What is Little Brother?

Little Brother is a remote sensing device designed to gather a variety of data about the environment and push these data to the cloud by crowdsourcing the bandwidth of smartphones around the device

Little Brother is the next generation of data collection

A Little Preview...


In environments without consistent access to wifi, there are no efficient ways of collecting data. Little Brother seeks to solve this problem. Little Brother logs data and automatically connects with smartphones running our app to provide users with useful information while also using them as a link to upload data to a centralized server for further analysis.

We envision Little Brother as an economic solution to many applications


Air Quality


Our Little Brother

The Device

Little Brother is a remote sensing device designed to gather a variety of data about the environment and push these data to the cloud by crowdsourcing the bandwidth of smartphones around the device.

The Mobile Application

The Little Brother Mobile Application gives you everything you need to register and configure your Little Brothers. Through a simple UI, registration and configuration can be done with the tap of just a few buttons.

The Web Application

The Little Brother Web Application shows you all the data that the Little Brother devices have collected in a visualization that is easy to understand.

Go to our Webapp here!

The Team

Alex Maeda

Ramsey Natour

Manuel Diaz Corrada

Tom Mayo-Smith

The Details


Microprocessor Unit: Nordic NRF51822 Development Kit
Price $39.00
Processor ARM Cortex M0
Storage Flash: 128kB RAM: 16 kB
Power Usage 2.7 mW BLE
Connectivity BLE
Sensor Capabilities 32 GPIO SPI/UART/I2C


Device Mobile Webapp
BLE Stack: S130 SoftDevice
IDE: Seggar Embedded Studios
OS: Android
IDE: Android Studio
Server: AWS
Web Framework: Django
Database: MySQL

Data Transfer Protocols

Nordic/ Mobile Device → BLE Mobile Device/ Web Server → HTTP

How does Little Brother work?
An overview of the system architecture

How do you use Little Brother?

Just four actions:

Just by walking by a Little Brother device, a user with the Little Brother application will act as passive data mule when near the device

Any user can see the data and the visualizations of the data collected by the Little Brother devices by going to the
Little Brother Webapp.

Registered user can make changes to configurations, such as data collection rates and sensor details, through the Little Brother Webapp.

If there are configuration changes to be made for a device, once a user is in range of the device, the mobile application sends the new configuration file

Functional Requirements:

  • The device will use sensors to convert physical analog data from the environment to data logs to be stored in the device’s persistent storage
  • Data that is collected on the device is encrypted, and sent to a user’s phone to be data muled to the web server
  • The web server converts analyzed data to visual data that can be view via the phone, or web application

Security Requirements:

  • The data acquired from the device and communication to the device will be encrypted to address any security concerns.
  • Any communication with the server will also be encrypted.

Privacy Requirements:

  • The data acquired from individuals will be safe and completely anonymous to address any concerns to privacy

Reliability Requirements:

  • No data will be lost regardless of any disconnection of communication between the device and the phone, and the phone and the server

The Competition
(and why they aren't)

Air Quality Egg Sensoro Yunzi mCrowd

Air Quality Egg

The focus of this device is the crowdsourcing of air sensors in order to create a more accurate reading of the air quality at the local level.The difference between Little Brother and Air Quality Egg is the need for constant power and internet connection. Little brother provides the same service of the egg while allowing the flexibility of a battery powered device provides.

Sensoro Yunzi

Sensoro Yunzi is a BLE beacon with integrated sensors such as accelerometers and ambient light that is designed to provide a clear picture to the user about the sensors surroundings. Although little brother provides localized information to its users, its main function is the transmission of data through data muling to a central server for future analysis. Sensoro does not provide this information, since it deletes its readings after 5 time interval readings.


mCrowd is a software platform created at UMass with the objective of crowdsourcing ambient data by utilizing users smart phones as sensors and then sending this data to a central server for analysis. Granted that mCrowd and Little Brother do tackle the lack of data problem, mCrowds methods are limited. The sensors available on a smartphone are fixed meaning they cannot modify their collection to detect air pollution or dust, which little brother specializes in.