CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop Doubles as Electronics Learning Kit (Crowdfunding)

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop with Detachable Keyboard

CrowPi portable learning kit for Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Pi Zero boards was launched in 2018. It comes with a 7″ display, several sensors, buttons, a breadboard, and more all packed in a small suitcase. Elecrow has now started a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the second generation portable electronics learning kit: CrowPi2 which looks much more like a laptop than a suitcase found in the first model thanks to a large display, and a detachable keyboard placed on top of the electronic prototyping/learning area. It’s also more powerful thanks to the latest Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. CrowPi2 specifications: Compatible Raspberry Pi boards – Raspberry Pi 3B/B+, Raspberry Pi 4 Display – 11.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS screen Camera – 2MP camera Audio – Built-in microphone and stereo speaker; 3.5mm audio jack Keyboard – 2.4GHz detachable wireless keyboard (QWERTY only) with touchpad Sensors and Modules under the keyboard: Displays – 4-digit Segment LCD, LCD1602 matrix display, and 8×8 RGB …

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Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation Enables Native Arm Development

Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation

Over the last few years, several companies have come up with 64-bit Arm workstation to allow developers to test Arm code natively which may be important to avoid network delays or test applications requiring video or graphics. Those started to become available in 2018 from the relatively low-end  24-core Cortex-A53 Linaro “Synquacer” Developerbox to the much more powerful (and expensive) GIGABYTE ThunderXStation Workstation powered by up to two 32-core ThunderX2 processors. In the fall of 2019, SolidRun started to ship HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation motherboard with and NXP LX2160A 16-core Cortex-A72 processor that offers significantly more performance than the Linaro Box at a reasonable price ($750). While reading a recent Anandtech post with photos of an engineering sample, I found out Avantek was also offering the Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation powered by an Ampere eMAG 8180 32-core server processor. Ampere eMAG 64-bit Arm workstation specifications: SoC – Ampere eMAG 8180 32-core Armv8 processor @ 2.8GHz / 3.3 GHz …

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Qt for MCUs 1.1 Adds Support for more STM32 and NXP i.MX RT Boards, FreeRTOS

Qt for MCUs 1.1 Installer

The first stable version of Qt for MCUs was released in August 2019 in order to bring Qt graphical toolkit to microcontrollers such as STMicro STM32F7,  Renesas RH850, or NXP i.MX RT1050.   Qt for MCUs would run bare metal on supported boards, and software engineers would develop graphical interface using QML and C++. Qt for MCUs 1.1 has just been released with the addition of more STM32 and i.MX RT boards, support for FreeRTOS real-time operating system, and more. Qt for MCUs 1.1 highlights: Five new supported boards:  NXP i.MX RT 1064 EVK, STM32 H750B-DK, STM32 F469i-disco, STM32 L4R9i-disco, and STM32 L4R9i-eval Asset management Optional PNG compressions for assets to lower storage footprint Option to read data directly from flash memory for lower RAM consumption, or copy to RAM for better performance, at the cost of higher RAM consumption. FreeRTOS support (technology preview) to run background tasks without blocking the Qt Quick user interface Qt Charts for MCUs (technology preview) …

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Getting Started with Qoitech Otii Developer Tool using ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi 4 Boards

Qoitech Otii Arc Raspberry Pi 4

Last month, I received Qoitech Otii Arc power supply, power meter, and DAQ unit that aims at helping hardware and software engineers develop energy-efficient products. I’ve now had time to test the unit with an ESP8266 board and Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, so I’ll show how to get started and my overall experience with the hardware and program. Requirements and Initial Setup The unit takes a 9V power supply or micro USB adapter as power input, but power output is done through banana plugs. I did not have any cables with banana plugs so I bought one on eBay for about $5 shipped. This cable is really convenient with output to USB (female connector), crocodile clips, and hook clips. However, as we’ll see below it may not be suitable for all types of loads, and you may have to make your own with a higher rated cable. You’ll need to download Otii program available for Windows 10 / 7 64-bit, …

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Google Pigweed Libraries Streamline Embedded Software Development on 32-bit Microcontrollers

Pigweed pw_watch

There are many components required for embedded software development, including cross-toolchain, a build system like buildroot or YoCto Project, and debugging tools like OpenOCD.  Once you’ve installed those, development involving several steps including building the code, flashing it to the board, and then running the program on the target. Google would like to make embedded software development to be as easy as web development as possible, similar to editing a file and running it in a web browser, so they’ve just released Pigweed open-source collection of embedded-targeted libraries/modules to streamline the development process for 32-bit microcontrollers such as STMicro STM32L452 or Nordic Semi nRF52832. Pigweed aims to help all steps of the process including tools/environment setup, program development, and code submission. Setup consists of running a bootstrap script that will automatically install tools such as Python 3.8, clang-format, and an Arm compiler in a virtual environment in order to leave the system’s default environment unmodified. There are several development “pw_” …

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Getting Started with RT-Thread Nano RTOS on RISC-V Processors

GD32V Project Eclipse

CNXSoft: This is a guest post by RT-Thread explaining how to create your first program running on their real-time operating system using a GD32V  RISC-V MCU board as an example. This article describes how to “port” RT-Thread Nano to the RISC-V architecture, using the Eclipse IDE, GCC toolchain, and a basic project for the Gigadevice GD32V103 MCU. Foreword RT-Thread is an open-source embedded real-time operating system. RT-Thread has a standard version and a Nano version. The standard version consists of a kernel layer, components and service layer, and IoT framework layer, while the Nano version has a very small footprint and refined hard real-time kernel, better suited to resource-constrained microcontroller units (MCU). The main steps for porting Nano are as follows: Prepare a basic Eclipse project and get the RT-Thread Nano source code. Add the RT-Thread Nano source code to the base project and add the corresponding header path. Modify Nano, mainly for the interrupt, clock, memory, and application, to …

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Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

Google Summer of Code 2020

Every year Google organizes the Summer of Code inviting students to work on open-source projects and even get paid for it. The company first select mentoring organizations, before accepting applications from students. Google has now announced the 200 organizations/projects that have been selected for Summer of Code 2020. Many projects are higher-level software development such as web development or desktop programs development but there are also projects closer to the hardware-side of things with operating systems and multimedia projects. Some interesting organization and/or  projects part of the audio / graphics / video / multimedia category include: apertus Association developing AXIOM open-source hardware camera FFmpeg multimedia framework to decode, encode, transcode, de/mux, stream, filter & play audio and video stream found in many projects OpenCV Open Source Computer Vision Library for computer vision and deep learning applications. XOrg foundation for X Window System and related projects such as Mesa, DRI, Wayland, etc… Some operating systems part of GSoC 2020 include: Amahi …

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Getting Started with NVIDIA Jetson Nano Devkit: Inference using Images, RTSP Video Stream

Jetson Nano RTSP Stream Inference

Last month I received NVIDIA Jetson Nano developer kit together with 52Pi ICE Tower Cooling Fan, and the main goal was to compare the performance of the board with the stock heatsink or 52Pi heatsink + fan combo. But the stock heatsink does a very good job of cooling the board, and typical CPU stress tests do not make the processor throttle at all. So I had to stress the GPU as well, as it takes some efforts to set it up all, so I’ll report my experience configuring the board, and running AI test programs including running objects detection on an RTSP video stream. Setting up NVIDIA Jetson Nano Board Preparing the board is very much like you’d do with other SBC’s such as the Raspberry Pi, and NVIDIA has a nicely put getting started guide, so I won’t go into too many details here. To summarize: Download the latest firmware image ( at the time of the review) …

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