54 October 2017
A Thingy is a collection of Io T (Internet of Things)
components assembled in a small
rubber-encapsulated cube. As you can
see in Photo 1, the Thingy is about as
low key as you can get. However,
there is a fairly complex Io T device
existing under that rubber cover.
Once the Thingy’s power switch is
engaged, the encapsulated li-ion
polymer battery takes over and the
Thingy begins to chirp.
The chirp is in the form of an
Eddystone beacon, which rides on
Bluetooth and points the way to the
Thingy setup process via a URL link.
Visually, the Thingy’s LED tube
“breathes” blue to let you know it’s
There are free apps for
iOS and Android that sniff
out the Thingy. You can also
access the Thingy with a
web browser. A glance at
Screenshot 1 shows that
I’ve chosen to connect one
pair of Thingys to my iPad.
Following the prompts and
a successful Thingy
connection, I can change
the Thingy’s default name
to Thingy1 in Screenshot 2.
The Thingy comes
preloaded and ready to
rock. Once the Thingy and
the iOS app connected, I
If I were afraid of rain in the EDTP lab, I
also had access to the lab’s barometric
pressure thanks to the Thingy. Back in the
day when I was working at KSC (Kennedy
Space Center), we were always reminded
Is This Thingy Your Key to IoT?
■ BY FRED EADY
When it comes to automatic code generation, Microchip immediately comes to my
mind. Microchip offers add-ins for its MPLABX IDE (integrated development
environment) that generate code for PIC16F devices and a handful of PIC18
devices, based on the application requirements entered by the programmer.
Another semiconductor manufacturer located in Norway — Nordic Semiconductor
— eliminates the programmer input process, and provides functional modules and
device drivers that can be assembled and compiled into a final application. The
Nordic folks have also taken their modular firmware philosophy to their hardware.
In this installment, we will walk around Nordic’s new Thingy: a compact, power-optimized, multi-sensor development kit.
THE DESIGN CYCLE
■ PHOTO 1. The Thingy is
unassuming. Beneath the rubber
cover lies a plethora of IoT
sensors and a Bluetooth radio.
■ SCREENSHOT 2. The Thingy has plenty
of buttons and knobs to push and twist.
The Thingy name is just one of these
■ SCREENSHOT 1. Not much to see here,
but the message is clear. I just happen to
have a Thingy that I can activate.