WipperSnapper Updates Wednesday: Blockly Actions, New Sensors Supported, UART, and more!

This past month, a lot has been going on with our Adafruit.io platform and WipperSnapper firmware since it’s hard to keep track of everything! To address this, we, the Adafruit IO team, will publish bi-monthly (or monthly if we do not have enough news) “WipperSnapper Updates Wednesday” posts on the Adafruit Blog. This will help you stay informed about all the activities on this platform.

🚢 A Boatload of New Sensors was Added to WipperSnapper in August 2023

Over the past month, we’ve added over 16 new sensors to Adafruit.io WipperSnapper. This boatload of sensors has been made possible by our hiring of a new Adafruit.io Team member – Tyeth! If you bump into them online, feel free to say hi 👋.

Here’s every sensor we’ve added to WipperSnapper in August and a link to the corresponding blog article and documentation:

🚀 New WipperSnapper Firmware Released: Beta 71

If you haven’t updated the version of WipperSnapper running on your devices in a while, now is a good time! Beta 71 includes all the new sensors we listed above along with a large bug fix. This bug fix allows a device with over 5 components to properly re-synchronize all of its components with Adafruit IO upon restart. Prior to this release, a WipperSnapper device wouldn’t initialize all the components which caused some feeds to erroneously “appear offline”.

Download the latest release from GitHub or directly from Adafruit.io/wippersnapper


🚧 In-Development: UART Components for WipperSnapper

Brent has been getting the UART component working within WipperSnapper and we’re almost there. This feature, which is coming soon, will allow you to use PMS* UART Air Quality Sensors (such as the PMS5003 sold by Adafruit and the IKEA VINDRIKTNING) and GPS modules with WipperSnapper! We’ll be supporting one UART bus per board. WipperSnapper firmware will be able to intelligently detect if your device supports hardware or software UART, and configure the bus according to the device/component you’re attaching.


🚧 In-Development: 🌎 🛰️ GPS Component and Adafruit.io Integration

Adafruit stocks a few different GPS modules and breakout boards including the “Ultimate GPS”. As of now, there’s no way to connect a GPS to an IoT project created using WipperSnapper and Adafruit IO. This in-development feature will allow someone to connect a GPS module using either UART or I2C to a development board running WipperSnapper. The WipperSnapper device will configure the GPS hardware to send NMEA sentences to Adafruit IO for parsing and feed logging. Our aim here is to make including a GPS in your IoT project super simple. Since the majority of GPS breakouts utilize UART as the underlying serial communication method, we’re planning on releasing this after UART ships.

🧱 Sneak Peek: More Powerful Adafruit.io Action Engine

Loren has been prototyping a friendlier, more powerful interface for Actions in IO using the popular Blockly framework (as seen in Scratch, MakeCode, etc.) Take a look!

This is an example Action for managing a thermostat whenever the temperature goes outside the desired range. Some things it does that current Actions don’t:
– multiple triggers for a single action
– doing checks in the trigger, not calling an Action at all (or spending the user’s Action budget) if a trigger check fails
– conditional/branching Actions
– multiple effects per Action
– basic logic, math, variables, text manipulation, etc

Blockly-based Actions are a long way from working, but the possibilities are exciting and the sketches are cute.

What could you build on IO with a more powerful Actions framework?

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