GroBotz Interactive Robot Project is Made of Easy to Assemble Smart Blocks (Crowdfunding)

GroBotz makes me think of Lego applied to robotics. The project consists of modules such as motors, sensors, buttons, switches, or cameras that snap together in order to create a robot on wheels, games, toys, a musical instrument, or whatever idea you may have, and the hardware is then programmed using a graphical user interface. A Raspberry Pi board is used for the brain of the robot, and Microchip PIC MCUs for the smart blocks. The software is programmed in C# using Xamarin, the user interface is based on Unity, OpenCV is used for image processing, and during development a plastic part where printed with Makerbot, and schematics and PCB layout designed with CadSoft EAGLE. The company has now come up with a number of modules as shown in the picture below. Your robot can then be controlled over Wi-Fi with GroBotz app which works on Windows, Mac OS, iOs, Android and Linux devices. The software provide a “wire editor” …

Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, and ODROID-C1 Boards Power Consumption

Mikronauts has recently reviewed MIPS Creator CI20, ODROID-C1, and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. R-PI 2 review is especially interesting since this is the last one, and the reviewer goes to compare all Raspberry Pi models (A, A+, B, B+ and 2 B) with Banana Pi, Banana Pro, MIPS Creator CI20, and ODROID-C1 development boards. The benchmark results are good to know, and expected with ODROID-C1 the fastest of the bunch both in terms of CPU and storage performance, but here I’ll just share the results of his power consumptions testing. Since all platforms are powered by a 5V power supply, I’ve converted the results into watts. Model Max (W) Avg (W) Off (W) A 1.07 0.80 0.15 A+ 0.76 0.48 0.125 B 2.45** 2.12 0.62 B+ 1.20 1.15 0.35 2 B 2.25 1.55 0.325 Banana Pi 2 1.25 0 Banana Pro 2.3 1.62 0 Odroid-C1 2.3 1.62 0.735* * Connecting an ON/OFF switch to ODROID C1’s power header will …

Linux 3.19 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 3.19 yesterday: So nothing all that exciting happened, and while I was tempted a couple of times to do an rc8, there really wasn’t any reason for it. Just as an example, Sasha Levin used KASan and found an interesting bug in paravirtualized spinlocks, but realistically it’s been around forever, and it’s not even clear that it can really ever trigger in practice. We’ll get it fixed, and mark it for stable, and tempting as it was, it wasn’t really a reason to delay 3.19. And the actual fixes that went in (see appended shortlog) were all fairly small, with the exception of some medium-sized infiniband changes that were all reverting code that just wasn’t ready. So it’s out there – go and get it. And as a result, the merge window for 3.20 is obviously also now open. Linus Linux 3.18 improved performance of the network stack, received BTRFS and EXT-4 file systems improvements, …

Raspberry Pi Model B+ Can Now Be Purchased for About $30 Shipped

The Raspberry Pi maybe promoted as a $35 ARM Linux board, but in reality once you had taxes and shipping the price can be quite higher. For example on Element14 Thailand, I would have to spend 1,300 Baht ($40) + shipping,  or even 1750 Baht ($54) to get the board. But since Raspberry Pi 2 launch, sales numbers for R-Pi model B+ have most likely dwindled, and some sellers are trying to get rid off stock. Some deals I have found or been tipped off: $30.29 on Amazon US. Free shipping in the US on orders over $35. $31 including shipping on Aliexpress $33.99 including shipping on Bangood $37.81 including shipping on DealExtreme $37.88 including shipping on Ebay If you know of other better or similar deal for the Raspberry Pi Model B/B+, feel free to leave a link in comments. Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

Raspberry Pi 2 / ODROID C1+ Development Boards Comparison

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B board has just been released, and although it’s not a direct answer to ODROID-C1, as Broadcom started the design for BCM2836 SoC for RPI2 a long time ago, both low cost development boards have similar specifications, with a quad core processor, 1GB RAM, Ethernet, and four USB ports, as well as the exact same price: $35. So I’ve decided to compare both in details to find out the actual differences, and which one may be more suitable to a particular application. Let’s get straight to the comparison table. [Updated on November 24 to use ODROID C1+ instead of ODROID C1] Hardkernel ODROID C1+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Comment Processor Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex A5 @ 1.5 GHz (Overclockable to 1.7 GHz or more) Broadcom BCM2836 quad core Cortex A7 @ 900 MHz (Overclockable to 1.1GHz or more) Despite the architecture advantage for Cortex A7 (1.9 DMIPS/MHz)  against Cortex A5 (1.57 DMIPS/MHz), the frequency …

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Features Broadcom BCM2836 Quad Core Processor

The Raspberry Pi foundation has finally released an upgraded version of the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi 2 model B features much of the same ports and form factor as Raspberry Pi Model B+, by replaces Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor  @ 700 MHz with a much faster Broadcom BCM2836 quad core ARMv7 processor @ 900 MHz, and with an upgrade to 1GB RAM. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B specifications: SoC – Broadcom BCM2836 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 900MHz with VideoCore IV GPU System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2 (PoP) Storage – micro SD card slot (push release type) Video & Audio Output – HDMI and AV via 3.5mm jack. Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet USB – 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power Expansion 2×20 pin header for GPIOs Camera header Display header Power – 5V via micro USB port. Dimensions – 85 x 56 mm I could not find anything about BCM2836, except it’s quite similar to BCM2835, …

Linux based Vu+ DVB Set-top Boxes Now Support XBMC/Kodi

Vu+ Duo2, Solo2 and Solo SE are high-end Linux based DVB receivers powered by Broadcom processors made by Ceru, and with a relatively active community of users and developers. All three models have recently received support for XBMC in their “Black Hole” firmware. Solo SE is the most recent model having been released in 2014, against Duo2 and Solo2 that have been selling since 2012 according to Wikipedia. Since I’ve never heard about these, I’ll check out Duo2, as it comes with the most features out of the three. Vu+ Duo2 specifications: SoC – Broadcom BCM7424 dual core MIPS processor @ 1.3 GHz with VideoCore IV GPU System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 1 GB NAND flash + SATA III interface for 2.5″ and 3.5″ HDD (internal) + eSATA + Video Output – HDMI, SCART, Composite, and Component (YPbPr) Audio Output – HDMI, stereo audio, and optical S/PDIF Tuners – 2x S2/C/T2 (Up to 4 tuners supported) Front Panel Displays …

Broadcom Unveils BCM725x SoCs for STBs and TV Sticks

Broadcom has recently announced two new SoCs, namely BCM7250 and BCM72502, respectively targeted at OTT streaming media player form factor and  HDMI stick or dongle applications.  Both feature Broadcom’s Brahma-B15 ARMv7-A cores, support 10-bit H.265, HDMI 2.0, MHL 2.0, and up to to 4×4 5G WiFi via BCM4366 WiSoC. Key features listed by Broadcom for both SoCs: High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)/H.265 compression 6000 DMIPS B15 ARMv7-A CPU 1.0 Gpix/s OpenGL ES 3.0 3D GPU Supports HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 or MHL 2.0 digital video output PCIe connectivity to Broadcom BCM4366 4×4 carrier-grade 5G WiFi 480/576p30 transcode 1080p60 10-Bit HD HEVC decode and 4Kp60 upscale High Performance DDR3/DDR4 system memory interface Supports Android, Chromium, DIAL, DLNA CVP2, Miracast protocols Supports Broadcom Trellis Multi-Application Framework and DTVKit software stack The company can also provide reference platforms with 2×2 and 4×4 5G WiFi connectivity options via a high-speed PCIe interface, and announced that BCM7250, BCM72502 and BCM4366 are currently sampling. Smart Labs …