New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Archive for June, 2011

Zigduinos for Sale

The Zigduino is a pin and code compatible OSHW Arduino variant based around the ATmega128RFA1. This gives it a number of useful features above and beyond a stock Arduino:

Built-in 802.15.4 transceiver
Hardware AES-256 encryption module
128K of flash
16K of RAM
In order to improve the Zigduino’s durability for field sensor applicaions and provide full shield compatibility, all pins are protected by diodes and series resistors capable of absorbing spikes of ±30V. It can handle an input voltage range of 6V-30V with power supply spikes to -20V and +60V.

The Zigduino ships as a kit. Each kit includes:

– A bare Zigduino board
– Female headers for the standard Arduino pinout as well as the separate I2C and SPI connectors.
– One male 2×3 pin header for the programming port
– A 2.1mm DC barrel jack for power
– A card-edge RPSMA RF connector
– A 2dBi antenna.

The Zigduino is now on sale for $69.99! It is shipping worldwide and available for retail purchase at Metrix: Create Space. It will shortly be available from Seeedstudio and

More info here.

IoT on the Wall Street Journal

In 2007, there were 500 million devices connected to the Internet. By 2020, that could reach 50 billion, according to networking giant Cisco. This is the so-called “Internet of things”. A web where machines dominate. Strictly speaking, the Internet of things is a subset of a much bigger phenomenon: A machine-to-machine (M2M) net of sensors, actuators and processors.

M2M communications uses a device, such as a sensor or meter, to capture information – like temperatures, inventory levels or location status. This is then relayed through a network to an application, which translates the captured event into meaningful information. For example: a security breach, or when items need to be restocked or an accident has occurred.

CapGemini estimates that the world M2M market will be worth €27.4 billion ($39.3 billion) by 2013. According to Vodafone, just the wireless traffic alone will be worth €8.9 billion. Many of these nets of sensors and processors already exist in closed loops, such as in cars. Connecting these nets to the broader internet using conventional internet protocol inspires new business models.

Take, for example, San Francisco-based company, Streetline, which uses sensors in parking bays to allow citizens to find inexpensive parking, fast. This technology helps cities manage their parking resources more efficiently, while simultaneously helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Barcelona-based WorldSensing, uses a similar technology. The firm developed the technology to form a vast network of tens of thousands of geophones to allow cheap and continuous monitoring of carbon capture fields or conduct oil exploration.

Read the complete article here.


DIY Wi-Fi Open Source Web Server

The success of FlyPort WiFi module is due to the intuitive and easy programming essential software development environment thanks to the availability of APIs and functions already written and ready to be referenced in your code . The only bad thing is that you need to update the Framework to the 4th version.

From the OpenPicus site you can, among other things, download a sample project that includes the use of Flyport as a web server through which you can monitor the status of analog and digital inputs, plus you can interact with the board enabling or disabling the 5 digital outputs. Looking at the html code, what we see now is that it is a stylish remake of a web server made available by the Microchip as example of what it can be implemented by adopting their TCP/IP stack, so nothing new to this point of view.

More in the article: FlyPort: web server exemple

This 45-Mile "Wi-Fi" Could Connect a Smarter Power Grid

If your home Wi-Fi router wasn’t cooped up indoors, it could send a signal about a 20th of a mile before the signal became too weak and distorted for a computer to receive it. Technology developed by San Diego startup On-Ramp Wireless uses the same frequency, but less power, to send data signals 45 miles, thanks to algorithms that make the signals very resistant to noise.

The technology, called Ultra-Link Processing, transfers data at a very low rate compared with a home broadband connection. But On-Ramp intends to offer it as a way to enable “smart energy” grids, in which simple sensors installed in home energy meters, for example, report local activity back to utilities, allowing them to manage power generation and distribution more intelligently.

Smart-grid infrastructure is needed to cope with the fluctuating output of renewable energy sources at large scale, and it could make feasible micro-generation, whereby consumers make their own power and sell any surplus back to the grid. Today’s smart-grid sensors typically use Wi-Fi-like technology with Wi-Fi-like ranges, or unlicensed radio bands that can reach a couple of miles. Cellular networks can also be used, but these connections are under growing pressure from data-hungry phones and tablets.

More info here.

Greener disaster alerts

New software allows wireless sensor networks to run at much lower energy, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Sensor Networks. The technology could improve efficiency for hurricane and other natural disaster warning systems.

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are used to monitor ecosystems, wild and urban environments. They have been vital in predicting events that threaten species and environments, including gathering information from animal habitats, in volcanic activity monitoring, flash-flood alerts and environmental monitoring. Wireless sensing in densely populated urban communities can be invaluable not only in monitoring the physical environment, but also for focusing on the impact people and their vehicles have on that environment through mobile emissions monitoring. Such sensing allows consideration to be given to such factors in planning for sustainable development. Unfortunately, the benefits of WSNs come at a price – they require energy.

Computer scientist Patricia Morreale of Kean University in Union, New Jersey and colleagues Feng Qi and Paul Croft of Kean’s School of Environmental and Life Sciences, explain how a mesh network of wireless sensors reports data to a central site for environmental monitoring and risk identification. They have developed such a system that reduces the energy requirements compared to conventional WSNs.

More info here.


ZigBee Alliance Establishes Chinese Offices

The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of organizations creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, residential, commercial and consumer applications, today announced it has opened two new offices in China to drive greater ZigBee adoption and address ZigBee standards to meet China’s specific needs for its rapidly expanding infrastructure and growing markets.

The Alliance appointed Jerry Huang as director of ZigBee Asia Pacific, Greater China representative, with offices in the Sensing China Center in Wuxi and in Zhongguancun Science Park (Z-Park) in Beijing. Huang, who has 20 years of marketing experience, will lead the Alliance’s collaboration on the Internet of Things industry efforts and standards development from these offices.

“ZigBee is very excited to have a local presence in China,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the Alliance. “China has declared the Internet of Things to be one of three strategic imperatives in its current five year plan and ZigBee’s comprehensive global standards for wireless sensor networks are key enablers for the IoT. Our two office locations will help us expand and deepen our collaboration with China in achieving this important objective.”

The Chinese Sensing China Center, located in Wuxi, is a thriving center of excellence on the Internet of Things. The Z-Park is one of the largest high-tech parks in China, located in the heart of the Chinese Capital City. Traditionally, many national and highly influential technology projects have initiated at Z-Park.

More info here.


Millennial Net receives Best Application of Wireless Sensor Networks Award

During this week’s wireless sensor networks and RTLS conference in Munich, Germany, IDTechEx Media Group awarded Millennial Net the Best Application of WSN Award for its MeshScape® Wireless Energy Management Solution.

The awards honored the most exciting new products and technology developments for WSN, RFID and Energy Harvesting on display at the WSN & RTLS Summit Europe 2011 conference in Munich.

Millennial Net received its award for the best implementation of WSN technology.  Judges reviewed the return on investment and value for a user that implemented the system, and how the user overcame hurdles in implementing the technology.

“Wireless sensor networks are the enabling technology for key applications in defense, health care, home and industrial automation and energy management.  Technology leaders have recognized this fact and are providing high end application solutions for their customers based on advanced WSN technology.  The Millennial Net Energy Management System which includes LEM energy sub meters, wireless pneumatic thermostats and numerous other devices allow for monitoring and control of commercial, public and light industrial buildings of several hundred thousand square feet with unprecedented scalability and reliability, leading to substantial energy savings and ROIs of around 1 year,” said Dieter Schill, President and CEO of Millennial Net.

More info here.

Smart Cities platform from Libelium allows to monitor noise, pollution, structural health and waste management

From Libelium:

Libelium, a technology leader in wireless sensor networks, announces the completion of its Smart Cities platform. The new sensor board measures noise pollution, dust quantities (PM-10), structural health (cracks detection and propagation) and garbage levels in bins in order to improve the waste management. This board may be combined in a network with previously available sensor boards for gas monitoring, radiation detection and Smart Parking. System integrators can now create a comprehensive range of services based on the Smart Cities platform.

Read more here.

Only YOU, Or A Wireless Network And Sensors, Can Prevent Forest Fires

Networks and wireless sensors have been used for years — by companies like Lighting Science GroupArch Rock (acquired by Cisco) and D-Link — in a variety of smart building, smart grid and security applications. Their systems can sense occupancy, control lighting and temperatures, and make energy-sucking devices a little more efficient, or make buildings a little easier to patrol and keep safe.

Now, a startup called Insight Innovation & Technology Ltd. (a.k.a. Insight) is using wireless sensors and networks in the wild to predict, prevent and track forest fires. The company installed its technology in Hong Kong’s Tai Lam Country Park with the cooperation of the Guangdong Forestry Department.

The sensors were placed strategically (image, right) to monitor environmental factors like temperature and humidity throughout the forest. The data they pick up is transmitted in real-time via 4.2Ghz radio frequency communication networks. Insight won two awards today for this project, from a major research park and incubator: the Honk Kong ICT 2011 silver award for the “Best Innovation & Research (Postgraduate & Open),” and a certificate of merit for “Best Social Responsibility.”

More info here.


The Internet of Things: Toolbox to Help Objects Communicating Via the Net

Increasingly, the things people use on a daily basis can be connected to the Internet. An alarm clock not only rings, but can also switch on the coffee machine while turning on the light. But what is needed to ensure that the Internet of Things operates as efficiently as possible?

Thus far, the Internet has been an arena reserved for people. But now more and more physical objects are being connected to the Internet: we read emails on our mobile telephones, we have electricity meters that report readings automatically, and pulse monitors and running shoes that publish information about our daily jog directly on Facebook.

Tools for collaboration The Internet of Things will introduce new smart objects to our homes. One challenge is to find effective solutions to enable different products to work together. Currently no standardised tools or distribution platforms exist in this area.

A group of Norwegian researchers have been addressing this issue. In the research project Infrastructure for Integrated Services (ISIS) they have created a platform for developing and distributing applications for the Internet of Things. The platform encompasses a programming tool for developers, called Arctis and the website ISIS Store for downloading applications. The project has received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme VERDIKT.

More info here.