Embedit Electronics, a startup founded by two recent graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, has designed a board powered by Cypress Semiconductor PSoC 5LP ARM Cortex M3 system-on-chip with programmable digital and analog I/Os. The board can interface with all Raspberry Pi models, Digilent Pmod peripheral modules, and supports Arduino shields.
- SoC – Cypress PSoC 5 with ARM Cortex M3 core at 67MHz , 256 KB Flash Program Memory, with user configurable write protection, and 64KB SRAM
- Expansions and I/Os:
- Arduino shield and ICSP compatible headers.
- 2x Digilent Pmod compatible headers
- 58 reconfigurable GPIO pins
- 26-pin ribbon cable connector for use with the Raspberry Pi
- 8 SIO (Special Input/Output) pins with higher current sink
- 5-pin MiniProg3 header for programming via MiniProg3 hardware.
- USB – 1x micro USB port for power, communication and programming.
- Misc – Reset push button, User accessible LED, Programming switch
- Power – 5V via micro USB port
You don’t need a Raspberry Pi to use the board, as it can be used in standalone mode, but RPiSoC provides better mode I/O options to the Raspberry Pi. MiniPro3 flash programming hardware is not necessary to program the board, as you can also do so via USB through the Bootloader Host Tool in PSoC Creator, but it could facilitate debugging. Cypress PSoC Creator IDE is only available for Windows, so users of Linux and Mac OS X may need to use a Virtual Machine, or find a Windows machine to program the board.
The project is open source hardware with the schematics, PCB Layout (Eagle) and gerber files available on Github, together with the bootloader code, and the Python API to communicate with the Raspberry Pi.
The promo video below introduces the board, and shows an interesting demo with RpiSoC and the Raspberry Pi working together to control a face tracking motorized webcam, as well as another demo showing RPiSoC being used standalone as an oscilloscope, and more.
RPiSoC board is now featured on Kickstarter, where the developers aim to raise at least $20,000. There are still a few early bid “seats” where you can get the board for $39, after which it will go for $44. If you own a Raspberry Pi Model B+, you may want to add $5 to get a 26- to 40-pin cable. Shipping is included to the US, and $15 to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for January 2015. If you like the face tracker demo shown in the video, a $199 perk is also available with a complete kit including a RPiSoC board, a RPi model B+, a micro SD card with face tracking software pre-loaded, power & ribbon Cables, a Raspberry Pi camera modules, the servo motors and mount, and battery pack.