IBM Bluemix, an Intel Edison, and a Cowbell

The story of a 3-person team winning Silver at the IoT Roadshow in LA


So there I was, standing in front of the premiere IoT developers of LA (no pressure).   I was pitching my idea at Intel’s IoT Roadshow Hackathon, which amounted to: “I want to make a unique bedside clock, and…its fine if it comes out like a Frankenstein”.  What started as a simple concept, mutated to a multi-featured futuristic clock.  The end product:

Our Masterpiece

Original Schematic


We were lucky @neerajaganesan and I attracted a third teammate, (none other than Matt Pinner who makes custom instruments for Purity Ring) Matt brought an entirely different concept (Google integration) that we were able layer into our schematic. We accomplished this task in one day’s time.  It couldn’t have been done without some important tools: Node Red, the new Intel Edison board, and some on-the-fly creativity.

The Vision

I wanted to create a simple sensor detection that set off a special user experience, or business rule.  By getting the Edison connected to Bluemix, I knew we’d have a lot of notification options (Twilio API, Twitter etc.).  I wanted to create a 3D printed something + notifier = alarm clock. Seemed simple enough.  Additionally, I wanted to attempt what other DIYers haven’t, make a clock without any display of time.


Check out the Video: The Final Product


The Concept and Marketing Slide



  1. Wake with the sun’s warmth
  2. Be punctual with subtle color notifications
  3. No annoying time is displayed
  4. No unnatural digital alarm
  5. Large snooze button with functional SMS reminder (cloud-powered)
  6. ‘Gradually getting you back into the digital world for the day…”

kb13H4Showing the temp sensor starting up the cowbell

How NodeRed on Bluemix Helped
(section written by @neerajaganesan)

(Neeraja) So I decided to participate in the Intel IoT LA Roadshow in LA. Two days to create something unbelievable from scratch. Today, cloud has really made it possible to get things up and running in a matter of no time! I mean, can you imagine a fully blown product and its URL l created within 48 hours?! It’s awesome right! That’s exactly what Bluemix has made possible. And that’s how Matt Pinner (so glad we met you), Colin Mccabe and I realized our own IoT dream and went ahead to win 2nd prize.  Being a platform as a service and a deployment medium, we used Bluemix’s Internet of Things foundation and NodeRED editor to connect a device to the cloud. Just key in the ID of your device and click on connect. And voila! Your device is now sending information to the cloud. Using NodeRED for fetching this data and giving the app logic, as nothing but drag and drop! No fear of the black screen(*shrugs*).  This editor is designed to minimize any kind of coding. It has components which are connected by connectors (a squiggly line with 2 ends).. And each component has a little editor, where you can write a couple of lines of code based on your requirement.

Don’t believe how easy it is? Alright, try these 3 steps yourself and you’ll believe your eyes:

1. Go to and note down the alphanumeric string on the top right corner.

2. Go to ­> Double click IBM IoT App In(blue colored box) ­> Paste

3. Click “Deploy” in the top right corner and watch data appear under the Debug tab!

And there you go! Your very own, temperature and humidity reader from a virtual device. Just power up an actual Intel Edison/ Raspberry Pi/ Spehro etc… Hook up sensors and feed in the mac address. Double­click other boxes to understand other nodes and have fun!



The 3D – Printed Snooze Button (Mistake)


(Cplin) I wanted to ensure there were some design elements to the final piece. Using an arcade-style button from Frys is cool, but building its own special ‘uberbox’ is cooler. The green also helped with inspiring the final design. In actuality, I wanted to put EVERYTHING encapsulated in the green casing (version 2?), but I didn’t have the smaller Edison Breakout board handy, and the tiny bell I was using wouldn’t wake a mouse, swo it became a wired remote control for a single button (a feature!).

While our original pitch advertised it would comfortably wake you, we found that the cowbell actually gave a headache-inducing clang (who would have imagined!).  There is no way you’d miss a meeting again. Modified marketing:


 Second Place: The System


… and First Place: (also a great Intel video wrap-up)



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