Learn Wireless Sensor Networks With Nanode


Getting a device on the internet is great – but what if you want to monitor multiple wireless sensors? The [WickedDevice] crew have been publishing a tutorial series focusing on just that. Their weapon of choice is the Nanode, an Arduino based wireless sensor system we’ve seen a few times in the past. So far the first and second parts have been posted up. Part one starts with an explanation of the Arduino and Nanode platform, and takes us through connecting the Nanode to a wireless temperature sensor. Part two walks through the hardware and code changes to add multiple wireless sensors to the system. Part three will focus on getting the entire network up on the internet, and piping data onto the Xively data hosting site.

This tutorial does begin a bit on the basic side, covering the installation of the Arduino software environment. This may seem a bit simplistic for some of our readers, but we think this type of tutorial is necessary. It helps ‘newbies’ get started down what could otherwise be a difficult path. For more advanced readers, it’s easier to skip past steps you already know than it is to try to hunt down information that isn’t there.

Barometer tells you to take your bike or the train


Before beginning his day, [Richard] needs to decide whether he should ride his bike to work or take the London tube. All the information to make that decision is available on the Internet – the current weather report, and the status of the subway lines and stations he’d be taking. The problem, though, is all these pieces of information are spread out in multiple places. [Richard]‘s solution to this was to make a bicycle barometer that pulls data from these places and makes the decision to ride a bike or the tube for him.

[Richard]‘s barometer is built around a nanode and an old clock he found at a flea market. The nanode queries the UK’s weather bureau and the London underground’s line and station status. All the variables under consideration are weighted; if it’s snowing, the output is much more likely to decide on the tube than if there was a slight drizzle.

It’s a really cool build that certainly makes a great use of the publicly accessible APIs made available by the London underground. You can check out a video of the barometer after the break.

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Adding HTTP to Ikea DIODER

[Alex] sent in a neat Ikea DIODER build that controls strings of RGB LEDs with HTTP requests.

We’ve seen Ikea DIODERs controlled wirelessly and over USB, but using the Internet with a DIODER is new to us. For his build, [Alex] used a Nanode, a small Arduino-like board that has built-in web connectivity.

The hardware portion of the build is very simple. A MOSFET controls each LED strip on the DIODER. The stock controller of the DIODER was ditched, meaning [Alex] needed to figure out how to convert an RGB color space to a Hue, Saturation, and Lightness color space “for super-classy fading.” Once that was figured out, [Alex] implemented a 1D Perlin noise function to blend between two colors.

Finally, the great EtherCard library was used to turn HTTP requests into dancing LEDs. [Alex] is thinking about building a JQuery webpage so he won’t have to muck around with entering commands like into a browser. Without a nice web interface, it’s not as futuristic as [Alex] would like, but it’s still cool to us.

Upload firmware over Ethernet

The team at Wicked Device has been working on working on a way to upload Arduino sketches over Ethernet for the Nanode and Arduino Ethernet boards. The team has gotten far enough along to show the world, and the new boot loader shows a lot of promise.

A new boot loader was needed to perform this magic. The boot loader sets up a TFTP with a server over DHCP or a static IP. An unmodified .hex file is downloaded from the server and the sketch starts up. The team is still working on a way to push new apps to the board over Ethernet, but that feature is expected to be completed sometime soon.

Booting over Ethernet isn’t a new idea – TFTP was proposed for this very purpose. Because Wicked Device’s Ethernet-enabled boot loader only works over a local connection and requires a press of the reset button, it should be considered an alpha build. That being said, the boot loader works as advertised, so check out the demo video after the break.

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Nanode: A low-cost network-enabled Arduino Ethernet alternative


The folks over at Hackspace London have been working hard to create a “very low cost, open source, Internet connected platform on which others can develop their ideas”, which they have dubbed “Nanode”.

Essentially an Arduino with Ethernet networking on-board, the Nanode is armed with an ATMega 328 microcontroller along with all the other standard goodies you would expect from an Arduino-compatible device. The Nanode can be controlled with a web browser right out of the box, thanks to some custom Ethernet libraries. Additionally network of Nanodes can be easily configured to communicate with a “master” unit via a multidrop serial bus, allowing the device to be used for a wide array of distributed control tasks.

Obviously most of these features can be had in the form of an Arduino Ethernet board, or achieved by using an Ethernet shield. The Nanode is a touch cheaper than either option at $40 for a kit, and the native networking capabilities sound like they would be quite handy. That said, we are a bit bummed that it only has 10BaseT networking capabilities, though it is always nice to have options when it comes to choosing a microcontroller board.

[Thanks, TheHypnotist]