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Intrynsic Open-Q 835 Development Kit Features Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor, Support Android 7 and Windows 10

June 7th, 2017 1 comment

Intrinsyc has just launched one of the first development boards powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with their Open-Q 835 devkit equipped with 4GB LPDDR4x, 128GB UFS 2.1 flash, 802.11ad WiFi, dual camera support and more.

Open-Q 835 Devkit with Cooling Plate Underneath

Open-Q 835 development kit is comprised of a “processor board” and a baseboard with the following specifications:

  • Processor Board
    • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (APQ8098) octa-core processor with four high performance Kryo 280 cores @ 2.20 GHz/ 2.30 GHz (single core operation), four low power Kryo cores @ 1.9 GHz, Adreno 540 GPUwith  OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 Full support, and Hexagon 682 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions (dual-HVX512)
    • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4x RAM
    • Storage – 128GB UFS2.1 Gear3 2 lane Flash
    • Connectivity
      • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5Ghz 2×2
      • Bluetooth 5.0 + BLE
      • WiGig60 802.11ad with on-board antenna
    • Dimensions – 70 x 60 mm
  • Carrier Board
    • Display – 1x HDMI 2.0 out up to 4K Ultra HD, 2x 4 lane MIPI DSI + Touch Panel connector for optional LCD panel accessory
    • Audio
      • On-board Audio Codec; Audio in & out expansion headers, 1x ANC Headset Out
      • Optional SW features – Qualcomm Fluence HD with Noise Cancellation, high fidelity music playback 24-bit/192kHz, Dolby 5.1 support
    • Camera
      • 3x 4-lane MIPI CSI connectors
      • Dual Qualcomm Spectra 180 ISP
      • Optional SW Features – Qualcomm Clear Sight camera; Hybrid Autofocus, Optical Zoom; HW-accelerated Face Detection; HDR Video Record
    • Other Interfaces
      • GNSS daughter card with GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and Galileo, PCB antenna and SMA connector option
      • 1x UART debug (USB micro-B)
      • 1x USB3.1 Type C
      • 1x uSD 3.0 UHS-1
      • I2S, SPI, GPIO, sensor header
    • Power Supply – 12V/3A DC; optional 3,000 Li-Ion battery
    • Dimensions  — 170mm x 170mm (mini-ITX form factor)

The company provides support for Android 7 Nougat, and Windows 10 should be feasible too but you are asked to “contact sales”. An optional WQHD AMOLED LCD is also available. Intrynsic explains the development kit is particularly suited for OEMS and device makers evaluating the processor and peripherals, and for premium mobile device development.

The “Early Adopter Version” of Open-Q 835 development kit can be purchased for $1,149, subject to an approval process. You may be able to find additional details on the product page.

Olimex ESP32-EVB Board with Ethernet, CAN Bus, and Relays up for Sale for 26 Euros

May 30th, 2017 3 comments

One of the new feature of Espressif ESP32 SoC over ESP8266 is the inclusion of an Ethernet MAC interface, but so far few boards come with an RJ45 jacks. ESP32 Monster board is an option, also including an OLED Display and CAN Bus, and sold on Tindie for $35, but Olimex has now stocked their ESP32-EVB board with Ethernet, CAN Bus, and two relays, and you can purchase it for 26 Euros per unit, and less in larger quantities.

Olimex ESP32-EVB Rev. B specifications:

  • Wireless Module – ESP32-WROOM32 module with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE
  • Wired Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet with RJ45 jack (via LAN8710A)
  • External Storage – micro SD slot
  • Relays – 2x 10A/250VAC relays with LED status
  • Expansion
    • 40-pin GPIO female header (2.54mm pitch)
    • UEXT connector for sensors and modules
    • CAN Bus
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging (CH340T) and power
  • Misc – Reset and user buttons, IR receiver and transmitter with up to 5 meter range
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via power jack or micro USB port
    • LiPo charger and step up converter allowing ESP32-EVB to run from LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 75 x 75 mm

The specifications are a little different compared to the Rev. A prototype shown in February, as they added IR transmitter and receiver, a CAN bus, and a micro USB port for debugging, which increases the size of the PCB, and also explains why the price went up from an expected 22 Euros to 26 Euros for the final board.

The board is open source hardware, and you’ll find hardware design files on Github. The software directory is empty for now, but the Tindie page about ESP32 Monster board indicates that “Ether and CAN programming requires ESP-IDF environment and still not by Arduino IDE”, so if you want to use the latter you may have wait a little longer. Olimex is also planning for a color 2.8″ LCD 320×240 pixel display board connected through UEXT header.

STMicro Unveils STM32L4 Discovery Kit for IoT with WiFi, BLE, NFC, Sub-GHz RF, and Plenty of Sensors

May 29th, 2017 3 comments

STMicro has recently introduced B-L475E-IOT01A Discovery kit powered by STM32L4 Cortex-M4 and targeting IoT nodes with a choice of connectivity options including WiFi, Bluetooth LE, NFC, and sub-GHZ RF at 868 or 915 MHz, as well as a long list of various environmental sensors.

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B-L475E-IOT01A Discovery kit key features and specifications:

  • MCU – STM32L4 Series MCU based on ARM Cortex -M4 core with 1 MB Flash memory, 128 KB SRAM
  • Storage – 64 Mbit (8MB)  Quad-SPI Flash memory (Macronix)
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE module (SPBTLE-RF)
    • Sub-GHz (868 or 915 MHz) low-power-programmable RF module (SPSGRF-868 or SPSGRF-915)
    • Wi-Fi module based on Inventek ISM43362-M3G-L44 (802.11 b/g/n compliant)
    • Dynamic NFC tag based on M24SR with its printed NFC antenna
  • Sensors
    • 2x digital omni-directional microphones (MP34DT01)
    • Capacitive digital sensor for relative humidity and temperature (HTS221)
    • 3-axis magnetometer (LIS3MDL)
    • 3D accelerometer and 3D gyroscope (LSM6DSL)
    • 260-1260 hPa absolute digital output barometer (LPS22HB)
    • Time-of-Flight and gesture-detection sensor (VL53L0X)
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port (Full speed)
  • Expansion – Arduino UNO V3 headers, PMOD header
  • Debugging – On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 debugger/programmer with USB re-enumeration capability: mass storage, virtual COM port and debug port
  • Misc – 2 push-buttons (user and reset)
  • Power Supply – 5V via ST LINK USB VBUS or external sources

The board supports ARM mbed online compiler, but can also be programmed using IDEs such as IAR, Keil, and GCC-based IDEs. STMicro also provides HAL libraries and code samples as part of the STM32Cube Package, as well as X-CUBE-AWS expansion software to connect to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT platform.

You’ll find documentation, hardware design files, software, and tools on  the product page, where you’ll also be able to purchase the board for $51.94 with either a 868 or 915 MHz RF module.

Arduino Cinque Combines SiFive RISC-V Freedom E310 MCU with ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth SoC

May 22nd, 2017 5 comments

SiFive introduced the first Arduino compatible board based on RISC-V processor late last year with HiFive1 development board powered by Freedom E310 MCU, but  the company has been working with Arduino directly on Arduino Cinque board equipped with SiFive Freedom E310 processor, ESP32 for WiFi and Bluetooth, and an STM32 ARM MCU to handle programming.

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Few other technical details have been provided for the new board, but since it looks so similar to HiFive1, I’ve come with up with preliminary/tentative Arduino Cinque specifications:

  • MCU – SiFive Freedom E310 (FE310) 32-bit RV32IMAC processor @ up to 320+ MHz (1.61 DMIPS/MHz)
  • WiSoC – Espressif ESP32 for WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • Storage – 32-Mbit SPI flash
  • I/Os
    • 19x Digital I/O Pins
    • 19x external interrupt pins
    • 1x external wakeup pin
    • 9x PWM pins
    • 1/3 SPI Controllers/HW CS Pins
    • I/O Voltages –  3.3V or 5V supported
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power, programming and debugging
  • Misc – 6-pin ICSP header, 2x buttons
  • Power Supply – 5 V via USB or 7 to 12V via DC Jack; Operating Voltage: 3.3 V and 1.8 V
  • Dimensions – 68 mm x 51 mm

Image Source: Olof Johansson

The board will obviously be programmable with the Arduino IDE, something that’s already possible on HiFive5 possibly with limitations since the platform is still new. Freedom E310 SoC RTL source code is also available via the Freedom SDK.

There’s no availability nor price information, but considering HiFive1 board is now sold for $59, and Arduino Cinque may cost about the same or a little more once it is launched since it comes with an extra ESP32 chip, but a smaller SPI flash. Hopefully, it will take less time than the one year gap experienced between the announcement and the release of Arduino Due.

SHA2017 Conference Badge To Feature ESP32 SoC, e-Paper Display

May 9th, 2017 5 comments

In most conference, you’ll wear a badge showing your name, job description and company, but with the price of electronics going down, it may be time for a conference badge upgrade. SHA2017 is a non-profit outdoor hacker camp taking place in The Netherlands in 2017 on August 4 – 8, and the organizers are planning to use a special badge comprised of Espressif ESP32 processor, and an e-Paper Display.

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SHA2017 Badge specifications:

  • Wireless Module – Espressif ESP32 based ESP-WROOM-32 module with WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Display – 2.9″ e-paper display (296×128)
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Expansion – 12-pin expansion header with GPIOs, I2C, 3.3V, GND
  • Debugging – micro USB port + USB->TTL chip for programming
  • Misc – Direction keys, select, start, A and B buttons for input; 6x RGB, LEDs; pager motor for notifications
  • Battery – Battery sized to last at least a day

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Beside your name and company details, the badge could also be used for weather and timetable information. EAGLE files and firmware can be found on Github with more details also available in the Wiki. The price of the badge is still expected to be around 20 Euros, and they are looking for sponsors. If you’d like that badge and attend the conference, you’ll need a 250 Euros ticket for the 5-day event.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

Smartwatch for the Blind – Dot Watch Supports Braille Language, Sync Data over Bluetooth

May 8th, 2017 3 comments

A South Korean company has created Dot smartwatch specifically designed for the blinds and visually impaired, as it supports Braille language through 24 dots that move up or down depending on the data to show. Like other smartwatches, it will also pair with a smartphone, and received notifications over Bluetooth to Android and iOS smartphones.

Dot watch specifications:

  • Wireless MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F + Cortex M0 microcontroller
  • “Display” – 4 Dot Cells (24 Dots) made of 6000 series silver aluminum
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE 4.2
  • Misc – 24 touch sensors, shaft horizontal vibration motor, a crown, two buttons
  • Battery – 400mAh li-polymer battery good for a typical 7 days on a charge
  • Dimensions – Watch: 43mm x 12.5mm; Leather band – S size: 22x220mm; M size: 22x250mm; L size: 22x290mm
  • Weight – 27g

This is all made possible through the company’s dot rotor technology that allows to move the little dots up and down. Time display is easy as it uses the four dot cells to display the number for hours and minutes: one dot, two dots, three dots and four dots = 12: 34. When people get notifications, the watch vibrates, and then the message is displayed in Braille via the dots. Since there are only four dot cells, I assume the watch will detect which ones you are already read with its touch sensor, and move to the next “characters” for the rest of the message.

The watch currently supports Korean and English Braille languages, but Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch and Chinese versions are coming soon. The dot rotor would be great for some kind of Braille e-Reader, and the company is working on Dot Pad to do exactly that to be released in 2019. I’m also expecting the technology to be used in other applications where you may have to show / hide tiny physical buttons depending on context.

The Dot Watch has started shipping recently, and is available for pre-order for $290. You’ll find more details on Dot website (which would deserve some navigation improvements).

Via Softei

Getting Started with ESP32-Bit Module and ESP32-T Development Board using Arduino core for ESP32

May 7th, 2017 16 comments

Espressif ESP32 may have launched last year, but prices have only dropped to attractive levels very recently, and Espressif has recently released released ESP-IDF 2.0 SDK with various improvements, so the platform has become  much more interesting than just a few weeks ago. ICStation also sent me ESP32-T development board with ESP32-bit module, so I’ll first see what I got, before trying out Arduino for ESP32 on the board.

ESP32-T development board with ESP-bit Module – Unboxing & Soldering

One thing I missed when I asked for the board is that it was not soldered, and it comes in kit with ESP32-bit module in one package, and ESP32-T breakout board with headers in another package.

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The 21.5x15mm module is based on ESP32-DOWNQ6 processor with 32 Mbit (4MB) of flash, a chip antenna, and a u.FL connector.

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The module is apparently made by eBox, and also used in Widora board with all information (allegedly) available on eboxmaker.com website, but more on that later.

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ESP32-T breakout board comes with a micro USB port for power and programming/debugging via Silabs CP2102 USB to TTL brige, a power LED, a user LED (LED1), a reset button, and a user button named “KEY”. It has two rows of 19-pin headers, and a footprint for ESP32-Bit module.

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The back of the board has a footprint for ESP-32S and ESP-WROOM-32 module, which gives the board some more flexibility, as you could try it with various ESP32 modules.

Time to solder the kit. I placed ESP32-Bit on ESP32-T, and kept it in place with some black tape to solder three to four pins on each side first.


I then removed the tape, completed soldering the module, and added the headers.

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The final step is to cut the excess pin on the headers, and now we can test the board which I could insert in a breadboard after pushing with some tools…

I connected a micro USB to USB between the board and my computer, and quickly I could see the PWR LED with a solid green, and LED1 blinking.

I could also see a new ESSID on my network: ESP32_eBox, and I could just input the… wait, what is the password? No idea. So I went to the board’s website, and everything is in Chinese with very limited hardware and software information on the ESP32 page. So it was basically useless, and I did not find the password, and other people neither. I asked ICStation who provided the sample, but they were unable to provide an answer before the review.

I could see the serial ouput via /dev/ttyUSB0 (115200 8N1) in Ubuntu 16.04:

Arduino core for ESP32 on ESP32-T (and Other ESP32 Boards)

But nothing really useful. Since the website mentions Arduino, I just decided to go with Arduino core for ESP32 chip released by Espressif, which explains how to use Arduino or PlatformIO IDEs. I opted to go with the Arduino IDE. The first thing is to download and install the latest Arduino IDE.

I’m running Ubuntu on my computer, so I downloaded and installed the Linux 64-bit version:

The next commands install the Arduino ESP32 support and dependencies:

We can now launch the Arduino IDE:

There are several ESP32 to choose from, but nothing about ESP32-T, ESP32-Bit, or Widora. However, I’ve noticed the board’s pinout looks exactly the same as ESP32Dev board shown below.

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So I selected ESP32 Dev Module, and set /dev/ttyUSB0 upload speed to 115200.

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The next step is to find an easy example to check if everything works, and there are bunch of those in File->Examples, Examples for ESP32 Dev Module section.

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I selected GetCHIPID sample, as it just retrieve the Chip ID from the board, and as we’ll see later the Chip ID is actually the MAC Address. I could upload the code, and it indeed returned the Chip ID:

The next sample I tried – WiFi->SimpleWiFiServer – will allow you to test both WiFi connectivity and GPIOs. I modified the sketch to use pin 2 instead of pin 5  in order to control LED1 on the board connected to GPIO2. You’ll also need to set the SSID and password to connect to your WiFi network. Once you’ve compiled and uploaded the sketch to the board, you’ll need to find the board’s IP address. You can do so in your router DHCP list with the board named “espressif” by default, and the MAC address will be the same as the CHIP ID, 24-0A-C4-01-A4-24 in my case. Now you can open the web interface in a web browser to turn on and off LED1 green LED on the board.

You could also use directly http://IP_ADDRESS/H or http://IP_ADDRESS/L to pull the pin high or low. It worked beautifully, but so far, we have not done anything that does not work on the much cheaper ESP8266 boards, and I can see one Bluetooth LE code sample for ESP32 called simpleBLEDevice in Arduino IDE, so let’s try it. It will just broadcast advertise the name of the device, and change it on button press, which could be used to broadcast message to a BLE gateway.

That’s the output from the serial terminal.

The initial name is ESP32 SimpleBLE, and as I press the KEY button on the board, the name will change to “BLE32 at: xxx”. I could detect a Bluetooth ESP32 device with the various names with my Android smartphone.

Since, it’s just advertising the name, there’s no pairing. But that’s a start. To have more insights into Bluetooth, you may also want to check out WiFiBlueToothSwitch.ino sample which shows show to use various mode such as Bluetooth only, Bluetooth + WiFi, WiFi STA, etc… For a more practical use of Bluetooth on ESP32, Experiments with Bluetooth and IBM Watson article may be worth a read. But a faster dual core processor and Bluetooth support are not the only extra features of ESP32 compared to ESP8266, as you also get more GPIOs, hardware PWM, better ADC, a touch interface, a CAN bus, Ethernet, etc…, so there’s more to explore, although I’m not sure all features are fully supported in ESP-IDF SDK and Arduino.

Final Words about ESP32-T and ESP32-Bit

After some initial difficulties, and confusions, I managed to make ESP32-T development kit work, but it’s difficult to recommend it. First, documentation is really poor right now, and while I found out you can use the exact same instructions than for ESP32Dev board, it does not reflect well on the company. Second, the board is sold as a kit that needs to be soldered, which may be a hassle for many, and possibly a fun learning experience for a few. Finally, ESP32-T + ESP32-Bit sells for $15 to $20 on various website, which compares to competitors fully assembled development boards – such as Wemos LoLin32 – now going for less than $10 shipped, and which basically the same features set (ESP32 + 4MB flash) minus the user LED and button, and a u.FL connector for an external antenna.

I’d still like to thank ICStation for giving me the opportunity to test the board. They are now selling it for $14.99 shipped with 15% extra discount possible with Jeanics  coupon (for single order). You’ll also find ESP32-T board on Aliexpress, but pay close attention if you are going to buy there, as it may be sold without ESP32-Bit module. Usually, all prices well below $10 are without the module.

Intrinsyc Introduces Open-Q 2100 SoM and Devkit Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC for Wearables

April 27th, 2017 3 comments

Qualcomm unveiled Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC for wearables early last year, and since then a few smartwatches powered by the processor – such as LG Watch Style and Watch Sport – have been launched, and Intrinsyc has now unveiled one of the first module based on the processor with Open-Q 2100 system-on-module, and a corresponding Nano-ITX baseboard.

Open-Q 2100 SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 (APQ8009W) quad core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.094 GHz with Adreno 304 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (WCN2320), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Gen 8C GNSS (GPS/GLONASS) with on-board u.FL connector (WGR7640)
  • Audio – Integrated Codec/PMIC (PM8916-1) with optional support for Fluence HD, Snapdragon Voice Activation, and Snapdragon Voice+
  • 2x 100-pin board-to-board connectors with USB 2.0, I2S, GPIO, MIPI DSI up to 720p @ 60 Hz, 2-lane MIPI CSI, SDC2/microSD signals
  • Power Supply – 3.6 to 4.2V input
  • Dimensions – 31.5 x 15 mm
  • Temperature Range – -10 to +70 °C

The module runs Android 7 Nougat by default, but it can also support Android Wear.

The company also provides Open-Q 2100 SoM development board to evaluate the platform, and get started as soon as possible while you wait for your custom baseboard. The development includes the following key features:

  • Connectors for Open-Q 210 system-on-module
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Display – MIPI DSI connector with optional smartphone display, HDMI output
  • Camera – MIPI CSI connector for optional 720p capable camera
  • Connectivity – Ethernet port (via LAN9514); wireless connectivity (WiFi, BLE, GPS) on module
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion Headers – SPI, I2S, GPIO, etc…
  • Debugging – micro USB port for debug UART
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A via DC jack, or 6-pin battery connector
  • Dimensions – Nano-ITX form factor (120×120 mm)

The module is expected to be used in connected wearables & trackers, tethered smartwatches, as well as ultra-compact embedded designs.

Open-Q 2100 SOM and Development Kit can be pre-ordered for respectively $75 and $595, with “early adopter units available to approved customers by May 31”. More information can be found on Intrynsic Open-Q2100 SoM and Devkit pages.

Via LinuxGizmos