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Posts Tagged ‘open source’

ELLO 2M is a DIY Computer with a Keyboard, a 7″ Touchscreen Display and a Prototyping Area (Crowdfunding)

May 28th, 2016 11 comments

The traditional way to play with electronics is to get a board (e.g. Arduino), a breadboard to wire components & sensors to the board, and a computer for programming.  ELLO 2M combines all that into a single piece of hardware with a 7″ touchscreen display, a Microchip PIC32 micro-controller board, a solderless prototyping area made of PGA sockets, and a keyboard.

ELLO_2MELLO 2M hardware specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip PIC32MX470 32-bit micro-controller @ 120 MHz with 128kB RAM (512kB RAM in the ELLO 2M “hacker” versions)
  • Extra System Memory – Optional on-board serial non-volatile data RAM
  • Storage – 3x micro-SD cards (one permanently built-in and two for removable storage); internal serial FRAM
  • Display – 7″ LCD touch-screen panel with 800×480 pixel resolution
  • Audio – Small speaker and buzzer
  • Keyboard – Replaceable QWERTY keyboard
  • Connectivity – 2.4GHz RF communication module with simple communication protocol
  • Expansion – Expansion receptacle, electronic prototyping space with up to 1156 holes
  • Misc – Real-time clock
  • Battery – 4,500mAh battery for up to 12 hours of continuous operation (more in power-saving mode)
  • Dimensions – six stacked circuit boards with 6.4mm total height without socket

ELLO_M2_BASIC_Game

ELLO 2M uses BASIC, which incidentally is the first programming language I first learned many years ago, but C language programming is also possible. More precisely ELLO runs MMBasic implementation released under a Creative Commons License. The project is also open source hardware with all design files released on github.

Konstantin Dimitrov, the project developer, has taken to CrowdSupply to raise funds for mass production. A $65 pledge will get you the six bare PCBs (shown in the video above), so that you can purchase and solder the components yourself, but most people may want an assembled version with price starting at $180 for Ello 2M Developer which does not include the prototyping area, and you’d need to pledge $240 to get Ello 2M Geek with the built-in prototyping board.  You can also request your own custom keyboard panel-out for $550. Shipping is included in the prices, and delivery is scheduled for September 2016.

Via Liliputing and Geek

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How to Install PHP 5.6 (and Xibo Digital Signage CMS) in Ubuntu 16.04

May 28th, 2016 5 comments

Xibo is an open source digital signage using a client / server architecture, and in the past I wrote a tutorial showing how to use it, and ran Xibo Python client on ARM Linux TV box, but with software handling only so rendering scrolling text was not very smooth at all, and video decoding was not really possible. But now I have Star Cloud PCG02U Intel TV stick which costs just $70 shipped with Ubuntu 14.04, and that I have upgraded to Ubuntu 16.04, and I thought that would be a great low cost Xibo Linux client which should have pretty good performance. I started by installing Xibo server, only to find out that the cross-platform Python client had been phased out, with now only Windows and Android clients available.

So I canceled my plan. I still had some challenges installing Xibo server on Ubuntu 16.04, so I’ll report my experience as it may be useful to others. There will be two sections: 1. Downgrading PHP 7.0 to PHP 5.6 in Ubuntu 16.04 and 2. Installing Xibo CMS in Ubuntu 16.04.

Downgrading PHP 7.0 to PHP 5.6 in Ubuntu 16.04

Ubuntu 16.04 ships with PHP 7.0, and while it provides much better performance over previous version, the massive changes mean that some software packages are not compatible, and that includes Xibo that requires the “mysql” php module, which has been removed from PHP 7.0. So that means I had to install PHP 5.6 instead, which is not officially supported, but can be installed through a ppa.

Remove all php 7.0 packages:

Install php 5.6, apache2 and mysql, and required php modules for Xibo:

Usually, this is enough, but Apache2 will not enable php 5.6 automatically, so you need to run three more commands to enable some modules, and restart apache2:

You should now be able to create phpinfo.php file in /var/www/html, and confirm PHP 5.6 is running.

Installing Xibo 1.7.7 CMS in Ubuntu 16.04

The rest of the installation is actually standard. Download XIBO CMS, extract,. and setup the directory permissions for the CMS and media library.

You’ll also want to modify 2 lines in /etc/php/5.6/fpm/php.ini to allow for longer execution time and larger files:

Now go to your browser to access http://localhost/xibo or http://<IP_address>/xibo to complete the installation.

Xibo_Installation_Ubuntu_16.04

Click to Enlarge

The first step will check all requirements, and if that’s OK, you can click next. if not you are likely missing some PHP modules, but the instructions above should have installed all what’s needed already. The rest of the installation is pretty straightforward, but if you have issues you can check out Xibo CMS instructions.

Xibo_Ubuntu_16.04_Install_SuccessNow you can login to create a layout and schedule to played by one or more Windows or Android clients.

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Raspberry Pi 3 Repository Has Been Added to Android Open Source Project

May 25th, 2016 4 comments

Android has been ported to the Raspberry Pi boards in the past, but the images were not really usable because the implementation lacked 2D & 3D graphics support. The good news is that Raspberry Pi 3 is likely to officially support the latest version of Android soon, because rpi3 repository has been created in AOSP about 5 weeks ago.

Raspberry_Pi_3_Android_Source_CodeThat’s all we know for now. Raspberry Pi 3 could then be part of the second wave of boards officially supported in Android “mainline”, as currently 96Boards Hikey is the only supported board in AOSP. However, If we go down in the git repo to android/device, we can also see MIPS Creator CI40, Aaeon Upboard, i.mx6ul picoimx board, Intel Edison and Minnowboard, and a few others. Some of the boards will run Brillo instead of Android however, or it could be a different project, so we’ll have to see what happens with RPi3.

Via AndroidPolice and Nanik.

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Preliminary Open Source Bootloader for Raspberry Pi Boards Released

May 16th, 2016 8 comments

Raspberry Pi boards require a closed-source binary to boot. I understand it this is handled by VideoCore IV GPU,  and so  far the Raspberry Pi foundation are not release source code for the bootloader, possibly due to legal reason (e.g. NDA to Broadcom). But I noticed people chatting about an open source bootloader for Raspberry Pi on sunxi-linux IRC channel.

Raspberry_Pi-3

The bootloaded called rpi-open-firmware has been developed by Kristina Brooks (christinaa), who previously did some work on the VideoCore IV GPU, as you can see on her blog and github account.

Kristina describe the project as follows:

This is a small firmware for RPi VPU (VideoCore4) versions 1/2/3 that is capable of initializing VPU PLL (PLLC), UART, SDRAM and ARM itself. It’s intended to be used instead of stock bootcode.bin on RPi’s SD card. You need to have UART to see anything meaningful as far as output goes.

This has been tested on RPi1 Model B (Hynix PoP DDR), RPi 2 Model B and RPi 3 Model B (both Elpida DDR).

Bear in mind that this is all work in progress, and it’s not capable of booting Linux right now. The media part of the VPU is also not handled by this driver, and probably never will. There are multiple license used for the code, with some source  licensed under “Broadcom Corporation”, which the license explains is itself released under a BSD 3-Clause License, as well as code released under GPLv2+.

You can check the code and instructions on Github. There’s also a discussion in Hacker News with some more bits of info.

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OpenThread is an Open Source Implementation of Thread IoT Networking Protocol

May 12th, 2016 4 comments

Thread was announced about two years ago, as a new IP-based wireless protocol based on 6LoWPAN and 802.15.4 standards and targeting IoT applications. Nest Labs,  an Alphabet company, has now released OpenThread open source implementation of the networking protocol under a BSD license.

OpenThread

The source code (C++)  includes supports for End Device, Router, Leader & Border Router roles, and  can be found on Github. The implementation is said to be OS and platform agnostic with a radio abstraction layer, have a small footprint, and implement all Thread networking layers, namely IPv6, 6LoWPAN, IEEE 802.15.4 with MAC security, Mesh Link Establishment, and Mesh Routing. To quickly get started you can may to read the Examples README which explains how to build the code, start two nodes, and ping them.

Interestingly, while the code is there for everybody to use, only paid members ($2,500 to $100,00) of the Thread group can access the full specifications.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Categories: Hardware Tags: IoT, ipv6, nest, open source, standard, thread

Olimex iCE40HX1K-EVB Open Source Hardware Lattice FPGA Development Board To Sell for 22 Euros

May 9th, 2016 5 comments

Olimex has showcased a prototype of their small (5×5 cm) iCE40HX1K-EVB development board powered by Lattice Semi iCE40 FPGA, programmable with OLinuXino development boards via the UEXT interface, and compatible with Project Icestorm open source toolchain for Lattice iCE40.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

iCE40HX1K-EVB specifications:

  • FPGA – Lattice Semi iCE40HX1K-VQ100 FPGA @ up to 533 MHz with 1280 gates, 160 Logic Array Blocks, and 64 kbit memory
  • System Memory – 256Kx16 SRAM (Samsung K6R4016V1D-TC10 )
  • Storage – 2MB serial flash
  • Expansion
    • UEXT connector for programming
    • 34-pin header to access FPGA I/Os
  • Misc – 2x user buttons, reset button, 2x user LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via power jack
  • Dimensions – 5×5 cm (4-layer PCB)

iCE40HX1K-EVBThe company has also made four stackable add-on boards to connect to the 34-pin expansion header:

  • iCE40-ADC fast 100Mhz ADC with BNC input connector for Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSO) with up to 512 KB buffer
  • iCE40-DAC fast 100Mhz DAC with BNC output connector for Direct digital synthesizer (DDS) generator
  • iCE40-DIO fast IO with level shifter
  • iCE40-IO with VGA and PS2 keyboard connectors board to emulate older computer

The boards still need to be tested, and all five boards are expected to sell starting June 1st, with iCE40HX1K-EVB going for 22 Euros. There’s no product page yet, but you can already check the Kicad and PDF schematics on github.

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LEDE (Linux Embedded Development Environment) Project is a Fork of OpenWrt

May 4th, 2016 9 comments

2016 appears to be the year of splits in open source communities with Kodi losing its main Android developer, LibreELEC being born out of disagreements within OpenELEC community, and now LEDE project, a fork of OpenWrt, has been created because some people are not satisfied with the way the project is managed, and now “includes a significant share of the most active members of the OpenWrt community”.

LEDE_OpenWrt_ForkLEDE, which stands for “Linux Embedded Development Environment” , has three stated goals:

  • Building a great embedded Linux distribution with focus on stability and functionality.
  • Having regular, predictable release cycles coupled with community provided device testing feedback.
  • Establishing transparent decision processes with broad community participation and public meetings.

You can find more on LEDE Project website, and the source code is available on the project’s git server:

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

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Categories: Linux, OpenWRT Tags: fork, lede, open source, openwrt

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

May 2nd, 2016 22 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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