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Smart Trash Can Powered by IBM Bluemix

This is the accompanying repository for the this blog post.

In order to make the communication work between the Trash can Hardware and mobile app, we will need to setup and configure the IBM IoT service as per our application needs. Follow along the steps given below to launch your IBM IoT service instance. If you do not yet have an IBM Id, this is the time to create one and get started.

Login to your IBM Bluemix account.

Step 1: Locate the “IBM Internet of Things Platform” Service under catalog. alt-tag

Step 2: Launch the Service

Click on the “IBM Internet of Things Platform” service icon to launch the service. Specify the service parameters
1.Service Name
2.Connect to (You can specify an existing Application name to connect this service application in Bluemix or you can make it Leave unbound if you dont want to connect) alt-tag 3.Selected Plan as shown below, and click on “CREATE” button(on the right side panel). alt-tag

Step 3: Launch the service dashboard

Once created, a welcome screen will be displayed for your newly launched service. Scroll down on the welcome page and you will be able to locate a button “Launch Dashboard” under the “Connect your devices” section. alt-tag

Step 4: Access the device profiles page on the service dashboard

To use this service with IOT devices, we must create the device profiles first. As described in the blog, we have two devices, the raspberry pi that is connected with the ultrasonic sensor mounted on top of the trash can and the mobile app. So to facilitate communication between the two devices, we will create a device profile for each. In the dashboard page, hover your mouse to left side menu to expand and bring it up. alt-tag

Click on the “DEVICES” sub-menu to bring up the Device list page alt-tag

And on the same page, click on “Device Types” tab to bring up the device types panel. alt-tag

Step 5 : Create device profile for the trash can

Click on the “Create Type” button on the top right corner of the page to add a new device profile. Follow the sequence of screenshots below to add a device type for the hardware underneath trash can. alt-tag

Note: Make sure to select “Create device type” in the above step alt-tag

Click on the “Next” button on the bottom right corner of the “Create Device Type” dialog to move through the steps. All the subsequent steps are optional and can be skipped. Finally, the device type will be created and listed under the “Device Types” tab panel. alt-tag

Step 6: Create device profile for the mobile app

Now we can follow the same steps to create another device type in “IBM IoT Platform” for the mobile app. alt-tag

At last, we will have the two device types listed as per our project requirement. alt-tag

Step 7: Create device instances

We now have the device types defined in the service. The next thing is to define the actual device itself which acts as a virtual identifier (device id) for every device instance that is going to access the service. In our case, we have the raspberry pi and the mobile app as our two device instances.

So lets go ahead and add them by clicking on the “Add Device” button under the “Browse” tab of “Devices” section in the dashboard. alt-tag Lets create the device,by selecting a device type "Trashcan" alt-tag And,assign a unique name to the device,Device in this case. alt-tag Note: Just like in the case of adding device types, we can ignore the other steps in creating device and hit Next until we reach the end of “Add Device” dialog.

As part of the final step, we will be presented with the device credentials of this newly added device. alt-tag Similarly,lets also create another device instance for the mobile app alt-tag



We now have the devices also listed in the IBM IoT Platform service, and that concludes the device provisioning. alt-tag

Note: Make a note of the Organization ID displayed in the "Your Device Credentials" Section of "Add Device" dialog.This will be required for programming the device SDKS

Step 8: Generate API Key and Auth Token

Now that all the devices are created , we need to generate the API key and auth token to access the IBM IOT service from our end point devices.

For this, go to the “APPS” sub-menu


Now,click on the "Generate API Key" button. alt-tag

You will see the API key and Auth token being displayed on a dialog. Make a note of these parameters.


Click “Finish” on the lower right corner of the dalog to return back to the “API Keys” tab and you can now see your newly generated API credentials listed over there.

Note:Make sure that you make a note of the API key & authentication token displayed on the screen for your device instance. This token will be used to program the application software later

#DEVICE SETUP step 1: Power On the raspberry.

step 2: Clone this repository Trashcan

  [Trashcan Git Repo](

step 3 : Install Dependency modules ibmiotf and twilio by doing

sudo pip install ibmiotf

sudo pip install twilio

##Python Script Configuration

You will have to add some configuration settings to make the application work with IBM IoT platform service and Twilio messaging. These configurations are to be done as variables, which are already defined in the trash can's application code under

Edit the variables in the following lines as follows Variable name Line no. Description

  account_sid         23                 Twilio account SID

  auth_token          24                 Twilio account authToken

  twilionumber        29                 Twilio Number ( Your Twilio subscribed number)

  receivernumber      30                 Twilio verified number (where you want to receive the SMS notifications). 
                                         Should have country code, for example +18458892405

  organization        174                IBM account organization ID

  authKey             179                Generated API key

  authToken           180                Generated Authentication token

#Mobile App Configuration

The IBM IoT platform configurations has to be done in the mobile app as well, since the mobile app is also registered as a device instance for receiving the readings published by the trash can.

Edit the line numbers in index.js

Variable Name Line no. Description

  org                  55                  IBM account organization ID

  auth-key             60                  Generated API key    

  auth-token           61                  Generated authentication token  

##Steps to Build the Mobile App

For building the mobile app, please refer to the official Cordova & Android documentation to setup the build dependencies. You will have to setup a build system with the dependencies, primarily the NodeJS, Java and Ant among others.

Follow the steps below to build the APK file for the mobile app. All these steps are to be performed on the build system. These steps have been verified on a build system with Ubuntu mate OS along with Android version 23 & Cordova 6.3.0

Step 1: Clone this repository and run the following commands from within the repository to pull the submodules from to get the nodejs sdk for the IBM IoT platform.

git submodule init git submodule update

Step 2: Add the android platform by executing this command in the terminal under the app root folder ( TrashCanApp)

cordova platform add android

Step 3: In the config.xml file in the root folder change the name of the app to the name you want. This is optional step. By default the app name is "Trash Can"

Step 4: Build the app by executing the following command in the terminal in the root folder of the cordova app

  cordova build android

Step 5: Once build is successful, you can find the generated apk file in the following path relative to the cordova project root directory.