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    0 0

    More of a quick update rather than a real blog, hence the ".5" in the numbering

     

    My shopping cart was delivered, big thanks to danzima for taking care of this! Let's have a look at what I ordered ...

     

     

    USD to EUR

     

    Buying from my local Farnell website, all prices were mentioned in EUR, rather than USD. There were no clear conversions provided with the instructions to order our shopping cart, so I quickly asked Google:

     

     

    Knowing that, I started assembling my shopping list, based on the items I mentioned in my introduction post: [Bluetooth Unleashed] Felo'melorn #1: Introduction

     

    Shopping Cart

     

    When budget is provided for Design Challenges, I like to invest in reusable items such as tools. They're useful now, and will be in the future as well.

     

    Besides, I already have drawers, boxes, bins, etc ... full of components, LED strips, boards and what not. Ask mcb1, I think he has the same problem ... but he likes to blame me for some reason

     

    I managed to stay around the estimated budget in EUR, ending up with a 129EUR shopping cart.


    Rotary Tool

     

    The first item in my shopping cart is the Dremel 3000Dremel 3000. My last rotary tool died, so it needed replacement.

     

    For this particular project, it will be used to sand down EVA foam into shape, forming the blades rough look.

     

    The Dremel came in a nice blue pouch, with a little box of accessoires, perfect to get started.

     

    Hot Air Gun

     

    The next item in the shopping cart is a Bosch Hot Air GunBosch Hot Air Gun.

     

    EVA foam comes in sheets of different thicknesses (2mm, 5mm, 10mm, ...). But depending on the project, pieces need to be reshaped to get curves for example. Bending the foam will not maintain the new shape, unless heated. And that's where this hot air gun comes into play.

     

    Clear Filament

     

    Finally, I added some clear PLA filamentclear PLA filament for my CEL Robox printer.

     

    The prop will have embedded LEDs to create flame effects. Printing pieces with clear filament will allow me to make custom diffusers. I've been thinking about two approaches for this.

    The first approach would be to print completely custom pieces for every part of the sword, but that could be very time consuming.

     

    Another approach using the tools I now have at hand, would be to print sheets the size of my printbed, and use the heat gun to soften the print and manually shape it. I'm not sure if that will work, but it sounds like an interesting thing to try out!


    0 0

    There is a world-wide shortage of multi-layer ceramic capacitors(MLCCs). One of the strategies for dealing with this is replacing MLCCs with Polymer capacitors. I have somone interested in presenting a webinar on How Polymer Capacitors Are an Alternative to Multi-layer Ceramic Capacitors.

     

    Question: Would you be interested in attending this webinar?


    0 0

    There is an active group of hardware / microcontroller enthusiasts that meet up monthly here in Seattle and I regularly attend.  Recently Scott Shawcroft who is a contract programmer for Adafruit attended the meeting and handed out the Adafruit Gemma M0 with Circuit Python to attendees.  This was a special edition that was made for PyCon 2018 with a custom silkscreen and I snagged one.  Here it is connected to a small Li-poly battery and shown next to an Arduino Uno to give scale:

    Adafruiit Gemma M0 with Circuit Python - PyCon edition

    As some will know, I have been blogging about experiments with my own small microcontroller development board designs.  This little board is designed to be a wearable and features the following:

    • ATSAMD21E 48 MHz ARM M0 32 bit processor
    • 256KB Flash
    • 32 KB RAM
    • Native USB
    • Arduino IDE or CircuitPython
    • Built in RGB DotStar LED
    • Battery connection (no charging)
    • On / Off switch
    • 3 Pins with multiple I/O capability

     

    I like the fact that it has USB which my current designs lack and it is amazing that all of this can be crammed into such a small foot print.  I plan on experimenting with the ATSAMD21 more at some point and will try putting together my own board.  At $9.95 the Gemma M0 is good value given the support from Adafruit and comes loaded with Circuit Python.  I can see the value of Python on small  microcontrollers for some, but will probably stay with C / C++ myself.  Is anyone using Micro Python or Circuit Python for development or learning?  I note that Newark is carrying a Gemma kit with the 8 bit AVR, but not the new M0.


    0 0
  • 04/24/18--15:31: element14 Essentials: IoT II
  •  

    IoT II: LoRaWAN for IoT Applications

    Sponsored by

    Featuring: Arduino, Microelektronica, The Things Network, ST Microelectronics, Laird Technologies, & Pycom


     

    Also Available:

    IoT I:
    Industrial IoT

    IoT III: Coming Soon

     

    1. Introduction

    As the Internet-of-Things (IoT) becomes more mainstream, one of the issues to consider has been how to send tiny bits of information from miniscule sensors over long distances using extremely low power. The general class of a network capable of wide area connection using low power is called a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). Among LPWAN technologies, Long Range Wide Area Network or LoRaWAN is proving to be an extremely effective solution with practical applicability to IoT applications. In this Learning Module, we take a close look at LoRaWAN technology.

    2. Objectives

    Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

    Define LoRaWAN technology

    Describe what LoRaWAN can be used for

    Explain how LoRaWAN works

    Compare LoRaWAN to other LPWAN technologies

    3. What is LoRaWAN?

    Figure 1: LoRaWAN is a standard that defines the communication protocol for LPWAN technology based on the LoRa chipset. It allows low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-enabled applications across long range wireless connections.

    LoRaWAN is the name for a network technology protocol stack that is based on the LoRa chipset. LoRaWAN is maintained by the LoRa Alliance, which includes among its membership companies such as Cisco, IBM, Semtech, HP, Orange, Proximus, ARM, Microchip, NEC, and many others.  (See full list.)

    LoRaWAN is ideally suited for IoT applications that require sensing at long ranges (2-15 km; 1-9 miles). LoRaWANs are characterized by a star-of-stars topology.  LoRaWAN finds applications in Smart grid, Smart cities, industrial automation, farming, and much more.

     

    4. What Can LoRaWAN Be Used For?

    For wireless connectivity, many different technologies are available. However, technologies such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee are all most suited to shorter range communications. For communication over long distances, these technologies cannot be used at all, or if they can be used, the cost-benefit in terms of high power consumption per bit of information transmitted makes their use unfeasible (See Figure 2).

     

    LoRa Zigbee Bluetooth WiFi
    Topology Star of Stars Mesh, Star Star Star
    Battery life Decades Years Days Hours
    Maximum Data Rate 50 kbps 250 Kbps 1 Mbps 54Mbps
    Coverage 5-15 kilometers 70-300 meters 100 meters 50-100 meters

    Table 1: Comparison of WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee to LoRa

    For many IoT applications, the actual amount of data to be transmitted is relatively small, so the higher data rate of some unlicensed band technologies (WiFi/Bluetooth) is not required. Here a special class of technologies is being designed under the broad umbrella of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), that have the characteristics of being low data rate, low power consumption, and long range. LoRaWAN belongs to the LPWAN set. Other technologies in the LPWAN domain include NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT), SigFox, Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA), Weightless, and more. LPWANs are usually characterized by long range, low power consumption, a capacity to support a large number of nodes, and robustness to interference.

    LoRaWAN is particularly suited to low-cost, high-volume applications that require primarily uplink capabilities. But LoRaWAN having a downlink capability is beneficial in certain situations. In the next section, we will be looking at how the uplink/downlink combination comes into play with different classes of LoRaWAN service.

    - 4.1 LoRaWAN Applications

    Application areas for LoRaWAN include industrial automation, manufacturing, precision farming, smart grid, pipeline monitoring, environment monitoring, smart cities, and healthcare. It is usually suited to applications in which data has to be gathered and aggregated from a number of remote locations. The star of stars topology of LoRaWAN makes it suited to the aggregating function, and the relatively long range (up to 5 km urban and 15 km rural) makes it suitable for applications such as precision farming, smart grid, or smart cities, where data has to be gathered from a localized area but one that nonetheless can stretch for a few miles or kilometers.

    Smart City

    Figure 2: The Things Network Architecture

    When the LoRaWAN network was initially set up by The Things Network for the city of Amsterdam, it was able to cover the whole city using only 10 Gateways. The entire network was setup by academics, researchers, and volunteers in a matter of weeks. It is free for use by anyone in the city. (As of writing this module, the Amsterdam LoRaWAN network has grown to 51 gateways with 120 contributors.)

     

    Livestock Monitoring

    Figure 3: LoRa Livestock Monitoring System

    Cattle feed lots can lose billions of dollars each year from sick cows. One way to combat this problem is for the rancher to be more aware of the livestock's health. This can be done by using LoRa-enabled cattle tags that can measure the cow's body temperature, head movement, and mobility. Cattle health data can be gathered in an application server, with reduced mobility and body temperature as key indicators of sickness. Once a sick cow is identified, a rancher would remotely video conference with a veterinarian, who can then check the cow's vitals and other biometric data. This system can get faster care to the sick cow while preventing the sickness from spreading throughout the herd.

     

    Radiation Leak Detection

    Figure 4: Lora Radiation Leak Detection and Alert System

    Another example of a LoRaWAN application is radiation leak detection. In America, many people live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. As such, this circumstance can pose a potential safety hazard. One way to limit the safety risk is to place radiation leak detectors throughout the plant and the adjacent community, so radiation can be monitored. Radiation leak detectors can be made of sensors and gateways embedded with LoRa technology. Radiation level data is collected by LoRa-enabled sensors. Data is regularly sent to a LoRa gateway, which in turn sends the information to the network server where it gets analyzed.  An application server can send alerts to the plant manager and/or community via mobile device, computer, or other media.

     

    5. How Does LoRaWAN Work?

    We will consider 3 planes when discussing LoRaWAN operation. The first one is the topological plane in which we will look at how a LoRaWAN network is set up and how data is aggregated. In the second, we will look at the classes of operation for LoRaWAN; you can also think of these as modes. Finally, we will look at some of the specific radio technology aspects of LoRaWAN.

    - 5.1 Topology

    LoRaWAN topology is a star of stars. The ultimate information gatherers are the nodes, which are often called "motes" as a carryover from sensor network terminology. Typically, motes sense information and send it to a localized gateway that is within range. This is the lower level of the star of stars. Each gateway that is connected to motes in its local region forms a star.

    Figure 5. A typical LoRaWAN network architecture (Source: Experimental Performance Evaluation of LoRaWAN: A Case Study in Bangkok/IEEE).

    Gateways are connected to an aggregating server using a separate backhaul technology (i.e. traditional internet connectivity, not using LoRaWAN). Gateways connecting to the server then form the upper level of the star of stars. (See Figure 5).

     

    Figure 6: Mote to Gateway is a One Hop Transmission

    Note how the motes have very limited capability; they do not perform any routing function. The transmission from mote to gateway is simply a one-hop transmission in range. It is conceivable that a mote may be within the range of more than one gateway. If more than one gateway were to pick up the same information/message, the server is capable of detecting that, and in terms of Acknowledgements (ACKs), the server designates one of the gateways to be the responder/acknowledger.

    All motes on a LoRaWAN are provided with a 32-bit dynamic address. Each device has a unique 64-bit identifier. Thus, they are similar to MAC addresses used in many other networking technologies.

    - 5.2 Classes

    LoRaWAN has 3 operational modes or classes of operation. In this section, we will discuss each class:

    Class A: Class A is the basic mode and all LoRaWAN nodes must support this mode. The mote looking to uplink to the gateway looks to see if the channel is free. If free, it can transmit information to the gateway. Thereafter, the mote waits two receive time slots in which it is expecting communication from the gateway. Typically, this is when the gateway would send an Acknowledgement (ACK) indicating that it received the uplink message from the mote correctly. This is also the time when the gateway can send other information using one of the two downlink slots (but not both).

    Class A operation is completely asynchronous, so the mote only tries to transmit when it has something to transmit, and then stays “on” for the duration of the communication. The rest of the time the mote can save power by being in a power-save mode in which the radio and associated circuitry can be turned off.  Class A is essentially an ALOHA-like uplink protocol, which means that even though power consumption is low, the efficiency of channel utilization is low and it may take several attempts to get reliable communication.

    Class B: Class B is also called a Beacon mode. This mode extends the operation of Class A by scheduling time slots for downlink transmission. A periodic Beacon message is sent out by the Gateway. As is typical with Beacon messages, this Beacon is used to synchronize clocks between the Gateway and the motes (to correct for clock drift); additionally, the Beacon also specifies specific time slots or time windows during which it wishes to send information to specific motes. Having this information from the Beacon, the associated mote then can “come alive” during those time slots to receive the required communication.

    A device can still do class A operation at any time if it is ready to transmit information, provided it works with the time framing as specified by the Beacon. Obviously, the power consumption in this mode is higher because the device has to be alive when the Beacon is expected, and in additional listening slots if so specified by the Gateway.

    Class C: Class C is a fully synchronous mode in which the mote, when it is not transmitting, is always listening for communications from the Gateway. Not surprisingly, this mode is called the “Continuously Listening” mode. Class C would require a continuous or frequently changeable power source and is likely to not be used frequently in practice (because if there is a power infrastructure available, then there may also be other networking capabilities available).

    Both Class B and Class C can be used to multicast messages from the Gateway to motes, i.e. all motes can receive the same message from the Gateway simultaneously.

    Over-the-air (OTA) updates (ex: firmware updates) to motes are unfeasible in Class B and even Class C because packet sizes in LoRaWAN need to be small. If packet sizes are increased, this would have an effect on the reliability of the transmission and would in turn reduce the range of transmission.

    - 5.3 Radio Technology

    As we have mentioned before, there is LoRa and there is LoRaWAN. It is essential to understand the difference between the two terms. LoRa refers to the radio chipset or wireless technology that is used for the devices. Semtech is the original manufacturer of this technology. (Microchip and STMicroelectronics are now able to manufacture chipsets under license.) But LoRaWAN refers to the protocol stack used for communication and utilizes the LoRa physical layer. As we saw before, LoRaWAN is maintained by the LoRa Alliance. We may think of LoRa as referring to the Physical (PHY) layer of the LoRaWAN protocol stack.

    - 5.4 Chirp Spread Spectrum Technology

    (a)
    (b)
    (c)

    Figure 7: Chirp modulation uses sinusoidal waveforms whose instantaneous frequency increases (a) or decreases (b) over time. LoRaWAN transmissions work by chirping, that is, separating the chirps in various places relative to time and frequency to encode information (c).

    LoRa uses Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) technology. CSS is a wideband Spread Spectrum technology. In layman's terms, CSS spreads the transmission over a wide bandwidth. CSS was originally developed as an alternative to Ultra Wide Band (UWB, sometimes called wireless USB). It is distinguished from more traditional Spread Spectrum (SS) such as Direct Sequence (DSSS; used in CDMA and WiFi) and Frequency Hopping (FHSS; used in WiFi and cordless phones) in that it does not add any pseudo-random elements to help distinguish the signal from noise on the channel; instead, it relies on the predictability of the Chirp signal for that purpose. CSS is also more resistant to multipath fading and Doppler shifts.

    LoRaWAN signals are resistant to noise at low power. The signal level actually appears below the noise floor. [The noise floor in a communication network is the amount of ambient noise detected at a certain spectrum band.] The predictable properties of the signal and wide band make it distinguishable from the noise floor.

    LoRa uses CSS with Spreading Factors (SF) ranging from SF7-SF12. Typically, increasing SF means reducing the data rate while making the signal more robust to noise. In LoRaWAN, the mote is allowed to select the SF to optimize for power consumption and range.

    - 5.5 Frequency Bands

    One of the advantages of a technology like LoRaWAN is that it has been designed to work in an unlicensed band. Thus, devices and applications can be easily deployed without having to go through an extensive approval process with the FCC (or other regional communications regulatory body). However, one of the disadvantages of LoRaWAN is that in the sub-GHz spectrum different bands are available in different regions of the world. Thus, we have the following regional bands of operation for LoRaWAN, making it less portable from one region to another (although there is some overlap in the 900 MHz ISM bands):

    United States: 902-928 MHz ISM

    European Union: 863-870 MHz and 433 MHz

    China: 779-787 MHz ISM; 433.575 MHz

    Australia: 915-928 MHz ISM

    Asia: 923 MHz ISM

    South Korea: 920-923 MHz ISM

    India: 865-867 MHz ISM

    - 5.6 Other Details

    We have already discussed that ACKs are used to confirm message transmission. This improves the reliability of the communication while sacrificing some of the channel capacity; although by now you will have observed that with typical packet sizes in the 10s of bytes with a data rate of up to 50 kbps, a large number of messages can still be transmitted. In an ALOHA like (i.e., random access protocol developed at the University of Hawaii) broadcast situation with no synchronization, the probability of packet collision is fairly high and so ACKs are desirable to know whether or not your transmission succeeded.

    Security is provided through AES-128 (substitution permutation network (SPN) block cipher algorithm). There are 3 distinct keys:

    AppKey: An application key known to the device and the application: this is used for Over-the-Air (OTA) Authentication (OTAA); on session activation, the other two keys are generated.

    NwkSkey: A Network Session Key (Public): this is used to do a Message Integrity Code (MIC) check to ensure that messages are not tampered with in transition.

    AppSkey: Application Session Key (Private): this is used to encrypt the message payload.

    6. Comparison of LoRaWAN to Other LPWAN Technologies

    As you can see in table 2 below, LoRa is somewhat similar in many respects to other LPWAN technologies. The question arises then: why should one choose LoRa over any of the others? The best way to answer that question is to examine some key factors. Of course, the choice of the specific technology is definitely dependent on the application. For example, the 50 Kbps speed may not be sufficient for certain applications.

    In IoT applications, power and range—a suitable combination of power range—is extremely important. With LoRa technology at a medium cost, one can get a good range (up to 15 km rural) while having the kind of power consumption that enables motes to keep going for years, even decades (estimates of 20 years on a single battery are common). And for that decent power/range combination you also get a pretty good speed of up to 50 Kbps in both uplink and downlink.

    On top of that, there are two features that make LoRa technology attractive for IoT applications. One is the security, which is robust, and the second is the fact that there is flexibility of application through the use of the 3 classes of operation. Other attractive features include the fact that the standard is maintained by an Alliance and is not proprietary, and even though the chipset technology is proprietary, Semtech, the manufacturer, is sharing that with other manufacturers such that there is going to be a range of LoRaWAN offerings in the marketplace. Finally, the use of an unlicensed band is always attractive in terms of time-to-market for new LoRa device manufacturers and Spectrum Regulatory compliance (although this may be less relevant to the end user, it does have an impact, as we have observed a wide range of devices in unlicensed bands).

    Of the cons for LoRaWAN technology, the chief one is the fact that, although working in an unlicensed band, the band itself is not consistent in different regions of the world. The bands used in North America, Europe, and Asia are different, and this puts a burden on the manufacturer looking to sell applications in expanded markets. This is not that much of a concern for the DIY end user, however.

     

    LoRaWAN SigFox NB-IoT LTE-M RPMA Weightless-P LinkLabs Symphony Link
    Model Alliance Proprietary Open Open Proprietary Open Proprietary
    Frequency Band Sub-GHz, variable 868 MHz, 902 MHz LTE Various 2.4 GHz Sub-GHz 150 MHz - 1 GHz
    Spectrum Unlicensed Unlicensed Licensed Licensed Unlicensed Unlicensed Unlicensed
    Range (km) urban: 2-5
    rural: 15
    urban: 3-10
    rural: 30-50
    urban: 1-5
    rural: 10-15
    urban: 2-5 urban: 1-3
    rural: 25-50
    urban: 2 urban: 2-5
    rural: 15
    Speed (up/down) 50 kbps/50 kbps 300 bps/- 250 kbps/250 kbps 1 Mbps/1 Mbps 634 kbps/156 kbps 100 kbps/100 kbps 100 kbps/100 kbps
    Power consumption Low High High Low Medium High Medium
    Cost Estimate Medium Low Medium High High Low Medium

    Table 2: Comparison of LoRaWAN to other LPWAN Technologies

    *The longer range in rural environments is due to Line-of-Sight communications being possible. The max range is always possible when there is direct line of sight. Rural environments are also less likely to have obstructions that absorb the signal, such as buildings. (Note that trees can still be a factor.) The terrain in applications such as farming is also expected to be relatively flat, once again making for better communication.

    ** It's clear that a lot of LPWAN technologies use sub-GHz spectrum. The reason for this is that the radio characteristics are favorable in this frequency range, providing longer range at lower power.

    7. Getting Started with LoRaWAN

    The best way to get started with LoRaWAN is to get started with an evaluation kit. In the LoRa development boards' page of this learning module, we provide additional information about a wide array of LoRA development boards and kits, for makers to professional users, including Arduino, Microchip, The Things Network, Laird Technologies, Mikroelektronica, ST Microelectronics, and Pycom.

     

    *Trademark. Microchip is a trademark of Microchip Inc. Other logos, product and/or company names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

     

    Shop our wide range of LoRa products, including development kits, demonstration boards, LoRA transceivers, and RF modules.

    Shop NowShop NowShop NowShop NowShop Now

     

    Test Your KnowledgeBack to Top

    Are you ready to demonstrate your LoRaWAN for IoT Applications knowledge? Then take a quick 15-question multiple choice quiz to see how much you've learned from this LoRaWAN for IoT Applications Learning Module.

    To earn the LoRaWAN for IoT Badge, read through the module to learn all about LoRaWAN for IoT Applications, attain 100% in the quiz at the bottom, leave us some feedback in the comments section, and give the module a star rating.

     

    1) What does LoRaWAN stand for:





     

    2) Which of the following is/are not an LPWAN technology:





     

    3) The LoRaWAN standard is maintained by:





     

    4) Which of the following is a proprietary LPWAN technology?





     

    5) CSS stands for:





     

    6)  _____________________ is also called Continuously Listening:





     

    7) LoRa chipsets were originally manufactured by:





     

    8) Class B in LoRaWAN is also called:





     

    9) Multicasting is possible in which mode(s) of LoRaWAN?





     

    10) Which frequency band does LoRaWAN work on in the United States?





     

    11) Which of the following are licensed to make LoRa chipsets:





     

    12) The longer range of many IoT technologies in a rural environment is because of:





     

    13) Why do many LPWAN technologies use sub-GHz frequency bands?





     

    14) In LoRaWAN, the mote is allowed to select the spreading factor to optimize:





     

    15) The topology of a LoRaWAN network is:





    Alas, you didn't quite meet the grade. You only got %. Have another look through the course, and try again.
    You nailed it, and scored %! To earn the LoRaWAN for IoT Badge, leave us some feedback in the comments section and give the module a star rating.  You may also download the pdf for future reference. Other topics you want to learn? Send a suggestion.

    0 0

    Hi!

     

    I think maybe this bug was reported before, but I'm not sure.

    Basically, if the text in a discussion or comment contains a part code, then eventually it turns into a 'Product Link', which is really great. However, if the part code contained a hyphen, then the rest of the paragraph loses nearly all punctuation.

    Here is an example (it is from this page: Cool Tools To Giveaway for a Blog Review  ):

    The very first reference to the part, HT 225D (with a hyphen) I'd manually added the Product Link using the editor tools. All remaining instances were automatically done, but the automatic instances have caused commas and full-stops to disappear : (

    Is this a known bug?

     

    Thanks,

     

    Shabaz.


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  • 05/22/18--00:36: duplicate nets error
  • OK Firstly I'm not sure what "compile project" is but I did it before wanting to go to PCB, so now I have an error as two completely separate nets "have the same name". So what can I do about it? yes these are identical wires in two circuit sections made with copy/paste but then it is just two nets not all of the others and i see no way to edit the net name........


    0 0

     

    Foto und Text verfügbar: www.endrich.com/presse

     

    Besuchen Sie uns auf der

    Sensor+Test Halle 5, 140

     

    Pressemitteilung 05/2018

     

    Endrich präsentiert High-Speed-Radarmodule von RFbeam Microwave

     

    Nagold, 22. Mai 2018     * * *    Neu im Portfolio der Endrich Bauelemente GmbH  sind die K-Band Radar Tranceiver Module vom Typ K-MD2 des Schweizer Herstellers RFbeam Microwave GmbH. Endrich präsentiert diese Module erstmals auf der Fachmesse Sensor und Test 2018 in Halle 5, Stand 140.

    Das 24 GHz FMCW Radarmodul mit einer Winkelauflösung in Azimut und Höhe wurde mit einer High Speed FPGA Signalverarbeitung kombiniert. Alle Funktionen sind über die integrierte Ethernet-Schnittstelle steuerbar.

    Mehrfachziele können gleichzeitig in Distanz/Geschwindigkeit- und Distanz/Winkel-Darstellungen mit 20 Messungen pro Sekunde ausgewertet werden. Die Erfassung der Ziele ist in einem Winkelbereich von 20 x 30 Grad möglich, Personen können auf eine Distanz von 50 m detektiert werden.

    Vorteilhaft für den Anwender ist es, dass keine besonderen Kenntnisse in analoger oder digitaler Schaltungstechnik notwendig sind, um einen mehrzielfähigen FMCW Radarsensor zu realisieren. Die Time to Market kann auf diese Weise wesentlich verringert werden. Für einen schnellen Einstieg wird außerdem eine GUI Software mit Darstellung der Ziele in Distanz, Geschwindigkeit und Winkel mitgeliefert. So lassen sich Anwendungen sofort auf ihre Machbarkeit hin überprüfen.

    Über die Ethernet-Schnittstelle werden nicht nur alle Funktionen des Radars gesteuert, sondern auch die Daten der erfassten Ziele ausgelesen. Im Gegensatz zu anderen Lösungen auf dem Markt hat der Anwender den vollen Zugriff auf die analogen Daten des Radarmoduls, und er kann damit weitere Auswertungen durchführen.

    Die neuen Module eignen sich insbesondere für Anwendungen in der Verkehrs- und Sicherheitstechnik und der industriellen Sensorik. Sie sind ab Juni 2018 bei Endrich verfügbar.

    Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter http://rfbeam.ch/product?id=21 und auf der Endrich Webseite unter https://www.endrich.com/radar_transceivers/k-md2 .

     

    Über die Endrich Bauelemente Vertriebs GmbH

    Endrich versteht sich als design-orientierter Spezialdistributor mit Schwerpunkten in den Bereichen passive Bauelemente, Optoelektronik, Sensorik, Elektromechanik, Akustik sowie spezieller Halbleiterprodukte. Durch eine intensive technische Beratung und eine ausgefeilte Logistik steht Endrich in Deutschland und Zentraleuropa für qualitativ hochwertige Komponenten und flexible Lösungen. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter www.endrich.com.

     

    Leser-Kontakt:                                                                     Presse-Kontakt:

    Endrich Bauelemente Vertriebs GmbH                                PRismaPR    

    Telefon: +49-7452-6007-0                                                    Bettina Lerchenmüller          

    endrich@endrich.com                                                           Telefon: +49-8106-24 72 33

                                                                                                   www.prismapr.com

                                                                          

     

     


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    I kind of figured that anyone who considers him or herself a maker has a toolbox or a bench of tools they treasure. When I did technical work, I had my big tool box and a briefcase of my go-to tools, including a multimeter, driver set, sockets, extender magnet, etc. These were my cool tools. What are yours?

     

    We are launching a cool tools campaign at element14 where we roadtest and giveaway some tools we think are pretty cool.

     

    Cool Tools Giveaway for a Blog Review

    Would you like to get any of these tools, play around with them, and write a blog review? I'm looking for a few members who are really into tools to do the reviews. Below are the tools I have to offer. If you are interested, drop me a line in the comments below. Tell me about your cool tools and persuade me to send you off any of these tools. And all you need to do for it is write a blog review on element14.


    Milwaukee Tool 60-piece Shockwave Series Impact Driver Set

     

    Leatherman 14 in 1 Multitool

     

    Bit Set, Zyklop Mini Series

     

    Peak Electronics ESR Meter (Capacitance)

     

    Duratool PC Maintenance Tool Kit


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    Design for a Cause – Design Challenge
    The Assistive Technology Challenge


    To celebrate the launch of The element14 Community “Design for a Cause” campaign and Arduino Day,
    we are pleased to introduce the ‘Design for a Cause’ Design Challenge with The Arduino MRK1000.

     

    In this new Design Challenge, Challengers are invited to use the Arduino MKR1000 to create a piece of assistive technology for individuals living with physical or mental impairments.

     

    We have created guide character bios with real individuals in mind but their identities changed to preserve privacy. 

    Challengers can take inspiration from these characters or others in their own lives if they wish.

    Challengers are to consider how best to improve the lives people living with limitations using the Arduino MKR1000.

    As part of this Design Challenge, Challengers are invited to make their code and methods Open Source so others around them can build

     

     

    Example applications could include:

    • OpenSource Electric Wheelchair Conversion kit
    • Smart Prosthetics
    • Sense Replacement System
    • Safer cooking options for people with sight impairments
    • Mobility Aids
    • Dexterity Aids
    • Help with household appliances
    • Proximity Detecting Canes
    • Communication devices

     

    15 Challengers will get the following kit free of charge.

     

    Arduino MKR1000 IoT Dev Kit

    Development Kit, Including Arduino MKR1000 IoT Bundle, Components Kit

    Arduino MKR SD Card and Proto Shield

     

     

     

    Daughter Board, SD Card Shield for Arduino MKR range, Prototyping Area

    Arduino MKR1000 to UNO Shield Converter

     

     

     

    Adapter Board, Arduino MKR1000 And UNO Shield Interface

     

    Applications and Design Challenge Space open 23rd of May.

     


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    INTRODUCTION

     

    Thanks to Element 14 for the opportunity to road test the GraspiO board with the GraspiO Studio app on the cloudio Cloud platform.

     

    It’s fun crunching electronics and computing together to make awesome applications and integrations and it’s good to see our younger generation (and techno newbies) gain better understanding of how things can be made to work. It’s often said that it’s the younger generation who better understand tech because they’re always using it - but is it possible that many may take for granted the ‘magic’ that they use everyday? The basic element of computing is the ones and zeros translated from electronics logic levels high and low, nothing more nothing less. But how does that make my sensor notice that the light level has reduced and turn on a light? How can I make a servo motor move 65 degrees or a solenoid unlock a latch? How do I put together a process to sound an alarm if gas is detected?

     

    So an educational product that allows novices to play with these concepts without much knowledge of programming, or much in the way of electronic engineering skills, is intriguing. And it’s not just novices that this may be of interest to, there’s often circumstances where professionals and hobbyists just want to quickly prove a concept without getting out the breadboard, soldering iron, and C compiler.

     

    In performing the road-test I have naturally had to set realistic expectations but always with a mind to the extensibility of the product and its future potential. To put another way, I would naturally expect to find digital and analogue input / output allowing basic interaction with sensors, buzzers, displays etc but shouldn’t expect (for now at least) access to hardware buses such as SPI, I2C, 1W, serial/UART etc.

     

    So let’s take a look at the boards core capabilities (what’s in the box) and how easily these may be integrated using the block programming app, what are simplest additional sensors that can be used with the board, and how the board can integrate with the outside world.             

     

    UNBOXING

    I received a package with attractive, well presented branding and clear instructions. The packaging makes it obvious the board is for a Raspberry Pi with an app supported on both Android & IoS, and app integration via IFTT.

     

    Buyers should note that the Raspberry Pi and SD card is not included in the product but also that they DO NOT NEED a keyboard, video, or mouse only the use of their existing smart device (phone or tablet)

     


     

     

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BOARD

    The double-sided pcb is a pleasant colour and seems well made and robust. This will withstand a fair bit of misuse. On the underside we have the female header and a stand-off to seat the board cleanly on the host Pi.

     

     

     

    The sensors and devices are all placed in sensible positions to aid experimentation for the kind of use-cases we would reasonably expect to see the board used for (more later when we take a look at the programming side of things).

     

    The GraspiO board makes use of an Atmega32U4 Controller, a meaty processor which can be found at the heart of many of the current Arduino microcontroller development boards.

     

    On Board Sensors (Input):

    A cursory eyeball of the board and it’s evident that there are a useful selection of on-board sensors to get you quickly up and running with input.

    • 1 off Temperature Sensor.

    • 1 off Light Sensor

    • 1 off Digital momentary Switch

    • 1 off IR Proximity Sensor (Transmit & Receive)

     

    On Board Indicators (Output):

    Next up we want to see what options we have to feedback status and information to the user and the board does not disappoint with the following devices:

     

    • 1 off  0.96" OLED Display (white) - For displaying real-time sensor values, custom text with stylized font, and playful emojis.

    • 1 off Buzzer / Annunciator - For adding audio alerts and alarms to programme steps.

    • 1 off RGB LED (5V) - To add visual indicators in light and colour to programme steps, out-puting 16-bit RGB colors.

     

    IO Ports:

    The board would be pretty useful with just the sensors and indicators above, but what makes it more functional is its additional 7 input output ports which allow for the interfacing of analogue sensors, digital output, and PWM Motor drive.

     

    • 3 off ADC Ports (5V) - Known as Ports  S1, S2, S3 - For connecting generic sensors and standard sensors like humidity, door, motion, etc.

    • 3 off Digital Output (5V) - Known as Ports X1, X2, X3 - Ideal for breakout to breadboard circuits, connecting relays for home automation related projects etc.

    • 1 off Mini Servo Motor Port(5V) - Known as Port A1 - For interfacing an external servo motor to perform mechanical actions such as pan/ tilt, smart lock applications, etc.

     

    In addition the documentation tells is it is possible to connect any of the following:

     

    • Mini 5V servo motor to port A1

    • External sensors to ports S1 to S3

    • 5V devices such as LEDs, Relays, DC motors to Digital Output ports X1 to X3

    • Raspberry Pi camera or USB camera connected to Raspberry Pi

    • External speaker connected to Raspberry Pi's audio jack



    ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

    In addition to the GraspIO Board, you will need:

     

    • A Raspberry Pi with wifi and Power Supply (Supported Models: Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/0/0W )

    • A wifi access point to connect to

    • Access to a PC or mac with a micro SD card reader (to flash the SD card)

    • Micro SD Card (you will need a class 10 of 8Gb or higher)

    • Android or Apple phone or tablet

    • Optional items to plug-in and test with (I selected a potentiometer, a servo motor, a rudimentary resistive rain sensor, a gas sensor, a 4 key membrane keypad, a relay board)

     

     

    GETTING STARTED WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS

    Strangely on this occasion I decided to RTM rather than dive in headfirst and dig myself out of my own mistakes later, a piece of advice I give others but often disregard myself. There was no need to worry, the instructions provided were very clear taking me through step by step. I made myself a summary….

     

    1. Flash the GraspIO image to an SD card for use in the Pi

        1. Download the free Etcher software onto a laptop or desktop PC (windows or mac).

        2. Download the image from link provided

        3. Load the image into Etcher and write to a blank SD card (Note: SD card not included)

    2. Assemble / Mount the board on the Raspberry PI

    3. Download GraspIO Studio app on to mobile device from Play Store or App Store

    4. Create an account on GraspIO Studio

    5. Connect Cloudio to the network and your account

    6. Possibly wait for some automatic updates

    7. Ready to go with Visual Block Programming !

    8. Load examples to try out the features

    9. Try some of my own sensors

     

    All in all this turned out to be a simple and (mainly) satisfying process.



    FLASHING THE SD CARD

    This process went swimmingly. The SD card was prepared by formatting it (I used Windows Quick Format), the  source image was downloaded to a folder directly from the link provided, and I decided against natural inclination to follow instructions and download the Etcher utility rather than use my usual Win32DiskImager.

     

    I opened the downloaded image into Etcher and I’ve got to say this was the simplest imaging process I’ve ever seen. No imponderable config settings, just select the drive that the card was in and go! Percentage progress is displayed and flashing completes after a while when a success message is displayed. Exit the Etcher application and eject the SD card. All done.

     

    MOUNTING ON THE Pi

    Next step is to ‘let the board see the Pi’ as they say up North.

     

    For the purposes of this road test the board is mounted to an RPI 3B. It is also test mounted on a RPI Zero (with USB Wifi Dongle)

     

    The board registers cleanly atop the RPI GPIO header. On the RPI3 it is not possible to incorrectly mount it on the wrong pins, though this is not true for the smaller form RPI Zero (W) where there is nothing stopping you pushing in the wrong end of the header or the wrong way round - however it just doesn’t look right if you do that and I’m sure most people would think twice before switching on.

     

    Regardless of these comments the manual provides crystal clear instructions on how to mount your board. Follow them and you won’t go wrong.

     

    Finally we plug-in the power supply into the Pi’s micro USB slot and turn on the power. The RGB LED blinks (very brightly!), then a progress logo is displayed on the OLED and finally a re-assuring welcome message is displayed telling us setup has been successful. When I did this, it did seem to take 3-5 minutes to complete and I put this down to firmware updates being performed.



     

    APP INSTALLATION

    I started by installing the GraspiO Studio app on my IPhone 6 and IPAD Air 2. This was simplicity itself, just do what you normally do to install an app. All installed in a few minutes. Later I went on to install the app on an Android TV box, again there were no issues.

     

    Next I created an account on the app using my email ID, password, and an account registration pin got sent to my email to confirm my identity. The pin was received within seconds and typed into the app. I’m then get asked to grant permissions for audio and storage on the phone.

     

    GraspiO board and Pi must be associated to the wifi network and the account we set up in the app. Pi and mobile device must be able to connect to the same local network.

     

    There are a couple of different ways to do this but I would highly recommend following the excellent instructions and video for ‘USB Twinkle’ which is a one-time process that uses a USB cable to transfer the Wifi credentials between the mobile device and Cloudio so that Cloudio can connect to your network.

     

    For me, I connected my iPhone to Cloudio/Pi using a usb cable (I just choose one of the 4 free USB ports at random), made a long-press on the Cloudio GIO switch and got a nice network logo on the OLED followed by an ‘Apple device found message’.

     

    The app screen then lists available networks and all you have to do is select your house wifi and enter its password. Cloudio says ‘connecting to the network’,

    we disconnect the cable and name our new board on the app.

     

    Eh Voila, the board is now connected and registered to my account. When powered down and up your Cloudio Pi is ready to go and you’re ready to send it a program to execute.

     

    While the above may sound a little involved, it does follow the standard processes we seem to do day in day out on our devices, so wouldn’t seem alien to most users.



    VISUAL PROGRAMMING IN GRASPIO STUDIO APP

     

    This is where the fun starts for real. The instructions have a section called Creating your first project,which is a great place to start reading up what can be done with the block programming language.

     

    I recommend navigating to the Projects / Examples section of the app and finding the Hi5 example. Clicking into this takes you to the programming screen and you can see how the instructions are formed.

     

    The example is a simple loop block with an IF THIS THEN DO SOMETHING / ELSE DO SOMETHING ELSE block that reads the IR sensor and (1) displays an image (or emoji as they call it)  on the OLED and (2) sounds the buzzer when the sensor reading < 50 i.e. when you move your hand towards it. When you move your hand away a different Emoji is displayed.

     

    In this project we are introduced to:

    • Control blocks (Conditional and code blocks such as Loop and If)

    • Input blocks & real-time Read functionality (IR sensor)

    • Output blocks (Buzzer)

    • Notifier blocks (OLED)

    It is so easy to play around with this first example and change values such as number of times the loop cycles, the trigger value for the sensor, and what is displayed on the OLED.

     

    There are many other really interesting examples and my test results are as follows:

    Key to Ease of Use Scores:

    1 - very easy

    2 - relatively easy

    3 - some complexity and care needed

    4 - relatively hard

    5 - requires technical know-how or careful manual reading

     

    Example Name

    Function

    Uses

    Tested in this Road Test?

    How easy?

    Issues Encountered

    Hi5

    Proximity Alarm sounds buzzer, displays value on OLED

    • Buzzer

    • OLED Display

    • IR Sensor

    Yes

    1

    None

    Voice Assistant

    Takes Speech input to trigger actions on the board. In this case gets current temp and light intensity and displays on OLED. Pi speaks notifications.

    • Speech Recognition on Smart Device

    • Text to Speech Output to audio

    • IR Sensor

    • Temp Sensor

    Yes

    2

    • Be careful to record your speech pattern in the way you will re-use it.

    Temp Alert

    Notifies on change in temperature.  LED is green on stable temperature and turns red with OLED warning message when a threshold temperature is breached.

    • On-board Temp sensor

    Yes

    1

    • There is an error in the online documentation which shows the wrong code blocks.

    Monitor

    Monitors Temp and Light sensor for 1 day. Data is collected and displayed in the Dashboard section of the app, and real-time values displayed on Cloudio’s OLED. An easy way to view historical data on app and real-time data on board.

    • On-board Temp sensor

    • Light sensor

    Yes

    1

    None

    IFTT

    Uses Cloudio to trigger IFTT.

    Three triggers are set up on Cloudio, and either one of them can be used while creating an applet on IFTTT.

    • I used On-board switch

    Yes

    5

    • Results erratic in Trigger mode. Ran sometimes, not others.

    • No positive feedback with programming block.

    Photo Booth

    Demonstrates the use of a Raspberry Pi camera or external USB webcam.

    This example simulates a photo booth by displaying a message on the OLED and sets RGB LED to bright green.

    The camera captures an image and emails it to the registered email ID.

    • On-board OLED

    • RGB LED

    • Webcam (Raspberry Pi or USB camera connected to Pi)

    Yes

    3

    • Email notification period limited to once per 15 mins.

    • often emails would not arrive

    • Does not appear to work with all types of USB webcam

    Emoji

    Continuously displays a shuffled series of images on the OLED screen with a delay between each one of them.

    • On-board OLED screen

    Yes

    1

    None

    RGB Disco

    Continuously displays a series of selected colors on Cloudio’s RGB LED.

    • On-board RGB LED

    Yes

    1

    None

    Theft Alert

    Physical object presence detection.

    An object is placed in front of the IR sensor. When it is moved away and email is sent and the buzzer sounded

    • On-board Buzzer

    • On-board IR sensor

    Yes

    2

    None

    Voice Control

    In this example, two voice commands are demonstrated

    Press the listen button on the app and say the command.

    On ‘Good Morning’ Cloudio displays message on OLED and Speaks response on the PI’s speaker.

    On ‘Disco Mode’ Cloudio displays a series of different colors on its RGB LED while beeping the buzzer.

    • On-board Buzzer

    • On-board  OLED

    • On-board  LED

    • Ext Speakers (connected to Pi)

    Yes

    2

    None

     

    SOME ADDITIONAL EXPERIMENTS & EXAMPLES

    1 Mounting & Setup

    A short video showing mounting the board.

    https://youtu.be/qbvl0m4PW3E

     

    2 Post Booting & Upload a Block Programme / Text to Speech

    • Demo of  how it is possible to plug in a bluetooth transmitter to the Pi and upload a simple programme to output your text to speech and audio output from the board.

        https://youtu.be/Pf3GBXARGdw

     

    • Demo using buzzer and digital input switch. Use of loop block.

              https://youtu.be/fQNrtnVosBk

     

    • Video of the Voice Assistant Demo.

              https://youtu.be/GPQ31uxMHKM

     

    3 Digital Output  to 3 External LEDs

    A short video showing how very easy it is to test the digital out from the board by flashing some additional LEDS. Buy some from Farnell :-) and plug them straight into the X1, X2, & X3 female headers. The long pin (Anode) of each LED at the top.

     

    https://youtu.be/0YRMvYOyKsM

     

    4 Analogue Input from a variable resistor / Potentiometer

    A short video showing how to add a potentiometer to the S1 ADC port. This could be used in classroom scenario as an educational example to explain how a variable resistor works. We measure the reading across it in real time and also demonstrate conditional statement with a text to speech output to our speakers.

     

    https://youtu.be/oj4SnLzmwZA

     

    5 Servo Motor Control

    A very rough and ready demo showing how easy it is to utilise the onboard servo motor drive board with a micro servo motor.

     

    https://youtu.be/OcWp1dBSriw

     

    LINKS

    • Online User Guide

    https://guide.grasp.io/

    • Etcher Software Download

    http://www.etcher.io/

    • GraspIO OS / Image for SD card

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/gio-os/latest/graspio-os.zip

    • GraspIO Studio mobile app (Android and iOS)

    http://grasp.io/app

    FEES

    The package comes pre-loaded with 50,000 free cloud calls. Once these have expired you have an on-going allowance of 100 free calls per day and a subscription is required for any excess.The scheme and cost of calls does seem a little complex, but then something that is perhaps normal in the cloud world.  Some actions do cost a greater number of calls than others so usage should be carefully considered when designing your apps.

    CONCLUSIONS

     

    Good points :

     

    • Educational value
    • Accelerated introduction to IoT - everyone can be an inventor and make simple robotics in no time at all!
    • Good price point and excellent value for money
    • Setup is super-easy and reliable
    • Access entirely from smartphone is compelling. No KVM required.
    • No software programming skills required - App-style GUI Block-programming is super-easy, super-quick and intuitive
    • Board takes power from Raspberry, avoiding separate power supply.
    • No electronics engineering skills required - Pre-loaded with built-in sensors and OLED display.
    • Lots of potential for new software features to be introduced in future updates.
    • Directly control a servo motor without external add-ons.
    • Simple to manipulate Text to Speech, Speech Recognition and IFTT integration - a real plus.


    Negative points :

     

    • The text to speech is an awesome addition but you still have to have powered speakers. Adding a bluetooth audio profile would have been an advantage given the hardware is already on the RPI board. Perhaps this could be a future software-enabled update?
    • The temperature sensor reads about 5 degrees more than a moderately accurate thermometer and there are absolute value discrepancies between some of the notification blocks. This could readily be corrected in software.
    • I have yet to exhaust the free cloud calls but eventually the system of paid calls may become off-putting.
    • While IFTT offers a fairly broad range of integration with apps, for a wider appeal to the more advanced user, an MQTT or http request block would have been be a real advantage and educational insight into integrating with other apps, services and APIs
    • I only got one out of three of my USB cameras to work.
    • The board could do with some more +5v (High) pins, although you can get round this by making a ‘splitter’ and hooking it to one of the USB ports which still carry power.


    Things to Consider:

     

    • Does not ‘run alongside’ your normal PI OS:

    Your Pi is booted with a custom GraspiO image (not Raspbian) and you can only use the functions of the board and its smartphone app. The KVM is disabled so there’s no terminal either via hardware or remote methods. The PI does however provide audio output and wifi to GraspiO board.  Some may say ‘well what’s the point of buying a Pi if its functions are disabled?’, but it should be remembered that the raspberry Pi can readily be ‘put back’ to a Linux Pi (and vice versa) by simply changing SD cards and rebooting  and this product does make for a reliable educational platform with simplified block programming. Less to go wrong. On balance, for the intended use of this board, this is a major plus.

     

    • Some Programming Limitations

    At present it does not seem possible to combine the ‘advanced programming blocks’ and this can limit application complexity. Initially I had plans to make two demonstrations for this show and tell.

    Firstly a Pseudo Temperature Gauge using a servo motor to ‘point to’ temperature based on its value and secondly the integration of a wind-speed anemometer (using the count clicks method), however I found the use of variables in the block programming a little limiting and have not yet worked out how to do this for either. I’ll keep trying..

     

    • Some Cloud Limitations

    The USB webcam capture feature is awesome and will send captured image or video to your email - all setup in 5 steps or less - however the cloud service restricts to one email every 15 minutes which could limit many attractive use cases for cameras.

     

    Overall this is a great entry-level piece of tech, and affordable too. Most people already have some form of smart device running android or IoS, some may or may not have a raspberry PI to hand. However this works equally well across the entire range of the foundations platforms (as well as the recently released RPI 3B) and it is possible to pickup a Raspberry Pi Zero W for $20 and it will work just fine on that, keeping your overall investment in check.

     

    Any parent of kids from primary school upwards, who wants them to be tech-savy should buy this for them as an educational tool. In some ways this is the lego of the IoT space and will no doubt spark creativity in their enquiring minds.

     

    Despite some evident limitations in programming features and cloud usage it also has potential to be a great prototyping toy for the IoT enthusiasts. I’ve already used the board to quickly hook up some sensors that I’ve never had the time or inclination to test manually before.

     

    I would definitely recommend starting with this board before deciding where your special interests lie and investing in other add on boards, hats and shields, especially if you are yet to hone your electronics and programming skills.