Affordable and easy wireless sensors for Arduino.
Some folks started sending wireless temperature using Xbee modules and Arduinos at each node, which is quite expensive and inefficient. LadyAda pointed out that Xbee can digitize and transmit an analog temperature sensor without the need for another uP at each sensor node, but Xbee is still fairly costly. AltairLabs further showed far simpler ways to transmit a sensor http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1293839127 using just quad NAND gate and timer which developed into Dirt Cheep Dumb Wireless http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1294511428 or DCDW for short.
As DCDW development progressed on the new forum http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,51225.0.html some folks argued bkoz of Moore's Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law that small microcontrollers are about as cheeep as NAND gates and much more flexible. This was dubbed Dirt Cheep Smart Wireless or DCSW and considered as a follow-on project. CrossRoads found the fine folks over at Wicked Device were already doing this. http://wickeddevice.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=23
Both DCDW and DCSW are based on those cheeep simple little RF modules from SparkFun http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8946 and others. They cost only $4 or $5 each but getting a reliable and error free sensor reading thru these turns out to be a non-trivial problem.
AltairLabs has purchased some Wicked Device nodes and is setting up two wireless sensor networks; DCDW on 315 MHz and DCSW from Wicked Device on 434 MHz. We will also be sending some DCDW from the next batch to Wicked Device so they can play too.
This thread is for the DCDW vs DCSW Shootout, a comparison of pros and cons between two very different approaches using these wireless modules. For continued development of DCDW approach, use the Dirt Cheap Dumb Wireless DCDW thread at http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,51225.0.html
The Shootout will compare things like battery life, cost, ease of programming, number of sensors, resolution and accuracy, and so on. Neither approach will be perfect for everybody, this thread can stand as a guide for those considering their options.
Before the Shootout begins, I'd like to say the guys at Wicked Devices have been just great to work with, and they have put a HUGE amount of development into making their sensor nodes cheeeep and their software library simple to use.