Introduction: Be Warned When Kid Is Back From School (with a Beacon, Without Programming)

About: The ThingBox Project - A ready to flash Raspberry Pi image that contains Node-RED and Internet Of Things software for non developers.

iBeacons are blutooth devices that broadcast their information (position...) so that bluetooth aware devices (like smartphones, Raspberry Pi...) are able to detect them and get their information.

Put on in your kid's bag and let's trigger an action (an email) when the beacon is detected near.

This tutorial uses a TimeSquAir ( a all in one Raspberry Pi bundled with a LED Matrix and a NFC tag, easily customizable with a visual editor powered by IBM's Node-RED ( Altenatively, you can use a Thingbox (

You'll also need a bluetooth dongle.

Step 1: Open the Visual Editor

Open the visual editor with your internet browser.

Step 2: Install Beacon Software

Then, Use the menu import / node and enter "ttb-ibeacon", then validate and wait for the install.

Step 3: Scan Beacons Around

After rebooting, the "ibeacon scan" node is available in the palette.

When you click "Go", the Pi scans around for beacons and on node per beacon will be added to the workspace.

Step 4: Edit the Beacon Node

Double click it to change its name to something better (use the name of your kid), then add a Go and debug node:

Step 5: Use a Beacon Node

After activating the flow, the display tab gets filled with the distance between the beacon and the Pi:

Step 6:

you can use that distance in meter to trigger an action, for instance sending an email with the email node:

Step 7:

Step 8: A More Complex Example

In this flow, a Philips Hue bulb is set differently weather the beacon (in my pocket) is near or not of my TimeSquAir.

Step 9: Learn More