SiLabs Wireless Gecko SoCs Support Bluetooth 4.2, Zigbee, Thread, and 2.4GHz Proprietary Protocols

Silicon Labs has introduced three new Wireless SoC families with Blue Gecko for Bluetooth Smart, Mighty Gecko for Thread & Zigbee, and Flex Gecko for proprietary 2.4 GHz protocols. All three families provides up to 19.5 dBm output power & hardware cryptography, and are pin-to-pin and software compatible. SiLabs Wireless Gecko SoC highlights: MCU Core – ARM Cortex-M4 @ 40 MHz with FPU, up to 256 KB flash, and up to 32KB SRAM. Mighty Gecko also adds a DSP Peripherals AES256/128 Hardware Crypto Accelerator ADC (12-bit, 1 Msps, 286 µA) Current DAC (4-bit, Current Source or Sink) 2x Analog Comparator Low Energy UART 2x USART (UART, SPI, IrDA, I2S) I2C (Address recognition down to EM3) Timers : RTCC, LE Timer & Pulse Counter 12-channel Peripheral Reflex System Up to 31 GPIO EFR32BG Blue Gecko Family Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth Low Energy or “BLE”) 4.2 specification as well as proprietary wireless protocols Supported by Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth Smart software stack and BGScript …

WAVIoT LPWAN Technology Powers Low Cost Smart Water and Electricity Meters

With the rise of IoT and M2M applications, more and more Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) standards have been launched or being worked on, such as Sigfox, LoRa, 802.11ah “Hallow”, Weightless, etc… with all promising long range, low power consumption, and support for a high number of nodes. WAVIoT, a US startup founded in 2011, has decided to create its own solution called WAVIoT Nb-Fi (Narrowband Fidelity) that works in ISM bands, offers up to 50km line-of-sight range, supports up to 2 million nodes by gateway, lasts over 20 years on a small battery, and with WAVIoT said to cost as low as $2 per node. The technology is already available in smart electricity and water meters, and modules as shown in the picture below. Here are some of WAVIoT Nb-Fi technical specifications: DBPSK on physical layer of signal transmission; End-nodes transmit radio signal in 10-500 kHz bandwidth Minimum bit rate of 50 baud+ (8-10 bits per second) Link …

SMA-Q Smartwatch Mini Review and Teardown

I had great hopes for SMA-Q smartwatch, as it features an always on color e-Paper display, a built-in heart rate monitor, and promised 30-day standby battery life, as well as being 30-meter water resistant. But last week, I found out that the latter did not mean waterproof, and instead the watch was rated IP65 that’s only good enough to wash hands and a little rain, but not showering let alone swimming. In the last week, I could play with the watch, and found some serious Bluetooth connectivity issues (with Iocean M6752 smartphone), and I was recommended to upgrade the firmware of SMA-Q watch, and after that my Bluetooth issue have somewhat improve, but everything pretty much went downhill, and the watch is now out of order, and shows no sign of life. So while I was expecting to write a full review, I’ll simply report with experience with the watch and SMALife app, before tearing it down to see how …

Weightless Development Kits are Finally Available (Sort of)

The first version of the Weightless standard aiming at lowering cost of IoT communications was published in 2013, but so far development kits were nowhere to be found. Nwave has now launched a Weightless-N SDK using sub-GHz spectrum, but not the white space spectrum used by Weightless-W, probably due to regulatory hurdles. Specifications and features of Nwave development board: MCU – Silicon Labs EFM32G210F128 ARM Cortex M3 MCU @ 32 MHz with 128KB flash, 16KB SRAM Connectivity – RM3 radio module (868MHz) and antenna connector (X3) USB – X1 USB port for connection to PC or UART interface, X2 micro USB port Debugging – UART, and 10-pin JTAG connector (X4) Expansion header – 16 through holes for GND, 3.3V, GPIOs, ADC, Timers output, I2C, etc… (X5) Misc – Three Jumpers for UART and other selections (TBD), reset buttons for USB ports? Power – 5V via USB ? Dimensions – N/A I could not find any details about RM3 radio module, …

Engimusing DIY Home Automation Modules Are Managed with openHAB installed on ODROID-C1 Board (Crowdfunding)

Engimusing has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for their home automation solutions comprised of tiny modules (20x20mm) based on Silicon Labs Gecko EFM32 MCUs, some sensor modules and a server based on ODROID-C1 board and enclosure pre-installed and configured with openHAB open source home automation software. There are not that many technical details about the EFM32 modules, but they come into two variants: standalone & DF11-10 I/O, the latter allowing you to vertically stack multiple modules. This video shows how DF11-10 IO connectors work. The modules are said to be programmable with the Arduino IDE. The openHAB server is a standard ODROID-C1 board (Amlogic S805, 1GB RAM) with 4GB flash (eMMC or micro SD), and a black enclosure. If you value your money more than your time, and/or already have another computer or board (Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black…) that runs Linux, you could also install and configure openHAB by yourself. The company is trying to raise a lowly $5,000, …

Webee Boss is Both an Android TV Box and an Home Automation Gateway (Crowdfunding)

Lots of Android TV Boxes and HDMI dongles have hit the market last year, and low cost home automation systems have been launched, or are in development, such as Ninja Sphere. Webee Boss combines both to make your TV and your Home smart, as part of the Webee home automation platform, also composed of “Bees” (Smart Plug, Smart Lamp Holder, Smart Host, Presence Tag, Open/Closed sensors, etc…), Hive m3 development board, and an Android app. Webee Boss specifications: SoC – ARM Cortex A9 Microprocessor @ 800MHz System Memory – 1 GB RAM Storage – 2 GB NAND Flash, micro SD card slot up to 32GB Connectivity 10/100M Ethernet 802.11 b/g/n WiFi IEEE 802.15.4 – ZigBee. Mesh networking. Home Automation profile. Z-Wave. Mesh networking. Home Automation standards compatible in most countries. Wireless Range – Outdoor: 45 to 90 meters, Indoor 45 – 60 meters Video Output – HDMI 1.3 (up to 1080p) USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports Power supply …

Silicon Labs Unveils EFM32 Zero Gecko MCU Family Based on ARM Cortex M0+

Silicon Labs, who bought Energy Micro earlier this year, has recently introduced a new family of 32-bit MCU based on ARM Cortex M0+ called EFM32 Zero Gecko, as well as the corresponding starter kit. These ultra low power MCUs (currently 16 products) are destined to be used in  IoT applications such as mobile health and fitness products, smart watches, activity trackers, smart meters, security systems and wireless sensor nodes, as well as battery-less systems powered by harvested energy. The key features of this family include: ARM Cortex-M0+ core @ 24 MHz 4kb to 32 kB flash and 2kb to 4 kB RAM memory 17 to 37 GPIO Single 1.85–3.8 V power supply 5 Power modes Hardware AES (Some models only) -40° to 85 °C operation range Package options: QFN24, QFN32 and QFN48 EFM32ZG222F32, the Zero Gecko MCU with the most memory and features, has the following specifications: ARM Cortex-M0+ CPU platform @ up to 24 MHz with Wake-up Interrupt Controller …

Energy Micro Launches EFM32 Wonder Gecko Cortex M4 MCUs and Starter Kit

After having announced EFM32 Wonder Gecko MCU family in February, Energy Micro has just officially launched their new family of high performance, low power MCUs. These micro-controllers come with an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU with floating-point unit (FPU) and DSP instruction set that helps reduce the processing time of your application in active mode. All MCUs come with 32KB SRAM, and between 64 to 256KB flash. Energy Micro expects their new chips to be used in applications such as gas metering, energy metering, water metering, smart metering, alarm and security systems, health and fitness applications, and industrial and home automation. One key advantage of this new MCU family is the implementation of TSMC’s eLL (Extreme Low Leakage) technology that dramatically reduces power consumption at high temperatures. There top of range MCUs (EFM32WG995FXXX) feature the following specifications: ARM Cortex-M4 CPU platform @ up to 48 MHz with DSP instruction support and floating-point unit, and memory protection unit Memory – 32KB RAM, 64/128/256KB …