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Posts Tagged ‘development kit’

Mixtile GENA is a Wearables Development Kit Inspired by Pebble Watch

August 21st, 2015 1 comment

The first Pebble watch with a black and white e-Ink display and Bluetooth for smartphone connection launched in 2012 via Kickstarter, and it  became one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns so far. The watch can now be purchased for $100, but Focalcrest, a startup based in Shenzhen, designed Mixtil GENA development kit with similar features and user interface, although with different electronics components, that goes for $34 on Tindie.

Mixtile_Gena

Mixtile GENA specifications:

  • Processors
    • Mediatek MT6260 ARM7EJ-S processor @ 364 MHz with 8MB RAM and 16MB Flash
    • Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 ARM Cortex M0 Bluetooth Smart SoC
  • External Storage – micro SD card slot (Up to 8GB)
  • Display – “Energy-saving” reflective LCD
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 port
  • Sensor – Gravity sensor
  • Misc – Up, Down, Enter and Power/Return buttons
  • Battery – 270 mAh/3.7V Lithium-ion battery (4 to 5 days on a charge for typical usage)
  • Dimensions – 27.6 x 40.2 x 9.1 mm

The company uploaded a video showing how to use the kit with an iPhone, that includes Bluetooth pairing, music control, camera control, notification, and fitness tracker function. Android support is also planned.

One major downside for a development kit however is the lack of documentation, and SDK, but this should eventually come online with JavaScript and Open API. Mixtile GENA actually launched on Tindie on July 8th, and a few people bought the device despite the lack of documentation and API, wrongly expecting relevant documents to be released by the time they receive it. One developer already published his first impressions about this “development” kit.

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Ascella USB 3.0 Camera Reference Design Kit Supports 4K Recording at 30 fps

August 19th, 2015 No comments

Cypress Semiconductor and THine Electronics have recently introduced Ascella USB 3.0 camera reference design kit based on Cypress EZ-USB CX3 USB 3.0 camera controller and THIne THP7312 ISP that supports 13-megapixel resolution at 21 frames per second, and 3840x2160p recording at 30 fps using MJPEG compression.

Ascella-CX3-USB3.0-Camera-KitThe kit is composed of 5 boards with an OV13850 13MP camera board, an LED board, the ISP board, Cypress CX3 board, and a debug board with USB 3.0 and a debug interfaces.

Main specifications and features:

 

  • Cypress EZ-USB CX3 ARM9 based Programmable MIPI CSI-2 to USB 3.0 Camera Controller
  • THine THP7312 image signal processor based on a 32-bit RISC CPU
  • OmniVision OV13850 Image sensor interfaced through a four-lane MIPI CSI-2 interface
  • High Intensity LED Board for Low light environment
  • SPI Flash for firmware storage
  • Supports auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-white-balance and the ability to select from 20 picture resolutions
  • Support for streaming of live video at 4K with 30 fps and 1080p with 60 fps
  • USB – USB 3.0 OTG port, USB Video Class compliant
  • Debugging – micro USB 2.0 connector for debugging through UART and JTAG Interface
  • Kit dimensions (lxbxh) – 40mm x 46mm x 60mm

The kit comes  with the an enclosure, a USB3.0 Type-A to Micro-B cable, as well as a Quick Start Guide. The companies provide “optimized” firmware, a software development kit, reference circuit schematics (except for ISP and LED boards), and related materials as well as Ascella camera application available for Windows 7/8/8.1, and soon Linux.

 

Supported Resolutions and Frame Rates

Supported Resolutions and Frame Rates

The 4K USB 3.0 camera kit can be used to develop cameras for consumer, industrial, medical, educational and automotive applications such as notebooks/tablets, machine-vision, microscopes, document scanners, gaming consoles, TV conference systems and other imaging systems.

Ascella USB 3.0 camera reference design kit can be purchased on e-Con Systems store for $249.

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LightBlue Bean+ Bluetooth LE Board is Programmed Wirelessly, Lasts One Year on a Charge (Crowdfunding)

August 6th, 2015 3 comments

Punch Through launched a crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 for LightBlue Cortado an innovative Arduino compatible BLE board that can only be programmed wirelessly over Bluetooth Smart. The board has since then been renamed to LightBlue Bean, and the company allegedly delivered rewards to backers on time, a rarity in the crowdfunding world. LightBlue Bean+, the second version of the board, is larger with solderless headers, supports more Bluetooth LE capabilities such as MIDI, and includes a battery. The project launched on Kickstarter yesterday, and already raised over $40,000, surpassing the $30,000 funding target set by the team.

LightBlue_Bean_BeanPlus

LightBlue Bean vs LightBlue Bean+

LightBlue Bean+ board specifications:

  • MCU – Info N/A (Bean has an Atmel ATmega328P @ 8MHz with 32KB Flash, 1KB EEPROM, 2KB SRAM)
  • Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth LE with support for 5 new capabilities: beacon, MIDI, HID, ANCS and observer role.
    • Hardware module undisclosed (Bean has an LBM313 Module with Texas Instruments CC2540)
    • Up to 400 meters range to other Bean+ boards, up to 250 meters range to iPhone
  • Expansions
    • 2x headers with 16 GPIOs also configurable as I2C, SPI, etc.. with 5V/3.3V selector
    • 2x Grove connectors for SeeedStudio modules, which appear to have become popular these days
  • Sensors – Accelerometer and temperature sensor
  • USB – micro USB port for charging battery only
  • Misc – RGB LED, on/off switch
  • Battery – 600 mAh rechargeable battery.  Good for over a year on one charge when programmed with a low-power sketch
  • Dimensions – 6.5 x 3.5 mm

LightBlue_BeanPlus

Please note that the smaller and cheaper Bean board will also be updated with the new BLE capabilities (MIDI, beacon…), so if your project requires a small module and/or is cost sensitive, you could still consider the first version of the board. Bean+ however should be easier to use for prototyping thanks to 2.54mm pitch headers and grove connectors.

The board is programmed with Sketches like another other Arduino compatible boards, but it can only be done wirelessly over Bluetooth LE. Supported operating systems include Mac OS X and Windows , but I assume Linux distributions such as Ubuntu should also be supported since you can simply use the Arduino IDE (TBC) [Nope: Their  schedule has no plan with Linux support]. Mobile devices supporting Bluetooth 4.0 can also be used for programming with Punch Through’s Bean Loader apps for Android and iOS.

If you want to develop your own app, software development kits for iOS/OS X and Android can be found on Punch Through github account. Finally, you can connect the board to the cloud, and program them visually using either Node-RED or OctoBlu interfaces.

Watch this entertaining video to find out some of the projects feasible with the board.

You’ll need to pledge $39 to get one Bean+ board, but you may also consider the popular $80 (early bird) / $84 “MEGA PACK” reward with two Bean+ boards and 5 Grove modules and corresponding cables. Delivery is scheduled for December 2015, and shipping costs $9 to $15 depending on your location.

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Atmel SAM S70 and SAM E70 Cortex M7 MCUs, SAM V71 Xplained Board Are Now Shipping

August 5th, 2015 4 comments

ARM Introduced Cortex M7 IP in September, and ST Micro simultaneously announced its STM32F7 Cortex M7 MCU clocked up to 200 MHz, and boards are now available, including some running Linux. But two other companies have licenses Cortex M7, Freescale with its Kinetis KV5x micro-controllers which are yet to be mass-produced, and Atmel which has recently announced their SAM S70 and E70 micro-controllers are now in mass production.

Atmel_SAM_E70_S70_Block_DiagramSAM E70 and S70 have similar features, but E70 offers some extra interface like CAN and Fast Ethernet:

  • ARM Cortex-M7 core running at up to 300MHz (1500 CoreMark)
  • Up to 2MB Flash and 384kByte SRAM
  • Floating point unit (FPU) for high-precision computing and accelerated data processing
  • High-performance internal memory architecture with user configurable Tightly Couples Memories and System memory, and 16kB I and D-cache
  • High Speed USB Host and Device with on-chip high-speed PHY
  • CMOS image sensor interface
  • AES hardware encryption engines, TRNG and SHA-based memory integrity checker
  • Advanced analog front end based on dual 2Msps 12-bit ADCs, including 16-bit average, up to 24 channels, offset error correction and gain control
  • Dual 2Msps, 12-bit DAC and analog comparator
  • Other I/Os – SSC supporting TDM and I2S, up to 8 UARTs, up to 5 SPI and up to 3 I2C
  • 64 to 144-pin package options
  • Extended industrial temperature range: -40°C to 105°C
  • SAM E70 only:
    • Dual Bosch CAN-FD controller
    • 10/100 Ethernet MAC with IEEE1588

SAM E70 MCUs are also pin-to-pin compatible with SAM4E series. Atnel claims their new MCUs are 2.5 times faster than their Cortex M4 MCUs, and 50% than competitor “S” (That would be ST Micro), which is expected since STM32F7 are clocked at 200 MHz, while SAM S70/E70 MCUs go up to 300 MHz.

Atmel actually has four families of Cortex M7 MCUs, but their automotive grade V70 and V71 MCUs are not mass-produced yet.

Atmel_Cortex_M7_MCUHowever since S70, E70, and V70 are all subset of SAM V71, the development platform “SAM V71 Xplained Ultra Evaluation Kit” (Codename: ATSAMV71-XULT) is powered by the top of the line ATSAMV71Q21 micro-controller with 2MB flash, 384KB SRAM and all peripherals available on Cortex M7 microcontrollers.

Atmel_Xplained_SAM_V71_Cortex_M7SAM V71 Xplained Ultra key features and specifications

  • MCU – ATSAMV71Q21 microcontroller
  • Memory – 2 MB SDRAM
  • Storage – 2 MB QSPI Flash + SD Card connector with SDIO support + AT24MAC402 256KB EEPROM with EUI-48 address
  • Connectivity – IEEE 802.3az 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet RMII PHY
  • Audio – Stereo audio codec, external PLL for precise clock generation, microphone & headphone jacks
  • Camera – Camera interface connector
  • USB – USB interface, device and host mode
  • CAN – ATA6561 CAN Transceiver
  • Media Local Bus (MediaLB) Connector
  • Expansion Headers
    • 2x Xplained Pro extension headers
    • 1x Xplained Pro LCD header
    • Arduino due compatible shield connectors
  • Debugging – Coresight 20 connector for 4-bit ETM, External debugger connector, Embedded Debugger
  • Misc – Reset button, power switch button, mechanical user push-buttons, 2x yellow user LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB or external power input (5-14V)

Software development tools include Atmel Studio, the ARM Keil MDK-ARM and IAR Embedded Workbench, and the MCUs and board support various real-time operating system such as Express Logic ThreadX, FreeRTOS, Keil RTX, NuttX and Segger embOS. Charbax interviewed Atmel a little ago while they were showcasing the Cortex M7 Xplained board at Embedded World.

Atmel SAM S70 MCU starts at $5.34 in 64-pin LQFP package and 512KB on-chip flash for 10k orders, and Atmel SAM V71 Xplained board goes for $136.25. More information is available on SAM S70 and SAM E70 product pages.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Simblee Low Latency Bluetooth LE IoT Module Loads Its App to Your Smartphone on Demand

August 2nd, 2015 No comments

RF Digital launched RFDuino Bluetooth Low Energy board in 2013/2014, and the company has now developed Simblee module, whose name is derived from “Simple”  and “BLE”, and offers low latency (3ms) and integrates a user application that’s automatically and temporary loaded to your smartphone or tablet upon connection. The module is also part of an add-on board (RFD77201) for RFDuino board.

SimbleeSimblee RFD77101 module specifications:

  • MCU – ARM Cortex M0 micr-controller (Nordic nRF51822???)
  • Memory/Storage – 24KB RAM and 128KB flash for user application
  • Bluetooth Smart / LE
    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Stack
    • Simblee interference immunity
    • 3ms latency (for connection); 10us accuracy (jitter)
    • -93dBm receiver sensitivity
    • -55dBm to +4dBm TX power
    • Physical range adjustable from a few inches to hundreds of feet
    • Integrated antenna, integrated shield
  • I/Os
    • 29 GPIOs (flexible pin configuration)
    • 6x ADC inputs
    • 4x PWM outputs
    • 2x SPI master/slave, 2x I2C, 1 x UART
  • Security – Built in AES encryption engine
  • Sensors – Temperature sensor, battery/supply voltage monitoring
  • Power Consumption
    • <3uA ULP with clock running (run for years on a coin cell)
    • 600nA ULP Sleep mode
    • 8mA TX @ 0dBm; 12mA TX @ +4dBm
    • 10mA RX
  • Dimensions – 7mm x 10mm x 2.2mm
  • Compliance – FCC, IC, CE, TELEC compliance approved

 

Simblee_Block_Diagram

Block Diagram for Simblee Module

The module has space on the flash and RAM for user applications built for iPhone and Android apps programmed without Xcode or the Android SDK,  Simblee is programmed using an Arduino IDE with the code loaded using the onchip UART bootloader or via OTA programming. Simblee mobile browser, which you need to install on your mobile device, can then detect the Simblee module, and load the app stored in it on demand.

You can watch the promotion video for some more information. That’s mainly a promotional video with lots of superlatives…, but there are also some interesting demos that show the capabilities of the module.

The Simblee module is said to sell for less than $6 in quantities, but it can also be purchase on Semiconductor store for $19 in single quantity, while Simblee RFDuino adapter goes for $29. More details can be found on Simblee website.

Thank you Nanik!

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Seeed Studio Introduces Automation and Wearable Kits for Intel Edison

May 7th, 2015 No comments

Intel Edison is a $50 module with a dual core Atom processor @ 500Mhz and a single core Quark MCU @ 100 Mhz, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as headers for I/Os that’s destined to be used in wearables and IoT applications. Seeed Studio has now launched two kits for the Intel module for home automation and wearables.

Grove Indoor Environment Kit for Intel Edison

Indoor_Environment_Kit_Intel_EdisonThe automation kit comes in a small blue box with the following parts (Intel Edison and baseboard not included):

  • 1x base shield v2 that plugs into Edison baseboard and allows Grove modules connections
  • 11 grove modules –  temperature & humidity, LCD RGB backlight, relay, moisture sensor, servo, light sensor, buzzer, UV sensor, PIR motion sensor, encoder and button.
  • 2x 26 AWG Grove Cables
  • 9V to barrel jack adapter
  • 1x USB cables
  • 1x User guide

Edison_Light_SwitchProgramming is done with Edison Arduino IDE as explained in the Wiki, and some sample projects include a light control switch, an infrared lamp, and a UV alarm.

The Indoor environment kit can be pre-ordered for $79, but remember you also need to spend about $150 to get Edison module and its baseboard, if you don’t have one already.

Xadow Wearable Kit For Intel Edison

Intel_Edison_Wearables_KitThe wearables kit requires an Intel Edison module, but not the baseboard, and features the following items:

  • 1x Xadow expansion board
  • 1x Xadow programmer
  • Xadow modules – 3-axis accelerometer, barometer (BP 180), micro SD card slot, Q-touch sensor. NFC, buzzer, breakout, vibration sensor, and OLED display
  • Battery
  • 5x digital RGB LED flexi-strips
  • 5x white power cables, 5x red power cables, 5x yellow power cables
  • 1x FFC (Flexible flat cable) package
  • 1x color printed tutorial

Intel_Edison_PedometerAgain, Edison Arduino IDE can be used for programming, and more information showing how to use each module can be found on the kit’s wiki. Sample projects include a simple pedometer with the OLED display and the 3-axis accelerometer module, as well as a bit more complex projects such as a glowing thermometer, or an NFC controlled light.

Xadow wearable kit is available now for $129, and you’ll also need the $50 Edison board, but not the more expensive baseboard.

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Espressif WROOM WiFi ESP8266 Modules are FCC and CE Certified

May 5th, 2015 13 comments

Espressif, the company behind ESP8266 (EX) Wi-Fi chip for IoT applications, has now opened store on Taobao, where they sell WROOM-02 and WROOM-02 modules based on ESP8266EX with FCC, CE, TELEC, and SRRC certifications.

Espressif VROOM-02

Espressif WROOM-02

WROOM-01 has some soldered headers that make it easier to use for hobbyists and prototyping, while WROOM-02 is more compact, and should be more suitable to include in your own products. But otherwise, they share about the same specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif Systems ESP8266EX 32-bit RISC processor @ 80 MHz with integrated WiFi
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n with STA/AP/STA+AP operation modes
  • Header – 2x 18-pin headers with SDIO 2.0, GPIOs, SPI, UART, GND and 3.3V pins
  • Dimensions – 11.5mm x 11.5mm
  • Temperature Range – -40C ~ 125C
  • Certifications – FCC, CE, TELEC, and SRRC
Espressif VROOM-01

Espressif WROOM-01

The company can also provide “hardware reference design, antenna design, and SDK for secondary development”, but you’re likely to find most of what is needed for development, including the SDK, on esp8266.com. You can also checkout WROOM-02 datasheet.

Both modules sell for 20 CNY (~$3.22) on Taobao, before shipping, but in due time they should also show up on Aliexpress stores.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

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Rockchip RKNanoD is a Dual Core Cortex M3 MCU for IoT and Audio Applications

April 20th, 2015 2 comments

Rockchip is better known for their application processor like RK3188 or RK3288 found in tablets and mini PCs, but the company is also making lower power SoCs such as RKNanoC Cortex M3 micro-controller used in wireless audio applications, and more recently Rockchip demonstrated RKNanoD, a dual core Cortex M3 micro-controller for IoT and high-definition audio applications.

Rockchip RKNanoD Block Diagram

Rockchip RKNanoD Block Diagram

Some key specifications and features of RKNanoD MCU:

  • Cores
    • ARM Cortex M3 @ 150 MHz with 64KB SRAM, 16KB RAM, 320KB iRAM, 256KB DRAM for system.
    • ARM Cortex M3 @ 300 MHz with 128KB iRAM, 256 KB DRAM, and an audio H/W accelerator for compute tasks like audio decoding.
  • Storage I/F – Flash, SDMMC, SDIO, SFC
  • Display I/F – LCD, E-Ink
  • Audio – 2x I2S, 24-bit / 192 KHz audio codec
  • USB – USB 2.0 OTG
  • Other I/Os – GPIO, 6x UART, 2x SPI, 3x I2C, 5x PWM, 8x SARADC
  • 8x DMA, 2x Timers
  • Power Consumption – Audio playback: 12mA @ 3.3V
Rockchip RKNanoD Development Board

Rockchip RKNanoD Development Board

So the MCU comes with a low-end, probably always on, Cortex M3 core to take care of “system” tasks, like taking care of sensors, and a more powerful Cortex M3 core up to 300 MHz with the extra performance required for audio decoding, and some other computationally intensive tasks.

I could not find pricing nor availability information, but more details should eventually surface on Rockchip RKNano product page.

Via ARMdevices.net

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