Archive

Posts Tagged ‘bluetooth’

Olimex Launches 22 Euros ESP32-GATEWAY Board with Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth LE

June 21st, 2017 13 comments

Olimex has just launched ESP32-GATEWAY board, as cost-down version of their ESP32-EVB board, still with Ethernet, WiFi, and Bleutooth LE, but without any relays, CAN bus, nor IR control, less I/Os, and a smaller footprint.

Olimex ESP32-GATEWAY 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
  • Expansion – 20-pin GPIO connector
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging (CH340T) and power
  • Misc – Reset and user buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 62 x 50 mm

Another change is the lack of a LiPo charger to run the board from batteries. Just like most Olimex boards, ESP32-GATEWAY is open source hardware with KiCAD design files available on Github. The software directory is still empty, but Ethernet demo code using ESP32-IDF has been pushed for for ESP32-EVB board, and is likely to run with minor or even no modifications on ESP32-GATEWAY board.

You’ll save 4 Euros over ESP32-EVB board, as Olimex is selling ESP32-GATEWAY board for 22 Euros.

Design Amazon Alexa Gateways, Robots and Smart Speakers with WisCore Modular Development Kit

June 17th, 2017 3 comments

RAK Wireless has launched a new development board powered by Mediatek MT7628A processor running OpenWrt with built-in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and audio codec and microphone to support Amazon Alexa voice service. Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-wave will also be supported via UART modules.

Wiscore Specifications:

  • Processor – Mediatek MT7628A MIPS24KEc CPU @ up to  580MHz
  • System Memory –  128MB DDR2 (64 MB optional)
  • Storage – 16 MB flash + micro SD card

    Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

  • Audio
    • MicroSemi ZL38062 for audio in and out
    • MicroSemi ZL38067 to handle “Alexa” keyword
    • single or dual digital microphone up to 5 meter range
    • Far field voice wake up
    • Support for echo cancellation
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 2×2 MIMO up to 300 Mbps
    • 2x 10/100M Ethernet (LAN and WAN)
    • Optional UART modules for Bluetooth, ZigBeem Z-Wave
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion – Arduino headers with UART, I2C, SPI and GPIOs
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel or mini USB port

As you can see from the photo below, the main components are on separate boards (for some reasons) with a “mother board”, MT7628 module, and an audio sub-board.

As mentioned in the introduction, the MT7628 module runs an OS based on OpenWrt with RAK iGate middleware, and the company provides an SDK allowing you to develop solutions based on Amazon Alexa thanks to one codec that will detect “Alexa” keyword and wake up to the board, and another codec handling audio capture and output. The software architecture is shown below, Wiscore app for Android and iOS is provided to pair the EVK with Alexa, and more documentation and software can be found in the Wiki on Github.

WisCore Software Architecture

The solution can be used to build voice controlled home automation gateways or appliances, smart speakers, and robots. RAK Wireless sells a development kit with the three boards, an Ethernet cable, a speaker, a USB cable, two antennas, some Dupont wires, some jumpers, and a Quick Start Guide for $49 plus shipping. Visit the product page for a few more details.

Marvell 88W8987xA Wireless SoC Supports 802.11ac & 802.11p WiFi, Bluetooth 5 for V2X & IVI Automotive Applications

June 15th, 2017 No comments

Marvell has introduced the new 88W8987xA wireless chip with 802.11ac, 802.11p and Bluetooth 5 Connectivity for V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) and IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) automotive applications such as Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems, and secure wireless Gateway systems.

Key features of Marvell 88W8987xA family:

  • Connectivity
    • WiFI – IEEE 802.11ac (wave2) up to 433 Mbps / IEEE 802.11p WAVE (Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments) / 1609.x
    • Bluetooth 5 including Bluetooth Low Energy Angle of Arrival and Departure (AoA/AoD)
    • 2x antenna configuration for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth coexistence
  • Host Interfaces – SDIO 3.0 interface (4-bit SDIO and 1-bit SDIO) @ up to 208 MHz;  high-Speed UART interface (for Bluetooth only)
  • Audio Interfaces – Digital audio interfaces (PCM)
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to +105°C (AEC-Q100 Grade 2 Qualification)
  • Package – pin 8×8 mm QFN with wettable flanks

Click to Enlarge

The family now includes three pin-to-pin compatible SoCs:

  • 88W8987A with 802.11ac + Qualified Bluetooth 5 Functionality
  • 88W8987PA with 802.11p + Qualified Bluetooth 5 Functionality
  • 88W8987SA with switchable 802.11ac/802.11p + Qualified Bluetooth 5 Functionality

The first time I read the SoC supported 802.11p, I though it might be a typo, but it’s just another WiFi standard specifically designed for automotive applications operating in the 5.9GHz range as explained on Wikipedia:

IEEE 802.11p is an approved amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard to add wireless access in vehicular environments (WAVE), a vehicular communication system. It defines enhancements to 802.11 (the basis of products marketed as Wi-Fi) required to support Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications. This includes data exchange between high-speed vehicles and between the vehicles and the roadside infrastructure, so called V2X communication, in the licensed ITS band of 5.9 GHz (5.85-5.925 GHz). IEEE 1609 is a higher layer standard based on the IEEE 802.11p.[1] It is also the base of a European standard for vehicular communication known as ETSI ITS-G5.

88W8987xA drivers are readily available for the Android, Linux and QNX drivers are available for 88W8987xA, and the family of SoC is sampling today, with mass production starting in Q4 2017.

Via eeNews Europe

Qualcomm Announces Audio Platforms for Smart Speakers, Headphones, and Hearables

June 15th, 2017 No comments

Smart speakers are getting a lot of buzz recently with products like Amazon Echo or Google Home, and many home automation products are advertised with Amazon’s Alexa support, so that they can be controlled by voice commands. Qualcomm is now going after this market, and others audio markets via 5 new platforms for streaming audio, high resolution audio, wireless audio, USB -C audio devices – due to the “death” of the 3.5mm headphone jack -, and hearables.

The five platforms include:

  1. Bluetooth and BLE Audio SoCs such as Qualcomm CSRA68100 for premium wireless speakers and headphones. The SoC comes with flash, DSP, a 2-ch audio CODEC, USB & I/Os interfaces.
  2. Qualcomm QCC3xxx entry-level Bluetooth audio SoC for mid to low-cost Bluetooth headsets and speakers.
  3. Qualcomm WHS9420 (192kHz/24-bit audio) and WHS9410 (entry-level) USB-C audio SoC for USB-C headphones
  4. Qualcomm DDFA Digital Amplifier Technology with CSRA6xxx amplifier
  5. Smart Speaker Platform shown above based on APQ8017 or APQ8009 (Snapdragon 212) SoCs, and DDFA amplifier, and interacting with Bluetooth and USB-C solutions listed above.

The Smart Speaker Platform will support multi-mic far-field voice capability with “highly responsive voice activation and beamforming technologies”, multi-room audio streaming through Qualcomm AllPlay, and AptX HD audio technology. Support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Google Cast Audio is coming later this year,

You may be able to find more details about Android and Linux solutions based on APQ8009 and APQ8017 on that Qualcomm page (provided you can gain access).

The Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform is expected to be available in Q3 2017.

MangOH Red Open Source Hardware Board Targets Cellular Industrial IoT Applications

June 14th, 2017 3 comments

Sierra Wireless has announced MangOH Red open source hardware platform designed for IIoT (Industrial IoT) applications with a snap-in socket for 2G to 4G & LTE-M/NB-IoT modules, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, various sensors, a 26-pin expansion header, and more.

mangOH Red Board without CF3 / IoT Modules – Click to Enlarge

MangOH Red board specifications:

  • Snap-in socket to add any CF3-compatible modules, most of which based on Qualcomm MDM9215 ARM Cortex A5 processor including:
    • Airprime WP7502 LTE Cat 3, HSPA, WCDMA, EDGE/GPRS module
    • Airprime WP7504 LTE Cat 3, HSPA, WCDMA, CDMA module
    • Airprime WP7601 LTE Cat 4 module
    • Airprime WP7603 LTE Cat 4, WCDMA module
    • Airprime WP8548 HSPA, WCDMA, EDGE/GPRS, and GNSS module
    • AirPrime HL6528RD quad-band GSM/GPRS Embedded Wireless Module designed for the automotive market
    • And more….

      mangOH Red with CF3 Module, Shield, and IoT Module – Click to Enlarge

  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Wireless MCU Module – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 BLE module with an ARM Cortex-M4 core MCU (Mediatek MT7697) providing access to real-time I/Os
  • Wireless Connectivity “Accessories”
    • Micro SIM card holder; ESIM
    • Main, GNSS, & Diversity antennas connectors, and WiFi/Bluetooth chip antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack (unpopulated)
  • Sensors – Bosch Sensortec Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Temperature and Pressure sensors, Light sensors
  • Expansion
    • 26-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector
    • IoT Expansion Card slot to plug in any technology based on the IoT Connector open standard
    • 6-pin real-time I/O header controlled by WiFi/BLE module.
    • 6-pin low power I/O header
  • Debugging – 1x micro USB port for serial console
  • Misc – LEDs; reset and user buttons;
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; battery connector; power source jumpers

Click to Enlarge

mangOH Red hardware design is fully open source with BoM, schematics (PDF an Allegro/OrCAD), PCB Layout (Intercept Pantheon), Gerber, and mechanical files available for download in the resources section, where you’ll also find other documentation and getting started guides for users and developers.  The CF3 modules run Legato Linux developed by Sierra Wireless, and open source with the source code on Github. Code specific to MangOH Red + WP8548 was also upstreamed in Linux 4.10.

The company also offers Sierra Wireless Smart SIM with up to 100 MB free data, but you can use the board any commercially available SIM car. The board also supports AirVantage IoT Platform to create, deploy and manage solutions in the cloud.

MangOH Red board can be purchased as a bareboard, but most people will probably want to get a Starter Kit with MangOH Red plus Air Prime WP8548, WP7502 or WP7504 sold on Digikey. I’m very confused by the price list, as $99 is shown for both the bare board, and kits including the board and a CF3 module. So I’ll assume $99 is for mangOH board only, and you’d likely have to pay $200+ for a board plus a CF3 module with the total price depending on the selected module. You may find additional details on MangOH Red product page.

Review of Wio Tracker with GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and GSM Connectivity

June 11th, 2017 No comments

Wio GPS – also called Wio Tracker – is an Arduino compatible board based on Microchip Atmel SAMD21 MCU with GPS, Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS connectivity, as well as several Grove connectors to connect sensors and modules for your IoT project. SeeedStudio sent me a sample for evaluation, so I’ve tested it, and reported my experience below by testing some of the Arduino sketches.

Wio Tracker Unboxing

All I got in the package was Wio GPS tracker v1.1 board. The top includes the Atmel MCU, an RGB LED, a microphone and 3.5mm AUX jack to make phone calls, a user and power button, a micro USB port for power and programming, a small 2-pin connector for a battery, and 6 Grove connectors for digital, serial, I2C and analog modules.

Click to Enlarge

The other side of the board comes with Quectel MC20 module that handles Bluetooth, GPS and GSM, a dual use micro SD card and nano SIM slot, and the GPS, 2G, and Bluetooth antennas. We can also see -/+ footprints close to connect speakers close to the OSHW logo.

Click to Enlarge

Getting Started with Wio GPS Tracker with Arduino IDE

I’ve been following Wio GPS Board Wiki for this part of the review, and as we’ll soon discovered I’ve had a rather mixed experience.

First, you’ll need a micro USB to USB cable to connect the board to Windows/Linux/Mac computer. This is the kernel output I got from Ubuntu 16.04:

After installing Arduino IDE for your operating system, we can add Seeduino boards to the IDE, by going to File->Preferences and pasting the link https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Seeed-Studio/Seeed_Platform/master/package_seeeduino_boards_index.json into Additional Boards Manager URL field, and clicking OK.Now go to Tools->Boards->Boards Manager search for wio, and install Seeduino SAMD by Seeed Studio.

You can also install Adafruit Neopixel by going to to Sketch->Manage Libraries->Include Library, or importing the zip file. After that point, I decided to check whether I could find “Wio Tracker” in the list of boards as indicated in the Wiki, but there was no such board so I selected Wio GPS Board, and selected port /dev/ttyACM0 (Wio GPS Board) port.

Then I went to check for sample sketches, and found some in Examples->Seeed_Wio_GPS_Board for the all key features of the board. So I tried a bunch of them including RGB_LED, Bluetooth, GNSS (GPS), and GSM (Send SMS), and only the Bluetooth sample would work.

Click to Enlarge

By I went back to the Wiki, and found out I add to import Wio Tracker library too, which I did, and I had another very similar sets of samples for MC20_GPS_Traker-master.

I’m not exactly sure we have two separate sets of nearly identical samples, but let’s see if I have more like with samples in MC20_GPS_Tracker-master folder.

Blink.ino is supposed to blink the RGB using blue color:

I could upload the program to the board with the following warning messages:

The RGB LED did not work. So I tried to remove Adafruit Neopixel library, same results. Finally I checked schematics to confirm the RGB LED is indeed connected to D10, and inserted some println debug code to make sure the program is running properly. Everything seems right, but the RGB LED would not blink. I’ve contacted the company, but unsurprinsgly they don’t work during the week-end.

Let’s move on with BT_CLientHandle.ino sketch that should allow us to pair the board with your phone. The code is relatively simple for this task:

I could see QUECTEL-BT with my Android phone, and had no problem to pair the board.

The serial output with pairing, and disconnecting events shows some of the AT commands used:

I also tried to connect a speaker to the AUX port of the board to see if I could use it as Bluetooth speaker, but it did not work, so some more code and a different Bluetooth audio profile (not HF_PROFILE) are likely required. All I could hear was dial-up modem sounds from the speakers. But still, we can tick this Bluetooth test as success.

Time for a GPS test. GNSS_Show_Coordinate.ino sketch is supposed to  output latitude and longitude to the serial console, and again the code to achieve this is still fairly simple:

But all I got in the serial output was the following:

With +CREG: 0,0 shown over and over. We can find the different AT Command sets (and EAGLE schematics) in the resources directory in Github. One of the document reports that AT+CREG? is a read command to retrieve network registration status, and the two numbers referred as <n> and <stat> are set to 0,0 meaning that:

  1. Disable network registration unsolicited result code
  2. Not registered, ME is not currently searching a new network to register on

I firstly did the test indoors, and although previously I could get a signal indoors with NavSpark mini board, I still went outside in case it was a signal problem, but the result was just the same. So maybe the program is stuck somewhere because I had not inserted a SIM card yet. Since I was not sure whether my operator still supported 2G, I forced my Android phone to use 2G, and the phone did get a signal using “E” instead of the usual 3G, and I could send an SMS and make a phone call over 2G network (I think).

So I took out the SIM card from my phone, and …. I could not insert right away simply because my SIM card was cut out as a micro SIM, but the board requires a nano SIM. Luckily, I purchased nano/micro SIM card adapters a while ago as I knew sooner or later I would have this little first world problem. You can find those for less than $1 on eBay, so even if you don’t need them right now, it might be a good idea to get some.

Click to Enlarge

Once I cut out my SIM card so that it fits into the micro SIM to nano SIM adapter that I will need to use when I put back the SIM card into my smartphone, I inserted  the nano SIM and a micro SD card at the same time, as the picture below shows with the white band right above the 4GB micro SD card being the nano SIM card. I did not know they made those, as I’ve only seen shared slots in the past.

I reran the GPS sample program, and the serial output changes a bit, but still no longitude and latitude info:

+QGNSSC:1 means the GNSS module is powered on so that’s good news I guess.

+CREG: 0,2 means the SIM card is registered, and in home network, but then it will switch to +CREG:0,5 meaning the SIM card is registered and roaming. Not really re-assuring.

They also have a more complex sample called GNSS_Google_KML.ino, that will get coordinate display them in OLED display attached to the board, and save data into a gps.txt into the SD card with raw longitude and latitude data that can be inserted into a Google KML file. A GoogleMapDemo.ino sketch will upload your coordinates to ziladuo.com website. That’s provided it works of course… and considering the simplest sample GNSS would not work. I gave up on GPS/GNSS tests.

Last try was with the GSM function with the send SMS sample (MC20_SMSSend.ino) that will send “Hello MC20!!” message to the phone number of your choice”. Again it’s very easy to program:

But sadly I could not send an SMS, as the function waitForNetworkRegister failed:

I had to end my testing there. I could not remove the nano SIM card with my hands, and I had to use a pair  tweezers to get it out by pushing those the small holes on top of the slot mechanism.

So overall my experience with the board was quite catastrophic with only Bluetooth working,  and GPS, 2G GSM, and even the RGB LED sample all failing. I also often had trouble uploading the code to the board with messages like:

or (even after having close to the serial terminal for a while):

So I often had to re-try and re-try to successfully upload the code to the board. I’m sure there must be an explanation for all the issues I had. I can see they tested it in Windows, but I’m using Ubuntu 16.04, so maybe that could be one reason?

Having said that, if the board actually worked, I really like what SeeedStudio has done, as it looks really easy to program the board with GPS, Bluetooth, or 2G data, SMS, calls, and you can add Grove Sensors to make pretty more advanced IoT projects. The company also provides a more practical sample with their “Wild Adventure Tracker” demo reporting sending GPS coordinates over SMS when a shock occurs. The source code on Github with a video showing the results below.

The company is also working on a 4G version, and I’ll probably have a chance to give it another try once it is released. If you are interested in Wio GPS Tracker board, you can pre-order it for $24.95 including all three antennas.

Samsung S-Patch3 Wearable Health Tracker Based on Samsung Bio-Processor Hits the FCC

June 9th, 2017 No comments

At the end of 2015, Samsung unveiled their S3FBP5A Bio-Processor comprised of an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, a DSP, and sensors for PPG, ECG (electrocardiography), Skin temperature, BIA, and GSR to have a single package to design tracker able to monitor your health condition. The company demonstrated an early prototype called S-Patch at CES 2016 (See embedded video at the end of this post), and now S-Patch3 wearable health monitoring system has just hit the FCC.

The system has two round shapes case connected via a cable, with one for the battery compartment, and the other containing the Bio Processors, and meant to be placed on your chest. The device can then synchronize the data with your smartphone in real-time over Bluetooth. People with heart conditions may benefit from the system, as if they wish to do so, they could share the data with their doctor. Few documents are publicly available on the FCC website, and while we don’t know the expect launch date of the device itself, the user’s manual and photos will be released on December 3rd, 2017 on the FCC website, which should roughly correspond to the launch date, or at least the official announcement date from Samsung.

Via Sammobile

Nordic Thingy:52 Bluetooth 5 IoT Sensor Development Kit Targets Mobile & Web App Developers

June 4th, 2017 No comments

Some developers may be interested in providing solutions for the Internet of Things, but they may not have the skills or interest in making their own hardware, and/or develop firmware, and just want to create demos or prototypes quickly, focusing on app development instead. Nordic Semiconductors has recently launched Thingy:52 IoT Sensor Kit with Bluetooth 5 & NFC connectivity, and various sensors for those developers.

Nordic:52 IoT Sensor development kit (nRF6936) hardware specifications:

  • MCU – Nordic Semi nRF52832 ARM Cortex-M4F Bluetooth 5 System on Chip (SoC)
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 5 LE and NFC
  • Sensors
    • Temperature,Humidity, Air pressure, Air quality (CO2 and TVOC), color and light intensity
    • 9-axis motion sensing – Tap detection, orientation, step counter, quaternions, euler angles, rotation matrix, gravity vector, compass heading, raw  accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data
  • Audio
    • Speaker for playing prestored samples, tones, or sound streamed over BLE (8-bit 8 kHz LoFi)
    • Microphone streaming (ADPCM compressed 16-bit 16 kHz)
  • Expansion Headers (all unpopulated)
    • 20-pin header with GPIOs, I2C, Analog inputs
    • 2x 4-pin I2C headers
    • 4-pin analog/digital header (2 I/O)
    • 4-pin analog/digital header (1 I/O)
  • Misc – Configurable RGB LEDs and button; programming & debugging connector
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, LiPo battery connector (A battery is already included in the devkit)
  • Dimensions – 6×6 cm plastic & rubber case

Click to Enlarge

Nordic provides example apps for Android & iOS with cloud connectivity for the devkit, as well as a web application relying on Web Bluetooth API. Thingy:52 kit supports secure Over-the-Air device firmware upgrade (DFU). While the company promote the kit to app developers, the application firmware source code and hardware design files are also available for download. You’ll find all info on Nordic Semi’s Infocenter. A Node.js library is also available for the board on Github.

Nordic Thingy:52 can be purchased for around $40 via distributors such as Mouser, Digikey, and Arrow.

Thanks to Jan for the tip.