My entry for the ODTUG 2017 GeekAThon
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beaconScan was created for the ODTUG 2017 GeekAThon

Problem to solve

My son attends a school where the students have some ‘bonus features’, or as the school puts it: “Educating Exceptional People". There are some students at his school who try to wander away.

There are commercial systems available that can notify the administration and/or lock doors when the beacon they are wearing is detected in a hazardous zone, such as leaving the school. The problem is, those systems can be expensive.

A little open source software on some Raspberry Pis would be a lot more affordable.


  1. Install Raspbian Linux on a Raspberry Pi with bluetooth.
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. sudo apt-get install bluetooth bluez libbluetooth-dev libudev-dev
  4. reboot
  5. cd ~/
  6. git clone
  7. cd beaconScan
  8. sudo npm install
  9. Connect to your DB as sys
  10. @beacon_master_install.sql
  11. create environment variables
  12. SCANNER_ID – The ID for this scanner.
  13. IFTTT_KEY – your account key for IFTTT
  14. ORDS_URI – Example:
  15. BEACON_UUID – UUID of the beacon you’re tracking.
  16. DEADBOLT_URI – URI for the REST API to unlock the deadbolt.
  17. Run the application using sudo for access to bluetooth: sudo -E node scanBleacon.js


I designed the system to use a database in order to simplify running as many Raspberry Pi as may be needed and to track each time a beacon is detected by a scanner. The alerts and actions for each Raspberry Pi are stored in the database so it can be re-purposed when needed without having to modify the on-board software.

Each Raspberry Pi can trigger multiple alerts each with one or more actions. For example, I may want one alert to always trigger but a second alert only triggers during a certain time of the day.

Table Diagram


Column Comments

  • ALERTS: Trigger alert when the following conditions are met.
    • LTD: 'Less Than Distance in Meters'
    • STARTHOUR: 'Alert is active after this hour (UTC)'
    • HOURS: 'If STARTHOUR is populated, alert will stay active for this many hours'
    • ACTION: 'Function to run'
    • VALUE: 'Value passed to function'

The application can be altered to run without a database by:

  • Removing the request.get near the beginning of the application and manually defining the alerts array in each scanner. For example:
            "value":"Unlocking the front door"}]
  • Removing the call after the comment “//post beacon distance to the database”.

Enable Beacon Position Tracking

This will require placing multiple Raspberry Pi in known locations and using Trilateration to determine the beacons location relative to the sensors.

The application is already collecting this data. My setup is using an Oracle Database so this won't be difficult if I use the Oracle Spatial features.