Tag Archives: IoT

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.

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.

obinz

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.

A nRF52840-MDK IoT Development Kit For Bluetooth 5 Applications

Bluetooth Low Energy and the Internet of things is believed to be the perfect matchmaking. Even though Bluetooth doesn’t necessary gives devices the ability to connect to the Internet they still have so much capacity. The Bluetooth Low Energy enabled solutions will increase the functionality of IoT Systems, by creating a reliable framework and efficient connectivity for the devices. Devices can use BLE to connect to each other thereby improving reliability, increasing range, mitigate security risk, reduce cost, and most importantly improve battery life.

The launch of the Bluetooth 5, which promise so much more are beginning to see some adoption in the open hardware industry, and a good example is the Particle Xenon using the Nordic nRF52840 SOC. The Nordic nRF52840 SoC is designed around an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU and comes with a 1 MB flash with cache and a 256kB of RAM.

The Makediary nRF52840 board
The Makediary nRF52840 MDK IoT Development Board

Nordic recently announced that the nRF52840 now supports concurrent Thread and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity eliminating the previous requirement of disconnecting from one of the networks before connecting to the other. So, the potential from this announcement is enormous.

Recognising the possibility of Bluetooth 5 in addition to Thread connectivity, the teams at Makerdiary has launched a new development kit for the nRF52840 SoC called the nRF52840-MDK IoT Development Kit

The Makediary nRF52840 MDK IoT Development Kit is a kit that will allow developers to explore Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth MeshThreadIEEE 802.15.4ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless applications using the nRF52840 SoC. The kit comes integrated with the DAPLink debugger which provides a USB drag-and-drop programming, USB Virtual COM port and CMSIS-DAP interface.

The kit supports quite some software frameworks such as the  nRF5 SDK, nRF5 SDK for Mesh, OpenThread, ZigBee 3.0, Mbed OS 5, Zephyr, Mynewt, Web Bluetooth, iBeacon, Eddystone, and others. It works with the standard Nordic Software Development Tool-chain using GCC, Keil and IAR.

One significant take note of the board is the USB type C port available, a rare port used for hardware boards. The development board put up a ton of features like an ultra-low power 64-Mb QSPI FLASH memory, programmable user button, RGB LED, up to 24 GPIOs, antenna selection for custom applications.

Below are some of the device specifications:

  • SoC – Nordic nRF52840 Arm Cortex-M4F WiSoC with 1 MB FLASH and 256 kB RAM, Arm TrustZone Cryptocell 310 security subsystem
  • External Storage – 64-Mbit QSPI flash
  • Wireless Connectivity (on-chip)
    • Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth Mesh
    • Thread, IEEE 802.15.4
    • ANT, 2.4GHz proprietary
    • On-chip NFC-A tag
    • An on-board 2.4G chip antenna
    • u.FL connector selectable for an external antenna
  • Programming / Debugging with DAPLink
    • MSC – drag-n-drop programming flash memory
    • CDC – virtual com port for log, trace and terminal emulation
    • HID – CMSIS-DAP compliant debug channel
    • WEBUSB HID – CMSIS-DAP compliant debug channel
  • USB – 1x USB type C port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 2x 18-pin breadboard-friendly headers with 24 GPIOs,   I2C, QSPI, UART, 6x analog input pins, SWD/JTAG, and power signals (VIN, GND, 3.3V, 5V)
  • Misc – Boot/Reset Button, User button and user RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB type C connector; 3.3V regulator with 1A peak current output; VBUS & VIN Power-Path Management
  • Dimensions – 50mm x 23mm x 13mm with headers

Although the development board is an open source board and the design files are already available on Github, it is advisable you purchase the board to support them. Makerdiary nRF52840-MDK can be purchased for $42.90 on Seeed Studio, or directly on Makerdiary’s online store.

Cellular IoT with Blynk & Hologram

Use a $9 GSM module & the Hologram network to remotely control any Arduino with Blynk App.

Blynk is an awesome tool that allows you to build drag and drop apps for controlling hardware remotely! Its perfect for quickly creating useful IoT projects. This tutorial will run you through setting up Blynk for cellular control using an Arduino and a $9 GSM board.

Hologram.io is a cellular network provider perfect for makers. At $0.60 /mo plus $0.40 per mb, you’ll have plenty of data for most IoT projects.

Cellular IoT with Blynk & Hologram – [Link]

LoraDunchy – Arduino Compatibile LoRa module

Lora board with Arduino nano compatibile pinout and simple battery management. Small board with arduino nano compatibile pinout with power management and Murata ABZ LoRa module with STM32L0 microcontroller

Features:

  • LoRa module: Murata ABZ
  • Single cell LiPo cell charger on-board with charging signal internally connected to PA11 (via jumper)
  • Buck/Boost switching power supply for delivering stable 3,3V regardless of the battery voltage
  • Battery fuel gauge on-board to control the real status of the battery

LoraDunchy – Arduino Compatibile LoRa module – [Link]

The Internet of Arduino Challenge – Build an IoT Arduino Powered Product and you could win up to $50,000

The Arduino has been the number one development board for hackers, hobbyists, engineers and even product designers for a while. The Arduino Movement has powered a powerful maker’s community where anyone that can think of an idea can quickly make it happen, and this has birthed several Arduino powered products.

The Internet of Things is steadily becoming the talk of the day with several millions of devices getting connected every hour. The Internet of Things is expected to disrupt our everyday lives by giving us more insight into our daily data thereby improving our lives. Imagine giving cars the ability to detect portholes on the road when driving; this data can be collected, aggregated and possibly predict the likelihood of a road accident (due to bad roads), traffic congestion, and also the overall state of the road. If this information is given to the right body, they can know what roads they should focus their resources on.

To give people the chance to build an IoT focus product, the Arduino movement has released several IoT focused boards like the Arduino MKR 1000, Arduino Yun, Arduino Vidor 4000, Arduino Industrial 101, Arduino Plus Esp8266, and several others. You can find more Arduino IoT boards here. Now, the Arduino Movement in partnership with the electronics supplier Arrow and Indiegogo wants to give more power to the maker’s community by creating an Internet of Arduino Challenge where winners can go and win up to $50,000 in funding.

The contest is all about creating an IoT product that is powered by an Arduino board. The possibilities are endless with Arduino. Pair that with the engineering and production resources from the Arrow Certification Program, and you can have the next successful Indiegogo campaign. Submit your design now for a chance to win $50,000 in funding. Entries opened May 12th, 2018, and ends August 31st, 2018.

The IoT revolution is beginning, and it will change the way we think and work. In fact, many of the mindless activities we perform on a daily or weekly basis can go away entirely, leaving us more time to read, play with the kids or go on that nice long weekend ride. It will also advance every company in the world. Companies must begin a digital transformation, or they might go out of business. Even if you don’t win the challenge, you will never lose because, in this developing IoT Industry, there is never a loser.

We are on the cusp of a new revolution. It will be very similar to when the internet began to take shape in the early 2000s. Many companies weren’t quite prepared. Some fought the revolution. Some ignored it. Those companies are no longer.

Google Reveals Four New ARM-based production Boards For Android Things 1.0

Earlier this month, Google released Android Things 1.0 and announced many consumer products that will ship in the coming months based on the stripped-down, IoT-oriented Android variant. Google uncovered four ARM-based production boards for Android Things 1.0: Innocomm’s i.MX8M based on WB10-ATIntrinsyc’s Open-Q 212A and Open-Q 624A, based on the Snapdragon 212 and 634, respectively, and the MediaTek MT8516.

The most important news with the first market-ready release of Android Things is that Google is offering free OTA security and patch updates for three years to all targeted devices. However, Google needs a licensing deal to deploy more than 100 commercial systems using the OTA updated long-term version of Android Things, and the OS itself is “managed” and tightly controlled by Google.

The modules share the same small footprints of about a 50 x 50mm. They also focus on audio features that might support integration with the Google Assistant voice agent. The first round of consumer devices using Android Things are smart speakers and automation hubs that integrate Google Assistant.

WB10-AT

InnoComm Google WB10AT COM
InnoComm Google WB10AT COM

InnoComm’s 50 x 50mm WB10-AT COM is almost identical to the WB10 module announced in March. The only difference except for the OS is that the AT version ships with 1GB LPDDR4 instead of 2GB. The WB10-AT includes a 1.5GHzCortex-A53 based NXP i.MX8M Quad SoC with a 266MHz Cortex-M4 core. It extends 8GB eMMC, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and a GbE controller.

The WB10-AT allows HDMI 2.0 with 4K HDR support, as well as extensive audio I/O enabled by the audio-savvy i.MX8M. Audio specs include 4x SAI, DSD512, and S/PDIF.

Open-Q 212A Development Kit

Open-Q 212A board and module
Open-Q 212A board and module

Intrinsyc’s Open-Q 212A is a sandwich-style SBC designed for next-gen smart speaker and voice-controlled home hub products. There is a new 50 x 46.5mm Open-Q 212A Android Things SOM with a quad-core, Cortex-A7 Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 (SDA212) — the lowest-end SoC available for Android Things mounted on a 170 x 115mm carrier board.

The new module provides 1GB LPDDR3, 4GB eMMC, WiFi-ac, and BT 4.2. The 12V carrier board adds 2x USB host ports, a micro-USB client port, and a micro-USB debug port. It also includes a MIPI-CSI and MIPI-DSI interfaces, with the latter capable of up to 720p LCD displays. PCB antennas are also available.

Open-Q 624A Development Kit

Open-Q 624A
Open-Q 624A

This new sandwich-style kit is Google’s high-end Android Things platform. It connects a new Open-Q 624A Android Things SOM and carrier board, each of which is the same size as their Open-Q 212A counterparts.

The module extends 2GB RAM4GB eMMCWiFi-ac, BT 4.2, and a new, undocumented octa-core Snapdragon 624 SoC based on the existing Snapdragon 625. Like the Snapdragon 625, the 624 provides 8x Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.8GHz along with an Adreno 506 GPU with support for 4K @ 30fps video. Google calls the Snapdragon 624 the SDA624, and in one place Intrinsyc refers to it as the APQ8053, which is also the name of the Snapdragon 825.

The Open-Q 624A carrier board has a feature set that is very similar to that of the similarly sized Open-Q 212A board. However, it adds a USB 3.0 Type-C port, sensor expansion and haptic output, and an optional GPS receiver, which like the module’s WiFi and Bluetooth, is available with an antenna.

MediaTek MT8516

MediaTek MT8516
MediaTek MT8516

Google refers to the MT8516 as a virtual SoM, as opposed to the other physical modules, and suggests that the module’s capabilities are directly integrated into a reference board designed for high volume applications.

Whatever the form factor, the MT8516 provides a quad-core, 1.3GHz Cortex-A35 processor with 4GB eMMC, WiFi, BT, and RF. The platform is intended for voice assistance and other audio applications and provides 4-channel I2S x2, 8-channel TDM, and 2-channel PDM input for voice input control and connected audio.

The Cortex-A35 cores draw about 33 percent less power per core and occupy 25 percent less silicon area than Cortex-A53. The -A35 design lies at the heart of NXP’s i.MX8X SoC, which is also available in two dual-core models. The i.MX8X is found on Phytec’s phyCore-i.MX 8 module.

More information may be found on this Google Android Things Supported Platforms page, as well as at these four product pages: