Development Kit Adds Cellular Access to Arduino and Pi

September 6, 2013 | 00:58
Development Kit Adds Cellular Access to Arduino and Pi
Development Kit Adds Cellular Access to Arduino and Pi
The open source SparqEE Cellv1.0 development board adds worldwide cellular connectivity to Arduino, Raspberry Pi and other platforms.

SparqEE CEO and engineer Chris Higgens wanted to add cellular access to one of his projects and realized that’s quite a hassle. He and his team ran up against expensive development boards, SIM card providers and coverage validation. So SparqEE decided to make machine-to-machine cell coverage available for everyone.

Higgins and his team developed the small, easy to use Cellv1.0 that can be plugged into an Arduino or Pi shield or connected to any other board. The Cell is equipped with both 2G and 3G technology. SparqEE also offers servers, SIM cards and software to bring worldwide cellular access to DIY projects.

The California-based company is now running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to launch the product [1]. At the time of writing SparqEE is halfway meeting its $70,000 goal.

Both the hardware and software are open source. SparqEE releases the schematics for the board and the code for the device, the server and your smartphone. Optional add-ons like a GPS module and accelerometer are available for an additional price.

The Cellv1.0 needs a SIM card to access cellular networks. You can use the one from your phone while you’re tinkering or get a prepaid one. Alternatively, the company offers it own M2M SparqSIM with worldwide coverage. The different data plans range from 1 to 10 MB for $3.62 and $10.98 a month respectively.

At their Kickstarter page the SparqEE team suggests different projects that could be powered by the Cell. A remote controlled, solar powered drone, a car tracker including a kill switch to remotely turn of your stolen car’s engine and a different versions of early warning systems. But since this product is aimed at the maker community the team counts on it others will come up with better ideas.

[1] Edit: changed 'crowdsource' to 'crowdfunding'. Due to particular wiring of my brain I always mix up the two.
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