GR-LoRa is a Reverse-Engineered Open Source Implementation of LoRa PHY

LPWAN standards such as LoRa or Sigfox allow you to transmit data over long distance, at ultra low power (up to 10 years on a AA battery), and for free if your use your own network (P2P or gateway), or a few dollars per years if you go through a network provider. The low cost is possible since those standards rely on 900 MHz ISM bands, meaning nobody has to pay millions of dollars to the government to obtain a license fee. Matt Knight looked at LoRa, and while Level 2 and 3 of the protocol (LoRaWan) has public documentation, Level 1 (LoRa PHY) is proprietary and the standard is proprietary. So he decided to reverse-engineer LoRa PHY using Microchip RN2903 based LoRa Technology Mote and Ettus B210 USB software defined radio, and software packages and tools such as Python and GNU Radio to successfully deliver GR-LoRa open source “GNU Radio OOT module implementing the LoRa PHY”.  He presented his work …

Fernvale Open Source Hardware IoT Board Based on Mediatek MT6260 SoC with GSM Connectivity

Andrew Huang (Bunnie), an hardware engineer, known for hacking the original XBOX, and more recently for Novena open source laptop, has decided it could be interesting to reverse-engineer Mediatek MT6260 processor, as in China, it’s difficult to get documentation, SDK, and tools if you don’t commit to purchase X chips, where X is a rather large number. He and others also checked whether their work could be open sourced legally, and assert their “fair use” rights to reverse-engineer hardware and firmware. And so Fernvale project was born both as a technical challenge and to make a point. MT6260 is a $3 ARM7EJ-S processor clocked at 364 MHz with 8MB built-in RAM, interfaces such as I2C, SPI, PWM, UART, as well as LCD and touchscheen controller, and audio codec, battery charger, USB,  Bluetooth, and GSM support, which make the $6 Atmel MCU used in Arduino board look expensive. The main differences is that Atmel provides proper documentation to anyone who can …