Teardown of the BIKN Smart Case for iPhone

Computers & Mobile
Teardown of the BIKN Smart Case for iPhone

Alasdair Allan, author of (among other things) iOS Sensor Apps with Arduino (aka the book about the Redpark Breakout Pack for Arduino and iOS), has torn apart an interesting device:

A couple of days ago I received a BiKN for iPhone case and tags, with just over a week between ordering and it arriving on my desk, considering the big body of water in the way, I was pretty impressed by the rapid delivery.

BiKN is advertised as a smart case that allows you to “Find your stuff”. Effectively it’s a wireless based sensor network which makes use of tags and uses your iPhone as the hub of the network.

Plugging my iPhone into the case the standard iOS prompt to download the app associated with the accessory from the App Store popped up. Clicking on it took be directly to the BiKN app as you’d expect. It all worked as advertised.

However there is very little information about how the system works on the BiKN site, so I took one of my tags apart to find out. I was curious about whether they were using an 802.15.4 mesh network, active RFID, or something else. It turned out my hunch was correct and BiKN are using a 802.15.4 network between the tags and the phone case. For those of you in the Maker world, that’s the same underlying protocol as the Digi XBee chips use. However BiKN us using a Jennic chipset instead of the, almost ubiquitous, Digi one.

The Daily ACK: Teardown of BiKN

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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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