In a nutshell, Nanode is an open source microcontroller board which has on-board internet connectivity.
It is a low cost building block to allow experimentation with the Internet of Things.
If you are familiar with Arduino, then you will recognise Nanode as the next logical step in the creation of exciting open source hardware projects – ones which can interact with cloud based applications and events in the online environment.
If you are a newcomer to Arduino, may I suggest that you look at this excellent Arduino primer. It will tell you all you need to know about the Arduino project and open source hardware.
Arduino has to be the “poster-child” of the open source hardware community – and as the project has been embraced and expanded to a larger community in recent years, it is a natural development that new ideas arise from the original design.
Arduino is essentially an 8-bit microcontroller which communicates almost exclusively via a simple serial com port connection, normally to a laptop or PC. However it is a relatively simple step to create new communication interfaces for the humble Arduino, and allow it to branch out and become a useful building block in a variety of different applications.
Initially, Nanode provided a simple means of communicating with the internet, using processes such as an online browser, or through an open data api – such as Cosm. Using these simple techniques, Nanode could serve a simple webpage, and allow a user to interact with it’s hardware using a browser interface. Nanode can also be used for sensing environmental data, such as temperature, weather or air-quality – using simple add on sensors. This data could be conveyed up to a cloud based open data service such as Cosm, and then using the tools provided, the data could be visualised, graphed and acted upon.
Nanode is also capable of subscribing to online data sources, again using Cosm, or by monitoring a Twitter feed. Nanode can act upon the changing data or text within these feeds and perform an action. The best known example of this is Nat Morris’s dog feeder, which feeds his dog Toby biscuit snacks in response to a Twitter feed.
Originally Nanode made full use of the spare analogue and digital I/O provided by the ATmega328 microcontroller as used by the Arduino UNO. Some of the digital I/O lines are used by the on board hardware, and are not readily accessible to the user, as they may clash with other functions – such as the SPI bus. Nanode does however provide six 10-bit analogue input lines and six digital I/O lines of which four have pulse width modulation (pwm) available.
Nanode provides the same Arduino shield connectors allowing the system to be expanded by stacking boards on top. When using shields for expansion, you have to be aware that not all shields are fully compatible because of the on-board hardware utilisations mentioned above.
Nanode is produced as a build it yourself kit using conventional through-hole components. This is to encourage people to engage in the rewarding experience of building their own electronic devices and have a go at creating new and fascinating projects. Nanode is fully open source and all of the design documentation may be accessed from this site.
There is fun to be had with homemade technology, where amateurs are discovering the joys of DIY electronics. With increasing support for the “built-it-yourself” culture, like Make magazine, Websites like Instructables and fun weekends spent at Maker Faire, it is so easy to make cool, engaging and personalized gadgets in no time at all.
Enthusiasts no longer have to rely on hacking into existing hardware and re-purposing it, the cost of electronics is becoming increasingly cheaper and ideas increasingly more creative and sophisticated. Nanode and other microprocessors like Arduino are at the heart of a lot of these projects.
So check out any of the links above and once you have chosen your project, stop by the shop and pick up your supplies. Be sure to email us with with your creations and we will do all we can to showcase them for you on our site.