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EETE FEB 2016

design & products Prototyping & Development boards Multi-purpose wearables: a makers’ dream come true By Julien Happich With the CPRO version of its MetaWear sensing platform now raising funds on Kickstarter, Californian startup mbientlab is providing makers a Bluetooth-connected remote sensor on steroids. Only 3mm thick (CR2032 coin battery included) and 24mm in diameter, the open-source ambient sensor board measures acceleration, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, temperature and ambient light. Designed around Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF51822 SoC (featuring a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU) the device has enough on-board flash memory to log up to 15,000 sensor data entries before they are downloaded to a smartphone via the Bluetooth Low Energy radio module. Because the sensor unit is over-the-air programmable and updatable, controlled and programmed through a smartphone, it can be repurposed instantly, from one application to the next, as the ultimate wearable sensor. Rather than being yet another mote hardware nicely packaged and marketed for one or two dedicated applications, the CPRO is open to feed any app with its versatile sensing capabilities. The sensors on the BOM list include a LTR-329ALS ambient light sensor from LiteON, with a full dynamic range from 0.01 lux to 64k lux (16-bit resolution), a Bosch pressure and temperature sensor with redundant thermistor, and a 9-axis combo sensor from Bosch integrating an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope. Interfacing pins include a PWM pin, an I2C interface and four Analog/Digital general purpose I/O pins which could serve to attach additional sensors. A LED indicator and a push button switch mounted on the board complete the tiny unit. To make their product the most versatile and easy to integrate, the engineers at mbientlab offers a complete 3D MCAD model for download so users can make their own case. In its MetaWearCPSv0.5 datasheet, the company proposes further options such as fitting a Bosch BME280 digital humidity sensor, an ams TSL26711 optical proximity sensor or an ams TCS34725 RGB colour sensor. According to the designers, the integrated power management circuit ensures battery will last up to several months. In the last 2 years, the startup has successfully crowdfunded two previous generations of BLE-connected sensor boards, raising over USD 115,000 early 2014 and an additional USD 50,622 early 2015. But as a third iteration and rich from the feedback they got, the CPRO is more compact and packs more sensors and options. A software development kit is also available for users to download and view their data, control the device, and create complex data filters or triggers based on sensor data. But for those hackers who may not be too versed in complex data analysis, the startup also offers to do the data analysis, providing a cloud environment with machine learning tools and algorithm development solutions to extract meaningful information and contextualize your data with regard to your end application. Code-free IoT platform is open to control just anything By Julien Happich WiFiThing aims to put on the market a code-free Internet of Things (IoT) platform that the British startup hopes will allow just about anyone to connect smart devices around their home easily, without being tied to one brand or to one set of applications. The open source IoT solution put forward on Kickstarter consists of a WiFi-enabled master board that monitors and control slave boards through a low-power ISM radio connection. Masters can control up to eight slave devices, four groups of FS20 radiator valves and 10 Orvibo Smart Sockets. Designed in sleek white plastic enclosures, both the master and slaves have over 20 I/O pins including digital and analog input and output. What’s more, the WiFithing slaves can communicate using I2C. More capabilities are under development, like Modbus. Because the slave devices are controlled through the WiFienabled master, users can still control their appliances from their smartphone, communicating directly with the master (even The WiFiThing units in their white cases. 28 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2016 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEB 2016
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