$35 Tessel 2 IoT Board Features Atmel SAMD21 MCU and Mediatek MT7620n WiSoC

Orange Pi Development Boards

Tessel is a Wi-Fi IoT board based on NXP LPC1830 Cortex M3 MCU and Texas Instruments CC3000 modules, that’s designed to bring embedded development to web programmers with a system that can be programmed with JavaScript and Node.js.  At the time of the crowdfunding campaign in 2013, the board was available with external modules (Relays, sensors, Bluetooth LE…) for $100 and up, but now Technical Machine, the company behind the project, has announced Tessel 2 combining Atmel SAMD21 Cortex M0+ to control I/O and Mediatek MT7260n for Wi-Fi connectivity, still programmable with JavaScript ot Node.js.

Tessel_2Tessel 2 specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel SAMD21G14A-MU Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48MHz with 16KB SRAM and 2KB Flash
  • SoC – Mediatek MT7260n MIPS24KEc Wi-Fi SoC @ 580 MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 32MB flash for firmware (OpenWRT)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with dual PCB antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 2x Tessel module ports (10-pin headers) connected to SAMA21 MCU.
  • Power – 5V via micro USB.
  • Dimensions – N/A

OpenWRT (Linux) runs on MT7620n with io.js, an npm compatible platform originally based on node.js, which you can access with tessel command, or if you’re used to Linux, just as a standard OpenWRT router. While a custom firmware runs SAMD21, and both OpenWRT and Atmel firmware source code is available on github in respectively openwrt-tessel and v2-firmware repositories. Performance of the JavaScript engine is said to be 20 times better than on Tessel 1. Linux also brings more flexibility than the closed firmware found on CC3000, and Python and Rust programming languages have been added.

Rust Code Sample on Tessel 2
Rust Code Sample on Tessel 2

Most external modules for Tessel 1 are supported on Tessel 2, but the company has decided to get rid of some Tessel modules like Camera, Bluetooth LE, or micro SD card, as USB dongles with these functionalities already exist at a cheaper price, and only kept low speed Tessel module such as sensors, relays or servos since they are better suited to the I/O capabilities of an MCU. Check out the list of Tessel & USB modules for details.

Tessel 1 costs $75, and despite being more powerful Tessel 2 only costs $35 for single order. The great thing is that if you have a small scale project (10 units or more), they can customized manufacturing for example by leaving the Ethernet RJ45 connector and USB connectors unpopulated, and adding Tessel or USB modules. Price goes down with volume, and for order over 1,000 unit, Tessel 2 will cost less than $30.

Tessel 2 is up for pre-order until April 4 (for the first batch) on tessel.io, but the downside is that the boards are only expected to ship in August 2015.

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anon
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anon

I have wondered why there is no more of this kind of “processor per function” boards around, the two (IMO) most efficient “multiprocessor” architectures that ultimately lost were the Commodore Amiga and the Intel i432.

Sure there were/are much faster, and more advanced architectures around, but those two simply blew everything out of water at their respective time periods.

bcanustundag
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bcanustundag

Meanwhile it is cc3000 not cc3300 🙂 While I was reading the article first time, i was truely shocked that TI published another platform so quickly after cc3200.