big data hackathon

TheĀ Big Data Visualization Hackathon: ‘Making the healthy choice in any environment’ took place October 12 – 13 at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven where 10 teams of hackers with various backgrounds created solutions in the area of health care.

I participated with Eugene Tjoa. We created a mobile app that acts as a personal compass guiding you to the areas most beneficial for you.

After filling in your health profile you can choose an activity. By combining different datasets the application overlays the vicinity with a grid that indicates better, neutral or worse areas. By clicking on one of the tiles you get more information about the advice. For example if you are suffering from asthma areas with high pollution will be red, clicking on the tile will tell you more about the air quality.

If this area is not good for you but a little bit further on it is better this will be indicated by a green circle just outside the map. The position of the circle indicates the direction you should be heading:

Despite all the talk on open data it was hard to find suitable datasets, especially ones with a finer grain. It was a very docile experience for us. We learned a lot about making apps with Flex. Philips provided a nice atmosphere, good food and inspiration. All in all a very good experience.

happy apping

Yesterday we finished the Android app for AQAb. The last bit of development went very smoothly. I’m very happy with it.

The final interface differs a little from my design. It now uses a connect button to connect to or disconnect from Bluetooth. For sending the data to internet we used a nice toggle button that you can switch on and off. There is a listing of all the data from the sensors and a scrollable window that displays the feedback from the insertion into the database. For this we used the WebView widget. This is like a little browser only for viewing web content. Nifty.





Almost two years ago I build the map interface and I was of course eager to know if it would work with the automatically uploaded data. Yep, worked like a charm too.

The next step for me is to convert the raw Arduino data to parts per million. To be continued…

My thanks go to Hugo (who developed the app) and Thijs from Qbus for being so patient with me and for their generous supported to this project.

curing Bluetooth

Yesterday I worked with Michel from the A&T lab to discover what was wrong with my Bluetooth connection. It was interesting to see how Michel went about it:

Michel testing the Bluetooth module

  • We first tried to get data from the set up as it was. Nothing happened just like last week.
  • We then used another Arduino to check of we could connect to the Bluetooth module. With the Mac software CoolTerm we verified that data was send over Bluetooth.
  • When this was the case we tried my code. The was an error with the Wire library. We commented out that bit of code and tested it and for the first time since a long time I saw the formatted string with sensor values.
  • The next step was to test the code on the Arduino mini in the wearable. Michel made sure the TR and TX wires were crossed. Still nothing happened.
  • We then replaced the rechargeable batteries with the 9 volt battery Michel had used. It worked in CoolTerm!
  • I started the test AQAb app on my Android and yes! a nice formatted string appeared on the screen.

To conclude I think the problem was a mixture of problems: wrong wiring, an error in the code (Wire library) and not enough power. But now we can continue with the app, with a big thank you to Michel.

mobile app development started

Finally! Last Friday we made a start with developing the AQAb mobile app. I travelled to Apeldoorn and arrived at Qbus where I was welcomed by the nice staff and a hearth! Hugo was pretty quick to make a Bluetooth connection to the Bluesmirf module. It was simpler then he thought and we only had to use a Bluetooth client.

Then the hardship started as we weren’t able to get any sensible data over Bluetooth. So either the module is broken or I’m doing something basic completely wrong. Thank god my colleagues at the Art & Technology Lab at St Joost will help me out later this week.

financial support

Recently I received confirmation that my subsidy application has been granted! The subsidy covers most of the costs I have to make to develop a mobile application. This is what the app will look like on my new Android phone:

It’s basic but the visualisations are on the wearable itself and on the web maps.

Thanks to Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for making this possible!


Exit Pys60 enter Java

I’ve picked up AQAb again after a long break. The first thing I have to solve is the data communication between the Arduino and the phone. Unfortunately I just can’t get Python to work on my mobile. That is, the Bluetooth functionality keeps giving the error 13, permission denied. I’m just fed up with it. It’s a shame because I’d already advanced quite a bit. But other people on the forum complain of the same error. And apparently Pys60 is as good as dead.

hello world, hello Java ME

hello world, hello Java ME

I’ve been wanting to get into Java for a long time and this is a good excuse. I do have to start from the bottom. But I’ve made my Hello world app so that’s a good start. I think eventually Java will be a much more stable platform to develop in.