Kickstarter project offers positioning on Arduino

May 27, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
A group of young engineers in Ghent, Belgium, that go by the name Posyx, has developed an Arduino-compatible prototype printed circuit board that can provide motion information and position information that is accurate to within 10 centimeters.

The group has said it will try to fund the initial volume production of the PCBs by a Kickstarter campaign starting in May 2015.

The board is based on the DWM1000 ultrawideband (UWB) 'ScenSor' module for real-time location from Decawave Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland) and the MPU9250 9-axis tracking device from InvenSense Inc. (San Jose, Calif.). There is also an MPL3115A2 pressure sensor from Freescale that can be used for barometric pressure and altitude measurement. The pressure sensor can also act as temperature sensor accurate to about one 1 degree C.

Pozyx does not provide dimensions for the board but it appears to be about 5cm by 6cm.

Nonetheless the company is advocating the purchase of five of the boards -- to use four as "anchors" and the fifth as a tag for a mobile object. The anchor boards are put in known positions and it is by communicating with these that the fifth board can determine its position using a time-of-flight system based on the UWB signals

A typical application for the board would be to aid a robot or drone vehicle navigate. The UWB communications are used not only for localization but also to send messages, which could be sensor measurements or remote control information for the robot.

However, to move the group from the prototype to the production stage, will require pledges of money because it is planning to fund the manufacturing of boards through a kickstarter crowdfunding initiative. So at present it is not certain if the boards will make it into production.

The group is aiming for volume production in June and July 2015 with testing and first shipments starting in August.

Samuel Van de Velde, a member of the Pozyx team, said he thought the full system – four beacons and a shield – costs about $450. This was in answer to a question on StackExchange.

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