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Posts Tagged ‘development kit’

ICube MVP SoCs Combine CPU and GPU into a Single Unified Processing Unit (UPU)

October 15th, 2014 2 comments

ICube is a fabless semiconductor company developing SoCs featuring a Unified Processing Unit (UPU) that takes care of the tasks usually handle by separate CPU and GPU on typical SoCs. The UPUs are based on MVP (Multi-thread Virtual Pipeline) instruction set architecture, and are themselves called MVP cores. The company has now two SoCs based on UPU MVP cores: IC3128 and IC3228.

IC3228 Block Diagram

IC3228 Block Diagram

IC3128 is a single core / 4 thread SoC, and IC3228 is a dual MVP core / 8 threads SoC. Let’s have a look at IC3228 technical specifications:

  • CPU function
    • 4-way simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) in each core
    • Symmetric-multi-processing (SMP), dual MVP cores
    • 64KB I-cache, 64KB D-cache and 64KB local memory in each core, 256KB shared L2 cache
    • Homogeneous parallel programs
    • Support Pthread, OpenMP
  • GPU function
    • Data parallel, Task parallel, and/or Function parallel computing
    • Multi-standard media processor
    • Programmable unified shader
    • Support OpenGL ES 2.0
    • 70 million triangles / sec, 300 million pixel / sec
  • System Clock – 600MHz (TSMC 65nm)
  • Multi-thread Processing
  • Simultaneous 8 threads (4 threads x dual core) and 8 hybrid threads
  • Processing Power – 5160 DMIPS (equivalent to 4.3 DMIPS/MHz per core)
  • Display System
    • LCD maximum pixel clock: [email protected] (24-bit) true color,
    • HDMI/DVI output capable
  • Camera – 8/10 bit camera data interface
  • Video – Support HD 720p H.264 decoding via pure software
  • Audio – Max. 5.1 channel audio
  • Memory – Support SD, SDHC, MMC card, USB mass storage device, Nand flash, NOR flash, DDR3 SDRAM
  • Power Control – 10 independent power domain, 3 low power modes
  • Connectivity and I/Os
    • USB host/slave
    • WiFi (external), 3G modem (external), GPS (external)
    • 12 keypad I/O for Qwerty keyboard
    • 4x UART; 2x I2C; 3x I2S; 4x SPI slave; 9x GPIO x 9; 3x PWM
  • Timers – Watchdog, RTC

IC3128 has only one MVP core (4 thread) @ up to 400 MHz, supports 800×400 displays, and can decode 480p videos (H.264, MPEG4, RMVB, and ) @ 25 fps, so it’s very much a low end processor, and you could easily argue that even IC3288 is pretty much low end by today’s standards, especially when it comes to media capabilities. 5,000 DMIPS correspond to what you could get with a single core ARM Cortex A9 processor clocked at 2 GHz.

The advantage for this new architecture is that the company does not need to purchase license for processor cores, GPU cores, etc.. potentially providing  a most cost effective solution, and development should not be hindered by binary blobs, and the obvious downside is that lots of work needs to be done to port software to this new architecture, but the company claims that Android 4.2 / Linux 3.4 have already been ported to the platform.

ICube Evaluation Board

ICube Evaluation Board

ICube also offers a reference platform based on IC3228 with a 4.3″ or 7″ display, HDMI, USB, etc..  for development and evaluation of their solution. Documentation, and Android SDK and NDK are provided with the kit.

I can’t find any product based on ICube MVP processors yet, as it’s still very new, but Rhombus Tech / Qimod has recently made a Micro Desktop prototype based on IC3128 processor, using an EOMA-68 module and a baseboard with Ethernet & USB ports (using SMIC 9514 controller), UART, a micro SD card, etc… and IC3128 price is indeed competitive as it’s supposed to sell for just $2.

There’s no publicly available documentation or source code just yet, but you may want to visit ICube website for a few more details.

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ITEAD Core AW204X AllWinner A20 SoM and Core EVB Baseboard

October 14th, 2014 1 comment

ITEAD Studio has been making systems-on-module based on Allwinner processors for a little while which are found in the company’s IBOX mini PC, MOD Duo guitar pedal, and more. They’ve now launched a new system-on-module with a 204-pin SO-DIMM connector instead of the headers used in the earlier modules.

AW2042_AllWinner_A20_System-on-Module

AW2042 SoM (Click to Enlarge)

ITEAD Core AW2041 / AW2042  SoM specifications:

  • SoC- AllWinner A20 dual core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz + ARM Mali 400 MP2
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3 RAM (AW2014: 1GB, AW2042: 2GB).
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash, micro SD card slot (on the back), SATA connector.
  • Connector – 204-pin SO-DIMM edge connector with UART, I2C, SPI, LCD, I2S, LVDS, GPIO, etc.. signals
  • Misc – Built-in RTC, reset, FEL and power buttons.
  • Power – 5V supply, 3.3V I/Os. AXP209 PMIC.
  • Dimensions – 67.60 x 48.25 x 1.6 mm
  • Weight – 35 grams
  • Temperature Range – Commercial

To facilitate development, the company is also providing an open source hardware baseboard (Kicad) simply called “EVB Core”.

EVB Core (Click to Enlarge)

EVB Core (Click to Enlarge)

Baseboard specifications:

  • SoC / Memory / Storage – Via AW204x modules.
  • Eternal Storage – SATA port on module, 5V SATA power on EVB, 1x micro SD slot on EVB, 1x micro SD slot on module.
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, 18/24-bit single or dual channel LVDS
  • Audio – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio jack supporting 8 Ohm speakers @ 3W via included amplifier.
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 OTG ports, 1x USB OTG port (full size)
  • Expansions Headers:
    • 32-pin connector (beige) with access to UART, I2C, SPI, I2S, and GPIO signals, that can be used with some add-on boards made by ITEAD Studio.
    • 40-pin headers compatible with Raspberry Pi Model B+ (UART/I2C/SPI/GPIO)
  • Misc – IR receiver, bicolor LED, power, reset, FEL buttons,
  • Power – 7-23V DC via 2.5mm power jack
  • Power Consumption – 200mA typical, 300mA max. @ 5V? (without devices attached to EVB)
  • Dimensions – 140.2 x 90 mm
  • Weight – 82 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60℃; storage: -40 to 80℃

The evaluation board can be fitted into IBOX metallic enclosure. The company provide supports for ITEAD OS based on Debian 7.0 (Link to SDK), and Android 4.2 for their modules. Some documentation, mostly the pinout diagrams. can be found on the Wiki for AW204x modules, and EVB Core.

Both the modules and baseboard appear to be available now. AW2041 SoM (1GB RAM) sells for $45, AW2042 (2GB RAM) for $60, and EVB Core for $29.99, so a complete development kit would start at $75.

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F&S Electronik Systeme Introduces eFus A9 Industrial Computer Modules Powered by Freescale i.MX6 SoC

October 7th, 2014 No comments

F&S Electronik Systeme, a German embedded systems company, has announced their efus A9 Computers-on-Module (CoM) based on Freescale i.MX6, are now in mass production. The CPU comes in two variants A9V2 for i.MX6 Solo, and A9V3 with i.MX6 DualLite, both of which are certified for automotive and industrial applications, and support commercial, extended, and industrial temperature ranges.

eFus_A9_CoM

eFuse A9 computer-on-module specifications:

  • SoC –  CPU Freescale i.MX6 Solo (eFus A9V2) or DualLite (eFus A9V3) @ up to 1.2 GHz + Vivante 2D and 3D GPUs
  • System Memory – 512MB (Up to 1GB RAM)
  • Storage – 256 MB NAND flash (Up to 1GB), 2 GB eMMC (eFus A9V3 only. up to 32GB), optional SPI NOR, optional I2C EEPROM
  • Display I/F – 18-bit RGB, 2x 24-bit LVDS, and DVI
  • Other interfaces available via 230 pins MXM-2 edge connector:
    • 2x SD card I/F
    • 1x Gigabit Ethernet
    • 1x USB Host, 1x USB Device
    • 2x CAN
    • 4x UART
    • 2x I2C, 2x SPI
    • I2S
    • Touch Panel ext. via I2C
    • 1x digital camera interface
    • 1x PCIe
  • Power Supply – +5VDC/ ±5%
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0°C – +70°C, optional:-20°C – +85°C or -40°C – +85°C.
  • Dimensions – 47×62.1x11mm
  • Weight – 15 grams

eFus A9 modules come with BSPs for either Windows Embedded Compact 7, Windows Embedded Compact 2013, or Linux 3.3 operating systems. Wireless modules (Bluetooth, WLAN, ZigBee, Z-Wave, EnOcean) can also be connected to the CoM without changing the layout of the CPU area.

eFus A9 Starter Kit

eFus A9 Starter Kit

For evaluation and development, the company provides Starter kits composed of eFus A9 CoM and eFus Start Interface baseboard with the following hardware details:

  • CoM Connector – 230-pin MXM-2 socket
  • External Storage – 1x micro SD card slot, 1x SD card slot, 1x SATA (AFAIK not usable with i.MX6 Solo / DualLite modules)
  • Video Output – DVI/HDMI connector, digital RGB connector, backlight, resistive and capacitive touch headers
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, Line In, Line Out, Mic IN
  • Connectivity – 2x Ethernet RJ45 ports
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB device port
  • Camera – Analog and digital camera interfaces (analog not supported by current eFus A9 modules)
  • Expansion Headers:
    • 2×29-pin “feature” connector with SPI, I2C, PWM, UART, VBAT, etc…
    • 2×5-pin CAN headers
    • Three 2×5 serial headers
  • Expansion slots – mini PCIe socket
  • Misc – Reset button, RTC with battery slot
  • Power Supply – 5V power barrel

There are four versions of the starter kit depending on the operating system (Linux or Windows), and the version (V2 or V3) or the eFus CoM. The kit includes the baseboard and module, as well as a cable kit, and access data to documentation and software. V3 kit also adds a 7“ WVGA TFT display.

F&S eFus A9 computer-on-modules are available now starting at 39 Euros, Starterkit efus A9 Linux/Windows (V3 module) for 399 Euros including the display, and Starterkit 2 efus A9 Linux/Windows (V2 module) for 169 Euros. The company commits to long term availability of the modules until 2027. Further details about the modules and devkits, including some publicly available hardware and software documentation,  can be found on F&S Electronik Systeme’s eFus A9 product page.

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$25 TinyScreen is an OLED Display for TinyDuino Arduino Compatible Board (Crowdfunding)

October 7th, 2014 No comments

Back in 2012, Tiny Circuits launched a Kickstarter campaign for TinyDuino, an Arduino compatible board that’s… tiny, based on Atmel Atmega328P, and supports tiny stackable shields in a similar fashion to Microduino (launched in 2013). The campaign was successful, and the company is now back on Kickstarter with TinyScreen, an OLED display that can be stacked on top of TinyDuino to create a smartwatch, a minuscule gamepad, smart glasses, and more.

TinyScreen_OLED_Arduino

Video Player and Video Game Kits for TinyScreen

TinyScreen technical specifications:

  • 96×64 OLED display, 16-bit color depth
  • 0.96″ (24.4mm) viewable area
  • Software controllable backlight (OLED brightness)
  • Power down mode
  • Four push buttons along the sides (connected to IO pins)
  • SPI interface for display
  • Power Supply – 3.0V to 5.5V operation (higher voltages supported with TinyShield power regulator)
  • Power Consumption – 20 – 45mA max supply current (depending on brightness)
  • Dimensions – 25.8mm x 25.0mm

Programming of TinyDuino can be done through a web interface for Arduino called Codebender, that seems to provide functionality very similar to the Arduino IDE, except it’s done from your web browser. TinyDuino also supports the standard Arduino IDE, but Codebender will transparently keep TinyScreen libraries, examples, and standalone apps up-to-date. TinyDuino and TinyShields are schematics and PCB layout files (Eagle) are available on github, an the company intends to release hardware design files for TinyScreen as well. Various tutorials for TinyDuino and TinyShields can be found in tiny circuits website, and I assume TinyScreen will soon be added in this section too. Support is provided on their forums.

Codebender

Codebender

Unless you already own recent TinyDuino boards and shields (boards have been updated since 2012), TinyScreen would be pretty useless, so albeit the OLED display is offered as a single perk for $25, most people will be interested in the kits:

  • Basic Kit ($55) – TinyScreen, TinyDuino “processor”, USB shield and Li-Po Battery.
  • Video Player Kit ($65) – Basic kit + micro SD card shield.
  • Video Game Kit ($75) – Basic kit + Joystick shield.
  • Smart Watch Kit ($90) – Basic kit + Bluetooth LE shield.
  • Deluxe Kit ($120) – Basic kit + microSD, BLE, and Joystick shield.
  • Robot Control Kit  ($165) – Based on Video Game kit + one extra TinyDuino board, 2x 433Mhz radio shields, and a motor x4 shield.
  • Sensor Kit ($200) – Based on Smart Watch kit + Wi-Fi, Accelerometer, 9-axis DOF, ambient light, and compass shields.

There are also two perks that offer discount when you buy multiple basic kits, or a combination of kits.

The video below provides an overview of TinyScreen and some of its kits, and shows Tiny Circuits factory based in the US.

The project has already reached its funding target ($15,000) having raised over $56,000 with 18 days to go. Shipping for all perks is free to the US, and $5 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for January to February 2015.

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Arduino Compatible Microduino JoyPad with TFT Display Lets You Play Games, Control Devices, and More (Crowdfunding)

September 30th, 2014 No comments

Last year, Microduino successfully launched their tiny Arduino board and shields via Kickstarter, and they are now back on Kickstarter with Microduino Joypad, an other Arduino compatible board that also happens to be a gamepad with a small OLED display. It can be used in standalone to control games on the tiny display, as a gamepad for PC or game console, a control interface for quadcopters and robots etc…
Microduino_JoypadMicroduino Joypad (main board) specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel ATMega328p/1284p/644p or 32U4 via Microduino Core, Core+, CoreUSB boards. (Not part of board but included in all perks)
  • Display I/F – TFT and OLED headers. Separate TFT display board included in all perks.
  • Controls – Left and right joysticks, 4 buttons, and left and right switches.
  • Audio – Microphone
  • Sensors – Light sensor, temperature sensor
  • USB – 2x micro USB ports: one for power and one for charging
  • Expansions – 2x UPin27 headers for Microduino shields.
  • Misc – Buzzer, vibrator, reset key, power switch, charging and power LEDs
  • Power – 5V – 1x micro USB for power, 1x Micro USB for charging, battery header

Microduino_Joypad_Tetris
There’s very little information about programming the Joypad, but since it’s based on Microduino board, you should be able to use the same Microduino interface, and documentation. Microduino is also open source hardware, and files are already available, and the company also intends to make the Joypad open source hardware once it ships.

Arduino has already made an Arduino gamepad called Esplora, and if you wonder what the difference are between Esplora and Microduino Joypad, the company listed the differences in the following table.

Esplora_vs_JoypadIf you are interested you can checkout Microduino Joypad Kickstarter campaign, where you can still pledge $54 for an early bird Joypad with Microduino Core, USB2TLL board (required for programming), and a USB cable, after which the kit will be available for $60. They also have various perks including quadcopter and self-balancing robot kits going for $202 and $214 respectively. Shipping is free to the US, and $20 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for October and November 2014.

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Toradex Colibri i.MX6 SoM with Freescale i.MX6 Solo and DualLite Processors

September 26th, 2014 No comments

Toradex has added a new system-on-module to its Colibri family with Colibri IMX6 SoM powered by either Freescale i.MX 6Solo singl core processor, or i.MX 6DualLite dual core core processor. The SoMs are available in both both commercial and industrial temperature grade, come with up 4GB eMMC, 256 to 512MB RAM, and support Linux or Windows Embedded operating systems.

Toradex Colibri iMX6 (Click to Enlarge)

Toradex Colibri iMX6 (Click to Enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Toradex Colibri i.MX6 module include:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX6 Solo single core or DualLite dual core Cortex-A9 core @ 800MHz (Industrial temp.) or 1GHz (Commercial temp) with Vivante 2D/3D GPUs.
  • System Memory –  256MB (Solo) or 512MB (DualLite) DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash
  • I/Os available via the 200-pin SO-DIMM connector:
    • 3x 8-bit SDIO/SD/MMC
    • 10/100M Ethernet (Micrel KSZ8041NL PHY)
    • USB 2.0 host, USB 2.0 OTG
    • Video Output
      • HDMI 1.4a up to 1080p resolution
      • RGB up to 1920×1200 (24bpp)
    • Camera – 2x Camera Parallel inputs
    • Audio – Audio line-in (stereo), mic-in (mono), and headphone (stereo). Freescale SGTL5000 Audio Codec
    • Others I/F – 4-wire resistive touch interface, 3x I2C, 3x SPI, 5x UART, 2x CAN, 1x IrDA, 4x PWM, up to 154x GPIOs, 4x analog inputs
  • Temperature Range – Commercial: 0 to 70°C; or Industrial: -40 to 85°C
  • Power Dissipation – TBC
  • Dimensions – 67.6 x 36.7 x 6.2mm

Linux, Windows Embedded Compact 7, and Windows Embedded Compact 2013 will be supported. You can also contact Toradex for Android support. For some reasons, the first samples will come with Linux, but WEC 2013 will be pre-loaded for mass-production instead.

Colibri IMX6 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Colibri IMX6 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Several carrier board are available with Colibri IMX6 modules: the tiny and low cost Viola baseboard, as well as the more feature-rich Colibri evaluation board, Iris carrier board, and Orchid carrier board. You can access documentation and tutorials on Toradex’s developer site.

Toradex Colibri IMX6 modules will be available in Q4 2014 starting at 42 Euros for 10,000+ unit orders for the commercial grade version of the Solo SoM. In single quantity, Solo 256MB module costs 58 Euros, and if you add Viola carrier board, the total cost of an evaluation board would be 107 Euros. There’s 7 to 9 Euros difference between the commercial and industrial grade versions. The modules benefit from i.MX6 long term availability, you would be able to purchase modules until the year 2028. Further details can be found on Toradex’s Colibri IMX6 product page.

Via  LinuxGizmos

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Micro Python ARM Cortex M4 Board is Now Available for $45

September 26th, 2014 1 comment

Micro Python is both a lightweight implementation of Python 3.4 programming language, and a board, aka pyBoard, based on STMicro STM32F4 ARM Cortex M4 micro-controller running Micro Python. The project had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, and they’ve completed shipment of the perks to their backers last June. The company has now launched its own store, so let’s see the progress of the project.

Micro Python Board (Click to Enlarge)

Micro Python Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board has been re-designed since Kickstarter campaign, but the specifications remains the similar, but with some extra I/Os exposed:

  • MCU – STMicro TM32F405RG micro-controller @ 168 MHz with 1MB flash, 192KB RAM, and an FPU.
  • External Storage – Micro SD card slot, supporting standard and high capacity SD cards
  • Expansion Headers:
    • 24x GPIO on left and right edges and 5x GPIO on bottom row, plus LED and switch GPIO available on bottom row
    • 3x 12-bit analog to digital converters, available on 16 pins, 4 with analog ground shielding
    • 2x 12-bit digital to analog (DAC) converters, available on pins X5 and X6
  • USB – Micro USB connector for power and serial communication
  • Sensors –  3-axis accelerometer (MMA7660)
  • Misc – Real time clock with optional battery backup,  4x LEDs (red, green, yellow and blue), 1x reset and 1x user switch
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port. On-board 3.3V LDO voltage regulator, capable of supplying up to 300mA, input voltage range 3.6V to 10V
  • Dimensions – 32 x 40 mm

The board connects to your PC over USB, and all I/Os can be controlled with a Windows, Mac or Linux computer using three possible ways:

  • REPL - Connect to the board using serial program (minicom, hyperterminal) to get a Python REPL (read–eval–print loop) prompt, where you can execute Python commands just as you would on your PC.
  • Remote script - Pressing ctrl-A in the console will switch to raw REPL mode, where you can send any Python script to the board for it to execute immediately. pyboard.py script is provided to your script to the board.
  • From file - The pyboard has a filesystem located in the flash memory of the MCU and a micro SD card slot. When you connect the board to your PC it will show as a USB mass storage device, which can be mounted in your PC. Simply copy your Python script (main.py) in the partition, and it will run automatically. This allows to run scripts without being connected to your PC.

The company provides documentation and source code about Micro Python software implementation, as well as hardware files in PDF format.  Eagle schematics & PCB layout, and gerber files are also available for the earlier version (pybv3), but not the the latest version of the board (pybv10). You should also be able to run Micro Python implementation on hardware based on x86, x86-64 or ARMv7 targets running Linux.

Micro Python board v1.0 can be purchased for £28.00 (~$45) on the company’s e-store, and you can also find LCD and audio “skins”, as well as a few other modules to interface with the board.

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