Design win for Nordic’s wireless chips in environmental sensor

April 28, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Bluetooth Smart environmental sensors deliver high accuracy, low cost, smart home monitoring to consumers and can run for up to three years off a coin cell .

Developed by Canadian startup, Wimoto, and employing Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 SoCs, these so-called 'Motes' can measure various physical parameters (typically in combination) including temperature, soil moisture, humidity, ambient light, movement, proximity, water leaks, and temperature (contact and non-contact), which can all be monitored remotely from a Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphone, tablet, or computer. Wimoto claims that its sensors incorporate industrial-grade sensor technologies that wouldn't usually be found in consumer-targeted products

Wimoto Technologies specified Nordic's nRF51822 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide Bluetooth Smart wireless connectivity between iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, and computers, and Wimoto's 'Mote' environmental sensors, interfacing seamlessly with a free Wimoto app over a range of up to 35m, and run for up to three years from a coin cell (CR2450) battery.

Motes are weather-proof and measure 35 x 35 x 15 mm and so according to Wimoto can be placed just about anywhere to measure (including alarm when a user-set threshold is crossed) their selected variables. Products currently available include 'Wimoto Climate' for measuring temperature, humidity, and light levels for environmental monitoring (e.g. humidors, baby's rooms and basements); 'Wimoto Grow' for measuring when plants need watering (outdoor or indoor); 'Wimoto Thermo' for remotely measuring the temperature of an object it's pointed at - such as water (pools), food, or exotic pets - using non-contact IR thermal technology; 'Wimoto Sentry' for detecting external (human or object - e.g. post arriving) movement via non-contact IR movement technology and internal movement via a built-in accelerometer; and a 'Cloud Cube' gateway that provides unattended, autonomous monitoring of Wimoto sensors and real-time alerts via the Internet or cellular network (due for release Q3 this year).

Industrial-grade sensor technologies include a MEMS-technology automotive-grade climate control sensor typically employed in higher-end in-car climate control systems, and a light sensor capable of measuring sub-1 lux to 65,000 lux.