The element14 community, in partnership with Texas Instruments (TI) and Plotly, announce the winning design of their “Internet of the Backyard” design challenge – a competition aimed at bringing Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities to everyday backyard appliances and devices.

Janis Alnis of Latvia was named the Grand Prize Winner for his Tomato Plant Monitoring System.

“A big thank to you to Janis and all of the competitors who took part in the Internet of the Backyard competition,” said Dianne Kibbey, global head of community, element14. “Janis’ plant monitoring system was chosen for effectively leveraging the power of IoT in a practical, personal and fun way. We look forward to seeing all of the competitors continue on with the designs that made this yet another successful Community challenge.”

Alnis’ solution used TI’s new SimpleLink™ Wi-Fi® CC3200 platform to add connectivity to his garden, enabling him to automatically water the tomato plants in his greenhouse. A 20W solar panel drives power to a capacitor and water pump, carrying water from Alnis’ pond to plants, eliminating the need for a battery that would otherwise require constant replacement. For his prize, Alnis has a choice between a free trip to an upcoming Maker Faire® event or an opportunity to visit Cisco in Berlin to collaborate on IoT projects.

Colin Gerrish of Ireland was named a runner up for his Grass Length Monitoring Device, a solution that uses light sensors to capture and relay data via the cloud and alert owners of when the grass in their yard is getting longer. Lukasz Krysiewicz of Poland was also named a runner up for his Intelligent Garden Umbrella, that automatically closes during strong winds and storms, changes its position based on the location of the sun and relays weather forecast warnings.

“The applications stemming from the Internet of the Backyard competition are innovative and inspired while also being practical for everyday use,” said Noa Chorev, product line manager, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, TI. “It’s exciting for us to see our SimpleLink Wi-Fi platform leveraged in these creative designs from such promising developers. As the IoT continues to gain traction we look forward to bringing connectivity everywhere, including backyards and homes across the world.”
All 10 finalists were given the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad from TI, the industry’s first Wi-Fi solution with a user-dedicated, programmable MCU and on-chip high-performance ARM Cortex-M4, to drive out-of-the-box IoT applications from within a single IC. Competitors were also given access to Plotly, an online collaborative platform that makes it easy for design engineers to capture, stream and visualize data from their development kits. Plotly developed a custom API just for the LaunchPad to make it easy for challengers to connect their solutions to the Internet.

To learn more about the other participants’ designs and read the blogs documenting their progress, visit the Internet of the Backyard challenge page