Posts Tagged ‘sdk’

Development Resources for Realtek “Ameba” RTL8710, RTL8711, and RTL8195 WiFi SoCs

August 1st, 2016 18 comments

We were made aware of a potential ARM based ESP8266 competitor last week with Realtek RTL8710 WiFi modules selling for about $3.5 shipped per unit, and under $2 per unit for larger orders (100+ pieces). Hardware is good, but for a platform to be successful, or even just useful, you also need software support. So I started doing some research into IoT-Tech BBS and asked ICStation for an “SDK” for the module they sold.

802.11 nxn with NFC RTL8710 Module

RTL8710 single band 802.11n (1×1) and NFC Tag Solution block diagram

I ended up on this forum post providing an “Realtek RTL8710 SDK” via Baidu (password: brwp), which turned out to be about the same as the Google Drive link provided by ICStation, and only contain minimal documents, as well as cracked Windows IAR Embedded Workshop and JLink tools. There are also some more technical details in Chinese only in another forum post, and well as B&T RTL8710 module datasheet (PDF).

However, if you don’t read Chinese that’s pretty challenging, and you may not want to use cracked software for development. I’ve soon come to the conclusion that RTL8710 was part of Realtek “Ameba” family also including RTL8711AF/AM and RTL8195AF, with the latter used in Ameba Arduino IoT board ($25), and supported by Ameba IoT community, where you’ll find both a “Standard SDK” and an “Arduino SDK” with several documents to get started.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The comparison table above shows that RTL8195AM and RTL8711AM support 2MB SDRAM + 512KB SRAM, while RTL8711AF & RTL8710AF only support 512KB SRAM. The not-so-good news here is that the Arduino SDK currently relies on the 2MB SDRAM lacking in the cheaper versions of the chips, and that’s the reason given by Realtek for the lack of implementation on RTL8710/RTL8711. The good news is that Realtek confirmed that the “Standard SDK” based on FreeRTOS and LWIP supports RTL8195, RTL8711 and RTL8710 processors.


Ameba SDK Software Architecture

You can freely download the standard SDK after registration on Ameba IoT community website, and you’ll find source code (component folder), documentation, sample code (project folder) and tools for Windows, as well as Android and iOS configuration apps (source + apk binary).

Realtek_Ameba_SDKYou may have noticed that the SDK name ends with “without NDA” which unfortunately means some documents – such as RTL8710 datasheet – are not publicly available at this time. However, Realtek has noticed the interest raised by their low cost WiSoCs, and hopefully the company will decide to become more open, at least for RTL8710/8711 to allow the community to fully leverage WiFi IoT modules based on Realtek low cost wireless processors.

Ameba IoT community appears to focus on their Realtek RTL8195AM based Ameba Arduino board right now, but you can always try to get more details or help in their forums. Alternatively, “dpape” has very recently created RTL8710 forums, and #rtl8710 IRC channel where interested developers and users can share ideas and more information about Realtek RTL8710/RTL8711 solutions.

VicoVR is a Wireless 19-Point Full-Motion Tracker for Virtual Reality Working with Android and iOS (Crowdfunding)

June 17th, 2016 1 comment

There’s a wide a virtual reality solution from cardboard kits that now sells for a couple of dollars to full featured headset with motion tracking selling for several hundred dollars or more. 3DiVi has designed a Kinect like motion tracking device that connects to your Android and iOS smartphone, and is supposed to offer similar tracking capabilities of more expensive head mount displays (HMD) such as HTC VIVE at about half the cost, while also replacing the cables of those kits with wireless connectivity through WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.


The company offer three VicoVR devices part with the following specifications:

  • VicoVR Sensor
    • SoC – Unnamed Samsung Exynos processor
    • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
    • Data stream
      • Bluetooth – User pixel mask @ 30 fps, 3D coordinates up to 19 skeletal joints per user (max 2 users) @ 30 fps, 3D point cloud @ 30 fps up to 160×120, hand pointers and gestures
      • WiFi – Bluetooth data + 640×480 raw depth map @ 30 fps
    • Field of view – 73″
    • Range – 50 to 450 cm
    • Power Supply – 5V/3A via micro USB port
    • Dimensions – 220 x 120 x 50 mm
    • Weight – 450 grams
  • VicoVR head-mount display
    • Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones between 4 to 6″ (If your phone works with cardboard it will work with VicoVR headset)
    • Dimensions – 170 x 125 x 105 mm
    • Weight – 190 grams
  • VicoVR wireless controller
    • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
    • Range – Up to 5 meters
    • Buttons – Confirm/Shoot, Return, Menu and General
    • Dimensions – 100 x 32 x 30 mm
    • Weight – 64 grams

The sensor runs 3DiVi body tracking middleware NUITRACK, works with iOS and Android smartphones, as well as Samsung Gear VR and AppleTV.  Unity3D and Unreal engine SDK are provided to developers who want to develop app for the platform. The head mount display and wireless controller are optional, as you could also use your own.

The company also provided a comparison table against what they consider to be their competitors, namely GOA Nod, STEM Sixense, and Leap Motion.


The promo video is quite impressive, but we’d have to see how it will actually perform in real-life.

3DiVi has now launched an Indiegogo campaign, and with 15 days to go, they have already exceeded their $75,000 target. VicoVR with all three items and a micro USB power supply requires a $219 pledge, but if you only want the sensor part, you’d just have to pledge $174. Shipping is free to the US, $10 to Canada, $15 to the UK, Europe, Australia, and Japan, and $30 to the rest of the world. Shipping is scheduled for November 2016, but as usual bear in mind that delays are frequent in crowdfunding projects, and you could well receive it in 2017 due to unexpected technical or manufacturing challenges.

Wandboard Development Boards Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Support

May 2nd, 2016 No comments

Wandboard development boards powered by Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual and Quad Cortex A9 processors were released over 3 years ago with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Contrary to many other boards that don’t get an updated version, Wandboard boards got support for Android 4.4 Kitkat, Android 5.x Lollipop, and now the community has recently released Android 6.0 Marshmallow.


You can try the Android 6.0 SD card image as follows:

Where /dev/sdX is the device for your SD card. If you can remember the first Jellybean release had separate images for each version of the board, but thanks to device tree implementation, a single image is now released with all three versions.

The full source code is also available in a 5.0 GB tarball.

Since Freescale, now NXP, i.MX6 processors will be available until November 2022, we can most probably expect a few more Android releases for the board.

$20 MediaTek LinkIt 7687 Arduino Compatible WiFi IoT Board Runs FreeRTOS

April 22nd, 2016 No comments

MediaTek Labs has already launched several WiFi boards for IoT applications starting with LinkIt ONE, and later LinkIt Smart 7688 running OpenWrt, and the company is now about to launch LinkIt 7687 HDK (Hardware Development Kit) powered by Mediatek MT7687F Cortex-M4 SoC,  running FreeRTOS, and developed & produced by Silicon Application Corp (SAC).

LinkIt_7687LinkIt 7687 (WS3489) board specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT7687F ARM Cortex-M4F MCU @ 192MHz with 352 KB SRAM, 64KB ROM, and 2 MB serial flash in package, integrated security engine, and built-in 802.11n WiFi. 8×8 mm 68-pin QFN package
  • Connectivity – 1×1 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with on-module PCB antenna and U.FL connector.
  • USB – 1x micro USB for power, debugging (Coresight Debug Access Port + Virtual COM)
  • Expansion
    • Arduino Uno Rev. 3 headers + an extra 8-pin extension connector.
    • Mass Storage Device (MSD) flash programming interface.
    • Reserved headers for power consumption (current) measurement.
  • Misc – LEDs for UART communication, power, and 6x user customizable; 3x push buttons for reset, RTC interrupt, and external interrupt; configuration jumpers for power source and boot mode (embedded flash or UART)
  • Power supply – 5V via micro USB port, or 1.8 to 3.2V using VIN pin
  • Dimensions – 108.5 x 60.5 mm
  • Weight – 25 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -40 to 85°C
Mediatek MT7687F Block Diagram

Mediatek MT7687F Block Diagram

This is the first board for MediaTek LinkIt Development Platform for RTOS, which is said to provide “the convenience of a single toolset and common APIs implemented over a popular RTOS”, in this case, FreeRTOS with additional components such as TCP/IP, SSL/TLS, HTTP (client and server), SNTP, DHCP daemon, MQTT, XML and JSON. You can download MediaTek LinkIt SDK v3.0, compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems, to work on it.


Documentation for the board, including datasheets, a user’s guide, and the hardware reference files, can be found on Hardware Development Kits for the MediaTek LinkIt Development Platform for RTOS page.

Mediatek MT7687 HDK and MT7687 WiFi module are shown to be “coming so” for respectively $19.99 and $4.99.

Via HackerBoards (previously LinuxGizmos)

$15 RobinCore WiFi IoT Module Runs OpenWrt, Supports 720p Video Encoding (Crowdfunding)

March 27th, 2016 7 comments

Do you remember VoCore? It was a low cost OpenWrt WiFi IoT module based on Mediatek RT5350 processor, that had a very successful crowdfunding campaign managed by a single developer, and the project is still going strong with VoCore2 being in the works. Another developer had the idea of doing something similar but based on HiSilicon Hi3518 ARM9 processor with more memory and support for 720p video encoding making it suitable for HD drone camera, compact video cameras, and so on. Meet RobinCore.

RobinCoreRobinCore specifications:

  • SoC – Hisilicon Hi3518E ARM926 processor @ 440MHz with H.264 encoder([email protected])
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 16 MB NOR flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi via Mediatek MT7601U with on-board chip antenna
  • Debugging – micro USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 30-pin 2.0mm pitch through holes with access to 10/100M Ethernet, UART, I2C, SPI, SDIO, ADC, PWM, JTAG and GPIOs
  • Power Support – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 33 x 27 mm
RobinCore Pin Assignment

RobinCore Pin Assignment

The board runs OpenWrt 15.05 with Linux 3.18 or HiSilicon Linux SDK with Linux 3.0.8. The developer has already released some binary images and script, as well as documented is progress on Source code has not been released, but he plans to submit patch files to OpenWrt trunk  for hi3518e soon. I’ve been told HiSilicon SDK normally costs $10k – at least outside of China-, but the developer confirmed by email that he obtained HiSilicon SDK and documentation from an authorized agent of HiSilicon, and as well as H.264 video library and API. He also claims to be releasing PCB layout, schematics, documents and full source code for U-boot, the Linux Kernel, OpenWrt, and applications such as the RTSP server, and DVR program if the campaign is successful.


Two add-on boards (aka docks) have also been developed:

  • RobinCam board with Omnivision OV9712 HD CMOS sensor and a wide-angle lens
  • RobinMac with 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 port,a microphone and a SD card slot.

As you can see from the picture above both boards can be connected together to RobinCore.

The project has now launched on Indiegogo (fixed funding), where Robin, the developer, aims to raise at least $7,000 to go ahead with production. A $15 pledge should get you RobinCore, $20 RobinCore with RobinMac dock, $25 RobinCore with RobinCam dock, and $30 the board with the two docks. Shipping adds $3 to anywhere in the world, and delivery is planned 2 weeks after the campaign ends, so around June 2016 with a production run for 500 units.

Astro Carrier & XBG201 Breakout Boards Are Designed for Nvidia Jetson TX1 Module

March 19th, 2016 4 comments

Nvidia unveiled Jetson TX1 system-on-module powered by their latest Tegra X1 processor, as well as a carrier board that fits into a mini-ITX case at the end of last year. However, if you need something more compact  and lightweight, Connect Tech designed Astro Carrier baseboard for Jetson TX1 module with about the same size, as well as a breakout board with connectors that can be customized as needed.

Bottom to Top: Jestnp TX1 SoM, Astro Carrier, and xxxBreakout Board

Bottom to Top: Jetson TX1 SoM, Astro Carrier, and XBG201 Breakout Board

Astro Carrier (ASG001) board specifications:

  • SoM Connector – Samtec “SEARAY” high density board to board connector for Jetson TX1 module
  • Breakout board connectors – 3x 60-pin high density connectors with HDMI, SATA,  2x Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000), 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x RS-232/RS-485, 2x camera (CSI4), 4x GPIO……
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • On-board connectivity – GbE magnetics + Intel 82574 GbE PHY + magnetics
  • Video I/Os
    • 8x u.FL video inputs GMSL (Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link) signaling via 2x MAX9286 deserializer connected to CSI0 to CSI3
    • HDMI circuitry
  • Audio – Freescale SGTL50000 stereo codec
  • Expansion
    • mini PCIe slot (half size or full size)
    • mSATA slot (only if half size used above)
  • Misc – Fan connector, UART control switch
  • Power Supply – +7.5V to +14.0V DC input range ; +12V DC Nominal Input
  • Dimensions – 87mm x 57mm
  • Weight – 46 grams with stands
  • Temperature range – -40 C to +85 C
Astro Carrier (Click to Enlarge)

Astro Carrier (Click to Enlarge)

You’ll also need a breakout port plugged into the three 60-pin board to board connectors in order to add connector for power, USB, Ethernet, etc… and the company provides an off-the-shelf board called XBG201 with the following key features:

  • Video output – HDMI type A connector
  • Connectivity – 2x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 type A, 1x USB 2.0 type A
  • Camera – 1x MIPI connector
  • Headers
    • Stereo output header
    • 2x RS-232/RS-485 Header
    • GPIO Header with 4x GPIO, 4x GND
    • System control header with power, main and secondary reset, sleep and battery low signals
    • RTC battery connector
  • Power supply +9V to +36V Input via terminal
  • Dimensions – 87mm x 57mm
  • Weight – 51 grams
  • Temperature range – -40 C to +85 C
Breakout Board (CLick to Enlarge)

XBG201 Breakout Board (CLick to Enlarge)

Relevant cables and RTC cables are also available to XBG201 board. If the breakout board design does not match your requirements, the company can provide reference design package, which as I understand it should allow you to create your own design relatively easily, or design a custom breakout board on your behalf.

The software part should probably be fully handled by Nvidia, as they provide Jetson TX1 module, and you can find all information needed on Nvidia Jetson Embedded page to access the Linux SDK, libraries, tools, and documentation.

Astro Carrier and breakout boards are available now, at an undisclosed price. Some hardware documentation can be downloaded on the product page.  Connect Tech Inc (CTI) is also working on a lower cost Elroy carrier board that should be launched next month.

Thanks to Byron for the tip.

Android N Developer Preview Released with Multi-Window Support, PiP, Background Apps Optimizations…

March 10th, 2016 6 comments

Google has just released an early developer preview of Android 7.0 N (Nutella?) before the OS officially launched later this summer with new features such s multi-window support, TV recording,  Picture-in-picture, bundled notifications, and efficiency improvements.

Multi-window Support in Android N

Multi-window Support in Android N

So let’s have a look at some of improvements:

  • Multi-window – A new manifest attribute called android:resizableActivity is available for apps targeting N and beyond, allowing your activity to be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tablets. In addition, activities can also go into picture-in-picture mode on devices like TVs by setting android:supportsPictureInPicture to true.
  • Direct reply notifications: Initially an Android Wear only features, the RemoteInput notification API has now been added for smartphones and tablets, and allows user to reply directly within the notification shade.
  • Bundled notifications – The Notification.Builder.setGroup() method can be used to bundle notifications from the same app together.
  • Efficiency Improvements – Doze has been further improved to save battery whenever the screen turns off, and work is still being done on Project Svelte to reduce memory usage so allow Android to runs on more devices, and in Android N they’ve made background work more efficient using JobScheduler.
  • Improved Java 8 language support – Google has brough Java 8 language features to Android, and Jack compiler (Java Android Compiler Kit) can use many Java 8 features in Android 2.3 and greater.
  • Data Saver – Users can enable Data Saver in order to use less data with the system blocking background data usage and signalling apps to use less data in the foreground wherever possible. Users can also whitelist specific apps to allow background metered data usage even when Data Saver is turned on.
  • TV Recording Improvements – TV input services let the user pause and resume channel playback via time-shifting APIs. Android N expands on time-shifting by letting the user save multiple recorded sessions. Users can schedule recordings in advance, or start a recording as they watch a program. Once the system has saved a recording, the user can browse, manage, and play back the recording using the system TV app
Picture-in-Picture in Android N

Picture-in-Picture in Android N

You can try the N Developer Preview on the Android emulator, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices, with the latter being sold at a $150 discount. To get Android N SDK, you’ll also need to install Android Studio 2.1, because the new version of Android required Jack compiler not supported in earlier versions.

Android N Preview in Android Studio 2.1 (Click to Enlarge)

Android N Preview in Android Studio 2.1’s SDK Manager (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve just been informed Android N source code is, or soon will be in AOSP, since android-n-preview-1 tag has been spotted, and that’s the way to get the source:

Firefly-RK3288 Reload Board Features a SoM + Baseboard Design, Supports SATA, Three HDMI Ports, and More

March 7th, 2016 3 comments

Firefly-RK3288 was one the first boards powered by Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, and now Firefly team, part of T-Chip technology, has provided a new version called Firefly-RK3288 Reload with the same processor, but more features, and thanks to design comprised of a carrier board and system-on-module (SoM) – connected via an MXM connector – suitable to people or companies wanting to create their own board without handing the complexity of the processor, memory, and storage part.

Firefly-RK3288_ReloadThe table below shows Firefly-RK3288 and Firefly RK3288 Reload specifications side-by side.

Parameter Firefly-RK3288 (Plus) Firefly-RK3288 Reload
SoC Rockchip RK3288 ARM Cortex-A17 quad core processor up to 1.8GHz
with ARM Mali-T760 MP4 GPU
RAM 2GB Dual-Channel DDR3 (Plus version is 4GB) 2GB Dual-Channel DDR3
Storage 16GB eMMC (Plus version is 32GB)
MicroSD (TF) Card Slot
MicroSD (TF) Card Slot
SATA 2.0 (Suggest 2.5 inch SSD or HDD)
PMU ACT8846 PMU Chip
Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet (Realtek RTL8211E)
Wireless Integrated WiFi Combo Module ( AP6335 ) :
WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual-Band Support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0 (Support BLE)
  • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • 1x VGA up to 1080p
  • 1x MIPI, 1x eDP, 2x LVDS display interfaces for LCD panels  via expansion headers
  • 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • 1x HDMI 1.4 up to  1080p @ 60Hz
  • 1x MIPI, 1x eDP, 2x LVDS display interfaces for LCD panels via expansion headers
  • 1x HDMI-IN with support for PiP (Picture-in-picture) and video recording functions
  • 1x HDMI audio output
  • 1x Analog audio (via 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack for audio input and output)
  • 1x optical S/PDIF output
  • 1x on-board microphone
  • 1x I2S for audio input and output
  • 2x HDMI audio outputs
  • 1x Analog audio (via 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack for audio input and output)
  • 1x optical S/PDIF output
  • 1x on-board microphone
  • 1x I2S for audio input and output
Camera 1x MIPI-CSI interface (13MP max.) 1x MIPI-CSI interface (13MP max.)
1x DVP Interface (5MP max.)
USB 2x USB 2.0 host ports,1 x USB 2.0 OTG port
4x USB 2.0 via headers
3x USB 2.0 host ports,1x USB 2.0 OTG port
IR 1x IR receiver module
LED 1x Power Status LED (Blue)
1x User Defined LED (Green)
Button 1x Reset button,1x Power button,1x Recover button
Debugging 1x serial Console for debugging
Reserved Interface 84-pin expansion header with MIPI DSI, MIPI-CSI, dual LVDS, eDP, PWM, SPI, UART, ADC, GPIO, I2C, and I2S 184-pin expansion header with MIPI CSI, MIPI DSI, dual LVDS, eDP, PWM, SPI, UART, ADC, GPIO, I2C, I2S, etc…
Power DC5V – 2.5A ( via DC 4.0×1.7mm Jack ) DC12V – 1.5A ( via DC 5.5×2.1mm Jack )
OS Android 4.4 or 5.1 / Ubuntu 14.04 Android 5.1 / Ubuntu 14.04
Dimensions 118mm × 85mm MainBoard -178mm x 117mm
Core-Board – 82mm x 60mm
Weight 77g 176g

Since RK3288 did not suddenly grow SATA or USB 3.0 support, the SATA implementation is based on JMicron JM20329 a USB 2.0 to SATA bridge which should limit data transfer to around 35 to 40 MB/s at best. The system-on-module includes the processor, memory, storage, and PMIC, with signals routed to an 314-pin MXM connector, and most other features are placed in the baseboard.  Software supports is basically the same between the two boards, except the Reload version does not support the older Android 4.4 Kitkat firmware. You can find  documentation in Firefly-RK3288 Wiki,  and download firmware, source code (SDK), and hardware design files (PDF schematics and CAD files) in the Download section of the website.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge


Firefly-RK3288 Reload can be purchased for $189 including shipping via DHL on Aliexpress. I can’t find Rockchip RK3288 SoM anymore, so you’d have to contact the company to get pricing for the module.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.