Environmental Sensing with the JeeLabs Platform

Originally posted on MAKE:

A collection of JeeLabs sensor plugs

JeeLab’s Jean-Claude Wippler has been “rethinking the Arduino interface” since 2008, when he first attached an ISM band radio to a Modern Device Real Bare Bones Board. Three and a half years later he has built quite a library of sensors and breakout “plugs” for the JeeLabs Platform. The heart of the platform is the JeeNode (see below), which adds an inexpensive radio to an RBBB-style development board.

JeeNode

All of the pins of the Atmega328 are reorganized into four ports that have the same pinout: IRQ, Analog In, Regulated Power, GND, Digital In, Power In.

Schematic of the JeeNode ports

Sensor plugs can be small and all have the same interface; most communicate with the microcontroller using I2C (a common on-board option in a lot of sensor ICs). A set of Arduino libraries provides a consistent interface to the sensor plugs and the wireless module.

Jean Claude’s blog is worth setting aside some time…

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From prototype to PCB with Fritzing

I’ve been trying different electronic design automation tools and I came across a great application that lets you document your breadboard projects and get PCB layouts automatically generated.

Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to take the step from physical prototyping to actual product.

Fritzing barebones arduino

Fritzing barebones arduino example

Fritzing is available for Mac OSX, Linux, Windows and as a source tar ball. If you’re into electronics prototyping you should definitely give it a try.

Build your own paper arduino with PAPERduino

Guilherme Martins has put together what might be considered as the cheapest, easiest, do it yourself arduino clone: the PAPERduino. Because there’s no direct USB connection you’ll either need a USB TTL-32 cable or an FTDI basic breakout to communicate with the ATMega168.

This is a fully functional version of the Arduino. We eliminated the PCB and use paper and cardboard as support [...] This is the the first version of the layout design, next we will try more designs, and another materials. You just need to print the top and the bottom layout, and glue them to any kind of support you want.

PAPERduino by Guilherme Martins

PAPERduino by Guilherme Martins

RBBB – Really Bare Bones Board

If you think an arduino is too much or you simply want to cut costs, then RBBB is the board for you. RBBB boards come in three flavors: as a kit with all the required components, fully assembled or just the board itself.

This is a mini board designed for those experimental applications that require small processors, such as wearable computing, near space experiments, toy prototyping, artist’s projects or any use for a fairly small, low-cost microcontroller. As far as we know, it’s the smallest and most low-cost Arduino-compatible available right now.

RBBB on a breadboard

RBBB on a breadboard

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