ONiO.zero running without battery can revolutionize the IoT market

ONiO, a Norwegian specialist in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) for the medical industry, announced ONiO.zero, a RISC-V-based microcontroller with very low power consumption, which can work completely from the energy harvested from the environment. ONiO claims that its design can take energy from the radio spectrum and operate up to 24 MHz.

„ONiO.zero is a wireless MCU with very low power consumption, which uses energy acquisition technology,” wrote the company about its creation. This means that ONiO.zero only works on ambient energy. There are no coin cells, supercaps, lithium and batteries, but still offers a lot of performance.

Battery-based solutions have an unavoidable warning about battery replacement. This leads to increased costs over the entire lifetime. ONiO.zero avoids this problem and reduces operating costs. ONiO.zero is self-powered and supports a wide range of power sources, from multi-frequency RF bands supporting GSM and ISM to optional external sources such as solar, piezoelectric, thermal and voltaic.

Source: https://www.hackster.io/news/onio-zero-offers-up-to-24mhz-of-risc-v-microcontroller-performance-on-nothing-but-harvested-energy-70285321d50d

The microcontroller itself is based on the architecture of the RISC-V instruction set of the open source type (in particular RV32EMC) and operates up to 24 MHz with a supply voltage of 1.8 V. The controller will work if necessary with lower voltages. You can get 6 MHz at 1 V and 1 MHz at 0.8 V, and the system still runs slower, but as fast as 450 mV. Includes 1 KB ROM and 2 KB RAM, as well as 8-32 KB of ultra low power flash memory, capable of 100,000 read and write cycles up to 850 mV.

ONIO.zero running without battery can revolutionize the IoT market

ONiO.zero contains a crystalline Low Energy Bluetooth transmitter (BLE) that can operate at a voltage as low as 850mV, an IEEE 802.15.4 (UWB) broadband transmitter operating in the 3.5-10 GHz band, and optional radio transmitter 433 MHz MICS for the industrial, scientific and medical band (ISM).

ONiO.zero hasn’t been released yet. For more information check the ONiO.zero product page.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://moduino.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Sleep functionality for ModBerry 500 CM4 devices

TECHBASE company designed an extended version of Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 based devices, ModBerry 500-CM4-PM series for better power management in changing conditions of industrial applications. With the use of GPIO the module can manage boot, sleep mode or safe shutdown of the device in terms of unexpected drop in the power network with help of built-in ESP32 module and Arduino environment.

In the last few years developers marketed a wide range of ARM-based development boards, lacking in enhanced power management, especially sleep and wake up modes, commonly used in PC-grade computing. These boards are not adjusted for battery power supply, so it’s natural that sleep/wake functions should be implemented. In connection with the development of solutions based on Linux-SBC, key factor is adding sleep modes to any remote installation

ESP32 based addon module for Raspberry Pi

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using a scheduler/timer. The module itself is based on ESP32-WROVER, used in the Moduino X series. ESP32 as a lightweight and low-powered solution is a perfect aid system for Raspberry Pi. Another option is wake on external triggers, e.g. change of input state, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Sleep mode with additional power backup

Additional power management option for ModBerry devices is sleep functionality enhanced with SuperCap UPS energy backup device. This solution allows programming scenarios including the execution of chosen actions, in order to save data, send a notification and restart/shutdown the controller after completion.

Advanced power management solution

Most advanced configuration includes use of ESP32 module, known from the successful, lightweight Moduino X series, for extra logic for wake up / sleep scripts. This addon will allow the RaspberryPi-based ModBerry device to be woken up by the internal ESP32 controller

Moduino-ModBerry symbiosis allows a wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy according to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

ModBerry 500-CM4-PM availability

The preliminary ModBerry 500-CM4-PM devices are available on request and delivery time will be specified by the Sales Dept. depending on the size of the project. Contact via email or Live Chat here: https://iiot-shop.com/

Arduino ESP32 Serial Port to TCP Converter via WiFi

TECHBASE posted new class, in which you will create serial port to TCP converter using Arduino code running on ESP32 processor. We will use one of device which uses such processor: Moduino X ESP32. For TCP communication WiFi module will be used.

You will need:

  • Moduino X4 ESP32 device (check this website to find out more)
  • PC with Linux operating system
  • socat application
  • RS-232/RS-485 port in your computer or USB to RS-232/RS-485 converter (for programmming and testing)

Introduction

In example, data sent to serial port (which is used as terminal port in regular Micropython ESP32 device) will be send via WiFi using TCP protocol. It also decodes incomming TCP packets and writes them to serial port. Then virtual serial port can be opened for that TCP packets and perform serial communication. We will use socat application for that.

You can read the complete tutorial at Hackster.io:

ESP32-based LoRa / LoRaWAN wireless network

One way of long-range and low-power data transmission is LoRa wireless technology. Since the Internet of Things market (with ESP32 – based solutions) is mainly covered with short-range Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and long-range with 3G / NarrowBand-IoT technologies, LoRa oftens is omitted or simply unknown by IoT users. Below you will find a short representation of what LoRa is and how can it be used.

What is LoRa / LoRAWAN network?

LoRaWAN® network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server. The gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections and act as a transparent bridge, simply converting RF packets to IP packets and vice versa. The wireless communication takes advantage of the Long Range characteristics of the LoRa physical layer, allowing a single-hop link between the end-device and one or many gateways. All modes are capable of bi-directional communication, and there is support for multicast addressing groups to make efficient use of spectrum during tasks such as Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA) upgrades or other mass distribution messages.

Source: https://lora-alliance.org/about-lorawan

Industrial use of LoRa & ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting LoRa wireless technology is ESP32 based eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information and also Raspberry Pi based solutions check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32
Sigfox announces changes improving IoT applications

First major announcement is that Sigfox will launch a private network (PAN) that will allow IoT customers to choose private and global services according to their needs. The service was launched for the first time in France in the first quarter of 2020, but Sigfox will be implemented in over 65 countries.

The operator’s wide area network (WAN) will be completed next year in cooperation with Eutelsat. Sigfox provides coverage worldwide using the nano-satellite constellation launched by Eutelsat.

The Sigfox PAN offer will benefit from the existing Sigfox WAN ecosystem. Thanks to the potential to use all components on the market and the use of very low transmit power to support facilities without the need for batteries, the Sigfox PAN offer offers enormous potential,

Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and co-founder of Sigfox.

According to Sigfox, by the end of 2019, there will be more than 15 million registered facilities and over 1,500 customers using this solution in various industries around the world. Sigfox says that PAN customers can expect the same as WAN customers in terms of support and quality. PAN clients can choose to subscribe to additional „WAN Extension” services if needed if the device needs to communicate outside the local network.

Sigfox improving the accuracy of Atlas geolocation services

Internet of Things operators have now launched Atlas Native Complimentary. It is made available free of charge in exchange for the rights to process data regarding GPS data. These data are compared to the fingerprint of the Sigfox network using machine learning, which increases accuracy to 800 meters.

To further increase the accuracy of its geolocation services, Sigfox said it has completed the global implementation of Atlas WiFi in collaboration with HERE Technologies’ mapping experts.

Sigfox uses the global WiFi access point database here. Access points are checked by the Sigfox WiFi tracking module and more closely track the location of external and internal resources with less battery consumption than using GPS.

We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Amadeus and share our combined expertise to create real digital transformation of the travel sector. Our strategic alliance named PinPoint will not only help to improve the travel experience, but this will also change completely the game for an industry looking for decades for THE technology able to save costs while improving efficiency and quality of services

Raouti Chehih, Chief Adoption Officer at Sigfox
eModGATE with ESP32

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Sigfox wireless technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery powered sensors market growth

The lifetime of IoT sensors varies greatly: some last a year years, others 10, the first being the most realistic. When organizations need to deploy engineers to install new batteries in sensors and employ staff to monitor them, the benefits of technology itself are beginning to run out.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

It is estimated that in 2020 nearly 31 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things. Such forecasts provide ample opportunities, especially for producers associated with the products that make up it, and they are intensified by the developing IoT technology.

Source: https://globenergia.pl/co-laczy-internet-rzeczy-i-perowskity-fotowoltaika-do-zastosowan-wewnetrznych/

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

ESP-MESH is a network protocol based on the Wi-Fi protocol. ESP-MESH enables the connection of a large number of devices (hereinafter nodes) covering a large physical area (both inside and outside) over a single WLAN (wireless local area network). ESP-MESH self-organizes and self-heals, allowing you to build and maintain networks autonomously.

Traditional Wi-Fi Network Architecture. Source: espressif.com

Traditional Infrastructure of Wi-Fi network is a point-to-multipoint network in which a single central node called an Access Point (AP) is directly connected to all other nodes called stations. The AP is responsible for arbitrating and forwarding transmissions between stations. Some access points relay transmissions to and from external IP networks through routers.

Traditional Infrastructure Wi-Fi networks have the downside of having a limited coverage area as all stations need to be in range to connect directly to the access point. In addition, the maximum number of stations allowed in the network is limited by the bandwidth of the access point, making traditional Wi-Fi networks prone to overload.

ESP-MESH vs traditional Wi-Fi infrastucture

ESP-MESH differs from traditional Wi-Fi infrastructure networks in that the nodes do not have to connect to a central node. Instead, the node can connect with its neighbors. Nodes are responsible for relaying transmissions to each other. This allows for achieving interconnections without the need for nodes to be within the range of the central node, which significantly extends the coverage area of the ESP-MESH network. Likewise, ESP-MESH is less prone to congestion as the number of allowed nodes in the network is no longer limited by a single central node.

ESP-MESH Network Architecture. Source: espressif.com

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32

Silicon Labs recently announced two hardware modules based on its BG22 Secure Bluetooth 5.2 SoC: 6x6mm BGM220S system bundled (SiP) and slightly optimized for wireless performance with a better link budget. BGM220P introduced, large PCB variant, wider range.

Both modules can be integrated into products with a battery life of up to 10 years using a single coin cell battery. All variants of BGM220S/P can support Bluetooth directional discovery, and some components can also support Bluetooth mesh low power protocol.

Main features

  • Silicon Labs EFR32BG22 Arm Cortex-M33 with DSP instructions and floating-point unit, up to 512 kB Flash, 32 kB RAM, 2.4 GHz radio with TX power up to 8 dBm, and Embedded Trace Macrocell (ETM) for advanced debugging
  • Supported Protocols
    • Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 5.2)
    • Direction-finding
    • Bluetooth mesh Low Power Node

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09/14/silicon-labs-bluetooth-5-2-bgm220s-sip-and-bgm220p-pcb-module/

Industrial use of ESP32-based solutions

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting Espressif’s ESP32 and Bluetooth technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE.

eModGATE with ESP32
ZigBee Mesh used in end-point IoT devices

ZigBee mesh‚s usefulness for IoT is partly due to the fact that it is an open standard. The same products can be used all over the world, which gives customers a large selection of available option. The high competition between products and producers means that the created solutions are innovative, characterized by high quality and give customers a considerable choice. Many suppliers of cooperating elements of this ecosystem mean that they are not limited to any specific brands or specific semiconductor manufacturers.

ZigBee Mesh. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Mesh. Source: ZigBee Alliance

Compatibility is also promoted, as ZigBee Mesh 3.0 brings all the various ZigBee environments to a single, unified standard. Over the years, ZigBee has covered applications ranging from industrial to business to home, which has led to the development of separate service standards. ZigBee 3.0 collects all these various applications under one umbrella. This eliminates the need for mediation bridges between different sets of ZigBee supporting devices. All of them will be able to communicate directly, regardless of type.

Competitiveness of ZigBee based solutions

With a maximum data bandwidth of 250 kbps at 2.4 GHz, ZigBee is slower than other popular wireless standards such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but it doesn’t matter in typical sensor applications. ZigBee Mesh is designed to send small data packets at relatively long intervals, which is usually sufficient to collect data from temperature sensors, safety sensors, air quality monitoring systems and similar subsystems. In the meantime, the low bandwidth affects the low power needed for the system to work, so that ZigBee nodes can usually work for many years on a single AAA battery.

ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance

With low power consumption, ZigBee supporting products typically have a short transmission range – typically from 10 to 15 meters, and the signal they emit is easily disturbed by obstacles on the route, or changes in the environment. However, the beauty of ZigBee devices lies in their work as part of a lattice topology network, where each of them transmits signals between themselves over a total of longer distances. The grid topology also means that damage to a single device will not stop the entire network, as communication can simply be redirected.

Data security via ZigBee wireless technology

ZigBee 3.0 has introduced an advanced set of tools that allows designers to introduce reliable networks with a balanced security policy and ease of installation. Available features will be constantly updated to respond to emerging threats. The security solution used is based on the ZigBee PRO grating protocol, which was originally created for the ZigBee Smart Energy profile. It is currently used by hundreds of millions of media consumption meters around the world, without detecting any security holes.

New features include device-unique authentication, when connecting to the mesh network, updating of keys used during work, secure software update via wireless network and data encryption at the logical layer of the link.

Industrial use of ZigBee Mesh

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting ZigBee Mesh technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE, including ZigBee modem.

Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Pros and cons in IoT use.

Some people consider the Arduino platform to be the best for beginners, however, the novice will handle both Arduino and Raspberry Pi board. The choice between platforms should mainly depend on the characteristics of the project.

The origin of both platfoms

The founder of Arduino is Massimo Banzi, a lecturer at the now-defunct Italian Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, who developed a microcontroller in cooperation with students from this university. The Arduino programming language, based on the Wiring environment and basically on the C/C++ language, was designed by Hernando Barragán, a student of Banzi. The site prepared by Hernando Barragán presents exactly all the work on the project, which clearly shows that this success has more than one father.

In the case of Rasberry Pi, the project also had its source at the university. More specifically, at the University of Cambridge. Three lecturers: Jack Lang, Alan Mycroft and Robert Mullins came up with the idea of ​​developing a simple and above all cheap computer for learning programming. The first prototypes were created between 2006 and 2008. In the next step, seeing the potential of their solution, the men established cooperation with Pete Lamas, an integrated circuit designer at BroadCom, and David Braben, one of the developers of the Elite game, and together they founded the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

As a result, both platforms, which were originally intended to be used for learning by students, due to their low price and simplicity of use, became extremely popular among amateur users of consumer electronics and control, and appeared in mass sales.

So what should you choose – Arduino or Raspberry Pi?

The answer is basically simple – Arduino is ideal for simpler projects. Raspberry Pi will be useful for solutions that require more computing power. Arduino has only 2 kilobytes of RAM. Raspberry Pi has a RAM size of 1 GB. So Arduino is a simple microcontroller, meanwhile Raspberry is actually a small computer. Not without significance is the fact that the Arduino IDE is easier to use than Linux. So if you need a simple control of watering your garden, Arduino will work perfectly. Several sensors and a few lines of code will do the trick. For Raspberry Pi, to achieve the same effect, you will first need to install the system and the necessary libraries. There will be a lot more work and the effect will be the same – watering the garden at a specific time.

So choose Arduino when you need to use a simple solution for frequently repeated activities, e.g. controlling the watering of the garden, switching on and off the external lighting at a specific time, opening the gate, etc. However, because Raspberry can run many tasks at the same time, it is a computer, work simultaneously as a home printer server and operate the monitoring system. Home weather stations are popular and Raspberry will be perfect for this application because of the need to collect information from several sensors (temperature, wind strength, humidity). Raspberry Pi will therefore be a good choice for anyone interested in IoT, i.e. the Internet of Things at home. Examples of ready projects can be found here: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

Why not both?

Nothing prevents you from starting with Arduino and continuing with Raspberry Pi. By using Arduino or ESP32-based solutions you will learn the basics and you will get the effect quickly and relatively easily. But only Rasbperry Pi will allow you to make much more difficult projects. And both platforms can be combined with each other. Arduino/ESP32 can be used to read information from sensors and control e.g. motors (for example a garage door). Raspberry Pi will control all devices and send the collected data, e.g. to a mobile phone. You can do more together.