Watchy Pebble-like Smartwatch with E-paper display, ESP32 processor launched for $45

Pebble smartwatch was introduced in 2012 on Kickstarter. The Bluetooth smartwatch came with an E-Paper display, would connect to your Android smartphone or iPhone to receive notifications or other info, and the company also released an SDK for further customization. It was quite popular at the time having sold over one million units, the Pebble Time followed in 2015 with a color display, as well as other models. But despite selling millions of watches, the company folded in 2016, and the Pebble was discontinued after the intellectual property was purchased by Fitbit. Watchy is a new smartwatch that reminds me of the original pebble. It is based on ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth SoC, equipped with a 1.54-inch E-Paper display with 200×200 resolution, and the usual accelerometer for activity tracking and gesture detection. Watchy key features and specifications: SIP – Espressif Systems ESP32-PICO-D4 system-in-package with ESP32 dual-core processor with Bluetooth LE 4.2/5.x and WiFi 4 connectivity, 4MB SPI flash Display – […]

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MicroMod modular ecosystem offers M.2 microcontrollers cards and carrier boards

MicroMod is a modular interface ecosystem for quick embedded development and prototyping. MicroMod comes with two components, that is a microcontroller “processor board” and a carrier board. PC industry’s M.2 connector is the interface between these two components. The carrier boards are for the usage of various peripherals and the processor board act as the brain of the application system.  MicroMod processor board has a dimension of 22×22 mm that can be easily fitted on the carrier boards. Although, the original M.2 standard was dedicated to swapping out peripherals where a user could swap one component with the other one. The MicroMod standard is for swapping out microcontrollers according to the functional and application requirements.  MicroMod Processor Boards Artemis Processor Board comes with an Ambiq Apollo 3 Blue Arm Cortex-M4F with BLE 5.0 running up to 96MHz and a power rating of less than 5mW. It also supports the TensorFlow Lite framework. ESP32 Processor Board comes with a dual-core Tensilica […]

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Inkplate 10 ESP32 e-Paper display offers faster refresh rates (Crowdfunding)

Inkplate 6 is an ESP32 powered wireless e-Paper Display based on a recycled  Kindle E-reader display, and that e-Radionica launched in December 2019 via a crowdfunding campaign. The company says backers were “happy about the versatility and simplicity of the display” but wished for a larger display, a faster refresh rate, and extra features. This gave birth to an upgraded version: Inkplate 10. The new ESP32 wireless display comes with a recycled 9.7-inch display with 1200 x 825 resolution, up to 38% faster refresh rates, as well as extra GPIO pins, an RTC clock, a USB Type-C port, and lower power consumption. Inkplate 10 specifications: Wireless module – ESP32 WROVER module with dual-core ESP32 processor with Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) connectivity, 8MB PSRAM, 4MB flash External storage – MicroSD card socket Display  – 9.7-inch, 1200 x 825 e-paper display with support for grayscale, partial updates, and quick refresh cycles: 1.61 second refresh time in black & white mode 1.81 […]

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Maypole MicroSD card reader comes with ESP32 for WiFi, smart storage (Crowdfunding)

Several years ago, we covered Zsun WiFi card reader a tiny USB card reader with WiFi and a battery that allowed users to access files via USB or WiFi from any device. People managed to hack the device and run OpenWrt on the little MicroSD card reader, but this required either to open the hardware and do some soldering, or use another method that could potentially brick the hardware, so not an ideal solution. But now Akshar Vastarpara has come with a similar device. Maypole is an open-source hardware MicroSD card reader powered by Espressif ESP32 processor providing both WiFi and the resources for smarter storage. It comes with an optional battery too to access files even without having to connect it to a USB port. Maypole hardware specifications: Storage – Swappable MicroSD cards up to 32GB Wireless Connectivity WiFi 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 via ESP32 WiSoC, Up to 4 to 5 clients Access Point (AP) or station (STA) mode […]

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ESP32-S3 dual-core WiFi and Bluetooth LE 5 SoC supports AI acceleration for AIoT applications

Back in September, we reported that Espressif Systems planned to release a new ESP32-S3 with “AI instructions and multi-CPU cores” with few other details, except the chip would also be part of the MINI-series wireless modules. Now we have many more details, as the Shanghai-based company has now officially announced ESP32-S3. The processor features dual Tensilica LX7 cores, 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 & Bluetooth 5 connectivity, and as expected supports AI instructions to cater to the AIoT (AI + IoT) market. ESP32-S3 key features and specifications: CPU Dual-core Tensilica LX7 up to 240 MHz with additional vector instructions  for AI acceleration ULP core to handle low power modes Memory – 512 KB of internal SRAM Storage – Octal SPI flash and PSRAM support (supports larger, high-speed devices compared to ESP32) Cache – Connectivity 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 4 with 40 MHz bandwidth support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.0 connectivity with long-range support, up to 2Mbps data rate. Peripherals 44x […]

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Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first WiFi IoT RISC-V chips with ESP32-C3 and BL602, Alibaba making […]

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AWS IoT EduKit leverages M5Stack Core2 ESP32 hardware

M5Stack Core2 is a neatly packed ESP32 IoT development kit with a 2-inch touchscreen display, motion sensor, a microphone., and a built-in battery that was launched last September. The hardware has been selected by Amazon Web Services and gone through some small modifications including the addition of a secure element, and a yellow paint job giving birth the the “AWS IoT EduKit” hardware and software solution designed to “learn how to build IoT applications using AWS services through a prescriptive learning program”. M5Stack Core2 for AWS IoT EduKit specifications are pretty similar, but with a few tweaks here and there: SoC – Espressif ESP32-D0WDQ6-V3 dual-core Xtensa LX6 processor clocked at up to 240MHz with 520KB SRAM, Wi-Fi, and dual-mode Bluetooth connectivity External Memory – 8MB PSRAM Storage – 16MB flash storage, MicroSD card slot up to 16GB Display – 2-inch IPS LCD screen with 320×240 resolution (ILI9342C driver), and touchscreen support (via FT6336U controller) Audio – Built-in 1W speaker, SPM1423 […]

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DIY project creates Zigbee to Ethernet bridge with WT32-ETH01

We previously wrote about Ebyte E180-ZG120B-TB an inexpensive ($9.90) Zigbee 3.0 evaluation board based on Silabs EFR32MG1B Arm Cortex-M4 wireless MCU and the equally cheap ($7.78) WT32-ETH01 ESP32 Ethernet board. What do they have in common? Absolutely nothing! But GitHub user tube0013 decided to connect both boards over UART to create a Zigbee to Ethernet DIY coordinator/bridge running open-source firmware. The hardware also includes a Micro USB adapter for power, several 10cm jumper wires, and he/she also designed a 3D printed case. EZSP-Firmware is used for the Ebyte Zigbee 3.0 board, and ESPHome open-source home automation firmware for the ESP32 board. You’ll also need serial to IP code and ESPHome config. Note that flashing firmware to the Ebyte requires a programmer, and the developer used a J-link EDU Mini together with Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Commander. As mentioned above, a 3D printed case has also been designed, so everything is neatly packed together. The total cost assembled should be around $20. […]

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