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Posts Tagged ‘education’

$89 MiniZed Development Board based on Xilinx Zynq Z-7007S SoC Includes WiFi, Bluetooth, Arduino Headers

June 14th, 2017 6 comments

Avnet has unveiled MiniZed development board – part of ZedBoard family – powered by a Xilinx Zynq Z-7007s SoC with an ARM Cortex A9 processor and FPGA fabric,  supporting WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and equipped with Arduino and PMOD headers.

MiniZed board (AES-MINIZED-7Z007-G) specifications:

  • SoC – Xilinx Zynq-7007S single ARM Cortex A9 processor up to 677 MHz + FPGA with 23K logic cells, 1.8 Mb block RAM, 60 DSP slices
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L
  • Storage –  8 GB eMMC flash, 128 Mbit QSPI flash
  • Connectivity –  Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 plus EDR and BLE  via Murata “Type 1DX” wireless module
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerator and temperature sensor (LIS2DS12);  Digital Microphone (MP34DT05)
  • Expansion Interfaces:
    • 2x Pmod compatible connectors with 16x GPIOs
    • Arduino UNO R3 compatible header with 22x GPIOs
  • Debugging –  JTAG and serial console via micro USB port
  • Misc – 2x bi-element user LEDs, user & reset push buttons; user switch
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

The company provides bare-metal code samples, as well as Xilinux PetaLinux for the board. You’ll find hardware and software documentation, including BoM, schematics, and getting started guides on the documentation page.

 

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MiniZed is the cheapest Zedboard so far, which makes it ideal as a training, prototyping and proof-of-concept demo platform, and it can be used to showcase wireless designs using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, audio signal processing examples with the MIC input, as well as IoT & cloud demos using external and on-board sensors.

MiniZed can be purchased for $89 on Avnet with the company mentioning that the retail price may be higher in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. You may find further info on Zedboard.org’s MiniZed page.

ABC: Basic Connections is a Book Listing Common Circuit Diagrams for Arduino Boards (Crowdfunding)

May 19th, 2017 No comments

PighiXXX is known for their very useful and pretty pinout diagrams, but they’ve now created a book called “ABC: Basic Connections” comprised of a collection of easy to read circuit diagrams that shows you how to connect various circuits to your Arduino compatible board.

The book is in file folder format, so you can easily remove the sheets you need during your project. While you can normally find pretty much whatever circuits you need on the Internet, ABC book’s diagrams looks very neat, and since it comes with 100 A5 pages of circuit diagrams such as LEDs, decoders, shift registers, 7-segment displays, mux/demux, light bulbs, DC motors, solenoids, relays and so on,  you may discover circuits you did not know you needed. Every page of the book also comes with a 0-1.es/xx short URL redirecting to an online tutorial for the circuit with information about the theory, component list, tips, sample code, etc…

The book has been launched via Kickstarter with a $50,000 funding target. You’ll need to pledge 23 Euros to get the book sometimes in August 2017. Shippings adds 7 Euros to the US, 10 Euros to Europe, and 25 Euros to the rest of the world. While it’s a crowdfunding campaign, I’d assume the risk failure is close to zero for that project.

EduExo DIY Robotic Exoskeleton Kit is Arduino Powered, 3D Printable, Designed for STEM Education (Crowdfunding)

May 12th, 2017 1 comment

Robotic exoskeletons are used for medical purposes such as helping with the rehabilitation of stroke patients, or enable paraplegics to walk again, as well as in the work place to assist people lifting heavy objects. While it’s possible to learn about the theory about exoskeleton technology, practical experience may help grasping all concepts better. However, there are not many courses available, and exoskeletons are usually expensive, so Volker Bartenbach, PhD at ETH in Zürich, has decided to created EduExo robotic exoskeleton kit for education purpose.

The EduExo hardware is based on off-the-shelf components like an Arduino UNO board, a motor, and a force sensor, as well as a rigid exoskeleton structure and cuff interfaces. The latter is optional as you can get the kit without it, and will instead receive the STL files to 3D print the parts yourself.

There’s also a handbook to help you get started in several steps:

  1. Exoskeleton Introduction
  2. Mechanics and Anatomy – Theory + instructions to assemble the kit
  3. Electronics and Software –  Theory + instructions to connect electronic components and write basic software with the Arduino IDE
  4. Control Systems  – Theory explaining the behavior of the exoskeleton, and step by step instructions to implement and test the control systems with the kit.
  5. Virtual Reality and Video Games – Learn how to create a computer game, connect the exoskeleton to your computer (Windows PC) and use it as a game controller. The demo relies on Unity 3D engine
  6. The Muscle Control Extension – You can reproduce your arm movements with the kit using an electromyography-EMG sensor (sold separately)

One you’ve gone through the handbook, you should understand the basics of exoskeletons, and maybe try develop your own algorithm or programs. Note that’s it’s just an educational device, it’s not powerful enough to provide any kind of support.

EduExo has been launched on Kickstarter with a 8,000 CHF ($7,939 US) funding goal. A 15 CHF pledge will get you the e-handbook only. If you have a 3D printer and most of the components, 30 CHF should get you the handbook, 3D STL files, and the components list. A full kit with all parts and a printed handbook requires a 165 CHF pledge (early bird). If you want to play with the Muscle Control Extension part, you’d need to spend $250 for the full kit plus the EMG sensor. You may also learn more about the educational kit and exoskeletons in general on EduExo website.

Via Arduino blog

$80 BeagleBone Blue Board Targets Robots & Drones, Robotics Education

March 14th, 2017 3 comments

Last year, we reported that BeagleBoard.org was working with the University of California San Diego on BeagleBone Blue board for robotics educational kits such as EduMiP self-balancing robot, and EduRover four wheel robot. The board has finally launched, so we know the full details, and it can be purchased for about $80 on Mouser, Element14 or Arrow websites.

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BeagleBone Blue specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358 with TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs), PowerVR SGX530 GPU, PMIC, and 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (TI Wilink 8) with two antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 client and host port
  • Sensors – 9 axis IMU, barometer
  • Expansion
    • Motor control – 8x 6V servo out, 4x DC motor out, 4x quadrature encoder in
    • Other interfaces – GPIOs, 5x UARTs, 2x SPI, 1x I2C, 4x ADC, CAN bus
  • Misc – Power, reset and 2x user buttons; power, battery level & charger LEDs; 6x user LEDs; boot select switch
  • Power Supply – 9-18V DC input via power barrel; 5V via micro USB port; 2-cell LiPo support with balancing,
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD

The board ships pre-loaded with Debian, but it also supports the Robot Operating System (ROS) & Ardupilot, as well as graphical programming via Cloud9 IDE on Node.js. You’ll find more details, such as documentation, hardware design files, and examples projects on BeagleBone Blue product page, and github.

The board is formally launched at Embedded World 2017, and Jason Kridner, Open Platforms Technologist/Evangelist at Texas Instruments, and co-founder and board member at BeagleBoard.org Foundation, uploaded a video starting with a demo of various robotics and UAV projects, before giving a presentation & demo of the board at the 2:10 mark using Cloud 9 IDE.


If you attend Embedded World 2017, you should be able to check out of the board and demos at Hall 3A Booth 219a.

BitScope Blade Industrial Mounting & Power Systems Support Up to 40 Raspberry Pi Boards

January 27th, 2017 12 comments

BitScope Designs, a manufacturer of embedded mixed signal test, measurement and data acquisition systems, has announced the launch of a new models of their industrial desktop, rack or wall mountable power and mounting power systems with BitScope Blade Uno, Duo, and Quattro supporting respectively 1, 2 and 4 Raspberry Pi 3/2/B+/A+ boards. The blades can also be mounted in a 19″ rack with up to 40 Raspberry Pi boards.

The three systems share many of the same specifications:

  • Power Supply

    40 Rapsberry Pi Rack with (Older Versions) of BitScope Blade Quattro

    • Unregulated 9V to 48V DC power, compatible with most 12V & 24V UPS, most DC solar power systems
    • 4A (peak) switch mode supply built-in
    • 2.1mm socket or industrial power tabs
    • Can be used with low cost passive PoE,
    • Can power external USB, HDD & SSD
    • 5V auxiliary power for example for Pi Display
  • Expansion& I/O ports
    • Full access to RPi’s I2C, SPI, UART & most GPIO
    • Slot for camera connector for each Pi
    • HDMI and audio accessible from Pi in BAY one
    • Blade HUB I/O expansion sockets for each Pi
    • Compatible with BitScope CAP industrial I/O
  • Mount System
    • Rack mount to build compute cluster solutions
    • 4 x 3mm tabs and wall mounting stand-offs

Wall Mounted BitScope Blade Duo (Older Version) with2 Raspberry Pi boards

Each model also has specific features:

  • BitScope Blade UNO (BB01B)
    • Designed for one Raspberry Pi and one HAT
    • Power and connect up to 4x BitScopes
    • Raspberry Pi power control header,
    • 2x USB power sockets
  • BitScope Blade DUO (BB02B)
    • Designed for 2x Raspberry Pi boards
    • Power and connect up to 8x BitScopes
    • Individual power and reset inputs for each Pi
  • BitScope Blade QUATTRO (BB04B)
    • Designed for 4x Raspberry Pi boards
    • Power and connect up to 16x BitScopes
    • Individual power and reset inputs for each Pi.

Back side of BitScope Blade Duo – Click to Enlarge

The HUB CAP expansion sockets are used to connect BitScope mixed signal scopes & analyzers, which can be controlled by BitScope DSO software running on the Raspberry Pi board with oscilloscope, logic analyzer, wave generator, and other modes of operation.

You’ll find a few more details on the press release, and the new BitScope Blades can be purchased exclusively on Element14 starting at 32.5 GBP (~$41 US). BitScope also has a “Blades” product page, but it is currently referring to the older versions.

TI Innovator Hub Connects MSP432 LaunchPad Board to TI Graphing Calculators

January 13th, 2017 3 comments

I remember when I was in high school we all had those TI calculators to cheat enhance our chances of passing exams, but Texas Instruments has now launched what it calls TI-Innovator Hub based on a MSP432 LaunchPad board that connects to some of their graphing calculators and allows student to program and control external hardware through their calculators.

TI-Innovator-HubInnovator Hub hardware specifications:

  • MSP-EXP432P401-ET TI LaunchPad Board
  • 3x input ports, 3x output ports, I²C port
  • Breadboard connector with 20 labeled pins
  • USB
    • Mini USB Port (DATA port for connection to a TI graphing calculator, or a computer running TI-Nspire CX software)
    • Micro-USB port (POWER port to connect to external power source)
  • Misc – Red LED, RGB LED, Light Brightness Sensor, and speaker
  • Enclosure

The hub can then be programmed using TI-84 Plus CE (TI Basic language) or TI-Nspire CX (Lua language) graphing calculators. It’s a bit like playing with Arduino board, but instead of using a computer for programming, you can use a calculator. TI also provides resources to make it easier for teachers. Some extra accessories are also available include I/O Module Pack with sensors and motors, an ultrasonic ranger module, a breadboard pack, and an external battery.

You can watch the “cool box” & “mind blown” video to see what students think about it.

I could not find pricing information. You’ll find a few more details on TI Innovator Hub product page.

Via Electronics Weekly.

ASUS Tinker Board is a Raspberry Pi 3 Alternative based on Rockchip RK3288 Processor

January 5th, 2017 50 comments

Regular readers may remember MQMaker MiQi board, a $35 (and up) development board powered by Rockchip RK3388 quad core ARM Cortex A17 processor, based on Raspberry Pi 3 form factor, but much faster according to benchmarks. Sadly, the board’s crowdfunding campaign was not that successful, possibly because of the “its’ a 2-year old processor” syndrome. But now, Minimachines has found that ASUS has designed a very similar board, dubbed Tinker Board, with an extra WiFi and Bluetooth LE module, audio jack, MIPI DSI connector, and a few other modifications.

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Asus Tinker Board specifications (bold highlights and strike-through show differences with MiQi board):

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3, dual channel
  • Storage – 8 or 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video output & Display I/F
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to [email protected]
    • 1x 15-pin MIPI DSI supporting HD resolution
  • Audio – 1x 3.5mm audio jack; Realtek HD codec with 192KHz/24-bit audio
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (for power)
  • Expansion Headers
    • 40-pin “somewhat Raspberry Pi compatible” header with up to 28x GPIOs, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 4x UART, 2x PWM, 1x PCM/I2S, 5V, 3.3V, and GND
    • 2-pin contact point with 1x PWM signal, 1x S/PDIF signal
  • Misc – Button, unpopulated fan header
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 85.6 x 54 cm

The company targets education, maker, and IoT markets for the board, with applications ranging from mini PC to portable game console and RC products like drones. The board supports Debian with Kodi.

asus-tinker-board-vs-raspberry-pi-3ASUS also provided a quick comparison table with Raspberry Pi 3 model B, that mostly shows the advantages over the Tinker board. The table is mostly fine, and I got some Phoronix benchmarks showing RK3288 can be about three times as fast as BCM2837 processor for FLAC audio encoding. The last row with officially supported OS appears to show both boards on the same footings, but Raspberry Pi 3 model B will have a clear advantage here, although I’m not sure why Asus did not list Android OS support for their board. The table does not include any price information either.

The only information I could find was from the Slideshare presentation above, and there does not appear to be any official website or page on Asus website.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Outernet Introduces Standalone & DIY Internet Satellite Kits for C.H.I.P Board, Raspberry Pi 3 Board, and Laptops

November 3rd, 2016 16 comments

Outernet goal is to bring knowledge and/or emergency info to places without Internet either to remote places, or where Internet has been temporary shutdown due to natural disasters or political reasons through a satellite feed. In some ways, it works like a typical FM radio, but instead of receiving audio, you’ll get data. The first hardware was based on WeTek Play TV box, and called Lighthouse, but they now have a DIY kit that will work with Next Thing C.H.I.P, Raspberry Pi, or Laptops running Windows 7/10 or Linux, as well as a standalone Outernet Satellite kit including C.H.I.P Allwinner R8 development board.

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Click to Enlarge

Let’s first check out “Basic Outernet DIY Kit” comprised of three items:

  • L-Band Antenna
    • Frequency: 1525 – 1559 MHz (Center frequency: 1542 MHz)
    • 8dbi
    • 4″  SMA Male connector
    • Dimensions – 12 cm x 12 cm x 1.5 cm
    • Weight – ~100 grams
  • RTL-SDR Blog Software Defined Radio/Tuner USB dongle
    • Ultra-low phase noise 0.5PPM TCXO
    • RF-suitable voltage regulator and custom heatsink
    • SMA female connector
    • SDR frequency range of approximately 25MHz – 1700MHz
    • Bias tee (software enabled)
  • Outernet/Inmarsat Amplifier (LNA) board
    • Frequency: 1525 – 1559 MHz (Center Frequency: 1542 MHz)
    • Gain – 34 dB
    • Voltage – 3.0V – 5.5V
    • Current Draw – 25 mA
    • Dimensions – 6.5 cm x 1.5 cm x 2.5 cm
    • Weight – 8.5 grams

The kit costs $69, but it’s not usable standalone, and you’ll need to connect the USB dongle your own C.H.I.P or Raspberry Pi 3 board running rxOS operating system, or laptop and configure them as explained in the documentation to configure and run the system in order to access Outernet Library through your satellite (DVB-S). It should be possible to use other boards too, but you’d have to handle the software part yourself. It should not be too complicated since the only hardware interface is a USB port.

However, if you want something that mostly works out of the box, you should consider “Deluxe Outnert DIY receiver kit” with included all items from the basic kit, plus a pre-configured C.H.I.P board, and a battery pack for $99.

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Once you’ve assembled the kit, pointed the L-band antenna to the right satellite, and completed the configuration through the web browser of a WiFi enabled device such as a smartphone. Outernet kit will freely download data (textbooks, health guides, courseware, weekly news, emergency info, disaster alerts, crop prices…) depending on your selected satellite, and anybody with a smartphone or computer will be able to access the data updated weekly/daily.

You’ll find the some details explaining how Outernet works and available data on my first post about Outernet, or for the complete details, visit directly Outernet.is.