The SigRPI shield is a HAT standard board providing SigFox connectivity to your Raspberry PI. As it is not certified for this network it can’t be used in production for this usage, but you can use it as a long range RF that does not need certification. I will later details this with a project related to this function.
By-the-way, the purpose of this board is to let you play easily with sigfox. The raspberry-pi offering a really efficient way to code and to make prototypes.
The shield comes with TD1204 (including accelerometer & GPS) of TD1208 (sigfox modem). You can use it with the standard firmware or upload your own one.
The shield can be ordered in the shop section : here
In the Telecom Design SDK, you have a cflash tool you can use to reflash your firmware from a serial port. This can be usefull to reflash a TD chip from another chip of from an embedded platform like a RaspberryPI.
This peace of code is not really nicely documented, so to avoid spending to many tries, here is the result of my investigations
I do not usually post more than a tweet when backing on a KickStarter project but as for this time there is a French guy included in the project, it is a good opportunity to do it !
The Domino IO project is an interesting platform to connect one of your home stuff ! It contains a powerful CPU, the network connectivity and all what you need to quickly make your own design.
This platform is really looking like the SparkCore under steroïd having eaten a Carambola engine. The chip is provided for $10 on Kickstarter ; this is 2.5 time less than carambola and 2 times less than Sparkcore. Sound like the missing element between RaspberryPi and Arduino.
In a previous post I explained why the IoT is appearing in this period thanks to the network technology evolution. It would not be a complete analysis if I would not care about the social evolution. In parallel of IoT and technologies there are other rising trends : Makers, Fablabs, embedded systems,3d printing and crowd-founding.
Take a look at personal computing some decades ago when guys like Jobs or Gates make the first line of code and solder the first micro-processors in their garage ; they just used the technological elements available that time and were able to make them doing much more than what they have been made for. They did it because they were able to do it. The same story appends in the late 90’s with Internet : anyone was able to code some PHP stuff and create a service in his garage thanks to this students have created Facebook and many more.
At the opposite, when smart phone appeared in the middle of the 90’s it was a technology that requires strong industrial assets and this technology has been limited to major companies. The smart-phone revolution had been the same opening door to programmer to an new area with applications (apps). In fact all previous hardware evolutions since the Personal Computer beginning was requiring huge technological assets to be part of it.
IoT disruption is breaking these last 40 years where only software were hackable by getting hardware accessible.
This year M2M and IoT are two of the most heard keywords in our technological domain. One of these is fresh new, I mean a couple of year old, when the other one is pretty much older. M2M, standing for Machine to Machine is a capability for two machines (or more) to discuss together and take actions. Like a temperature sensor allowing your boiler to decide when to start or stop. In the industry where automatism are in place since many year, M2M is something in place, running, not new. IoT, standing for Internet of Things is part of the M2M technology but actually raising. In IoT the main word is Internet and it stands for the capability of an object to talk over Internet on its own. Why only now ? mostly because now it starts to be possible.
When you want to design a shield for Raspberry Pi, you have to follow the HAT standard. This standards describes the form factor of the shield to ensure future compatibility. It also describes the configuration solution for the board based on a flash containing necessary information. The Hat standard link gives all the detailed specification to design a such shield. In this post I’ll describe my experience of designing such shield and you will find the basic elements I build and now sharing with you.
The new version of kernel now activate the device-tree standard, it means that instead of having all module activated by default with some stopped by a blacklist system, now, all are disable and activated only when described in a device tree.
Device tree details the system architecture and dependencies following configuration files. The device tree can be owned by the shield itself in an attached eprom.
As a consequence, now, i2c / spi are not activated by default. So if you need to activate it on startup. For this, edit /boot/config.txt and add line at the end like :
dtparam=i2c_arm=on # for i2c 1
dtparam=i2c_vc=on # for i2c 0
The ESP8266 is a simple standalone addon for any board that works fine with Arduino and only cost less than 4€ on ebay.
It can operate as a device or an AP can gives wireless network connectivity to your application. It is interfaced with Arduino based on a serial line. The only problem of a such thing ( as for most of wifi chip ) is the power consumption. It requires about 150mA to run ; a lot for batteries.
My Friend @couac made a really good post on how to make it working with a Yabas, basically any Arduino board, I recommand the reading of his post : william post on ESP8266