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Wireless sensors bite into Bluetooth technology

01 October, 2000

Wireless sensors bite into Bluetooth technology

A wireless sensor technology that allows industrial sensors to link into the Internet has been developed by a Californian sensing company. Crossbow Technology claims that is CrossNet data acquisition system is the first to use the Bluetooth wireless communications system originally developed to link pocket computers and mobile phones to each other and to devices such as desktop PCs.

Crossbow says the system will save time and money, reduce errors, and increase productivity in applications such as remote data acquisition, machine performance monitoring, security installations and datalogging.

"Communicating with sensors is no longer limited by the need for wired connections or expensive, proprietary wireless protocols," says Crossbow chief executive Mike Horton. He adds that the CrossNet system will allow fast, efficient sensor-to-Internet connections and will eliminate tasks such as checking and changing connections associated with hard-wired installations.

The system consists of three main elements:

• compact nodes that control and monitor up to four sensors and contain a transmitter/receiver capable of sending and receiving data or commands over a distance of up to 10m;

• smart I/O that connects almost any sensor to a node, automatically detecting the type of sensor, its usable range, and reporting the data in the appropriate engineering units; and

• software for pocket computers, PCs and the Internet that gathers data from, and transmits commands to, the nodes.

Bluetooth components are only now starting to reach the market, but Crossbow expects to start selling CrossNet before the end of the year. A single four-sensor node will cost $1,295 and Smart I/O will cost upwards of $100. Beta software is available from

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