Bluetooth Smart environmental sensors run for three years off a single coin cell

April 28, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Employing Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 SoCs, 'Motes' developed by Canadian startup Wimoto can measure various physical parameters (typically in combination) including temperature, soil moisture, humidity, ambient light, movement, proximity, water leaks, and temperature (contact and non-contact), which can all be monitored remotely from a Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphone, tablet, or computer

The nRF51822 SoC provide Bluetooth® Smart wireless connectivity between iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, and computers, and Wimoto's 'Mote' environmental sensors.

In operation, Motes are claimed to employ industrial-grade sensor technologies, interface seamlessly with a free Wimoto app over a range of up to 35 meters (around 100-ft), and run for up to three years from a coin cell (CR2450) battery.

Motes are weather-proof and about the size of a stack of five U.S. quarters or 35 x 35 x 15 mm (around 1.4 x 1.4 x 0.6-in) and so according to Wimoto can be placed just about anywhere to measure (including alarm when a user-set threshold is crossed) various combinations of physical parameters.

Products currently available include 'Wimoto Climate' for measuring temperature, humidity, and light levels for environmental monitoring (e.g. humidors, baby's rooms and basements); 'Wimoto Grow' for measuring when plants need watering (outdoor or indoor); 'Wimoto Thermo' for remotely measuring the temperature of an object it's pointed at - such as water (pools), food, or exotic pets - using non-contact IR thermal technology; 'Wimoto Sentry' for detecting external (human or object - e.g. post arriving) movement via non-contact IR movement technology and internal movement via a built-in accelerometer; and a 'Cloud Cube' gateway that provides unattended, autonomous monitoring of Wimoto sensors and real-time alerts via the Internet or cellular network (due for release Q3 this year).

Wimoto claims that its unique selling point is that its sensors incorporate industrial-grade sensor technologies that wouldn't usually be employed in consumer-targeted products. Examples include a MEMS-technology automotive-grade climate control sensor typically employed in higher-end in-car climate control systems, and a light sensor capable of measuring sub-1 lux all the way up to 65,000 lux.

The company was able to achieve this financially as a startup by using crowdfunding to attract a large and supportive customer based that quickly reached a critical "commercially-viable mass" and told the company what two or three