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$7,200 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About this project

DustMotes : A small-sized platform for all Wireless Sensor Network Enthusiasts:

Greetings from ANTFARM INC.! We are working on Wireless Sensor Nodes and making them available to the DIY community at a low cost, which allows you to make your own kickass wireless project for your Home, Office (or any other place that you see fit). We are also bridging the gap between WSN and Internet of Things by providing a App between your SmartPhone/Tablet/PC and your WSN. And all you need is a single router connected to a server which can control upto 255 devices (nodes/motes)! 

Each Mote is 1 sq in. and can be supplied by 3xAA’s or a battery of your choice above 5V. 

Batteries are not included.

ANTfarm got featured in CNBC TV-18's show YoungTurks :

 Basics : What is it ?

Okay,first of all a 101 on WSN. WSN is a cluster of wireless nodes which act as sensor or actuator interface and is spread over an area. There are few nodes called Co-ordinators ( Routers in our case ) which are used to control and manage the Network. You can command each node to be a sensor or actuator in our case and we have a free API ( AT command based ) which allow you to do the same. More on that later. A typical use case is : You connect a humidity sensor to one of the nodes and a Water valve controller to another. And you want the valve to open water whenever the humidity is low . Well hook up your sensors , pop in our Router into a PC and write some code using our API and voila! You have an automated watering system!

Use Cases: 

  • General Home / Office Automation : Connect analog sensors , plug-in batteries and place them anywhere to have your own sensor network. Moreover, design a Switching board ( Triac based ) and connect your AC appliances to it and control using the Web interface. 
  • Habitat Monitoring: Hook up sensors and sense environmental parameters of your home or your pets home . 
  • Security : Hook up a PIR sensor , or a Contact Sensor to your Doors , Windows and get alerts whenever there is movement in your monitored place or opening/closing of Doors.
  •  Autonomous House : Walk in and the lights /fans switch on automatically depending on the time of day and other rules defined by you!! Use our rich API to define the rules, all you need is serial port access! Use a language, OS, Software of your choice!

Made for DIY Guys ( and Gals ):

Dustmotes ( okay , they are not Dust sized, but we will make them tinier in the future ) are made for the Developers . Whether you want to make an app to control Electrical fittings for the elderly or you want to keep a temperature controlled Greenhouse, Dustmotes gives you the power of commanding everything remotely. Hook up analog sensors to have your data streaming in and stored to your choice of database. No Monthly fees! You own your data, Always !

If you need help with a Power Electronics Board for a particular Application (in volumes ), we can help you out too.

And Dustmotes is made with some of the coolest and tested technologies around as below :

 An Ideal Server for the Dustmotes is the Raspberry Pi. Plus the router to the USB port , Put it safe somewhere , and plug in our Raspbian Image. You’ll get an instant access through apps to all your Nodes/Motes! Zero-Coding Too!

Our Design Journey :

We started working on Swarm robotics back in 2009 and soon realized that we would need a proprietary network to support the Bot-Bot Communications. Thus we started work on WSN as an affordable option to WiFi. We don't need high data rates but need to support a large number of nodes and be power efficient , thus WSN fits us fine. We developed most of the codebase on development boards and some hand soldered prototype boards as shown below :

ATMEGA 640 Prototype Board
ATMEGA 640 Prototype Board

On the above ATMega640 board we developed our RF Stack for CC2500. Initially we were ad-hoc command based , but we soon thought of standardizing it with our "ANTFARM AT Commands".

 Next , we had to standardize the Response , and we chose JSON for its popularity and ease of parsing. Here's a snapshot of our early discussion :

Right now , we are  ready with two kinds of boards as shown below : the Router and the Nodes.

What exactly is the Router ? 

 The Router is a FTDI230X + ATMEGA328 + CC2500 Combo which allows : Streaming of AT commands over the serial port ( and response , that too in JSON! ) Scanning for nodes Connecting to any Node using our API Configuring any node to a desired setting The router plugs into any standard USB Type-A port like a dongle. The FTDI takes care of the handling of USB packets, so its just a COM port to you! The CC2500 is a radio transceiver by TI , which is the backbone of this system. You don't need to worry about the radio packets , our router and nodes do it for you.

 What exactly is a Node?

Each Node is a ATTINY85 + CC2500 combo which allows: Control of a Single 0-3.3V Actuator , OR Sensing of a 0-3.3V analog Sensor, OR Sensing of a inbuilt Temperature Sensor.

Just Power the Nodes with any battery source > 5V and < 12V. Nodes log in data to the router at a LOGGING_TIME interval , which is configurable. Nodes which go down are easy to detect at the Router.

Demo :

Please see the following videos which showcase the operation of the system as well as the API .

Are High Voltage Switches included ? 

We decided that we will not include high voltage switches ( or sensors for that matter ) as they are a very custom requirement. Someone might need a 5V 1A switch whereas someone might need a 110V 15A switch. Dustmotes is made such that you can easily hook up Triacs ( Or MOSFET’s) after a optocoupler such a MOC3021. If you have a large enough requirement , contact us and we will help you will design integration. 

 What will you get :

 You will also get this awesome app below ( On Web, ioS and Android )which will let your Dustmotes work out of the Box with Zero coding!

For the Code Lovers: 

What is the AT Command API ? 

The API is accessible over the USB-serial port in Windows, Linux and Mac. You will need Putty in Windows or similar , Cutecom in Linux to be able to access the serial port directly. If you are a Web Developer and want to code in HTML5 and Javascript , no worries! We have tested full functionality with Nodejs with the serialport module. Do you like JSON ? We like it too , hence the API responds in JSON!! Please read this document for more information. AT Command Usage Example : [Responses Suppressed] 

  • $$$                //Go To Command Mode 
  • ATCN 31        //Connect to Node 31 
  • ATAC 1          //Turn it ‘ON’ 
  • ATND             //Get out of Command Mode

What is the REST API ?

So, say you want a REST API, no sweat! Hook up our Router to a Raspberry Pi and download our Raspbian Image with all the right stuff setup . Burn it to a SD card and you have a WiFi Hotspot called “Dustmotes”. Connect to it and you will get the REST API access. Make your own Apps, deploy it somewhere either personally or professionally. No monthly fees to be paid!

Share the Fun : 

Have Dustmotes Project ideas? Discuss it . Please like our facebook page[ https://www.facebook.com/antfarmrobotics?ref=hl ], Google+ page [https://plus.google.com/u/0/113295282859318588191/posts] and share it with #dustmotes on Twitter to keep getting project updates.

Project Timeline : 

We are fully past the Prototyping Phase with a working deployment at our Incubator , Venture Center , Pune, India. We are currently in talks with Vendors to do component sourcing as well as the mass scale manufacturing. As with any hardware project we need your help to make Dustmotes reach out to DIY’ers. Our R&D is based out of Pune, India. In USA, we are operating as ANTFARM INC. , Delaware to streamline delivery of the products finally to your doorsteps .

Below is our realistic timelines to handover Dustmotes to you :

  • Kickstarter Campaign Ends : November 30th 2013
  • Component Sourcing Ends :  December 15th 2013
  • PCB Manufacturing Ends : December 31st 2013
  • PCB Assembly Ends : January 15th 2014
  • Mass Testing and Packaging Ends : January 31st 2014
  • Shipout to Customers : February 15th 2014

Meet the Founder:

Subhojit Basu - Founder & Chief Design Engg. at ANTFARM Robotics Subhojit is responsible for driving ANTFARM, a consumer robotics company, trying to bring robotics to the masses. He worked in diverse technical roles on an array of technologies relating to VLSI Design , EDA and Multicore Processor Design and Computing at INTEL, India , Mentor Graphics , India and DoCoMoLabs USA. Subhojit is an expert electronics designer ( System Level & Component level ) in both Analog and Digital Domains and Embedded. He was the recipient of INMO ‘98 [ Indian National Mathematical Olympiad] for his outstanding ability in mathematics by Govt. Of India. Subhojit Holds a degree in Electrical Engg. [ B.Tech ‘03] and Instrumentation [ M.Tech ‘04] from IIT, Kharagpur. Subhojit is a electric car fan and hopes that they become commodity items. He is passionate about doing low power designs to solve the impending energy crisis and reducing e-waste. Subhojit is a 2013 Fellow in the Startup leadership Program in Pune. He often makes time to train and mentor kids in workshops aimed at making robotics fun and exciting early on!

But, Subhojit is not alone! We have a small but brilliant team to make sure everything works perfectly in sync with plan.

Our Team members:

Aroop Sircar , CFO , PhD Johns Hopkins , M.Tech and B.Tech IIT Kharagpur. 

Sohan Mehta , Supply Chain Manager , BBM 2012 BMCC, Pune  

Pratik Bhalerao , Embedded Engg. , 2010 B.E Amravati University , Maharastra

Saurav Behera, Embedded Engg. , 2012 B.Tech Silicon Institute of Technology , Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

Prasanna Chaphe , Embedded Intern , 2011 B.E. VIIT , Pune , Currently Masters Student at COE, Pune.

Saurabh Panda , Embedded Intern ,2012 B.Tech Silicon Institute of Technology , Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. Currently Masters Student at COE, Pune.

 

Risks and challenges

We need to raise 50K$ to cover our Manufacturing costs. We will be manufacturing this project in India and will be shipping to the US.

We are currently in talks with Fulfillment agencies based in the USA as a logistics partner to reach our consumers in the USA. This agency will take care of clearance through Customs, all documentations and domestic shipment until the product reaches your home! Minor delays due to the customs clearance process might affect the actual date of final delivery to you.

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Funding period

- (37 days)