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Posts Tagged ‘IoT’

SixFab Launches Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 for $31.20

October 20th, 2017 16 comments

Development boards with 4G LTE are still quite expensive, at least compared to 2G or 3G solutions, with for example Wio LTE GPS Tracker board selling for around $100. So when I saw Sixfab introducing a 3G/4G shield for Raspberry Pi 3 for just $31.20 (pre-orders), I first thought it was an incredible deal.

But I soon realized I missed the “base” word in the name, as the shield just includes the SIM card slot, and mPCIe connector where you can connect Quectel’s UC20-G Mini PCle 3G module or EC25 Mini PCle 4G/LTE Module which adds respectively $59 or $89 to the price. That’s still an interesting HAT board, so let’s have a look.

Raspberry Pi 3 + 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield + Quectel EC25-E 4G Module

Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 specifications:

  • Clip-in Mini PCIe socket for:
    • 4G/LTE Module (Quectel EC25) up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink data rates, GPS/GLONASS
    • 3G Module (Quectel UC20) up to 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink, GPS/GLONASS
  • Micro SIM card socket
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Compatible with 40-pin Raspberry Pi header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or external 5V source
  • Dimensions – 65 x 55 mm

The new version improves on the first model for the shield by reducing the area by 25%, removing the need for screws for the cellular module, using a micro SIM card socket on the top of the board, a more efficient power circuit, and removing the DC barrel jack.

While the board is mostly designed to be used with Raspberry Pi 3 board, it can also be used standalone with your computer, laptop, or another development board over the micro USB port. A blog post explains how to make a PPP Internet connection with the shield connected to RPi 3, and you can get supports in their forums.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

PingPong IoT Development Board Supports Cellular Connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox, and More

October 19th, 2017 No comments

Round Solutions, a supplier of products, services and concepts for industrial M2M and IoT markets, has introduced PingPong IoT development board with either Microchip PIC32MZ running an RTOS, or PIC32MZ DA running Linux, and equipped with a Telit modules for either 2G or 3G cellular + GNSS connectivity.

The board can also support WiFi, Bluetooth, ISM/RF, NFC/RFID, LoRa, Sigfox, Iridium satellite, and serial interface thanks to a range of expansion boards.

PingPong IoT board specifications:

  • MCU / Flash
    • RTOS version – Microchip PIC32MZ 32-bit Microcontroller @ 200 MHz, with 512 KB RAM and 2 MB Flash Memory + 4 MB external memory
    • Linux version – Microchip PIC32MZ DA  (Full specs TBA)
  • Connectivity
    • Cellular connectivity
      • Telit xE910 module with 2G, 3G and/or 4G LTE (coming soon)
      • Data
        • GSM/GPRS – Uplink/Downlink: 9.6 kbps
        • UMTS – Downlink: 384 kbps, Uplink: 384 kbps
        • HSPA+ – Downlink: 42.0 Mbps, Uplink: 5.75 Mbps
        • LTE – Download: 100 Mbps, Uplink: 50 Mbps
      • Frequency Bands (MHz) – 1800, 1900, 2100, 850, 900
      • 2x SIM card slots, SIM on chip
      • u.FL antenna connector
    • GNSS
      • Telit SL869 module for GPS, Glonass, and Galileo E1
      • u.FL antenna connector for GPS
    • 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
    • Connectivity stackable expansion boards for
      • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: with webserver on board
      • Satellite communication: Iridium
      • ISM/RF:433MHz/868MHz/915MHz/2.4GHz
      • NFC/RFID: Protocol EPCglobal Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C)
      • Sigfox/LoRa: Ultra low power transmitter
  • Other stackable expansion boards:
    • I/O & Serial Board: 10 digital/10 analog/4 frequencies, RS485, RS232
    • Still image and video camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • I/Os
    • 2x connectors for stackable extension boards with UART, SPI, CAN, I²C
    • 1x CAN interface, 2x analog inputs, 4x 3-state logic inputs, 4x NMOSFET outputs, 1-wire interface
    • 2x current measurement inputs (24-bit resolution)
  • Sensors – Magnetometer, accelerometer
  • Power Supply – 9 to 60V DC
  • Dimensions – 85 x 52 x 23 mm
  • Temperature Range – -40 C to +85 C (industrial grade)
  • Certification CE

 

The RTOS version uses C/C++ and Python and comes with a USB CDC bootloader, while the Linux version is more versatile with support for Open VPN, IPSEC tunnels for example for IoT gateway / router functionality. The source code is available for both operating system, and the company can also provide ready-made software packages for remote metering, asset tracking, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth gateway, MODbus over TCP, or MODbus RS485.

The board is also compatible with MPLAB Harmony, and can connect to Cumulocity IoT Cloud Platform or Telit m2mAIR Cloud out of the box.

The Linux & 4G versions of the board still appear to be in development, but PingPong IoT 3G/RTOS board is available now, starting at 197 Euros with the board only, and up to 445 Euros with the WiFi/Bluetooth, and RF/ISM add-on boards.

Samsung IoT Security News – ARTIK Secure IoT Modules, SmartThings Cloud, and Secure Element

October 19th, 2017 No comments

Samsung has made several announcements with IoT, especially IoT security. First, Samsung ARTIK 053, ARTIK 530 and ARTIK 710 modules are getting an “s” version, which stands for “robust security”, as well as a new ARTIK 055s module, and all ARTIK modules can now work with SmartThings Cloud uniting the company’s existing services – ARTIK Cloud and Samsung Connect Cloud – into a single IoT platform.

Separately, the company announced their Secure Element solution which combines eFlash memory and new security software.

Samsung ARTIK “s” modules & ARTIK 055s

The company explains in their blog that ARTIK 053s, 530s, 710s, and the all new 055s will feature “advanced protection, integrated cloud services, and hosted security services with “enhanced ARTIK end-to-end security by providing greater protection for IoT data as well as prevention against hacking”.

The press release is a little more specific:

ARTIK secure IoT modules provide a strong root of trust from device-to-cloud with a factory-injected unique ID and keys stored in tamper-resistant hardware. Samsung’s public key infrastructure (PKI) enables mutual authentication to the cloud to identify each device on the network and support whitelisting. Customers can use the new Secure Boot feature and code signing portal to validate software authenticity on start-up. In addition, the secure IoT modules provide a hardware-protected Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) with a secure operating system and security library to process, store, and manage sensitive resources, including keys and tokens on devices. Information is protected using FIPS 140-2 data encryption and secure data storage.

The product briefs somewhat help us better understand what has changed with the “s” version.

Click to Enlarge

So it appears the modules were previously secured with a “Secure Element”, and now the company has added KMS and secure boot support to the “s” version, as well as TEE to the more powerful ARTIK 530s and 710s modules. The company claims there will no increase in price for the (more) secure modules.

Samsung ARTIK 055s Smart IoT module (pictured above) is similar to ARTIK 053(s), but is quite smaller, and works at 3.3VDC, instead of the 5-12VDC. ARTIK 055s specifications with highlights in bold showing differences with ARTIK 053:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex R4 @ 320MHz with 1280 KB RAM for general use, 128 KB RAM for global IPC data
  • Storage – 8 MB flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz
  • Expansion – 29 dedicated GPIO ports, 2x SPI, 4x UART (2-pin), 4x ADC, 1x JTAG, 2x I2C
  • Security – AES/DES/TDES, SHA-1/SHA-2, PKA (Public Key Accelerator), PRNG/DTRNG (Random Number Generators), Secure key storage, Physical Unclonable Function (PUF)
  • Power Supply – 3.3 VDC input voltage
  • Dimensions – 26 x 15 x 3 mm
  • Temperature Range – -20 to 85°C
  • Certifications – FCC (U.S), IC (Canada), CE (EU), KC (Korea), SRRC (China)

The documentation does not list any hardware differences with regards to security, but Tizen RT OS adds secure firmware and JTAG protection for 055s and 053s.

Samsung Tizen RT OS – Click to Enlarge

In other news, Samsung ARTIK 530(s), ARTIK 710(s), and future Linux based ARTIK modules will now default to Ubuntu 16.04, instead of Fedora used so far.

Samsung Secure Element

We’ve just seen older ARTIK modules included a “Secure Element”, but Samsung has just added to confusion by introducing an “integrated Secure Element (SE) solution for Internet of Things (IoT) applications that offers a turn-key service for both hardware and software needs”.

The SE includes an embedded flash (eFlash) and will stop and reset itself whenever it detects abnormal activity. The solution also comes with security software that supports personal verification, security key storage, encoding and decoding, and secure data transfer between devices servers and clouds.

The SE and developer board are showcased at the Samsung Developer Conference, but that’s all the information I have so far, as I could not find any info about Secure Element or W1650 chip on Samsung website.

Telegea Smart Hub DIN Rail IoT Gateway is Powered by Raspberry Pi CM3 Module

October 17th, 2017 8 comments

DEK Italia has recently introduced Telegea Smart Hub, an IoT gateway based on Raspberry Pi Computer Module 3 (CM3) with Ethernet, WiFi, RS232/485 ports, and various other I/O ports, that can leverage Raspberry Pi software ecosystem.

The company explains the device is mainly targeted at DIY home automation applications as a smart home controller which runs open source smart home software like OpenHAB and Home Assistant, but it can also be used for many other IoT applications.

Click to Enlarge

Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, 256 byte EEPROM
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet port, optional Wifi 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz
  • Serial – RS485 serial port, RS232 serial debug port
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion
    • 6xdigital inputs via screw terminals (for dry contacts or S0 interface)
    • 4x analog inputs (0-5V) via screw terminals
    • Dallas 1-wire bus via screw terminals
    • 1x RJ14 connector for I2C bus peripherals
    • 1x XBee module compatible connector for ZigBee and other RF modules
    • 3x expansion headers with additional GPIO, SPI and I2C bus connections
  • Sensor –  SHT21 temperature and humidity sensor
  • Debugging / Programing – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – RTC with integrated battery, user button, user LED
  • Power supply – 5VDC via micro USB connector;  24V DC / 24V AC via screw terminals
  • Dimensions – 155 x 86 mm

The gateway supports a customized version of Raspbian Jessie Lite with Linux kernel 4.9.x and later. The changes to Raspbian include enablement of clock generation for integrated Ethernet bridge on GPIO pin, UART ports for RS485 connector and serial debug port, drivers for RTC/ADC/EEPROM/ I2C relay card,  configuration of the 1-wire bus on screw terminals, and installation of GPIO handling command line tools and Zulu Embedded OpenJDK VM. You’ll find source code, hardware and software documentation on Github, and get support on Telegea Google Groups.

Click to Enlarge

The boards has been designed to fit into a commercial Camdenboss CNMB/9 DIN rail enclosure as shown above, in which case the model is called TSH-CM R3B0.

Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 board is sold on eBay without the Raspberry Pi module for 179.00 Euros, while the TSH-CM R3B0 modle with DIN rail enclosure and RPi CM3 module goes for 219.00 Euros. The complete kit is also sold on Tindie for $249.99. Visit the product page for more information.

Getting Started with MicroPython on ESP32 – Hello World, GPIO, and WiFi

October 16th, 2017 12 comments

I’ve been playing with several ESP32 boards over the months, and tried several firmware images. I started with a tutorial for Arduino Core on ESP32, a few month later I tested ESP32 JavaScript programming with Espruino on ESPino32 board, and recently Espressif Systems sent me ESP32 PICO core development board powered by their ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP, and while I took some pretty photos, I had not used it so far.

So I decided to go with yet another firmware, and this time, I played with MicroPython on ESP32, and will report my experience with basic commands, controlling GPIOs, and WiFi in this getting started post.

Flashing Micropython Firmware to ESP32 Board

Source code is available on Github, as a fork of MicroPython repo as ESP32 support has not been upstreamed yet. We could built the firmware from source, but there’s also a pre-built binary which you can download on MicroPython website.

I’ll be using Ubuntu 16.04 for the instructions, which should be pretty similar for other Linux distributions, especially the ones based on Debian, and if you’re using Windows 10, you should be able to follow the same instructions after installing Windows Subsystem for Linux with Ubuntu on your computer.

Let’s open a terminal, to download the firmware (October 14):

If you have not done so already, install the latest version of esptool:

Now connect the board via a micro USB to USB cable to your computer. The log should like like:

In my case, the device is ttyUSB0, but it may vary depending on the board used. We can now erase the flash, and copy the firmware to the board:

If the last step is successfull,  the output should be similar to the one below:

As a side note, version 2.1 of esptool does not know about ESP32-PICO-D4, but it can still detect an ESP32 device, and the update went through normally.

Hello World Sample / Boot Log with MicroPython

We can test the firmware, by connecting to the board using minicom, screen, putty, or whatever software you feel most comfortable with. I went with minicom, setup a connection to /dev/ttyUSB0 device with 115200 bps baudrate. I immediately tested the print function, and made an hard reset to check out the boot log:

The reset command will first generate some errors message, before rebooting the board:

We can type help function to get some more help:

I also often refered to MicroPython 1.9.2 documentation to write this quick start guide.

LED Blink Sample with MicroPython

The easiest way to test GPIOs is to connect an LED, since the board does not have user LED, only the power lED. I connected a 5V LED to pin 21 via a transistor to make the 3.3V to 5V conversion.

Controlling the LED in the command line interface is easy. Import the machine library, set the pin to output, and change the pin level as needed:

Success! But what about doing a proper blink sample? MicroPython developers’ official PyBoard would show as a USB mass storage drive in you computer, where can copy Python files like boot.py and main.py files, but in the case of ESP32 PICO core, it appears the only option is to use the serial console for programming, as we can’t simply copy files to the board from the host computer.

I  found a solution on Techtutorialsx – which also has plenty of articles about MicroPython on ESP32/ESP8266. We need ampy script that can be install from our Linux terminal:

However, the first time I tried it I got an error:

I installed files module, but the error remained. So instead I installed it for Python 3:

I then created blink.py on my computer to blink the LED every 500 ms:

Before uploading the file to the board, you can try to run it as follow:

If you have plenty of errors here, that’s probably because your code is incorrect. Since I’m not very familiar with Python, it happened to me a couple of times, until I got the code right, and the LED was blinking as expected.

Now that we’ve made sure the code works, we can now copy our sample to the board…

… reconnect to the serial console, and verify the file is there:

To run the program type the following:

The LED should blink again. You can interrupt the program with Ctrl+C, and if you want to soft reset the board, press Ctrl+D.

In order to automatically start the blink program at each boot, rename blink.py to main.py, delete blink.py, and copy main.py instead:

Power cycle the board, and the LED should start blinking almost immediately.

ESP32 WiFi with MicroPython (Station and AP modes)

We’ve got GPIOs working, but one of the most important feature of ESP32 is obvisouly WiFi. I’ll start by configuring the board in station mode. First import the network library, set the board to station mode, and scan access points:

The latter should return a list of access points with ssid, bssid, channel, RSSI, authmode, and hidden status as explained here.

I can then connect the board to one of the access points with:

The log above with IP address should give  a clue, but you can check connection status with the following function:

and use ifconfig to get the IP info:

Switching to AP mode is easy with the three commands below configuring the board with ESP32-PICO-CNX SSID:

At this stage I can see ESP32-PICO-CNX on my phone, but it’s an open connection. We can change that with authmode option that can take 5 values:

  • 0 – open
  • 1 – WEP
  • 2 – WPA-PSK
  • 3 – WPA2-PSK
  • 4 – WPA/WPA2-PSK

I’ll use WPA2-PSK and define the password with the config function.

Working as planned…

ESP32 Web Server with Micropython

Many ESP32 project will require a web interface for monitoring or configuration. Let’s first setup the board as an access point using the command we’ve used above:

Now create webserver.py file based on Python code found here that’s supposed to return the status of some GPIO pins in an HTML table:

Copy the file to the board:

Start the serial console again, import/run the python sample we’ve copied, and connect to the board (in my case http://192.168.4.1):

 

It works as expected, but we wrote the HTML code inside the Python file, and you need to handle socket programming by yourself. To further simply the task, some MicroPython web servers such as MicroWebSrv, and Picoweb are available.

MicroWebSrv (Not working yet for me)

I tried to install MicroWebSrv first, but never managed to make it work. I still reproduce the step I followed in case somebody finds out what I did wrong. I got the code, and copied files from the Linux terminal:

We can check the files are where they are supposed to be:

Go into the terminal (aka REPL console) to start a basic example, after setting up a connection:

I could connect to the server, but I would always get 404 error.

PicoWeb

So instead I switched to picoweb, adapting the instructions here and there. It’s very easy to install.  First make sure you have a working Internet connection in your board (i.e. set station mode), and install the web server with upip:

That’s the output if everything goes according to plans:

Now let’s go back to the host computer to create an html document, for example index.html:

as well as picowebtest.py sample file that will request the HTML page from the board, and return it to the client.

You’ll need to change “192.168.0.108” by the IP address of your board.

Let’s copy both files to the board…

… go back to the serial console, connect in station mode, and run the sample:

Type or copy/paste the URL in the last line into a web browser, and you should get the output below.

ESP32 Bluetooth with MicroPython

There’s no Bluetooth support in the official MicroPython documentation, because it’s work in progress, and for the most adventurous MrSulry released an alpha version  a few days ago. The Bluetooth API is also in flux, but the basic code to enable Bluetooth should look like:

I’ll update that section once Bluetooth makes it to the stable release, and/or when I’m sure the API is frozen.

Other ESP32 (Micro)Python Resources

I’ve just covered a few things that can be done with MicroPyhon on ESP32, and beside the official documentation, you can also check the various MicroPython ESP32 tutoral on techtutorialsx blog. Loboris also made another MicroPython ESP32 firmware that supports pSRAM as MicroPython may use a lot of RAM. If you’re interested in Python for ESP32, but Zerynth is another option for Python on ESP32 that works with an IDE/GUI available for Windows, Linux and MAC OS X. [Update: Yet other options are Pumbaa a port of MicroPython running on top of Simba, and Pycom version of MicroPython]

This TTGO Board Combines ESP32, LoRa Radio, and OLED Display for just $10

October 13th, 2017 12 comments

Just one year ago, it would cost around $15 to $20+ to get an ESP32 board, that is if you were lucky/fast enough to order one one before it went out of stock. Since then, availability is no longer an issue, and you now can get an ESP32 development board for as low as about $7, or even around $4 during promotions.

Today, I was made aware of another board sold under the “TTGO” brand, that includes not only ESP32 WiFi and Bluetooth SoC, but also a (433 MHz) LoRa radio, and an OLED display. Price? Just $10 plus shipping ($1.75 here).

Battery not Included – Click to Enlarge

TTGO ESP32/LoRa board specifications:

  • WiSoC – Espressif ESP32
  • Storage – 32MB on-board flash (or maybe just 16MB?)
  • LoRa
    • Semtech SX1278 with u.FL connector + 433MHz antenna (N.B.: Antenna must be connected during use or the Semtech chip could be damaged)
    • Sensitivity” ~ -148dBm; output power: +20dBm
  • Display – 0.96″ blue OLED display
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging (CP2102) and power
  • Expansion – 2x 18-pin headers with GPIOs, UART, ADC, Touch, SPI, power signals… (See pinout diagram)
  • Misc – Charging Status LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin battery header, 5V Pin. (Operating voltage: 3.3V to 7V)

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE after downloading and installing the TTGO folder in arduino/hardware. After selecting “WiFi_LoRa_32” board, you should be able to load various samples to play with the board.

Click to Enlarge

The board is sold with a 433MHz antenna, and two male headers. You’ll save a little bit on shipping if you purchase two kits instead.  The board can also be found on eBay and Banggood.

Thanks to Mpampis for the tip.

Industrial Shields Industrial Panel PCs are Based on Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, or HummingBoard

October 10th, 2017 4 comments

Boot&Work Corp., S.L. is a company based in Catalonia that sells industrial automation electronic devices under “Industrial Shields” brand. What makes their product noticeable is that they all appear to be based on maker boards such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

The company offers various Arduino based PLC modules with or without Ethernet that can be controlled with 10.1″ industrial grade panel PCs based on ARM Linux development boards.

Click to Enlarge

Currently three sub-families are available:

  • HummTOUCH powered by Solidrun HummingBoard-i2 NXP i.MX 6Dual Lite board
  • BANANATOUCH with either Banana Pi M64 (Allwinner A64 quad core Cortex A53) or Banana Pi M3 (Allwinner A83T octa core Cortex A7)
  • TOUCHBERRY with Raspberry Pi model B or Raspberry Pi 3 model B

Beside the different processors, the 10.1″ Panel PCs share some of the same specifications:

Industrial Shields Arduino PLC – Click to Enlarge

  • Display – 10.1″ resistive multitouch LVDS, 315 nits, 170° viewing angle, 1280×720 resolution
  • Video Input – MIPI CSI connector (HummTouch only)
  • System Memory – 512MB to
    • HummTOUCH – 1 GB RAM
    • BANANATOUCH – 2GB RAM
    • BERRYTOUCH – 512MB RAM or 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage
    • All – micro SD slot
    • BANANATOUCH – 8GB eMMC flash (16, 32, 64 GB optional)
  • Connectivity
    • Fast or Gigabit Ethernet depending on model
    • BANANATOUCH and BERRYTOUCH 3 – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x to 3x USB ports
  • I/O Expansion – 8x GPIO, SPI, I2C, UART
  • Power Supply – 12V DC; supports 7 – 18V DC input up to 1.5A
  • Dimensions – 325.5 x 195.6 x 95 mm
  • Compliance – CE

The user manual lists further details about environmental conditions, for example for HummTOUCH models:

  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 45°C; storage: -20 to 60 C
  • Humidity – 10% to 90% (no condensation)
  • Ambient Environment – With no corrosive gas
  • Shock resistance – 80m/s2 in the X, Y and Z direction 2 times each.

There’s no information about Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, so it’s safe to assume those have not been tested for dust- and waterproofness.

Back of BANANATOUCH M3 Panel PC

The company also have smaller 3.5″ and 3.7″ model based on Raspberry Pi 3 board only. HummTOUCH models are available with either Linux or Android, BANANATOUCH and BERRYTOUCH models are only sold with Linux (Raspbian),  but Ubuntu, Android and Windows 10 IoT are options if they are supported by the respective board.

The 10.1″ panel PCs are sold for 375 to 460 Euros, and the Arduino based PLCs start at 135 Euros. Documentation and purchase links can all be found on Industrial Shields website.

Hologram Unveils Nova 3G USB Dongle and Python SDK; 200 Raspberry Pi Zero W Kits Given Away to Developers

October 6th, 2017 No comments

This summer I discovered Hologram global cellular IoT SIM card, and since they provided free developer samples with 2MB of monthly data includes, I decided to get one to try it out. I received it a few weeks later, and to my surprise it worked, despite my country of residence having some strict requirements with regards to SIM card registration. The SIM card uses roaming, but with a low fixed worldwide pricing, and does not come with a phone number by default, so maybe that’s why I did not have to register.

The company is now back with Nova, an open source hardware cellular modem certified by OSHWA (ID #US000077). It’s basically 2G/3G USB dongle that’s controlled by Hologram Python SDK, specifically suited to Debian systems like Raspberry Pi 3 or BeagleBone Black. Hackster.io is also involved in the launch with a worldwide contest offering 200 free kits comprised of Nova 3G USB dongle and Raspberry Pi Zero W board for the best project ideas leveraging cellular IoT.

Nova will eventually come in three versions

  • 3G (in production now) – Ublox Sara-U201 module;  Global 3G/2G GSM;  GPRS/GSM/UMTS/HSPA: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz;
  • Cat-M1 (November 2017) – Ublox Sara-R404M module; USA LTE Cat M-1; FDD: 13 (Verizon)
  • Cat-M1/NB1 (Q1 2018) – Ublox Sara-R410M-02B module; Global LTE Cat M-1+ NB; FDD: 1,2,3,4,5,8,12,13,17,18,19,20,25,26,28

All should have the same other interfaces and other specs:

 

  • u.FL Antenna Connector
  • Nano SIM card holder
  • UART GPIO Pads
  • USB Serial
  • Network Status LED; Power LED
  • Fully end certified (FCC, PTCRB, CE, and AT&T)
  • Dimensions – 46mm x 19mm x 6mm (Plugged in PCB);  71mm x 23mm x 9mm (w/ case)
  • Weight – 8 grams

The hardware kit includes the dongle, Hologram global IoT SIM card, a transparent enclosure, 2 Quad-band flexible u.FL antennas, and access to Hologram Developer Tools for modem and data management.

 

The dongle can be controlled using Hologram client tool, or Hologram Python SDK requiring ppp and Python 2.7 packages, and will allow you to send SMS, setup data connection, and more. Any SIM card should work, and it’s not tied to Hologram SIM card. While the company claims OSHWA certifications, the number US000077 is not present (empty line) in the OSHWA certification list yet, and so far, they’ve only released the PDF schematics. However, Python SDK is fully open source and released under an MIT license on Github.

More details can be found in the product page, and Nova 3G kit can be purchased now for $49.

But as mentioned in the introduction, if you have a great project idea, you could also get the kit for free, and possibly another “grand prize” (Apple Watch Series 3)once the project is completed. The contest is opened worldwide (except to US sanctioned countries) with the following timeline:

  • Submit your proposal by October 27, 2017
  • Best project ideas will be selected, and be sent their kit within around 14 days
  • Build and submit your project to Hackster.io by January 5, 2018
  • 8 Grand Prize winners will be announced on January 8, 2018 for four categories: gateway, asset tracking, remote controlling, and remote monitoring.

There are already 135 participants. Good luck!