Shield Family Gives Connectivity to IoT Projects

Sixfab is developing shields for Raspberry Pi and single board computer projects to bring internet connection, gps tracking, cloud access and more.

Taha Arvas, Todd Lydig, Sait Borlak, and the team at Sixfab liked using Raspberry Pis for small projects but were frustrated by the lack of connectivity. After a positive experience using Indiegogo to fund their Tinylab project, the team knew that a strong maker community existed ready to adapt new single board computer technologies. Sixfab set to work developing Shield Family, a new tool designed to add connectivity to Internet of Things projects.

Although the Raspberry Pi is the main focus of the Shield Family, the components are also compatible with Arduino, Linux, macOS, Windows and Android platforms. Both hardware and software are open-source, and there’s already information on github to help users get started.

Five different shields are available. A 4G/LTE Shield gives up to 100 Megabytes per second for downloads and voice calls. The 3G Shield gives up to 14 Megabytes per second for downloads and voice calls. The GPS shield finds and logs gps data, while the GPRS Shield combines General Packet Radio Service with Bluetooth and Voice Recording features. The Xbee shield is build for use with Xbee products for cloud connections.

This feels like a great project to give makers more options for connectivity. The fact that five different boards are being launched, and the intentional effort to hit as many platforms as possible seem like great features to have. One additional goal of this movement is to give brand new users a way to take on the Internet of Things using single board computers, connectivity components, online tutorials and prebuilt programs. The campaign ends on December 17, 2016 and if successful shields will begin to ship in March 2017.