Search Results for 'Xbee'

Faludi Speaks on Embedded.fm

Elicia White

Elicia White

I spent a fun hour the other day talking with Elicia White on her podcast, Embedded.fm: The Show for People Who Love Gadgets. We chatted about XBees, ZigBee, my book, sensors, data science and more. I had just come from visiting NASA, so I even got to explain a bit about how they are putting XBees in Space.

Elicia is an embedded systems consultant at Logical Elegance. She wrote the book Making Embedded Systems for O’Reilly, works at PARC and interviews like a pro. The episode is called: “Make us All Into Sherlock Holmes.”

Have a listen:

.

XBees in Space

xbee-in-spaceNASA’s Ames Research Center is putting the first ZigBee radio network into space! XBee radios will form a prototype telemetry system on a NASA Soarex sounding rocket launching this coming January, 2015.

The NASA sounding rocket will journey into space around 200 miles above the earth, run experiments and then return ballistically into the Atlantic Ocean. The on-spacecraft ZigBee network will be used to monitor a new parachute-like exo-brake that will be deployed for testing hypersonic braking in the thin upper-atmosphere. Exo-brakes are being tested for returning samples from Earth orbit, and for slowing landers on other planets like Mars where the atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s.

soarex-7_launch

Soarex launch

A three-node XBee ZigBee network will be used to monitor the exo-brake performance so that no wires need to be added to the device. The nodes will monitor six different acceleration parameters as well as overall temperature and air pressure. Future wireless networks may be used to monitoring the spacecraft structure itself. This network can also be made available to other experiments on the same flight to route their telemetry to an Iridium radio that transmits all the data via satellite back to Earth. This last link is essential because the sounding rocket will not be recovered intact. Like Laika the Soviet Space Dog, NASA’s XBees are taking a one way trip for the benefit of science.

Wireless networks on spacecraft are a new idea. Traditionally all onboard connections use physical cabling. This adds weight, complexity and the need for extra fuel. Because aerospace is a necessarily conservative endeavor, new technologies are typically introduced slowly. Therefore rather than just taking everything wireless all at once, ZigBee is being tested first on missions where the higher risk of new tech is acceptable. After successful trials the systems should be proven enough to go into a hardening process before being incorporated into more critical projects where risks must be kept to a minimum.

Arduino-XBee-NASA

XBee Arduino prototypesc

Modern NASA programs are mandated to avoid the expense of creating custom hardware when viable alternatives are available commercially. Experimental systems like wireless networks for spacecraft are also started on shoestring budgets, often assisted by student engineers. Therefore everything on this ZigBee project is being prototyped using off-the-shelf maker components such as Arduino boards, adapter shields from SparkFun Electronics and XBee ZB radio modules from Digi International. XBee was selected because it is easy to incorporate with Arduino, well-documented and readily commercially available.

Soarex-Payload-Area

Soarex payload bays

The system is being designed with a little help from my Building Wireless Sensor Networks book, and a lot of expertise from the NASA team. If this first test goes well, the next version will be more customized and could include the Programmable XBee or even the XBee Plus Arduino board that I’ve been prototyping over the last few months.

The project team at NASA includes Richard Alena and Thom Stone, who have written papers including ”Fault tolerance in ZigBee networks” and “ZigBee – A Smart, Viable, Wireless Architecture for Spacecraft Avionics.”

 

Here’s video from a prior launch of the Soarex rocket that will carry XBee radios where no XBee has gone before:

XBee Plus Arduino

The XBee Plus Arduino is an XBee radio-sized Arduino-compatible microcontroller that can be “stacked” directly underneath the radio. It is intended for use with devices that already use the XBee’s 20-pin footprint. Future designs could easily utilize other microcontrollers or host sensors.  The goal is to create plug-and-play tools for prototyping new concepts that extend the popular radio’s feature set. A few iterations have created a prototype that works well, supports USB programming, wireless programming, I2C, SPI, digital and analog I/O!

XBee Plus Arduino

This is the second iteration of an Arduino-compatible board the size of an XBee that fits right underneath the radio. It uses the ATMega32U4 so in Arduino you can program it as a Leonardo board.

“XBee Plus Arduino”  board design 

IMG_2932 IMG_2934IMG_2930 IMG_2933sta

Features

  • I2C

  • SPI

  • scriptable interruption of:

    • all UART transactions

    • XBee pin sleep controls

  • local support for:

    • association indicator

    • commissioning button

  • 17 total digital i/o pins (14 Arduino, 4 XBee)

    • 6 configurable as ADC analog inputs

    • 4 configurable as PWM analog outputs

    • 2 attachable interrupts

  • USB serial programming

  • wireless programming

  • EEPROM

  • multiple UARTs

  • Use of all Arduino libraries, e.g. servo, stepper, displays, capacitive sensing, rfid, sd cards etc.

Pinouts

Bottom of XBee Plus Arduino:

Xbee-Stacker-2-bottom-pins

Physical Pin Function Arduino Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino software TX D11 (softserial TX)
3 Arduino software RX, PWM D10 (softserial RX)
4 MISO (spi), digital i/o MISO (spi)
5 input for Arduino reset RESET
6 digital i/o, analog output D9
7 MOSI (spi), analog input, digital i/o MOSI (spi)
8 analog input, digital i/o D8/A8
9 PWM, interrupt, digital i/o D7
10 GND GND
11 SCK (spi), digital i/o SCK (spi)
12 SDA (i2c) interrupt, digital i/o D2/SDA (i2c)
13 SCL (i2c), interrupt, PWM, digital i/o D3/SCL (i2c)
14 analog input, digital i/o D4/A6
15 PWM, digital i/o D5 pwm
16 analog input, PWM, digital i/o D6/A7 pwm
17 analog input, digital i/o A3
18 analog input, digital i/o A2
19 analog input, digital i/o A1
20 analog input, digital i/o A0

Top of XBee Plus Arduino

XBee Stacker 2 top pins

XBee Physical Pin  Function  XBee Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino RX D0 RX
3 Arduino TX D1 TX
4 - -
5 -  -
6 - -
7 - -
8 -
9 control for pin sleep D12
10 GND GND
11 - -
12 CTS A4
13 - -
14 voltage reference VCC
15 association output <led>
16 RTS A5
17 Arduino Reset (p1) via cap. <capacitor> for reset
18  - -
19  - -
20 - -

Schematics & Board Layout

XBee Plus Arduino 2.0-board

XBee Plus Arduino 2.0-schematic

Code

Sample code library

Program as an Arduino Leonardo board!

arduino-leonardo-program

 

Licensing

Not determined, leaning toward open source hardware.

New LilyPad XBee

LilyPad XBee radioThe LilyPad XBee sew-in wearable radio created by myself and Kate Hartman just got an update to add a reset button and improve its manufacturability. This board can be paired with LilyPad wearable sensors, custom built sensors and a variety of output devices to create a complete wireless wearable system. Available from Sparkfun for just $14.95 with discounts available for larger quantities. Get yours today!

 

LilyPad XBee frontLilyPad XBee sideLilyPad XBee back

 

 

Botanicalls on Smithsonian Channel’s Amazing Plants

Botanicalls was recently featured in the Smithsonian Channel’s “Amazing Plants” documentary. There’s even beauty shots of the Arduino and XBee radio components!

Also here’s the segment, filmed all the way back in 2007:

Botanicalls Smithsonian Channel Amazing Plants

XBee Stacker

The Stacker is an XBee radio-sized Arduino-compatible microcontroller that can be “stacked” directly underneath the radio. It is intended for use with devices that already use the XBee’s 20-pin footprint. Future designs could easily utilize other microcontrollers or host sensors.  The goal is to create plug-and-play tools for prototyping new concepts that extend the popular radio’s feature set. A few iterations have created a prototype that works well, supports USB programming, wireless programming, I2C, SPI, digital and analog I/O!

XBee Stacker 2

This is the next iteration of an Arduino-compatible board the size of an XBee that fits right underneath the radio. It uses the ATMega32U4 so in Arduino you can program it as a Leonardo board.

“XBee Stacker 2″ Arduino/ATMEL board design 

IMG_2932 IMG_2934IMG_2930 IMG_2933

Features

  • I2C

  • SPI

  • scriptable interruption of:

    • all UART transactions

    • XBee pin sleep controls

  • local support for:

    • association indicator

    • commissioning button

  • 17 total digital i/o pins (14 Arduino, 4 XBee)

    • 6 configurable as ADC analog inputs

    • 4 configurable as PWM analog outputs

    • 2 attachable interrupts

  • USB serial programming

  • wireless programming

  • EEPROM

  • multiple UARTs

  • Use of all Arduino libraries, e.g. servo, stepper, displays, capacitive sensing, rfid, sd cards etc.

Pinouts

Bottom of XBee Stacker 2:

Xbee-Stacker-2-bottom-pins

Physical Pin Function Arduino Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino software TX D11 (softserial TX)
3 Arduino software RX, PWM D10 (softserial RX)
4 MISO (spi), digital i/o MISO (spi)
5 input for Arduino reset RESET
6 digital i/o, analog output D9
7 MOSI (spi), analog input, digital i/o MOSI (spi)
8 analog input, digital i/o D8/A8
9 PWM, interrupt, digital i/o D7
10 GND GND
11 SCK (spi), digital i/o SCK (spi)
12 SDA (i2c) interrupt, digital i/o D2/SDA (i2c)
13 SCL (i2c), interrupt, PWM, digital i/o D3/SCL (i2c)
14 analog input, digital i/o D4/A6
15 PWM, digital i/o D5 pwm
16 analog input, PWM, digital i/o D6/A7 pwm
17 analog input, digital i/o A3
18 analog input, digital i/o A2
19 analog input, digital i/o A1
20 analog input, digital i/o A0

Top of XBee Stacker 2

XBee Stacker 2 top pins

XBee Physical Pin  Function  XBee Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino RX D0 RX
3 Arduino TX D1 TX
4 - -
5 -  -
6 - -
7 - -
8 -
9 control for pin sleep D12
10 GND GND
11 - -
12 CTS A4
13 - -
14 voltage reference VCC
15 association output <led>
16 RTS A5
17 Arduino Reset (p1) via cap. <capacitor> for reset
18  - -
19  - -
20 - -

Schematics & Board Layout

XBee Stacker Arduino 2.0-board

XBee Stacker Arduino 2.0-schematic

Code

Sample code library

Program as an Arduino Leonardo board!

arduino-leonardo-program

 

Licensing

Not determined, leaning toward open source hardware.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee Wi-Fi Visits Logroño

logrono-lie-detect-robFor the latest Digi Hackathon, I headed overseas to hold our first ever creative construction event at Digi’s office in Logroño, Spain. Using XBee WiFi Cloud Kits, the four teams hacked away for what was the most competitive session yet. In a matter of hours, each team had to quickly brainstorm, build, and present their cloud-connected projects. Their results were terrific.

Projects included:

  • The Garbage M.A.N.: Smart garbage containers monitoring for smart cities
  • Germinator Plus: An automated system for remote greenhouse seed germination monitoring.
  • Lie-Detect-o-Meter: A mobile battery-operated wristband lie detector for public questioning.
  • The Smart Plug-Y-Play: A power consumption monitor and remote control for computers and other electrical appliances.

Read more and see pictures on the Digi blog.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit

Hack10

Last week, we held a Digi Employee Hackathon to put the new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to the test. This is one of several ways we are working on designing outstanding user experiences for new Digi products. With the kits, the teams were able to build projects that connected with the cloud right away. One team member reported, “I got from the box to the cloud in under 20 minutes.” Using the kit’s dashboard, new widgets were  developed to whimsically represent data being collected by Device Cloud. Rain, food safety and even child development were addressed by our project teams.

I’m looking forward to doing more of these internal hackathons in the coming year. They’re fun!

Read more about this hackathon on the Digi Blog.

Maker Faire: XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit Wins Editor’s Choice

IMG_4249

The new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit won an Editor’s Choice award at Maker Faire NYC! My team at Digi International has been hard at work all summer bringing together this modular kit to help users  create XBee Wi-Fi connected devices for the Internet of Things. There’s a development board with all kinds of input and output components plus modular widgets to make building online web interfaces for seeing data and controlling devices a snap. The kit gets online right out of the box, and contains additional loose components to help you create your own circuits and wire them to the web. Look for an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit release in November.

We also showed off the beta of Digi’s XCTU configuration tool and presented “Make it Awesome: How to Internet-Enable Your Project.” Here’s some more photos from our fabulous weekend at Maker Faire NYC:

IMG_4218 IMG_4221 IMG_4229

2013-09-21-17.44.46 2013-09-21-17.05.01 2013-09-22 11.25.58

2013-09-22 12.01.04 2013-09-21-11.10.05 IMG_4249

 

New XCTU for Mac & Windows

XCTUng

Get a sneak peek of the brand new version of Digi’s XCTU for Mac & Windows! It’s the official tool to configure and test XBee radios, as well as other Digi devices. Get the New XCTU beta version below, completely redesigned from the ground up with:

  • a fresh new user interface
  • expanded discovery options
  • automatic device recovery feature
  • local and remote radio management
  • API frame generator and interpreter
  • automatic updates with more features on the way!

Check out these screen shots for a sneak peek. Then download the new XCTU 6.0.0.9 beta:

xctu_1 xctu_2 xctu_3xctu_4