Maker Faire XBee Garage Demo

Jordan Husney and I created an electrically-operated scale model garage to demonstrate the XBee-iDigi Garage Door Opener for one of the projects we’ll be featuring at the Digi booth for Bay Area Maker Faire 2012 this weekend. It’s an example of building the “12,000-Mile Universal remote” project from Make Vol. 30. With this project you can push any button in your house from anywhere the world using your mobile phone. The project uses a Digi XBee module in an open-source hardware design with the XBee Internet Gateway (XIG) and the iDigi Device Cloud to work its home-improvement magic.

Thanks to Scott Kilau (Android controller), Margaret McKenna (web application), Joel Young (underwriting) and Joetta Gobell (car artist) for their invaluable contributions to this project. See you at Maker Faire!

6 thoughts on “Maker Faire XBee Garage Demo”

  1. Rob and Jordan,

    I do not remember how many times I forgot if I close my garage door or not, and how many times that i have to turn my car back home to check. It is a sympoton of aging. So I really like the project and I am thinking to make one for my family. However, there is one thing I think will help alot.

    Is it possible to add a camera on the XIG to take one or many photos and send the photos to the phones of the users, so the users can be very sure “their own” garage doors are closed? It is sort of like a security system. I personally believe lots of people will buy the system, especailly those aging people.

    Best Regards,


  2. Guys — I think I sent a query about this previously, but somehow submitted it thru FB and can’t remember where to look for an answer — sorry! I’m interested in controlling my motorized awning w/ smart phone — need to see position and control “In”, “Out”, and “Stop”. Would you please assist with some “how-to” resources, if not a 3-channel version of your Garage Door project? Thanks; steve

  3. Hi Steve,

    I think you may have posted the question on my blog ( There was a response there by a fellow name Andrés who had a great idea: you could use a rotary or quadrature encoder (see: to count the number of revolutions necessary to open your awning to any position between 0 and 100%.

    I think rather than using any board that I’ve designed you could achieve this project using an Arduino with an XBee shield. Then you could use the source for the web application developed by Margaret McKenna ( in order to send your custom control commands via iDigi using your mobile phone across the Internet.

  4. I’ve created my idigi developer account recently and it appears that I must now create an account on either the US or European cloud. When I do this I can’t log onto the ‘developer’ cloud. I also can’t log into the Garage Door app using either the android or web clients. Is the US/Europe thing new since the app was written or am I doing something wrong?

    1. Yes it’s new and you can now set up free accounts on the US or Europe instance. However you’ll need to modify any applications that are set to use so that they connect to (or instead.

      I’d recommend moving any “developer” accounts to one of the “my” instances. The next version of the XBee Internet Gateway will also point at “my” by default.

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