Nordic Thingy:52 + Raspberry Pi 3 Build-it-Yourself Kit Quick Start Guide
Updated: May 15
This tutorial uses the Nordic Semiconductor’s Nordic Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit connected to a Raspberry Pi 3 over Bluetooth to send your sensor data to the cloud over Ethernet or WiFi.
In this Quick Start Guide, you will:
Set up your Raspberry Pi 3 and Nordic Thingy
Visualize sensor data on your Medium One dashboard
Create a workflow to notify you when steps have been taken with your Nordic Thingy
Here’s what you need to get started:
Medium One Prototyping Sandbox Account + Nordic Semiconductor Nordic Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit + Raspberry Pi 3 [Buy]
Micro SD card
USB Keyboard and mouse
Step 1. Set up your Raspberry Pi 3
Now that you have your Raspberry Pi 3, you will need to follow a few steps before you can use it. You will need to:
Set up your SD card with the Raspberry Pi Operating System
Set up your environment
Set up the Pi to automatically connect to the Nordic Thingy when it turns on
1. Setting up your SD card
Follow the steps here.
2. Setting up your environment
Put the SD card in your Raspberry Pi.
Plug an Ethernet cable and HDMI cord into your Pi. (Note: If you don't have Ethernet, go to this guide to configure your WiFi to the RPI)
Plug in a USB keyboard and mouse.
Turn on the Raspberry Pi by plugging in a USB Mini and connecting it to a power source.
Wait and watch on your monitor until the Raspberry Pi has completed turning on. You should see a screen like this. If the screen is black, make sure the SD card is plugged in correctly, then unplug it then plug it back in. If it is still black or it does not load correctly, a problem may have occurred during installation- try the Setting Up Your SD Card step again.
3. Setting up the Pi to automatically connect to Nordic Thingy
Next, open a web browser by clicking on the blue orb in the upper lefthand corner. We are going to download some files to prepare to connect to the Nordic Thingy later.
Visit this link and see the following files:
Click “Clone or Download” in green. Click “Download as ZIP” in the dropdown.
The file should save and show up on the bottom of the browser. Click on it.
A dialog box should open. Click Action→ Extract.
Click on the folder button to change where it is saved. It is very important to follow these steps to extract the script in the right folder! The script to set up the Raspberry Pi expects all the files to be here, and it will not run if they are not here.
Click on “Pi” on the side.
Click on “Open.”
Uncheck the box “Extract with full path.”
Click extract. Now that you have downloaded all 5 files in the correct directory, click on the black box in the upper left hand corner to open the command line. You can close the web browser and un-archive window.
Type “sudo sh setup.sh,” then hit enter.
After about 40 seconds, you will see a message that says “Are you sure you would like to install? Y/N” in the command line. Type Y.
Wait another minute for the script to complete.
Congrats, you have set up your Raspberry Pi. You will need to come back to the command line later to configure it with information from your Medium One account and Nordic Thingy.
Step 2. Set up your Medium One Account
In this step, you will do the following:
Create a user for your Nordic Thingy
Find your API key
Create two datastreams
Later on, you will log back in and make sure data is coming in, set up your dashboard, and create a workflow.
During this step, you will get some information from your Medium One account that you will need to use later when configuring your Raspberry Pi. This information is:
Write these down because you will need them later.
1. Create a user for your Nordic Thingy.
On the left hand side, click on “Setup.” Then, click on “Manage Users.”
Click “Add New User”
In the first box, put what you want the name of your device to be. This is the username, and you will need to save it for later. Enter a password in the next two boxes. You will need to save this as well.
2. Find your API key
Under “Setup,” click on “Manage API Keys.”
Click “Add New API key”
Enter any description you want, make sure “Enabled” stays checked, and click “Save.” You will be redirected to the next page. The long string outlined in RED is your API key: save this for later.
3. Create data streams
You will now create data streams for the Nordic Thingy to send data from. On the left hand side, click Config→ Data Streams.
Click “Create a new stream.”
For the name, type “sensor_data.” Click “Save Data Stream.”
Once again, click “Create a new stream.”
For the name, type “device_data.” Click “Save.”
You should see both your streams now.
Step 3. Set up your Nordic Thingy
In this step, we will use the Raspberry Pi to find the device address of your Nordic Thingy. You will need to save this information for the next step to tell the Raspberry Pi how to find your Nordic Thingy.
Open the Command Line on your Raspberry Pi. Type “sudo python scan.py”
Power on your Nordic Thingy. You will need to take off the black rubber box and find the switch on the inside (outlined in red pictured below). If the switch does not turn it on, it may be out of batteries. In this case, plug it in via USB mini port (green outline pictured below).
Note: The Nordic Thingy only charges when it is plugged in AND the switch is turned to on.
Now that it is turned on, look back at the command prompt of your Raspberry Pi. This script scans and looks for any Nordic devices nearby and prints their address. You should see something like the following on your screen after a couple seconds.
If nothing shows up, try turning your device off then back on.
The sequence of letters, numbers, and colons in the red box after the word “addr” is your device address. Save it for the next step. You can end the script by typing “CTRL-C”.
Step 4. Link your Raspberry Pi Nordic Thingy to Medium One
Now, we will put everything together. Open the command line on your Raspberry Pi and type “sudo nano /m1/login.txt.”
This opens a text editor you will use to put your login info. You should see the following on the screen.
Type in, on four separate lines:
Line 1: Username
Line 2: Password
Line 3: API key
Line 4: Device Address
When you are done, press CTRL-X to save. You will get prompted to overwrite or not. Type Y.
It will prompt you where to save it. Hit Enter.
Reset the board. Congratulations, you have linked everything together!
Now make sure everything is hooked together. First, restart the Raspberry Pi by turning it off then back on. Wait about 1-2 minutes or, if you are still connected to the monitor, when it has completely turned on and is on the desktop.
Step 5. Set up your Dashboard
Log into your Medium One account. At the bottom of the screen, in the widgets, find “Real Time Events Stream.”
In the dropdown box, find the username you picked earlier. Now, plug in your Nordic Thingy. On Medium One, you should see data starting to come in!
This widget is called the “Real Time Events Stream.” Each of the lines above, beginning with the date in blue on the left, is a piece of data coming in from the Nordic Thingy. You can see in the text sensor readings like pressure, temperature, and humidity as well as the color detected by the light sensor on the board, the orientation of the board dictated by roll, yaw, and pitch, and the pull of gravity on the board.
Now, scroll down and click on “Real Time Line Chart.”
Select your username from the dropdown. Then, click on the gear.
Select “sensor_data.x_gravity,” “sensor_data.y_gravity,” and “sensor_data.z_gravity.”
The Real Time Line Chart widget above shows you the values of the acceleration of gravity in the x, y, and z directions over time. You can rotate the Nordic Thingy and watch these values change depending on the orientation.
Scroll down and click on “Real Time Gauge.”
Select your user, then click on the gear.
Select “sensor_data.co2”, “sensor_data.temperature”, “sensor_data.humidity”, and “sensor_data.steps_taken”
The Real Time Gauges show you readings from the different sensors on the Nordic Thingy. The values will change on these gauges as new data comes in.
Scroll down and click on Last Value table.
Select your user. Then, click on the gear.
Select “device_data.ip_address,” “sensor_data.compass_direction,” “sensor_data.orient_data,” and “sensor_data.battery.”
The Last Value Table shows the last value of key information such as IP addresses, battery, direction of the compass, and orientation of the Nordic Thingy.
Very important: Scroll up to the top and click “Save.” (floppy disk) Otherwise, you’ll need to do this every time you log in!
Step 6. Build a Workflow
In this step, you’re going to create a workflow. Workflows are python applications that run as data comes in. This particular workflow checks to see if the Nordic Thingy has moved based on the number of steps sent by its pedometer. It limits the number of alerts to be sent to one per day. We’re going to modify the workflow to send the alerts to your phone number and email address.
Click on “Workflow Studio”
Click on “Create”
Where it says Enter Workflow Name, type “Steps Taken Alert.”
We are going to first connect the pieces of the workflow, then edit the python code. On the righthand side, click where it says “Tags and Triggers.”
Click on “Sensor Data.” See the tags representing your sensor data drop down.
Click and drag “steps_taken” onto the blank canvas. A green box should appear.
Now, click on “Modules.”
Click on “Foundation.”
Click and drag “Base Python” onto the screen. Your workflow should look like this.
Drag the white circle under the green box to the white circle in the blue box “in1.”
Now we are going to add the python code. Double click on the blue Base Python box and delete everything in the text area so it is empty.
Copy and paste the following python code into the text area from here:
On line 5, replace the email with your email address. Make sure to keep it in the quotation marks.
On line 6, replace the phone number with your phone number, excluding country code. Make sure to keep it in the quotation marks.
Click “Save and Activate.”
Test Your Alerts
Make sure your Nordic Thingy is still blinking a green light. If not, press the reset button.
Go back to the dashboard on the Medium One Sandbox by clicking on Dashboard icon in left menu. Find the “Real Time Gauges”. Here, you can see the different sensor data change as the events come in. Take note of “steps taken” on the far right.
Take the Nordic Thingy with you and walk back and forth for ten seconds. Come back and see that the number of steps taken has gone up, and you have received a text message and an email!
Congratulations! You have connected your bluetooth Nordic Thingy device to the cloud using Ethernet over a Raspberry Pi 3.
Want to learn more about what Medium One can do?