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Wuthering Bytes 2016: The Things Network and HereLab

Gareth Halfacree

A HereLab sensor monitoring a greenhouse

With two weeks to go to Wuthering Bytes 2016's opening day, our attentions turn to OSHCamp. Taking place on Saturday the 3rd of September, with workshops following on the Sunday, the annual Open Source Hardware User Group (OSHUG) gathering is always a trove of interesting topics - not least of which, this year, take the form of two Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) community-driven radio networks.

We've mentioned The Things Network before, in our look at a linked Calderdale-wide LoRaWAN implementation set up by our friend Andrew Back and colleagues, and we're thrilled to find Mike Beardmore and Mark Hill are set to give a talk on the project. For those unfamiliar, The Things Network offers long-range connectivity on the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) frequencies with no license requirement or ongoing costs. Unlike Wi-Fi, The Things Network operates over long ranges and at a low power - Andrew's implementation covers 15KM of the Calder valley with a power draw of just 7W - and unlike GSM-based networks does not require a monthly subscription or charge ongoing data usage fees.

If that has you interested, there's a second reason to attend OSHCamp's talks on Saturday. Andrew Lindsay of Thing Innovations is to give a talk on HereLab, a project based on the island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, which is using the same LoRaWAN technology to drive a sensor platform which monitors everything from greenhouses and aquaponic farms to traffic and trash build-ups. Andrew can talk with authority on the topic, too: he has been heavily involved in the Oxford Flood Network we covered in our round-up of Arduino-powered flood monitoring and defence systems.

If neither of those topics whet your appetite, we'll be looking at some other of our personal higlights in the coming days. Meanwhile, more information - including how to buy tickets for the talks, workshops, or both - can be found on the official website.

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