Guest blog article: Project "SensorCube"

That the building blocks of Tinkerforge are not only intended for companies or hobbyists, but are also used in research proves the project SensorCube.

Picture of the SensorCube from the flyer of the forum of innovation SmartenUp (sponsored by BMBF)

The IoT-Lab from Campus Minden (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences) has used the Bricks and Bricklets from Tinkerforge to build a multi-sensor agent that collects and analyzes several types of indoor climate data. For this, not only typical sensors such as e.g. temperature or air pressure, but also sensors from new Bricklets such as the Particulate Matter Bricklet or the Air Quality Bricklet were used. Many of the used Bricklets can be found in the recently published Environmental Kit.

Bricks & Bricklets

Except for the case, which was printed via a 3D printer, all the hardware for this project is from Tinkerforge. The modularity of all components and the ability of the RED-Brick to easily connect to a network were decisive advantages. Which Bricks and Bricklets were installed exactly is listed below.



The field of application of the SensorCube was the detection of room occupancy in a building. For this purpose, the SensorCube collected data in a room every day and sent it over the network to a server, which stored the data. These data was then evaluated in terms of room occupancy.


Collecting the data was very easy because the Tinkerforge Bricklets paired with the Master Bricks provided a simple interface for the data acquisition. By connecting the Master Brick stack to the RED Brick, it was also possible to use the Tinkerforge Python and Java Bindings to format the data so that it could be sent as a message over the network. The message protocol used was the MQTT Protokoll, which is widely used in the Internet of Things area.

Process flow of the SensorCube

Once the data arrived at the server, it stored the data in the Hadoop distributed file system. Apache Hadoop is a set of tools that are currently widely used in the big data area. The distributed file system offers the possibility to effectively store and manage larger amounts of data and makes it easy to connect analysis tools.

The analysis of the data finally tried to detect certain patterns in the data. Clustering should identify certain sensors that are particularly meaningful in the context of human presence. The data from these sensors can be used to train a machine learning model, predicting when people will be in a room. It creates a form of spatial plan.

Analysis of the sensor data as well as the allocation of the times with probable assignments


As you can already see, Tinkerforge Bricks and Bricklets can be an important part of a larger process. With simple interfaces, a modular design and high functionality, the components provide good prototyping and scalability. Especially in projects where a functionally stable hardware is needed and no focus on the modeling and implementation of this hardware should be, the components of Tinkerforge offer the perfect solution.

The SensorCube project was submitted and accepted in the context of the use of space occupancy to the workshop "Arbeitsplatz im Wandel". The publication can be accessed with the following link: "Determining room usage through a multi-sensor system and machine learning" - LAiW 2018

Author: Joshua Wiegmann, IoT-Lab Minden

Three new Tinker Kits

We put together three new Tinker Kits:

They replace the old Tinker Kit. All Bricklets in these kits have the new 7-pole connector and a co-processor. All three kits are delivered in a toolbox. The kits are well suited for research institutes and development departments for rapid prototyping and small production runs.

The kits will be updated regularly according to the current inventory and with new modules.

The Tinker Kit: Ultimate is the biggest set. It contains every Brick and Bricklet from our assortment of building blocks.

Tinker Kit: Ultimate

It comes with over 60 different modules and a lot of accessoires including cables, mounting plates, motors and NFC tags. It comes including a professional set of storage boxes.

Tinker Kit Toolbox

The second new kit is the Tinker Kit: Industrial.

Tinker Kit: Industrial

This Kit contains all Industrial Bricklets and the Rail Mounting Case. It can be used for prototyping in lots of different industrial applications.

The new Tinker Kit: Environment can be used for any kind of environmental measurement applications.

TInker Kit: Environment box

It contains a whole assortement of different sensors to measure ambient light, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, air quality, particulate matter and more. It comes in a single space-saving box.

16 new Bricklets

After some delays our long-awaited production panel with 16 new Bricklets finally arrived! Below you can see how an unsperated panel looks like when we get it from our SMT assembly manufacturer.

All new Brickelts have a co-processor and the new 7 pole connector. First a list of the new Bricklets:

There are now only a few Bricklets witht he old 10 pole connector left in our assortment. These Bricklets will be updated with the next panel, whereby the conversion to the new connector and co-processor will be finished.

In the following we will introduce new Bricklets and new features of the updated Bricklets:

Air Quality Bricklet: The Air Quality Bricklet measures VOC values (Volatile Organic Components). To do that it detects parts of ethane, isoprene, ethanol, acetone and carbon monoxide in the air by adsoprtion. Additionally the Bricklet measures termperature, humidity and air pressure. With this data it is possible to determine the IAQ (Indor Air Quality) Index. All of the measurements can be read from the Bricklet individually. The Bricklet is well suited to be used for air quality monitoring as well as home automation.

Barometer Bricklet 2.0: The new Barometer Bricklet got an update to the LPS22HB sensor. With the new IC it can offer a resolution of 0.0075mbar/6.25cm (before 0.012mbar/0.1m). The measurement range of the new Bricklet is increased to up to 1260mbar.

Isolator Bricklet: Due to the Isolator Bricklet it is now possible to galvanically isolate the power as well as data lines between any Brick and Bricklet. The isolation can be used by any Bricklet with an analog or digital in-/output. For example you will now be able to use a Voltage/Current Bricklet to to measure the voltage and current consumption of a stack without accidentially creating a ground loop. Additionally it is possible to make measurements that have a different reference potential.

Industrial Bricklets: The specifications of the Industrial Bricklets are essentially the same. As an additional feature the Industrial Bricklets now have a status LED per channel. The Industrial Digital Out 4 Bricklet 2.0 can now show the state of each of the 4 outputs. Industrial Bricklets with analog measurements can even dimm the LED to show the current analog value with the intensity of the LED.

LCD 128x64 Bricklet: The new LCD 128x64 Bricklet is the highlight of the new panel. It has a 2.8" display with a resolution of 128x64 pixel. The display has about the same size as the old LCD 20x4 Bricklet. Since any pixel can be set separately it is possible draw graphics or different font types. To increase the usability we integrated a default font that can be used for easy text drawing.

The integrated touch screen will create a callback with x/y-coordinates when touching as well as the intensity of the contact pressure. For an easy realization of intuitive controls the Bricklet also detects simple swipe gestures that can be used for menus or similar. Since the touch screen is resistive, it can also be used with gloves or a pen.

One Wire Bricklet: With the One Wire Bricklet you can now use 1-Wire compatible devices. It is possible to connect up to 64 1-Wire devices to the bus at the same time. The Bricklet supports 3.3V, 5V as well as an externally connected supply voltage. Examples for the usage of the popular MAX31820 1-Wire sensors can be found in the documentation.

Temperature Bricklet 2.0: The replacement of the Temperature Bricklet uses the new STS3 temperature IC from Sensirion. It has an improved resolution of 0.01°C (before 0.1°C) and accuracy of 0.2°C (before 0.5°C).

UV Light Bricklet 2.0: The UV Light Bricklet 2.0 also got and IC upgrade. While the old Bricklet could only measure UVA, the new Bricklet can measure light intensity in UVA as well as UVB and it can calculate the UV Index internally.

The RED Brick is third best SBCs of 2018!

The american magazine EETimes has publisched a Ranking of the 10 best SBCs (Single Board Computer) of 2018. The ranking consides price, performance, form factors, user communities, applications and so forth.

The first place is of course occupied (as every year) by the newest Raspberry Pi model. This years second place was given to the Kickstarter funded and very powerful UDOO Bolt (229$).

Our RED Brick got the third place. We were very happy about the good result, especially since the RED Brick is already nearly 5 years old while all of the competing boards in the ranking are brand new.
RED BrickYou can read the complete ranking and article at

New enclosures and mounting possibilities


We have new enclosures and mounting plates:

Rail Mounting Case

To use Tinkerforge on a DIN rail you can use the Rail Mounting Kit. This has been available for a while, but it can only mount one stack of Bricks.

Our new Rail Mounting Case has enough space for lots of different Bricks and Bricklets. Fully equipped it has enough space for 8 Industrial Bricklets and additionally up to 4 4x4cm modules (Bricks / Master Extension / Step-Down Power Suply). Additionally the new enclosure has a top lid that can be opened. If closed it protects the Bricks and Bricklets against dust and accidental contact of the electronics.

Rail Mounting Case Front

The enclosure is highly customizable. The side walls are compatible to each other and they can be put into different places. Because of this you can mount Bricks and Bricklets freely and the enclosure can easily be customized for your individuel project.

Rail Mounting Case Open

The second floor of the enclosure has a mounting plate that can mount any Bricklet. It is for example possible to mount an OLED display including a push button. As an example you could show status information about your control cabinet on the display and use the button to switch between different measured values.

Tinkerforge Workbench with 34x20cm

The Tinkerforge Workbench is perfect for everybody that wants to experiment with Tinkerforge components and wants to present the project in a tidy way. The Tinkerforge Workbench is also the best-selling product that we produce with our laser cutter. Since we often got inquiries about a bigger version, we want to offer one now.

Alongside the old Workbench with a size of 20x14cm we will now have an additional Workbench with a size of 34x20cm. It can be used to mount a huge assortment of different Bricks and Bricklets.

Four new Mounting Plates: 12x12cm and 24x12cm each with and without cable lead-through

For many years have been selling a Mounting Plate with a size of 12x6cm. The plate has a 5mm pitch pattern of 3mm holes. We would like to add four additional new Mounting Plates with different sizes.

The new Mounting Plates are:

A cable lead-through in the Mounting Plate was often wished for. With the new bigger sized Mounting Plates there is now enough space to add it. The cable lead-through is big enough to fit one of our 8-pole connectors of the Industrial Bricklets (which means that it is also big enough for a USB cable or Bricklet cable).