MicroBlocks is a visual programming IDE for 32-bit microcontrollers

MicroBlocks

MicroBlocks is a visual programming IDE for 32-bit microcontrollers currently supporting the BBC Micro:bit V1/V2, Calliope mini (aka the German Micro:bit), Adafruit Circuit Playground Express and Bluefruit, Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W, and various other boards including ESP32 and ESP8266-based boards. I discovered MicroBlocks in the list of talks for FOSDEM 2023, and although it did not make it to my virtual schedule, I thought it was interesting to look into and write about it. In their upcoming FOSDEM talk, Bernat Romagosa and Kathy Giori refer to MicroBlocks as small, fast, and human-friendly with development guided by four guiding principles: liveness, parallelism, portability, and autonomy. The IDE is inspired by Scratch, and as such, looks very similar to other visual programming interfaces I have used over the years. You can launch MicroBlocks from Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge on a PC (not a mobile device) without having to install […]

Arduino Nicla Voice enables always-on speech recognition with Syntiant NDP120 “Neural Decision Processor”

Arduino PRO Nicla Voice with LiPo battery

Nicla Voice is the latest board from the Arduino PRO family with support for always-on speech recognition thanks to the Syntiant NDP120 “Neural Decision Processor” with a neural network accelerator, a HiFi 3 audio DSP, and a Cortex-M0+ microcontroller core, and the board also includes a Nordic Semi nRF52832 MCU for Bluetooth LE connectivity. Arduino previously launched the Nicla Sense with Bosch SensorTech’s motion and environmental sensors, followed by the Nicla Vision for machine vision applications, and now the company is adding audio and voice support for TinyML and IoT applications with the Nicla Voice. Nicla Voice specifications: Microprocessor – Syntiant NDP120 Neural Decision Processor (NDP) with one Syntiant Core 2 ultra-low-power deep neural network inference engine, 1x HiFi 3 Audio DSP, 1x Arm Cortex-M0 core up to 48 MHz, 48KB SRAM Wireless MCU – Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller @ 64 MHz with 512KB Flash, 64KB RAM, Bluetooth […]

LILYGO T-QT Pro 0.85-inch WiFi IoT display adds support for battery charging

LilyGO T-QT Pro ESP32-S3 board

LILYGO T-QT Pro is an ESP32-S3 WiFi and BLE IoT board with a 0.85-inch color display, 4MB flash, 2MB PSRAM, a USB-C port, a few GPIOs, and support for LiPo battery with charging. It is an upgrade to the ESP32-S3-based LILYGO T-QT V1.1 board that also supports LiPo battery power but lacks a charging circuit, so you had to remove the battery and charge it manually each time. The T-QT Pro adds a charging circuit and switches from an ESP32-S3 with an 8MB flash design to one using ESP32-S3FN4R2 with 4MB flash and 2MB PSRAM. LilyGO T-QT Pro specifications: Wireless MCU – Espressif Systems ESP32-S3FN4R2 dual-core Tensilica LX7 @ up to 240 MHz with vector instructions for AI acceleration, 512KB RAM, 4MB flash, 2MB PSRAM, wireless connectivity Connectivity via ESP32-S3 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, […]

SOCORAD32 ESP32 walkie-talkie board also supports data communication (Crowdfunding)

ESP32 Walkie-Talkie 5km range

SOCORAD32, aka ESP32 Software Controlled Radio, is a hackable, open-source hardware ESP32-based amateur radio board for walkie-talkie and data communication applications. The board comes with an ESP32 module with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth connectivity, an RDA Microelectronics RDA1846 RF IC used in many commercial walkie-talkies and offering a range up of to 5 km, a small display, a speaker, and a 18650 battery holder. SOCORAD32 specifications: Microcontroller module – ESP32-WROOVER-32E with ESP32 dual-core microcontroller, 4MB flash, 2.4 GHz WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, built-in PCB antenna Walkie-talkie chip – RDA1846 single-chip transceiver for Walkie-Talkie applications (See datasheet and programming guide for details) Frequency Range: ISM 400 – 470 MHz Frequency Step: 5 K / 6.25 K / 12.5 K / 25 K RF Output Power: 2 W / 0.5 W (+5 KM @ 2 W) set to what the local law permits RF Input Sensitivity: -122 dBm Voice Scrambling: 8 type […]

LILYGO T-RSC3 ESP32-C3 board features isolated RS232 & RS485 interfaces, 5 to 24V DC input

ESP32-C3 board with RS232 and RS485

LILYGO T-RSC3 is a relatively compact ESP32-C3 board with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.0 connectivity, support for RS232 and RS485 communication protocols through a DB9 connector and a terminal connector respectively, and a wide 5V to 24V DC power input. LILYGO had already made an ESP32 board with CAN Bus and RS485 interfaces called the T-CAN485, but without any isolation. The new T-RSC3 offers both RS232 and RS485 interfaces, but no CAN Bus, protected by isolated transceiver modules that should make it safer to use in industrial environments. LILYGO T-RSC3 board specifications: Wireless module – Espressif Systems ESP32-C3-MINI-1U module with ESP32-C3 RISC-V microcontroller @ 160 MHz with 400 KB SRAM, 2.4 GHz WiFi 4, Bluetooth 5.0 LE & Mesh, 4MB flash, and a u.FL antenna connector Industrial control interfaces RS232 via DB9 connector, RSM232MT5V isolated transceiver with 3000V isolation, 4.75~5.25V input, 5V/50mA output, baud rate from 1200 to 256,000 […]

ultraArm P340 Arduino-based robotic arm draws, engraves, and grabs

ultraArm P340 robotic arm draw engrave grabber

Elephant Robotics ultraArm P340 is a robot arm with an Arduino-compatible ATMega2560 control board with a 340mm working radius whose arm can be attached with different accessories for drawing, laser engraving, and grabbing objects. We’ve previously written and reviewed the myCobot 280 Pi robotic arm with a built-in Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, but the lower-cost ultraArm P340 works a little differently since it only contains the electronics for controlling the servos and attachments, and needs to be connected to a host computer running Windows or a Raspberry Pi over USB. ultraArm P340 specifications: Control board based on Microchip ATMega2560 8-bit AVR microcontroller @ 16MHz with 256KB flash, 4Kb EEPROM, 8KB SRAM DOF – 3 to 4 axis depending on accessories Working radius – 340mm Positioning Accuracy – ±0.1 mm Payload – Up to 650 grams High-performance stepper motor Maximum speed – 100mm/s Communication interfaces – RS485 and USB serial Attachment […]

433 MHz is not dead! Using an ESP32 board with LoRa module to talk to 433 MHz sensors

RTL 433 to MQTT ESP32

CNXSoft: This is a guest post by Florian Robert (1technophile) of the OpenMQTTGateway project about using a 433 MHz LoRa transceiver on an ESP32 board for home automation, specifically to talk to 433 MHz sensors Everyone is talking about Matter, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Zwave, but before these complex communication technologies, we had one simple, robust one that our sensors and devices used to leverage: 433MHz. It may be too simplistic to talk about 433 MHz as a technology as there are different and various usages of this frequency. You can find it being used in numerous devices around your home, from your outdoor temperature sensors, and security sensors to the tire pressure sensors in your car. If we want to be specific, we can talk about the different radio frequencies (433 MHz, 915MHz, 868MHz, 315MHz, or 350MHz) and signal modulations OOK, ASK, FSK that we encounter behind the keyword 433MHz. […]

Renesas RL78/G15 8-bit MCU is offered in a 3x3mm package

Renesas RL78/G15 3x3mm microcontroller

Renesas Electronics RL78/G15 is an entry-level 8-bit microcontroller with 1 KB of SRAM, 4 or 8KB of code flash memory, and offered in package sizes ranging from 8 to 20 pins, down to an 8-pin device measuring just 3×3 mm. STMicro has just unveiled the STM32C0 32-bit microcontroller claiming “your next 8-bit MCU is a 32-bit” with packages from 8- to 48-pins and packages as small as 1.70 x 1.42 mm and 3x3mm, and a price similar to other 8-bit industrial microcontrollers. To that, I say “not so fast STMicro!”, as Renesas has just launched the 16 MHz RL78/G15 8-bit microcontroller family with many of the same features and target use cases as the STMC32C011 sub-family. Renesas RL78/G15 key features and specifications: CPU core – Renesas RL78 8-bit core @ up to 16 MHz Memory – 1NS SRAM, Storage – 4 to 8KB program flash, 1KB data flash Peripheral I/F […]

PICO-V2K4-SEMI Embedded Ryzen V2000 mini PC