Tag Archives: wireless

WISP – Re-programmable Microcontroller That Runs On Energy Harvested From Radio Waves

A new research initiative between the University of Washington’s Sensor Lab and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands has created a microprocessor that can power itself through stray radio waves and receive programmable updates in the same fashion. While the RISC-derived 16-bit microcontroller CPU is very weak compared to modern standards, it’s much more powerful than any other device that’s powered by ambient energy in the environment with no battery required.

The WISP 5 - Microchips and sensors run from radio wave's energy
The WISP 5 – Microchips and sensors run from radio wave’s energy

This battery-free system is equipped with a sensor and a microchip, which can be powered entirely by radio waves harvested from the air and is up to 10 times faster than similar ambient-powered devices. Best of all, in contrast to similar devices, it can also download executables, allowing it be reprogrammed or upgraded to newer version of firmware whenever needed. This has significant implications for the Internet of Things development and for ambient computing as a whole.

The variety of handheld, portable technology, and wearable gadgets available today is truly amazing. In order to make devices even more compact and thinner, manufacturers typically try to shrink their designs as much as possible. Unfortunately, device size is ultimately limited by the batteries, all of which have a certain capacity before they dry out and must be recharged again. It is a challenge for engineers and designers to balance battery life with function and aesthetics.

The project of radio wave-driven microcontroller is dubbed WISP, or Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform. RFID (CRFID) technology is an example of  WISP. In particular, WISP is capable of being powered passively by converting radio frequencies emitted by conventional RFID (radio frequency identification) readers into electrical power. The project’s latest accomplishment is the addition of Wisent (short for “wirelessly sent”), a faster and more reliable downstream communication-oriented protocol for CRFIDs that can tolerate fluctuations in operating power.

The WISP is constructed out of an open source, open architecture EPC Class 1 Generation 2 RFID tag that incorporates a fully programmable 16-bit microcontroller, in addition to any add-on sensors. It differs from ordinary RFID tags as it is programmable, and can be multi-functional. The team writes in their research paper,

The novelty of Wisent is its ability to change adaptively the frame length sent by the reader, based on the length throttling mechanism, to minimize the transfer times at varying channel conditions. Wisent enables wireless CRFID reprogramming, demonstrating the world’s first wirelessly reprogrammable CRFID.

Get Sensor Data From Arduino To Smartphone Via Bluetooth

Hariharan Mathavan at allaboutcircuits.com designed a project on using Bluetooth to communicate with an Arduino. Bluetooth is one of the most popular wireless communication technologies because of its low power consumption, low cost and a light stack but provides a good range. In this project, data from a DHT-11 sensor is collected by an Arduino and then transmitted to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

Required Parts

  • An Arduino. Any model can be used, but all code and schematics in this article will be for the Uno.
  • An Android Smartphone that has Bluetooth.
  • HC-05 Bluetooth Module
  • Android Studio (To develop the required Android app)
  • USB cable for programming and powering the Arduino
  • DHT-11 temperature and humidity sensor

Connecting The Bluetooth Module

To use the HC-05 Bluetooth module, simply connect the VCC to the 5V output on the Arduino, GND to Ground, RX to TX pin of the Arduino, and TX to RX pin of the Arduino. If the module is being used for the first time, you’ll want to change the name, passcode etc. To do this the module should be set to command mode. Connect the Key pin to any pin on the Arduino and set it to high to allow the module to be programmed.

Circuit to connect HC-05 with Arduino
Circuit to connect HC-05 with Arduino

To program the module, a set of commands known as AT commands are used. Here are some of them:

AT Check connection status.
AT+NAME =”ModuleName” Set a name for the device
AT+ADDR Check MAC Address
AT+UART Check Baudrate
AT+UART=”9600″ Sets Baudrate to 9600
AT+PSWD Check Default Passcode
AT+PSWD=”1234″ Sets Passcode to 1234

The Arduino code to send data using Bluetooth module:

//If youre not using a BTBee connect set the pin connected to the KEY pin high
#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial BTSerial(4,5); 
void setup() {
 String setName = String("AT+NAME=MyBTBee\r\n"); //Setting name as 'MyBTBee'
 Serial.begin(9600);
 BTSerial.begin(38400);
 BTSerial.print("AT\r\n"); //Check Status
 delay(500);
 while (BTSerial.available()) {
 Serial.write(BTSerial.read());
 }
 BTSerial.print(setName); //Send Command to change the name
 delay(500);
 while (BTSerial.available()) {
 Serial.write(BTSerial.read());
 }}
void loop() {}

Connecting The DHT-11 Sensor

To use the DHT-11, the DHT library by Adafruit is used. Go here to download the library. When the letter “t” is received, the temperature, humidity, and heat index will be transmitted back via Bluetooth.

circuit to connect DHT-11 with Arduino
circuit to connect DHT-11 with Arduino

The code used to read data from the DHT sensor, process it and send it via Bluetooth:

#include "DHT.h"
#define DHTPIN 2 
#define DHTTYPE DHT11 
DHT dht(DHTPIN, DHTTYPE);
void setup() {
 Serial.begin(9600);
 dht.begin();}

void loop()
{ char c; 
if(Serial.available()) 
 { 
 c = Serial.read(); 
 if(c=='t')
 readSensor();
 }}
void readSensor() {
 float h = dht.readHumidity();
 float t = dht.readTemperature();
 if (isnan(h) || isnan(t)) {
 Serial.println("Failed to read from DHT sensor!");
 return;
 }
 float hic = dht.computeHeatIndex(t, h, false);
 Serial.print("Humidity: ");
 Serial.print(h);
 Serial.print(" %\t");
 Serial.print("Temperature: ");
 Serial.print(t);
 Serial.print(" *C ");
 Serial.print("Heat index: ");
 Serial.print(hic);
 Serial.print(" *C ");
}

Developing The Android App

The flow diagram of the Android app is illustrated below,

Flow diagram of the Android app
Flow diagram of the Android app

As this app will be using the onboard Bluetooth adapter, it will have to be mentioned in the Manifest.

uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH"

Use the following code to test if Bluetooth adapter is present or not,

BluetoothAdapter bluetoothAdapter=BluetoothAdapter.getDefaultAdapter();
if (bluetoothAdapter == null) {
Toast.makeText(getApplicationContext(),"Device doesnt Support Bluetooth",Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
}

The following part of the code deals with reading the data,

int byteCount = inputStream.available();
 if(byteCount > 0)
 {
 byte[] rawBytes = new byte[byteCount];
 inputStream.read(rawBytes);
 final String string=new String(rawBytes,"UTF-8");
 handler.post(new Runnable() {
 public void run()
 {
 textView.append(string);
 }
 });
 }

To send data, pass the String to the OutputStream.

outputStream.write(string.getBytes());

The complete source code of the Android application can be downloaded from here.

Testing

Power up the Arduino and turn on the Bluetooth from your mobile. Pair with the HC-05 module by providing the correct passcode – 0000 is the default one. Now, when “t” is sent to the Arduino, it replies with the Temperature, Humidity, and Heat Index.

the application screen
the application screen

A multi-protocol SoC for ultra low-power wireless applications

The nRF52840 SoC of Nordic Semiconductor is based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F CPU running at 64 MHz with flash and RAM integrated on chip. Ultra low-power wireless applications can use this advanced multi-protocol SoC with different communication protocols.  The 2.4 GHz transceiver supports Bluetooth low energy (Bluetooth 5), 802.15.4, ANT and proprietary protocols. The transceiver also supports high resolution RSSI measurement and automated processes to reduce CPU load. Moreover, EasyDMA for direct data memory access and packet assembly provides full support for hardware (figure 1). The device maintains the compatibility with existing products such as nRF52, nRF51 and nRF24 series.

ultra low-power wireless applications
Figure 1: Block diagram of the nRF52840 SoC

Bluetooth 5 and SoC

Bluetooth 5 (500kbs e 125kbs) is the latest version of the well-known wireless technology. It increases the range of four times and the throughput of eight times, making this technology much more suitable for ultra low-power wireless applications such as wearable, Smart Home and more generally for Internet-related applications (IoT, IIoT). The ultra low power consumption of the Bluetooth 5 protocol facilitates high performance, advertising extension and modulation schemes.

nRF52840 SoC uses power management resources to maximize job processes and achieve an optimal energy efficiency. The power supply ranges between 1.7V and 5.5V ensures a wide choice of batteries. In addition, SoC can also work with USB direct power supply without external regulators. Especially relevant, all devices have automatic clock management with adaptive features to maintain minimal power consumption.

Features:

  • multi-protocol SoC
  • 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F Processor
  • 1.7v to 5.5v operation
  • 1MB flash + 256kB RAM
  • Bluetooth 5 support for long range and high throughput
  • 802.15.4 radio support
  • On-chip NFC
  • PPI –Programmable Peripheral Interconnect
  • Automated power management system with automatic power management of each peripheral
  • Configurable I/O mapping for analog and digital I/O
  • 48 x GPIO
  • 1 x QSPI
  • 4 x Master/Slave SPI
  • 2 x Two-wire interface (I²C)
  • I²S interface
  • 2 x UART
  • 4 x PWM
  • USB 2.0 controller
  • ARM TrustZone CryptoCell-310 Cryptographic and security module
  • AES 128-bit ECB/CCM/AAR hardware accelerator
  • Digital microphone interface (PDM)
  • Quadrature decoder
  • 12-bit ADC
  • Low power comparator
  • On-chip 50Ω balun
  • On-air compatible with nRF52, nRF51 and nRF24 Series

Development kit

The NRF52840-PDK is a versatile development kit based on nRF52840 SoC for the development of projects by using Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT, 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz protocols. Moreover, It is also hardware-compatible with the Arduino Uno R3 standard, allowing to use third-party compatible shields. Adding an NFC antenna, the kit enables the NFC tag feature (figure 2 and 3).

ultra low-power wireless applications
Figure 2: NRF52840-PDK development kit

 

ultra low-power wireless applications
Figure 3: block diagram of the NRF52840-PDK development kit

 

IkaScope: a wireless oscilloscope probe

IkaScope is a wireless oscilloscope probe that allows to observe the change of electrical signals over time. The probe is a handheld device, portable and fits perfectly in the hand and pocket. By using high-speed Wi-Fi connection, IkaScope wireless oscilloscope probe communicates with laptop, tablet or smartphone to share the acquired data on the screen. The IkaScope wireless oscilloscope probe is compatible with the most popular mobile and desktop operating systems. The probe has a 200 MSPs ADC, Spartan 3 FPGA and adequate battery capacity (450 mAh). Energy saving settings and downtime moments manage the energy efficiency. The probe comes with a ground clip and a USB charging cable. Especially relevant is the patented ProbeClick technology of IkaScope: all electronic circuits are powered only when the the probe is pressed (figure 1). The probe tip is also used to start the data acquisition. ProbeClick technology allows to save power and measure without remembering to press the run / stop button of a classic oscilloscope.

wireless oscilloscope probe
Figure 1: IkaScope wireless oscilloscope probe

The probe technology and user interface

ProbeClick represents a simple innovative mechanism to manage the data acquisition by probe tip. Simply by pressing the probe, the device starts data capturing and streaming process on the screen using the wi-fi connection. In addition, by releasing the probe, the acquisition stops and automatically the data is available in the storage/cloud (figure 2). IkaScope application is the user interface to capture, measure and analyze analog signals. From the download page you can download the latest version of IkaScope for your prefered Desktop OS.

wireless oscilloscope probe
Figure 2: IkaScope during a testing process

 

IkaScope can be configured as a wireless hotspot. It will remember access points and will connect instantly without having to enter your login password. Moreover, IkaScope application has a share button at the top left of the screen. Just click on it to share a screenshot of the measurement.

General specifications

  • Model name: WS200.
  • Communication: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/e/i 2.4GHz.
  • Connection: Access Point or Station.
  • Battery charging connector: Micro USB.
  • Input contact: ProbeClick.
  • Operating Temperature: 10°C to 35°C.
  • Altitude < 2000m.
  • Protection Input level: Sample test voltage: 253 VAC 1 min.
  • Input to charging port isolation: Saple test voltage: 1100 VAC 1 min.
  • Battery: Built in Lithium / 420mAh
  • Application compatibility: Windows / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS.

Measurement specifications

  • Max sample rate: 200MSps.
  • Analog Bandwidth(-3dB compression): 30MHz at -3dB.
  • Input Voltage: +/-40V range CAT1.
  • Galvanic isolation: Between Input and Charging port.
  • Coupling: AC (true) / DC.
  • Input Impedance: 1MOhm || 14pF.
  • Voltage resolution: 100mV/div up to 10V/div.
  • Max Trace refresh rate: 250 FPS.
  • Sample resolution: 8 bits.
  • Analog Offset range: +/-20V to +/-40V.
  • Memory depth: 4K Points (4 x 1000 points burst buffers).
  • Channel: 1

Sonnet Off-Grid Device, The Smartphone Walkie-Talkie

At Sonnet Labs, a group of avid outdoor enthusiasts aim to democratize mobile communication with technologies that enable smartphones to send text messages, image data, and GPS locations without Internet connectivity, cellular coverage, or satellite reception.

No need for cellular grid with Sonnet

Therefore, they launched their product, Sonnet, the smartphone walkie-talkie! Sonnet is a wireless device that brings the long-range wireless communication capability of the 2-way radio (walkie-talkie) to smartphones. In addition, it enables device-to-device data transfer through low-power, long-range radio frequencies dependently on cellular grids and infrastructures.

Accordingly, Sonnet can connect wirelessly to any smartphone. Also, it allows sending data up to many miles in distance to other smartphones that already are using Sonnet.

More features to come…

Sonnet uses mesh networking in order to reach users out-of-point relaying on sending data privately through other users in area. This data travelling through Sonnet is already end-to-end encrypted with AES. At the same time, the Sonnet Wi-Fi connection is protected with WPA/WPA2.

It also has the ability to charge your phone. Thanks to the 4000mAh battery capacity, Sonnet can charge your smartphone through its USB port.

Moreover, you don’t need to install software in your smartphone. It is enough to have an access to the app through your browser. The team tailored this feature to allow users who don’t have internet access to use the device easily.

Above all, one of the amazing features included is SOS mode. In case of emergencies. you can press the panic button. Next, Sonnet will send your GPS location and your message to all users in range.

Full specifications of Sonnet below:

In conclusion, Sonnet is the wireless device that enables you send instant messages, voice recordings, image data and GPS coordinates even if you don’t have cellular coverage or Internet access.

Sonnet is now live on a Kickstarter campaign and has already achieved 290% of its required funds. The campaign still has 28 days to go, where you can pre-order two pair of Sonnet for $89! Also check the official website for more details.

Twiz – Tiny Wireless IMUs

Tiny Wireless IMUs – 100% open & autonomous 9DoF motion sensor using BLE to control anything from your [objects] motion ! by Drix @ hackaday.io:

We looked for tiny, autonomous, easy to use, and 9 Degrees of Freedom IMU, but none of the available wireless motion sensors were affordable enough to really unlock creativity, so we built one.

Twiz – Tiny Wireless IMUs – [Link]

LoRa IOT Home Environment Monitoring System

RodNewHampshire @ instructables.com writes:

The LoRa IOT Home Environmental Monitoring System consists of an Arduino Mega based IOT-to-Internet gateway and Arduino Feather based remote stations with environmental sensors. The remote stations communicate wirelessly with the gateway using LoRa radios.

LoRa IOT Home Environment Monitoring System – [Link]

Multichannel Wireless Light Dimmer

abhishek123 @ instructables.com writes:

This project aims to

Control the intensity of the dimmable lighting appliances via a trailing edge dimmer.

Provide the user , ability to control lightsindependently and wirelessly over the Wi-Fi network and the Internet!

Multichannel Wireless Light Dimmer – [Link]

A New Era of 3D Printing With Cel Robox’s Root, Mote and Tree!

C Enterprise Ltd., the company behind the amazing 3D printer Cel Robox, is now back on stage with some new upgrades and plug-ins: Root, Mote and Tree! Imagine that you will be able to control your 3D printer missions remotely where you can also control not only one printer, but multiple of them!

Robox is not another 3D printer, the 20-micron accuracy printer is a micro-manufacturing platform. The precise positioning of the 3 axis system along with the mechanical and electronic design of the HeadLock system provides a robust framework on which to build a range of manipulators and scanning devices to allow this robot in a box to do much more than just create beautiful 3D prints.

Key features of Robox is on this slideshow. You can check the full specifications here.

 

If you already have a Robox so don’t worry, you are not left behind. Robox team thinks that it won’t be a good choice to build above the already functional 3D printer in order to increase its capabilities. What they are doing right now is updating peripherals which are standalone and won’t disrupt the quality of the original printer. For example, an original Robox can be upgraded to become a RoboxDual using DIY upgrade kits or vendor provided services.

Increasing the size of printing by making a bigger size Robox was a suggestion for them, but what they were thinking about was different. Making a bigger Robox may risk some features already guaranteed in the original one, so why not make a way that you can function multiple Robox editions at the same time in an amazing architecture that saves space and time? Here comes Tree: a bespoke furniture system that utilises the compact nature of the Robox micro-manufacturing platform to increase productivity. It is  a precision CNC machined from high quality birch plywood with a choice of two different finishes, and is supplied as an easy-to-assemble ‘flat-pack’ solution. Using familiar fasteners, Tree can be assembled by anyone in under 30 minutes with just an allen key and screwdriver. It is a nice addition to your fablab, coworking space or even your office!

To control this Tree, a new plugin from Robox is also introduced: Root! Robox Root is a connectivity
extension platform for all Robox printers. Its core function is to add network capabilities to multiple Robox from a single Root, with secondary functions to include a web interface and printer sharing across a network. It is perfectly suited for use in offices, schools or other professions where multiple users need easy access to a single or multiple printers. The onboard HDMI port also allows you to connect Root to any external display or touchscreen, including its companion, Robox Mote.

Robox Mote is custom designed controller for Root. Using a 5” touch screen connected directly to Root, you can see the status of any connected machines and also control them directly. This allows you to control and execute prints without a connected PC from pre-sliced GCode on SDcard or USB flash drive. Using Mote is an option, you can use any smartphone, tablet, or a computer using AutoMaker – Robox outstanding software.

In order to launch this new phase of Robox with customers involved, the team had launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Although it still has 21 days to go but the campaign exceeded its 10,000 goal.

Check the campaign video to learn more from Robox team:

If you don’t have a Robox, it’s a good opportunity now to get one with a great deal. You can order Robox now for £999, as mentioned in the website, but how about a DualRobox with Root included for £1399? If you already have a Robox it’s time to add a Root to your collection for £149 including Mote and support. And finally, if you are a business or a fablab and want to add a great 3D printing corner to your space then it’s the suitable time to order one of the Tree packages provided in the campaign.

Lots more rewards, packages, specifications and detailed information are provided in the campaign page, so check it out!

IkaScope – a new wireless oscilloscope probe

ikalogic.com launched “IkaScope” a new wireless oscilloscope probe that is able to make measurements directly on your mobile phone or your laptop. IkaScope transfers measured signals over high speed wifi connection and it will remember your home or office access points. It will work with iOS, Android and Windows devices (OSx will also be supported).

Specifications

  • Input range 10 mV/div. → 10 V/divMaximum input voltage 80 Vpp
  • Bandwidth 25 MHz
  • Timebase 100 ns/div → 10 s/div
  • Input impedance 1MΩ
  • Input Coupling AC, DC, GND
  • Trigger Rising or falling slopes
  • Digital specifications
  • Sampling rate 200 MSPS
  • Resolution 8-bits
  • Buffer 4K pts (4 * 1K Pts)1

IkaScope is a wireless oscilloscope probe, all contained in an ergonomic stylus. It uses a wifi connection to transfer signals to be displayed on any connected screen (Laptop, Smart-phone, Tablet or Desktop Computer). It’s equipped with a battery that can be recharged via any USB port. Being battery operated, IkaScope always provides 4000V+ galvanic isolation from power mains (even when being recharged).

IkaScope – a new wireless oscilloscope probe – [Link]