Creative Chili Pepper Project Flexes Cayenne’s IoT Muscles

In September, Cayenne announced a global competition in search of the most creative IoT project for the drag-and-drop project builder. Users representing dozens of countries submitted projects of various levels of complexity and creativity, like an automated fish habitat, or a wireless postal mail notifier for the mailbox, or a water reservoir monitor for a developing community. Of all of these projects, one stood out to the Cayenne team as the most creative home project that demonstrates various features such the dashboard, triggered and scheduled actions, mobile and email alerts, data visualization, and more.

View of Paul's Chilibot IoT setup with automated lights, irrigation, and monitoring.
View of Paul’s Chilibot IoT setup with automated lights, irrigation, and monitoring.

The Chilibot, built by Paul Hellfalk, is an indoor IoT-enabled garden that consists of nine soil pots supporting various types of chili peppers (though cayenne peppers were notably absent, to our chagrin). Individual sensors in each pot monitor moisture content, displaying the data over time on a graph on the Cayenne dashboard. Each pot also hosts a connection to a tube for water, which is controlled by a pump that is also controlled by the dashboard. The entire setup is connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero that also controls an LED array. These lights, mimicking the grid arrangement of the pots, serves as visual indicators, red or green, for moisture content. The resulting blend of sensors, tubes, hardware, and lights is an almost fully autonomous garden environment.

Paul, an active member of the Cayenne Community, is a chili enthusiast (we had no idea that there were so many types of chilis), and he’s built several projects using the dashboard, like a Halloween Spookbot, and a motion-activated light in his garage (which, based on his other projects, ought to be called, “Garagebot”). He’s already a creative person, and a drag-and-drop project builder like Cayenne helps to enable him to combine his technical knowledge with his imagination and love for IoT. “I’m not confident enough with coding yet,” he said in our interview, “so when I found Cayenne a few months ago, it made everything a lot easier.”

Chilibot Scheduled Actions, Triggers, and Data Visualization on the Cayenne IoT Dashboard
Chilibot’s Cayenne dashboard featuring scheduled actions, triggers, and data visualization.

Running the contest on the Cayenne side was Benny Estes, Product Manager. His goal was to demonstrate Cayenne’s practicality through the types of projects that users would build, and to showcase how users of any level can get involved in the IoT revolution by taking advantage of the dashboard’s drag-and-drop features. Of all the projects submitted around the world, over forty use-cases were represented, demonstrating in many ways the breadth of work that IoT can tackle, like environmental monitoring, environment and habitat control, security, battery-operated wireless sensor communication, to name a few.

A close up of Chilibot's irrigation piping, which is connected to a pump controlled by the Cayenne dashobard.
A close up of Chilibot’s irrigation tubing, which is connected to a pump controlled by the Cayenne dashboard.

The six-week project submission contest was another global milestone for the Cayenne Community, drawing on the successes of previous major events, like influencer presentations at the IoT Corner live broadcast, or Raspberry Pi / Arduino project building tutorial several weeks prior. Benny hopes to continue these Community successes as Cayenne’s features expand to include LoRa compatible, long-range commercial sensor hardware, or the growth in hardware connections that will accompany the upcoming API that will make Cayenne truly device-agnostic.

Cayenne is a free drag-and-drop IoT project builder for Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
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