Saturday, July 13, 2024

Smallest Modular IoT Board

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The board allows easy development, repair and reuse of IoT devices and enables users to customise the hardware for different IoT projects


Designed for hobbyists, makers, designers, students and industry professionals, here’s presenting a small modular open-source IoT board called OBJEX Link that is based on ESP32. It is designed to easily develop, repair and reuse IoT devices that are at the end of their life cycle. 

With a small form factor, the OBJEX Link can fit into an IoT button, security camera, motor driver, etc. 

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At the same time, the user can easily customise the hardware for different projects. It is perfect for rapid prototyping, advanced research projects and robotics projects. Applications include smart homes and cities, IIoT, everyday things and wearables, predictive maintenance, and agriculture automation.

The architecture of OBJEX Link is composed of two parts: the mainboard (microcontroller + WiFi and Bluetooth) and modules (sensor, relay, driver, camera, display, etc.) for easy customisation and interfacing with hardware compared to other IoT boards. OBJEX Link v1.0 and v1.5 are based on the ESP32-PICO-D4 microcontroller. To program the board you can use Arduino IDE or other similar solutions. 

NOTE:  OBJEX Link rev1.5 does not support MicroPython.

Example of a device based on OBJEX Link

As seen from the above picture, a device developed with OBJEX Link follows a clear structure that guarantees easy maintenance, recycling, and much more. In this way OBJEX Link takes over the device connection, interacting with the outside world through sensors or mechanical elements according to the application. 

Reasons for using OBJEX Link

For the compactness and increased reliability of your IoT devices, OBJEX Link is the best choice. 

OBJEX Link eliminates the trouble of developing custom hardware from scratch, each time a new technology is introduced. This not only saves costs spent in production but also helps protect the environment by allowing electronic components to be recycled.

Several other solutions such as M5Stack atom, TinyCircuit, Arduino Nicla and NodeMCU are already available in the market. Although similar to OBJEX Link, their architecture is completely different, making them not unfit for hardware recycling and reusing.  

Features and Benefits

  • Microcontroller(ESP32-PICO-D4)
  • Antenna 2.4GHz(WiFi and Bluetooth)
  • Serial bridge(CP210x)
  • Battery manager(MCP73833T)
  • LDO(5V To 3V3 – MAX 1.5A)
  • Slimstack connectors x4
  • ESD Protection(VBUS, D+, and D-)
  • USB-C Type 2.0
  • RGB Led(WS2812-2020)
  • 24.1 mm x 24.1 mm size
  • Availability of OBJEX Flex flexible cables 
  • Availability of ProtoBoard for fast prototyping with OBJEX Flex

As specified earlier, the modular architecture of the board consists of a mainboard and modules. The modules are connected with OBJEX Link through four low-profile SlimStack connectors, which allow for maximum board compactness to assist connection with tiny devices.

More about modules

The ability to attach modules makes OBJEX Link relevant for specific applications involving temperature detection, motor control, etc.( a bit like Arduino shields but smaller and more compact). 

At the same time, the modules allow OBJEX Link to communicate with other devices using different communication protocols (LoRa, Zigbee, Cellular NB-IoT, NFC, Ethernet). 

All modules are open source, so any user can develop theirs. There are currently two module formats to ensure maximum customisation:  M0 (10mm x 20mm size, 2 connectors) and M1 (20mm x 20mm, 4 connectors). 

Impressed? With such amazing benefits, no doubt you shouldn’t be. The possible uses of OBJEX Link are endless. Some examples are IoT-based weather stations and IoT-based simple buttons. 

With the aim to encourage more people to use OBJEX Link for their IoT needs, more modules have been planned for development in the future.


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