Pebble Tracker

A secure, battery-operated, blockchain-ready, cellular-IoT prototyping platform based on the nRF91

Feb 19, 2021

Project update 2 of 13

The Past, Present, and Future of Pebble Tracker

by Raullen C

Why You Should Back Pebble Tracker

Thanks for checking out Pebble Tracker! We are IoTeX, a Silicon Valley company that fuses tamper-proof hardware and software for end-to-end trusted solutions. Pebble Tracker utilizes the nRF9160 SiP, on-board sensors (GPS, climate, motion, light), and open-source firmware to deliver next-level security, mobility, and trust for a wide range of asset-tracking and remote-monitoring use cases. Truly a first-of-its-kind product that addresses the problem of real-world data reliability and unlocks a universe of decentralized IoT applications!

If you’ve ever been interested in building with cellular-IoT, secure hardware, and/or blockchain, then Pebble Tracker is the ideal dev board for you! In this update, we explore the history of Pebble Tracker and preview future updates. For the highlights, see our recent feature in IoT for All.

The History of Pebble Tracker

Pebble Tracker is the product of over a year and a half of hard work. IoTeX started designing Pebble Tracker v1 in 2019 and, with the help of Nordic Semiconductor, made major improvements in 2020. With upgraded and battle-tested hardware and firmware, Pebble Tracker v2 is ready for the masses!

Our motivation for building Pebble Tracker was to use tamper-proof hardware (i.e., secure elements) and tamper-proof software (i.e., blockchain) to redefine who, what, and why we trust. We set off to build a product that could empower verifiable trust by pairing the integrity of secure hardware with the immutability of blockchain. And, in Q1 2020, Pebble Tracker v1 was born.

We rigorously tested and iterated on Pebble Tracker’s design throughout 2020, identifying limitations in the nRF9160’s built-in GPS that could impact certain applications. This compelled us to add external GPS to Pebble Tracker v2, as well a light sensor and a buzzer. In January 2021, we further improved the hardware design to allow Pebble Tracker to be powered via Micro-USB without a battery. Moreover, we repositioned the integrated Bosch BME680 environmental sensor to minimize the impact of on-board electronics on climate measurements.

On the firmware side, we implemented auto-generation of private keys and an MQTT client to send signed messages to the endpoint of your choice with full TLS support. Here is an example of data sent by Pebble Tracker, including an RSA signature to prevent data tampering:

What’s Next?

Starting in Q4 2020, IoTeX distributed the first Pebble Trackers to members of our global community who are now building innovative, decentralized solutions with verifiable data. From machine learning models to air quality indices to supply chains, Pebble Tracker will be instrumental in the upcoming wave of ultra-secure, verifiable solutions. In future updates, we will share details of these ongoing projects and walk you through step-by-step how you can utilize Pebble Tracker in practice. We will also show you how easy it is to setup and build with both our hosted and custom backends. Please encourage your network to subscribe and stay tuned for more updates!

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