Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon XR1 based AR smart glasses reference design

Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon XR2 5G VR Reference Design last year based on their latest Snapdragon XR2 virtual/extended reality processor. But the company never designed a reference design for the earlier Snapdragon XR1 that was found in Google Glass Enterprise Edition v2. Better late than never, as the company has now announced the Snapdragon XR1 AR smart viewer reference design. If you happen to be a human not part of Qualcomm’s marketing team, you may wonder what an “AR smart viewer” is. The team behind the terms “Mobile Platform” (i.e. SoC + some companion chips), “Visual subsystem” (i.e. GPU, ISP, and stuff), is now bringing the new “AR Smart viewer” term for what commoners like myself used to call “smart glasses”. The reference design can tether to a compatible smartphone, Windows PC, or processing puck and is said to work best with other Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms. Some of the highlights of the Snapdragon XR1 AR smart glasse/viewer reference design include: […]

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Arduino MKR IoT Carrier embeds display, sensors, and I/Os for IoT projects

Arduino Oplà IoT Kit was launched last fall as the first open programmable IoT platform from the company. The kit included everything you need to create your own IoT devices with MKR IoT carrier with a 1.3-inch OLED color display,  environmental sensors, capacitive touch buttons, Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 board, external PIR motion and moisture sensors, a circular plastic enclosure, and various cables. But the community soon wanted to only buy the carrier board without having to purchase the whole kit, so Arduino has just started to sell MKR IoT Carrier board as a standalone product. Arduino MKR IoT Carrier features & specifications: Compatible with Arduino MKR family boards with WiFi, LoRa, NB-IoT, or 3G cellular connectivity Storage – MicroSD card holder Display – Round 1.3-inch OLED display I/Os 2x 24V relays 3x Grove connectors include two analog and one digital (I2C) Sensors  – Temperature, humidity, pressure, RGBC light, gesture and proximity, IMU with 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope Misc […]

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StereoPi v2 stereoscopic camera is powered by Raspberry Pi CM4 (Crowdfunding)

StereoPi stereoscopic camera based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 was introduced in late 2019 on Crowd Supply.  The camera can record 3D video, create 3D depth maps with OpenCV, and benefits from the Raspberry Pi software ecosystem. The developers are now back with an upgraded model. StereoPi v2 comes with many of the same features, but as it is based on Raspberry Pi CM4 (Compute Module 4) it offers better performance, Gigabit Ethernet, Wifi & Bluetooth connectivity out of the box, while other features like PoE, TFT screen, shot button, etc.. are optional. StereoPi v2 specifications: Supported SoM – Raspberry Pi CM4 or CM4Lite modules Storage – MicroSD card socket Video Output – Micro HDMI port Camera I/F – 2x MIPI CSI camera connector plus “hackable camera lines” Networking – Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, plus optional WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 on Raspberry Pi CM4 module USB – 2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB 2.0 interface on header […]

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Crowbits magnetic blocks for STEM Education work with Arduino, Micro:bit, ESP32, and Raspberry Pi (Crowdfunding)

Elecrow develops and manufactures electronics products for the maker market, and in recent years entered the STEM education market with products such as CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 education laptop that I reviewed last year. The laptop integrates plenty of electronics modules, and students can learn Scratch visual programming as well as Python programming with the educational software running on the laptop. The company has now launched Crowbits magnetic electronic blocks for STEM education, and compatible with Arduino, ESP32, Raspberry Pi, and Micro:bit boards. There are over 80 programmable electronic magnetic modules and Lego bricks, with three different sizes ( large, middle, and small modules) of different colors with blue used for power control and logic control, green for output, yellow for input, and orange for advanced programming. Out of the 80+ modules, around 30 can be used without programming at all. Elecrow provides 5 kits to let users learn basic electronics and programming knowledge, namely the Hello Kit designed for […]

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Fuzix Unix-like operating system ported to Raspberry Pi Pico and ESP8266

The Raspberry Pi Pico is not compatible with Linux, but now supports another Unix-like operating system known as Fuzix. Alan Cox’s Fuzix is a Unix-like operating system for older devices with less performance capacity. David Given’s two recent posts have brought to the attention about the operating system’s compatibility with ESP8266 MCU and Raspberry Pi Pico. Fuzix operating system has a kernel which is the central core of the system. Also, it has a C compiler and a set of core applications similar to the UNIX filesystem. The Raspberry Pi Pico port comes with many benefits like a well-structured Unix filesystem with its compatibility for SD cards through the SPI interface. Hence, supporting the Fuzix operating system. The full set of Fuzix binaries is available through a serial console to UART0.  Porting Fuzix to ESP8266 The post on “Porting Fuzix to the ESP8266” addresses the MCU’s support for the Fuzix OS. The absence of a memory management unit on the […]

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Maker Pi Pico STEM board mini review with CircuitPython

In my early list of third-party Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards, I shortly mentioned Cytron Maker Pi Pico baseboard for Raspberry Pi Pico that exposes all pins via female headers, includes LEDs for all GPIOs pin, six Grove connectors, three user push-buttons, one RGB LED, a piezo buzzer, an audio jack, a MicroSD card, and an ESP-01 socket to add WiFi connectivity. The beta version sold for $5, and at the time I missed that included Raspberry Pi Pico board as well, so basically you got a free baseboard. The Malaysian company has now sent me a review sample to play around with, so let’s have a closer at the hardware and code samples for the board. Maker Pi Pico Unboxing and Specifications I received the board in Cytron package together with a pinout diagram for Raspberry Pi Pico, and we can see the latter is already soldered to Maker Pi Pico. Maker Pi Pico specifications: Based on Raspberry Pi Pico […]

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Kodi 19 “Matrix” released with AV1, HDR, tvOS support

Kodi is an open-source media center that was initially designed for the XBOX game console, but was quickly ported to other platforms such as Windows and Linux, and eventually to low-cost Android TV boxes and single board computers such as Raspberry Pi. A new stable release of the software comes out every couple of years, and the developers have just announced the release of Kodi 19 “Matrix” a little over two years after Kodi 18 “Leia” release. The default user interface may look similar to the one for Kodi 18, but there have been many changes over the last two years with some of the highlights including: Skin/Look-and-Feel Screen redesign, especially for music with new metadata displays and changes to playlist views New “now playing” view Artwork and image file improvements Video Playback AV1 software decoding Windows 10 – HLG HDR and static HDR10 playback Android – Static HDR10 and dynamic Dolby Vision HDR More OpenGL bicubic scalers Metadata and […]

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Open-source H.265/HEVC Hantro G2 decoder driver added to NXP i.MX 8M in Linux

Getting open-source multimedia drivers on Arm Linux is one of the most difficult tasks, that’s why there’s no much talk about open-source GPU drivers for 2D & 3D graphics acceleration, but work on video hardware decoding and encoding is also a challenge. We’ve previously seen Bootlin work on Cedrus open-source driver for Allwinner VPU (Video Processing Unit), but Collabora has been working on open-source drivers for VeriSilicon’s Hantro G1 and G2 VPU found in some Rockchip, NXP, and Microchip processors. The company previously managed to have Hantro G1 open-source driver for JPEG, MPEG-2, VP8, and H.264 codecs, but H.265/HEVC relies on Hantro G2, and the patch for H.265 hardware video decoding on NXP i.MX 8M Quad has just been submitted to mainline Linux. Benjamin Gaignard explains more in his commit message: The IMX8MQ got two VPUs but until now only G1 has been enabled This series aim to add the second VPU (aka G2) and provide basic HEVC decoding support. […]

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