QuickCal: Assisted Calibration for Crystal-Free Micro-Motes


The Single Chip Micro Mote (SCµM) is a crystal-free single-chip mote that brings us one step closer to the Smart Dust vision, in particular as it can communicate with off-the-shelf IEEE802.15.4 and Bluetooth Low Energy devices. However, before it can be part of such networks, the crystal-free SCµM chip needs to be able to accurately tune its communication frequency to synchronize to the network. This is a challenge since its on-board RC and LC-based resonating circuits have a drift rate that can be 3 orders of magnitude worse than crystal based oscillators typically used in today’s radios. This article introduces QuickCal, a solution that allows a SCµM chip to self calibrate against off-the-shelf devices dedicated to assisting with its calibration. We show that a SCµM chip can self-calibrate against this QuickCal Box in fewer than 3 min. We further validate that, once it has self-calibrated, a SCµM chip can reliably communicate with off-the-shelf IEEE802.15.4 devices. Finally, we demonstrate a heterogeneous network – composed of a SCµM chip and an Open Mote device – implementing a full 6TiSCH Industrial IoT protocol stack, which uses time synchronization and channel hopping. This is the first time that a crystal-free radio is participating in a channel-hopping enabled TSCH network.


Crystal-free, single-chip mote, calibration, 6TiSCH

Publication date: 
August 13, 2020
Publication type: 
Journal Article
IEEE Internet of Things, August 2020

*Only registered BSAC Industrial Members may view project materials & publications. Click here to request member-only access.