Tag Archives: IoT

Bluetooth 5 Is Here!

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has officially launched the core specifications of the new version of Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5. These specifications include longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity, as well as improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies than recent Bluetooth versions, making it possible to advance IoT applications and usages.

Bluetooth is revolutionizing how people experience the IoT. Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience” says Mark Powell, SIG’s executive director.

Keeping up with powering IoT, Bluetooth 5 has some additional features that better enable industrial automation and whole home coverage by addressing challenges like range and download speeds. It is said to improve location awareness with a smarter technology that collects data to provide personalized experiences for the end user.

While doubling the speed to enable the making of more responsive devices, Bluetooth 5 developers didn’t miss to maintain low-power consumption that results a faster data transfer.

By 2021, ABI Research predicts 48 billion internet-enabled devices will be installed, and Bluetooth—predicted to be in nearly one-third of those devices—is a cornerstone of that growth.

“The global wireless connectivity market is growing rapidly, with an anticipated 10 billion annual IC shipments by 2021,” said Andrew Zignani with ABI Research. “The introduction of Bluetooth 5 will create new opportunities in various verticals of the IoT market by reducing complexity and cost and giving manufacturers greater flexibility in targeting multiple applications and use cases.”

Within two to six months, new products are expected to be launched using this ubiquitous technology, so stay tuned!

More details about Bluetooth 5 here: www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth5

First Solid-State Multi-Ion Sensor for Internet-of-Things Applications By Imec & Holst Centre

At last week’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco (USA), imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technology and Holst Centre debuted a miniaturized sensor that simultaneously determines pH and chloride (Cl-)levels in fluid. This innovation is a must have for accurate long-term measurement of ion concentrations in applications such as environmental monitoring, precision agriculture and diagnostics for personalized healthcare. The sensor is an industry first and thanks to the SoC (system on chip) integration it enables massive and cost-effective deployments in Internet-of-Things (IoT) settings. Its innovative electrode design results in a similar or better performance compared to today’s standard equipment for measuring single ion concentrations and allows for additional ion tests.

Sensors based on ion-selective membranes are considered the gold standard to measure ion concentrations in many applications, such as water quality, agriculture, and analytical chemistry. They consist of two electrodes, the ion-sensitive electrode with the membrane (ISE) and a reference electrode (RE). When these electrodes are immersed in a fluid, a potential is generated that scales with the logarithm of the ion activity in the fluid, forming a measure for the concentration. However, the precision of the sensor depends on the long-term stability of the miniaturized RE, a challenge that has now been overcome.

“The common issue with such designs is the leaching of ions from the internal electrolyte, causing the sensor to drift over time,” stated Marcel Zevenbergen, senior researcher at imec/Holst Centre. “To suppress such leaching, we designed and fabricated an RE with a microfluidic channel as junction and combined it with solid-state iridium oxide (IrOx) and silver chloride (AgCl) electrodes fabricated on a silicon substrate, respectively as indicating electrodes for pH and Cl-. Our tests demonstrated this to be a long-term stable solution with the sensor showing a sensitivity, accuracy and response time that are equal or better than existing solutions, while at the same time being much smaller and potentially less expensive.”

“We are providing groundbreaking sensing and analytics solutions for the IoT,” stated John Baekelmans, Managing Director of imec in The Netherlands. “This new multi-ion sensor is one in a series that Holst Centre is currently developing with its partners to form the senses of the IoT. For each sensor, the aim is to leapfrog the current performance of the state-of-the-art sensors in a mass-producible, wireless, energy optimized and miniaturized package.”

Source: imec

Smart IoT Postbox with Arduino, ESP-01, and idIoTware Shield

When you are waiting for a very important letter to come, it’s really bothersome to go and check the post box again and again. The problem gets worse when you are not at home and anxiously thinking if the letter arrived or not. Well, now IoT or Internet Of Things is your savior.

Following this project by CuriosityGym, you can make your own smart IoT post box that sends you an email as soon as a letter is dropped into it.

Requirements :

  1. Arduino UNO
  2. idIoTware shield
  3. USB cable (A to B)
  4. Esp 8266 – 01 programmed with ESP-link firmware
  5. One jumper
  6. One Postbox (You can make it yourself)
  7. External 9v 1A Power adapter
  8. Double sided sticky tape
  9. Arduino UNO code (Download it)

Description :

The concept is not complicated at all. The idIoTware Shield has a set of RGB LED and an LDR. The RGB LED always emits white light and it’s received by the LDR. As soon as a letter is dropped, there is an interruption in light. The change in light intensity is sensed by LDR and processed by Arduino. Finally, ESP 8266 connects to IFTTT network and sends an email to a saved email ID.

IdIoTware Shield For ArduinoUNO
idIoTware Shield For Arduino UNO

IFTTTIFTTT is a free web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “applets”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. IFTTT is an abbreviation of “If This Then That”.

This can be explained using a simple analogy: “If the battery is empty then charge it”.

Watch this video for more information on IFTTT.

Procedure :

Simply place the idIoTware shield on Arduino UNO and Connect the esp8266(01) module to the ESP-01 header on the top right, such that the antenna is facing outside (See the image given below). It’s important to connect a jumper to CH_PD pin on the shield.

Smart IoT Postbox using Arduino and IdIoTware Shield
Smart IoT Postbox using Arduino and IdIoTware Shield

To make an IFTTT applet, go to IFTTT.com and make an account. Then, you need to make an applet as “If Maker then Gmail“. So, select Maker by searching and add your Maker channel (in URL field). Now, search for Gmail and select it. Define whom to and what to mail. Finish your applet, and you are all set.

Finally, upload the code to Arduino UNO. Once the code is uploaded,  place the Arduino with double sided sticky tape inside the post box. Don’t forget to insulate the Arduino from metallic body of the postbox.

Testing :

Power the Arduino from a 9V adapter and connect it to a serial monitor. Now post a letter in the postbox and you will see the message “New Letter!!” in the serial monitor. When you check your email you will find a mail saying the same.

For a better understanding, watch the video:

The New Fujitsu ReRam

Resistive random-access memory (RRAM or ReRAM) is a type of non-volatile (NV) random-access (RAM) computer memory that works by changing the resistance across a dielectric solid-state material often referred to as a memristor.

Fujitsu Semiconductor has just launched world’s largest density 4 Mbit ReRAM product for mass production: MB85AS4MT. Partnering with Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions, this chip came to life.

The MB85AS4MT is an SPI-interface ReRAM product that operates with a wide range of power supply voltage, from 1.65V to 3.6V. It features an extremely small average current in read operations of 0.2mA at a maximum operating frequency of 5MHz.

It is optimal for battery operated wearable devices and medical devices such as hearing aids, which require high density, low power consumption electronic components.

20161029154434_mb85as4mt

Main Specifications
  • Memory Density (configuration): 4 Mbit (512K words x 8 bits)
  • Interface: Serial peripheral interface (SPI)
  • Operating power supply voltage: 1.65V – 3.6V
  • Low power consumption:
    • Read operating current: 0.2mA (at 5MHz)
    • Write operating current: 1.3mA (during write cycle time)
    • Standby current: 10µA
    • Sleep current: 2µA
  • Guaranteed write cycles: 1.2 million cycles
  • Guaranteed read cycles: Unlimited
  • Write cycle time (256 byte page): 16ms (with 100% data inversion)
  • Data retention: 10 years (up to 85°C)
  • Package: 209 mil 8-pin SOP

This figure shows the block diagram of the chip:

reram

MB85AS4MT is suitable for lots of applications like medical devices, and IoT devices such as meters and sensors. In addition, the chip has the industry’s lowest power consumption for read operations in non-volatile memory.

For more information about MB85AS4MT, you can check the datasheet and the official website.

PureModules, IoT Building Blocks

New range of building blocks for IoT development are just out there! Just like LEGO, PUREmodules by Pure Engineering are the building blocks for IoT connected smart sensors where there is no need to solder, using breadboard or wires. It’s all done just by snapping the modules together and writing some lines of code.

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The modules that are already designed are:

  • COREModule
  • SUPER SENSOR module
  • General Purpose IO modules via I2C Expanders
  • I2C ADC and DAC modules
  • Energy Harvesting Modules
  • Low power chemical Sensors
  • PIN diode Radiation Detector Module
  • I2C thermal camera modules
  • Dual I2C DC motor Module
  • GPS and IMU Module
  • Long Range LoRa RF modules (10+ miles)
  • Li-Ion and other Power modules
  • Ethernet Module
  • Low Power LCD module
  • User IO button and LED modules
  • Multiple Core modules; CC2650, EFM32, ESP32 and more.
  • Adapter modules to other sensor systems such as Grove and LittleBits
  • Adapters to popular platforms such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Only COREmodule and SUPER SENSOR module are live now in the Kickstarter campaign that Pure Engineering has launched, check the campaign video:

COREmodule

The brain of other modules based on nRF52832 SOC. It is compatible with Arduino and a number of other open source frameworks, it has an onboard antenna and able to update its firmware over the air. Also it supports these IoT operating systems: Mynewt, Zephyr, Contiki OS, RIOT-OS, and mbed OS.

puremodules-internet-of-things-building-blocks

SUPER SENSOR module

This multi function sensor can be used in home automation and monitoring, health tracking, and industrial measurement. It contains the following embedded sensors: barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, accelerometer, magnetometer, UVA UVB, RGB, IR, and heart rate pulse oximetry.

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PUREmodules goal is to simplify IoT development for hackers, tinkerers and designers and to propose a new easy way of interaction and control everything through the Internet. More details can be found at the official website and the Kickstarter campaign. You can pre-order a COREmodule and SUPER SENSOR for $59 as an early bird pledge.

FiPy, The Future IoT Module

The hardware startup Pycom have been working hard to create a fast-develop-and-connect hardware portfolio, a portal and gathered enough developer manpower to unleash the IoT growth potential. Pycom has just launched its newest product: FiPy!

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FiPy is the new IoT module that connects your device to other networks. According to what the company describes, it is the most comprehensive solution, unifying LTE with other proprietary or unlicensed LPWA technologies into a single, five-network IoT connectivity solution.

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“In addition to WiFi, BLE, LoRa and Sigfox, we’ve added the latest cellular technology for IoT: LTE-M. But, we didn’t just go for one frequency type either. Nope, we partnered with the leaders in their field, Sequans, and are now proud to confirm that our module will have both CAT NB1 and CAT M1.”

The board specifications

  • ESP32-based – Espressif ESP32 SoC
  • Dual processor and WiFi+Bluetooth radio system on chip
  • Supports 5 networks: WiFi, BLE, cellular LTE-CATM1/M2(NBIoT), LoRa, and Sigfox
  • RTC running @ 32KHz
  • Size: 55 x 20 x 3.5 mm
  • Micropython enabled
  • Pymakr and Pymate compatible
  • All your apps from WiPy, LoPy and SiPy will work on FiPy too
  • Open source firmware

Pycom is redefining IoT with this brand new module! FiPy gives access to all the world’s LPWAN networks on one tiny board. It is now live on Kickstarter, check the campaign video:

You can pre-order your FiPy now for $39, the campaign still has 23 days to go and it has already achieved double of its goal. More information about FiPy plus its sensors and accessories check the crowdfunding campaign and the official website.

Badgerboard, LoRa Future IoT Development Board

The LoRa Alliance™ is an open, non-profit association of members who believe that the Internet of Things era is now, its LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network with features that support low-cost, mobile, and secure bidirectional communication for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), smart city, and industrial applications. LoRaWAN is optimized for low power consumption and is designed to support large networks with millions and millions of devices. Innovative features of LoRaWAN include support for redundant operation, geolocation, low-cost, and low-power – devices can even run on energy harvesting technologies enabling the mobility and ease of use of Internet of Things.

Check this video to learn more about LoRa and its protocol:

Badgerboard is an Arduino compatible LoRaWAN™ open source development kit, that can be easily extended to a prototype or even a small batch product. Development board has a battery charger and antenna connector on board.

Using as small as the battery you have in your watch, you can power your Badgerboard to send and receive radio waves, that can reach from 1km to 3km in the urban area up to 10+ km in the rural areas

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The communication is powered by widely used Microchip LoRaWAN module. There are two editions of the module one using  RN2483-I/RM101 for the 433/868 frequency bands and the other is using RN2903-I/RM095 for the 915 MHz band and its sub-bands. The LoRaWAN stack is already part of the module and all needed libraries for LoRa functionality are included.

Here are the features of the module:

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Check Badgerboard in action and the possibilities that can be done using it:

Badgerboard is now live on a Kickstarter campaign, you can pre-order the early bird board for $45 here. You can check their website to keep involved with the latest updates www.badgerboard.io

DIY Pixel Art Frame Using Raspberry Pi Zero

Have you ever wanted to get an interesting art frame? That can display and flip photos, scroll text, show the weather or display social media notifications?

Frederick Vandenbosch’s new tutorial is for building an art frame using 32×32 LED matrix and Raspberry Pi Zero.

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Electronics used in this project

You can watch a detailed step-by-step tutorial for assembling the frame in this video:


You can use the Adafruit RGB Matrix HAT like the tutorial to control the matrix and to make wiring simpler. But it is not mandatory, you can also wire the LED matrix directly to Pi’s GPIO. A USB Wifi adapter or dongle plugs into one of your desktop or laptop’s USB ports, allowing you to connect to a wireless network in the home, office, or a public place. You can use this connection to access shared files, devices, and documents, or to connect to the Internet. To connect this dongle with your Pi Zero you need a OTG USB cable. Connecting this dongle with your projects will open up for you doors of innovation, and that what made this frame cool!

The wiring is as described in this picture.

img_2833-1

Frederick used Raspbian Jessie “lite edition” for his Zero since the application is time-critical. Because it has more improvements, he preferred using Henner Zeller’s rpi-rgb-led-matrix library instead of the regular Adafruit library – which lately seemed an old version of the same series. He wrote a code to display and scroll ppm images, you can check it out here.

You can also use Raspberry Pi 3 in order to build this project, no need to change anything in software, and no need for the Wifi dongle since you can use the onboard Wifi. Things can be displayed on the matrix are unlimited. Since you have it connected with internet, this project could be your next IoT hack!

More details about this project and other amazing tutorials can be found at Frederick website.

Programming ESP8266 With Arduino IDE : The Easy Way

The ESP8266 WiFi Module is a self-contained SOC that can give any microcontroller access to your WiFi network. It’s an extremely cost-effective board with a huge and ever-growing community. Each ESP8266 module comes pre-programmed with an AT command set firmware. This module has a powerful on-board processing and storage capability that allows it to act as a standalone microcontroller.

Following 2 easy steps, you can upload Arduino sketches on your ESP8266 using Arduino IDE.

  • Configuring the IDE
  • Making the circuit

Parts List:

  1. ESP 8266 Module.
  2. Jumper wires.
  3. A breadboard.
  4. One USB to TTL converter, a.k.a UART converter.

Configuring The IDE:

In order to bring support for ESP8266 chips to the Arduino environment, you need to add ESP8266 Arduino Core in the IDE.

NOTE: You must have Arduino IDE version 1.6.4 or higher. The latest version is highly recommended. Download the latest version of IDE from Arduino.cc.

  1. Install Arduino 1.6.8.
  2. Start Arduino and open Preferences window.
  3. Enter http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json into Additional Board Manager URLs field. (See the first image)
  4. Open Boards Manager from Tools > Board menu and install esp8266 platform. (See the second image)

Add URL to "Preferences" in Arduino IDE

Add URL to “Preferences” in Arduino IDE

Select ESP8266 board from Board Manager

Select ESP8266 board from Board Manager

Making The Circuit:

ESP8266-01 wiring for uploading program
ESP8266-01 wiring for uploading program
ESP8266-12E wiring for uploading program
ESP8266-12E wiring for uploading program

ESP-01:

  1. Connect GPIO0 to Ground (set it LOW or 0)
  2. Connect CH_PD toVcc (set it HIGH or 1)

ESP-12(E/F):

  1. Connect GPIO0 to Ground (set it LOW or 0)
  2. Connect GPIO15 to Ground (set it LOW OR 0)
  3. Connect GPIO2 to Vcc (set it HIGH or 1)
  4. Connect CH_PD toVcc (set it HIGH or 1)

Pin Vcc and GND should be connected to power supply’s +ve and -ve rail respectively. TX and RX of ESP8266 should be connected to RX and TX of USB to TTL converter respectively.

NOTE: You can replace the USB to TTL converter with an Arduino UNO board, but you have to upload a blank sketch or “bare-minimum” sketch to the Arduino so that the MCU of the Arduino board doesn’t interrupt. Connect TX and RX of the ESP8266 to RX and TX of the Arduino UNO respectively.

Conclusion:

You are done! Now just select your ESP8266 board from Tools > Board menu, write any program, and click on Upload button. The ESP8266 will run as standalone microcontroller now.

To have a clear idea, read the article FLASH AT FIRMWARE TO ESP8266 also.

ArduWorm, Arduino Yún Malware

Since Internet of Things market is growing exponentially and the use of embedded and pervasive devices is increasing, this may introduces some security threats in the network.

A group of Spanish researchers at the Computer Security Lab, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a malware, ArduWorm, that targets Arduino Yún, a common platform used in IoT. This malware can bypass all the security provided within Arduino by causing a memory corruption. According to the researchers this malware will be “able to get the control of a Linux-based microprocessor integrated in the device with full privileges, which allows it to install a backdoor and spread as a worm through the compromised network”.

Modern smart devices such as smart phones or tablets are used in social networking, instant messaging or e-commerce. Therefore, these devices store a huge amount of personal and valuable information that is attractive for attackers.

arduino-yun-designboom01

Arduino Yún, is an Arduino board that was specifically designed for IoT applications. It contains an Atheros Microprocessor (MPU) holding a Linux based OpenWrt operating system. This Atheros MPU manages one Ethernet interface and one Wifi card, which make it a suitable device for IoT scenarios. The board has a USB-A port, micro-SD card slot, 20 digital input/output pins, a 16MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and 3 reset buttons.

A security analysis of the Arduino Yún shows that it contains many architectural flaws and since this AVR-based chip has limited resources compared with modern MCU and MPU based on ARM or x86 architectures, classical protections against memory corruption, such as stack overflow protection or memory layout randomization can not be easily deployed.

Schematic view of AVR memories
Schematic view of AVR memories

The key of this hack is to get the AVR to run out of RAM. Researchers wrote more and more data into memory until they reached the heap, the memory for control data.
Although the code you want to run is available in flash and it is immutable, recent researches proved that using Return-Oriented Programming (ROP) could inject code into the flash memory. These kind of ROP tricks came in handy for the researchers to write a worm.

Thus, the exploit uses code reuse attacks (Return Oriented Programming and return to-lib) to benefit from a memory corruption vulnerability. ArduWorm has also some infection capabilities and it can automatically spread through neighbor nodes.

During the last few years, malware in tablets and smartphone devices has become one of the main concerns of security researchers. According to Mcafee’s 2015 threat reports up to 1.2 million different malware pieces targeting mobile platforms were detected. A similar report published by the AV company PandaLabs, stated that during 2015 an average of 230.000 different samples were detected on a daily basis.

Researchers are developing ArduWorm as a proof of concept proven in their experimental setup, and they hope that it can motivate research in the design of defensive mechanisms for Arduino and IoT devices.

More details about this malware proof of concept are available at this research paper.