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November 20, 2015 AT 2:46 pm

Marty’s First Post: Adafruit.io

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I am Marty, the Inventory Manager here at Adafruit.  Prior to my experience working here, where I have been for about two and a half years, I had a very limited experience in electronics.  In fact, the only experience I had with soldering was when my freshman year roommate and I hacked our X-Box.  That person, by the way, happens to be the one who got me the job here – James Devito, who has plenty of tutorials and articles on the site.

While I could do the majority of my work without knowing how to solder, or code, or even understand what our products are capable of, I would miss out on a lot of incredible things and frankly that would make my work far less fulfilling.  Over the years I have built a minty boost, a spokepov, and learned some python on a raspberry pi.  With the new Adafruit.io being released I decided to try out some things that were a little more in depth and would require a bit more skill, so I built a door trigger with a Huzzah ESP8266 based on this tutorial by Todd Treece. 

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The whole concept of Adafruit.io and the power of the Huzzah ESP8266 inspired me to build something that I could give to my mother.  She is physically handicapped, having suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years, and I like to do anything I can to help make her life easier.  When I saw the above tutorial I realized that this would be a good way to keep an eye on this for her when I am not able to be around.  I was intimidated a bit at first, but really the experience of using Adafruit.io and following this tutorial could not have been more rewarding and easy to follow.

I will add one disclaimer, the current version of the Arduino IDE (1.6.6) does not support the Huzzah very well and I could not get my sketch to compile, but when I went down 1.6.5 it compiled right away and worked great.  Because this trigger would be going into my mother’s home and I wouldn’t have continuous access to it I decided to remove the battery portion of the guide and instead just use a 5V adapter instead to give it continuous power.  I made a few edits to the code to remove the battery monitoring, which took a bit of trial and error, but was not too troubling.

Finally I set it up on If (formerly IFTTT) and now receive an email every time someone goes over to her house.  This is great for me because it gives me peace of mind getting to see that the healthcare aids that come over to her house are getting there on time to help her with daily tasks.  Having created this door trigger has also opened up a lot of new possibilities now that I know how easy it is to use the Huzzah and Adafruit.io.  I am hoping soon to make a simple button for her to use and send text messages to me and my siblings saying hello every morning just to know that she is up and doing well.  From there I will try to make some more complicated projects that I will write more about in hopes that other people can help make their loved ones lives easier as well.


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