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Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

$49 STEVAL-WESU1 Wearable Sensor Unit Reference Design is Based on STMicro STM32 MCU

May 23rd, 2016 1 comment

STMicroelectronics STEVEL-WESU1 is a wearable open source hardware reference design and development kit comprised of a board with STM32L1 ARM Cortex-M3 micro-controller, BlueNRG-MS Bluetooth LE chip, and sensors, a battery, and a watch band.

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STMicro “WESU” specifications and features:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L151VEY6 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 32 KHz to 32 MHz, 512KB flash, 80 KB SRAM
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE via BlueNRG-MS BLE network processor
  • Sensors – 3D accelerometer + 3D gyroscope (LSM6DS3), 3-axis magnetometer (LIS3MDL),  MEMS pressure sensor (LPS25HB)
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for recharging
  • Debugging – SWD connector for debugging and programming capability
  • Power
    • 100 mAh Li-Ion battery included, UN38.3 tested and certified
    • STNS01 Li-Ion linear battery charger
    • STC3115 Fuel gauge IC
  • Watch strap with plastic housing included
  • Certifications –  FCC (FCC ID: S9N-WESU1), IC (IC: 8976C-WESU1), RoHS

The kit can be controlled by ST WeSU app for Android and iOS, and developed using BlueST SDK, available on Github. You can also get all hardware files (Gerber, schematics, PCB layout, BoM,…), documentation, as well as firmware and source code on STEVAL-WESU1 product page.

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Android app Screenshots – Click to Enlarge

STEVAL-WESU1 can be purchased for $48.95 directly on STMicro website, or via distributors such as DigiKey or Mouser.

Via Time4EE

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NXP Unveils i.MX 8 Multisensory Enablement Kit with Hexa Core ARMv8 Processor

May 17th, 2016 8 comments

Freescale, now NXP, i.MX 8 processors have been a long time coming, but finally the company has now unveiled a Multisensory Enablement Kit based on i.MX 8 hexa core ARMv8 processor combined with a Vulkan-ready & OpenCL capable GPU.

i.MX8_Multisensory_Enablement_KitKey features of the development kit:

  • Multisensory Processor Board
  • Multisensory Expansion Board
  • Isolation and separation of secure, safe and open domains
  • Rich compute (6x ARMv8 64-bit main CPUs, OpenCL GPU)
  • Vulkan-ready GPU with HW tessellation and geometry shading
  • Efficient, multi-screen (4x) support via HW virtualization
  • Failover-ready display path
  • Up to 8x camera input for 360 degree vision
  • Integrated vision processing
  • HDR enhanced video
  • Multi-sensor fusion and expansion
  • Multi-core audio and speech processing
  • NXP radio solution integration

However, at the time of writing, there’s very little information about i.MX8 processors themselves, but I’m confident much more info should soon surface as NXP FTF 2016 is taking place now until May 19, 2016. The press release about i.MX8 MEK does mention 4K video and graphics, and some security features. The company expects the processor to be used for for intuitive gesture control, voice recognition, natural speech recognition and audio acceleration, as well as healthcare and industrial applications such as connected vehicles.

NXP i.MX 8 MEK is said to be available now, together with the BSPs and middleware. More details should eventually be posted on i.MX8 MEK page.

[Update: I found a slide about i.MX8 with some details. Source: NXP Forums.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux, NXP i.MX Tags: 4k, armv8, automotive, devkit, nxp

“BluePill” is a $2 Arduino Compatible Development Board Based on STMicro STM32 MCU

May 17th, 2016 28 comments

I’m amazed that if your budget for a board was just $5 for one MCU board, you now have so many options for your electronics projects: ESP8266 boards, a few STM8 boards, One Dollar Board project, and many more… Other options are “BluePill” or “RedPill” boards based on STM32 or GD32 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 micro-controllers that go for about $2 shipped, and can be programmed with the Arduino IDE thanks to STM32Duino project.

BlueBill_STM32_Board

BluePill board specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F103C8T6 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 72 MHz with 64KB flash memory, 20KB SRAM.
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Debugging – 4x pin SWD header or micro USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 20-pin with power signals, I2C, SPI, GPIOs, ADC inputs, etc…
  • Misc – Reset button, two jumpers (for boot mode), power and user LEDs.
  • Power – 5V via USB, 2.0-3.6V power via 3.3V pin on SWD header.
  • Dimensions – 5.3cm x 2.2cm.

I specifically wrote about “BluePill” board instead of “RedPill”, because one thread on STM32duino forums mention the former is a bit better. You can find documentation on Piffa.net wiki (Italian only) and STM32duino wiki. Most instructions use a USB to serial (TTL) board to program connected to PA9 and PA10 pins to program the board, but I understand that USB programming if possible by replacing the 10kΩ pull up resistor on PA12 (USB D+) by a 1.5kΩ resistor.

The video below shows how to use the STM32 board with a serial debug board, and the Arduino IDE.

One interesting fact about the $2 price tag for the board (remember it also includes shipping) is that STM32F103C8T6 MCU itself is supposed to sell for $2.056 in 10k quantities, until you are looking for actual pricing in China, where it is sold for less than one dollar (6 RMB).

Beside Aliexpress, you can also find the board on eBay. Few sellers call it BluePill, and instead they are often called “STM32 Minimum System Development Board”, but a search for “STM32F103C8T6″ on your favorite resellers should also list the board.

Thank you Zoobab!

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Getting Started with Wio Link Starter Kit, Visual Programming Android App, and IFTTT

May 15th, 2016 1 comment

Wio Link is a board based on on ESP8266 WiSoC that supposed to be easy to setup thanks to Grove modules – no breadboard and mesh or wires – and, as I first understood it, to program thanks to a drag and drop mobile app that does not require any actual programming. More advanced users can also use a RESTful API in Python, JavaScript, Node.js, PHP, Objective-C or Java. I’ve been sent a $49 Wio Link Starter Kit including the board, a USB cable, and six Grove modules to evaluate the kit. I’ll start by have a look a the kit, before experimenting with Wio Link Android app.

Wio Link Starter Kit Unboxing

The kit is sent in a red plastic case.

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Wio Link board is lodged in the top covers, and other accessories placed in bags in the main part of the case.

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Let’s check the board first.

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There are three main ICs: ESP8266EX WiFi SoC, Silabs CP2102 USB to TTL chip for programming the board, and Winbond 25Q23BVIG serial flash memory (4MB). On the right side, the micro USB port is used for power and debugging, a header can be used for battery power, and Config and Reset buttons are present. The six Grove connectors can either take digital (3) modules, analog (1) modules, I2C (1) modules, or UART (1) modules.
ESP8266_Board_Open_Source_Hardware

The bottom side of the board does not any components, and the only noticeable parts are Seed Studio and Open Source Hardware logo, as well as http://iot.seeed.cc which point to documentation and forums for the board.

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Once I’ve taken everything out of the small bags, we can see the fully kit content with Wio Link board, a micro USB port, and from top left to bottom right, six Grove modules and their cables: WS2812 LED strip (25 LEDs), temperature and humidity sensor, button, digital light sensor, 3-axis digital accelerometer, and a relay module.

Grove_Module_MarkingsIf you have many Grove module, it may not always be easy to know which one does what, but the Grove module is printed on the silkscreen on the back the board.

Wio Link Android App

Wio / Wio Link app is available for both Android 4.1+ and iOS 7+, and I tested the board with the Android app, following some of the instructions on the Getting Started Guide.

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The first step is to login or create an account with your email, before setting up Wio Link, or the small and soon-to-be released Wio Node.

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At this stage, I had to power Wio Link board. I did so by connecting Wio Link to one of the port my USB hub, and I noticed the red LED would blink very fast, but pressing on the Config button as instructed in the app would not do anything, and Wio Link was not detected at all. So I changed to a proper 5V/2A power supply, and the red LED was steady, with the green LED in the middle of the board slowly blinking, and after pressing the Config button for about 4 seconds, the blue TURN lit up. So if the board does not work, try another power supply. The USB cable should be OK, as it’s shipped with the board.

After that you can select Wio (WioLink_XXXXXX), select an access point (AP) to connect the board to the Internet, and give your board a name – I went with cnxwio – to complete the setup.

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Then you can select module on the bottom, the app will show you where you can drag and drop it (Digital. Analog, UART, or I2C), and then repeat the same process with the other modules.  I had the idea of making a demo reporting the temperature and humidity, while turning off the LED strip with the accelerometer, and turning it on with the button module, so I connected the four modules in the app and in “real life”.

Wio_Link_LED_Strip

Once you are happy with the setup, tap on Update to flash the firmware to the board. This should take a few seconds. At this stage I was expecting to be able to do some more visual programming, but all you can do is tap on API to get the API info, and experiment with the API. So rather than a complete programming solution, Wio app is an help for program development.

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The three screenshots above show the list of Wio Link boards and their connected modules, and one API call to control the LED strip, namely to make it “blink in a rainbow flow”. You can also share the API by email or other method to get the API calls on your computer and get on with programming. This is the list of API calls I got with the four modules. You can simply use the command link in a Linux computer (or now Windows Subsystem for Linux) to monitor and control the board with curl. You can also use Python or other programming languages to use the API, as show in wio_link_execute.py that controls a traffic light.

But for the purpose of this review, I did not want to write code, only use graphical tools or app, so my next option was IF by IFTTT app.

Wio_Link_IFTTT_Setup

Right after  you start the app, tap on the top right icon to Browse recipes, select “Create a New Recipe“, tap on “+”  (Start Here!) icon, and search for Seeed trigger. The first time you’ll be redirected to login to Seeed Studio – which the password created at the beginning of this tutorial – in your browser, and once it’s done you’ll be able to “Monitor a sensor value”, select one action related to the sensors connected to Wio Link, and complete the trigger. I wanted to detect when the button is pressed (The value should be 0 when pressed) on the Grove module. There’s a big caveat doing this, but more on that later.

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Now click Next to select the “That” step, and again search for Seeed to select one of the “Actions”, and configure it. I wanted to turn on the LED strip, and selected “light up Grove WS2812 LED strip” and “Random Rainbow”, before pressing on Finish to complete the action.

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That’s all good, except for one detail. It did not work, as pressing the button had not effect. After configuring the accelerometer to turn off the LED strip, I started to receive notifications every 2 to 5 minutes about the “shaked” status. So I went to recipe, modified it to turn on the LED when the accelerometer is shaken, and press the Check Now button to verify it, and the LED strip indeed lit up. So unless I’ve somehow missed an important option, that meant IFTTT is not suitable for my use case, because everything is handled from the cloud, and it’s not “polling” the sensors quite often enough.  However, If you want to monitor the temperature sensor, and take an action if the temperature rise above a threshold, that’s perfectly usable as long as it can be taken within a few minutes.

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As one last experiment, I set the LED strip to turn on each time I receive a new email in my gmail account. It did not work for the first email, even after waiting a few minutes (5+ minutes), and then pressing “Check Now”. So I sent another email, waited one or two minutes without results, and pressed “Check Now” again, and the LED strip finally turned on.

So the takeaway is that Wio Link app does make setting up the board easier, and also provide an easy to use reference to the API after the configuration, but it’s not a pure visual programming app per se, and you’ll need to write your own program using the RESTful API. Alternatively IFTTT app can be used to control the board using triggers from the Internet (Facebook, twitter, emails, ….) or sensors from the Grove module, and the app then take actions using the Grove modules such as relays or LED strips, but there are some limitations to what can be done, and my experience with IFTTT and Wio Link was mixed.

I’d like to thank Seeed Studio for sending Wio Link Starter Kit for evaluation. You can purchase the kit for $49 on Seeed Studio if you are interested.

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LX IoT Cores Are Made for IoT and Wearables with Bluetooth LE, ANT+, 2G/3G, Sigfox, LoRa, and More

May 10th, 2016 No comments

LX Group, an Australian company specializing in electronics design and embedded systems, has introduced three wireless modules for IoT and wearables which they call “LX IoT Cores”, and embeds various wireless protocol such as Bluetooth LE/Ant+, 2G/3G connectivity, WiFi, Lora, Sigfox, Taggle, etc…

LX_IoT_Cores

Let’s go though the main technical specs for the three modules, one of which it itself modular (hence the max and min size) depending on your requirements.

  • LX Cellular Core (Right)
    • MCU – STMicro STM32F217IGH6 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 120 MHz with 1MB flash, 128kB RAM
    • Storage – 1x micro SD card reader
    • Communication Interfaces
      • Radios – 2G/3G,  WiFi,  BLE,  ANT+,  provision for LoRa,  Taggle,  SigFox, optional GPS via daughter board
      • Wired – USB,  RS485, UART, SPI,  I2C, Digital IO, ADC
    • Sensors – Ambient Luminosity, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, temperature, humidity, air pressure, microphone
    • USB – 1x micro USB port
    • Misc – Reset and 2x user buttons, 2x LEDs
    • Power – Fused 5VDC boost converter  |  fused 3VDC SMPS
    • Dimensions – Min: 34.2 x 19.0 x 5.9 mm; Max: 83.6 x 19.0 x 5.9 mm
    • Weight – 6.3 grams (for minimal config?)
  • LX Sensor Core (Center)
    • MCU – STMicro STM32L152RET6 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 32 MHz with 512kB flash, 80kB RAM, 4kB EEPROM
    • Communication Interfaces
      • Radios – WiFi,  BLE,  ANT+,  LoRa,  Taggle,  SigFox, GPS/QZSS + GLONASS
      • Wired – RS485, UART, SPI,  I2C, GPIO
    • Sensors – Ambient Luminosity, accelerometer, high G accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, temperature, humidity, and air pressure
    • Misc – Reset and 1x user buttons, 1x LED
    • Power – Fused 5VDC boost converter  |  fused 3VDC SMPS
    • Dimensions – 62.5 x 16.5 x  4.0 mm
    • Weight – 6.2 grams
  • LX Wearable Core (Left)
    • MCU – Nordic Semi nRF51422 Multi-protocol ANT/BLE ARM Cortex-M0 MCU
    • Communication Interfaces
      • Radios -Bluetooth LE and ANT+
      • Wired – UART, SPI,  I2C, GPIO, 10-bit ADC
    • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, temperature, humidity, and air pressure
    • Misc – Haptic motor and driver support, 1x user/reset button, 3x LED
    • Power – “Bring your own battery” capable of delivering 100mA at 3.3V – 5.5V
    • Dimensions – 30 x 12 x 2 mm
    • Weight – 3.5 grams

IoT Cores can also take breakout and expansion boards.

LX_IoT_Cores_Cloud_Software

The cores are apparently pre-loaded with firmware and ready to use, so you can connect to the cloud via customizable LX dashboards to visualize the data and or control the cores. Alternatively you can also design your own solution using LX Cloud API, still in development, but customer can joing the beta list to access devkits and training materials.

Solar_Powered_IoT_Sensors

The company can also provides enclosures for the module and total solutions, as shown with the solar powered node above.

Pricing and availability are not known yet. You can find more details on LX IoT Core website.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Arduino UNO WiFi Board Combines Atmel ATmega328P MCU with ESP8266 SoC

May 3rd, 2016 8 comments

Arduino.org (Arduino Srl) has launched Arduino UNO WiFi board, bringing Arduino (Atmel ATMega328P MCU) and ESP8266 together, and adding WiFi to the popular Arduino UNO board, while keeping all existing interfaces and headers.

Arduino_UNO_WiFiArduino UNO WiFi (A000133) board specifications:

  • Arduino part
    • MCU – Atmel ATmega328 8-bit AVR MCU @ 16 MHz with 32 KB flash Memory, 2KB SRAM, 1KB EEPROM
    • Digital I/O pins – 14, with 6 PWM and UART
    • Analog Input Pins – 6
    • DC Current per I/0 –  40 mA
    • Misc – Reset button
    • Operating Voltage – 5 V
  • ESP8266 part
    • SoC – Expressif ESP8266EX Tensilica Xtensa LX106 processor @ 80 MHz
    • Storage – 4MB SPI flash
    • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz, wake up time < 2 ms; Antenna: PCB and IPX
    • Misc – Bootloader button, WiFi LED
    • Operating Voltage – 3.3 V
  • Common specs
    • USB – 1x USB device port
    • Input Voltage – 5-12 V via DC jack, Vin or USB port (5V only)
    • Power Consumption – 130 mA (sleepmode 80 mA)
    • Dimensions – 68.5 x 53 mm
    • Weight – 28 grams

Arduino_UNO_WiFi_Pinout

The board is open source hardware with the schematics (PDF and DSN) soon to be released, and is programmed using the Arduino IDE by selecting “Arduino UNO WiFi” board, and the Ciao library can be used to play with REST, MQTT, etc… You won’t even need a USB connection to upload your sketch as it can be done over WiFi just like with Arduino Yun. The Atmel AVR MCU and ESP8266 processor communicate via either UART or I2C as shown in the diagram below.

Arduino_UNO_WiFi_ESP8266_Communication

Arduino Uno Wi-Fi board will come pre-uploaded with the RestServer sketch that allows you to control the board via your web browser using the URL: http://192.168.240.1/arduino/<digital|analog>/<GPIO>/<ON_OFF|<INPUT_MODE>, where digital or analog let you select the IO type, GPIO the pin number,  ON_OFF is either  1 or 0 for on or off, and INPUT_MODE is either input or output. Some examples:
  • /arduino/digital/13/1 – Sets GPIO 13 to high
  • /arduino/digital/13 – Reads the value on GPIO 13
  • /arduino/analog/2 – Reads Analog pin 2 value
  • /arduino/mode/13/input – Set GPIO 13 to input

Price and availability of the board have not been disclosed. You can visit Arduino UNO WiFi product page for more information.

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Electrodragon WiFi IoT Relay Includes ESP8266 Module, AC Power, and Enclosure for $6

May 2nd, 2016 5 comments

Thanks to ESP8266, the cost of WiFi relays has dramatically come down, but so far, I could not find an all-in-one solution with ESP8266, relay, AC power and enclosure, and for example I’m still using NodeMCU board, a relay board, a USB power supply, and put all that into a plastic jar in order to control a water pump. It works but it’s not ideal, and solutions like Wemos D1 mini with relay shield improves things further, but Electrodragon has come with a connect-and-play WiFi IoT relay that integrates everything including the case for $6 + shipping.

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Click to Enlarge

Wifi IoT Relay Board Based on ESP8266:

  • WiFi module – ESP-12F based on Espressif ESP8266EX WiSoC
  • Relays – 2x Songle SRD-05VDC-SL-C relays supporting 125VAC/10A, 250VAC/10A, 30VDC/10A, 28VDC/10A
  • Input/Output – 3x terminal blocks for relay and power
  • Expansion – 12-pin header with Rx/Tx,  GPIO4, Btn2, GPIO15, 5V/GND,  ADC, GPIO5, Btn1, OUTPUT1, and 3V3
  • Debugging – Serial pins accessible on header for programming the board with your own firmware
  • Misc – 2x buttons, 2x LEDs for relay, 1x status LED
  • Power – 1x terminal block for AC input; AC 85-265V to DC 5V power module
  • Dimensions – N/A, but small 🙂

IoT_Relay_ESP8622_BoxThe enclosure appears to protect well enough against dust, or a few water drops, but I would not put it under the rain…

The board is pre-loaded with ESP8266 AT firmware, but you can connect a USB to TLL debug to program with the demo code firmware available from the Wiki. The demo firmware used NodeMCU LUA firmware and www.cloudmqtt.com.

I found the product via Pete Scargill Blog, where he has started testing the device, and experimenting with his own firmware.

It’s actually quite similar to IteadStudio’s Sonoff, except it does not support RF, and features two relays instead of just one, and now that the crowdfunding campaign is over, you can purchase it for $4.85 (WiFi only), or $7.20 (WiFi + RF) plus shipping. Both Electrodragon and Iteadstutio provide affordable shipping for a couple of dollars. One more thing they almost certainly have in common is the lack of UL/ETL safety certifications, so that means your insurance may not cover fire hazard if they found this type of products in your home, and they have not been certified to be safe, so you’d have to rely on your own, or the community, judgment. One buyer also noted that “AC lines on the PCB are quite thin”, and Peter also had a similar comment: “the two tracks bringing power right across the board from the mains to the two relays –  while being nicely isolated by an air gap which is GOOD, are WAY too thin to handle a total of 20 amps”,  so the current design is unlikely to be suitable to handle two high loads at the same time.

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Inforce 6601 micro SoM Snapdragon 820 System-on-Module Embeds WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS

April 28th, 2016 1 comment

We’ve already seem Intrinsyc’s Snapdragon 820 development board and module, but there’s now an alternative thanks to Inforce Computing 6601 micro SoM  which is pin-to-pin compatible to the company’s earlier Inforce 6401 and Inforce 6501 Micro SOMs, also based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and works with the same SYS6501 carrier board.

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Inforce Computing 6601 Micro SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (APQ8096) quad core ARMv8 processor with two “Gold” cores up to 2.2 GHz, two “Silver” cores up to 1.6 GHz, Adreno 530 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0, and Vulkan, as well as  Hexagon 680 DSP  up to 825 MHz
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 gear 3 flash up to 5.83Gbps, 1x micro SD card 3.0 interface for support for to HS400,  optional eMMC 5.1 flash.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 & 2×2 dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (QCA6174), and GPS (WGR4310)
  • Peripherals and I/O via two 100-pin SoM connectors:
    • Video / Display – 1x HDMI 2.0, dual MIPI-DSI (4-lane) & touch screen
    • Audio
      • 4x Line out, 3x Mic-in, 2x headphone out
      • On-board WDC9355 audio codec
      • Codec support for MP3, AAC + eAAC, WMA 9/Pro, Dolby AC-3, eAC-3, DTS
    • Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI (3x 4-lane) up to 28 MP with zero shutter lag
    • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 host/OTG port
    • 1x PCIe, 1x SDC, SLIMBUS
    • JTAG, 8x GPIO, 12x BLSPs for UART, I2C, and SPI
  • Video / Image Capabilities
    • H.264 playback and capture @4K60
    • H.265 playback @4K60 and capture @4K30
    • VP9 playback up to 4K60
    • Dual 14-bit Spectra ISP with support for up to 1.2GPix/sec throughput
  • Power Supply – +3.3V/6A DC input; On-module MA8996 MIC
  • Dimensions – 50 x 28 mm
  • Weight – 11 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0° C to 70° C; Storage: -20° C to 80° C
  • Certifications – RoHS and WEEE compliant, FCC.
6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The company provides Android 6.0 Marshmallow / Linaro Ubuntu Linux BSPs for the module, as well as several free Qualcomm SDK such as Vuforia VR, Alljoyn proximity connectivity, FastCV computer vision, Symphony System Manager, and Snapdragon for facial recognition. SYS6601 development kit includes a Inforce 6601 Micro SOM pre-loaded with either Linux and Android, a mini-ITX baseboard, and other accessories.

6601 micro SoM Development Kit - Click to Enlarge

6601 micro SoM Development Kit – Click to Enlarge

It’s exactly the same carrier board as for SYS6501 development kit so I won’t repeat the specs again.

Inforce 6601 micro SoM is sold for $270, while the complete development kit goes for $475. More details can be found on the product page.

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