Canadian electronics specialist Prosensors has launched a compact, Wi-Fi-connected, multifunction sensor capable, it claims, of running for five years on just two off-the-shelf AAA batteries.
"I designed the BIOT just in case people wanted a device with a hall-sensor activated door alarm, resistive divider water sensor, and temperature sensor (thermistor) that runs on batteries and doesn't need a gateway but can talk directly to the Wi-Fi router over Wi-Fi," Prosensors' Gerry Briggs explains. "Sure, there are other platforms out there by the big guys, but this is good for experimenters."
The BIOT is a two-part design, taking the form of a main body housing the microcontroller and battery pair plus a secondary magnet which serves as the first of its sensors: a door or window open/close sensor. Alongside this is a temperature sensor, a water-leak sensor that doubles as a soil moisture sensor, plus solder points for an absorptive glass mat (AGM) battery voltage sensor for off-grid or vehicle power monitoring — the use of which however, voids the gadget's warranty.
Trials of the BIOT began back in 2017, culminating in a 40-strong cohort tested through the winter of 2018 without a single failure. Late last year, the first of 1,000 units began to enter testing — as did the PacketPeek service, a cloud platform for monitoring the reports from BIOT devices in-the-field which Prosensors says can be replaced with any other server application accepting POST requests.
According to Prosensors' testing, the BIOT's battery life varies depending on workload: Using the leak sensor in a dry environment without it being triggered leads to a five-year lifespan before the two AAA batteries need to be changed; using the hall-effect sensor for door opening and closing detection roughly 10 times a day with a two-hour update cycle drops that to two years; and reporting readings from the temperature sensor every 30 minutes will see the lifespan drop to nine months.
The BIOT sensors are now available from Prosensors' Tindie store for $19 a unit, though a promised smartphone app for ease of setup has not yet been released; more information can be found in the company's associated user guide.