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Kinetic Courier

Something happened? Ring a bell, wave a flag, light some lights! A physical notification platform for IoT events.

The Kinetic Courier is an alert system for your IoT things. When something happens, it can ring a bell, wave a flag or light some NeoPixels. You can even connect it up to Alexa and IFTTT.

Who is this for?

So… Can’t I get alerts by just sending notifications to my phone? Yes, yes you can.

This project is for someone who wants a fun alert system, different from phone notifications. It definitely gets your attention!

Cost About $60 USD, not including 3D print materials.


This project requires skills in soldering, 3D printing and assembly, and python coding.

Time: About 4 hours for software setup and assembly. 3D printing - Base: 7hr 45min; Top: 4hr 45min. Both components require supports. This was on a small and slow MonoPrice Mini Select 3D Printer. If you have a Prusa MK3S, you could shave hours off the print time.

The Kinetic Courier (KC) is designed to be a general purpose physical alert platform, so it can be modified for different situations. You can place it anywhere - your living room, your office - and be reminded that something needs attention, without being tied to a phone or computer.

The KC needs a triggering gadget (or IFTTT) to work. I’ve used an Amazon Echo (with Alexa) or an Adafruit Huzzah/ESP8266 as the trigger/sender in supplied examples. The KC is the receiving point. The Adafruit_IO API running with is the glue, the connection between the sender and the Kinetic Courier.

Here are some sample use cases, using IFTTT/Alexa:
- Weather condition alert - Hot/Cold/Rain/Snow (example code supplied)
- Recurring reminders, like when to take medications (IFTTT example supplied)
- Dinner Bell for the kids, or Sick Room Call (IFTTT example supplied)
- ISS (International Space Station) is over my location (example code supplied)

Additional IOT hardware required:
- Garage Door is open (magnetic switch), use Option 1 in link; example code supplied
- Laundry is done (vibration detector)
- Sump pump started (vibration detector)
- Customer entered when you’re in the back room (PIR motion detector)
- Remote equipment light turned on or off (photocell)
You get the idea - it’s pretty adaptable. is required for all alert examples. A python program running on a raspberry pi W will check for new data on and act accordingly.

There are sample behaviors and animations for:

- NeoPixels
- A Desk Bell rung by a solenoid
- Moving a flag with a servo

Two different voltages are used. The easiest way to get both was to use a Buck-Boost converter:
- 12V to activate the solenoid
- 5V for the servo and NeoPixels

I used the Verter Buck-Boost converter from Adafruit.”

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