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Cooking Hacks Blog

Electronics for DIY and the Internet of Things (IoT) Community. Arduino and RaspberryPi Hacks and Tricks. Open Source Sensor Networks for developers and students

  • Open Garden Featured in a Connected Greenhouse ProjectNovember 23, 2015

    Cooking Hacks is happy to present the Connected Greenhouse project, developed by myFood, an open source solution that uses a permaculture and aquaponic greenhouse. This gardening system allows to optimize food growing in four simple steps, and reduce maintenance tasks by automating the process.

    One of these steps consists of a vertical aquaponic tower. In an aquaponic system the fish waste is used by plants as nutrients, the plants filter the water and then it is recirculated to the fish tank.

    Simple Garden Automation

    To automate and monitor the aquaponics garden they made use of our Open Garden Hydroponics and an Arduino Yun. This kit includes the Shield for Arduino with the Hydroponics Extension, and a set of sensors: an embedded LDR that allows to detect light, a DHT22 to measure temperature and humidity, a pH sensor and a Conductivity sensor.

    myfood project

    The Open Garden platform includes two more different kits for specific growing plant scenarios: indoor (houses and greenhouses) and outdoor (gardens and fields), and allows to control and sense several parameters: soil moisture, temperature, humidity, light, pH, Conductivity and water temperature. There are also several actuators available, like water pump and droppers or sprinklers.

    The myFood attempts to create balanced by combining permaculture and aquaponics inside a connected greenhouse, and reclaim your food production in 4 simple steps:

    • Permaculture: it simulates a forest environment to avoid wasting water.
    • Aquaponics: creates a synergy between plants and fish.
    • Greenhouse: it allows to grow food and feed your family during the whole year.
    • Automation: it minimizes the time required to take care of the plants and makes it possible to monitor the complete system from your smartphone.

    Take a look at the complete project on and don't forget to visit

    Check Cooking Hacks solutions for Agriculture and Garden.

  • Create Your Wireless Surveillance & Security System with Our 3G+GPRS Mobile KitNovember 12, 2015

    Wireless Security System

    3G+GPS Mobile Kit


    Buy now

    Last week we were telling you about how to keep your house warm with our HVAC IR Remote module. So, in order to give you ideas on how to make a Smart IoT Home, we are featuring this week the 3G+GPS Mobile Kit, that will surely be helpful to work out a security system.

    This kit includes the 3G/GPRS shield for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo, that enables connectivity to high speed cellular networks and allows to make calls, send and receive SMS and even connect to a GPS server to calculate the position.

    You can find some very interesting items in this kit to develop your own surveillance system, like the 2MP Video Camera to record videos and pictures, a small Electret Microphone to record audio, and several sensors to measure light (LDR) or temperature (MPC9700A sensor).

    Apart from all this, you may want to include some other sensor from our shop to detect intruders, such as the PIR sensor to detect motion, or the Hall-Effect Sensor to detect when a window or a door is being opened. Make sure to take a look at our Motion category to check all the options to configure your own project.

    You can see in the next video a video call using the 3G/GPRS shield for Arduino:

  • Libelium Launches Global IoT Spartans Challenge to Promote Developer TrainingNovember 10, 2015


    Who is going to build the projected 50 billion connected devices and Internet of Things systems slated to come online by the year 2020? Libelium is throwing down the gauntlet to empower the future IoT workforce by promoting electronics skills in universities and high schools, offering specialized training and a contest to rank and reward the most promising developers and their educators. With technology advancing at a rapid clip, Libelium’s IoT Spartans challenge intends to bridge the gap between the skills today’s employers need and the career development of a new, emerging IoT workforce whose products and services will touch every sector of the global economy.

    IoT Spartans Challenge – How it works:

    "Today, a shortage of qualified professionals to build the Internet of Things could be holding the industry back,” said Alicia Asín, Libelium’s CEO. “Building the IoT requires teaching and learning new skills that involve electronics, sensor networks, hardware, and software development. With the IoT Spartans Challenge we are helping universities, colleges and high schools train and guide the future workers who will build and run IoT projects and long term deployments, and giving them recognition for their efforts.”

    IoT Student Kit

    The IoT Spartans Challenge is available to individuals and educational institutions, with free online registration open between December 16, 2015 and January 31, 2016. In 2016, from February 1 through June 10, participants may attend webinars covering IoT concepts using the Waspmote IoT development platform, and take quizzes and exams. A ranking of the top 300 IoT Spartans will be published every month between February and June 2016. The top three developers will win cash prizes ranging from 500 Euros to 3,000 Euros for individuals, and the highest-ranking educational institution will win 5,000 Euros in equipment from the Libelium catalogue.

    IoT Spartans Ambassador

    Technology, engineering, and electronics students can nominate their professors and teachers to participate as IoT Spartans Ambassadors.

    Join the challenge and find out more at

    IoT Spartans

  • Come Join Us at Maker Faire Bilbao 2015November 9, 2015

    Cooking Hacks will be once again at Maker Faire Bilbao, on the weekend of November 20-22. Yes, the whole weekend, this year Bilbao says goodbye to the "mini" and takes the next step to become a full Maker Faire, with more than 100 projects in display.

    LoRa 868 Extreme Range Connectivity Kit

    We will be promoting the recently launched IoT Spartans Challenge, an educational program by Libelium to identify, promote and give public recognition to the best future IoT developers. This program offers specialized training and a contest to rank and reward the most promising developers, including prizes for the top three developers and the top educational institution.

    You will also find in our booth some of our kits for developers and students, covering wireless technologies like LoRa(868/900), 3G, GPRS, GPS, XBee and the new Sigfox 868 Extreme Range Connectivity Kit. All this kits come with basic components like resistors and LEDs, sensors (LDR and Temperature), an LCD display, a servo and a micro motor. Take a look at the tutorials to see an example of what you can achieve with them.

    Maker Faire Bilbao will take place at Antigua Fábrica de Galletas de Bilbao (Old Cookie Factory!) in Zorrozaurre. Check a map here.

    More info on

    Maker Faire Bilbao 2015

  • Remotely Control Your HVAC System with Our IR Remote ModuleNovember 5, 2015


    HVAC IR Remote module for Arduino / Raspberry Pi


    Buy now

    Winter is almost here, and we thought we could give you a hand to keep your house warm and save energy, just by controlling any home device with infrared commands. This is why we are featuring the HVAC Remote module for Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

    This small shield is capable of recording any infrared command sent by a remote control from any of your home appliances, like your TV or HVAC components (heating, ventilating and air conditioning). It is easily plugged on top of your Arduino board, or Raspberry Pi with our Connection Bridge. Then, with any of the available wireless interfaces (WiFi, GPRS, 3G, Bluetooth and ZigBee/802.15.4) you can simply control your HVAC system from a web server, a laptop or even from your smartphone.

    Save money buying this module in the HVAC & TV Infrared Control Kit.

    Watch the video below to see how it works and don't forget to take a look a the complete IR Remote Tutorial to control your infrared devices.

  • Do you want to come with us to Maker Faire Rome 2015?October 13, 2015


    As we announced a few weeks ago, we will be at Maker Faire Rome 2015 next weekend.

    But that's not all! We have in our hands 5 coupons to exchange for a free ticket to MFR15, and we would like to share them with you.

    To get your coupon you just have to leave a comment on this post, and the first five comments we receive will be the winners of a free ticket each.

    (If you are not sure you can make it to Rome, Italy, next weekend, please let other people enjoy this opportunity).

    We will contact the winners to send them the coupons and we will notify here when we run out of coupons. So hurry and good luck!

    Don't forget to come by our booth (number 4 on Pavilion G) and meet us on "IoT SPARTANS CHALLENGE - A LIBELIUM INITIATIVE" on October 18h at 11:00 am, room 6.

  • Meet us at Maker Faire Berlin - October 3 & 4September 28, 2015

    Autumn is a pretty busy time for makers, full of hackathons and faires everywhere. Here in Europe we have one of the largest events, Maker Faire Rome, where more than 90 thousand people attended last year, and apart from that, just in October our friends in Denmark (Aarhus), Turkey (Istanbul), Spain (Santiago de Compostela) and Finland (Espoo) will enjoy their own mini maker faires.

    In the 2015 edition of Maker Faire Berlin over 120 booths will be available for companies and makers to present their inventions and devices. All throughout the weekend there will be talks and showcases, and workshops where you'll be able to learn about 3D printing or how to connect your sensors to the Internet.

    Look for the IoT Spartan

    Maker Faire Berlin 2015

    We will be visiting Maker Faire Berlin 2015, where we will promote the IoT Spartans Challenge, among other things.

    A while ago we decided in Cooking Hacks to focus extensively on technical education. This was made to meet the increasing demand for IoT developers. An article by Gartner predicted 4.9 billion things connected to the Internet in 2015, and up to 25 billion by 2020. IoT is already having a large impact on industries like utilities, manufacturing and transportation and expanding more and more to government and city councils.

    We thought we had to do something about this situation, so we prepared 20 new kits, specially oriented to education and covering all kind of sensors and wireless technologies. Theses kits, along with over 100 step-to-step tutorials, provide a solid basis for students and future IoT developers.

    Another initiative from Libelium and Cooking Hacks in this aspect is the IoT Spartans. This challenge, to be launched later this year, will identify and give public recognition to the best developers. Libelium will give webinars on Waspmote, where participants will learn how to use this platform as a development tool for the IoT.


    After that, the Spartans will take several tests where they will prove their skills, and will be later ranked monthly in a public list with the top developers. The best 3 developers and the best university will have money prizes at the end of the challenge.

    Don't forget to look for the IoT Spartan around the Maker Faire (logo on the left) and join in!


    Follow us and stay tuned on @iotspartans

    Read more about Libelium IoT Training here.

    Maker Faire Berlin will take place at Postbahnhof am Ostbahnhof, StraĂźe der Pariser Kommune 8.Check a map here.

    Check our visits to previous Maker Faires: Maker Faire Rome 2014 - Maker Faire New York 2014


  • Cooking Hacks will be at Maker Faire Rome October 16-18September 1, 2015

    Once again we will be at Maker Faire The European Edition in Rome, on October 16-18. We are looking forward to meeting you there and tell you all about our new projects and devices. Maker Faire Rome is one of the largest maker events in Europe, last year over 90,000 people attended and around 600 inventions were displayed for the public.

    New Website and Strategic Orientation

    New Starter Kit

    One of the news that we will be sharing with you is our new website. A few months back we launched a new site, but it was more than just a simple redesign. It was part of CH response to the increasing demand for developers in the IoT.

    We have redefined our Starter Kit, we have included some new products in it, and you have the chance to customize it and choose the platform you want to work with (Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Intel Galileo). Now you can find 20 new kits in our shop, everyone of them with all the components from the Starter Kit and covering some of the most demanded IoT technologies.

    To learn how to use all these new kits and to support our commitment with technical training we have prepared new tutorials, that makes over a 100 in total. This should provide you with a solid background for you to be able to develop your own wireless and sensor applications.

    Besides, we have reorganize our kits, and now they can be sorted by Platform, User Level and Category. In addition, we have developed a new search tool that will help you navigate through our tutorial list.

    Read more about this new Strategic Orientation here.

    IoT Spartan Challenge


    Another project that we will be presenting is the IoT Spartan Challenge, to be launched in the next few months. This is a Libelium initiative to identify and give public recognition to the best IoT developers.

    Cooking Hacks, Libelium open source and education division, is strongly supporting this project that will allow developers and students to participate in a contest in order to be one of the best IoT developers.

    You can already join the challenge by registering in After that Libelium will give free webinars on Waspmote as a development tool for the IoT, and will exam the participants to rank them monthly in a public list with the top 300.

    When the challenge is over, there will be prizes for the best University and for the best 3 developers.

    Make sure to meet us on "IOT SPARTANS CHALLENGE – A LIBELIUM INITIATIVE", a talk where we will explain everything about this challenge. October 18th, 11:00 am, on room 6.

    Read more about Libelium IoT training.

    You can see here some photos of our participation in Maker Faire Rome 2014.

    MFR15 will be held at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, see it on a map here.


  • Cooking Hacks will be at the Campus Party EcuadorAugust 25, 2015

    Cooking Hacks will be at the fifth edition of the Campus Party in Quito, Ecuador, from Sept 30 to Oct 4. Founded in 1997 as a gaming event, has since evolved into one of the largest events in the world on innovation and technology disclosure. This year's edition will have more than 260 hours of contents, over 30 workshops and 18 participative forums. Besides, CEPC5 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" and will be inspired by his visionary perspective of the world.

    2015 is the innovation year on tech entrepreneurship and smart cities development, this is why two complete areas will be exclusively dedicated to explore the world of makers in START UPS & MAKERS and SMART CITIES.

    e-Health Sensor Platform


    Luis MartĂ­n, Cooking Hacks R+D engineer will be talking in IoT revolution: IoT Accessible for Everyone about the fact that being able to connect any device to the internet is opening an endless world of possibilities, and for the first time thanks to low cost platforms and DIY makers can now compete on equal terms with large corporations.

    Particularly, one of the most restricted areas for makers and startups has been eHealth, due to the high cost of sensors in this field. Cooking Hacks will introduce the e-Health Sensor Platform, a low cost medical sensor platform designed for investigation, prototyping new devices and even as a diagnostic tool.

    This shield is designed for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Intel Galileo and allows you to perform biometric and medical applications where body monitoring is needed with 10 different sensors: pulse, oxygen in blood (SPO2), airflow (breathing), body temperature, electrocardiogram (ECG), glucometer, galvanic skin response (GSR – sweating), blood pressure (sphygmomanometer), patient position (accelerometer) and muscle/electromyography sensor (EMG).

    In order to send all the biometric data to the cloud and store it or visualize it in real time, six different wireless connectivity options are available: Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth, 802.15.4 and ZigBee.

    A related case study will be presented with a live demo of this platform. This talk is scheduled for Oct 3 at 10 pm, more info here.

    Read about some real applications of the e-Health Sensor Platform:

    IoT Student Kit

    Luis will later give a workshop introducing the Iot Student Kit and Waspmote, Libelium solution for the Internet of Things. It is a wireless sensor platform specially designed for monitoring your environment and highly focused on autonomy and low consumption. It has a modular and horizontal approach that allows to collect data with more than 100 sensors available and several specific sensor boards that help to easily use these sensors (smart cities, gases, smart water, etc). You can connect all these sensors to any cloud platform using one of the 15 radio technologies available, from LoRa to WiFi, ZigBee or Bluetooth.

    The IoT Student Kit was designed in response to the increasing demand of developers for the IoT, and to empower Libelium's campaign to support technical education on wireless sensor networks and electronics. In addition to this campaign, Libelium will launch in the next months the IoT Spartan Challenge, an initiative to identify and give public recognition to the best developers.

    The kit includes a waspmote board and a sensor board, several sensors, a battery and ZigBee 802.15.4 modules. This workshop will make use of waspmote as the brain of a project that will be capable of monitoring our environment and wirelessly send all the information.

    IoT Student Kit

    The workshop will start with a presentation of this sensor platform and its role in the IoT, including a basic explanation on how to program a microcontroller. It will follow with some advanced functions like SD, accelerometer, interrupts or real time clock, and after that a description and several tests of temperature, luminosity and presence (PIR) sensors.

    The last step of the workshop will be to equip the project with wireless connectivity through an XBee module, so the information gathered from the sensors can be wirelessly sent for storage or visualization. This should provide the participants with some basic knowledge in order to be able to develop any IoT application they can imagine. The workshop will start on October 2nd at 8 pm, see the content here.

  • RFID / NFC - Weekly RecapAugust 14, 2015

    RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This technology makes use of electromagnetic fields to identify objects in a contactless way. It is widely used in access cards and public transport cards.

    Here you can find some examples of what you can achieve with RFID and Arduino.

    NFC Door Lock

    This is a very common application for NFC. With a card, a reader and some additional components you can make your own contactless door lock. This door lock is controlled by a Qduino Mini, because it fits perfectly, but any Arduino compatible board will do the job.

    Qtechknow used a servo to drive the locking bolt, and several 3d-printed parts to make a housing and mount everything on the door. So the NFC shield, the board and a LiPo battery are placed inside this casing on the door lock.


    Now you just have to put your card close enough to the reader, and when the NFC tag is detected the board activates the servo and it unlocks the door.

    See more pics and download the code for this project on Instructables. Via Adafruit.

    RFID Lamp


    Here's a completely different project, nothing to do with security or access control. Philippe made his own interactive RGB/RFID lamp from scratch.

    By placing different colored tags close to the hidden reader you can change the color, a black disc is used to turn off the lamp and a white disc to make a white light. The lamp changes color randomly when it doesn't detect any tag.

    The lamp is controlled by an Arduino Uno board and all the different colors are made by a strip of RGB LEDs, driven by the PWM pins of the Arduino. The pins are connected through Mosfet transistors, and controlling the voltage in each channel you can change the color.

    The RFID reader is connected to digital pins 8 & 9, and the system is powered by a 12V wall transformer. A small LED, connected on digital pin 7, indicates when the RFID reader is ready to read, and a piezo speaker on pin 10 is used to add sound to the lamp.

    He designed with frizting a custom shield integrating all the electronics for the lamp. The shield is a single side PCB and is mounted on top of the Arduino.

    The housing of the lamp was designed with SketchUp and made out of plywood and pine pieces, and the LED strip is wrapped around a PCV pipe.

    The Arduino with the shield are attached at the bottom of the wood box and the RFID reader is placed under the disc holder.

    The color discs are also made out of plywood, each one containing a different RFID tag.

    Posted on Instructables. Visit Philippe's blog to see more projects like this one:

    Take a look at our own LED Lamp controlled with RFID tags here.

    RFID Car Starter

    This is a pretty cool hack of a car starter system. Pierre wanted to customize his new car and added this incredible feature to start the engine with an RFID tag.

    He placed a 13.56 MHz RIFD reader on the dashboard, so the tag has to be held for over a second and the car starts. Then to turn it off he just have to hold it again for a second.

    An Arduino Nano receives the info from the reader and controls a relay module with two relays that start or shut down the engine. All the components are cleverly hidden under the armrest and on the dashboard so it is amazing to see it working. Check it out in the video above.

    Posted on Hackaday.

    Don't forget to take a look at our own RFID/NFC kits and modules for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Waspmote and Intel Galileo. Click here.

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