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.
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.
The 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
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.
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 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 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
2x headers with 16 GPIOs also configurable as I2C, SPI, etc.. with 5V/3.3V selector
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
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.
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.
SAM 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.
However 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.
SAM 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
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.
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.
Simblee RFD77101 module specifications:
MCU – ARM Cortex M0 micr-controller (Nordic nRF51822???)
Memory/Storage – 24KB RAM and 128KB flash for user application
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.
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
The 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
Programming 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
The wearables kit requires an Intel Edison module, but not the baseboard, and features the following items:
5x white power cables, 5x red power cables, 5x yellow power cables
1x FFC (Flexible flat cable) package
1x color printed tutorial
Again, 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.
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.
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
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.
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
Some key specifications and features of RKNanoD MCU:
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.
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.