Building A Distributed Sensor Network

Alasdair Allan (Babilim Light Industries), Kipp Bradford (The Kippworks)
Open Hardware
Location: E145/146
Average rating: **...
(2.88, 16 ratings)


This hands-on workshop will walk you through building a simple distributed sensor network. Using an Arduino board, off-the-shelf sensors, and XBee radios, we’ll show you how to put together an individual sensor platform (commonly known as a “mote”) and how to network more than one of these platforms together to build a small scale distributed network. Based around Alasdair and Kipp’s latest book “Distributed Network Data” you can follow along build your first sensor mote.


* A Data Sensing Lab Shield Kit is required in order to participate. You will be charged a fee of USD$164 (on top of your registration fee) for the kit when you register. You will be provided with the kit onsite at the conference with proof of registration.
* Some experience with working with the Arduino is assumed.
* A laptop (with the ability to install software and drivers)
* USB cable

QUESTIONS for the speaker?: Use the “Leave a Comment or Question” section at the bottom to address them.

Photo of Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

Babilim Light Industries

Alasdair Allan is a Scientist, Author, Hacker, Tinkerer and Journalist who has been thinking about the Internet of Things, which he thinks is broken.

He is the author of a number of books, and from time to time he also stands in front of cameras. You can often find him at conferences talking about interesting things, or deploying sensors to measure them. He recently rolled out a mesh network of five hundred sensors motes covering the entire of Moscone West during Google I/O. He’s still recovering.

A few years before that he caused a privacy scandal by uncovering that your iPhone was recording your location all the time. This caused several class action lawsuits and a U.S. Senate hearing. Several years on, he still isn’t sure what to think about that.

He sporadically writes blog posts about things that interest him, or more frequently provides commentary in 140 characters or less. He is a contributing editor for MAKE magazine, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar.

Alasdair is a former academic. As part of his work he built a distributed peer-to-peer network of telescopes which, acting autonomously, reactively scheduled observations of time-critical events. Notable successes included contributing to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered, a gamma-ray burster at a redshift of 8.2.

Photo of Kipp Bradford

Kipp Bradford

The Kippworks

Kipp Bradford is an educator, technology consultant, and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is one of the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s Nifty Fifty. He is also the Demo Chair of the "Open Hardware Summit": and a featured innovator at "Frost & Sullivan’s GIL 2013": As the former "Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer": at the Brown University School of Engineering, Kipp taught several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. He has founded startups in the fields of transportation, consumer products, HVAC, and medical devices, including the "Data Sensing Lab": and "Revolution By Design": Kipp is a Fellow at the College of Design, Engineering and Commerce at Philadelphia University, and an Adjunct Critic at the "Rhode Island School of Design": He coauthored "Distributed Network Data": He serves on the boards of RIMOSA, The Providence Athenaeum, the community arts organization "AS220":, and on the technical advisory board of "MAKE Magazine":, in addition to co-organizing Rhode Island’s mini Maker Faire.

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Picture of Jon Guidry
Jon Guidry
07/25/2013 11:13am PDT

Will any slides be posted for this presentation? I know it was mostly hands on, but wasn’t sure if there was anything substantial to post. Thanks.

Picture of Shirley Bailes
Shirley Bailes
07/19/2013 9:47am PDT

@Jon, no you do not. We are providing all those parts for you. See you soon.

Picture of Jon Guidry
Jon Guidry
07/19/2013 7:04am PDT

If you buy the sensor kit, do I still have to bring an Arduino and USB cable?


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