IoT category

Low-cost USB dongle for wireless designs

Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 USB Dongle is a small wireless hardware device with nRF connect for the desktop based on the nRF52840 System-on-Chip (SoC). The nRF52840 dongle provides support for programming the device and communication through USB. This dongle incorporates user programmable RGB LED, user programmable button, and 15 General Purpose Input / Output (GPIO) accessible from castellated solder points along the edge. The nRF52840 dongle is updatable through USB Device Firmware Update (DFU). This dongle is suitable for Bluetooth® low energy (BLE), Bluetooth mesh, Thread, ZigBee, ANT, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using nRF52840.


  • Small and low-cost USB dongle
  • Supports BLE, Thread, ZigBee, 802.15.4, ANT, and 2.4GHz
  • 15 GPIO and interfaces available on castellated edge soldering points
  • 1 programmable RGB LED
  • 1 programmable green LED
  • 1 programmable button
  • Updatable through USB DFU


A secure AI and Edge IoT platform at Mouser

Distributor Mouser Electronics is now shipping the QueSSence Intelligent Connected Platform from Redpine Signals. The ultra-low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence (AI) application development platform consists of hardware, software and secure cloud technologies. [via]

Based on a low-power Arm Cortex-M4 processor with a floating point unit (FPU) and an AI accelerator, the platform features large computation capacity required by AI algorithms. The QueSSence platform’s 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope enables engineers to easily integrate sensor data, and with 400 Kbytes of RAM and up to 4 Mbytes of dedicated flash memory, the platform can store up to 25,000 sensor values. Support for voice activity detection (VAD) and up to eight capacitive touch sensor inputs enable AI applications that incorporate voice and touch interfaces. QueSSence can serve a wide range of IoT applications through certified support for multiple wireless protocols, including 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual-mode Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4 (capable of running Thread or Zigbee), and 802.11ah. The platform offers multiple levels of security, including physically unclonable function (PUF), crypto hardware accelerators, and secure bootloader to create a highly secure system.

Mouser Electronics –

Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress Modules help develop and run IoT applications in one day

Silicon Labs' Wireless Xpress helps developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary.
Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress helps developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary.

Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) offers a new Wireless Xpress solution to help developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary. Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress provides a configuration-based development experience with everything developers need including certified Bluetooth® 5 Low Energy (LE) and Wi-Fi® modules, integrated protocol stacks and easy-to-use tools.

“By using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Wireless Xpress, developers can move from product concept to prototyping in a matter of hours instead of weeks,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “Wireless Xpress greatly reduces the design learning curve without compromising sophisticated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi functionality. Developers will spend less time learning how to add wireless connectivity to their IoT devices and more time designing innovative, distinctive products and getting them to market ahead of the competition.”

With on-board wireless stacks controlled through a high-level Xpress Command API for setup and control, Wireless Xpress devices require only modest resources from a host processor, enabling developers to add wireless connectivity to any microcontroller (MCU).

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi IoT products based on Wireless Xpress can be remotely managed and updated over the air (OTA) using native device management features. With Silicon Labs’ Zentri device management service (DMS), end users can easily install and update firmware, view real-time device health metrics and adjust product settings through mobile apps.

To ease the complexity of adding Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile applications, Wireless Xpress includes a mobile app SDK for Android and iOS. The mobile app framework comprises examples and libraries and offers simple communications and OTA APIs to accelerate app development and simplify wireless design for mobile platforms.

Wireless Xpress takes advantage of Silicon Labs’ Gecko OS, an intuitive, simple-to-use IoT operating system that accelerates the development of market-ready connected products. Silicon Labs plans to offer additional Gecko OS-based products and solutions in the future.

Sensything Provides Sensors, Processing, and Wireless on a Single Board

Multi-sensor data acquisition, processing, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth communication in a single, open source board. Sense anything.

Sensything is an open source, high-resolution (24-bit), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled sensor interface platform that supports multiple sensor readings. In most cases, it offers a single-board, single-platform solution for acquiring and logging multiple sensor readings that can be seen/sent through an Android app, an IoT or analytics platform, or over an ordinary USB connection.

Sensything is based on the popular ESP32 SoC for IoT applications and includes the ADS1220 24-bit ADC that provides low-noise data acquisition. It provides all the accompanying components, including a Li-ion battery and an on-board,low-noise, five volt power source for reliable low-noise performance. Additionally, extra GPIO pins and support for Sparkfun’s Qwiic connector standard makes multi-modal sensor data fusion and recording easy.

The project is live on Crowdsupply and has 36 days to go.

Estimote LTE Beacons Developer Kits

Estimote LTE Beacon – A Union Between Indoor and Outdoor Tracking For Asset Management

Beacons which became popular back in 2013 when Apple introduced the iBeacon, are Bluetooth powered devices. They promised so many applications and created hype around the business world, that was believed to be the next big technology seeing applications in several industries from retail, movies, security and to the advertising industry. I even wrote a piece about how beacons can be used for smart transportations in developing countries. Beacons opened up a new world for precise indoor tracking, targeted advertisement, customer awareness, better feedback and so much. It was the jewel for every developer and business, especially retails.

The launch of iBeacons and other similar beacon frameworks like the Eddystone from Google gave birth to new technology companies like Estimote. Fast forward to today, beacons have unfortunately not lived up to the hype promised facing stiff challenges regarding regulation, privacy, and others. But this is changing now has beacons are beginning to find a new home in the enterprises “where the money has always been.”

Estimote, one of the early beacon companies has heavily invested in their beacon platform making them one of the major beacon provider in the world. Estimote believes the physical computing will be the future.

Developers of tomorrow will use the physical world as their canvas. The precise location of people and objects will be accessed programmatically and apps will be “installed” on places. To make this happen we are working on an Operating System for the physical world: a software environment where developers will be able to quickly build apps for one location and run the same experience on many.

Estimote LTE Beacons For Indoor Tracking and Outdoor Tracking
Estimote LTE Beacons

Estimote is hoping to push the frontier in beacons, internet of things, location tracking with the launch of their new product called the “Estimote LTE Beacon.” Built around emerging IoT technologies (LTE M1 and NB-IoT), BLE and GPS connectivity, these beacons promise the best of both indoor and outdoor tracking.

The LTE Beacon is a small, wireless beacon that can compute its precise indoor location as found in other beacons as well as its outdoor position. Beacons have traditionally been used for only indoor tracking, and when taken outdoor, they get lost in the wild. The LTE beacons can talk directly to the cloud without needing any intermediary device and claimed to last a couple of years on a single battery charge.

The Estimote LTE beacons are designed entirely for asset tracking, moving cargos, parts, goods and so much more. They can locate assets when they move between indoor and outdoor environments giving administrators and managers the ability to provide an actual “proof of location” and “proof of delivery.” The device supports javascript so that you can deploy micro-apps on them through the Estimote Cloud.

At the heart of the beacon is a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 CPU running at 64 MHz with onboard 1MB flash, 256KB RAM providing support for OTA firmware updates. Security is taken seriously through the addition of an ARM CryptoCell co-processor with a full AES 128-bit suite as well as a true random number generator for total entropy and asymmetric/symmetric hashing cryptographic services. The beacons support Bluetooth 5.0 using a 2.4GHz radio. It also provides support for Thread and ANT and an additional amplifier extends its range to about 200m for indoor advertising.

Estimote LTE Beacons Breakdown

Satellite position is possible through the use of an undisclosed receiver that supports GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, and QZSS. The peak data upload speed of the LTE modem to the cloud is 375 KBps for LTE-M and 60 KBps for NB-IoT. The modem supports eDRX and PSM sleep cycles to reduce power consumption

Some other features of the device:

  • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery lasting two years on default settings
  • USB-C compatible with USB 2.0 for fast charging
  • NFC-A programmable tag supporting NFC Type 2 and Type 4
  • 3-axis accelerometer & temperature sensor
  • Programmable push button.
  • Programmable RGB LEDs
  • Integrated ultra-strong adhesive layer
  • Mounting hole for industrial deployments
Estimote LTE Beacons Developer Kits
Estimote LTE Beacons Developer Kits

I believe the Estimote LTE Beacons will change the face of asset management and outdoor tracking with the most notable feature of the ability to deploy your codes which are not found in other asset management solutions. Estimote LTE Beacons are ready to be ordered, they are being sold in developer kits costing about $129 plus shipping. Each kit contains two devices and shipping is expected by end of September.

More information about the Estimote LTE Beacons is available on the announcement page.

Build a Multisensor Shield for ESP8266

Rui Santos has a great write-up on building a Multisensor Shield for ESP8266, that is available on GitHub:

In this project you’ll discover how to design and create a Multisensor Shield for the ESP8266 Wemos D1 Mini board. The shield has temperature sensor (DS18B20), a PIR motion sensor, an LDR, and a terminal to connect a relay module. We’ll start by preparing all the hardware and then program it.

Build a Multisensor Shield for ESP8266 – [Link]

An ESP32 core board with wired Ethernet connectivity and PoE

The wESP32 is an ESP32 core board with wired Ethernet connectivity and Power over Ethernet that was designed to help Makers quickly create zero-setup single-wire-install connected devices. By combining a powerful microcontroller with excellent community support, 13 W of power, and reliable connectivity in a compact footprint, the wESP32 gives you a head start in your next IoT design and allows you to focus on your application.

  • Espressif Systems ESP32-WROOM-32 module with all the features, performance and community support that it brings to the table
  • Optional wESP32-Prog module for programming and/or serial console can be plugged in as needed or soldered in permanently
  • IEEE 802.3at Type 1 Class 0 compliant PoE with 12.95+ W of power available at the default 12 V output setting for V+
  • Optional 5 V output setting for V+ configurable by solder jumper with 5 W of power available
  • 3.3 V output with up to 6 W output power available (power taken from V+)
  • Applying external power to V+ is supported, in case PoE is not available
  • Applying power through the wESP32-Prog USB port is supported (only provides 5 V on V+)
  • High performance RJ-45 jack with optimized data path provides excellent data throughput allowing iperf UDP scores up to 90 Mbit/s
  • Compatible with PoE Mode A (power over data pairs) and PoE Mode B (power over spare pairs) and Auto-MDIX allowing the use of straight and cross-over Ethernet cables
  • Designed with full data and power path isolation to comply with the IEEE 802.3at 1500 Vrms isolation requirement
  • High quality PCB with 2 oz copper and mounting hole designed to sink heat away from the PoE PD controller for optimal thermal performance
  • 20-pin header footprint with 3.3 V, V+ power and 15 of the ESP32 GPIOs available for your application

The project is comming on CrowdSupply soon.

P4M-400: Build powerful IoT applications with PHP using PHPoC

PHP which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor is one of those server-side programming languages that is widely used across web-related applications. PHP has found applications in countless web development projects and even other cloud-based applications. But PHP applications don’t seem to stop there and this with the advent of PHPoC.

PHPoC is a programming language based on the popular PHP and is designed for building a various Internet of Things applications. PHP on its own is just an Internet-based language that is usually limited to the web, but what if we could bring PHP down to the hardware that wants to connect to the internet? PHPoC comes into play there. PHPoC expands PHP from being only a web development language to also a general-purpose programming language for IoT.

P4M-400 PHPoC Module

PHPoC, an acronym of PHP on Chip, inherits it’s core functions from PHP. Especially, PHPoC adds new functions, which are used to interact with hardware peripherals such as I/O, UART, I2C, SPI, ADC, TIMER/COUNTER, RTC and so on. Aside from building IoT applications with PHPoC, you can still develop dynamic Web pages too. The Sollae Systems’ P4M-400 is an example of a PHPoC module which was recently released to facilitate the use of PHPoC.

The module comes with a PHPoC interpreter and uses PHPoC language for programming. It works effectively with 10/100M Ethernet as well as IEEE 802.11b or 802.11g Wireless LAN connectivity and it also comes with different interfaces such as ADC, UART, SPI, I2C, hardware timer, and many more, which can be used to connect with sensors.

This board comes with a USB host port for a USB WLAN adapter. It is powered from its DC 5V Input and an also from the USB port (Micro USB). The RENATA CR1225 is an embedded battery for Real Time Clock. The battery socket is compatible with CR1220 too.

Below are some of the device’s specifications:

  • Power: DC 3.3V
    • Consumption – Typical – about 110mA (* without USB WLAN adapter)
      Power Down mode – less than 200uA
  • Connectivity:
    • Network – 10/100Mbps Ethernet
      IEEE802.11b/g Wireless LAN (require Ralink
      RT3070/5370 chipset Wireless LAN Adapter)
    • USB – USB Host – for WLAN adapter
      USB Device – for PC
  • GPIO –  26 Ports for Digital I/O, DC_CH0 ~ 3, AREF, 12-bit resolution
  • Peripherals:  2x UART, SPI, i2C, Hardware timer
  • Temperature (Storage/Operating): -40℃ ~ 85℃
  • Dimension: 50mm x 32mm x 9mm.
  • Weight: About 4g.
P4M-400 Evaluation Board

The module will easily find application in areas that require quick prototyping of Internet of things. It can also be used to interact with various hardware peripherals and create a variety of web pages. An evaluation board is available for the module which helps in extending the device interfaces especially those of connectivity. More information about the product is available on the product page and the user manual.

RAK8213 – The New Mini-PCIe Card For NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1

A China-based manufacturer called RAK Wireless has released the RAK833 LoRaWAN gateway module a couple months back. This has already been used hugely to create a gateway for ‘The Things Network’. Now they’re back with the new RAK8213, an NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 module in the same mini-PCIe form factor as the RAK833. The RAK mini-PCIe card is constructed around the Quectel BG96 module, which provides both NB-IoT and LTE Cat M1 along with GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, or BeiDou) support.

The RAK8213 mini-PCIe Module
The RAK8213 mini-PCIe Module

The mini-PCIe form factor is often associated with laptop computers, but recently we’ve started seeing that some single-board computers targeted at the maker market are also featuring this form. The Pine H64 single board computer is an example of it. Besides that, we’ve also noticed the rise of other mini-PCIe modules, such as the UP AI Core, or the PicoEVB, also aimed for makers.

This card can be added to netbooks/notebooks or routers in the mini-PCIe socket. It can be used for remote monitoringsmart meter reading, and so on. The user manual for this card basically explains how the user can send AT commands over USB or UART to the card in Windows, and how to set up the board with Hologram IoT SIM card.

RAK8213 is not the first NB-IoT/eMTC mPCIe card on the market. There are also some SIMCom SIM7000 based modules for about $30. However, it should be noted that the new RAK8213 works globally but SIM7000A / SIM7000C / SIM7000E work in specific regions, namely America, China and Europe.

RAK8213 mini PCIe card key specifications:

  • Wireless Connectivity Module: Quectel BG96 with LTE Cat. M1 (eMTC), LTE Cat. NB1 (NB-IoT), EGPRS, and GNSS
  • Global bands support :  
    • FDD-LTE – B1/ B2/ B3/ B4/ B5/ B8/ B12/ B13/ B18/ B19/ B20/ B26/ B28
    • TDD-LTE – B39 (for Cat M1 only)
    • EGPRS – 850/900/1800/1900Mhz
  • Max Data Rate: Cat M1: 375 kbps (UL/DL); Cat NB1: 32 kbps DK, 70 kbps (UL)
  • Other I/O:
    • Micro SIM slot
    •  u.FL connectors for cellular and GNSS
    •  mPCIe connector with USB 2.0, I2C, UART, and PCM
  • Misc: LEDs for network and power status
  • Dimensions: 51 x 30.1 mm

RAK8213 mPCIe card is sold for $39.99 plus shipping on Aliexpress, and optional accessories are also offered for $10, and a Hologram SIM card for $7. More information about the RAK 8213, the data sheet and schematics for the board are available at RAK Wireless site, along with a user manual for the evaluation board and the card.

obniz is a hardware platform specially built for IoT

In the last few years, we have seen a proliferation of hardware that are designed to serve as our interface to the Internet of Things. We have seen boards like the Arduino, Raspberry, Particle, ESP32, and several others. These hardware have made developing and scaling for the Internet of Things quite easy for developers and product managers. Despite the fact, these hardware are meant for the cloud-based applications (IoT Applications) most of them don’t get developed with web-based programming but traditional programming languages. obniz is a hardware for the internet of things that is designed with the Web in mind.


obniz brings a different ball game to the hardware industry especially for applications in the Internet of Things space. obniz is an IoT gateway but doesn’t stop there. obniz can be thought of as a complete IoT development platform because it doesn’t just give you the hardware to build, it also provides the enabling platform to connect your devices to the web. obniz not only lets you program your product but also allow you control it from your own apps, your own website, your smartphone and anything that can accept API or supports javascript. obniz is a product of the Japanese based Cambrian Robotics company.

obniz speaks the language of the web; it means if you understand the likes of Javascript (obniz have an SDK for javascript based on nodejs) and HTML it shouldn’t take you less than 5 minutes to build a powerful IoT device and setting up obniz takes less than 30 secs. obniz is designed for beginners in mind, it provides support for Block programming, a drag-and-drop programming that is based on pre-defined functions and comes with beginners lesson.

obniz Block Programming

The obniz hardware is made up of 12 IOs, each IO can handle up to 1A making it easy to connect at least 1 motor to all pins at the same time. It supports WiFi 802.22 b/g/n and Bluetooth Low Energy which is made possible by the onboard ESP WROOM 32, a 128 by 64 px OLED screen for display applications, a switchable 5V or 3V on each I/O.

One major benefit of using obniz is the nature of its IO pins. All 12 pins can be used for A/D (Analog and Digital Processing), UART, SPI and others. There are no specialized pins, they all have the same capabilities. Although there is a limit to the total number of UART pins that can be used, but A/D and others can be used on all 12 pins at the same time. Just like Arduino, it is short protected.


obniz is connected to the obniz Cloud using the WiFi Module, and from the obniz cloud, it is easy to control the IOs through the REST API or WebSocket API. The obniz team have released a javascript parts library for the browser using Nodejs.

Getting started with obniz is easy with these 3 steps:

  1. Connect obniz to Wifi
  2. Connect motors sensors to your obniz
  3. Scan a QR code on your obniz that will direct a user to a program page.

obniz is available for purchase for about $59 on Amazon, Tindie, and obniz store.