RadioBlock adds RF comms to your embedded project

Here’s an interesting project we found on Kickstarter. Known as RadioBlock, this device promises to provide a simple “radio building block” for your embedded projects. The blocks have a four pin connector, two for 3-6 Vdd and ground, and two for TTL serial comms. The RF link consists of an IEEE802.15.4 Atmel RF231 module and LPC1114 (a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 device) which work together to provide connection to similar modules on a SimpleMesh network. The devices are already FCC approved.

For project details, including user manual and other docs visit the RadioBlock Kickstarter page.

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  1. Disclaimer: I’m an RF geek. I’ve been working with wireless devices for years, and have built and deployed distributed sensor networks with lots of different technologies. It’s a difficult problem to solve well, and can be frustrating and time-consuming.

    This project could potentially open mesh networking to a much wider audience. I’m a big fan of XBees, but the learning curve for setting up larger networks is still far too steep for most hobbyests. RadioBlock aims to simplify the process by introducing an open, low-cost, well-engineered solution for mesh networking. Designed by engineers and FCC approved – this isn’t a naive wireless implementation built by amateurs.

    RadioBlock is a neat idea, and I look forward to seeing what people do with the product once it’s funded.

    1. 3dBm is quite common among small 802.15.4 radios; it’s actually on the higher-end of the broadcast power spectrum for devices of this type (1.5 to 2.5dBm is not uncommon). Higher output power means shorter battery life. These devices are not intended for long-haul point-to-point transmission; they are meant for small residential mesh networks. The stated power level is more than adequate for the devices intended use.

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