• WipperSnapper Firmware Installer Updates - Beta 82


    A warm hello from the Adafruit IO team!

    Today we’re excited to announce the improvements to the Adafruit IO firmware installer that makes it easier than ever to get started on IO with a WipperSnapper-compatible device.

    🏠 Web-based ESPTool for Native USB boards

    As we add more and more sensor drivers to WipperSnapper the available flash space keeps getting lower. A few boards were even running out, leading us to need to migrate partition schemes and shrink the user file systems (where secrets are stored).

    Where’s the problem there you ask? For now, the TinyUSB bootloader doesn’t support changing the partition layout by uploading a UF2. We didn’t want to force users to use Arduino, that would defeat the point of WipperSnapper’s ease of use! Instead, we have migrated these boards to use the Adafruit.io web-installer for installing and upgrading firmware.

    Currently the FunHouse board is the only UF2 board (with native USB support) using the new steps, but while we were at it we also updated the Feather ESP32 v1 (Huzzah32), and Qt Py ESP32-C3 to have new partition offsets too. The steps have new instructions to help put your board into bootloader mode if necessary, and the FunHouse even has a nice instructional GIF animation.

    📃 Usage

    To use the web installer version of esptool your browser needs to support Web-Serial (allowing it to connect to serial ports and speak to the board). This requires a chrome based browser, like Chromium, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. If you can’t use the web serial method of the installer, don’t panic, we have a downloadable bin file that you can manually flash to the board using your computer and the offline official esptool.

    firmware installer - web-native-usb flow firmware installer - esp bootloader instructions

    🆕 WipperSnapper Firmware Release - Beta 82

    In tandem with the IO web installer changes, we’ve released Beta 82!

    Along with the changes to the aforementioned boards there are a few reliability improvements, including repeating the error message on the serial port when your board has a fatal error, and now printing any MQTT connection error reasons to help better diagnose any issues.

    Lastly there are a couple of new components added, both Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors with very high accuracy:

    • VL53L1X: This is the ‘next generation’ of the VL53L0X ToF sensor and can handle about ~30 to 4000mm of range distance, with up to 50Hz update rate.
    • VL53L4CD: This is another ‘big sister’ of the VL6180X ToF sensor and can handle about ~1 to 1300mm

    Since both use a very narrow light source, they are good for determining distance of only the surface directly in front of it. Unlike sonars that bounce ultrasonic waves, the ‘cone’ of sensing is very narrow. Unlike IR distance sensors that try to measure the amount of light bounced, the VL53 is much more precise and doesn’t have linearity problems or ‘double imaging’ where you can’t tell if an object is very far or very close.

    As always, if you have any suggestions or bugs to report about these new features, please let us know in the forums.

  • Adafruit IoT Monthly: Rice Cooker Push Notifications, The Open Home Foundation, and more!

    IoT Projects

    PowerJeep: Upgrade your kid’s electric ride-on car


    We love this project that can save a powerwheels electric ride-on car from the landfill and provide new functionality. The conversion replaces the old lead battery with an 18V Ryobi battery. It also replaces the electronics with an ESP32 programmed to remotely monitor and control the car’s speed. This project also contains a pretty small component list, with 6-7 total products to purchase. - HackADay

    Receive push notifications from your rice cooker


    Edent’s project for monitoring their reasonably priced rice cooker is simple - get an energy-monitoring smart plug and use it to send notifications to your phone when the rice cooker is done. - HackADay

    DeskOps: Commanding My Desk with HTTP


    Kevin Norman automated their standing desk to configure a schedule for when he’s standing up and working vs when he’s sitting down and working. The updated electronics system moves the desk up and down based on HTTP requests. - Kevin Norman’s Blog

    PicoDVI Adafruit IO Feed Dashboard


    This is a great way to display sensor data on any HDMI TV, especially for workshops or educational office spaces! You can display sensor data on any DVI or HDMI display with the Raspberry Pi Pico W and Adafruit’s Pi CowBell DVI Output. - Adafruit Learning System

    IoT Battery Monitor


    Recharge batteries and get an email when it’s done charging. The project uses a Feather ESP32-S2 Reverse TFT to monitor and display the battery voltage. It sends voltage data to Adafruit IO, allowing one to receive an SMS text or email when the battery is fully charged. - Adafruit Learning System

    Elgato WiFi Light Controller


    The Elgato series of lights has become really popular and use an app on your desktop or phone to control them. If you want manual control over your light’s brightness and color temperature, this project details how to build a physical device that can communicate with the lights over WiFi. - Adafruit Learning System

    IoT News and More!

    Espressif Acquires Majority Stake in M5Stack


    Espressif Systems has announced its acquisition of a majority stake in M5Stack. M5Stack is known for its modular, stackable, hardware platform. The author of this newsletter hopes there’ll be collaboration between the two companies resulting in interesting and novel development kits for the latest Espressif chips. - Espressif News Blog

    Announcing The Open Home Foundation


    The Open Home Foundation is a collection of over 240 projects, standards, drivers, and libraries. Notably Home Assistant, ESPHome, Zigpy, Piper, Improv Wi-Fi, and Wyoming are part of this foundation. The goal is to work against “surveillance capitalism, the risk of a buyout, and open-source projects becoming abandonware”. - Open Home Foundation

    Siemens and Microsoft standardize digital-twin languages


    Siemens and Microsoft are collaborating to standardize the language used to describe physical objects, called Digital Twins. They’re working together on a specification that “will be compatible with the W3C’s emerging Thing Description standard”. - RCRWireless

    NYC Environmental Justice Mapping Tool Shows Users Environmental Hazards and More


    Spending any amount of time with this mapping tool from the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice is a bit overwhelming considering the sheer amount of data and what the data shows. - Adafruit Blog

  • Adafruit IoT Monthly: Space Biosphere, OpenAI Camera, and more!

    IoT Projects

    Space Biosphere is an Automatic Plant Watering Project


    A beautifully designed acrylic biosphere to simulate a space environment where plant care is fully automated. - Hackster.io

    Building a Cute CO2 Gauge


    “I like looking at the little guy nudging me to open my windows more often”. This internet-connected CO2 gauge designed by Cyrill is unobtrusive, doesn’t require the use of a mobile phone, and is adorable! - kuenzi.dev

    OpenAI Image Descriptors with the MEMENTO Camera


    This is a great project from Adafruit’s Liz Clark to illustrate the power of OpenAI’s image description model and the new Adafruit MEMENTO camera kit. Images taken with the Adafruit MEMENTO camera are sent to OpenAI “to request a description of the image with various prompts”. The OpenAI response is visible on the camera’s display. - Adafruit Learning System

    Never Miss a Meeting Ring


    A wearable ring that changes colors to alert you of meetings and events. The LED lights signal your availability to other people in your house - “Green means you’re good to go, yellow signals a meeting soon, and red warns that your meeting is wrapping up. It’s intuitive, unobtrusive, and designed for the modern remote worker.” - Hackster.io

    Light Vader – Haptic Light Dimmer


    Christoph Döberl tweaked a motor fader from a mixpanel to use it as an internet-connected light dimmer with lots of IoT magic. - Adafruit Blog

    IoT Bird Feeder Camera


    This project is perfect for the spring season! A simple, internet-connected bird feeder camera with a sturdy 3D-printed enclosure. The camera detects birds (or other critters) and uploads them to a webpage. - Adafruit Blog

    IoT News and More!

    Hacking a WiFi Toothbrush


    Aaron Christophel dissects and updates the firmware on their internet-enabled toothbrush. - HackADay.io

    We want your feedback about Adafruit IO (and WipperSnapper firmware) to help us plan 2024 (and beyond) 🚀


    Inspired by Scott’s blog post, CircuitPython 2024, the developers and designers on our IoT Platform, Adafruit IO, are requesting feedback (from you!) to help guide our development of this platform in 2024.

    If you’re a current Adafruit Free IO user, an Adafruit IO Plus (paid) user, or have previously used Adafruit IO in the last year, we want to hear from you!

    Read more and submit your feedback here…

  • Welcome the ItsyBitsy ESP32 to WipperSnapper


    🕷️ New Board added to WipperSnapper…

    What’s the second smallest board available for use with WipperSnapper, sporting all the features and pins you could ask for yet still oh so tiny? Why it’s the ItsyBitsy ESP32 of course!

    Newly added this week, with accompanying docs pages in the board Learn Guide showing off the WipperSnapper Essentials to get you started in a breeze… What’s more there’s also the usual Magic Config option (Auto Config -> Magic Config), so you can instantly add the built-in button, LED and NeoPixel components to your online WipperSnapper device.

    ItsyBitsy ESP32 Guide

    ItsyBitsy ESP32 Learn Guide showing the WipperSnapper Essentials links in sidebar menu

    ItsyBitsy ESP32

    Incase you haven’t heard, this new and mighty yet compact board comes with an ESP32 Pico packing 8MB flash and 2MB PSRAM, along with all the pins you could ask for (assuming you want 28 or know how to share).

    It has an onboard LED + NeoPixel, reset + user buttons, PCB or external aerial options, battery input pads underneath with diode protection for external battery packs up to 6V input, and a 5V level-shifted output on D5 which is perfect for driving NeoPixels or other devices that want a 5V logic signal.

    ItsyBitsy ESP32

    ItsyBitsy ESP32 board shown topside up

    As always, if you have any suggestions or bugs to report, please let us know in the forums.

  • WipperSnapper documentation updated


    A quick hello from the Adafruit IO Team to announce an important milestone, and to say “We’re Listening!”

    The team have been hard at work, setting some good foundations for the year… however we’re still accepting more suggestions, feature requests, and wish-list items that you’d like to see on Adafruit IO in 2024. See the blog post or forum thread for more info, submit your ideas before the end of March via email, forum, social media, or other reliable transport methods (carrier pidgeon)… When you post, please add #AdafruitIO2024 and email iotnews@adafruit.com to let us know about your post, so we can post it on the Adafruit Blog!

    What’s been going on?

    📚 We’ve finally updated all the WipperSnapper boards + component’s Documentation

    Documentation for the Win! All the I2C components now have their respective WipperSnapper guide page added to the product Learn Guides, and handily linked from the Component Picker dialog. We’ve also added guide pages for the other components where possible, although a few link to more general guides (like the NeoPixel Uber Guide).


    Documentation links beneath each component image in the component picker, taking users to the specific component’s learn guide

    Speaking of learn guides, our boards (the WipperSnapper devices) also have learn guides that contain simple instructions on using with WipperSnapper (and CircuitPython/Arduino). Detailing how to use of all the individual component types, so check those out if you’ve never looked before, and please let us know if you find any documenation related to WipperSnapper that’s out of date or incorrect.


    Learn Guide for one of the supported boards on WipperSnapper, showing different component guide pages

    ⏲️ We’re upgrading Actions on Adafruit IO and need your feedback!

    In case you missed it, or have heard the word “Blockly” and would like to know more… We’ve added Blockly based Actions to Adafruit IO, allowing a new more powerful way of creating Actions (used to automatically do things like switch a motor or send an email based on a schedule or feed value).

    The IO Actions system has the same capabilities it always has, there’s simply a new way to author and edit your Actions using Blockly. We’ve written a new Learn guide covering the Blockly interface, how to use it, and some examples to demonstrate.

    Blockly Actions in Adafruit IO

    Blockly Actions in Adafruit IO

    If you’re not into it, or you have issues with it, the old webform-based method of creating and editing your Actions is still available, for now. You can even swap back and forth, editing the same Action in either interface!

    🌤️ Working in the Sun

    At Adafruit, we’re dedicated to open source. All of our WipperSnapper-compatible components are created and maintained in the Wippersnapper_Components open-source JSON repository. We’re proud to be able to work in the open.

    If there’s a component you’d like to see supported by WipperSnapper, head over and check the Request Issues page to see if it’s already in the works. If not, feel free to open an issue requesting your favorite component! And, if you’re handy with code, you could even get involved and contribute to the project. After all, the microcontroller code that drives WipperSnapper is open-source as well. Board contributions welcome too…

    As always, if you have any suggestions or bugs to report about these new features, please let us know in the forums.