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Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

Manga Screen 2 is Smartphone Touchscreen Display with USB and HDMI Ports for Makers (Crowdfunding)

July 20th, 2017 6 comments

Most touchscreen displays aimed to be connected to a development board work through a display interface such as MIPI DSI or LCD RGB (and USB or I2C for touch support), and come with somewhat low resolution such as 800×480 which can be suitable for HMI applications. They also often don’t work with all boards due to the different interfaces used, and there’s no way to easily connect such small display to your computer. Taking those limitations into account, and since most boards and computers come with HDMI and USB ports, Elias Bakken and his team have added HDMI and USB ports to two smartphone displays, and Manga Screen 2 was born.

The two displays – made by Sharp – have the following hardware specifications:

Big (5.9”) Small (4.8”)
Resolution 1920×1080 1280×720
FPS (max) 60 57
Color mode 24-bit
PPI 376.2 307.9
Brightness 400 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1000:1 800:1
Viewing angle 80 degrees
Power draw (max.) 600 mA 520 mA
Active area 129.6 x 72.9 mm 105.6 x 59.4 mm
Weight ~95 grams TBD
Outline size 150 x 82 mm TBD
Touch points 10

They added the electronics to convert HDMI signals to whatever interface the displays use, and a micro USB port for power and the touch screen interface. So those should pretty much be play and plug, and work with Raspberry Pi, ODROID, BeagleBone Black and other boards, as well as your computer, laptop, etc…
The project has launched on Kickstarter with the goal of raising 300,000 NOK (~$37,100 US). Rewards start at ~$83.5 US for the smaller 4.8″ screen, and ~$94 US for the 5.9″ screen. Those are early bird rewards, and retail price should be $99 for both displays? (Maybe a mistake on KS). Shipping adds 85 NOK ($10.5), and delivery is scheduled for October to the big screen, and December for the small one.

Potential projects include home automation interface, standalone Spotify player, pet food dispenser, 3D printer interface, and any project that may benefit from a ~5″ touchscreen display. The promo video demonstrates some of those applications.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Le Potato Development Board Review – Part 1: Hardware and Accessories

July 17th, 2017 15 comments

Libre Computer launched AML-S905X-CC “Le Potato” board on Kickstarter last month, and since then there have been some updates such as worldwide shipping, so the board will now ship to most countries, not only in Europe or the US, and various designs of the case have been proposed. You can check the updates on Kickstarter for details.

Libre Computer Le Potato Kit Unboxing

The company also sent me a Le Potato board, but not only, as I received a complete kit…

… similar to the $99 “2GB eMMC kit” reward on KS with a board with 2GB RAM, a 64GB eMMC flash module, a HDMI cable, and a 5V/2.5A power supply with on/off switch, but a different case, cooling fan, and corresponding rubber pad and screws.

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The case exposes all external ports, and has holes on top for the fan.

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The other side includes the micro SD slot, plenty of ventilations holes, and some opening for jumper wires connected to the debug port, or some other headers.
The side of the 40-pin “Raspberry Pi” GPIO headers also has the same opening, so you could keep the case close even if you connect external hardware.

The bottom of the plate has two openings to allow for wall mounting, and four circles for the rubber pads.

The case came loose, but for good reasons, since you have to setup your board the way you want to before tightening the case. So I took about the board to have a look. I’ve already listed the specifications in the announcement post so I won’t go through hit again.

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The main change here is that the board is fitted with a small heatsink on top of Amlogic S905X processor. Note that board-only rewards in Kickstarter may not include that heatsink.

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The bottom side of the board has the remaining DDR3 memory (for the 2GB RAM board), the micro SD card slot, and if you have ordered an eMMC kit, a 64GB eMMC flash module, which you can take away.

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I visually compared it to ROCK64 flash module, and Hardkernel eMMC to micro SD card adapter, and the design is different with the two rows of pins closer on Libre Computer module.
The next step is to assemble the heatsink with four of the shorter screws, and add the rubber pads. A single longer screw will be used to keep the case tightened.

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But before that I connected the fan to 5V and GND on the 40-pin header, as well as my own USB to TTL debug board to the 3-pin serial header.

I assembled the case, and tightened it with the single screw, and it fits well. The jumper wires from my USB debug board can easily pass through the openings, and I can still move the wires around, so it’s not tight here.

Since I have an eMMC flash module likely pre-installed with an operating systems, I connected the power, HDMI and Ethernet cables. The fan works, and while it’s not that noisy, it still makes a little more noise than what I’ve used to on actively cooled mini PCs or TV boxes. Personally, it does not disturbs me, but some people may be annoyed by the noise. The easily solution is not to connect the fan, as many use cases won’t require it.

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Within around 30 seconds, the board booted to a familiar TV box launched in Android 7.1.

I’m waiting for the latest Android or Linux images before completing the second part of the review. I’ll likely test the Linux images if they are ready, rather than the Android one, since I’ve tested several Android TV boxes based on Amlogic S905X previously.

If you are interested in the board, there are still 6 days before the campaign ends, with pricing started at $25 with the 1GB RAM version of the board. I understand that even if the crowdfunding campaign fails, the board will go ahead, but possibly at a slightly higher price, as they’ve committed half a million dollars to the project according to the latest update in Kickstarter.

Diskio Pi 13.3″ Touch Panel Display Kit is Designed for Raspberry Pi and ODROID Boards (Crowdfunding)

June 27th, 2017 7 comments

If your project requires a touch panel, there are plenty of solutions for Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards, with Hardkernel even selling ODROID-VU8C fully integrated touch panel display. However, most display kits require you to make your own case, and feature smaller displays with lower resolution. One developer has however come up with Diskio Pi, a higher-end touch panel kit with a 13.3″ Full HD display that works with the most popular Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards.

Diskio Pi with Raspberry Pi 3 Running Pixel

Diskio Pi specifications:

  • Display –  13.3″ AUO TFT IPS display with 1920×1080 resolution connected via a 30-pin eDP connector ; 330 cd/m2 brightness; 85° viewing angles in all directions.
  • Touch panel – 10-point capacitive touch; G/G structure; USB 2.0 interface; ≥6H surface hardness.
  • Main board:
    • HDMI to eDP driver
    • Stereo sound amplifier
    • USB 2.0 hub with 3x ports:  2x external + 1x internal
    • Battery balance circuit (3S/3S2P)
    • Expansion – Various headers for prototyping (RJ45, USB…)
    • Misc – Left & right mouse buttons (home button, USB); circuit protection via fuses, diodes…
    • Power Supply – RJ45 POE+ (Power over Ethernet)
  • Rack board:
    • Connections with the board via cables: 4 x USB, 2 x Ethernet, 1 x Power, 1 x HDMI
    • Fan circuit with potentiometer (fan will be optional)
    • Speakers – 2x round 3W speakers
    • Power Supply – 5V 3A from main board
  • Power Supply – 15 or 18V AC/DC adapter with EU, UK or US plug
  • Battery  – Optional 6 cells LiPo 3.7V=11.1V, 8000mAh
  • Dimensions – 348 x 265 x 25 mm (Final dimensions may change slightly)
  • Weight – 1.8 kg (prototype)

Diskio Pi with ODROID-C2 Board

Diskio Pi is currently compatible with Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi Zero (W), ODROID C1+, and ODROID C2, but later, a modified kit will offer support for ODROID XU4 and Intel Atom based UP board. You can run any operating system you’d like since HDMI is used for video output (and converted to eDP), and USB used for the touch panel. You’ll be able to use accessories like the official Raspberry Pi camera, and there’s even space to add extra boards or modules like an Arduino mini or sensors using the IO headers or the internal USB port. The kit could be use as a large (and thick) tablet, an home automation dashboard, a portable Linux computer, etc…

The project has just been launched on Kickstarter with the aim of raising at least 400,000 Euros, which may prove to be a challenge, but we’ll see. The “very early adopter pack” rewards requires a 350 Euros pledge for Diskio Pi with the power adapter, but no battery, nor a Raspberry Pi or ODROID board. The 45 Euros battery pack is optional is reserved “for users who don’t need the POE+ power”. Shipping adds 9 Euros to France, 16 Euros to most of Europe, and 36 Euros to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for February 2018. The person behind the project has 10-year experience as… an optician, but he’s been working on the prototype for 18 months, and Advansee will take care of the final embedded electronics design, while CD-Plast will handle the mechanical design, with both companies based in the west of France.

UP Core Intel Board Has Launched for 69 Euros and Up on Kickstarter

June 1st, 2017 2 comments

During spring, we discovered UP Core, a tiny board powered by Intel x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor  that promised to sell for as low as 69 Euros. But at the time, it was not available yet for purchase, and the good news is that UP has just launched a one month crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for mass production, and promote the board.

UP Core specifications have not changed since the first announcement:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C
  • Certifications – CE/FCC Class A, RoHS compliant, REACH

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board supports Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux via Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The block diagram shown in March also included an extension HAT connected to the 100-pin docking port, but we did not have many details. With the launch on Kickstarter two stackable expansion boards are available:

  • Expansion board A [BRKH01] carrying high-speed signals: 1c2 channel PCI Express switch, Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8111G-CG / RJ45), HSIC/USB ports, uSIM card reader, SD card, etc…
  • Expansion board B [BRKL01] based on MAX10 CPLD exposing low-speed signals such as RS-232/422/484, I2C, I2S, and GPIOs, as well as 12 to 24V power input

The documentation to make your own UP Core expansion board will be made available, so more are likely coming, and up to three expansion boards can be stacked under UP Core board. The company will also pay royalties to makers of expansion boards that are selected (by UP community) to be sold on their store.

A chassis for UP Core and its carrier boards is also available in your prefer to keep the boards in an enclosure.

The company goal is to raise at least 10,000 Euros, but they should reach a much higher level once the campaign is completed. Some of the most interesting rewards are:

  • 69 Euros (early bird) then 75 Euros for UP Core with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
  • 85 Euros (early bird) then 95 Euros for UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC
  • 119 Euros (early bird) then 129 Euros for UP core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • 125 Euros starter pack with UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, aluminum chassis, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna
  • 189 Euros dev.pack with UP Core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, A & B expansion boards, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna

They also have variations up to the 225 Euros super pack with comes with the 4GB/64GB board, the two expansion boards, three aluminum chassis, and accessories. Shipping adds 16 to 27 Euros depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for August to October 2017 depending on the selected reward.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

BuildOne is a $99 WiFi 3D printer with Auto Bed-Leveling (Crowdfunding)

May 26th, 2017 2 comments

3D printers have become more and more affordable with products like Anet A8 3D printer that sells for a little over $150, and now many models are below $200, such as the Prusa i3 clone just reviewed by Karl. But BuildOne is going a step further by bringing the price right below $100, at least during the Kickstarter campaign, and the basic model.

BuildOne 3D printer specifications and key features:

  • Print volume –  125 x 125 x 125 mm
  • Minimum layer resolution – 50 microns (100 to 300 recommended for most prints)
  • Horizontal position resolution – 20 microns / 0.02 mm
  • Filament size – 1.75 mm
  • Filament type – PLA (ABS, nylon, and more with heated bed)
  • Notable features – Auto-calibration, auto leveling,  LED status, panic button to interrupt prints, modularity with easy to replace parts and optional add-ons
  • Connectivity – WiFi to print from web browser or smartphone
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Dimensions – fits inside a 200mm cube
  • Weight – About 2 kgs

The 3D printer uses a modified version of the Marlin firmware with the ability to have the head unit communicate via I2C to reduce the wiring required and allow for future upgrades. That’s also mean you’ll be able to modify the 3D printer source code if you wish to do so. The printer is compatible with most sliders and interfaces sch as Slic3r, Cura, Craftware, etc…, and can also optionally connect to a cloud service, so you could print from anywhere, as long as your print is online.

Four models are available:

  • BuildOne Basic Edition ($99)
  • BuildOne Plus Edition ($114) with extra PEI build plate
  • BuildOne Deluxe Edition  ($149) ABS ready, with display upgrade, PEI build plate, and heated bed
  • BuildOne Ultimate Edition ($174) based on Deluxe Edition plus a full enclosure and carrying case

You can also pledge for upgrades independently:

  • $35 for heated PEI bed
  • $15 for display upgrade with OLED display, tactile joystick
  • $30 for full enclosure and carrying case
  • $15 for premium PLA filament spool

Robotic Industries LLC, the startup behind the project, aimed to reach $100,000, and they’ve already done that with 27 days to go. Shipping adds $20 to $25 for the basic edition, and goes up if you add more options (up to $30 to $45). Delivery is scheduled for September 2017, so it’s look like they are basically done with development, and are just getting funds for mass production. Some crowdfunding campaigns fail, and the number of failures appear to be even greater for 3D printer projects (actually an unrelated $100 3D printer KS project was a scam), but Robotic Industries LLC claims to have a proven and experienced team, as well as industry partners such as Digistump, and Rigao electronics. Their website currently contained a picture with a link to Kickstarter.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 3d printing, kickstarter

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

Helios4 Personal Cloud DIY NAS Supports 3.5″ Hard Drives, RAID, and More (Crowdfunding)

May 11th, 2017 35 comments

A few months ago, we covered GnuBee Personal Cloud 1, a NAS that runs on open source software, and that supports up to six 2.5″ SATA drives. The crowdfunding has been successful – after lowering the funding target -, and backers should hopefully get the NAS right after summer. But at the time, some people complained about the  memory capacity (512MB),  the lack of support for 3.5″ drives, and a few other items. A new project called “Helios4 Personal Cloud” addresses many of those concerns. It comes with 1 to 2GB RAM, enclosure supporting four 3.5″ drives, supports RAID, and is powered by Marvell ARMADA 388 processor that has been specifically designed for this type of application.

Helios4 NAS specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell ARMADA 388 dual core Cortex A9 processor @ up to 1.866 GHz with RAID5/6 acceleration engines, security acceleration engines, etc…
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 4x SATA 3.0 ports, 2x HDD power connectors for 3.5″ drives using the provided DIY enclosure; micro SD slot supporting SDHC/SDXC cards
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x micro USB port for serial console only
  • Expansion – 14-pin GPIO header, 4-pin I2C header which can be used for an LCD screen & control buttons.
  • Misc – 2x PWM fan headers + 2x fans provided with DIY enclosure
  • Power Supply – 12V/8A via 4-pin jack

The basic kit comes with an Helios4 board (shown below), 4x SATA data cables, 2x Molex to dual SATA power cables, and a 12V/8A power adapter. The full kit adds a case available in black or blue, two 70mm PWM ball bearing fan, and a fasteners set.

The NAS will support Armbian Debian and Ubuntu images, OpenMediaVault open NAS solution, and SynCloud open source app server. The developers (Kobol Team), based in Singapore, also promise to release software and hardware design files for the project. For now, they have Armbian build scripts, as well as Linux and U-boot source code on Github. The board has been designed in collaboration with SolidRun, which has experience with Marvell via their MACCHIATObin / ClearFog boards and system-on-modules.

The project has just been launched on Kickstarter, where Kobol aims to raise 150,000 SGD ($106,000 US). All prices are in SGD, but I’ll use the USD equivalent going forward. An early bird pledge of $125 US should get you the basic kit with 1GB RAM, while $149 is required for the 2GB version. If you want a full kit with enclosure, you’ll need to pledge $139 (1GB RAM) or $169 (2GB RAM). Worldwide shipping adds $39 or $43 for respectively the basic and full kit, even if you are in Singapore. Delivery is scheduled for September 2017.