Let's Make Robots!

Wireless winter weather wonders - weather prediction with a swarm of *Bees

Here's a little project I've put together using a bunch of components from Seeed Studio:

Wireless Sensor Node

In the little box is the Wireless Sensor Node, an RFBee for communication with my laptop, a barometric pressure sensor and a  500 mAH LiPo battery charged by the attached solar panel (or USB).

On the receiving end is the other RFBee connected via USB to my laptop with the UartSBee board:

UartSBee - RFBee

The idea is to wirelessly transmit the pressure sensor reading to my laptop where I can do something fun with the data, like predict the weather.

There are several great things about the RFBees:

  • Inexpensive (around $20) almost drop-in replacement for an XBee for some applications
  • Its an Arduino (ATMEGA 168) packaged in the XBee form factor - program it like an Arduino, with a radio!

I say almost drop-in, however only the RX, TX, VCC and GND are pin-compatible with the XBee and they won't communicate directly with another XBee so you would need a pair of these for a project.

I've written a small sketch using the Arduino tool to read the pressure from the sensor and transmit to the laptop. On the laptop, I've written a Processing sketch to display the most recent readings from the sensor, and display a graph of the readings over the last few hours:

Sensor interface

The pressure has been dropping for a few hours now and we are getting quite a bit of snow as I'm writing this.

Some notes about programming the RFBee - the original firmware provided by Seeedstudio is written with an older version of Arduino. They do provide a more up-to-date library here for Arduino 1.0+ but it is not well documented at this time. I was able to get their example code working well enough to read the sensor and send the data and things seem to be working for now. If there is interest I can post the code for the sensor node and the processing sketch...

Now, how can I apply this stuff to my next robotic project?

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Please, Im from Brazil and I have a seeduino Stalker and 3 RFBees, my programation skill level is medium, then i cant understand yet the routine of RF communication. Can you send me a code of your application to me study this?