We spent the last 5 years building development software and hardware tools for engineers and electronics hobbyists to make it easy for them to prototype their ideas. We saw the potential of Blockchain and IOT applications, and we like building tools to speed up development, so we thought to build tools to make it easy for developers to build Ethereum connected IOT products.
What it does
It allows Ethereum developers to integrate Dapps with IOT products in an easy way without having deep knowledge in hardware development, and also allows electrical engineers and hardware developers to connect Ethereum blockchain to their IOT products without having deep knowledge of how the Ethereum blockchain works. So they both can trigger actuators through smart contracts and log sensors data to smart contracts as well.
How we built it
We used a Nano Pi as a linux board to run the Ethereum light node, it's connected to a 32-bit microcontroller which is user programmable, and they communicate with each other using Protobuf over HDLC over UART. The users program the board using Atom editor with Platform.io addon. They use our own SDK to build Ethereum & Whisper connected IOT products. An application on the Nano Pi receives the user's firmware over Wifi and upload it to the microcontroller. The Nano Pi runs an application that manages the requests of the user's code and forwards them to the Ethereum light node.
Challenges we ran into
Building the hardware proof of concept quickly was hard, although we prepared our tools, we had to run to ACE Hardware to get some components for the demo. Whisper and status integration took some time, but we managed to get the demo done only a few hours ago with the help of mentors in the Hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We spent about 30 hours building the development board with the Ethereum and Whisper light nodes. And having it as the right tool, we were able to prototype an Ethereum light bulb application in under 5 minutes! The bulb is switched on by a payment of 0.1 Ether on the test network, and also switched on and off based on whisper messages.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the IOT blockchain applications from the perspective of hardware developers. We learned that we were able to get a working proof of concept within 36 calendar hours, and we want to apply that spirit after the hackathon.
What's next for Elkrem - Development board for IOT & Ethereum
We want to be able to support the 3 protocols of Ethereum, Whisper and Swarm, to allow full integration between IOT products and Ethereum. We want to launch the Dev. board on Kickstarter and spread it among Ethereum developers, and hardware engineers to widely spread the IOT-Ethereum projects.