A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
The Siguino Board
The aim of this project was to create a single low-power, programmable board for makers / developers based on an Arduino that would send basic sensor information via the SigFox network to the cloud for further processing.
This project arose out of trying to work with battery powered Arduinos and sending various sensor information to the cloud via the SigFox network. It became apparent that there was no simple one-stop solution for makers. Approaching things from a software/app developer mindset, ideally I wanted to simply get the hardware to send the raw sensor data to the cloud where I could build various triggering events on the server to do something with this data. But I couldn’t really find the right hardware for this purpose since I needed to combine Arduino, Low Power, Sensors and SigFox all together (there are plenty of options for each of those features individually, but not all in one device) so the the “Siguino” (SigFox + Arduino) came about.
It took a lot of learning & testing and prototyping to get this device built (I’ve written about that process here for anyone interested), and now that the device is complete, I realise that if it is to be of any use to anybody else I need to “productise” it (details below), and get it professionally manufactured, so hence this Kickstarter page.
Siguino component diagram (rev 0.1, not including CR2 battery):
The Siguino is based on an Arduino Pro Mini and so uses an Atmega328p, other components include:
Temperature: Atmel AT30TS750A
Light level: Standard Photocell
Hall effect (Magnetic): AH9246
2 Customisable Digital pins
2 Analog pins
Powered by a 3V CR2 battery
ProAnt OnBoard antenna 868Mhz
This device is designed to be low power so that it can be run from a single small battery from between 6 months to a number of years depending on how often messages are sent over the network (every 15mins vs once per day for example). The default Arduino software loaded on the device uses the low power library from RocketScream to make sure the main chip is in sleep mode for the majority of the time, only waking to take basic measurements such as ambient temperature once per minute.
I’ve used the Nordic Semiconductor Power Profiler to extensively test the power consumption of all the components in real usage scenarios:
Which results in a battery lifetime calculation such as this:
In order to move from a working single board to a product that can be shipped out to interested makers, I need to go through a number of processes first, and then I need to have a small initial batch manufactured and shipped. I have contacted companies for each step in the process below and have verified the following associated costs:
Raise 15,000+: Put the device through the SigFox Certification programme and have the RF net optimised for maximum performance of the antenna. SigFox certification would allow the device to be sold worldwide as a product rather than a DevKit.
Sigfox: the world’s leading Internet of things (IoT) connectivity service.
With its global LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network, Sigfox has reinvented connectivity for the IoT. It drastically brings down cost and energy consumption required for securely connecting physical devices to the Cloud.
“Created in 2010 the company is a recognized global pioneer and leader in a sector that is already disrupting business models and will revolutionize the whole of society. The ambition of Sigfox, embodied in the slogan ‘Make Things Come Alive’, is to give a voice to the physical world around us and to allow these billions of objects to play a role in economic and social development.”
Risks and challenges
The main risks for this project are:
- The CE mark certification being more complicated than envisaged (so far companies I've contacted who specialise in this process do not think this will be a complicated project to certify, but they won't know for sure until they start evaluating the product). If it turns out to be a more complex process, then the certification will cost more. In this scenario I would have to change the plan and hold off on the housing design and divert funds into the CE process instead.