The world is coming online faster than ever because of the Internet of Things. It started with computers and smart phones but know almost every electronic device available has an internet capable version. Wireless TV’s, printers and even fridges can now connect to the internet. The smart fridge is the start of a new era in the Internet of Things.
New to the market is the Dash Button by Amazon. This little device uses wireless to connects to the internet and with a push of a button common house hold products can be ordered. Another device I have been following closely is the Jibo. It is a household companion robot. Since its Kickstarter campaign it has seen a huge amount of attention. It is the first move in the affordable family robot scene. It connects wirelessly to the internet and can order items on request, message people, search and update you on your social life just to name a few things. All these devices are made to make our lives easier by taking tasks that previously required you to go out and shop or do manually now can be done from home, all thanks to the Internet of Things.
But one thing these all have in common is they require WIFI to gain access to the outside world. This means that wireless transmitting devices are now everywhere. Houses, shops, offices, even public access across cities. This means finding the best access point for signal strength, less channel crossover or even the best location for another wireless access point to boost signal strength is becoming extremely difficult. This is where the idea for the device we designed for the Internet of Things class comes from. It will be used to located the best signal or where signal strength is lacking using visual overlays over maps. The maps can be shared so other people in the area can see the area you mapped and the results you got. This collaborated data can be used to give the users better results. Results can be used to determine security settings and give information whether your network is secure. Below is a description of the Internet of Things device we came up with:
Our device, the Network Mapper, is a hand held mapping device, that produces visual representation Wireless and Bluetooth signals, that plugs into your personal mobile device. There is a app associated with the Network Mapper that gives visual references to the user using a Google Maps (or similar) overlay. It searches for any Wireless and Bluetooth signal with its built in long range receiver and sends direction, signal strength and associated information to the Network Mapper App for analysis. This information is then displayed on a Map overlay and stored for later reference. The app can also be used to find individual signals. The user selects a SSID that they wish to track and then more detailed information about the wireless signal is displayed to the user along with a visual representation of the direction the signal is coming from.
The physical Network Mapper device is a small hand held tracker. It has a oval top with a handle mounted on the bottom side for the user to hold. Inside the oval top is a specialized PCB that has the receivers and aerials used for tracking and locating signals. The handle has 2000mah battery inside it which is recharged through a USB port at the bottom of the handle. The USB is also used to plug the Network Mapper into the user’s mobile device. Charging can be disabled when in use if needed.
This link takes you to the initial design below of the housing of the Network Mapper.