5/16/2012 12:57 PM EDT
LONDON – A year-old startup called Electric Imp Inc. has developed a Wi-Fi node in a memory card physical format that it hopes will become a standard technique for assigning IP addresses and linking to the Internet to establish a Wi-Fi-mediated Internet of Things (IoT).
The starting point for Fiennes' IoT vision came when he attempted to rig bathroom lights to respond to arbitrary inputs like Google’s share price.
He quickly realized that many companies offered home automation systems based on a variety of radio standards, including Zigbee, but nearly all were single-vendor solutions rather than open platforms.
IoTA will be huge in the future.
The EU already started collecting proposals and ideas regarding legislation for it last month or so.
Creating a standard for it will be a big step.
With any technology, I worry about the hazards of dependence.
I'm assuming this will have major implications for Smart Grid.
Of course, I do wonder whether some problems will arise from the fact that this will be an IP based control system. Linking homes to the Internet.
- Will homes be more vulnerable to DDOS or other attack?
- Will this complicate simple home repairs?
I wonder if SCADA hardware ideas could be incorporated.
Imagine if hackers can get into every appliance in your home, as well as your lighting, heating, A/C, security system and electrical outlets. I am not seeing huge benefits to having everything in my home 'connected', but I am seeing huge vulnerabilities.
We use integrated 3G cards - This could be huge for our business. My boss thinks I'm awesome for finding this.
Mr Tack gets no credit
With Internet of Things; most of the technology in your house could be accessible from the outside.
With due attention to security, it might work out, but from what's been going on so far ... I'm a bit worried.
With software, sometimes you have to authorize or disallow the transmission of anonymous usage data; possibly having to answer that question for a toaster ... just seems weird.
- Keep tabs on your pad
Because your Imp-enabled devices are on the internet, you'll be able to monitor and control them from your phone, the web, even from other Imp-enabled devices.
- A home-grown watering system
A few Imp-equipped moisture sensors, a weather feed, a water relay and a cloud-based watering app come together to make an impishly clever gardening solution.
The Imp card has nine pins; of these two are used for power and one is used to communicate with the ID chip that lives in every device, leaving six pins for connection to peripherals.
As you'd expect, all pins can be digital inputs (with software selectable pull-ups and pull-downs), digital outputs with 4mA drive, or analog inputs that feed into a multiplexed ADC... but that's just the start.
Every pin has its own dedicated PWM channel, allowing complete flexibility in PWM clocking. There are three UARTs available, two SPIs, two I2Cs (master or slave), two DACs, a pulse counter (with definable sampling window) and one pin can be used to wake the card from low power sleep mode.
If many GPIOs are required for your application, we recommend using an I2C GPIO expander. Some of these, for example the one used on our Hannah devboard, can also be used to wake the Imp from deep sleep as well as providing PWM LED drive features.
The Imp looks at the peripherals in use and configures itself to the lowest power state at all times; this includes use of clock scaling and gating, ensuring that power is not wasted without the developer having to concentrate too much on these details.
When connected to a WiFi network but otherwise idle, the Imp takes under 10mA (sometimes much less, depending on peripheral configuration). When actively transmitting at maximum power, the peak current is around 250mA - but because transmit periods are very short, the average power consumption is still low.
For very low power applications, the Imp can go into deep sleep where it takes only 6uA of current and can wake on a timer or a rising edge on the wakeup pin. Typically, the Imp will boot, join WiFi, DHCP and be running code again in around a second. The low power sleep and quick wake time means that for many periodic applications the whole system can run on 2xAA batteries for years.
Our state-of-the-art WiFi implementation provides unparalleled sensitivity and excellent transmit power, giving a link budget of ~114dBm under ideal circumstances. Our antenna has been tuned to work with our recommended SD socket, and has a very consistent pattern to help with awkward locations.
Good luck to them. Apple Google and FB combined would be a lot of big bucks. I can imagine they know what they're doing.
The founders were employed by Google, Apple, and Facebook, but I don't know if their company, electric imp, has any association with Google, Appple, or Facebook.
When you click the upload button in the web-based IDE, your code is compiled into Squirrel bytecode and sent down to the device over the secure connection. There, the Imp runs it, providing essential system services - server communication, buffered I/O and so on - so the bytecode doesn't need to deal with the mechanics of networking or hard time constraints.
If the code encounters a run-time error, the error message is sent back to the IDE logging window and the code will optionally be restarted. It really is a whole new world for embedded communications!
To give a simple example, here’s the code for a switch device. Electrically, the switch is connected between pin 1 on the Imp and ground.
The future is now. Fascinating.
Guess who got offered a promotion today?
Tack - Beers and hookers are on me buddy.
Just remember; even your electrical outlets will be watching you. No need for paranoia, though.