Studio Contrechoc

design & textile & technology entries

RF transceivers

I wanted to do concepts on wireless clothing.

Most people grab an XBEE, but I was looking for cheaper things.

I found senders, receivers, transceivers from http://www.hoperf.com, but this company is far away. Pollin (www.pollin.com ) sells these modules, but you can only order having a bank account in Germany. A friend Tilman Rothermel was so kind to order the parts or me. Datasheets were available at both sites. But somehow there seemed to be mistakes in these sheets and coding and given the steps in the configuration the chance of doing all the steps the right way was minimal. But other people had discovered these RF modules and there already was a (German) forum about the transceivers:

http://www.mikrocontroller.net/topic/67273

I had an ARDUINO with the module hanging above it: (picture)

you can see the sending JeeNode at the left, at the right the LCD shows the received words.

But then I found the dutch site (in english) : http://shop.jeelabs.com/ which has a PCB with ATmega328 and the transceiver all tested and ready. Also there is an extensive blog showing all the experiments and experiences with the RF12.

Making my own Barebones Arduino always is a few hours work, and the result is never very esthetically convincing .

So I decided to use these JeeNodes and the library provided for the Arduino.

Of course once on the right track with links you can find links to these RF12 modules everywhere…:-)

like http://blog.strobotics.com.au/topics/embedded/rfm12-embedded/ also referring to Jeelabs.

The technical part worked. Using the Library from Jeelabs and my own mixture of libraries form the ARDUINO-18 (Liquid Crystal and Wire put into one folder so to initialized wire and twi the right way) I quickly had a sketch simple sending words and receiving the words in another Jeenode with Liquid Crystal attached.

But I wanted to do some concepts!

Which will be shown in the next blogs:

These projects all have three components:

  • the technical stuff, ATmega328, JeeNode, RF12 module and sensors
  • the design stuff, giving the idea material and shape
  • the programming stuff, action and reaction to sensors and behaviour, that is a simple AI, ARtificial intelligence layer.

These three layers make life complicated!

In principle the technical layer is the most simple, because this is just following blogs everywhere available on the internet.

The design layer….well you have to start with an idea, search the materials for it, sew it….that is hard work, and nobody can explain this creative work, it has to be developed!

The programming layer has the same property: programming is easy, but you need nice ideas for the combination of microcontroller and sensors and a bit of AI, to go together with your design.

So making things like this will never be easy, combining the three layers is a real challenge. But then, what is life without a challenge.

And also in the near future the computers we know nowadays will be replaced by smaller ones, embedded into clothing, chairs, walls, and these computers will accompany us all the time (of course also not using cell phones anymore, also these will be embedded everywhere.)

Having explained this stuff leaves me free to present the results of a fruitful cooperation with by-wire.net, innovative fashion designer in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She advised me with the sewing and did the sewing herself for her own ideas and versions.

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