I decided to post this since we have many hardware tinkerers among us, and this might be of interested to them:
Sheffield, UK, 18 June 2007: Jennic Ltd. has announced a new starter kit for under $200 to address the needs of developers who want to add IEEE802.15.4 and ZigBee wireless connectivity to their product ranges but have little or no RF design or software development experience. It is the first design kit at this price point to offer ZigBee functionality as standard. The starter kit provides three hardware nodes (based on Jennic's JN5139 wireless microcontroller modules) that allow users to evaluate and develop wireless sensor network applications from an easy-to-use, low-cost start point.
The key benefits are that users can easily understand 2.4GHz RF performance, experiment with network topologies, and test applications via a simple API (application programming interface). It can be expanded with additional nodes from Jennic design kits to develop a full mesh network. The starter kit is particularly suited as a development route for modules, either with an embedded application, or as a dongle to an external microcontroller.
A simple serial API can be used, either embedded with an application or via the serial or SPI ports to an external microcontroller. This serial API provides users with wireless data communications and control of the JN5139 chip peripherals.
The starter kit comprises three hardware nodes, and the boards are supplied with a 9 pin RS232 connector for interface to PCs and industrial equipment. A 40 way expansion connector, standard to all Jennic design kits, provides fullaccess to all of the JN5139 IO functions, enabling developers to interface to external sensors and devices during the early development phases. The expansion port provides access to serial, SPI ports and GPIO's for connection to an external microcontroller where the hardware node or module is used as a wireless dongle. A USB cable is included to allow connection to a PC for programming and the boards can be used either with an external power supply or the supplied AAA batteries.
The starter kit is compatible with Jennic range of zero-cost graphical and command line software development tools and Jennic's support website, www.jennic.com/support, provides a large range of application examples.
Jennic's starter kit will be available from distributors at the end of July.
Jennic is a fabless semiconductor company leading the wireless connectivity revolution by providing wireless microcontrollers for a broad range of applications. Its expertise in systems and software combined with world class RF and digital chip design provides low cost, highly integrated wireless microcontrollers with a focus on the IEEE802.15.4 and ZigBee standards. The company's products include state-of-the-art low power wireless microcontrollers, modules, development platforms, protocol and application software. Headquartered in Sheffield, UK, Jennic also has offices in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, East and West coast USA. For more information, visit www.jennic.com.