Trakdot Tracks Your Suitcase in Real-Time with GPS

The Trakdot Luggage tracker is a small device that fits into a bag and reports city location in real time via email to any smartphone, or via SMS to any standard phone.  As long as a your luggage and phone are within mobile networks range, you can track your checked-in luggage anywhere. In case your luggage does not reach its destination (SITA reports 26 million bags are lost every year worldwide), you’ll still know the (approximate) location of your bag via GPS, and should be able to get it back. Once the device is registered on Trakdot.com, and placed inside a checked bag, it will deliver location information directly to the user’s mobile phone or SMS device via text or email.  It’s also possible to directly check the position on the website, or via Trakdot Luggage app. There will also be a separate app that can alert passengers as their […]

Belkin Wemo Light Switch Can Be Controlled by Android Devices

Wemo Wi-Fi-based home automation solution was announced at CES 2012 last year, and included products such as a control switch and a motion control switch, that can detect your presence and only turn on/off the lights or other electrical equipment when needed. At the time however, the only supported platform was iOS. At CES 2013, Belkin has announced a new product with the WeMo Light Switch, an Wi-Fi connected light switch to remotely control wired household lighting from anywhere, and support for Android. The WeMo Light Switch can replace an existing light switch and connects into your home’s existing electrical wiring. Once in place, you can turn a full bank of lights on and off from anywhere, put them on a schedule, or use other WeMo or online triggers to control them through a smartphone or tablet. The WeMo Light Switch is controlled via the same WeMo app as the […]

Le Labo Citoyen Gasser – Raspberry Pi Based High Precision Pollution Monitoring System

“Le Labo Citoyen” is a recently founded French non-profit organization aimed at “promoting and experimenting with innovating and free technologies for the citizens and the environment”.  Their first project is to gather pollution data (NO2, O3, and SO2 levels) in Paris using 2 (soon to be) open source components: Gasser – Self-contained mobile sensor currently powered by the Raspberry Pi ThingStream – Open source IoT datastore which should be similar to iDigi Cloud, except you can just store data in your own server or on “Le Labo Citoyen” servers. Gasser has four main parts: Sensor(s) – Alphasense B4-series sensors (black and red component in the top left of the  main box) with accuracy of up to <10 ppb (parts-per-billion). Cost: ~110 Euros. They currently only use the NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) sensor. ADC & Computer – Raspberry Pi (Cost: ~30 Euros) & Delta-Sigma ADC (Cost: ~30 Euros). Communication Medium – Huawei […]

smARtDUINO Open System Provides a Low Cost Modular Arduino Platform

smARtDUINO is a new platform design by the former ARDUINO’s manufacturer (Update: This claim appears to be incorrect and a lie) composed of several compact modules and is a fully funded project on Kickstarter (Less than 3 days remain to become a sponsor). The platform is not based on a single processor, architecture or language but, makes use of an universal platform that can be used to connect components originally developed from different companies, technologies and form factors. For example, it is possible to integrate modules, accessories or shields from Arduino, Netduino, ChipKit and even interact with smartphone using an ADK module, without having to use a breadboard and/or soldering. Interoperability is made possible thanks to what they call “smARtBUS Open I/O“, which is a standard for connectors designed after looking at existing (Arduino) platforms on the market. The company opted for 2 solutions composed of 2 connectors: smARtBUS BASIC […]

FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory) and Texas Instruments MSP430FR57xx MCUs

I’ve recently received a complementary book entitled “Texas Instruments FRAM MCUs for DUMMIES” sent by Mouser, that provides technical and practical information about FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory) – pronounced F-RAM – and Texas Instruments MSP430FR57xx MCU series which makes use of this relatively new type of memory. FRAM is a non-volatile memory with power and write speed & endurance characteristics that almost matches SRAM capabilities, and leave traditional Flash and EEPROM memory in the dust in terms of performance, as you can see from the table and diagram below. At constant speed, FRAM consumes 250x less than Flash/EEPROM. Please note the FRAM write speed also depends on the MCU used, and a MCU @ 8MHz can write the FRAM @ 1400 kBps (Source: TI). However, you won’t see this type of memory in devices like smartphones anytime soon because the maximum size currently manufactured is 1MB, density is higher […]

Digi Launches XBee-PRO 900HP RF Module With a Range of Up to 45 Km

Digi International has recently announced the XBee-PRO 900HP RF embedded module based on ADF7023 transceiver and Energy Micro Cortex-M3 EFM32G230 MCU @ 28 MHz. The company claims the module supports a line-of-sight range of up to 45 km with a high-gain antenna and data rates of up to 200 Kbps.45 km is not quite enough to communicate in space (100 km), but that’s still a pretty good range. Indoor / urban range is up to 600m. Here are the hardware specifications of XBee-PRO 900HP module: Processors – ADF7023 transceiver and Cortex-M3 EFM32G230 @ 28 MHz Frequency Band – 902 to 928 MHz, software selectable channel mask for interference immunity Antenna Options – Wire, U.FL and RPSMSA RF Data Rate – 10 Kbps or 200 Kbps Indoor/Urban Range – Up to 2000 ft (610 m) Outdoor/ Line-Of-Sight Range – Up to 9 miles (14 km) w/ dipole antenna; Up to 28 […]

ARM TechCon 2012: Software & System Design Schedule

ARM Technology Conference (TechCon) 2012 will take place on October 30 – November 1, 2011, in Santa Clara, and UBM Electronics has already posted the detailed schedule for the event. The first day (October 30) will be Chip Designs day  and the other 2 days will focus on Software & System Design. Even if, like me, you are not be able to go there, it’s still interesting to know what will be discussed at the conference, to have a better idea where ARM is going, and what new technologies and/or development techniques are (or will become) available. There will be around 70 sessions categorized in 15 tracks: Android / Open Source –  Development tools, middleware for native application development, and optimized drivers for Android, Linux, FreeRTOS etc … Compute Platforms – Development and implementation of standards and specifications, from board/module design to consumer and server designs Developing / Debugging – […]

Digi Launches XBee Modules Examples Website To Get Started with IoT Development

Digi International has launches an example section on their website to showcase what can be done with their XBee 805.15.4, ZigBee and WiFi Modules, as well as their IoT gateway. They provide examples to use different type of sensors, control lights, motors, and more. They show demos on the website and explain how each components can be linked together, hooked to computers and connected to the internet. They currently just have a few tutorials only, but plan to add more overtime: Basic XBee 802.15.4 & Zigbee Chat 802.15.4 PWM and Digital Output with an LED 802.15.4 Digital Input with a Button 802.15.4 Analog Input with a Potentiometer Light Switch XBee – A wireless wall switch that can control lamps, fans, motors or your homemade robot The first four examples look good to get started, but the Light Switch XBee is the most interesting, and they describe 8 steps to show […]