Private Communication Device – A LoRa® Navigation System based on Seeed Wio-e5 and Fusion PCBA
Have you ever slipped off your group while hiking, climbing, kayaking, or mountain biking in a remote place? Do you want to rejoin your people after splitting but don’t know their location? How about having a navigation system that allows you to share your location with the group and guide you toward your people? Or view the location of your group members on your device and stay connected?
Everyone knows how interconnected people are with each other in 21st century, as well as the pervasiveness of the internet. But still, there are few remote places where the internet or cellular signals are absent. Therefore, personal RF links is required to maintain the communication link with each other even at these places. Also, strictly-private communication between people is considered impossible without the help of a network server or a third-party device/system, making Information security and communication privacy hard to achieve in the current days.
Now, with the help of the Seeed Fusion PCBA service, Addepalli Dolendra Vikas has designed a LoRa® communicator prototype called “directMessage” to tackle these problems. Click here to view the project page!
The Appearance of directMessage
What is “directMessage”?
DirecMessage is a communicator for exchanging peer location through a private channel by using LoRa® technology in a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) configuration. By integrating with the Wio-E5 wireless module from Seeed Studio, It communicates with the other same device over a secure 865MHz (EU868/US915/AU915/KR920/IN865) channel. This will also help to establish the link between the devices without dependency on the other systems(like a gateway). The device is equipped with GPS to get the device’s location, and a magnetometer to direct the user to the desired location.
Similar to a two-way pager, the directMessage has various advanced features, such as live navigation and sharing of location, altitude, and attitude.
Let’s take a look at the key components of the communicator to see how it actually works.
The directMessage is equipped with the Wio-E5 Wireless Module for Long Range Application as the MCU. It contains ST system-level package chip STM32WLE5JC, and this STM32WL module is the first SoC integrated with the combo of Long Range RF and MCU chip, providing high performance and low power consumption in a tiny package. LoRa® P2P feature can be used to establish LoRa® chatting. Sixteen buttons were used by multiplexing 4 GPIOs onto the other 4 GPIOs.
Wio-E5 Inside the Board
Location sharing is an essential part of communication to run smoothly. The POT GPS module (Quectel L80) is used to acquire the user’s location. It has significantly less power consumption (in the order of 20mA) during acquisition and tracking and a reacquisition time of less than 1sec, which makes directMessage acquire the user action very quickly.
Sensors are used in measuring certain parameters of the device carrier: altitude, orientation, and direction of the device. A pressure sensor (BME280) is used as an altimeter. The same sensorcan be used to measure the Humidity.
A 9DOF IMU (MPU280) measures the device’s orientation, acceleration, and direction (concerning the earth’s north and south pole). Users can view the roll, pitch, and yaw of the ‘directMessage’over the display, which is a 1.8″ LCD (ST7735) that communicates with the Wio-E5 MCU over the SPI communication protocol.
Components of the directMessage
Please note that, this is currently the first version of the directMessage, and the upcoming updates will be successively provided in this article. Stay tuned!
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Note: The LoRa® Mark is a trademark of Semtech Corporation or its subsidiaries.