Short Range Presence / Proximity Tags

I have a Bengal cat which I have trained to go do it’s business in the toilet, yes, it’s toilet trained. I also have a touchless toilet which flushes by waving your hand over it. I would love to be able to know when she is on the toilet so I can come to flush it as soon as I get the notification. This would require a short range proximity/presence sensor which I could attach to her collar which would notify me when she is within proximity of the toilet/sensor. She hasn’t quite figured out the flushing part, although she figured out that when she puts her paw up top it flushes, but that’s about it, and sometimes just makes it flush for fun. But back to the main question, is there such a short range device which would work? Timed or motion sensors will not work for this. My phone reads Smartthings notifications aloud, I think it would be hilarious to hear “Nala is pooping”.

Depends on how big your cat is. And if she’ll wear the device on a collar.

The radius network Dot Ibeacon is intended as a wearable, used at conferences and things like that to check people in various areas. It’s quite light weight. Already have band holder attachements. Not really waterproof, but that’s usually less of an issue with cats than with dogs. And like all Ibeacons you can adjust the distance quite nicely. And so it would only trigger for the cat not for a person.

Assuming that is that the cat would wear it.

Then you would need to set up a device as a receiving station for the IBeacon. Ibeacons are easier to use with iOS devices but possible with android. I don’t know much about android so you would need to talk to somebody Who is using Ibeacons with it.

But you can definitely use Them with smartthings as long as the receiving station app can send a post request, because then you can use the IFTTT maker channel as your go between.

I have a situation at my house " The bus stop problem." I use a wheelchair, and it can take the bus driver several minutes to unload me from the bus. I don’t want my arrival routine going off while I’m still half a block away sitting on the bus. So I use an Ibeacon so that I can catch the arrival events right at the base of my wheelchair ramp to the front door.

Note, though, that this is not going to be the least expensive detection method. Need to buy an Ibeacon and you need to dedicate a receiving station device. So don’t know if it’ll be worth it to you from a budget standpoint. But it should be pretty easy.

And a forum topic discussing Ibeacons:

That’s pretty neat, first time I’ve heard of this tech. Price for the tags is not too bad at $14 each and it seems small enough that it shouldnt be a problem for the cat to wear. I like your implementation of the tag/receiver on your ramp, which receiver did you go with?

I see they have the RadBeacon USB, would this be all I need besides the dot/tags? And how does the Receiver communicate to everything else?

I use two different receiving station apps, both run on an iOS device. I have an iPad mini which is always plugged in at my house which acts as my home automation control station, so I use that for the beacon receiving apps also. Both apps are under $10 each, IIRC, although prices do change from time to time.

The first receiving station app that I use is Ibeacon+ . I really like this. It has the ability to send a post to the IFTTT maker channel, which is very useful for smartthings and Integration. This app also lets you set custom distances, which was useful for me as well. I just pretty much like everything about it for my purposes. They’ve built in a lot of home automation integration, which you don’t need so much if you’re using Smart things anyway, but it’s fun to play around with. Mostly, though, I use the IFTTT integration.

SmartRules is a rules engine designed specifically for smartThings. Doesn’t do everything, but what it does it does very well, and the developer, who is an active community member here, adds new features all the time. As, for example, BeaconThings, a receiving station app . This is intended as an add-on to smart rules, so you can use beacons to trigger the rules in the rules engine. IOS only. Very slick if you want to put the beacons into the rules.

One caveat: I haven’t tried either of these with the radius networks iBeacons like the dot, so you should check with RN first to make sure that they work. The beacons I use are the ones from Estimote and geo hopper. But Geo hopper is a plug-in, and the estimote is big, so they’re not really the form factor for a cat collar.

The rad beacon USB isn’t the receiver station, it’s a plug-in beacon. Instead of the battery-operated one.

A Receiving station is software that runs on a Bluetooth enabled device, typically a phone or a tablet, although they will also run on Bluetooth enabled laptops.

Most beacon manufacturers provide a free app when you buy their beacons, but the free one might only do push messages on the device. You need one that can send a post message to IFTTT or a text message with a hashtag so you can integrate with smartthings. I’ve tried the Twitter integration, and email integration, and both of those had too much lag for my purposes.

Thanks for your detailed responses, I misunderstood initially and thought you had something similar to the tag on your wheelchair and a receiver on your ramp. In this case, I would need a phone or tablet in the bathroom to act as the receiver and then the cat would wear the beacon. I noticed that Estimote has a a pre order for stickers which may be an alternative for the Radbeacon tag as well.

That is exactly what I have: a beacon on the wheelchair which is picked up by the receiving station app running on a tablet just inside the house when I reach the bottom of the outside ramp. Took a little trial and error to get the positioning right. :sunglasses:

The stickers from Estimote are nice and thin, but they are not standard I beacons, and they have a fixed range of about 3 m. Which may work for your use case or may not. The regular beacons have a fixed range of about 3 m. Which may work for your use case or may not.

The regular beacons have three standard ranges, One at a few inches, one at a couple of meters, and one at their maximum range of about 15 m. With IBeacon plus, you can also set a custom range. But not with the stickers.

It’s great that they can be adjusted to specific needs. I also read that Eddystone is Googles new BLE standard which is supposed to be open source enabling any device to communicate instead of the iOS limitations from iBeacon. I’ll have to see if Eddystone is picking up App support like the apps you mentioned, as RN does sell a Eddystone version of the tag.

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One of the additional issues with android and the original I beacons is that an iOS device can monitor for the IB can while the app is in background, and an android app ordinarily can only monitor while the app is in foreground, so the device can’t be doing anything else. There is some hacking way around that, you’ll have to get the details from somebody else. I don’t know how well it works. But that might let you use an inexpensive android phone as the receiving station app host.