April 11th, 2022—
Orb-weaver spiders are often found in gardens and are famous for the intricate webs they spin to catch pre, and as the name implies, this web is in the shape of a circle. In keeping with the theme, element14 user Miloš Rašic had the idea to build a small rover taking inspiration from the orb-weaver spider and NASA’s latest robots in that it “casts” a net of sensor boxes within a circular area that each report data to a central receiver, and it would do so autonomously.
For now, Rašic wanted to stick with measuring air quality, so he began by placing a MKR WAN 1300 into his first “sensor box” that would act as a transmitter to send the data to the receiver via LoRaWAN. From here, he included a DHT22 for temperature/humidity, a BMP280 for air pressure, a QYF-919 real-time clock module, and an HL-83 rain sensor. A pair of AA batteries provided power to everything.
The receiver, or “ground control station,” consisted of another MKR WAN 1300 board, an LCD, a buzzer, and a battery level module. Apart from the sensor boxes, the rover proved to be the most challenging to implement, but at the end Rašic was able to get it working perfectly.
To read more about the nature-inspired project, which was recently named the grand prize winner of element14’s Just Encase Design Challenge, check out his blog post here.