Make sure your Photon is still plugged into your computer for this next step.

Head over to IFTTT (IfThisThenThat) and set up a sign-in. IFTTT is an Internet-of-Things site that allows you to connect different devices using easy-to-use applets. Not only can you connect Hue lights to trigger certain colors based on weather conditions, you can also connect microcontrollers that have Wi-Fi capability. With your account now set, hover over your account name in the right-hand corner and choose New Applet from the pull-down menu.

IFTTT wants you to think literally about two things: "this" happens triggering "that". So, we will choose these two things in different steps. Here goes:

  1. Click on the +this and type space in the search bar
  2. Click on the Space square that appears
  3. Now select the square ISS passes over a specific location
  4. Move the map to select your exact location and click Create Trigger

OK, now we are shifting gears to handle the second part.

  1. Click on the +that and type Particle in the search bar
  2. Click on the Particle square that appears
  3. Now select the square Call a function
  4. Under Then Call (Function Name) (required), check the dropdown for pixelPIN on "yourdevicename"
  5. Now go to the bottom and click Complete Action
  6. You can keep the green light that enables Receive notifications when applet runs
  7. Hit Finish
  8. You can Check Now to see that the applet is working, but it will only do the special light sequence if you force the trigger or the ISS actually passes
  9. If you ever need to check this applet, you'll find it under My Applets on the top menu
  10. Be aware that if you continue to run the applet without your pin having power, it will eventually automatically shut down
  11. It's nice to have the IFTTT app installed on your phone to turn applets on/off

Want a Test?

If you need to test what a flyby would be like without waiting long hours, it is good to set up another applet. This one will allow you to send an email to trigger your pin. 

  1. Follow the above directions for creating a new applet
  2. This time for +this type Email in the search bar
  3. Choose the Send IFTTT any email box
  4. Now follow the directions above for doing the +that choosing Particle
  5. Keep following those directions for all the choices including the function
  6. Under the function section you'll see +ingredient - select subject
  7. Hit Create Action and then Finish

This applet will enable you to send an email to [email protected] with anything written in the subject line. In a few seconds the pin will do its special light show as if the ISS had flown by. This is very handy for demos. 


This guide was first published on Apr 17, 2017. It was last updated on Apr 17, 2017.

This page (Set Up IFTTT) was last updated on Sep 15, 2016.

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