10. Applications and implications

Amsterdam, April 1, 2020

To do

Give a complete overview of your final assignment.
0. context of the project.
1. Aim of the project.
2. Describe what your project does.
3. Research what others have done.
4. Describe what you are going to do.
5. Break up your final project in steps and consider:
- Spiral development. What is the first iteration of your project, what the second, etc.
- What part of the project will be done in which week.
- Develop parallel, not linearly.
- How will you work on the final assignments in the weeks of the second half of FabAcademy.
6. Go over each of the final project requirements and describe how you incorporate them.

Final assignment description

Propose a final project masterpiece that integrates the range of units covered answering:
1. What will it do?
2. Who’s done what beforehand?
3. What will you design?
4. What materials and components will be used?
- Where will they come from?
- How much will they cost?
5. What parts and systems will be made?
6. What processes will be used?
7. What questions need to be answered?
8. How will it be evaluated?

Minimal requirements:
- Your project should incorporate 2D and 3D design,
- additive and subtractive fabrication processes,
- electronics design and production,
- embedded microcontroller interfacing and programming,
- system integration and packaging
- Where possible, you should make rather than buy the parts of your project.


Description link
Index of this week’s topic http://academy.cba.mit.edu/classes/applications_implications/index.html
Global lecture video https://vimeo.com/403070998
Global review video https://vimeo.com/408128717
FabLab inventory list https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1U-jcBWOJEjBT5A0N84IUubtcHKMEMtndQPLCkZCkVsU/edit#gid=0

0. Context of the project:

The aim of this project is to make devices capable of forming a DIY autonomous internet.

The internet, or interconnected networks, is a marvelous invention. Instant communication and data exchange has increased humanity’s capability to collaborate, swap ideas and build on one another’s work. But despite the heavy reliance on communication networking, most people do not know how to build and operate a communication network. For most people, the global internet ‘just works’. As such they are entirely dependent on companies and institutions and the hardware infrastructure they provide for their digital communication.

There are many conceivable situations wherein access to an open, uncensored internet is restricted or not possible at all:
- remote communities can be underserved because it is not profitable for Internet Service Providers to invest in the necessary infrastructure.
- Politically motivated partial or total internet shutdowns like the partial shutdown by the Spanish central government during the Catalonian referendum on independence.
- An internet controlled by large corporations and governments to surveil and control citizens. Captured by the term Surveillance Capitalism, internet usage comes at the price of loss of privacy, autonomy and self-determination.

Hardware scarcity can also be a cause for lack of access.
- The S-network in Cuba, for instance, is completely build on clandestine hardware because importing communication hardware is against the law.
- ICT hardware depends heavily on global supply chains. This project takes into account the possibility of lack of access to those. This is already the case in certain regions on the planet. For political reasons such as the Cuba example, or because of lack of monetary resources.
- Hardware scarcity will affect far more places in the world if the global supply chains collapse. The coronavirus crisis makes clear that dependence on only a few places of manufacturing is a proposition that makes everyone vulnerable. This has become a reality during the coronacrises. The electronics industry was severely hit by the disruption of the global supply chains.

On the use of the term ‘post-collapse’
I use the short-hand ‘post-collapse’ to refer to the situation in which a DIY autonomous network will be of use. This term is not to be understood as a term that refers to a singular event or possible future in which the global economy has collapsed. As William Gibson has pointed out in the quote at the top of the page, many ‘futuristic’ realities currently exist in parallel.

1. Aim of the project

This project assumes that access to the worldwide communication network we call the internet is not possible. Either because access is denied or because off-the-shelf communication devices are not available due to hardware scarcity.

The aim of the project is to be able to build a community network that can operate autonomously.

That means:
1. Be able to build networking hardware devices with as simple building blocks as possible.
2. Be able to understand how communication networks work and able to operate them.

Requirements based on the assumption above:

Autonomous network
- It does not rely on third parties for providing the backbone infrastructure.
- It does not rely on a central authority that grants of refuses access to the network. It will be a distributed network.

Hardware scarcity
- Using the most simple building blocks as possible.

Technical requirements:
- The network must enable its users to store, retrieve and share data.
- It must allow for a-synchronous communication.
- It must allow for many-to-many communication.
- It must be able to run or interoperate with the TCP/IP protocol suite.
- It must be wireless so as not to be dependent on a wired infrastructure. (In case you are not allowed to run cables where ever you please, such as in my country where you will need a permit for that.) - It must be able to reach a long range.

- An easy-to-use manual must be provided on how to build the device and operate the network.

Stretch goal requirements:
- Generating its own power with solar panels to have it capable of operating without an external source like the power grid. This increases autonomy.
- Capable of synchronous communication.
- The device must enable it’s users to manipulate data. Manipulating data on-device makes the device much more complex. Without it you only need a way to get the data on the device with for instance a SD card or serial communication to your laptop. The addion of on-board data manipulation must therefore be realized in the form of an optional module.

2. Describe what your project does

a. Design low-cost, easy-to-make networking devices for post-collapse situations

Build networking devices that enables people to transmit and receive light weight data files.

- range: at least a couple of kilometers, otherwise you might as well deliver a USB stick by hand.
- capabilities: primary use is exchange of text-based communication. Therefore data transfer capability does not have to be large files. Speed is also not an issue. The internet in the ‘80’s could take a day to deliver your message, it only makes you think better about what you want to communicate.
- Handle TCP/IP protocols in order to connect to any internet device.
- Mesh networking.
- Function on a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is not restricted.
- A means to load messages for transmtting. (SD card reader, serial interfacing, etc.)
- Using as simple building blocks as possible, in case unlimited access to the global supply chain ceases.
- stretch goal: have it run on its own power: solar panels, mechanically produced electricity by muscle power.

The purpose is to make a device that can easily be made because:
- It has been stripped of complexity and therefore more easy to understand.
- It comes with a easy to read manual that lets you reproduce the device.
- Makes use of simple building blocks that can either be made yourself or scavenged.

Out of scope:
The focus of this project is more to make as simple a device as possible in terms of building blocks than it is to make a versatile device. The context is a post-collapse situation in which you are just happy to have any networking device. The aim is to make it easy to make from components that are readily available. Functionalities like large file transfer, high speed delivery or even ease of use are outside the scope of this project.

b. A comprehensive manual disguised as a science fiction story

A comprehensive guide will be provided explaining how to build the device and how to operate the network.
Many people have the prejudice about themselves that they ‘can’t understand how technology works’ and are reluctant to try it out. Therefore this manual will be hidden inside a science fiction story. When you finish reading the story, you have read about all you have to know to build the device and operate the network.
The story will be digitally available of course. But it will also be published on paper I made myself during wildcard week.

3. Research what others have done

Serval Mesh project

The [Serval project] develops mesh network capabilities. I love this project and have been following it for years. Their primary use case is a back up communication network in case of emergencies. When natural disaster or political unrest cause the primary networks to fail. Serval is primarily a software project. They provide applications to add mesh networking capabilities to smartphones. It enables people to continue to communicate when the primary cellular networks are down. They implement this on the 2.4 MHz band. On the hardware site they have build mesh extenders.

Relevance to my project:
My primary focus is to build a hardware device while Serval focuses on software. Therefore it is more an inspiration than that I can integrate parts in my own project. I may have a look at their software but because they are building for smart phones the code is likely to be too heavy for the simple device I intend to build.


A more recent project is Meshtastic. This is an open project of enthusiasts building low cost GPS radio’s. It’s use case is groups of people that go skiing or hiking: ‘Each member of your private mesh can always see the location and distance of all other members and any text messages sent to your group chat.’ They’re currently working with off-the-shelf radio’s. I cam across them as they asked for advise on hackernews hackernews on what to look for in a radio module.

The founder of Serval Mesh gave them the advise: ‘Howdy, as the founder of the Serval Mesh adhoc networking protocols and hardware, what I would look for in a new radio is: 1. True packet radio mode, that doesn’t hide the radioness of the link etc, but lets the programmer use it’s strengths. 2. UART link, ideally using 3DR/RFD900 compatible connector (then we can include it directly in our existing systems, and so can others). 3. Field-flashable, but with robust protections on the boot loader, as it is not uncommon for a radio to be on the boot serial interface, on hardware that has only one serial port. 4. Support 434, 868 and 905-935MHz ISM bands. 5. Use advanced interference tolerant wave-forms, like Chirped Spread Spectrum or even something better. 6. Fully open chipset/firmware design, so that it can be truted. Anyway, poke me at @.*** if you would like to talk further about it. Paul.’

Solar powered website

Low Tech Magazine is experimenting with a solar powered website. By formulating a different goal for their website, low-energy rather than, say, slick design, they’ve also ended up with different requirements than are commonly held. Most website operators strive for 100% uptime. LTM accepted that the site may be down for a couple of hours at night in winter time.
People discussed the LTM project on Hackernews. One interesting thread was about hosting the website on servers on opposite sides of the globe. This way it’s always day time for one of the servers and you don’t need batteries anymore. Other’s commented that you can’t hook up a server directly to solar panel because it’s energy output fluctuates. solar website.

Pedro Garretón Izquierdo also did a mesh networking project very similar to mine. What he has done looks really nice. We are asked not the make the same projects as people before us but rather to build on them. But in this case that does not work so well. Pedro uses routers to establish a mesh, whereas I hope to establish the mesh in the nodes themselves.


FabFi ‘is an open-source, FabLab-grown system using common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles.It aims to build community networks using off-the-shelf electronics and transmit wireless ethernet.’ This is a very impressive project. They are implementing their networks in the real world. However, technically this project is way over my head and I could not possibly ‘build upon it’.

Technologies I looked into

Links from Harm with an diagram of wireless technologies
Link from Harm to powerpoint about wireless tcehnologies


I looked into LoRaWan briefly because it is low power and long distance. But discussing it in class I learned LoRa isn’t a good option for a send and receive scenario.

LPWAN stands for Low-Power Wide Area Network

LPWAN is a collective name for multiple technologies of which LoRaWan is one. There are a bunch of proprietary technologies that I won’t use. Besides LoRaWan there is also Weightless

LPWAN Benefits: all info below is from postscapes.

  • Generally uses unlicensed spectrum (868 MHz in Europe and 915 MHz in US for example)
  • Range: From a few kilometers in dense urban areas up to 15-30 kilometers in rural areas
  • Power: 10+ years of battery life (The device’s power produced cannot exceed 10-25 mW, to comply with usage of ISM frequencies, and to limit data consumption and preserve battery life.)
  • Radio Chipset cost: $2 or less
  • Radio Subscription cost: $1 per device/ year

Additional Highlights

  • LPWA most suited for on/off type applications with only a few messages per hour.
  • 5-10x fewer base stations required than 3G/4G
  • LPWAN capabilities will eventually be integrated into 5G service base stations

LoRa chips transmit in the sub-gigahertz spectrum (109MHz, 433MHz, 866MHz, 915MHz), which is an unlicensed band that has less interference than others (like the 2.4 GHz range used by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other protocols). At those frequencies, signals penetrate obstacles and travel long distances while drawing relatively little power – ideal for many IoT devices, which are often constrained by battery life. Within the sub-GHz spectrum, LoRa chips use a spread-spectrum strategy to transmit at a variety of frequencies and data rates. That allows the gateway to adapt to changing conditions and optimize the way it exchanges data with each device.

Semtech produces transceiver chips for devices to be connected (nodes), and gateways to connect them. A single gateway can communicate with several hudred thousand nodes up to 20 miles away in unobstructed environments, and even in a city can penetrate buildings to achieve a range of several miles. End-nodes can remain operational for a supposed 10 years running on two AAA batteries (drawing 10mA for the receiver, under 200nA in sleep mode).

433MHz radio

At first looked into 433 MHz. It has a long range of about a kilometer. It is on an unrestricted ISM bandwidth. It is well documented. on Stackexchange I read about the FSK digital transceiver instead, e.g. Sparkfun RF69HCW modules, or Nordic NRF24L01 modules. I looked into the Nordic receivers and they looked very capable. But in the end I decided to go with WiFi.


I dimissed WiFi earlier because it does not have a long range and the clogged 2.4 MHz spectrum. But I came to realize that to get range the best way is to use a mesh network. To get long range you need powerfullradio’s, and/or base stations. Considering the use case: a communication network in a low resource environment, networks that need base stations are less autonomous because someone may claim ownership of or demolish the base station. I want a peer-to-peer mesh network in which all nodes are equal. You can extend the range of the network by adding more nodes.
Another advantage of WiFi is that it’s a ubiquitous technology. This means many devices suporting WiFi are already available. This means a low barrier to entry to the community network.
I am going for WiFi because I think I have a better change at succeeding with WiFi. I appears to be much more often used and therefore is likely to be better documented. WiFi modules themselves are better documented. And there is also more information about making mesh networks with WiFi. The Nordic 433MHz module did have technical information about making mesh networks provided by the manufacturer. But that is one source. On WiFi mesh networks there is a lot to find. From simple Arduino projects to collaborative open source projects on making libraries and so on.

WiFi Modules
I watched Neil’s lecture on networking from 2019. He uses the ESP8266 and the ESP32 WiFi module, so I am going to use one of these two.
The ESP8266 has WiFi only. It uses less electricity than the ESP32. Its processor is less powerfull so you need to add extra processing power.
The ESP32 uses more power, also has bluetooth and has a more powerfull processor.

Mesh networks

Of all the network typologies I like peer-to-peer mesh networks the best. They have no hierarchy, all nodes are equal. It is perfectly suited for an autonomous community network.

I started doing some research on mesh networks. Some basic information on HowsSuffWorks lists some nice advantages of mesh networks:
- The more nodes you install, the bigger and faster your wireless network becomes.
- Mesh networks are “self configuring;” the network automatically incorporates a new node into the existing structure without needing any adjustments by a network administrator.
- Mesh networks are “self healing,” since the network automatically finds the fastest and most reliable paths to send data, even if nodes are blocked or lose their signal.
- Wireless mesh configurations allow local networks to run faster, because local packets don’t have to travel back to a central server.

Here is an Instructables on how to build a simple arduino wireless mesh

There are a number of libraries to turn WiFi modules into mesh networks:
Overview of Arduino /ESP8266 / ESP32 mesh networking libraries.
Painless mesh ‘is a library that takes care of the particulars of creating a simple mesh network using esp8266 and esp32 hardware.’
Easy mesh ‘is a library that takes care of the particulars for creating a simple mesh network using Arduino and esp8266.’
ESP8266 WiFi MeshA library for turning your ESP8266 into a mesh network node.
Espressif (the ESP manufacturer) ESP-WIFi-Mesh Development Framework.
Espressifintro to ESP32 mesh that came from this forum where there are more usefull links.

Epressif documentation on mesh. Some specifications:
- 10Mbps data transfer rate.
- up to 200 m ranger per hop.
- Up to a 1000 nodes.

Routing tables of the ESP 32 ‘Each node within an ESP-MESH network will maintain its individual routing table used to correctly route ESP-MESH packets (see ESP-MESH Packet) to the correct destination node. The routing table of a particular node will consist of the MAC addresses of all nodes within the particular node’s subnetwork (including the MAC address of the particular node itself). Each routing table is internally partitioned into multiple subtables with each subtable corresponding to the subnetwork of each child node.’

2019 lecture on networking and communication

As part of the research I watched Neil’s lecture on networking from 2019.

Take aways:
- I focused on the 433 MHz radio’s but they can’t do TCP/IP. So I am going for mesh networking with WiFi.
- I have to consider whether to use ESP32 or ESP8266.
- Software defined radio looks very interesting. Perhaps something for spiral development.

433 MHz sensors.
ISM radio’s: if you do not want to talk to a phone or a desktop but just want to pass a message. nRF24L01: 2.4 MHz band. Cheap, low power easy to implement. Talk to each other.
NRF905: lower frequency ISM band 433/486/915MHz. Longer range, less fuzzy about alignment. Up to 1 km in range. LoRa: range up to multiple kilometers. But no tcp/ip.

Wired: Ethernet: use a module because implementation is very fuzzy. The module has a ethernet chip. You read web pages but you can also make it a webpage.
Wifi: high power usage, up to milli Amps.
Wifi: esp8266 and esp32.
ESP8266 underpowered processors, you can’t run much code on its processor. So best is to use it as a WiFi module and send messages through and from it.
ESP32; more powerful processor and bluetooth in the package. Comes as a module or a borad with the module. Very power hungry, up to 1 Amp. You do not use it as a peripheral but can be used as a stand-alone device. It is a powerful processor with mulitple radio’s build into it. It has its own OS even.
NodeMCU: firmware for ESP32 and ESP8266 WiFi
Softwareradio: processors are getting so fast, radio can be implemented via software. You implement the whole radio stack in software not hardware. Gnu Softwareradio project

LiFi: using light to transmit data.
Acoustic: use sound to send data.
ISM bands: anybody can do anthing

SD card implementation
This is a project of Neil of an SD-card, discussed at the 22 minute mark: hello.uSD.44.jpg. I can use this for the memory on the board.
He also talks about modulation. Rather than making one complicated board with many functions, you can als make tiny boards which each serve a function and network them together. Hardware USB can also be used as a storage device: 28 minute mark.
V-USB implements USB in software. This implements USB1.

OSI layers
7. Application: the application uses it (HTTP)
6. Presentation: how you present it to an application (SSL)
5. Session: how you open a connection (RPC)
4. Transport controls sending and receiving, how you start and stop (TP, UDP)
3. Network: how you direct messages, to give them an address (IP)
2. Mac is how you take turns using it (MAC)
1. Physical medium (PHY)

Modulation: 40 minute mark Wireshark for debugging your network

Outcome of the research

Wireless protocol: WiFi
WiFi module: ESP8266 or ESP32
Topology: mesh network
Libraries for mesh networking: yet to decide

4. Describe what you are going to do.

Build a WiFi mesh network using either ESP8266 modules or ESP32 modules. I will build on the work of others in that there is very much documentation on building mesh networks with these modules. There are also many libraries build by others that I can use.
I will build out the project modularly. I will add capabilities to the devices by making modules that can be connected to the primary module. A monitor module to read the data of the device itself. Add an SD card module to store and retrieve data. Add a powersource. Add a module for data manipulation (keyboard). The modules are part of spiral development, I suspect I will not be able to make them all within the available time.
I will make three types of casings for the device. A molded/casted one, a lasercutter one from wood and one made from carton that can be made by hand using a sharp knive.
I will provide a comprehensive manual on how to make the device.
I will add a scifi story to make the manual easier to digest.
I will make a handmade booklet for the manual. It will also be made available in digital format of course.

5. Break up your final project in steps

Spiral development.

I will make a modular design. Each new iteration is a stand alone module. This will keep the design of each module simple and easier to make. The modules will need a bus connection to talk to each other.

Next to spiral development also remember: develop in parallel, not linearly.

1th iteration
A board with microcontroller and wifi module. Use FTDI to load data from computer to device. Have an interface to operate the device from the computer.

2nd iteration
Make two more identical devices to have a 3-node autonomous network. This is necessary to test if the mesh networking works.

3d iteration
Add monitor module to read the data.

4th iteration
Add SD card module

5th iteration
Add batteries for stand alone operation.

6th iteration
Add solar power collector

7th iteration
Add module for data manipulation (keyboard).

Simplifying iterations

The goal is to make as simple a board as possible with the most simplistic building blocks as possible and relying on specialist machinery as least as possible.

Iteration 1
Make the electronics board from soldered wires instead of milling the bord.

Iteration 2
Provide the design for the casing for hand-cutting from carton. (Instead of laser cutter design files.)

Iteration 3
Find alternatives for each component. In case people rely on scavenging components.
Alternatives for the WiFi module: for instance software defined radio; the CYW43438 module that is harder to implement (FAT) but is less energy hungry.
Alternatives for the microcontroller: designs for the device with different microcontrollers.

Iteration 4
Break down the wifi module to more simple components.

Iteration 5
Break down the microcontroller to simpeler components.

Network enhancement iterations
Research other technologies that can enhance the network’s capabilities. For instance a node with a radio techology that transmits over longer range.

What part of the project will be done in which week.

Week topic final project
10 applications and implications Decide which mesh networking protocol to use
11 output devices monitor
12 networking and communications Wifi module
13 interface and application programming Make user interface for operating the device.
14 invention, intellectual property and income develop a plan for dissemination of your final project: manual + sf story.
15 molding and casting Make a casing for the device
16 wildcard week make your own paper / cover = booklet (wooden or carton covers; sow the pages together, cover in leather/linnen)
17 mechanical design, machine design group project
18 project development finalize final assignment

How will you work on the final assignment in the weeks of the second half of FabAcademy.

Research which mesh networking protocol I am going to use (week 10) Design & build a board that has a working WiFi module. Make three of them. (week 12)
Get a mesh networking protocol working (week13) Design & build a board that has a working monitor. (week 11)
Learn how to and then make a bus connection between the board so they can interact. (week 11)
Make an interface to operate the networking device. (week 13)
Make a casing: one molding and casting casing. But in this week also make the laser cutted wooden casing and the carton casing (week15)
Make a comprehensive manual on how to make the device. Write a sciFi story to hide the manual in. Work on video scenario for final presentation. (week 14)
Create my own paper to print the manual (from bamboo for instance) on and create my own cover for the book. (week 16)
Make a board with an SD card reader and connect it to the other modules. (week18)

6. Go over each of the final project requirements and describe how you incorporate them.

Minimal requirements:
- Your project should incorporate 2D and 3D design,
- additive and subtractive fabrication processes,
- electronics design and production,
- embedded microcontroller interfacing and programming,
- system integration and packaging
- Where possible, you should make rather than buy the parts of your project.

2D and 3D design

The casing of the device will be made with 2D and 3D processes. The 3D casing will be done with molding/casting. 2D design will be done with the lasercutter. Because this project assumes resource scarcity, there will also be a casing made from carton that can be made with just a knife.

additive and subtractive fabrication processes

Additive: molding and casting
substractive: lasercutting

electronics design and production

I will design a board for the networking device, mill it and solder it. For the extra modules I intend to make, these processes will also be used.

embedded microcontroller interfacing and programming

The networking device will be brought to live with embedded programming. Same goes for the additional modules.
I will make an interface for operating the device.

system integration and packaging

I will make three types of casing for the primary module. Stretch goal is to make casings that can hold the other modules as well.
The different modules must work together.

Where possible, you should make rather than buy the parts of your project

The board will be designed by me but the components including the WiFi module and the microcontroller will be bought. It is a stretch goal to see if those can be replaced by simpeler components, or scavenged components. But I have no illusion that I will accomplish that within the given timeframe.

Proposal final project

Propose a final project masterpiece that integrates the range of units covered answering:

1. What will it do?

Provide the design for devices with which an autonomous community network can be formed. The aim is using the most simple of building blocks so it can be made easily in case of scarcity.

2. Who’s done what beforehand?

There are many people and groups looking into autonomous networking. Serval project has been working on it for years. Their use case is networking in disaster stricken areas. But they build on existing hardware like smart phones. So they are an inspiration but I can’t really build on their work for this final project.
Meshtastic is a newer project for autonomous networking for use cases like hiking. They use off-the-shelf radio’s.
Solar powered website is interesting because they experiment with reducing power for web hosting. But this is not immediately relevant for my project. That would be a later state when you start adding web to the network.
Fabacademy student Pedro from 2016 made a mesh network. But he used off-the-shelf routers and I want to add the mesh networking capabilities to the device itself.
Closest to my project is the FabFi project. It is an amazing project: they use which ever electronics are available to make city community networks. They have achieved long range up to several miles. Most importantly, they are implementing this in the real world in several places. However, the FabFi project is so mature that I can’t build upon it.

3. What will you design?

An autonomous community network using simple building blocks so it can be made easily in case of scarcity. I will design a networking device using WiFi protocol and a mesh topology. The first iteration will use a serial interface to add and retrieve data from the device. It will have a monitor so the data can be read of the device. It will have a user interface to operate the device.
Three types of casings will be made, going from a resource intensive molded case, a slightly simpeler lasercutted case and a low resource carton casing that can be made using just a knife.
I will write a comprehensive manual so people without technical experience can make the device. I will put the maual in the form of a scifi story to take away technology-anxiety.
In spiral development I aim to make modules that add extra capabilities to the device: SD card module, add power source, add solar panel, add keyboard module for on-device data manipulation.

4. What materials and components will be used?

  1. Copper clad board - for the milling the electronics board.
  2. Soldering wire.
  3. Microcontrollers (either the ESP32 chip or the ESP8266 chip).
  4. Wifi modules: (either ESP8266 module or the ESP32 module).
  5. Monitor: LCD display module 6.6 cm 16 x 4 pix
  6. Other electronics ‘help’ components:
  7. resistors 10k
  8. capacitors 1uF and 10uF
  9. FTDI pin header
  10. button/ switch
  11. USB cable for connecting device to computer.
  12. wood for the casing.
  13. carton for the casing.
  14. casting/molding materials for the casing.
  15. Bamboe or old news papers for the DIY made paper.
  16. Carton for the cover of the booklet.
  17. Leather or textile for the cover of the book.

Table source & cost

material/component where from price
Copper board Farnell approx. €10,- per 5 pcs = €2
Soldering wire Stannol 0.5 mm, 100 g Conrad €16,99
Microcontroller Farnell € 1,80
Esspresif ESP32-wroom 32D Conrad € 4,57
LCD monitor Conrad €8,20
resistor 10k Farnell € 0, 21
Capcitor 1uF Farnel € 0,03
Capacitor 10uF Farnel € 0,03
FTDI pinheader Farnell € 0,28
Total € 34,12

SD card module

material/component where from price
ATtiny 44 Farnell € 0,65
SD card module conrad € 1,50
SD card conrad € 13,00
Total € 15,15

Energy module

material/component where from price
Polychristaline solar panel 0.5 V Conrad € 2,98
rechargable batteries 4 pieces Conrad €12,00
Battery holder Conrad € 1,00
Total € 15,98


material/component where from price
carton carton box from the street € 0
Bamboo for paper making from my garden € 0
Leather or textile recycling existing leather/textiles € 0
Total € 0

5. What parts and systems will be made?

  • Wifi module with LCD monitor
  • On-device mesh networking capabilities
  • SD card module
  • Energy module
  • Three types of casing: molding/casting, lasercutting, hand made
  • DIY paper
  • DIY book binding

  • What processes will be used?

  • Electronics design: KiCad

  • Board traces file: Gimp
  • Soldering to populate the board
  • 2D/3D design: FreeCad
  • Milling of the electronics board
  • Lasercutting for casing & for making the booklet cover from carton
  • Manual knife wielding for casing
  • CNC machine for molding/casting of casing
  • Sowing for bookbinding
  • Boiling to make paper from bamboo
  • Writing of manual and scifi story

  • What questions need to be answered?
    What is the best library for mesh networking with ESP modules?
    Which ESP module is better for my purposes ESP8266 or ESP32?
    Does the ESP come with a microcontroller or do you need to buy that separately. If so, which one?

Two questions were answered at the local review:
ESP 8266 or ESP32
Henk and Harm advised the ESP8266 because it is much better documented. Furthermore I don’t need Bluetooth and the energy consumption is lower. In the regional review Luc said the opposite: use the ESP32 because it has more computing power and memory. I will try to get this to work with the ESP8266, as I go for the simplest possible solution. If I run into barriers I can always switch to the ESP32.

The ESP8266 is the WiFi module and it needs a dedicated microcontroller: an ESPxx. The microcontrollers range from ESP1 to ESP12 and even ESP32. Accroding to Henk the ESP1 will suffice for my purposes. I will do some more research on this.

  1. How will it be evaluated?
    Do the devices form a mesh network?
    Can data be sent and received?
    Does the user interface work?
    Does the monitor module work?
    Does the SD card module work? Do the separate modules of the device work together?

Global review

The Fab event in Montreal will be postponed to 2021.

But there will be an online event. July 27th - August, 2020.
Conferences will be about:
- Corona response
- restarting economies
- Helping your communities
- Not wasting a good crisis

Graduation is TBA. Perhaps you can make the fall and then there can be a graduation ceremony in Barcelona. Somewhere in October

Global lecture

Mid term assignment: there is no new assignment but instead an overview over what you can do with what you learn. And comments on the final assignment.

Propose a final project

How will it be evaluated: how will you tell if the project succeeded or failed.
What questions need to be answered: name for yourself what questions are still open.
You do not need to use everything from all the classes. But you need to do at least the requirements mentioned under the final assignment.

Make your bill of materials so they can be ordered, since supply chains are slower now.

This assignment must be done for April 15, 2020.
Also check your previous documentation.
Catch up on unfinished assignments.