HOPE X: Creating Smart Spaces With ReelyActive

When we hear about the Internet of Things, we’re thinking it’s a portable device with a sensor of some kind, a radio module, and the ability to push data up to the Internet. There’s nothing that says a device that puts data on the Internet has to be portable, though, as [Jeff] from ReelyActive showed us at HOPE X last weekend.

[Jeff]’s startup is working on a device that turns every space into a smart space. It does this with radio modules connected to a computer that listen to Bluetooth and the 868, 915 and 2400MHz bands. These modules turn every place into a smart space, identifying who just walked into a room, and who is at a specific location. Think of it as the invisible foundation for any truly smart house.

The radio modules themselves are daisychained with Cat5 cable, able to be plugged into a hub or existing Ethernet drops. The software that makes the whole thing work can run on just about anything; if you want a Raspi to turn on the lights when you enter a room, or turn off a thermostat when you leave a building, that’s just a few lines of code and a relay.

The software is open source, and [Jeff] and his team are looking at making the hardware open. It’s a great idea, and something that would be a good entry for The Hackaday Prize, but ReelyActive is located in Montréal, and like Syria and North Korea, we’re not allowed to run a contest in Quebec.

10 thoughts on “HOPE X: Creating Smart Spaces With ReelyActive

  1. Wouldn’t RTLSDR allow the same thing? What is special about these dongles since they are fixed to certain frequencies. Can anyone point to RTLSDR doing the same kind of decoding?

    1. My cheap dongle wont tune to frequencies higher than about 1.1 GHz, so that’s one reason you would need a different device. The dongles have limited bandwidth, so to capture from three distinct bands, you’ll need three of them anyway. A dedicated band can use an antenna tuned to the optimal wavelength, so they could be more sensitive. And finally, it does take CPU to decode an SDR stream, while a dedicated chip does much of the heavy lifting on silicon.

    2. rtlsdr doesnt do ANY decoding, its just a receiver, you need a powerful(compared to 8051 micro) computer with fpu to decode (at least raspee)
      so 20mW dedicated receiver vs rtlsdr + raspee spinning at full throttle all the time

    1. North Korea would want to run a contest so as to recruit the old guard of the Parti Quebecois, considering how extreme they always were, good material for the upper echelon of the Parti in Pyongwhatchamacallit;

      Syria would want to find muslim sponsors for immigration purposes, as the top brass rats will have to leave the ship eventually, and while Canada is ridiculously easy to get into, Quebec is even easier.

      Was that a trick question? ;)

      1. Nope, no trick question !
        Like Brian wrote : “and like Syria and North Korea, we’re not allowed to run a contest in Quebec.”.
        (-:

  2. Links to all the stuff in the video:

    https://www.npmjs.org/package/barnowl

    http://shop.reelyactive.com/collections/featured

    https://github.com/reelyactive/barnowl-test

    https://github.com/reelyactive/smartspaces-client

    https://github.com/reelyactive/smartspaces-server

    The hardware is different than RTLSDR in that it is pre-configured to listen to Bluetooth Smart (BLE) advertising traffic or that of proprietary protocols and connects in a plug-n-play manner. When you daisy chain multiple “reelceivers”, you can easily determine the location of the transmitting devices based on RSSI, since the closest reelceiver will decode the signal strongest.

  3. Quite a few contests (google, hackaday, etc) have T&C excluding the usual rogue states like N.Korea, Iran, Syria, but also include Brazil, Italy and Quebec. Does anyone know the reason for those three being included with the usual suspects—WDQD (What did Quebec do)?

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