About this project
Nice to meet you, we are RDM Makerspace and we created Marvin for you. You probably have some ideas to get started with Internet of Things (IoT), but you have some, or no clue at all what your first step would be, right? Well here's the thing. We have a background in training people to understand what IoT is, and we'll help you get started too: We have made IoT Plug & Play!
What is Internet of Things?
IoT is being called one of the "Disruptive" technologies of the coming years and will positively impact many cities, organizations and individuals. Why? Because with Internet of Things you can make a very simple and low cost solution within a day, from which your process, logistics or business can benefit in many ways. No need to change your current process or operations, just use Marvin as add-on to what you do and get started today!
We help people to create their own Internet of Things application. To do our best to help as many people as we can to get started, we created a tool that does the work for us, we called it Marvin.
Marvin is easy to use, Arduino based, plug and play grove sensor compatible and works with LoRa communication on LoRa networks such as the KPN LoRa network, the Belgium Proximus network or The Things Network working with 868MHz. (LoRa in your country? See below!)
Yes, LoRa, the new standard for Internet of Things solutions. There are various communication protocols available nowadays and we think that LoRa is just another, yet a very useful addition to the connectivity scheme. Long Range, Low Power is what catalyst the development of IoT.
What is Marvin?
Marvin is a plug and play development board for rapid prototyping of IoT solutions. It works with the open source Arduino platform, which means you can tap into a huge developer community to speed up your development process.
Marvin is a development board based on the Arduino Leonardo and is grove sensor compatible. We designed the board as a USB (2.4 mm thick pcb) so you can plug it in both your laptop and powerbank to configure / power your application. This means you don't have to keep an eye out for your micro usb cable all the time. It has the Microchip RN2483 as a LoRa module so you can send your data from anywhere outdoor in the Netherlands, and also other countries in the world that are rolling out LoRa networks. If you want to start with IoT with your organization any time soon, this is the ultimate tool to start off with.
Do I need to be a hardcore programmer to use Marvin?
No, even though you're working with a bit of code, you don't have to be a programmer to get it up and running. We've covered that for you in our step by step manuals.
Yes manuals, everything is open source, on Github and supported with examples. nice right? One of our partners in the Internet of Things Academy is IBM and brings the Bluemix platform to the table. Together with Node-RED, also an IBM creation, we'll show you step by step how to configure an online application where you can send your signal and process it in a database, website, dashboard or whatever you see fit!
Who is LoRa?
Lady Lora, lola lora, sorry gents, its a protocol. Fortunately this doesn't mean its no fun. Lora stands for Long Range, Low Power. Its a very efficient, light weight way of communicating small messages wireless. Remember the old classic dial-up internet acces modems? Very inefficient, communicating back and forth, very slow. LoRa just asks to join the network with one message containing a unique identifier and if your device is registered in the network, you're good to go. The LoRa module is a hardware chip, that is most of the time sleeping, which means you save loads of power. If you compare this to for example the well known Wifi protocol, the module constantly needs to maintain the connection in order to send out one signal, so power is constantly consumed.
How can Marvin be applied?
In our environment we already use Marvin a lot for prototyping, and to facilitate a monthly LoRa workshop to get started with LoRa communication on the KPN LoRaWAN.
Bluecity - Things Network
In the old swimming pool Tropicana, in Rotterdam, Bluecity is measuring the air quality. They want to demonstrate that air quality can be significantly improved with the use of the right plants, trees and mosses.
Consultants from Accenture use Marvin to rapid prototype their ideas to working sensor devices. By doing so they can easily demonstrate the benefits of Internet of Things for their customers.
University of Applied Science Rotterdam (Hogeschool Rotterdam)
Students from the university use Marvin to measure water flow and quality in nature reserves along the port of Rotterdam.
Royal Dutch KPN - Proof of Concepts
Once KPN's customers are interested in internet of things, KPN consultants use Marvin to develop proof of concepts to demonstrate the value of potential business cases for their customers.
What is Marvin made of?
Marvin consists of pure Kryptonite, Valerium steel and Elementium. Nah, if only. Marvin is created with the intention to be plug and play. Therefore we choose a 2.4 mm pcb that fits right into any USB port of a laptop or powerbank. The functionality of the board resolves around the powerful Atmel 32u4 processor, the same that was used on the Arduino Leonardo board back in the day. This is a powerful chip that has on-board USB drivers and can be recognized by your computer as a peripheral like a mouse, keyboard etc. So if you really, really want to build things, you can go a long way with this board, even though its meant for simple things.
Want to take the next step from development to some real hardcore low power modes? Switch off everything and use a real time clock as a life line to continue measurements for years. We included it in our Marvin development kit, be sure to take a look!
In the beginning...
The initial idea for Marvin sparked out of a plan written by Studio Wolfpack and RDM Makerspace after a request by the municipality of Rotterdam to come up with ideas that could inspire their "Roadmap Next Economy".
We developed Marvin at RDM Makerspace. Our philosophy is to make technique more accessible to everyone, and in particular to startups, creatives and entrepreneurs. This mindset stimulates innovation because everyone can have their own take on technology, resulting in a wide variety of possibilities for development. As founding partner of the Internet of Things Academy we created the Marvin board, to help people get started using some standardized chunks of technology, as a tool to start creating solutions to benefit their business and operations.
Marvin's younger brothers and sisters were developed over the course of the past year. It started out with the finding that many organizations have a hard time getting started with IoT. In our context from the Internet of Things Academy, we help organizations identify possible viable opportunities for their business through workshops involving brainstorms, LittleBits and creative processes. In order to bridge the gap between desire and reality we developed Marvin.
Once the board was out, we had a whole network around us of companies who could help our cause. So Dirk van Leersum from Van Leersum Manufactory helped draw and design the hardware. Batenburg Electronics will take care of the production of Marvin and Conrad will ship Marvin all over the world and help us spread the word throughout Europe.
List of Rewards
What sensors are in the suitcase?
2 x Temperature and Humidity Sensor
2 x 6-Axis Accelerometer & Gyroscope
2 x Digital Light sensor
2 x Ultrasonic ranger
1 x Sound sensor
1 x LED
1 x RTC (Real time clock, go super low-power!)
More sensors can be found on Seeed studio and ordered at www.conrad.nl
If you think we are awesome and you really want to get your hands on some Kryptonite, keep backing us with all the friends you've got so we can make the following stretch goals happen.
If we make it this far, we lived up to our expectations, thanks for believing in us.
Yes. Yes. Yes, we will automate your innovation process. Insert coin here. We build you an App that can export your Arduino code based on any grove module you can come up with. Just click the modules you want to connect, enter your LoRa keys and the app gives you the code which you can upload to your device and you're done!
Holy Marvin! IoT is raining from the sky! We'll have a nice surprise for you!
When will we ship?
As soon as the Kickstarter is over we will send the order to our partner Batenburg Electronics. Production is expected to take about 6 weeks, after that Conrad will take care of shipping your Marvin to your door. We therefore expect to deliver in February 2017.
Where will we ship?
We have no problem shipping Marvin to you anywhere in the world, you just have to make sure what frequency your country is supporting for LoRa. Marvin is designed to work only on 868MHz. We know that countries like USA, Japan, New Zealand use a range between 902-928 MHz, so Marvin cannot be connected to any covering LoRa network there. However, if you know what you are doing, you are able to communicate from Marvin to Marvin on the 868 MHz band but in order for that to be legal, 868 MHz should be a free spectrum in your country.
More about LoRa
The RN2483 supports both 868 MHz and 433 MHz frequency bands, so make sure to check if the network operator in your country works on one of both. If you are based in Europe, 868 MHz will do just fine because it is a licence free spectrum. In other countries the spectrum is divided differently so be sure to contact us when you are not sure.
Send messages of around 50 bytes, with speeds up to 5000bit/sec (= 0.6 Kb/sec) and to do so use on average 20 mA current. Due to a duty cycle limitation on the 868 Mhz band, if you have a good coverage in your area, you can send a message in about 20 ms, which means you have around 300 messages per day.
Talk nerdy to me
LoRa makes use of a very elegant modulation technique that's called spread spectrum modulation. In a relative large range (3 MHz) the signal is send out, and the receiver listens on this same frequency and bandwidth range. If a specific type of signal called chirp-up (wideband linear frequency modulated chirp pulses) is received on one of the incoming frequencies, the module starts listening to the bits that come after, hence being able to reconstruct the incoming message. Combine this with some Forward error correction based on Hammond's (4,7) code and voila, LoRa. And all that is done under noise level. Genius right? Unfortunately we didn't invent it but we are surely happy to use it. Want more? Check out this and this, and most of all, this.
What makes LoRa different from for example Z-wave, Zigfox or Zigbee, is that it is bi-directional in its communication, you can send up to a maximum of 300 messages per day (and receive about 30) over distances of 10-20 kilometers. But if you design your application just right, you probably won't make use of that many messages. A lot can be done on software and server side.
LoRa chip compatibility
Don't forget, LoRaWAN is not the only route to take to IoT land. LoRa is an open communication standard that can be used by anyone who can set up a gateway and end devices. You might have heard of The Things Network around Kickstarter. Marvin isn't picky, so feel free to browse the Ether for some LoRa gateways!
Risks and challenges
We are very much aware of the existing risks within the product development process. One aspect that makes us quite lucky, is that we had the opportunity to test our board in numerous workshops and gain feedback on the boards functionality and functioning. Therefore we have the idea that on a product level, the product has matured enough to call it our end product. Logistically we partnered with Batenburg Electronics that does the production and assembly, and with Conrad who will handle shipping and handling. We trust on their expertise on making the actual trade of wares happen. Our biggest challenge will be to master all communication lines to make sure everyone stays as happy as we are about the board.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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