Within the Particle Computer System there are 4 classes of hardware boards (see devices section) coming in different configuration (and therefore have different names):
Core Boards contain
the basic operation for a Particle (the program, operating functionality). To
start a wireless network you only need two of these boards to let them communicate
to each other. Input and output (altough some of the core boards contain basic
input/output functionality) can be added by using one of the additional boards.
Additional boards are stacked to the Particle using the Particle
Connector (for the Particles, cPart, Part-c, Blueticle, zPart) or using
the uPart connector (only for µPart, µSens, µproto). You can
combine any core with any additional board you like (execpt for µ-type
boards that can only combined with µ type boards).
For your application you may select one of Particle types based on the communication system or standard that fit you best and then select additional sensor and actuator boards needed for you application.
Other additional boards provide you with the ability to extend the hardware: Using either the breakout, proto, mini... protoboards (they are all similar, some come with more, others with less features, but all give you full access to the Particle Connector Bus) you can solder your own sensors/actuators/other circuits to the particle system and feed informtion to the particle core or get out information from the particle.
Interconnect Boards provide you with the ability receive information from particles and send information to particles from other networks or devices, e.g. the Internet/Ethernet (using a XBridge, USBBridge), your Laptop or PDA (using the USBBridge or the serial board). Except for the serial boards, interconnect boards come with pre-installed software and (in case of USB) with drivers as ready-to-run components (They can, of course, be programmed, but you don't need to).
Development boards are needed for all development that can not simply be done using the PC-tools and help you while soft- and hardware development for your Particles. Example are Flashing new OS versions or low-level programming and debugging(you need the programming adapter(s) for that). To test if you hardware still works you need a test adapter, for powering the particles without battery you may want to use the power adapter as a constant power supply.
|Particle 2/10||Particle 2/29||µPart||cPart||zPart||Blueticle|
|Processor||PIC 16F876||PIC 18F452||PIC 18F6720||PIC 16F6720||PIC12F675||CC1010 (8051)||PIC 16F672x||- (from Core board)|
|2.4GHz band||2.4 GHz band|
|125kbit/48kbit||125kbit/48kbit||125kbit/48kbit||125kbit/48kbit||19.2 kbit||76,8kbit or 19.2 kbit||250 kbit/s||230kbit/s|
|Protocol||AwareCon (ConCom)||AwareCon (ConCom)||AwareCon (ConCom)||AwareCon (ConCom)||µAwareCon (ConCom)||
|Features||Sending Signal Strength Regulation (SSS)||SSS||SSS (RSSI extension)||SSS, RSSI||RSSI (receiver)||SSS, RSSI ,DES, software frequency selection||SSS, RSSI||2
|integrated Actuators||Piezo, 2 LED||2 LED||2 LED||Speaker, 2 LED||1 LED||2 LED||2 LED, Speaker|
|integrated Sensors||Ball Switch||Ball Switch||Ball Switch||Ball Switch||Ball Switch|
|Interface||Particle Interface||Particle Interface||Particle Interface||Particle Interface||uPart Interface||Particle Interface||Particle Interface||Particle Interface|
|Dimension||40x50mm||35x17mm||33x17mm without ball switch & battery, about 33x17x15 with lithium coin cell (without ball switch), 45x27 mm with AAA battery||45x18mm||8x11mm||22x16mm||35x21mm||60x38mm|
Note: AwareCon contains ConCom at the upper layers
A very minimum set could be
This set allows you to send and receive packets. If you have a Core boards with integrated sensors you can use them to sense something and send out the information over the wireless network to other Particles or to your PC. If your Core comes with an integrated actuator you can react on event sent out by other Particles or your PC. You can also do things like ad-hoc routing networks etc. where you do not see/hear anything and where you do not need any input into the system.
A more interesting set for research on sensor input and context awareness could be this