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Posts Tagged ‘bluetooth’

NXP Modular IoT Gateway Supports Thread, Zigbee, NFC, Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity

November 30th, 2016 1 comment

NXP has just announced a modular IoT gateway solution for large node networks (>= 250 nodes) based on Volansys i.MX6UL system-on-module, supporting wireless communications protocols such as Thread, ZigBee, NFC through add-on modules, on top of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.

nxp-modular-iot-gatewayNXP Modular IoT Gateway specifications:

  • SoM – Volansys i.MX6UL 200-pin SO-DIMM module with:
    • SoC – NXP i.MX 6UL ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 528 MHz
    • System Memory – 256MB to 1GB DDR3L  RAM
    • Storage – 1GB to 4GB NAND flash, optional 4GB to 16GB eMMC flash, EEPROM for device info
    • PMIC, Mbit Ethernet PHY
  • Wireless Connectivity Expansion Modules:
    • PN7120 explorer board for NFC
    • Kinetis KW41 module for Thread support
    • JN5169 module for Zigbee support
    • 2x MikroBUS headers
  • Baseboard connectors / features:
    • Storage – 1x micro SD slot
    • Connectivity – 1x 10/100M Ethernet port, Murata WiFi 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth 4.1 + EDR module with external antenna connector
    • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG ports,
    • Debugging – 1x micro-USB port for debugging, JTAG connector
    • Misc – RTC, LEDs, user switch (for power on/off and NFC), and reset pinhole
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD
  • Certifications – FCC/CE/IC

nxp-iot-gateway-board

So you can select your own i.MX6UL module with the amount of memory and storage needed, and add wireless modules as needed to match your requirements. Volansys is also planning for LoRaWAN and Sigfox modules in the future. Beside the hardware, the gateway and modules all come with various software stack and documentation: A Yocto Linux BSP with drivers, an MQTT client library, a Thread Linux host software SDK, Thread and Zigbee device controller, registration with the cloud, and more. The companies also provide an Android app to manage the gateway, and firmware for Thread Kinetis KW4x end device. Alternative operating systems supported include OpenWRT and Brillo.

nxp-modular-iot-gateway-block-diagram

NXP Modular IoT Gateway is available now for $269 with the default configuration, and you’ll find more details with documentation and datasheets as well as a purchase link on NXP Modular Gateway product page and Volansys website.

Via HackerBoards

You Can Buy AirPods-like Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds for $16 and Up

November 30th, 2016 6 comments

Most Bluetooth headsets on the market actually come with some sort of wire or holding mechanism, which may not always be convenient, for example I can’t use mine comfortably while lying down on the bed. But that to electronics miniaturization, companies have recently started to offer truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds, including Apple’s yet-to-be available $159 Airpods. This morning I noticed two similar products in new arrivals list, first with $59.99  QCY Q29 mini Earburds on GeekBuying, and then even cheaper, but not quite as good looking (and likely not so good sounding), “FreeStereo Twins Wireless Bluetooth v4.1 In-Ear Headset w/ Mic” on DealExtreme going for just $22.25 including shipping.

qcy-q29-earbudsLet’s start with QCY Q29 earbuds specifications:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 with HFP, HSP, A2DP, AVRC protocols support; up to 5-10 meter range
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Charging port – pogo on earbuds, micro USB to storage/charging box
  • Battery – 45mAh for up to 12 hours per charge; Charging time: one hour
  • Dimensions – Earbud: 17 x 25 x 29mm
  • Weight – 5.3 grams per earbud

QCY Q29 earphones ship with three pairs of silicon earcups, a charging cable, a charging box, and an English manual. You’ll be able to answer/reject call, lsiten to music, and all the things you’d normally do with a Bluetooth headset. The earbuds are also available on other shops such Banggood (now with 18% discount coupon), and Amazon US where you can also buy individual earbud for $13.5 in case you lose one. Reviews are generally positive on Amazon, but one person did mention that “Was ok but don’t stay in the ear well“, so I’m not sure it’s suitable for running for example…

cheap-airpods-clone

The cheaper noname version shown above with all accessories has a shorter battery life:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 with support for SP / HFP / A2DP / AVRCP; up to 10 meter range
  • Embedded Microphone
  • Charging port – pogo on earbuds, micro USB to charging dock
  • Battery – LiPo battery for up to 3 hours talk time, 5 hours music , 55 hours in standby mode; Charging time: 3 hours
  • Misc – Not waterproof
  • Dimensions – Earbud: 2.7 cm x 1.8 cm x 2.7 cm
  • Weight – 9 grams per earbud

The earbuds also ship with three pairs of silicon earcups, a charging cable, a charging dock, and an user’s manual in English and Chinese.

You’ll also find various “true wireless stereo earbuds” on Aliexpress for various prices, and one pair that could be interesting is X1T earbuds selling for $15.99 and up.

x1t-true-wireless-earphone

Sevenhugs Smart Remote is a Universal Direction Aware WiFi, Bluetooth and IR Remote Control (Crowdfunding)

November 25th, 2016 2 comments

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.
sevenhugs-remote-control

Sevenhugs Smart Remote specifications:

  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 @ 200 MHz
  • System Memory – 32 MB RAM
  • LCD – 3.43″ touch screen IPS display; Dragontrail damage ans scratch resistant cover glass, anti-fingerprint & anti-glare
  • Wireless Connectivity – IR transceiver, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE connectivity
  • USB – USB C port for charging
  • Sensors – Indoor positioning sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor
  • Misc – Small speaker
  • Dimensions – 135 x 41 x 9.7 mm

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.
smart-remote-room-sensorsOnce 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.

ESP32 Updates – ESP32-S Module Replaces ESP3212, ESP32 DevBoards for Sale, Arduino & NodeMCU Support

October 29th, 2016 6 comments

There have been some developments with regards to Espressif ESP32 in the last month since my post about upcoming ESP32 development boards. First ESP3212 module is no more, and has been replaced with ESP32-S module with about the same features, but it’s not pin-to-pin compatible, so the new module won’t work with older breakout boards made for ESP3212. ESP32-S is now out of stock on Seeed Studio, but you’ll find it on IC Station, Banggood, and others shops.

One good news is that it’s now easier to buy – or at least pre-order – ESP32 development boards, although stock may still be an issue, as the platform is very popular.

sparkfun-esp32-thingIf you live in the US, you can now backorder “Sparkfun ESP32 Thing” for $19.95. ESP32 board can be powered by either a micro USB power supply or a LiPo battery, and exposes close to 30 I/O pins. ESP32 developer board is still listed on Adafruit for $15, but you can’t pre-order it now, only asked to be notified once it becomes available.

Olimex ESP32-Coreboard

Olimex ESP32-Coreboard

Europeans may prefer purchasing from ESP32-Coreboard from Olimex for 17 Euros, but again it’s out of stock right now. Another option is Pycom WiPy 2.0 breadboard-friendly module going for 19.95 Euros, but you may consider getting the expansion board too for a total of 35.99 Euros if you want to easily power it through a USB power supply or a battery, and add storage via a micro SD slot. You’ll find both options in Pycom online store. WiPy 2.0 board also differs from competitors, as it’s designed to be programmed with (micro) Python.

In South East Asia, Gravitech sells their NANO32 IoT development board for 690 Baht / $20. Like most (all?) other boards mentioned here, NANO32 is breadboard friendly, it includes two user buttons, and can be powered via its micro USB port.

All shops above will also ship all around the world, but if you want to pay less in shipping, and potentially avoid custom fees, it’s always good to check for local options.  If you live in other continents, or the board you want is out of stock, buying directly from China is also an option.

A.I. Thinker NodeMCU-32S

A.I. Thinker NodeMCU-32S

A.I Thinker has just listed their NodeMCU-32S on Aliexpress for $24.50 including shipping, with basically the same features as ESP8266 based NodeMCU 1.0, but upgraded to ESP32 providing both WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity.

Widora AIR is also up for sale for $14.88, but once shipping is included it adds up to $22.25. The board is also powered via its micro USB port, comes with two user buttons, and 2x 20-pin headers. It should be noted it’s quite cheaper on Taobao where the company offers it for 60 CNY ($8.88), so I think due to the mismatch between demand and supply, ESP32 boards are quite more expensive than they’d be in a few months, and I’m guessing price with shipping should eventually conerge towards $12 to $15 for NodeMCU types of boards.

If got most of the links to the boards through ESP32.net main page, where the community currently keeps tab of sellers of ESP32 modules and development boards.

One the software side, Espressif has now published Arduino core for ESP32 on their github account, which may not have all the new features of ESP32 yet, such as Bluetooth support, and it requires a “manual” installation, but you should be able to program ESP32 boards through Arduino IDE like you do on ESP8266 boards.

If you prefer NodeMCU / Lua programming, some progress has been made for NodeMCU firmware for ESP32, and while development is taking longer than expected since Espressif moved from RTOS- SDK used with ESP31B beta board to IDF SDKm you can get mostly working code through dev-esp32 branch, and follow the status on github.

CS668 Combines Android TV Box, Power Bank, and Bluetooth Speakers Into One Device

October 28th, 2016 5 comments

CS668 is an Android 6.0 TV box powered by Amlogic S905X quad core processor, which triples as Bluetooth stereo speakers and a power bank thanks to its built-in 5,000 mAh battery.

cs668CS668 3-in-1 TV box specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Audio I/O – HDMI output, 3.5mm headphone jack, 10W stereo speakers, built-in microphone
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6212 module)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – Power & Play/Pause combo button, and volume buttons
  • Battery – 5,000 mAh rechargeable lithium battery good for up to 48 hours
  • Power Supply –  5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 15.1 cm x 8 cm x 2.9 cm (Aluminum alloy case)
  • Weight – 320 grams

The box runs Android 6.0 with Kodi 17.0 pre-installed, and ships with  an IR remote control, and HDMI cable, a micro USB to USB cable, the power supply, and a user’s manual.

tv-box-bluetooth-speakers-power-bank

You can currently buy CS668 on Aliexpress or DX.com for around $75 including shipping.

Via AndroidPC.es

Samsung Introduces $5 ARTIK 0 and $50 ARTIK 7 Smart IoT Module Families

October 27th, 2016 5 comments

Samsung unveiled ARTIK 1, 3 and 5 boards for the Internet of Things in 2015, and started to sell them, together with development with WiFi, BLE and Zigbee connectivity earlier this year. The Korean company has now announced two new family with ARTIK 0 modules powered by an ARM Cortex-M MCU and destined to be used in HVAC, lighting, industrial sensors, personal health monitoring and more, as well as ARTIK 7 family powered by an Octa-core Cortex A53 processor, and targeting IoT gateways.

ARTIK 0 Family

Development Kit with Artik-020 Module

Development Kit with ARTIK 020 Module

ARTIK 0 family is now comprised for ARTIK 020 with Bluetooth, and ARTIK 030 for applications requiring Thread and/or Zigbee. Beside the different radios, both modules share the same key features:

  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 up to 40 MHz with Floating Point Unit, 256KB flash, 32 KB SRAM, advanced hardware cryptographic engine with support for AES-128/-256, ECC, SHA-1, SHA-256, and a Random Number Generator
  • Peripherals
    • 2x USART (UART, SPI, IrDA, I2S)
    • Low Energy UART (LEUART)
    • I2C peripheral interface (address recognition down to EM3)
    • Timers – RTCC, Low Energy Timer, Pulse Counter
    • 12-channel Peripheral Reflex System (PRS)
    • Up to 25 GPIO with interrupts
    • ADC (12-bit, 1 Msps, 326 μA)
    • Current-mode Digital to Analog Converter (IDAC)
    • 2x Analog Comparator (ACMP)
    • 8 channel DMA controller
  • Radio
    • Artik 020 – 2.4 GHz radio for Bluetooth. Chip antenna
    • Artik 030 – 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 radio with integrated balun, support for ZigBee/Thread wireless mesh networking; Up to + 10 dBm Tx power. Antenna: chip antenna or u.FL variant for external antenna
  • Power & Consumption
    • 1.85 to 3.8 V DC input
    • Energy Mode 2 (Deep Sleep) Current: 2.5 μA (Full RAM retention and RTCC running from LXFO)
  • Operating Temperature – -40 to +85°C
  • Certifications – FCC, IC, CE, Aus/NZ, Korea certifications (pending)
  • Dimensions – 12.9 x 15.0 x 2.2 mm
Artik 020 Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

Artik 020 Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Samsung did not disclose the MCU vendor, but considering Silicon Labs made SIP-KITSLF001 evaluation kit for the modules, it has to be one of their Gecko MCUs, especially the getting started guide explains how to install Silicon Labs Simplicity StudioTM 4.0…

Artik 0 modules costs about $5 to $6 on Digikey or Mujin (Korea), while the evaluation kits go for $99 and $499 (must be a mistake) respectively for ARTIK-020 and ARTIK-030. You’ll find more technical information on Samsung ARTIK 0 family product page.

ARTIK 7 Family

ARTIK 710 Module

ARTIK 710 Module

ARTIK 7 family is at the other range of the spectrum with an octa-core processor running Linux, and there’s currently only one member with ARTIK 710:

  • SoC – 8x ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.4 GHz with 3D graphics accelerator
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage – 4 GB eMMC flash
  • Display I/F  – 4-lane MIPI DSI interface up to 1080p24
  • Audio – I2S interface
  • Camera – 4-lane MIPI CSI interface
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 classic + LE, 802.15.4 radio for Zigbee or Thread
  • Analog and Digital I/Os – GPIO, I2S, SPI, UART, SDIO, USB 2.0,  JTAG, Analog input
  • Security – Trustware TEE, secure point-to-point authentication and data transfer
  • Power Supply – PMIC
  • Dimensions – 49 x 36 mm

The module comes pre-installed with Fedora Linux and shares the same getting started guide as ARTIK 5 and 7 modules. A development kit comprised of ARTIK 710 module, an interposer board with Ethernet, micro USB OTG, micro HDMI, LVDS and antenna connectors connected through USB to a platform board with USB ports, MIPI DSI & CSI connectors, micro SD card, audio jack, a battery connector & power jack, itself connected to an IF board to access to more I/Os via the “Expansion Connector Interface”.

ARTIK 710 Module, Interposer and Interface Boards - Click to Enlarge

ARTIK 710 Module, Interposer, Platform, and Interface Boards – Click to Enlarge

ARTIK 710 module sells for around $50 on Digikey, while SIP-KITNXE001 kit with all three boards and the module goes for $199. Visit Samsung ARTIK 7 Family product page for more details, including datasheet, and hardware and software guides.

ARM Introduces Secure Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 ARMv8-M MCU Cores, and Bluetooth 5 Cordio Radio IP for IoT Applications

October 26th, 2016 3 comments

ARM TechCon 2016 is now taking place in Santa Clara, California, USA, as ARM has made three announcements for the Internet of Things, the focus of SoftBank going forward, with two ARM Cortex-M ARMv8-M cores integrating ARM TrustZone technology, namely Cortex-M23 low power small footprint core, and Cortex-M33 core with processing power similar to Cortex-M3/M4 cores, as well as Cordio Radio IP for Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4 connectivity.

cortex-m33-m23-vs-cortex-m3-m0

ARM Cortex-M23

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ARM Cortex-M23, based on the ARMv8-M baseline architecture, is the smallest and most energy efficient ARM processor with TrustZone security technology,and targets embedded applications requiring both a small footprint, low power, and security. Its power consumption is low enough to be used in batteryless, energy harvesting IoT nodes, and is roughly a third of Cortex-M33 processor size, and offers more than twice its energy efficiency.

Cortex-M23 is a two-stage pipelined processor, software compatible with other processors in the Cortex-M family.

You’ll find more information on ARM Cortex-M23 product page, and related blog post.

ARM Cortex-M33

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ARM Cortex-M33, also based on ARMv8-M architecture with Trustzone technology, is the most configurable of all Cortex-M processors, includes FPU, DSP, a co-processor interface, a Memory protection unit (MPU) for task isolation, and ARM claims it “delivers an optimal balance between performance, power, security and productivity”.

The Cortex-M33 processor has an in-order 3-stage pipeline, which reduces system power consumption, and most instructions complete in two stages, while more complex instructions require three. The core also has two AMBA5 AHB5 interfaces: C-AHB and S-AHB, which are symmetric in nature and offer identical performance of instruction and data fetches.

You can visit the products page, and ARM blog post for further details.

ARM Cordio Radio IP

arm-cordio-radio

ARM has also introduced Cordio IP which offers Bluetooth 5 or 802.15.4’s ZigBee or Thread connectivity using ARM RF or 3rd party front-end. The IP supports TSMC 40nm LP/ULP, TSMC 55nm LP/ULP and UMC 55nm ULP manufacturing processes, and three solutions are available with Cordio-B50 with Bluetooth 5 only, Cordio-E154 with 802.15.4 only, and Cordio-C50 with both Bt5 and 802.15.4.

More details can be found on that ARM community blog post.

CHIP Pro is a $16 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 System-on-Module Powered by a $6 GR8 ARM Cortex A8 SIP

October 12th, 2016 24 comments

Next Thing CHIP board and corresponding PocketCHIP portable Linux computer have been relatively popular due to their inexpensive price for the feature set, as for $9, you’d get an Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor, 512MB flash, 4GB NAND flash, WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity, and plenty of I/Os, which made it very attractive for IoT applications compared to other cheap boards such as Raspberry Pi Zero and Orange Pi One. The first board was mostly designed for hobbyists, but  company has now designed a new lower profile system-on-module called CHIP Pro based on Next Thing GR8 SIP combining Allwinner R8 SoC with 256MB DDR3 RAM that can be used for easy integration into your own hardware project.

chip-proWhile the original CHIP board exposed full USB ports and interface for video signal, the new CHIP Pro is specifically designed for IoT with the following specs:

  • SIP – Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ up to 1.0 GHz with Mali-400 GPU + 256MB DDR3 RAM (14×14 mm package)
  • Storage – 512MB SLC NAND flash, 1x micro SD port
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.2 with chip antenna and u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and serial console access
  • Expansion – 2x 16-pin with 2x UART, parallel camera interface, I2C, SPI, 2x PWM, USB 2.0 OTG, USB 2.0 host, 2x microphone, 1x headphone
  • Power Supply – AXP209 PMU supporting USB power, Charge in, and 2.9 to 4.2V LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 45 x 30 mm
  • Certifications – CE and FCC part 15
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The module is pre-loaded with the company’s Linux based GadgetOS operating system, but custom firmware flashing is available for orders of 1,000 modules or more. Potential applications include physical computing, voice recognition, smart consumer devices, portable audio devices and so on. Software support should be identical to what you already get in CHIP board, and you can already find some hardware design files specific to CHIP Pro on Github including datasheets for the system-on-module and Allwinner GR8 SIP.

chip-pro-devkitIn order to help you getting started as fast as possible, a development kit is also available with a baseboard and two CHIP Pro modules. The baseboard include a 5V-23V power jack, a 3.5mm audio jack, a micro USB port, a USB host port, some LEDs, a power button, and female headers for easy access to all I/Os.

CHIP Pro SoM will start selling for $16 in December of this year without minimum order quantity, and no volume discount, e.g. if you buy 1 million SoMs, you’d have to pay 16 million dollars. One issue with CHIP board is that if you asked Allwinner for a quote for module used in the board, it would cost more or about the same as the board itself. Allwinner/Next Thing GR8 is completely different, as you can actually buy it for $6 (including AXP-209 PMIC) to integrate into your own project. The development kit is available now for $49. More technical details and purchase links can be found on the product page.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.