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Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

LimiFrog is a Bluetooth 4.1 Wearables Devkit Based on STM32L4 with Lots of Sensors (Crowdfunding)

September 4th, 2015 1 comment

LimitFrog is a tiny board powered by STMicro STM32-L4 microcontroller with Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, plenty of sensors, and that can run code bare metal as well as RiOT real-time operating system.

LimifrogLimiFrog specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32-L4 ARM Cortex M4 micro-controller @ 80 MHz with DSP, 512KB flash, 128KB RAM
  • External storage – 8MB serial flash for data that supports FAT32 file system
  • Display – 160×128 RGB565 OLED display
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 (Panasonic PAN1740)
  • Sensors (Follow this link for datasheets of most components)
    • Pressure, altitude & temperature (LPS25H)
    • 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope (LSM6DS3)
    • 3-axis magnetometer (LIS3MDL)
    • Ambient light, proximity and distance (VL6180X)
    • Ambient sound (SPU0414H5H)
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming
  • Expansions – 11-pin (through holes) providing access to SPI, I2C, CAN, PWM, GPIOs, ADC, DAC, Analog out, and power signals (3V out GND)
  • Battery – 500 mAh (hours to weeks of battery life depending on application)
  • Dimensions – N/A (but small)

Limifrog_block_diagramThe “basic” version does not come with sensors, Bluetooth 4.1, nor OLED display, so these are optional, and three more versions are offered “Sense”, “Sense’m comm” and “Full Monty” if you want more features.

LimiFrog can currently be programmed in C/C++, and MicroPython support is in the works. The libraries include a USB stack, a FAT file system, and graphics support. As mentioned in the introduction, programs can run bare metal, or using RiOT real-time operating system.

Software Architecture

Software Architecture

The company also provided a code sample in C if you want to check what the API looks like.

The project has launched on Kickstarter, and rewards start at 39 Euros for the “basic” version of the board with a LiPo battery, software packages, 3D printer files for the case, and up to 99 Euros for the “full monty” including Bluetooth 4.1, the OLED display, and all sensors. Delivery is scheduled for January 2016, and shipping costs between 8 and 12 Euros depending on the chosen rewards. More information may also be found on Limifrog.io.

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TESPA Hawk IoT Board Combines ESP8266 with STM32 MCU in an Arduino Nano Form Factor (Crowdfunding)

August 31st, 2015 4 comments

TESPA Hawk is an IoT board designed by three companies based in Thailand and Singapore: Deaware delivers the embedded software for the board, Gravitech handles hardware design and manufacturing, and MakerAsia provides the IoT cloud platform. At first glance, it looks like yet another board based on the popular ESP8266 WiSoC, but it also includes an STM32 micro-controller, and its pinout is the same as Arduino Nano. There are also various add-on boards (WINGs) to easily and quickly prototype IoT projects.
TESPA_Hawk_BoardTESPA Hawk specifications:

  • WiSoC – Espressif ESP8266 @ 80MHz with 8MB Flash
  • MCU – ST Micro STM32F042G6 ARM Cortex-M0 MCU @ 48MHz with 32KByte Flash, 6KB SRAM
  • Connectivity – WiFI 802.11 b/g/n/ with on-board antenna and u.FL socket for external antenna
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 2x 16-pin headers (mostly) compatible Arduino Nano pinout including 5-channel full range 3.3V ADC (4x 12-bit, 1x 10-bit), I2C, UART, GPIOs, SPI, etc..
  • Misc – Reset and CF buttons, status RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, or 3.3V to 16V via VIN (on-board 3.3V and 5V regulator with auto-select)
  • Dimensions – 45 x ~20 mm (Slightly larger than Arduino Nano).

TESPA_Hawk_PinoutDevelopment is done using the Arduino IDE, and both ESP8266 and STM32 micro-controller can be programmed. The initial WiFI setup can be done using TESPA mobile app for iOS or Android, and multiple Hawk boards can be configured that way in one go.

The companies also designed 20 WINGs to quickly add functionalities to the Hawk board such as terminal blocks, micro SD slot, sensors, some extra ADC converters, motor driver, 128×64 OLED display, RGB LEDs, and so on.

TESPA_WingsThe IoT cloud solution is free and optional, and allows you to control the board using a mobile app or a web browser, and includes features like geo-fencing, iBeacon and Eddystone, MQTT, and more.

Freeboard Web Interface

Freeboard Web Interface

The team did not promise open source hardware, so I assume the hardware design files will remain closed source, as in many projects. I can’t find much information about the software and firmware, and documentation appears to be inexistent at this stage of the project, but hopefully experience of the Arduino IDE you should be enough to get started. You can watch the presentation video to meet the team, and find out more about TESPA Hawk board, and the list of WINGs add-on boards.

The project launched on Kickstarter a few days ago, and so far raised about $7,500 out of their $30,000 goal. Rewards start at $15 for a TESPA Hawk board, and they have various kit with the board and WINGs up to the $200 set with two TESPA Hawk boards and all 20 WINGs. Shipping starts at $2 to Thailand, $3 to the US, and $6 to the rest of the world for a single board, and up to $15 for larger kits. Delivery is scheduled for November and December 2015.

Further details should eventually be added to tespa.io website.

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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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Weightless-P Standard is Designed for High Performance, Low Power, 2-Way Communication for IoT

August 10th, 2015 No comments

Weightless was unveiled over two years ago, as a new standards for IoT leveraging “white space” spectrum, previously used by analog TV broadcasts, for free M2M / IoT communication using low power (10 years battery life) and cost-efficient hardware ($2 hardware) offering a range of 5 to 10 km. Development kits and base stations were scheduled for Q2 2014, but there’s either been some delays or they are only available to Weightless members, as you need to register to get notified once hardware becomes available.

WeightlessThe Weightless SIG (Special Interest Group) has not stopped working on the standard as there are now three Weightless standards: Weightless-W (using White band spectrum), Weightless-N (sub-GHz spectrum), and and newly announced Weightless-P offering similar features as 3GPP carrier grade solutions, but at lower costs and lower power consumption.

The key features of Weightless-P are shown below:

  • Excellent capacity and scalability for IoT deployment
    • FDMA+TDMA in 12.5kHz narrow band channels offer optimal capacity for uplink-dominated traffic from a very large number of devices with moderate payload sizes
    • Operates over the whole range of license-exempt sub-GHz ISM/SRD bands for global deployment: 169/433/470/780/868/915/923MHz
    • Flexible channel assignment for frequency re-use in large-scale deployments
    • Adaptive data rate from 200bps to 100kbps to optimise radio resource usage depending on device link quality
    • Transmit power control for both downlink and uplink to reduce interference and maximize network capacity
    • Time-synchronised base stations for efficient radio resource scheduling and utilisation
  • Bidirectional
    • Supports both network-originated and device-originated traffic
    • Paging capability
    • Low latency in both uplink and downlink
    • Fast network acquisition
    • Forward Error Correction (FEC)
    • Automatic Retransmission Request (ARQ)
    • Adaptive Channel Coding (ACC)
    • Handover, Roaming, Cell re-selection
  • Long range
    • Lower data rates with channel coding provide similar link budget to other LPWAN technologies
    • 2km in urban environment
  • Industrial-grade reliability
    • Fully acknowledged communications
    • Auto-retransmission upon failure
    • Frequency and time synchronisation
    • Supports narrowband channels (12.5KHz) with frequency hopping for robustness to multi-path and narrowband interference
    • Channel coding
    • Supports licensed spectrum operation
  • Ultra-low energy consumption
    • GMSK and offset-QPSK modulation for optimal power amplifier efficiency
    • Interference-immune offset-QPSK modulation using Spread Spectrum for improved link quality in busy radio environments
    • Transmit power up to 17dBm to allow operation from coin cell batteries
    • Adaptive transmit power and data rate to maximize battery-life
    • Power consumption in idle state when stationary below 100uW (vs 3mW for the best cellular technologies)
  • Secure and efficient networking
    • Authentication to the network
    • AES-128/256 encryption
    • Radio resource management and scheduling across the overall network to ensure quality-of-service to all devices
    • Support for over-the-air firmware upgrade and security key negotiation or replacement
    • Fast network acquisition and frequency/time synchronization
  • Low cost and complexity
    • Using standard GMSK and offset-QPSK modulation channels ensures broad availability of hardware and no dependency on a single vendor
    • Compared to UNB, narrowband operation is less sensitive to frequency offset and drift, allowing the use of lower cost, lower power XOs or DCXOs instead of TCXOs
    • Maximal transmit power of 17dBm allows for integrated power amplifier
  • Open standard
    • Brings the reliability and performance of cellular technologies at a fraction of the cost by avoiding any legacy or backward-compatibility concerns
    • Ensures interoperability between the manufacturers
    • Provides for multi-vendor support to stimulate ongoing innovation and minimize end user costs
    • Royalty free IP minimizes production costs

Hardware for the new Weightless-P standard will be available in Q1 2016.

You may wonder about the differences between Weightless-W/-N/-P and which one you should use for your IoT project. The Interest group published a table comparing the three standards.

Weightless-N Weightless-P Weightless-W
Directionality 1-way 2-way 2-way
Feature set Simple Full Extensive
Range 5km+ 2km+ 5km+
Battery life 10 years 3-8 years 3-5 years
Terminal cost Very low Low Low-medium
Network cost Very low Medium Medium

So if one way communication is suitable, go with Weightless-N, if the “white-space” spectrum is available in your country go with Weightless-W, and otherwise you may want to select Weightless-P for high performance 2-way communications.

You can find some information on all three royalty-free  standards on Weightless technical information page. But if you want access to the full specifications for your project(s), you’ll need to become a Weightless members with membership starting at 900 GBP (~$1400) per year for “associate” members.

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STM32F746G-DISCO is a $49 Cortex-M7 Board with a 4.3″ LCD Display, Arduino Headers

August 7th, 2015 No comments

We’ve already seen Atmel started shipping its SAM V71 Xplained Board based on its latest Cortex M7 a few days ago, but Atmel is not the company which recently introduced a Cortex M7 development kit, as ST Micro also launched an STM32F7 Cortex M7 development kit with Arduino headers and 4.3″ LCD at the end of June.

STM32F7_Development_KitThe “Discovery Kit with STM32F746NG MCU” (STM32F746G-DISCO) comes with the following specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F746NGH6 Cortex M7 MCU with 1 MB Flash, 340 KB RAM, in BGA216 package
  • Memory – 128-Mbit (16 MB) SDRAM (64 Mbits accessible)
  • Storage – 16 MB Quad-SPI Flash memory, and micro SD slot
  • Display – 4.3″ 480×272 color LCD-TFT with capacitive touch screen
  • Camera – Camera connector
  • Connectivity – Ethernet connector compliant with IEEE-802.3-2002
  • USB
    • USB OTG HS with Micro-AB connectors,  USB OTG FS with Micro-AB connectors
    • USB functions: virtual COM port, mass storage, debug port
  • Audio – SAI audio codec, line IN and OUT jacks, stereo speaker outputs, 2x ST MEMS microphones, and S/PDIF RCA input connector
  • Debugging –  On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 supporting USB re-enumeration capability
  • Misc – 2x push buttons (user and reset)
  • Expansion Headers:
    • Arduino Uno V3 connectors
    • RF-EEPROM daughterboard connector
  • Power Supply
    • ST LINK/V2-1
    • 5V via USB FS connector or USB HS connector
    • VIN from Arduino connector
    • External 5 V from connector
    • Output for external applications: 3.3 V or 5 V
  • Dimensions – N/A

STM32F7-DISCOVERY_PinoutThe board supports various development toolchains such as IAR EWARM (IAR Embedded Workbench), Keil MDK-ARM, GCC-based IDEs (free AC6: SW4STM32, Atollic TrueSTUDIO,…), and ARM mbed online.  The company also released STM32CubeF7 embedded software for STM32F7 series which includes low level drivers, USB, TCP/IP, File system, RTOS, Graphic and more. You’ll need a Windows XP, 7, or 8 computer to use the board, because the drivers for ST-LINK/V2-1 are only available for Windows.

One developer got hold of the board and wrote a C program showing some of its graphics capabilities.

You can find more details, including the board’s user manual and hardware design files, as well as purchase the board on STM32F746G-DISCO product page.

Via Electronics Weekly.com

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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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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STMicro Introduces $5 CLOUD-ST25TA NFC Evaluation Board

July 31st, 2015 1 comment

STMicro has just announced a new low cost NFC evaluation board called CLOUD-ST25TA used to evaluate their ST25TA02K NFC Forum Type 4 tag chip part of their ST25TA series, previously known as SRTAG.

CLOUD_ST25TA

CLOUD-ST25TA board specifications:

  • SoC – ST25TA02K-P NFC/RFID Tag in UFDFPN5 ECOPACK 2 package
  • Contactless interface
    • NFC Forum Type 4 Tag
    • ISO/IEC 14443 Type A
    • 106 kbps data rate
    • Internal 50 pF tuning capacitance allowing small inductive antenna design
  • Memory
    • 256 Byte (2 Kbit) EEPROM with NDEF data support
    • 200 years data retention
    • 1 million erase-write cycles endurance
    • 128 bit password data protection
    • 20 bit event counter for read or write access with anti-tearing feature
  • Digital pad
    • Configurable general purpose output (GPO) indicating, for example, RF field detection
CLOUD-ST25TA System Block Diagram

CLOUD-ST25TA System Block Diagram

The board features look somewhat similar to NFC tags sold for 50 cents online, but it does come with more memory (256 bytes vs 144 bytes), has a longer claimed retention period (200 years vs 10 years), supports password protected, adds GPO output to interface with external hardware, and STMicro provides hardware design files, documentation, and Android app source code directly on the product page.

You can purchase the board for $4.9 directly from STMicro directly via the product page, or search for CLOUDST25TA02K-P order code to buy from distributors such as Digikey.

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Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: devkit, nfc, stmicro

Ambarella Unveils SL2m IP Camera Reference Design Promising up to 6 Months of Battery Life

April 18th, 2015 1 comment

Ambarella S2Lm IP Camera SoC features a Cortex A9 CPU core, encodes video with H.264 up to 3Mp30 / 1080p30, and targets  consumer and entry-level IP Camera designs. The company recently launched a new battery-powered IP camera reference design based on the solution that promises up to 6 months battery life, and can record Full HD video in less than 500ms from wake up, making ideal for battery operated security cameras. A Linux SDK is also provided with reference implementations for low-power standby operation, wake-on-Wi-Fi and fast boot to Linux.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we know about the reference design, so instead I’ll have a look at the processor, and SL2m IP camera evaluation board.

Ambarella_S2Lm_IP_Camera_Reference_Design

S2Lm IP Camera Evaluation Board

Ambarella SL2m SoC specifications:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex-A9 processor with 32KB/32KB I/D and 128 KB L2 Cache, NEON and FPU,
  • Crypto Engine – AES/3/DES/SHA-1/MD5
  • DSP / VPU –  Ambarella Image and Video DSPs
  • Sensor and Video I/O
    • RGB Bayer sensor port: 8-lane SLVS/MIPI/HiSPI
    • BT.601/656/1120 video in and BT.656/1120 out
    • PAL/NTSC composite SD video out
  • Front End Sensor Processing
    • 5 MPixels maximum resolution/ 240 MHz maximum pixel rate
    • Lens shading, fixed pattern noise correction
    • Multi-exposure HDR (line-interleaved sensors), WDR (Wide dynamic range) local exposure
  • Image Processing
    • 3D motion compensated noise reduction (MCTF)
    • Adjustable AE/AWB/AF
    • Wide angle lens distortion compensation
    • High quality polyphase scalers
    • Digital PTZ and Virtual Cameras
    • OSD engine; overlays, privacy mask; Crop, mirror, flip, 90°/270° rotation
    • DC-iris and P-iris
    • Defect pixel correction; Chroma lens distortion correction; Gamma compensation and color enhancement; Backlight compensation
  • Video Analytics
    • Advanced 3rd party analytics options
    • Face detection and tracking
    • Intelligent motion detection
    • Tampering detection
  • Video Encoding
    • H.264 codec BP/MP/HP Level 5.1 and MJPEG
    • 5 MPixels maximum resolution
    • 3M@30 fps encoding performance
    • Up to 4 simultaneous stream encodes
    • SmartAVC (Smart Advanced Video Coding) low bitrate/high quality encoding
    • On-the-fly change of multiple encoding parameters
    • Flexible GOP configuration with I, P and B frames
    • Temporal Scalable Video Codec with 4 Layers (SVCT)
    • Dynamic region of interest
    • Multiple CBR and VBR rate control modes
  • Memory Interfaces
    • DDR3/DDR3L up to 528MHz
    • SD controller with SDXC SD Card
    • NAND flash, SLC with ECC
    • Boot from SPI-NOR, SPI-EEPROM, NAND flash, USB or eMMC
  • Peripheral Interfaces
    • 10/100 Ethernet with RMII/MII
    • USB2.0 Device or Host w/PHY
    • Multiple I2S, SSI/SPI, IDC, and UART
    • Multiple PWM, Stepper, and ADC channels
    • Many GPIO ports, PWM, Steppers, IR, ADC
    • Watchdog Timer, multiple general purpose timers, JTAG
  • Process – 28nm Low Power CMOS
  • Operating temperature – -20°C to +85°C
  • Package – TFBGA package with 256 balls, 11×11 mm, 0.65 mm pitch
Block Diagram for a Typical S2Lm IP Camera (Click to Enlarge)

Block Diagram for a Typical S2Lm IP Camera (Click to Enlarge)

The company can provide a complete SL2m IP camera development platform comprised of:

  • An hardware evaluation kit (as shown in the top picture) with a baseboard with SL2m processor and a sensor board with a camera from Aptina, Omnivision, Panasonic, Sony or others.
  • A software development kit (SDK) based on Linux 3.8 kernel with relevant patchsets, drivers, tools and application source code.

Hard design files including datasheets, the bill of materials, schematics and PCB layout are all available, as well as C source code for reference applications. The libraries for the ISP, dewarp and codecs are royalty-free, the company also offers tools for image tuning and manufacturing calibration, as well as detailed software documentation.

Pricing and availability information for the new battery operated S2LM reference design are not known, and they ask you to contact them for details. But the SoC and and the evaluation kit are available now at undisclosed prices. I found most the information in S2Lm product brief which can also be downloaded via Ambarella IP Camera product page.

Via LinuxGizmos.

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