One of the coolest projects i stumpled upon recently is the mysensors project by Henrik Ekblad and his team. The aim of the project is to offer a framework for a network of sensors and actuators in an environment like your house or appartment. The sensors are connected with 2.4Ghz RF technology, and the system comes with a sophisticated network management including a controller, a gateway and even a repeater functionality that can be enabled on any node with just a flag.
The idea as such is already brilliant because everyone wants to have sensors and it’s just frustrating to a) build everything on your own or b) use crappy and proprietary technology from specific vendors.
Mysensors is open-source, but even more important: IT JUST WORKS!
I have come across many projects, platforms and technologies but this is really not the usual experience, especially for an early stage open source project. The project is extremely well an even nicely documented, you pick up your Arduino Uno, Upload the gateway code with not a single modification and it just worked. I then plugged it into my Raspberry where my FHEM home-controller was running, installed the mysensors module there and…baam…had my sensors integrated into that place as well.
But it doesn’t end here: The mysensors package comes with tons of just working examples for different kinds of sensors and even actuators. I tried light, moisture, binary switch (for my doorbell), relay actuator and many others. And believe me – every single example just worked without any problem (ok i had some issues with the rf-connection, but the excellent forum helped me out of that quickly).
This is just a brilliant job Henrik, if every open-source project out there would work like that we would be in heaven.
The list of supported controllers is growing and there even is MQTT support built in for some.
Want something more? They should think about customized, low-power optimized hardware? Even that is available, i ordered the brand-new Itead Sensebender Micro which is a tiny (really tiny) Atmel 328 with a few Pins, absolutely low-power focussed and can hook up the recommended NRf24l01+ RF-Board easily. Can run with two AAA-batteries for months (if not years). Although this is really a rough and specialized board for experienced users (no power-regulators or reverse polarity protection etc.) it’s exactly what you would want to have for setting up your own low-power sensor network.
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