Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Sensor Boards

As we work on MyOctopus design and implementation, we have created some interesting things that we have developed that we're hoping to share as we go along. One of those is sensor boards. They are small (~1cm2) pcbs that essentially are plug and play in the Intel Edison universe. Anyone who has already played with Intel Edison might know that getting the sensors running isn't always a straightforward process.


To give you some background, here is my story: When buying Intel Edison you have two main choices: The big breakout (Arduino Layout) or the small Dev Breakout. There is also a third choice, Sparkfun boards, which are great to fit a particular purpose, but to get a flexible dev environment, you'd probably need to stack good few of them together (console, battery, gpio, i2c, etc...). Anyways, the standard dev breakout seemed like a great choice to me. What I quickly learned is that it actually isn't quite an out-of-the-box experience. Firstly, you have to solder the pins (which were in the post at the time board arrived). I had to wait for them to arrive, only to then discover that my sensors require 3.3V and Edison operates on 1.8V (my bad for not reading the spec sheet precisely enough) so I had to get myself level shifters, only to then discover that there is very little information on the web on how to actually configure and read data from my i2c sensors. So, when I had finished wading through all of this initial effort I figured - why wouldn't we make it easier for others and make them sensor boards that can be plugged in and come with flashable eEdison images that would provide all the necessary drivers and code require to get you quickly started on your project?



Well, we're about to order the actual sample boards which would look similar to one below (small octogonal on RHS) .  

And once that is done and tested, we plan to share this with the world through a crowdfunding campaign - which hopefully will happen within the next couple of weeks. For now, we just need to test the prototypes once they'll arrive, and then we'll get more for all that are interested.

Let us know in the meantime if there are any particular sensors or features that you would like to see on our sensor boards - we can still change a thing or two.