Monday 17 July 2017

Remote Lightsensor Feature Explained

Photoxor Toolkit provides an advanced Lightsensor functionality which allows to communicate with nearby devices to exchange illuminance readings.

In a studio environment you might want to vary your lighting setup and see how illumination changes. Install Photoxor Toolkit (it's free!) on multiple devices and measure illuminance at various locations, and how it is affected by the setup.

If you purchased extended functionality, please make sure that you use the same Google account for installation on all of your devices, and the functions are available on all of them - no extra cost!

How to do it?

Firstly you need multiple Android devices with a builtin lightsensor of reasonably good accuracy, and preferably Bluetooth to communicate.

The communication range is limited (therefore 'nearby'), but should be sufficient within a building for example. You might want to perform your own tests. By using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) there is no need for mobile data (Internet), and all data flows are directly between the devices.

Install Photoxor C1 Toolkit on each device.

Use one device to present the collected readings (Discover), and the other ones to perform measurements (Publish).
Note: A device can do both at the same time if you need to!


Go to 'Settings':

First check 'Communication ...'.

Make sure that communication is enabled on all devices:

Check that a meaningful nickname is defined for your device:

In case you have purchased the Lightsensor Pro (or Power Pack) extension switch on background publishing to ensure continuous sending of readings. You need to purchases only once, and then install Photoxor multiple times under the same user account (Google Play).

Publishing devices (sending):

In our setup we use one or more devices to perform measurements and send them to the receiving Discover device.

Bring up the Lightsensor screen.

Click PUBLISH. This starts the process to publish lightsensor readings. Please note that the free version is limited to 15 minutes of continuous publishing, but you are able to manually restart. With Lightsensor Pro there are no time-limits.

Whenever a discovering device requests a connection to read data, a connection request notification is presented. Here you are able to accept or deny the connection. In case you trust your environment you might want to consider automatic acceptance of connections.

If you press the publish button while publishing is active, a screen is brought up to present the currently connected devices we send data to. Connections can be terminated by pressing the red handset button, and that device will no longer receive lightsensor readings.

Discovering device (receiving):

Bring up the Lightsensor screen.

Click DISCOVER. This will start the process to discover other nearby devices.
After a short while discovered devices will appear underneath the discovery button.
Press the green handset icon to connect.

Shortly after a connection notification dialog will appear, where you are able to accept or deny the connection. Again, if you trust your environment you might want to consider automatic acceptance of connections.

Once the data connection is established, readings will arrive and presented in the graph. The plot line color is shown with the list of discovered devices.

To improve communication, Discovery should be switched off once you see your devices 'discovered'. We recommend to use the auto switch-off function (available from release 19-05).

Some more tips:

  • Setup the Lightsensor icon on Home screen. Then it's just one click from your home screen.
  • Best to set screen to 'always on', but consider battery drainage.
  • If you purchased any extension features (like Lightsensor Pro), then install Photoxor using the same user account in Google Play, and you get them on all your devices!
  • The Lightsensor Nearby communication feature is still marked as 'experimental'. Sometimes devices do not recognise a connection well. Re-discovering usually resolves such situations. We are working on improving and upcoming releases will further stabilise.

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