JeeLab’s Jean-Claude Wippler has been “rethinking the Arduino interface” since 2008, when he first attached an ISM band radio to a Modern Device Real Bare Bones Board. Three and a half years later he has built quite a library of sensors and breakout “plugs” for the JeeLabs Platform. The heart of the platform is the JeeNode (see below), which adds an inexpensive radio to an RBBB-style development board.
All of the pins of the Atmega328 are reorganized into four ports that have the same pinout: IRQ, Analog In, Regulated Power, GND, Digital In, Power In.
Sensor plugs can be small and all have the same interface; most communicate with the microcontroller using I2C (a common on-board option in a lot of sensor ICs). A set of Arduino libraries provides a consistent interface to the sensor plugs and the wireless module.
Jean Claude’s blog is worth setting aside some time to dig into. The latest posts are about analyzing supercap discharge rates, but some of the previous 1000 odd posts include an Oscilloscope buyer’s guide, the design process behind the various products, and lots of analysis of power usage of Atmega-based microcontroller projects.
JeeLabs will be represented at the 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire by his Stateside collaborator Modern Device.