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A Better Way to Build Your Next Project: XBee Hardware Tools

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The open source movement and strong maker community has led to the creation of a number platforms that give developers a quick and efficient way to create a proof of concept, prototype, or even a final product. Here a few especially handy hardware platforms for developing XBee projects that we think you might find helpful.

The Waspmote is a sensor mote that gives developers a simple way to create wireless sensor networks connected over XBee. The mote supports all the same network topologies as XBee, so it is possible to create complex mesh networks as well as simple point to point communications. In addition to network flexibility, the motes primary feature is reduced power consumption, which makes it ideal for sensors running on battery.waspmote_mote_runner_24 (1)

What makes the Waspmote especially awesome is the fact that Libelium has developed their own sensor boards that plug directly into the Waspmote–eliminating the need to solder anything or dust off your box of breadboards and jumper wires. They have industry specific sensors boards that are equipped with the sensors needed for a specific applications like Smart Water, Agriculture, Smart Cities, among many others. Visit the Libelium home page to learn more about the Waspmote.

Arduino FIO
The Arduino FIO board was created by Shigeru Kobayashi and SparkFun Electronics in an effort to simplify the process of making a wireless Arduino project. With connections for a LiPo battery and an XBee socket right on board, the board has everything you need to create anything from a lightning sensor to a programmable swarm of robots.

arduino fioPerhaps the most useful feature of the FIO board is the ability to upload sketches wirelessly. Gone are the days of completely tearing down your project so that you can plug it into your computer! Check out this information guide for information on programming Arduino over XBee.

Apitronics is an open platform that enables farmers to collect sensor data via connected sensors deployed throughout farms, greenhouses, and gardens. The data is collected from remote nodes placed around the farm and is aggregated at a central hub. The data can be accessed at a local web page and helps farmers monitor environmental conditions, which allows them to make more informed management decisions.apitronics

With less than 10% of farms using sensors today, the goal is to give small and mid-sized farmers the tools necessary to gather quantitative data–reducing waste and maximizing crop yields. But this platform isn’t just for those with a farming day job, this can be used to monitor your backyard gardens as well! Visit Apitronics website to learn more about their open source agricultural efforts.

Taking your prototype to production is an issue many start-ups and design teams struggle with. As Arduino has become nearly synonymous with the word prototype, engineers are increasingly in need of an efficient way to turn their Arduino based prototype into a scalable product. DuinoPRO is aimed at the lean start-up community or anyone looking to leverage the highly supported Arduino platform to create a prototype they plan to scale to relatively large volumes in a surface mount facility.

duinoproMaybe we Missed Your Favorite?
Did we miss one of your favorite XBee development tools? Never fear. Just leave a comment below or let us know on Twitter at @XBeeWireless and we will add it to the post!

Where Will You Use Your XBee?

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Around the world, XBee RF wireless modules are extending the reach of wireless technology. They can be found anywhere — streetlights, homes, power plants, forests — the possibilities are endless. Check out some of the real-world applications in the video below.

Stay up-to-date with XBee by subscribing to the XBee Broadcast. The newsletter features XBee news, tips for developing and even the chance to win XBee hardware. You can subscribe here.


Here are just a few other interesting XBee projects

Garage Siren in Mongolia

Battushig Myanganbayar is a brilliant 16 year old from Mongolia with a talent for building electronics with a purpose. His work with XBees has even been featured in the New York Times. His goal was to keep the younger children in the neighborhood safe. To do this, he has developed a wireless alarm system. Children often play along the street where cars frequently pass by while leaving or entering the garage. Whenever a car is going to or from the apartment’s garage and a child is in harm’s way, Battushig’s alarm will emit a high frequency sound and flash a bright red light. This ensures that children are still able to continue playing outside all while being safe.

Detecting Forest Fires in Spain

XBees are also used in the well-known Waspmote by Libelium. They needed both long range connections and the ability to connect wireless networks of varying frequencies. The exceptional range of XBee made it ideal for the large deployments needed to monitor forest fires, agriculture, and floods. The Waspmote can use infrared and ultraviolet sensors to detect flames as well as the release of compounds CO and CO2 that are abundant during combustion. Libelium is also able to adjust the networking protocol, so whether they need to use 802.15.4 or ZigBee, they can adjust accordingly with XBee.

Monitoring Road Conditions in Norway

A Sweden based company, Mowic, has developed a wireless network to monitor road conditions and improve driver safety. The network, called TrackIce, uses a DigiMesh network to establish long range and low powered communication between sensors. The same network will be adapted to monitor airports, ski resorts, and hydro-electric power plants. Read more about the TrackIce network here.


A Smart World by Libelium

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Just one, two, or three connected devices can make a substantial difference, but what would the impact be once every device out in the world can be connected? Libelium has created a comprehensive market research document with 50 sensor applications that we will see in a smart city. The graphic below, courtesy of Libelium, compiles all 50 of these applications into one image. This can give us an idea as to what a connected city will look like in the coming years.

Everything from detecting forest fires, to traffic congestion, to an athlete’s vital signs, will help us to make more informed decisions. Access to data previously unknowable has the potential to create new opportunities for businesses and improve quality of service. Every day we see the Internet of Things continue to grow and as more and more devices are connected, our cities will become safer, more efficient, and our lives improved.

Libelium Smart World

Three Must-See Demos at Mobile World Congress 2013

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“The mobile ecosystem is expanding at lightning speed, with endless innovation and new applications of mobile technology.  From contactless payments and augmented reality to embedded devices and connected cities ­- mobile technology is changing the landscape. The impact mobile will have on the world is limitless.”

Digi team members will be taking part in Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona on February 25-28. We’re looking forward to exploring the new mobile horizon together with you.

Digi will be host a joint booth with our carrier partner, Vodafone. The booth will feature three application demos to display the ways in which M2M technology is changing everyday life. The three demos include:

  • An environmental demo in conjunction with Libelium to exhibit how a Smart City can use wireless sensor networks to remotely monitor environmental factors such as pollution, waste management and structural health.
  • A networked street lighting application demo in conjunction with our partner, Maiken
  • We’ll also host a live demo of a public transport bus system for vehicle tracking and control application demo with Intel.

To see these demonstrations and more, visit the booth located at stand 3B2 and 3C2, hall 3. We’d love to see you there!

For photos and live updates from the event you can follow us on Twitter and keep an eye on the hashtag for the conference, #MWC13.

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