We started building a Bluetooth-based mobile app for measurement device manufacturer Sinar in early 2017. The main purpose of this app is to connect the iOS / Android mobile app which we developed, to a hardware sensor, called a “TXM” which is a piece of Bluetooth hardware which Sinar produce.
The app is targeted at both small-scale, and large-scale farmers, who grow crops, and process the raw material harvested from said crops on-site on their farms.
The TXM device plugs into a variety of Sinar’s hardware products. These products measure the moisture, temperature, weight, and other metrics of a given crop sample. These crops include corn, maize, wheat, green coffee beans, brown coffee beans, and an array of other popular crop types produced around the globe.
The TXM provides a Bluetooth capability to the measurement device, which sends the measurement readings as they come in to a connected Bluetooth client, i.e. this mobile app.
Previously Sinar’s measurement instruments would require the user to use the instrument to take a measurement reading of a crop sample, and then plug the device into a computer, i.e. laptop or desktop, and export the readings into a CSV file, which the user would then open in Excel. Naturally this is time consuming, and in most cases, prevents the user from carrying out the measurement analysis on-site, thus finding out if the crop is okay to process there and then. Without the mobile app, they’d have to take their instrument back to the office to examine the CSV spreadsheet file, before giving the go ahead to process the crop.
We built the Sinar app using React Native. The app is available on the iOS and Android operating systems and comes with the purchase of Sinar’s TXM unit.
The app plays the role of the Bluetooth client, which connects to the TXM. We utilise the Bluetooth sensor on the mobile device to connect with a user’s TXM (or multiple TXMs) and then utilise the sensor again to listen out for incoming measurement readings.
When a new reading reaches the mobile app, it is displayed on the homepage, displaying to the user the key information they’ll be looking for, i.e. the moisture content of their sample. This information is critical to the user, as they will not be able to process their crop (roast / dry / ship to client) if the moisture content is not within a defined range. This range is typically defined by their buyers. For example, Costa Coffee will only accept green coffee beans which were roasted between a given range of moisture values.
Clearly then, the mobile app’s utilisation of sensors on the device was the most critical component. It allowed us to interact with the TXM unit, and bring the readings through into the app, ready to display to the farmer in the field. Allowing them to make the judgement call there and then whether or not a harvested crop is ready for processing.