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 Fennec Development Board
Do you want to measure temperature, connect a soil humidity sensor in your vegetable garden or monitor the air quality at your street corner? With the Fennec Development Board you are able to connect almost any sensor and create your own amazing ultra low power wireless projects. We have created the most energy efficient Arduino compatible IoT device with LoRa communication in the world. Powered by only a button cell you can send sensor readings every 15 minutes for the next five years over long distances (5-15km).
The Fennec is a LoRa v1.0.2B compliant IoT device, hence it is capable to read sensors and control outputs. It has an integrated LoRa antenna that can be configured to all different LoRa regions in the world.
The Fennec is capable to read analog sensors and digital I/O. With our software stack we support LoRa Class A, B & C. The unique ultra low power hardware design and deep sleep mode consumes only 4µA. As long as you have a sensor, the Fennec can do it all.
During the campaign we will update our repository on GitHub with example code and drivers.
LoRa v1.0.2B certified Lora-stack
LoRa Class A & C (class B pending)
Atmel SAM L ultra low power microcontroller
LoRa communication with the Semtech SX1272
LIS2DH high performance three-axis linear accelerometer
Grove Connector with I2C interface
2 Digital inputs/outputs
2 Analog inputs
Powered by a CR2032 battery or external battery supply
860, 868 or 915 MHz PCB antenna
Weight and dimensions
Weight without battery: only 9 grams (0.32 ounces)
Dimensions: 27 x 60 mm (0.67 x 2.36 inch)
Dimensions without antenna: 27 x 51 mm (0.67 x 2.00 inch)
This board comes with an integrated PCB antenna. If you would like to add an external antenna, an optional UFL connector can be placed. Don't worry, our hardware team will help you do it with specific and clear instructions. Also, if you aren't using the on-board antenna, just take it off and make the Fennec even smaller!
Truly Ultra Low Power
You might have heard claims about a truly low-powered devices before but you would think, "I wish I saw some numbers!". We won't disappoint you. We have done comprehensive testing and we'll release example code so you can make projects that are just as energy friendly in real life situations as they are in the lab. You can find some more details about the Low power nature of the Fennec below.
The Fennec Development Board is designed with ultra low power consumption in mind. All components are selected for low power consumption and the board has two power domains, allowing the software to switch off all non-essential peripherals when needed. The Atmel SAML21 microcontroller is designed specifically for ultra low power consumption without compromising clock speed and memory capacity: It runs on 48 MHz clock and has 32 KB of RAM and 256 KB of flash memory while the power consumption can drop down to 1,3µA in the most ideal cases. This is accomplished by setting the micro-controller in deep sleep mode, stopping execution of code while retaining memory contents and peripherals configuration.
Another design choice was the power supply that converts the power of the battery to 1.8V. As many devices consume a current, regardless of the supply voltage, lowering the voltage down to 1.8V saves power. The power supply has a typical efficiency of 85% and a quiescent current of only 0.3µA, this almost halves the power consumption. The battery power consumption of the Fennec Development Board when in deep sleep mode is estimated to be 4 ±2 µA.
Grove connector and the I2C bus
A ultra low powered sensor node with a I2C bus sounds a bit strange right? But here at FactoryLab we strive to achiev the uncommon. Digital outputs can be power hungry and connecting different sensors on your bus can quickly drain the battery. We have overcome this problem by making the I2C power pin switchable. Now you can make your DIY project energy friendly by turning your sensors only on when you need to. The universal 4 pin (Grove) connector makes it possible to connect a wide range of 3.3V sensors available from a number of well known vendors. The Grove connector is powered through 3.3V voltage regulator also when a USB connector or external 5V battery is used. When you deploy your project in the field and it requires more juice than the standard 1.8V that comes from the CR2032 battery, use a USB power bank or use the external power pads to wire your own external power supply. Make sure you remove the CR2032 battery to prevent any unwanted fireworks!
Battery lifetime largely depends on the behavior of the software, the frequency of measurements and mainly the frequency of transmitted LoRa packets. The size of the packets and especially the spreading factor (SF) used for transmission have a considerable impact on the energy consumed per packet. The exact power consumption per package can be calculated using the “LoRa Modem Calculator Tool”, which can be found on the Semtech website.
Depending on the various parameters, the estimated battery lifetime can vary from over five years to less than two years. Battery lifetime can be extended by setting a low Spreading Factor. The amount of energy consumed raises exponential when the Spreading Factor is increased. There is always a range/battery life trade-off.
Since the founding of the company we have focused on long range data communication and developed expertise regarding the LoRaWAN protocol. FactoryLab has joined the LoRa alliance to further support the development of this technology. To make use of the latest abilities of the standard we decided to create our own LoRa stack around the Semtech LoRa modem. Using the Atmel low power microprocessor, we have everything in house to make a node that is extremely low power and still able to transmit data packages over long distance.
For your connected device to work you need a LoRa network. Create your own, use a public network like The Things Network or sign-up with a commercial telecoms operator like the Dutch KPN. Check with the LoRa Alliance for all the commercial and public network initiatives worldwide.
860, 868 or 915 MHz
Different regions support different radio frequency bands that can legally be used for LoRa data communication. The Fennec Development Board therefore comes in three flavors. One has the filters and antenna for 860 MHz for use in India, the second uses is for 868 MHz which can be used in Europe and the last one is equipped with antenna and filters for 915 MHz which you should use in Northern America. Be sure as to which version you require, and during our final questionnaire we will make sure that the correct version is shipped to you.
Who we are
We are FactoryLab, an Industrial Internet of Things company from The Netherlands. The products we create are used for industrial monitoring and control and during our short lifetime, we have invested a great deal in an ultra low power LoRa communication products. The Fennec is based on LoRaWAN communication and is in the early stages of production. We would like to share what we have learnt and created during the past year with developers and other creators. This Fennec Development Board, will be bring Low power sensing to everyone and it will be released through this Kickstarter campaign at a very attractive rate for our backers. With a LoRa stack that supports the latest LoRa specification version 1.0.2B, an Atmel SAM L microprocessor, low power accelerometer and analog & digital input/output and an Arduino compatible bootloader, you can let your imagination run wild!
So how can you help us?
The major part of development that still needs to be performed is LoRa class B support. If you are familiar with the LoRa protocol you will know that (in simple terms) Class A listens to incoming messages when transmitting data, Class B has extra receive windows and Class C is always listening. Class B is by far the most tricky of the types of classifications and will give the team some headaches over the next few weeks.
And of course we will take the hardware in production and ship all items anywhere in the world.
We have produced some prototypes of the Fennec Development Board and are performing hardware and software tests. The pre-compliance testing of our LoRa stack is also under way. We have already undertaken several road trips from our HQ in Zwijndrecht to the northern part of our country where the testing house TÜV Rheinland has its facilities. Many of the new features of the v1.0.2B specification have been implemented. In fact, to our knowledge, this will be the first software stack that supports this latest standard from the LoRa Alliance. We are confident that your LoRa stack will be certified in October, including Class B support. During October we can finalize our designs and prepare for hardware production. All backers will then be able to play with this development board during Christmas Holidays!
Gertjan our motivator and inspirator. He helped build this team of geniuses and oversees day to day operations. Call him Gert or Gertjan or whatever you want. During the day, he only eats bananas. In the weekend, he likes to walk through ditches and cover himself with mud. We will unveil more of his personal habits during this campaign.
Harm Wouter is head of crowdfunding and community builder. He likes to be referred to as HW. With his biology background, he prefers all hardware development to be organic. He is a coffee snob and has strong opinions on what is served at the office but he keeps them to himself. For now.
Tommas is our software engineer who has built our embedded framework and now works on a LoRa stack. With his co-workers, he solely communicates in C++. He prefers to be called by his real name Tommas. We do not know anything about his personal life.
Victoria manages our office and is in charge of our website, web shop, mail, press releases, new hires and many more things. Call her Vic in short. She does her work with headphones on to escape the world of SERCOM’s, capacitors, resistors and transistors.
Jaap does miracles in C#. He designs software to easily configure our devices from your desktop. His bootloader software will make it possible to run your Arduino sketch on the Fennec Development Board. He is the senior of the lot, so please call him by his last name. During our daily standup meetings he likes to sing us pieces of the opera ‘La Traviata’.
Bart is our embedded engineer who can connect any sensor to our hardware. He has written many drivers that are included in our framework. Bart will make sensors like the accelerometer available for you to use in your Arduino projects. His name is short, so call him Bart. Bart likes to be in the water and we hope he’ll take the team on his next sailing trip.
Maarten is head of the development team and makes sure we take the right design choices. He is an expert in product regulations and certifications. We call him Maarten but would like to introduce the name DoubleD because of his last name. He takes his motorcycle to work, we don't know if this defines him.
Shubhankar started with us as an student intern, but now plays a vital role in our LoRa ecosystem by designing a truly amazing LoRa gateway. He is called Shu because nobody can pronounce or remember his full name. Shu has experience with Arduino code and will provide some example sketches to get you started with your projects. He lives on coffee, we have never seen him eat anything.
Jeroen is our hardware engineer. He has two right hands and they work brillantly. He bakes his own electronics for breakfast. He will make the final layout of our Fennec and will make sure the hardware performs as expected. Jeroen is Jeroen. We expect him to have a fully operated electronics lab in his basement.
André is our financial man and will make sure all numbers add up. From what we have seen he can also do great things with packaging. His favorite music is unknown to us, calling him Dre would be presumptuous. With his silent electrical car, he has the tendency to sneak up on you.
The LoRa® logo is a trademark of Semtech Corporation or its subsidiaries.
Risks and challenges
This is our first crowdfunding campaign so bear with us. We don't know all the in's and out's of this type of funding but we think this is a great way to build a community and share our work with a broad range of developers and creators.
We create and manufacture dataloggers that are used in the Maritime and Offshore industry. This means that we have the ability to produce robust electronics tested against high quality standards. Our product development cycle has four phases, first we test the proof of concept and create prototypes in house. Then we perform extensive testing on the secondprototypes and finally our local manufacturer produces large batches. The design we made for the Fennec contains components that are on stock in large quantities at our EMS.
The FactoryLab engineers have many years of experience in hardware and software design, so as hard as it is, we are up to the major challenge of certifying the LoRa software stack to the latest release v1.0.2b. In our first pre-compliance test we passed 22 of the 31 tests. This gives us good hope to finalize the software during the start of this campaign and get the Fennec compliant.
Communicating and proving ourselves to the backers is new for us and could indeed be a challenge. But we are a bunch of creative individuals with special skills and loads of motivation and we are certain we can make it through. We'll document our progress with pictures, blogposts, newsletters and cook up some example code. We’ll also share the development steps, LoRa software issues, layouts, production, testing and our failures.