ANT is used to implement wireless sensor networks.
ANT is used by Garmin for its heart rate monitors and several other products including the sensor for bicycle speed and rpm and its shoe pod to count steps.
I have one of the HRMs. I got my sister-in-law one of the shoe pod based pedometers for X-mas.
FoxtrotGPS and TangoGPS have support for the HRM now.
What's the difference between ANT and ANT+?
Some ANT features
- It uses very little power, a sensor can run up to 4 years on a 2032 button cell.
- Hundreds of sensors can be supported in an ANT network.
- Any node can be either a master or a slave.
Off the shelf sensors
- Heart rate monitor (HRM) chest straps. I have one of these.
- Shoe pods. This is an accelerometer that can be clipped to your shoelaces. I have one of these.
- Bicycle speed and rpm (cadence) sensors. I have 2 of these.
- Temperature sensor (Garmin "Tempe"), I have one of these.
List price for a stick from Garmin is $50; Sparkfun has various breakout boards for < $20.
The Garmin (Dynastream) version that I have is in a plastic housing and uses a Nordic chip that requires a special USB driver.
This Sparkfun board with the Nordic nRF52832 breakout board which includes an ARM processor, and the same board also does BLE and NFC.
ANT chips are made by Nordic Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.
Official information site: http://thisisant.com/
A sample including python on Linux to read an ANT USB stick: http://opensource.quarq.us/ant_usb2_stick/
As mentioned above you can buy chips and breakout boards and USB sticks at good prices from Sparkfun Electronics