PowWow Hardware Platform

CAIRN’s hardware platform is composed of:
  • The motherboard, designed to reduce power consumption of sensors node, embeds an MSP430 microcontroller and all needed components to process PowWow protocol except radio chip. JTAG, RS232, and I2C interfaces are available on this board.
  • The radio chip daughter board is currently based on a TI CC2420.
  • The coprocessing daughter board includes a low-power FPGA which allows for hardware acceleration for some PowWow features and also includes dynamic voltage scaling features to increase power efficiency. The current version of PowWow integrates an Actel IGLOO AGL250 FPGA and a programmable DC-DC converter. We have shown that gains in energy of up to 700 can be obtained by using FPGA acceleration on functions like CRC-32 or error detection.

Cairn MSP430 Motherboard and Radio-board

Cairn motherboard embeds an MSP430 and all needed components to process Powwow protocol stack. A radio board can be added (Chipcon CC2420EM board) on P1, P2 connectors.
JTAG, RS232 and I2C interfaces are also available on this board.
You can fabricate your own hardware to deploy a network using board design files provided on this website. Estimated component cost (except PCB) is 60€ (for a small-volume production some components can be found as samples from manufacturers. This can decrease node cost ;-).
Cairn hardware
Cairn MSP430 motherboard with radio board connected

     Coprocessing FPGA board
An FPGA board can be added to the motherboard on P1, P2 connectors. This board will provide hardware acceleration for some PowWow features. The energy efficiency of nodes will be increased by performing some threads on a low-power  FPGA such as the Actel IGLOO.
A dynamic voltage scaling feature is also proposed and can be used to increase power efficiency.

igloo board
FPGA board insterted between motherboard and radioboard