Kanpur - A city of many resources but politically neglected

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yuktix Air Weather station

Yuktix Air Weather Station

Yuktix - As clear from the word yuktix define itself, its a way out for some problem. So when we are talking about Yuktix AWS (Air Weather station), we here at Yuktix try to resolve some of real time problem which people in a city like Bangalore faces quite often. Bangalore is a city which always has some short of micro-climate existing in the environment. You can have a look at Know your climate blog. Now with this type of climate you are never sure whether to go some where with a umbrella or not , or even that is right time to leave for some place as rain may cause traffic issues in a metro city like Bangalore. Its not like that it will be great asset, but anyhow, it will help people to atleast mentally prepare them when they are leaving for a place. 

So when we meet people from Know your weather climate they put up a brilliant idea of rolling out a citizen weather project. For more information on this citizen weather project, have a look at this blog. Well it was a great idea to work on. Assume, we have a network of about 100 AWS installed in various part of city, pushing their data on a cloud, from where it is being displayed on a website open for citizen. People who have subscribed for notification can get instant SMS or email with respect to the weather condition in their area. Or they can simply find out information about climate of a specific area. On the other hand any researcher who want to access the climate related data of a city can easily access the data for his/her research. Not only this, research institutes or any agriculture institutes can use this data for weather updates. Well it was always a interesting idea and has got many interesting use cases. 

So we at Yuktix started working on this project. I was a part of Yuktix at that time, but only at the suggestion level. I wasn't the one who was in action. So when we started working on this, we were in state of mind that this is a pretty easy project to work upon and we can finish it up pretty easily. But believe me, it wasn't easy and that is a thing, you love while working in a start-up. You are aware of each and every component of the project you are working on. Its unlike very big level projects where people who are working aren't aware of what is happening in real(well it's not always true). Being in a start-up, you got to deal with each and every part, starting form making a plan of execution, hiring, sourcing of parts(even bolts and nuts), electronics hardware, firmware, software, cloud etc. So coming back to our execution of AWS project. We started from very scratch. We got a proof of concept with a well know open source board arduino. Well very soon, we came to know that working with Arduino is ok till the time you are working at DIY(do it yourself) level, but when you are working on deploying a projecty which had real time applications and that is helping people even on a smaller scale, you need to build a customized pcb. Well again, i am not against arduino implementation. Although there are many projects like Ardusat in which people are talking to build a diy platform to perform experiments in space. But still, we think to build our platfrom on AVR micrcontrollers(Arduino platform is based on AVR MCU's). 

In our work to build, a customized pcb, we meet our hardware expert, a experienced hardware professional form IITK, 1975 batch and we came-up with a AVR microcontroller based unit which provide features like
Balcony Variety AWS
  • A Microcontroller with sufficient processing power. 
  • Sufficient ADC channels .
  • I2C channels.
  • Sufficient UART channels
  • GPRS feature
  • In-built sensors
  • wireless feature like Xbee for implementing WSN like features.
So our one crucial part i.e hardware was almost done(although we never consider it done as we are further working on adding features in the next iteration). At the same time, our team was working on implementing  the  firmware part for the hardware as well as cloud software. And on the same time we were working on developing the mechanical part of the AWS that also including making our product work on the green energy that is using solar power to run our electronics. A small picture of the same is below. Well it seems to be too simple in this pic, but believe me it take a hell lot of time to develop this thing starting form finding the right guy for fabrication, keeping in mind that he supply quality product, getting tress design from CAD designer, installing in on one of the site. 

Field type/Open space type AWS

So in the end when we are done with all these i.e hardware, firmware, cloud software we are up and working with a real time Air weather station which is capable of measuring climatic factors like 
  • MM/Inches of rain.
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Wind speed(in next iteration)
  • Air quality including factors like CO2, Nitrous oxide and other gases concentration in a specific region. 
And with that if you have subscribed for the alerts and notification, you can easily get notifications on SMS or email. At the same time you can easily see the real time data on the Yuktix cloud as well as on the Android app that we had build specifically for AWS. With all these things working, we are trying to resolve some of the problems which people faces. So we at present have two AWS models. One which is a field unit running on solar power and the other one which people can easily install in their home in balcony.