We already have a good choice of ESP32 development boards, but none of the ones I’ve seen make use of the Ethernet MAC interface found in Espressif ESP32 SoC. Olimex has changed that with their ESP32-EVB featuring ESP32-WROOM32 module as well as one Fast Ethernet port and two relays.
Olimex ESP32-EVB specifications:
Wireless Module – ESP32-WROOM32 module with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE
Wired Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 port
External Storage – micro SD slot
Relays – 2x 10A/250VAC relays
40-pin GPIO female header (2.54mm pitch)
UEXT connector for sensors and modules
Misc – 2x user buttons
5V power jack
LiPo charger and step up converter allowing ESP32-EVB to run from LiPo battery
The company still have to write software samples, and do some testing to make sure the board work before going into mass production. Once everything is cleared, the board will be sold for 22 Euros.
SoC – Unnamed Quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1.2 GHz with a 3D graphics accelerator
System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
Storage – 4GB eMMC v4.5 flash
Connectivity – Dual band SISO 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE + Classic, 802.15.4/Zigbee/Thread, 10/100/1000M MAC (external PHY required)
Other Interfaces and peripherals
Camera – 4-lane MIPI CSI up to 5MP (1920×1080 @ 30fps)
Display – 4-lane MIPI DSI and HDMI 1.4a (1920×1080 @ 60fps), or LVDS (1280×720 @ 60 fps)
Audio – 2x I2S audio input/output
Analog & digital I/O – GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI, USB host, USB OTG, HSIC, ADC, PWM, I2S, JTAG
Security – Secure point to point authentication and data transfer
Power Supply – PMIC with on-board bucks and LDO
Dimensions – 49x36mm
Artik 530 module block diagram – Click to enlarge
Samsung did not make it easy to find which operating system is running on their modules, but after reading a few pages in the getting started guide, I found out the module should be running Fedora. The Wiki shows Fedora 22 with Linux 3.10.93, but they have upgraded to Fedora 24 since then. The product brief however includes more details about the BSP which including drivers for wireless community, multimedia, and other systems peripherals and interface, as well as power management code and security with secure boot, Artik cloud authentication API, and a crypto library based on OpenSSL.
Click to Enlarge
Since the module is not exactly convenient to use without baseboard, most people will likely start with Artik 530 developer kit with the “Interposer board” with an ARTIK 530 module, a “Platform board” that attached under the Interposer board with extra interfaces (MPI DSI/CSI, audio jack), an “Interface Board” with two female header to easily connect external hardware, and two wireless communication antennas.
Ping GPS Tracker is really small, last several months on a charge, and works with GPS, Bluetooth, and Cellular (GSM/EDGE or HSPA/UMTS) connectivity. It helps you track kids, pets, bags, keys, bicycles, cars or anything that may be lost or stolen using your iOS or Android smartphone.
Ping GPS Tracker Potential Use Cases
Ping GPS tracker specifications:
HSPA/GSM module + embedded 3G module
Bluetooth Low Energy module
GPS + GLONASS module
Sensor – 3-axis accelerometer
Misc – Inset tactile button for check-in & SOS, LED activity indicator
Battery – 300 mAh custom lithium ion battery good for about 3 months
Dimensions – 34 x 34 x 12 mm (PMMA silicone & elastomer materials)
Weight – About 30 grams
Waterproof – Up to 10 meters
You’d use GPS + cellular connectivity when you are far from the tracked asset, and Bluetooth to locate it when it’s close. A button allows for your kid to send a signal (short press) when they’ve reached destination, or an SOS message (long press) in case of issue.
The app will list all your tracked assets with estimated remaining battery life, you can click on the one you want to check out, and it should show on the map a short time later. One feature that appears to be missing is geofencing, which can be useful if a kid or an older person, for example suffering of Alzheimer, go beyond the limit you defined on the map. The project is popular so maybe they’ll add it if people request it.
Ping GPS tracker has recently been launched on Indiegogo, and the project has raised over $300,000 so far. A $99 pledge should get you the tracker with a clip attachment, a charging cable, and one year free service with Cellular connectivity included for the US, Canada, and Mexico. If you want coverage outside of North America, you’ll need to add $10 extra at activation time for coverage in 157 countries for one year. After the first year, you’ll need to spend $3 per month to pay for cellular connectivity. Shipping is free to the US, but adds $20 to $30 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for July 2017.
ESP32 is quite more powerful than ESP8266 so it makes sense to have an ESP32 development kit with an LCD display. A quick DuckDuckGo search led me to ESP-WROVER-KIT Getting Started Guide, where we can find more details including the overall specifications:
Compatible with ESP-WROOM-32 and ESP32-WROVER modules based on ESP32 dual core Tensilica L108 processor clocked at up to 240 MHz with WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity
Storage – Micro SD slot
Display – 3.2″ LCD display connected via SPI
USB – 1x micro USB port
8-pin UART header
6-pin SPI header
48-pin header for I/Os and camera interface (standard OV7670 camera module supported)
Debugging – JTAG through USB interface (FTDI FT2232HL) or 14-pin header
Misc – CTS/RTS jumper; power selection (EXT or USB); RGB LED; boot & reset (EN) buttons
Power Supply – 5V DC input; 5V to 3.3V LDO chip
Dimensions – 85.2 x 79.0 mm
ESP-WROVER-KIT Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge
The rest of the getting started guide explains how to configure jumpers to set the power source, serial flow control, and JTAG. It also shows how to access the serial console with a typical 115200 8N1 connection, as well as compile and load a simple hello program with ESP-IDF SDK in Windows and Linux.
Pycom is the company making some relatively popular IoT boards programmable with Python such as WiPy, LoPy, SiPy, and soon FiPy, supporting respectively WiFi+BLE, LoRa+WiFi+BLE, Sigfox+WiFi+BLE, and for the latter all four plus LTE CAT M1/NB1. Those little boards are great for personal projects and/or to experiment, but for those of you who would like to integrated IoT connectivity into your own hardware projects, Pycom will soon launch three OEM module for corresponding to WiPy, SiPy and LoPy connectivity featues with respectively W01, S01 and L01 modules.
W01 WipY 2.0 OEM Module – Dual network BLE and WiFi – 7.95 Euros
L01 LoPy OEM module – LoRa, WiFi and Bluetooth – 14.95 Euros
S01 SiPy OEM module – Sigfox, WiFi and Bluetooth; Available in both 14dB (for Europe) and 22dB (outside Europe) version for respectively 14.95 and 19.95 Euros
All three models have basically the same functionality as the full board, but there are missing the voltage regulator, reverse power supply protection, antenna switch, smd antenna, u.fl connectors, reset switch, LED, headers, and a few passive components found on the development boards. The modules will come in an hermetically sealed trays, and are both CE and FCC certified.
The modules will officially launch in April 2017 with a minimum order quantity of 500 units, and a lead time expected to be 8 to 12 weeks. You can find all three modules on Pycom’s OEM products page.
Google may just have released Android Things operating systems for IoT applications, but its big brother – Android – has already gotten into some other IoT systems such as Quectel SC20 module powered by a Qualcomm processor and supporting LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth LE, and GNSS functions.
Quectel SC20 comes in different flavors to cater for various markets, but all module share most of the same specifications:
SoC – Unnamed Qualcomm processor
System Memory – TBD
Storage – 8GB flash
Cellular Connectivity – FDD LTE, TDD LTE, TD-SCDMA, EVDO/DCMA, WCDMA, and GSM; antenna: MIMO 2×2, supports Rx-diversity
Other Wireless Connectivity
WiFi – 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n (SC20-CE/-W); Dual band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (SC20-E/-A/-AU/-J)
Compliance – CCC/CE/FCC/GCF/PTCRB/AT&T/ACMA RCM/Verizon (Many still work-in-progress)
I first found about the module, as SinoVoip showcased some pictures of their next BPI-SC20 board using Quectel SC20-CE, but they did not provide other details.
Nevertheless it was easy enough to find Quectel SC20 product page listing all the specs above, plus details about LTE, WCDMA, etc… bands, Rx/Tx power levels, and more. Six models of the module will be available: SC20-W with WiFi and BLE only, as well as country or zone specific variants: SC20-CE, SC20-J, SC20-AU, SC20-A, and SC20-E with different supported cellular bands and standards.
The company is also said to have an evaluation board with a display and two cameras, with the processor used part of – or similar to – Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 series.
STMicroelectronics SensorTile is a 13.5 x 13.5mm sensor board based on STM32L4 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a MEMS accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor, a MEMS microphone, as well as a 2.4Ghz radio chip for Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity for wearables, smart home, and IoT projects.
SensorTile hardware specifications:
MCU – STMicro STM32L476 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller@ up to 80 MHz with 128 KB RAM, 1MB flash
Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 Smart/LE via BlueNRG-MS network processor with integrated 2.4GHz radio compliant with
LSM6DSM 3D accelerometer + 3D gyroscope
LSM303AGR 3D Magnetometer + 3D accelerometer
LPS22HB pressure sensor/barometer
MP34DT04 digital MEMS microphone
I/Os – 2x 9 half holes with access to UART, SPI, SAI (Serial Audio Interface), I2C, DFSDM, USB, OTG, ADC, and GPIOs signals
Debugging – SWD interface (multiplexed with GPIOs)
Power Supply Range – 2V to 5.5 V
Dimensions – 13.5 x 13.5 mm
SensorTile’s Functional Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge
Software development can be done through a sets of APIs based on the STM32Cube Hardware Abstraction Layer and middleware components, including the STM32 Open Development Environment. The module is supported by Open Software eXpansion Libraries, namely Open.MEMS, Open.RF, and Open.AUDIO, with various example programs allowing you to get started. Several third-party embedded sensing and voice-processing projects also support the module. The module also comes pre-loaded with BLUEMICROSYSTEM2 firmware, and can be controlled with “ST BlueMS” app found on Apple Store and Google Play.
But the best way to get started is with SensorTile kit including SensorTile core module and:
STLCR01V1 cradle board with a footprint for SensorTile core board, HTS221 humidity and temperature sensor, a micro-SD card socket, a micro USB port, a lithium-polymer battery (LiPo) charger, and a SWD header.
A LiPo rechargeable battery and a plastic case for the cradle board, SensorTile module, and battery
STLCX01V1 Arduino UNO R3 compatible cradle expansion board with analog stereo audio output, a micro-USB connector for power and communication, a reset button and a SWD header.
A programming cable
I could not find a price for SensorTile core module, but STEVAL-STLKT01V1 SensorTile kit can be purchased for $80.85 directly on STMicro website or their distributors. Visit SensorTile kit’s product page for further information include hardware design files, quick start guide, software and firmware downloads, purchase links, and more.
You may have all sort of remote control devices around your home from the traditional IR remote control for your TV, air conditioner, audio system etc.., as well remote control apps for WiFi or Bluetooth objects such as smart light bulbs or water pumps running on your smartphone. Sevenhugs Smart Remote promises to replace them all, and all you have to do is to point the remote control to your devices, or setup virtual actions to your door or window to order a Uber drive or check the weather.
The remote comes with a charging base including a lost & found button to make the remote control ring in case you can’t locate it, as well as three room sensors to place close to the object/service your want to control, for example one close to your TV, the other on your door, and the last one next to your window. You’ll still need a smartphone running Android or iOS to install an app to configure the remote control for your devices, and currently 25,000 devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Infrared are supported with more being added daily. Once this simple setup is complete, simply point to remote to the device or service you want to control, and the screen interface will adapt to the objects pointed with for example volume control for an audio system, and weather forecast when pointing to a window. If you have several objects in a zone for example a TV with set-top box and AV receiver, you can use the carousel on the remote control to switch between each of them. This also means you can control other WiFi devices from any room in your home.
The company will also release a Lua SDK based in C/C++, first allowing to add new devices to be released in June 2017 but with an early release already available in github, and then allowing much more control over the remote such as developing custom gesture, screens, and menus. The Level 2 part of the SDK is scheduled for release at the end of 2017.
The remote control has been launched in Kickstarter, and have been very successful so far having raised over $700,000. Most early bird rewards are gone, but you can still pledge $149 to get Smart Remote Kit including the charging base and 3 room sensors. Shipping is free to the US and western Europe, but for other countries it will cost you $20 to $35 extra, and delivery is scheduled for July 2017. More details may be found on Sevenhugs Smart Remote microsite.