Saturday, January 30, 2010

Synapse Wireless

The other day a friend of mine slipped me a Synapse Wireless development kit to play with. For those not familiar with synapse, they are a company that specializes in wireless communications for embedded system. Similar to the Xbee module, but much easier to work with.
The end user develops scripts in Python for controlling the module. One of the major advantages of this is its "networking out of the box" the network is instant on. The end user does not have to write the communication stack. It is also a mesh based and self healing network.
I had the unit up and running out of the box using an included python script. It includes multiple demo scripts.

The portal software is also easy to use, there are multiple tools available to the user. Such as node info, script window, event log, and channel analyzer. You can get the portal software from their support forum. The software is offered for Windows, Linux and Mac

One script that I tried is a link quality script. I had the bridge unit tied to my PC and the other in my hands walking around the shop floor. I was aprox 300ft away with a 20% signal quality, and this is going through walls and machinery. In this particular setup was using the amplified "f" antenna on each radio, there is an external antenna model available for increased range.

I have not messed with the Xbee modules, but I have heard they are difficult to work with. I would suggest looking in to this for the hobbyist. as they are easy to work with and are comparable in cost to the Xbee modules. I can see these modules picking up traction in the DIY market cause of their ease of use and range. These are ideal for embedded home projects as well as use in the industrial controller markets.
The basic eval kit can be picked up at Digi-key here for $99 USD.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dev system in a watch !!!!!!

Ok, I know this is not new news to most out there including me, but this is a cool concept. Texas Instruments has released the ez430 Chronos wireless development system in a watch. This kit integrates a wireless link to a PC via the included USB dongle. One example is controlling Media Player from the watch. Another major use that you can do is take readings from a chest strap that monitors heartbeat and then you can upload this to a PC via the wireless link. In essence you can keep track of your workout stats.

I will add this to my wishlist.