I’ve recently become aware of Moteino, a very low cost but powerful platform for wireless sensor networks. Felix at LowPowerLabs has done a fantastic job designing and building the devices, which come with 4Mbit of flash and a 433/868/915MHz transceiver, all for less than $20. Moteino is based around an Atmel 328p, running at 16MHz, so it is compatible with the Arduino environment. This makes it a very accessible platform for node development and means there are a lot of existing libraries for various sensors out there.
So far I’ve only had time to play with a few Moteinos but I’m already impressed. I’ve gotten well over 600m (LOS) range using the RFM69HW radio at 55.5kbps and the sleep power consumption is wonderfully low (sub 100 microamps).
I’m currently prototyping a node to do meteorology sensing (temperature, pressure, humidity, light level etc). The power consumption whilst running, with the transceiver in rx mode, is about 20mA. This is considerably less than my current solution (XBee based) which sits at about 65mA in rx mode. The libraries for interacting with the radio and flash chips both work nicely and are pretty easy to understand. You have a lot of control over the radio which is really nice coming from the world of XBees where there is a whole layer of abstraction in between you and the hardware.
Something of particular interest is the wireless programming possibilities, there is already some beta code to wirelessly store a new hex file in the external flash and the supplied bootloader is capable of reading that firmware image from the external flash chip into program memory. All in all I’m very impressed and I’d encourage anyone with an interest to head over to http://lowpowerlab.com/ and check it out!