Building Wireless Sensor Networks

by January 24, 2012 12:51 PM

Building Wireless Sensor NetworksI decided to dip my toes in an area where I have no experience: embedded systems development. Basically, I want to create real, physical things that I can point to, hold, hand to a family member, and maybe even sell.

I can't remember exactly why I picked Building Wireless Sensor Networks to get me started on this adventure. I believe I was reading a review of some other book where the individual said something about not particularly getting much out of the book and suggested this one because we'll get the same content plus so much more (working with the radios). I assumed I would get something .NET related so I could stay within my comfort zone, but at some point I pushed Buy and the deed was done.

I'm glad I did, because it has opened up excitement that I haven't felt in a long time. When the book first arrived I devoured it. As soon as I knew the parts I needed, I ordered a slew of components and tools and have since spent hours and hours reading about everything from home automation to hobbyist robotics nuts. All very cool and I couldn't wait to get started.

The Plan

I thought I'd try to document this journey. As anyone who blogs knows, having to write down your thoughts forces clarity like nothing else. Also, I hinted above about creating something I can sell as a product. I want to capture what I learn about that process because the little I've looked into it so far hasn't been very helpful. In fact, I have no freaking idea how I'm going to go from playground to my first sale. Maybe what I figure out will help someone else.

The Book

Building Wireless Sensor Networks is about just that - building networks of "sensors", or devices with sensors connected to them, that communicate with each other wirelessly. The networking part of the equation uses the ZigBee protocol, and the wireless components the author focuses on are XBee radios. The examples that require a microcontroller use the Arduino. In addition to the specific "how to" sections, I personally think the author did an excellent job of explaining just enough theory and the "why" of things to satisfy my curiosity without putting me to sleep with too much information. Even where I needed more, he explained it well enough for me to google intelligently and get all the detail I could possibly want.

What's Next

I'm going to use this post as a table of contents for this journey so I'll keep it updated with links to each related post. The very next step is to configure my first XBee radios (they're in!). Stay tuned...

  1. Configuring My First XBee Radios
  2. ZigBee Simple Sensor Network
  3. ZigBee Simple Sensor Network Part 2 - Never Mind (end of series)

Tags: , , ,