SparqEE CELLv1.0 - DIY Worldwide Wireless

Posted: September 01, 2013
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Getting up off the couch to go make a cell phone sounds even rougher than getting up off the couch to go make a sandwich. But if you're up for either, good on you. I recommend pastrami and swiss on rye for the sandwich, and SparqEE's CELLv1.0 for the phone calls.

CELLv1.0 pairs with an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or similar to turn wireless communications into a DIY project for accessible cellular service anywhere in the world. The device connects with little more than an activating snap to Arduino and Raspberry Pi Shields, and for those not using a shield, only 4 connections are required: RX; TX; GND; and Vref to incorporate a 3.3V or 5V system. Once the hardware is in place, you are worldwide wireless weddy.

Use CELLv1.0 to transfer data through The Cloud to a smartphone or computer, or make a phone call from the top of Kilimanjaro to see if your acrophobic friend Cornelius can see you from his sissy man picnic bench at the bottom. OK, well now I'm waving, Cornelius. Can you see me now? ... Jumping up and down. Can you see me now? ... Activating Arctic Laser. Can you see me now?

For use in cellular communications, CELLv1.0 does require a SIM card. Users can co-opt the one in their existing phone, buy a pre-paid SIM card from from the SIM card store (i.e., Target, Wal-Mart), or get a SparqEE international SIM card from the company's Website. Costs for the last should be under $4/month. Note also that CELLv1.0 uses a 2G+3G chipset--it will primarily draw from 3G, falling back to 2G only if the former is unavailable. The 3G aspect makes SparqEE's product more expensive than 2G-only versions, but since AT&T is dropping their 2G service in 2017, the company felt the versatility and longevity of the combo would make up for its added costs.

Read more about and pledge for your wireless communication development kit on Kickstarter through September 19, 2013.

December 2013 Update: CELLv1.0 exceeded its crowdfunding goal and will be available for direct purchase through the SparqEE website--follow the link below.

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