Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


Wireless sensor nodes

19 September 2012 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

A new breed of app could soon be finding its way onto mobiles or set-top boxes, taking advantage of a new open platform for smart buildings put forward by STMicroelectronics.

The company’s GreenNet wireless sensor networking technology addresses the challenge to efficiently use energy for heating and lighting and for increasing consumer safety via monitoring of their environment.

The platform comprises self-powered nodes that can be positioned around the home for tasks such as temperature, CO (carbon monoxide) or movement sensing, relaying data wirelessly to a GreenNet dongle installed in a PC or set-top box. The data could then be communicated to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet via a wireless router to enable monitoring and control.

The fundamental building block is the GreenNet node, which utilises core ST technologies in energy management, silicon-based sensors and embedded wireless to create an easy-to-use network node free of wires or any need to change batteries.

The node combines a rechargeable battery, a solar cell and a 2,4 GHz radio coupled with the STM32L Cortex-M3 ultra-low-power MCU that consumes minimal power and can operate autonomously powered only by ambient light energy.

To facilitate adoption by do-it-yourselfers as well as professionals, this approach reduces smart-home installation to a simple process of placing nodes in suitable locations, and aims to encourage greater consumer use as well as adoption in offices and industrial buildings.

By using open standards, such as IPv6, the platform offers high performance and flexibility and – more importantly – allows independent developers to create easy-to-use downloadable apps for tasks such as home monitoring, security or fire safety.

ST is now demonstrating the system using a sample node that features an on-chip temperature sensor, a USB dongle and a service platform including sample app store. Operating from only 150 lux of ambient light available for six hours per day, it can relay one temperature measurement every five minutes.

It can still operate autonomously for up to six weeks in the dark as part of an effective environmental monitoring system.



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