Building a Physical Inventory Search Engine
My bookshelf runs on Python
What do you mean your Bookshelf runs Python?
Admission: I Own Over a 1000 Books
Seriously, it's hard to keep count.
And I'm not the most organized of people.
But couldn't you just use one of the following:
- Physical Notebooks: Too troublesome to carry
- Spreadsheets: Easy at first, too difficult to sync.
Also Google Sheets on the phone? 🤮
- Goodreads: Annoying API. Seriously, Amazon, what the hell?
- LibraryThing: Free account has a limit of 250 books. Plus by this point I want the index to be local
I also own a lot of tech
I think the AliExpress people know me well
I ended up with a slightly over-engineered solution
I built a search engine for my bookshelf, using RGB LEDs
Introduction to Micropython
What is MicroPython?
- Python for Microcontrollers
- Seriously, you can run Python on tiny boards.
- Tiny, includes a subset of CPython's libraries
Getting Started with MicroPython
- Buy an ESP8266 or ESP32 based Chip (Available on Amazon / AliExpress)
- Flash MicroPython firmware
- Based on the ESP8266 Wi-Fi SoC
- Runs Lua out of the box
- Can install MicroPython firmware
- Supports WiFi (2GHz only)
- Has 128kB RAM and 4MB ROM
- USB Interface
- Costs between INR 140 to INR 400 (or around 3-4 Euros) depending on where you get it from.
- Download Suitable Firmware
- Setup Virtual Environment
- Run pip install esptool
- Add current user to dialout group (linux)
- Flash firmware: $ esptool.py --port /dev/ttyUSB0 --baud 115200 write_flash --flash_size=detect 0 esp8266-20190529-v1.11.bin
Getting Up and Running
You Don't need to be Hackerman: Introducing the WebREPL
- Use picocom to activate the webREPL.
- Protip: screen /dev/ttyUSBx 115200 does the job better since it's easier to exit out of.
- Connect to the ESP's WiFi
- Use WebREPL to test out MicroPython
Activating the WebREPL
Using the WebREPL
### Uploading Scripts using the webREPL CLI
webrepl_cli.py -p PASSWORD local_file.py \
Lifecycle of a MicroPython Program
- Very similar to Arduino
- First: boot.py
- (optional) webrepl_cfg.py
- Finally: main.py
Snakes on a Bookshelf
- ESP8266: 3 Nos.
- Raspberry Pi 3B+: 1 Nos.
- Raspberry Pi Zero W: 4 Nos.
- Raspberry Pi Cluster Hat v2.2: 1 No.
- WS2812B Addressable RGB LED Strips: 10 meter
Communicating with the ESP8266: The MQTT Protocol
- A Lightweight Protocol for <buzzword>IoT</buzzword>
- Message Queuing Telemetry Transport
- Use Eclipse Mosquitto for simplicity.
- Use the mqtt library in MicroPython, topics can be split using slashes.
WS2812B LED Strips
WS2812B LED Strips
CRUD! He's used Flask
- Lightweight and completely customizable.
- Easy to hack around with, nothing is predetermined.
- Simple is better than complex.
- Explicit is better than implicit.
- psycopg2 + flask_migrate + flask_sqlalchemy
DB Table Schema
UI with Flask-Admin
- m:n.x, where m = column start, n = column end, x = row.
- Indexing books the first time was difficult, but now I can place books anywhere and the bookshelf can remember them.
- The shelf enables my lack of organization.
Alpha Stage Demos
What's Capacitance, Doc?
curl -x GET http://server/api/v1/book/?title=the%20decline%20and%20fall
curl for books?
I said I wanted to ask my bookshelves for books.
So, I added another service.
Building a Voice API with Flask
- Flask_Ask is a great extension that enables Alexa skills.
- To run on a local server with access to the other API, use with ngrok.
- Can also be configured on AWS, if you want to avoid buying a Raspberry Pi cluster. (Why would you do that?)
Voice Server Architecture
Amazon Developer Page: Configuring The Skill
Amazon Developer Page: Configuring The Query Variable
Protip: When you want a raw string: use AMAZON.SearchQuery
- A bit slow, could work better on AWS native instead of my ngrok hack
- Direct integration with the shelf server might be faster
- Other libraries to consider: AWS's own library for Alexa.
- Flask_Ask is poorly packaged. Has dependencies locked to older versions of cryptography
Now Presenting: Shelfie, The Bookshelf Search Engine
In your door! In your door, would you, could you, in the door?
What if there are books behind books?
I'm glad you asked.
- Web UI with flask_wtf
- Telegram Bot
- Bookshelf metrics: visualize read-count, days since last read stats with LEDs!
- Dialogue flow for Alexa skills.
- Use spacy for NLP
Challenges to a MicroPython Project
- Poor learning material
- No examples for best practises
- Need some competence with electronics.
- Procuring components (depends on location)
- Sr. Software Engineer @ Visa Inc.