Qortex (Amine Mehdi Mansouri) has developed the WiFi & LoRa IoT messaging platform to allow devices to communicate wirelessly via serial messages. The solution also includes a wireless serial port and 4 digital outputs.
The tiny Axon board is based on ESP8266 WiFi SoC and can be augmented with a LoRa module for a longer range, and the solution integrates with the Axon cloud for data visualization in the cloud. There’s also a HAT expansion board for Raspberry Pi compatibility.
Axon board specifications:
- Wireless module – ESP12-S ESP8266 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 module
- USB – USB Type-C port for power and programming via CP2102
- Expansion – 2x 6-pin header with GPIOs, UART, 5V, 3.3V, and GND
- Misc – Status LED, Reset button, USB/MCU (UART) selection switch
- Power Supply
- 5V input via USB-C port
- 3.3V/600mA LDO
- PTC fuse, reverse polarity protection, ESD protection
- Dimensions – 30 x 25 mm
The board can be programmed with Python (MicroPython?), plot graphics with Matlab, control up to four relays, and integrate with Axon Cloud apps. As I understand it, the MCU – USB switch selects the source of the data: either USB or UART.
There are already many ESP8266 boards around, so Axon is probably mostly interesting when connected with a LoRa module as it offers an ultra-compact WiFi + LoRa IoT solution.
The LoRa expansion board should be based on an Ebyte LoRa module that operates in 433 MHz or 868 MHz ranges. Somehow 915 MHz does not appear to be an option. That way Axon can become a tiny(single-channel?) gateway, and everything can be controlled through a web-based mobile-friendly web interface that looks similar to the one used in Tasmota.
A Raspberry Pi HAT allows you to connect Axon ESP8266 or LoRa module to the popular SBC.
While the “Dual Base” offers a solution to connect Axon ESP8266 and Axon LoRa boards side-by-side.
There’s supposed to be a Github repository with code samples, as well as example documentation for interfacing with MATLAB, Python, and Arduino, but it’s well hidden…
Maybe it will just come out a bit later, as Axon recently launched on Kickstarter with a 1,000 Euros funding target. The Axon V1 board is offered for $16 with a USB cable and access to the Axon IoT platform, while the Axon + LoRa Kit includes the ESP8266 board plus two LoRa modules. Deliveries are scheduled to start in August 2021. As a side note, the “Axon” name is already used in some ZTE phones, as well as TechNexion Axon systems-on-modules, so a future change of name is not impossible.