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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

PocketCHIP Hackable & Portable Linux Game Console Can Be Pre-ordered for $49

May 4th, 2016 No comments

If you are interested in portable game consoles to run emulator, but can’t quite justify paying hundreds of dollars for device like Pyra or GPD Win, and Android game consoles don’t exactly fit your needs or match your expectations, PocketC.H.I.P based on the $9 C.H.I.P board, and part of the original Kickstarter campaign could be an interesting option, as it is now available for pre-order for $49.

PocketCHIPPocketCHIP specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor @ 1 GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB NAND flash
  • Display – 420 x 272 LED backlit display
  • Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – 3.5mm jack for composite video and audio (HDMI and VGA available via adapters)
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – Through holes on the top giving access to GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART. ADC. battery level, power signals, etc…
  • Misc – Pencil stand port, pocket lanyard
  • Battery – Good for 5 hours
  • Dimensions – N/A (Clear case)

The announcement, which I received from their Next Thing Co mailing list, also included the news that PiCO-8 game making tools (normally $15) will also be included in the kit at no extra cost.

PICO-8_pocketCHIPPICO-8 emulates a console with a 128×128 display  (16 colors) supporting up to 128 8×8 sprites, and playable with two 6-button joysticks. The interesting part is that beside playing games for free, the program also let you modify the sprites, map, audio (SFX and music) as you wish.

You could also use PocketCHIP as a portable Linux device since it features CHIP board, and if you want to do some other work, you can also easily remove CHIP board from the case, and use it as standard ARM Linux development board.

PocketCHIP pre-orders will be shipped in June 2016, right after Kickstarter backers have been sent theirs. I’m also expecting a PocketCHIP sample in the next few weeks, so you can expect a review soon.

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Orbitty is a $175 Carrier Board for Nvidia Jetson TX1 System-on-Module

May 3rd, 2016 No comments

Connect Tech had already launched Astro carrier board for Nvidia Tegra X1 based Jetson TX1 CPU module, which they also integrated into Rosie Military Grade Embedded mini PC. Since them the Canadian company had also introduced a low cost “Elroy” carrier board , and more recently, a third cheaper baseboard called Orbitty selling for  $175 and up, and including Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 & 2.0 ports, HDMI, and more.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Orbitty (ASG003) carrier board specifications:

  • Compatibility – Nvidia Jetson TX1 system-on-module
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output – 1x HDMI
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion Header – 20-pin header with 2x 3.3V UART, I2C, 4x GPIO, etc…
  • Power Supply – 9 to 19V DC via terminal block
  • Dimensions – 87 x 50mm
  • Operating Temperature – -40°C to +85°C

The carrier board targets robotics and unmanned applications, and small form factor rugged environment. As with other carrier board, the company does not provide software themselves, and it just work with the SDK provided with Jetson TX1 module and devkit.

More details can be found on Connect Tech Orbitty product page, and the press release.

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Pyra Open Source Debian Handheld Computer & Game Console is Now Available for Pre-order

May 2nd, 2016 18 comments

The development of Pyra open source portable gaming console started in 2014, and after over two years of hard work, the developers are now ready to take pre-order of the Texas Instruments OMAP 5 powered device running Debian Linux.

Pyra-handheldPyra handheld specifications have changed a little bit since the announcement two years ago:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments OMAP 5432 SoC with 2x ARM Cortex-A15 @ 1.7Ghz with NEON SIMD, 2x ARM Cortex-M4, Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX544-MP2 GPU for 3D graphic, and Vivante GC320 GPU for 2D graphics
  • System Memory – 2GB or 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash, 2x SDXC card slot, 1x internal micro SDXC card slot
  • Display – 720p 5″ LCD with resistive touchscreen
  • Video Output – micro HDMI
  • Audio I/O – High-quality speakers, analog volume wheel, headset port, built-in Mic
  • Gaming controls – D-Pad, 4x shoulder buttons, 6x face buttons, 2x accurate analog controls with push-button
  • Keyboard – Backlit QWERTY keyboard
  • Connectivity – Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1. Optional LTE and GPS module
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port (one usable as eSATA with adapter), 1x micro USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB 2.0 for debugging and charging.
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, gyroscope, etc.
  • Misc – Fully configurable RGB-LEDs for notifications, vibration motor
  • Battery – 6,000mAh, same as for Pandora. Battery life is expected to be the same or better as Pandora (10 hours), except for CPU intensive tasks
  • Dimensions – 139 x 87 x 32 mm

So they’ve increased the battery capacity, added internal eMMC flash, reduced the display resolution to 720p, now offer two RAM options with either 2 or 4 GB memory, and a few other changes.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The internal design is comprised of the mainboard, a CPU module, and (not shown above) a display board. That means that if a more powerful CPU module is available later, you may be able to only replace the CPU module, while keeping the rest of the design. You’ll also be able to design your own better CPU module, since the Pyra will be open source hardware. As mentioned in the title and description the device runs the full desktop version of Debian Linux, and thanks to the micro HDMI port you could easily use it as a mini PC by connecting to a larger monitor, as well as a keyboard and mouse. More details about the hardware and software can be found in the Wiki.

Pyra_USB-3.0_USB-2.0

So how much does this unique device sell for? You’ll have four options:

  • Pyra Standard Edition, 2GB RAM: 500 Euros without VAT (=595 Euros incl. VAT)
  • Pyra Standard Edition, 4GB RAM: 529,41 Euros without VAT (=630 Euros incl. VAT)
  • Pyra Mobile Edition, 2GB RAM: 600 Euros without VAT (=714 Euros incl. VAT)
  • Pyra Mobile Edition, 4GB RAM: 626,05 Euros without VAT (=745 Euros incl. VAT)

The Mobile Edition adds mobile Internet (3G/4G), GPS, and some extra sensors namely an altimeter, hygrometer, barometer, and compass. They do mention they are not sure yet the 4GB RAM with be produced, in which case you may have to settle for the 2GB version. You won’t need to pay the full price for pre-order, as they ask for a downpayment of 330 or 400 Euros for the pre-order, but they don’t have estimated delivery time for now.

More details about the Linux game console can be found on Pyra Handheld website.

Thanks to buZz for the tip.

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NanoPC-T3 Octa-core Cortex A53 Single Board Computer Sells for $60

April 29th, 2016 11 comments

FriendlyARM launched NanoPC-T2 single board computer based on Samsung 5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor about 3 months ago, and the company has now an update based on Samsung S5P6818 Octa-Core A53 processor with the exact same interfaces and features including Gigabit Ethernet, WiFI, and Bluetooth, HDMI 1.4a, 30-pin expansion headers, etc…

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

NanoPC-T3 specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4GHz with Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, and 1x SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0 (Ampak AP6212) with on-board chip antenna and IPX antenna connector
  • Video Output / Display I/F- 1x HDMI 1.4a, LVDS, MIPI DSI, parallel RGB LCD
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, on-board microphone
  • Camera – 1x DVP interface, 1x MIPI CSI interface
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A host ports; 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port; 2x USB 2.0 host ports via 8-pin header
  • Expansions Headers – 30-pin header for GPIO, 8-pin header for power signals, reset and LED 1-2
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power switch, reset button, 1x power & 2x user LEDs, RTC battery header, boot selection button (SD card / eMMC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel; AXP228 PMIC
  • Dimension – 100 x 60 mm (6-layer PCB)

64-bit_octa-core_ARM-development-boardThe board can run Android and Debian from eMMC flash or SD card like its predecessor, as well as Ubuntu Core with Qt, and software and hardware documentation can be found on the Wiki. The board ships with the heatsink shown in the top picture.

The board can be bought on FriendlyARM website for $60 + shipping via China Post ($10), Fedex ($14) or DHL ($34). Shipping fees in brackets are for my location, so you may get other quotes.

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LimeSDR Open Source Hardware Software Defined Radio Goes for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

April 29th, 2016 10 comments

Canonical and Lime Micro showcased SoDeRa software defined radio (SDR) a couple of months ago, with a promise to launch a crowdfunding campaign later this year. They’ve fulfill their promise, and launched the open source SDR, renamed to LimeSDR, on Crowdsupply.
LimeSDR_BoardLimeSDR board specifications:

  • FPGA – Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 Altera FPGA compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • System Memory – 256 MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • RF
    • Lime Microsystems LMS7002M RF transceiver with continuous coverage of the frequency range between 100 kHz and 3.8 GHz; 61.44 MHz bandwidth
    • 4 x TxOut and 6 x RxIn U.FL connectors
    • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
    • Wi-Fi, GSM, UMTS, LTE, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, Digital Broadcasting, configurable through apps.
  • USB – 1x micro USB3 via CYUSB3014-BZXC Cypress Microcontroller  for control, data transfer and power
  • Misc – Status LEDs, RGB LEDs, 4x switches
  • Power – USB or external power supply
  • Dimensions –  100 mm x 60 mm

The board interfaces with systems running Snappy Ubuntu Core, and you can enable wireless protocols the easy way by simply installing the required app with snappy. If you implement a new protocol, it can also be easily shared through snappy apps.

LimeSDR with Aluminium ENclosure with 4 Antennas

LimeSDR with Aluminum Enclosure with 4 Antennas

Potential applications include radio astronomy,RADAR, 2G to 4G cellular basestation, media streaming (DVB, ATSC, ISDB-T), IoT gateway, HAM radio, wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection, tyre pressure monitoring systems, aviation transponders, utility meters, drone command and control, test and measurement, and more.

It’s not the first FPGA based SDR system that’s available to hobbyist, so the company compared it to other platform such as HackRF One, BladeRF, and others, include ultra-low cost solution based on RTL-SDR.

HackRF One Ettus B200 Ettus B210 BladeRF x40 RTL-SDR LimeSDR
Frequency Range 1MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 70MHz-6GHz 300MHz-3.8GHz 22MHz-2.2GHz 100kHz-3.8GHz
RF Bandwidth 20MHz 61.44MHz 61.44MHz 40MHz 3.2MHz 61.44MHz
Sample Depth 8 bits 12 bits 12 bits 12 bits 8 bits 12 bits
Sample Rate 20MSPS 61.44MSPS 61.44MSPS 40MSPS 3.2MSPS 61.44MSPS (Limited by USB 3.0 data rate)
Transmitter Channels 1 1 2 1 0 2
Receivers 1 1 2 1 1 2
Duplex Half Full Full Full N/A Full
Interface USB 2.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Programmable Logic Gates 64 macrocell CPLD 75k 100k 40k (115k avail) N/A 40k
Chipset MAX5864, MAX2837, RFFC5072 AD9364 AD9361 LMS6002M RTL2832U LMS7002M
Open Source Full Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware No Full
Oscillator Precision +/-20ppm +/-2ppm +/-2ppm +/-1ppm ? +/-1ppm initial, +/-4ppm stable
Transmit Power -10dBm+ (15dBm @ 2.4GHz) 10dBm+ 10dBm+ 6dBm N/A 0 to 10dBm (depending on frequency)
Price $299 $686 $1,119 $420 ($650) ~$10 $299 ($199 early bird)

As mentioned in the comparison table, LimeSDR is open source hardware and you’ll find the Altium schematics & PCB layout, as well as the manufacturing files in LimeSDR-USB github repo, Altera Quartus FPGA project, Cypress FX3 firmware, source code for the drivers and GUI, and more in the various repo available on myriadrf github account.

So far, the project has raised close to $70,000 out of its $500,000 goal. A $199 early bird pledge should get you LimeSDR board, as long as you are part of the 500 backers (200 left), after which you’d need to pledge $299 for the board. Unless you provide your own antennas, you may want to add $85 to your pledge to get the four antennas and cables, or if you want a complete system with the board, antennas, enclosure, and “turnkey support”, go for the acrylic or aluminum kits for respectively $499 and $599. Shipping is free to the US, and between $15 to $35 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for November or December 2016 depending on the pledge.

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Tibbo Project System is a Modular Linux IoT Prototyping Platform based on TI Sitara Cortex A8 Processor

April 28th, 2016 1 comment

If you’ve found yourself needing to quickly demo a system that does not look like a mess of wire to a customer, or your project is requires low production volumes, making the cost of designing your own and mass-producing the hardware prohibitive, Tibbo Project System might be worth looking into. It features an almost bare board powered by Texas Instruments Sitara processor, and a large area for Tibbit blocks to add features as needed, as well as an enclosure.

Tibbo_Modular_Linux_IoT_SystemSize 3 Linux Project PCB (LTPP3) specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x Cortex A8 processor up to 1.0 GHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 512 MB NAND flash, 2KB EEPROM, optional micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45), optional WiFi (via LW1000 module) and GPRS connectivity (via Tibbit #47)
  • Expansion – 51 I/Os:
    • 7x tiles
    • 14x sockets for Tibbit module including 4x with UART capability up to 921,600 bps, 2x for CAN socket, 8x for “interrupt” blocks, and 1x for PoE
    • 14x sockets for Tibbit connectors
    • 1x extra socket for Tibbit #37 (RF connector)
    • Support for up to 25 relays, up to 47 opto-inputs, PWM outputs, open-collector outputs, or other I/O.
  • Audio – Optional 96KHz stereo audio LINE Out, MIC In (via Tibbit #48).
  • Misc – 8x LEDs for status and connectivity; setup (MD) and reset buttons; buzzer
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel. Tibbit blocks allow for other power inputs such as rterminal block, PoE, etc…
  • Dimensions – 165×94 mm
  • Operating temperature range – -40 ~ +70C.

“Size 3” refers to the different size of Tippo Project System, as they also have older smaller systems based on Size 1 & 2 that do not run Linux. That’s what the bare board looks like.

LTPP3 Board

LTPP3 Board

Now to have a complete project as shown in the first picture, you need to get Size 3 Tibbo Project Box (TPB3) and purchase a few Tibbit blocks and connectors. Tibbit blocks have all their own number, and you can choose the ones you need among about 50 modules that include I/O terminals, serial ports, relays, isolated inputs, power supply blocks, DAC and ADC blocks, sensors and so on. For example, in the picture below I have Tibbit #19 (DB9M connector), #20 (9x terminal blocks), and #22 (Non-isolated PoE).

Tibbo_Tibbit_ModulesThere are four options on the software side:

  • Embedded AggreGate – Tibbo’s “Internet of Things integration platform that employs modern network technologies to control, configure, monitor and service different electronic devices.” with support for more than 100 supported communications protocols. A middleware C library allows to access  GPIO lines, serial ports, and Tibbit modules.
  • Run Node.js applications – Node.js is pre-installed with support with libraries such as serialport and socket.io, and the company’s own.
  • Execute TiOS applicationsThe company’s Tibbo OS (TiOS) is currently being ported to Linux, and once it’s done you’ll be able to run Tibbo BASIC and Tibbo C code with minor modifications. This is especially useful for customer who run such apps on previous platform. Tibbo IDE is used to develop such apps.
  • Use the LTPP3 as a generic Linux board – Since the board runs a Red Hat derived Linux distribution, it can be used as any Linux single board computer
System Configurator Example (Click to Enlarge)

Online Configurator Example (Click to Enlarge)

The company has also designed an Online Configurator to let customers design and order their own custom system.

LTPP3 board starts at $130, Size 3 Tibbo Project Box (TPB3) at $44, and Tibbit blocks and connectors go for between $2 to $44 (GPRS modem) each. The new system is scheduled to start shipping in May. More details can be found on Tibbo Technology website.

Via HackerBoards

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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.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

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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LibreELEC (OpenELEC Fork) v7.0.0 Released with Kodi 16.1

April 27th, 2016 2 comments

It’s not always easy to get along in life, and recently this has been true in Kodi developer community and related project, with Koying leaving his role as the main Kodi Android developer, possibly meaning Kodi 17 won’t get an Android port, and more recently several OpenELEC developers, not satisfied with some of the current project developments, decided to fork it, and create LibreELEC. The team of 25 or so members has now released LibreELEC v7.0.0 based on Kodi 16.1 which had also  been released a few days ago.

LibreELEC

The changelog only reads:

The 7.0.0 release contains Kodi Jarvis 16.1 (final) and a fix for Verisign SSL certificate changes that impacted Pandora add-on users. It also addresses a bluez crash, a firmware update for Intel Skylake users, and a fix for an Amlogic CEC issue on WeTek Play/Core. Most importantly it also contains our new logo branding.

The images are available for x86 (Intel/AMD PCs), Raspberry Pi and Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, WeTek Core and Play TV boxes,  as well as NXP i.MX6 based platforms. LibreELEC source code can be found on github.

I’m not entirely sure about the main differences with OpenELEC, but I understand LibreELEC developers intend to release a new version more often.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

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