking in the hedge near your neighbor’s bird feeder, and what about those birds – how many cardinals did you say there are? How about connecting up a sensor on the bottom of your dingy or SUP? You’ve been wanting to help track the build-up of water toxins and algae in your local pond, keep a check on the water quality – why not start now?

The middle step is the longest stride

That’s how it begins. You start with a conversation, and a few mad ideas are bantered about. You get home, check out the different sensors available, then realize, whoa, there are hundreds of these sensors now. WOW! Check out the list of sensors that work with the TI Launchpad. More thoughts on what you can start tracking spring to mind. Hmm, maybe you can whip up a Watson IoT Platform connected doorbell, using Twilio as the push notification. There are so many deliveries, too many carolers, and then there’s pizza!

From there you explore whether a DragonBoard 410c could work, scan the internet for the latest Raspberry Pi available, check out the long awaited ESP32 now available, compare notes. Admit it, you may even have strayed into the ‘build a robot car’ on the Raspberry Pi project page, or, maybe the TJBOT is more to your liking. Tempted yet? What about creating a BS detector that checks URLs for fact or fiction, then tweets live tweets about phony news. Too serious? There are always WeMos switches.

Stuck in a project rut? There’s a recipe for that

Holidays are designed to give you time to think, do, play, rest. Isn’t it time to relax, surround yourself with those magical plastic hack boxes you keep on the shelf, pick a holiday play list and get moving on that long-overdue DIY IoT project – that’s right, the one that is almost done, but never finished? When you’re in a rut, you can find inspiration from hundreds of online maker and developer communities. For the tinkerer who’s never quite finished tinkering, GitHub offers a treasure trove of things to try. Still feeling rusty? Why not sharpen your skills with new recipes and examples on developerWorks or from IBM Bluemix, or, scan instructables project plans on

Better than the average IoT couple

Yes, well, Instructables and IBM might seem like the odd IoT couple, but somehow they just work. Home to more than 3 million creative hobbyists – DIY crafters, serious IT skilled-developers, makers and pioneers – Instructables takes DIY creativity to new levels with crowd-sourced feedback that can enhance your idea. Go on, share your work with others who can build on your project work. See how far your DIY whisper will go.

Find your IoT groove

Cool, crazy, practical or fun? Whatever thrill you’re after, chances are you can scratch that IoT itch by looking through the amazing IoT projects in the IBM IoT Builders Contest. Even if you are not ready to formalize and submit your own project work, you can browse through the submissions which range from a portable sensor-driven distillery (donkey not included in the parts list), to deep thought on flow-based app design for IoT.

Bored of being bored because being bored is boring

If you have a bored cat (or dog, or child), a home that could use a little more intelligence, there’s no time like the present.

“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.” ― G.K. Chesterton

As I’ve been reading through the contest submissions, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • IT types can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to amuse cats
  • Smart home hacks are seriously trending
  • It’s all about connections, connections, connections

Stop wondering what could happen if you connect “this” to “that”; just start exploring. Carve out a bit of ‘me’ time during your holiday. It’s high time you moved that lingering IoT project closer to the ‘done’ pile. Who knows? You might just submit a project that lets you walk away with tools or gizmos for your next IoT build. Did I forget to mention there were prizes?

Visit to enter, and get your creative juices flowing by learning more about IBM Watson IoT.