Firefly Design LLC

Firefly Ice: An Open Source Wearable / Internet of Things Platform

Firefly Ice: Development Enclosure

Posted by denisbohm on March 22, 2013. 0 Comments

The Firefly Ice development enclosure is a very simple 3D printed enclosure that will be used to protect the PCBA while testing it out in real world scenarios.  This enclosure is easy to take apart for reprogramming the PCBA via the ARM SWD pads.  The custom parts are very inexpensive to produce in small quantities via 3D printing services such as Shapeways.

The renderings below show the Firefly Ice development enclosure along with some of the internal parts.  The PCB is represented by the green shape.  LEDs and Micro USB port are visible in the top view.  The coin cell battery option is visible in the bottom view.

firefly-ice-enclosure-top

firefly-ice-enclosure-bottom 

Firefly Ice: Prototypes

Posted by denisbohm on March 20, 2013. 0 Comments

Printed Circuit Board Assemblies

The first 10 Firefly Ice prototype printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) have been ordered.  All the components have arrived and the printed circuit boards are currently being fabricated.  The complete PCBAs are scheduled to arrive in early April.  The hardware will then be tested for functional correctness and expected power consumption.  If revision is required, another prototype build will be started at the end of April.

Development Enclosure

A very simple 3D printed enclosure will be used to protect the PCBA while developing the device and testing it out in real world scenarios.  This enclosure will be very easy to take apart for reprogramming the PCBA via the ARM SWD pads.  These will be very inexpensive to produce in small quantities via 3D printing services such as Shapeways.

Software

Once the hardware is checked out, the development focus will shift to the firmware, data uploading app, and cloud storage.

Open Source Activity Monitor: Firefly Ice

Posted by Denis Bohm on March 18, 2013. 0 Comments

The Firefly Activity Monitor project is developing an open source activity monitor. The electronics, mechanicals, firmware, uploading, and cloud storage are all open source.

The first design produced, the Firefly Ice, is intended to be a general purpose device that can be used to develop the whole flow through the basic system.  When all the hardware and software is complete for this first design then more variants will be produced.  Two new variants under consideration are a small low cost version and a very thin waterproof version.

The Firefly Ice activity monitor will have the following features:

Electronics

  • ARM Cortex-M3 Processor with 256KB Flash & 32KB RAM
  • Bluetooth Smart Radio
  • Full Speed USB
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • 3-Axis Magnetometer
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Coin Cell or Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Prismatic Battery
  • LED Indicators (2 RGB + 8 Red)
  • 64KB Nonvolatile Storage
  • Real Time Clock
  • Very Low Power Sleep & Active Modes

Firmware

  • Calculates & Stores Activity Metric
  • Commands & Data Transfer Via Bluetooth & USB
  • Encrypted Communication
  • Connection Status Indication
  • Charging Status Indication
  • Diagnostics Log

App

  • Automatically Set Device Time
  • Transfer Activity Metrics to Cloud
  • View Activity Metrics Chart
  • Real Time Display of Accelerometer & Magnetometer Data

Cloud

  • Stores Activity Metrics
  • Push Notifications
  • Authorization
  • View Activity Metrics Chart
  • View Diagnostics Log

Open Source Activity Monitor: Not Everything is Steps

Posted by denisbohm on March 15, 2013. 0 Comments

Adult oriented activity monitors have become quite popular.  Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone Up, FitBit, and many more.  These are great devices and they do track more than just steps.  However, their primary focus is adult oriented exercise.

There are many more applications for activity monitors.

For example:

  • Am I in the right body posture while learning a new a yoga exercise?
  • How synchronized am I with my rowing team?
  • What inclines did I encounter on this new cycling route?
  • How many laps did I swim last week?
  • How smooth are my dancing moves?
  • How active are my tweens while in random play?

And of course activities that aren't about people:

  • How active are my pets when I'm home versus away?
  • Have my cats eaten and gone to the bathroom on their regular schedule?
  • How much wobble is there in my football throw?
  • Has the outside door been left open?  Is it flapping in the wind?
  • Did I leave the garage door open for an extended length of time?
  • Is the laundry in my garage finished?
  • Is a product being used?  What position is it in?  How is it being moved?

Can you use the Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone Up, FitBit, etc, for all of these applications?  The answer is a clear no.  Those devices record very specific information that won't work for these other applications.  None of those devices allow their firmware to be changed for other purposes.  All of those eco-systems have their own methods for transferring data to their cloud, storing the data in their system, and accessing it via their APIs.

The Firefly Activity Monitor project is developing an open source activity monitor. The electronics, mechanicals, firmware, uploading, and cloud storage are all open source.  Nothing is locked behind any vendor's proprietary eco-system.  Pre-built Firefly hardware will be available.  You can change the firmware for your application.  The hardware can be modified to suit your needs.  Add new sensors, change the power system, use a different radio.  Create new form factors: wrist band, band-aid, or a pebble for your pocket.