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Session B: DIY Low Power Networks: Creating long range sensor networks using LoRa

Description

The last few years have been an exciting time for the DIY electronics community. There has been an explosion of sensors, actuators, and micro-controllers to tinker with. Additionally, with access to inexpensive hardware like the Photon, Raspberry Pi, and ESP8266, it is easier than ever to embed web-services directly into our projects and this connectivity enables new applications. However, most of these projects connect over WiFi, which is not well suited for low-power/low-bandwidth applications. WiFi usually limits our projects to indoors or tethered to our smartphones. These mobility and power limitations impede projects like distributed citizen science, connected guerrilla art, and remote sensing.

LoRa is an inexpensive low-power/low-bandwidth radio technology that is one great solution to this problem. In urban settings, LoRa radios can often provide low bandwidth connectivity of up to 1-2km and can be reasonably powered with AA batteries.

In this session, I will give a brief overview of low-power wide area networks (LPWAN's) and the technology behind LoRa. There is also a mini workshop component to this session where we will set up infrastructure for an LPWAN to monitor sensors connect through LoRa radios.

Session Objective

  • Introduce LPWANs and LoRa
  • Open discussion about IoT and issues that arise through pervasive connectivity and a path forward
  • Hands-on demo of LoRa radios

Length

50 mins

Materials

  • Laptop (not provided, please bring your own)
  • Adafruit LoRa M0 feather boards (provided, limited number of kits available for sharing during workshop or purchase)
  • Micro-USB cables to communicate with the LoRa boards (provided)
  • Breadboards, wires, basic sensors/actuators (basic LED's, buttons provided, bring your own if you have a project in mind)

Participants are welcome to bring any projects they would like to add LoRa connectivity to.

Registration

15-25

Presenter(s)

  • Name: Udit Vira
  • Email: udit [dot] vira [at] gmail [dot] com
  • GitHub: uditvira

Presenter Bio

Udit Vira is an engineer and maker living in Toronto where he contributes to Steam Link Toronto and the Toronto Mesh project.