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Zigbee motes boast open hardware, software

May 21, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 24 views

A university spin-off company in Spain is readying an inexpensive Zigbee-based “mote” sensor built entirely with open-source hardware and software. Libelium's 120-Euro SquidBee will ship this summer, optionally with a Debian-based WiFi access point that can bridge Zigbee and WiFi mesh networks.

(Click for larger view of the SquidBee)

Mote networks are designed to run from battery power for several months or even years. They typically use ultra-low-power wireless protocols such as Zigbee or 802.15.4 (WPAN). Potential mote applications include farm soil moisture monitoring, motion detecting perimeter security networks, and other distributed sensing applications.

According to spokesperson David Gascon, Libelium developed SquidBee in hopes of providing a common platform for universities and research centers developing sensor networks. The design is said to be the first Zigbee-based mote with an entirely open hardware and software design, as well as the first to feature integration with an open source WiFi access point.

The SquidBee is based on Arduino, a simple I/O board with 11 digital and six analog inputs. Arduino's design is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license, and the module is said to support sensors that include GPS, temperature, humidity, lightness, presence, pressure or “(almost!) whatever you can sense,” according to Gascon.


Arduino I/O board

The SquidBee also includes a Zigbee module designed by Libelium, with documentation published under the same Creative Commons license. The module will be available with a choice of upgradable, socketed XBee MaxStream Zigbee chips:

  • XBee 1mW version, with claimed range of 30m indoor, 100m outdoor
  • XBee Pro 100mW version, claimed good for 100m indoor, 1600m outdoor


SquidBee Gateway
(Click to enlarge)

MeshLium
(Click to enlarge)

The SquidBee will be offered in a battery-powered (5-15V) “sensor” model, and a “gateway” model (pictured at left) powered by USB attachment to a host PC running Linux, Windows, or Mac OS.

Additionally, Libelium is currently shipping a Debian Linux-based “MeshLium” access point (pictured at right) claimed capable of bridging Zigbee and WiFi networks.

Availability

Gateway and Sensor versions of the SquidBee are expected to ship this summer, priced at 120 Euros (approx. $160). The Debian-based MeshLium access point is available now, priced at 600 Euros (approx. $800). Additionally, Libelium is currently shipping a Debian Linux-based “MeshLium” access point (pictured at right) claimed capable of bridging Zigbee and WiFi networks.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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