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How do you take a perfectly good mini fridge and make it smart? One way is to have the refrigerator tell you how many bottles are in it and how many bottles you’ve drank. You can view this information on your laptop, tablet, and phone. It can send you notifications when your fridge is getting low. This is the smart fridge of the future!

This project is a way to build your first smart fridge that is easy, low cost, and hopefully fun.

What you’ll need to get started:


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Temperature and humidity are vital data points in today’s industrial world. Monitoring environmental data for server rooms, commercial freezers, and production lines is necessary to keep things running smoothly. There are lots of solutions out there ranging from basic to complex and it can seem overwhelming on what your business needs and where to start.

We’ll walk through how to build and use a Raspberry Pi temperature sensor with different temperature sensors. This is a good place to start since these solutions are inexpensive, easy to do, and gives you a foundation to build off of for other environmental monitoring.

Raspberry Pi

A Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive single board computer that will allow you to connect to a temperature sensor and stream the data to a data visualization software. Raspberry Pi’s started out as a learning tool and have evolved to an industrial workplace tool. …


The universal view of pie charts is that they suck. You throw one of these into your PowerPoint presentation and you better be prepared to be mocked mercilessly. But why are these charts so disregarded and hated? What did they ever do to make everyone hate them? Let’s explore how pie charts got a bad rep and why they are actually a very good chart.

Pie charts are meant to be used to illustrate numerical proportions. Each “slice” is proportional to the quantity it represents. Obviously called a pie chart because it looks like slices of pie. It had everything required to succeed but like most great things, people found a way to ruin it. …


When I first got my iPhone. I developed a crowd-pleasing party trick to make the screen look transparent. Take a picture of your hand, make that your lock screen background, and ask people if they have “seen the new transparent iPhone screen?” Trust me, it was a big hit with the ladies. I was so proud of my hilarious hack, I considered making it into an app. Keep in mind, at the time, savvy developers were pooting out fart apps popular enough to break wind daily in a private jet.

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When Initial State started allowing custom backgrounds, it was only fitting for me, the expert in fake transparency, to make the world’s first transparent-screen real-time web dashboard. …


Initial State provides unparalleled flexibility when building real-time data visualizations. Unsplash provides millions of high-resolution images. It’s a match made in the Cloud.

What It Is

You can now add image backgrounds to your Initial State dashboards!

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Dashboard backgrounds are more than just picking a picture to match the mood working with a Raspberry Pi puts you in. They’re meant to inform, engage, and make data visualization the automagical experience we at Initial State want it to be. Add brand identity, spacial context, and visual navigation using background images in combination with our new Tile sizes and color options.

How It Works

Adding an image couldn’t be easier. Just go Edit Tiles > Change Background… and type your heart’s desire in the search bar. …


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NI puts on an incredible show every year, and Initial State took advantage of the opportunity to exhibit at NI Week 2019. At the show, we released a LabVIEW SDK that can stream any data from LabVIEW to our configurable, anywhere-accessible, interactive dashboards — with a single VI. After being acquired by Tektronix in 2018, Initial State is serving the Tek customer base with innovative cloud-based solutions for test & measurement and expanding to new customers with cloud offerings in the embedded and IoT market. …


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Node Red is a browser based programming tool that allows you to connect code blocks that accomplish tasks. It uses nodes and flows to easily write code that can connect to APIs, hardware, or online services. A node is a predefined code block and a flow is a connection of nodes, usually an input, processing, and output node. Node Red can be run locally on your computer, on a device like a Raspberry Pi, or even in the cloud.

Node Red has been popular among anyone who builds IoT projects since it has an easy to use user interface and flows to visualize the data movement instead of having to write a lot of code. If a node doesn’t exist for what you want to do, you can even create it yourself. Node Red’s nodes and Initial State’s dashboard UI make them a great pair for those who want something easy to use. …


This story is not my own, but it was one so compelling I wanted to share it with others. I found Max’s story through his father, Jonathan. Jonathan is a software developer and engineer, and a customer of Initial State. As part of our usual customer outreach I emailed Jonathan to get feedback on our platform. What I did not expect was the story Jonathan shared with me about his son, what he has done to help him, and how our product played a small part in that.

Max was born in August 2013, a happy, healthy baby. After a few weeks, his parents noticed that he seemed to have trouble lifting his head. This raised concerns but his parents wanted to give him time. When at his 2 month checkup Max was still unable to lift his head, their doctor referred them to a pediatric neurologist for genetics testing. After a few weeks Max’s results came in: he had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The doctors explained that his “floppiness” wasn’t going to go away — that the absence of a key protein was causing his muscles to atrophy and that would lead to difficulty with eating and breathing. Even a simple cold could be life-threatening. They were told that, “only 50% of children diagnosed with SMA type 1 live past the age of two.” …


Network Temperature Sensor
Network Temperature Sensor

Temperature and humidity sensors can be invaluable data collection tools when deployed in your home, office, lab, manufacturing line, killer robots, etc. If your project requires multiple temperature/humidity sensors spread across multiple locations, there is a good chance you need something reliable, compact, accurate, and affordable. If you also want your sensors logging to a web-based dashboard and/or sending you SMS/email alerts, then this tutorial is for you. In this tutorial, we will show you how to quickly set up a sensor network to monitor temperatures across any environment that has wi fi. Let’s get started!

Raspberry Pi temperature sensor network video…


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If you are building projects in Python or using Python for data analysis, there is a good chance you will want to capture different types of data. You might even want to create meaningful data visualizations out of those data sets. For example, a dashboard of performance data (CPU/memory/network usage). Or, a dashboard full of sensor data (temperature/motion/contact/energy). Maybe a dashboard displaying the status of critical processes (running/exited). If it is data you can access in your Python code, you can easily build a real-time or IoT dashboard from that data.

This tutorial will show you three different ways to use the basics of Python to stream/push different types of data to a real-time dashboard API. While this tutorial will leverage Initial State’s API as an example, you can apply the principles in this tutorial to interface similar APIs. …

About

Initial State

Initial State is a data streaming and visualization company.

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