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Posts Tagged ‘lora’

8Power Vibration Energy Harvesting Technology Powers Batteryless LPWAN GPS Trackers, MEMS Sensors

May 23rd, 2017 No comments

While IoT products usually promises one to 10 years battery life, they will be several billions of them, and ARM’s CEO even forecast one trillion IoT devices in the next 20 years. Recharging batteries at home may be fine, but imagine having to recharge or replace batteries on top of electric poles, inside walls, in remote locations, and other hard to reach places, considerable resources would have to be deployed just to replace or recharge battery every year or whenever the battery is close to being depleted.  That’s why work on energy harvesting technology for batteryless devices may be so important, and 8Power is one of the companies working in the field through their vibration energy harvesting technology that is said to harvest up to 10x the power of competing devices under comparable condition thanks to the use of parametric resonance phenomenon.

8Power LTE NB-IoT GPS Tracker (Left) and MEMS Sensor (Right)

The company has recently announced their Track 100 family of LPWAN GPS tracker, such as Track 100XL relying on LTE NB-IoT, but they also have models supporting LTE Cat M1 and LoRaWAN. The IP67 devices include vibration energy harvesting technology, as well as optionally a solar panel. The company also provides a “secure cloud hosted data platform to provide dashboards, analytics, device management, security and application API access to manage fleets of devices”. There’s no battery, and no need for (battery related) maintenance. Track 100 trackers are powered through the vibration generated by trucks, trains, or other vehicles.

The company is also working on integrating the technology into MEMS sensors that consume very little power (10 mW) in continuous operations. Beside leveraging vibrations from the transportation industry, and 8Power technology can also generate power from vibrations from  infrastructure (bridges, embankments, transmission lines) or machinery (high-power motors and rotating equipment), and the technology has already been validated through a experiment to monitor the structure of an older bridge in Scotland.

The company showcased their technology and latest products at IDTechEx 2017.

Via ARMDevices.net

Whitecat ESP32 N1 Board Combines ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth SoC with a LoRa Transceiver, Runs Lua RTOS

May 2nd, 2017 4 comments

Espressif ESP32 SoC is gaining traction right now as prices have come down, and there’s still an on-going fight among LPWAN standards with LoRaWAN being fairly popular in Europe. Whitecat, a group of engineers from several companies based in Citilab, Barcelona, Spain, has designed a board that combines both ESP32 and a LoRA transceiver, bringing an alternative to Pycom LoPy board, but instead of running MicroPython, they have developed Lua-RTOS.

Whitecat ESP32 N1 hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual-core Tensilica LX6 microprocessor @ up to 240MHz with 520kB internal SRAM
  • Storage – 4MB flash memory
  • Connectivity
    • LoRa WAN transceiver working in the 868 (EU) MHz / 915 (USA) MHz with on-board antenna, and u.FL connector for external antenna
    • Integrated 802.11b/g/n WiFi transceiver with on-board antenna, and u.FL connector for external antenna
    • Integrated dual-mode Bluetooth (classic and BLE)
  • I/O Headers – 2x 16-pin with SPI, I2C, I2S, SDIO, UART, CAN, ETHERNET, IR, PWM, DAC, ADC.
  • Power Supply
    • 3.3 to 5.5V operating range through input voltage regulator
    • Second voltage regulator for power on / power off sensors through a dedicated GPIO
  • Dimensions – 78 x 26 mm

By default, the board runs Lua RTOS real-time operating system designed to run on embedded systems, and currently supporting ESP32, ESP8266 and PIC32MZ platforms. The OS has a  3-layer design:

  1. Top layer – Lua 5.3.4 interpreter with special modules to access the hardware (PIO, ADC, I2C, RTC, etc …), and middleware services provided by Lua RTOS (Lua Threads, LoRa WAN, MQTT, …).
  2. Middle layer – Real-Time micro-kernel powered by FreeRTOS.
  3. Bottom layer – Hardware abstraction layer, which talk directly with the platform hardware.

Lua RTOS boards can be programmed with Lua programming language directly, or using a block-based programming language that translates blocks to Lua.

ESP8622 and PIC32 targets have some limitations so features like SSL are not implemented, but ESP32 supports all features listed below:

  • Lua Thread, Pthread API
  • SSL
  • On-board editor, Shell
  • FAT and SPIFFS file systems
  • WiFi, Ethernet
  • LoRaWAN class A & B node, LoRa WAN gateway
  • ADC, SPI, UART, PIO, PWN, I2C, CAN,
  • Sensor, Servo

Bluetooth is missing from the list. You’ll find Lua RTOS source code and instructions to get started on Github. The Wiki is also also a good place to get started with ESP32 N1 Board and Lua-RTOS.

Board pricing is currently a little on the high side, as ESP32 N1 board is sold for 30 Euros without Lora, and 40 Euros with LoRa. Worldwide shipping adds 5 Euros to the total. You’ll find more details, including the purchase links, on Whitecat ESP32 N1 page.

MatchX LoRaWAN Solution Supports up to 65,535 Sensor Nodes per Gateway

April 14th, 2017 4 comments

MatchX is a startup with offices in Chicago, Shenzhen, and Berlin, that provides a complete LoRaWAN solution with their MatchBox gateway based on SX1301 concentrator and Mediatek MT7628N processor, as well as MatchStick, MatchModule, and MatchCore sensors with up to 65,535 of those connecting to a single  gateway.

MatchBox LoRaWAN/WiFi/GPRS/GPS Gateway

Outdoor and Indoor Enclosures for MatchBox – Click to Enlarge

MatchBox specifications:

  • Processor – Mediatek MT7628AN MIPS WiSoC @ up to 580 MHz
  • System Memory – 128MB DDR2 RAM
  • Storage – 16MB FLASH
  • Connectivity
    • LoRa – Semtech SX1301 + 2x SX1257@+27dbm  Output Power; 470/868/915Mhz frequency range, -146dBm sensitivity
    • 10/100M Ethernet
    • 802.11n 2×2 WiFi @ 300 MHz
    • Optional GPRS via SIM800H, 85.6 kbps (downlink/uplink) + micro SIM card slot
    • GPS via UBlox Max 7C
    • Antennas – 2x u.FL antennas for WiFi, u.FL or chip antenna for LoRa, GPS and GPRS modules
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB type C exposing 4 or 6 GPIOs and UART
  • Misc – RGB LED, 8x GPIO, on/off switch, reset button
  • Power Supply – Passive 24V POE, or  5V/2A via USB-C port
  • Power Consumption – 5W on average, 10W max.
  • Dimensions – 140 x 78 x 30mm
  • Temperature Range – -20°C to 85°C
  • Certification: CE, FCC, LoraWAN

The gateway runs OpenWrt or LEDE operating system. The company can receive packets from nodes up to 20km away in ideal conditions (line of sight, good weather…), and the company claims 4 gateways can cover Berlin’s RingBahn, and 17 gateways cover Silicon Valley Area, of course provided there’s not a very large number of nodes, exceeding the capacity of the gateways.

MatchStick & MatchCore LoRa Sensor Nodes

MatchStick

The company has two main products to connect sensors to the gateway with MatchStick and MatchCore sharing most of the same specifications, except the MatchStick is larger, supports many more sensors, and offers longer battery life:

  • MCU – Dialog SmartBond DA14680 ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller with 18 Mbit flash, 64 kB OTP memory, 128 kB Data SRAM, 128 kB ROM, and BLE 4.2 support
  • Connectivity
    • LoRa – Semtech SX1276 @+20dbm output power; 470/868/915Mhz; -146dBm Sensitivity; LoraWAN V1.0.2, Class A/B/C; on-board antenna
    • Bluetooth 4.2 LE @ +3dBm with on-board antenna
    • SIMCOM SM28L GPS module (MatchStick only)
  • Sensors
    • Inertial Sensor – Accelerometer, Magnetometer and Gyroscope
    • MatchStick only, selection of:
      • Air Sensor – CO, CO2, Methane
      • Fire Sensor – Smoke, and IR fire detection
      • Flood Sensor – Water leak detection
      • Movement Sensor – Human movement detection
      • Light Sensor – Gesture, color and ambient light detection
      • Agricultural Sensor – Soil moisture detection
      • Electricity Sensor – Relay control or power consumption
  • USB – 1x USB interface with 6 flexible GPIOs, SWD, Reset and power
  • Misc – RGB LED, reset & user buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V/1A via USB-C connector for charging the battery
  • Battery
    • MatchStick – Panasonic 18650 @ 3000mAh good for up to 10 years on a charge
    • MatchBox – CR2032 battery (300 mAh) good for up to 3 years on a charge
  • Power Consumption
    • Sleep Power – 30-50 uA
    • BLE Power – TX: 3.4 mA, RX: 3.7mA
    • LoRa Power – TX: 120mA @ 20dBm, RX: 9.9mA
  • Dimensions
    • MatchStick – 147 x 32 x 32 mm
    • MatchCore – 52 x 34 x 18 mm
  • Temperature Range – -20°C to 85°C
  • Certification: CE, FCC, LoraWAN

MatchCore

Both models can be programmed using Dialog DA1468X SDK, a community has been setup, as well as a developer’s blog, but so far I’ve been pretty quite, as the company works on completing development. There’s very little info about MatchModule , which will be a 25x25mm LoRa module that can be integrated into your own project. The only info I’ve got about is in the table below.

The MatchBox gateway should sell for around $299, while MatchStick and MatchCore should go for $28 and $16 respectively, I assume in their minimal configuration, as final price will depend on the choice of sensors.

You may be able to find some more details on Matchx.io website.

EEMBC IoT-Connect is a Family of Benchmarks Designed To Test the Power Efficiency of IoT Devices

April 14th, 2017 No comments

EEMBC, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium, has been providing benchmarks for embedded systems since 1996, including ULPBench helping to rank micro-controllers by their power efficiency. But with the Internet of Things gaining traction, it’s important to test more than just the MCU core’s power efficiency, and having a benchmark taking sensors and connectivity into account would be useful.

EEMBC EnergyBench Monitor showing Accumulated Energy while running UPLBench – Click to Enlarge

That’s exactly what EEMC IoT-Connect benchmark family aims for with the three main characteristics:

  • Provides flexibility to accommodate various communication protocols (e.g. Bluetooth, Thread, LoRa, WiFi)
  • Portable to work with any vendor’s microcontroller and radio-module products
  • Compatible with EEMBC ULPBench and EEMBC IoT-Secure benchmarks

The first benchmark of the family is IoTMark-BLE connectivity profile that supports Bluetooth (LE) MCUs. The benchmark requires fixed payload size, frequency of transmission, and transmit power, and performs a complete sequence of event ranging from sensor reading, to BLE notifications, and command write and CRC.

The IoT-Connect test infrastructure is completed, and supports IoTMark-BLE, but to access it, you’ll either need to license one or more benchmark suites, join the EEMBC Board of Directors, or an application-focused EEMBC subcommittee. There are also special licenses for faculty members colleges and universities.

The next IoT-Connect benchmark profile will be completed around Q4 2017 for another communication protocol which is yet to be decided between Wifi, Thread, and LoRA.

You can find more details on EEMBC’s IoT Connect product page.

$6 LicheePi Zero ARM Board Runs Linux 4.10, Supports Lots of Add-On Boards (Crowdfunding)

March 10th, 2017 89 comments

We’ve already covered LicheePi One board powered by Allwinner A13 processor, but it was not for sale out of China, and the developers are now back with LicheePi Zero board/module, slightly bigger than an SD card, featuring Allwinner V3s processor, and offered for as low as $6, or $8 with WiFi via an Indiegogo campaign.

LicheePi Zero specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner V3s ARM Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400 GPU, 512Mbit (64MB) DDR2 on-chip
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, SPI flash (not 100% clear if it will be populated when shipped to backers)
  • Display – FPC40 RGB Connector with support for 800×480 RGB LCD
  • Audio – Audio codec
  • USB – micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion
    • 2x 15 headers with 2.54mm pitch, breadboard friendly with GPIOs, 2x UART, 1x SPI, 2x I2C,ADC, 1x PWM
    • 2x  30 half-holes with 1.27mm pitch with OTG USB,MIPI CSI,EPHY,RGB LCD, more GPIOs
    • RGB connector can take add-on boards for GPIO, LVDS, HDMI, VGA, etc…
  • Misc – RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, or 5V/GND header
  • Dimensions – 44.6×25.5mm

Pinout Diagram

Most development board come with SDK using older version of Linux, but LicheePi Zero supports the latest Linux 4.10 kernel, as well as buildroot, Debian, and Raspbian Jessie with Pixel (experimental). The source code and hardware documentation can be found on Github.

Another selling point of this tiny board is the number of add-boards, with a WiFi board that be either plugged into the micro SDcard slot, or soldered along some of the 2.54mm pitch header, several converter using the RGB interface for VGA, LVDS, HDMI, DVP camera) or even some extra GPIOs.

The developer also provides a baseboard for LicheePi Zero module giving access to a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in microphone, and Ethernet, as well as I/O ports for even more add-ons such as cameras, OLED or TFT displays, speakers, LoRa modules, and so on.

The modularity and options of Lichee Pi Zero is well summarized in the diagram below.

To get started easier, the developers also worked on some projects or bundles like a portable Linux handheld computer, a mini DIY laptop, VGA or HDMI computer bundles, “LoRa Netgate”, wireless speakers, etc… You can watch the demo of some of those, and more details about the board and modules in the video below.

While LicheePi Zero and ZeroW models are respectively $6 and $8 per unit, you can’t buy one only at price, as the minimum order is two, so $12 for Zero, and $16 for ZeroW, except for the developer edition (shipped ASAP) that’s $12 for one ZeroW. ZeroW mini laptop DIY suit rewards with a LicheePi Zero, a micro SD wifi card, an OTG adapter, a 5″ 800×480 LCD, a wireless keyboard, a LiPo battery, and other accessories as shown at the start of the video above is just $39, while the LoRa Netgate suite with 2 A.I Thinker LoRa modules and a custom protocol (not LoRaWAN) goes for $40. There are many other rewards that you can checked in the Indiegogo page. Shipping is not included by only adds $5, and delivery is planned for May to June 2017 depending on perks. You can ask your question on on Indiegogo, as well as iLichee Forums.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

STMicro Introduces STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board & I-NUCLEO-LWAN2 STM32 LoRa Expansion Board

February 21st, 2017 4 comments

STMicroelectronics and Mouser have launched two new products with LoRa connectivity: STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board with an STM32L072 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU and Semtech SX1276 transceiver, and I-NUCLEO-LRWAN1 STM32 LoRa expansion board for STM32 Nucleo boards with an STM32L052 MCU and Semtech SX1272 radio transceiver.

STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board

Click to Enlarge

Dragino OLG01 Outdoor Single Channel LoRa Gateway Runs OpenWrt, Supports Passive PoE

February 14th, 2017 9 comments

Dragino Technology, a Shenzhen based startup focusing on the Internet of Things, had already designed LoRa shields & Hats for Arduino & Raspberry Pi boards which can be useful for LoRa nodes, but the company has now launched Dragino OLG01 LoRa gateway running OpenWrt that communicates with nodes over LoRa, and to the cloud using WiFi, Ethernet, or 3G/4G.

Dragino OLG01 specifications:

  • WiSoC – Atheros AR9331 MIPS processor @ 400MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB RAM
  • Storage – 16MB flash
  • MCU – Atmel ATMega328P AVR MCU with 32KB flash, 2KB SRAM
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with antenna
    • 2x 10/100M Ethernet with support for passive PoE
    • Optional 3G/4G module connected to internal USB socket (TBC)
    • Semtech SX1276/78 LoRa wireless module + SMA connector (antenna not provided) up to 5~10 km range
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power Supply – 12V DC power jack or PoE

Three models are offered with 433, 868, or 915 MHz frequencies: OLG01 433, OLG01 868, and OLG01 915. The weatherproof gateway is designed to be wall mounted, and ships with a 12V power supply, and a PoE injector. OLG01 runs OpenWrt, and documentation can be found on Dragino Wiki, source code on Dragino Github account. The gateways supports auto-provisioning, network firmware update, includes a web server and management UI. The Atmel MCU can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. Note that most of the documentation refers to LG01 instead of OLG01, but both gateways appears to be based upon the same hardware, except OLG01 is weather-proof, and suitable for outdoor use.

Potential application include wireless alarm and security systems, home and building automation, automated meter reading, industrial monitoring and control, long range irrigation systems, GPS tracker,etc… some of which are described in Dragino video below.

You’ll also find some more information on the product page, including a datasheet and a detailed user manual. Dragino OLG01 can be purchased for $70 on Tindie. If you don’t need PoE, nor a weatherproof case, LG01 gateway will be cheaper at $56.

Thanks to Elia for the tip

Barionet 1000 DIN Rail Programmable I/O Controller Runs OpenWrt

February 9th, 2017 1 comment

Barix, a Swiss company specializing IP- based communications and control technology, has introduced a new Barionet programmable I/O controller with Barionet 1000, the first model of the company to run Linux, and in this case OpenWrt, and to offer WiFi and USB connectivity.

Barionet 1000 specifications:

  • Processor – Undisclosed
  • System Memory – 64MB RAM
  • Storage – 16MB flash
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; IPv4 & IPv6 support.
  • USB – 2x USB Host Ports
  • Serial – 1x DB9 RS-232 serial port
  • User programmable I/Os
    • 2x relay outputs (30 VDC max, 5 A)
    • 4x open collector digital outputs (4 x 24 VDC, 0.3 A)
    • 8x contact closure inputs (0 – 15 V), including 4x 12-bit analog inputs (0 – 15 V)
    • 1-wire interface for 18DS20 temperature sensor
  • Misc – 11 LED status indicators
  • Power Supply – 9 to 30V DC (2.5 Watts max)
  • Dimensions –  103mm x 85mm x 31mm; plastic DIN Rail Case
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to +50°C; Storage: 0 to +70°C
  • Certifications – CE (A&B), RTT&E, FCC (A&B), RoHS

They also have another similar model, named Barionet 1100, which adds RS-485, an RTC clock, Wiegand capability, and “future optional internal interface” for LoRa. Hardware & software documentation appears to be missing for now, but they’ll certainly update their Wiki, like they did for their previous models.Typical applications for the system include access/door control, environmental monitoring, photovoltaic power management, temperature monitoring & logging, and HVAC control.

Pricing and availability of Barionet 1000 have not been announced, but for reference, the older Barionet 50 is currently selling for $189, so the new model should cost more with the extra features. Barionet is currently showcasing their products at ISE 2017 (Integrated Systems Europe) in Amsterdam, Stand 8-N270. Further details may be found on the product page.

Via LinuxGizmos