Feeding Frenzy

It’s business as usual in the Exploratory Engineering labs. We’re still in IoT mode and NB-Iot is the order of the day. We’re currently playing with uBlox NB-Iot modules, while eagerly awaiting the upcoming nRF91 low power cellular IoT chip from Nordic Semiconductor. That doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge in side projects from time to time. Especially if the end result can save us time and money down the road. »

Using LoPy devices with Congress

The LoPy devices from Pycom are quite neat: You get a relatively small device with built-in LoRa, BLE and WiFi support, GPIO pins, SPI, I2C and programming them is as simple as writing a few lines of Python. They’ve made plugins for both Atom and Visual Studio Code but if you have the One True Editor you can upload the files both via FTP and the serial port. Install the (optional) software If you are using Atom or Visual Studio Code there’s a plugin named Pymakr that will help you deploy your code. »

Prototyping with EE02

The EE02 is not an end user device. It is a module that is intended as a component in other designs - assembled by machines. Our aim was to fit the design in the smallest form factor possible, while maintaining the desired performance characteristics. This translates to surface mount technology that can be maniupulated by pick and place machines - not people. But, please… Don’t panic ! Even though surface mount components are harder to tinker with than through hole components, it is entirely feasible for makers and hobbyists to make their own printed circuit boards without having to invest significant amounts of money and effort. »

The 3 day build

The Exploratory Engineering team is in documentation mode these days. We have created a working device, but we also have to create reference documentation and tutorials before it can be released. We already know that our EE02 module is physically small (approximately 30% smaller than a LoPy module). We also know that it extremely power efficient (The EE02 could theoretically be in standby mode for 120 years - using the capacity of two AA batteries). »