Competing Wireless Modules
It probably doesn’t surprise you that the XBee isn’t the only party in town. Here are a couple of cool alternatives that you can purchase for use in a project.
Created by Tokyo-based hacker Akiba (a.k.a. Chris Wang), the Chibi (see Figure 4.4) does away with the separate boards for the microcontroller and wireless module—Akiba has combined them into a single board. The Chibi is Arduino compatible and uses the same wireless band as the XBee. You can buy it at www.freaklabsstore.com.
FIGURE 4.4 Freaklabs’ Freakduino Chibi is essentially an Arduino with built-in wireless capability.
A similar concept to the Chibi, the JeeNode consists of an ATmega328p, which is the same microchip that serves as the mind of the Arduino, along with a built-in wireless module. JeeNodes are very small and have fewer capabilities than the Chibi, but have many fans due to the JeeNodes’ small form factor and their ease of use. You can purchase them at http://jeelabs.com/products/jeenode.