Ring:bit Car is a $20 Robot Kit for BBC Micro:bit

Elecfreaks has launched a robot kit designed for BBC Micro:bit that comprised of a chassis, and Ring:bit board with 3 channels of GPIO, among which 2 channels are used for driving servos. The kit can be used to teach children to control a mini car using Microsoft MakeCode visual programming editor.   Ring:bit board specifications: Supports up to 3 servos with up to 2x external line detection modules when being shifted to P2. Misc – Power switch, function selection Power Supply 3x AAA batteries. Input Voltage – 3.9V-4.5V DC Dimension – 65.00 x 51.70 mm Weight – 27 grams The rest of the kit includes plastic parts for the chassis, two plastic gears, two servos, as well as screws for assembly. Documentation is somewhat limited, but you’ll find a user guide at the bottom of Ring:bit board product page, and the company points to a tutorial on Tinkercademy. As mentioned earlier, programming can be done with MakeCode programming interface, and […]

A Day at Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0

The Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0 is now taking place until December 9, and I went there today, as I was especially interested in the scheduled NB-IoT talk and workshop to find out what was the status about LPWA in Thailand. But there are many other activities planned, and if you happen to be in Chiang Main in the next few days, you may want to check out the schedule on the event page or Facebook. I’m going to go though what I’ve done today to give you a better idea about the event, or even the maker movement in Thailand. Booth and activity area should be the same over the 4 days, but the talks, open activity, and workshop will be different each day. Today, people could learn how to solder in the activity area. The even was not really big with manufacturers/sellers like ThaiEasyElec, INEX, or Gravitech closer to the entrance… … and slighter higher up in a […]

Embedded Linux Conference & OpenIoT Summit 2017 Schedule

The Embedded Linux Conference 2017 and the OpenIoT Summit 2017 will take place earlier than last year, on February  20 – 23, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, USA. This will be the 12th year for ELC, where kernel & system developers, userspace developers, and product vendors meet and collaborate. The schedule has been posted on the Linux Foundation website, and whether you’re going to attend or not, it’s always informative to check out the topics. So as usual, I’ll make a virtual schedule for all 5 days. Monday, February 20 For the first day, the selection is easy, as choices are limited, and the official first day it actually on Tuesday. You can either attend a full-day paid training sessions entitled “Building A Low Powered Smart Appliance Workshop“, and the only session that day: 14:30 – 15:20 – Over-the-air (OTA) Software Updates without Downtime or Service Disruption, by Alfred Bratterud, IncludeOS Millions of consumers are at risk from security vulnerabilities caused […]

How to Use IPVanish VPN Service on an Android TV Box to Stream Videos from Anywhere

A few days ago, I completed the review of EBox T8 V Android TV box geared towards the UK market and/or people who want to watch UK content. However this time I did not spent that much time on the IPTV / streaming apps, as I had already checked out in EBox T8 4 TV box review last year, and many apps and/or TV programs required an IP address in the UK to work. For example, BBC iPlayer would throw the following error message each time I tried to play a video. Normally, you can work around this using a DNS or VPN service, but it’s not something I really need so I did not investigate further. However, IPVanish contacted me a few days after EBox T8 V review, and I asked whether I could get a test account for their VPN service to try it in EBox T8 V, especially since both IPVanish and BBC iPlayer apps are pre-installed […]

Ebox T8 V Octa-Core Android TV Box Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, EBMC, and Benchmarks

EBox T8 V (version 5) is the new EntertainmentBox.com  TV box specially geared towards the UK market with its choice of apps and online shop based in the United Kingdom. It’s an upgrade to EBox T8-4 I reviewed last year, replacing Amlogic S905 quad core processor by Amlogic S912 octa-core processor, but keeping most of the same features including the SATA bay and EBox user interface. Since we’ve already checked out the hardware, likely based on Zoomtak U Plus, I’ll focus on the firmware in the second part. It will be a shorter reviewed than usual since I have already tested many Amlogic S912 TV boxes, and I’ll refer to T8-4 review when the user interface is identical, and instead focus on what has changed, and the usual suspects like audio pass-through, 4K video playback, DRM support, WiFi performance, etc… EBox T8 V Setup Wizard, Setup, OTA Firmware Update, and Default Apps I had already plugged the provided 1TB SATA […]

EBox T8-4 Review – A 4K Android TV Box Bundle Geared Towards the UK Market

I’ve already taken some pictures of the device and board in part 1 of EBox T8-4 review, so today, I’m going to report my experience with the Android 5.1 firmware for this Amlogic S905 TV box, air mouse, and wireless gamepad, specifically targetted to users leaving in the United Kingdom, but since the hardware is based on Zoomtak T8V, it may also be informative to international users, although the firmware, mostly launcher and IPTV services, will be different. EBox T8-4 Setup Wizard & Configuration Since I’ve already inserted an internal SSD into the SATA bay of the device, I did not connect an external USB harddrive, and only connected HDMI and Ethernet cables,  plus the RF dongle for the included air mouse, a USB keyboard to easily take screenshots, and of course the power cord. The power button will be red at this stage. If you want to start the TV box, you either need to press the button on […]

You can now buy BBC micro:bit board for $19

BBC recently distributed micro:bit boards to UK schools to get student interested in electronics and help them learn more about this subject, but so far it was not for sale to the general public, but this has now changed since the British broadcaster now launched the board for 13 GBP (~$19) via Element14/Farnell and others distributors. The board is powered by Nordi Semi nRF51822 SoC with ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller and Bluetooth LE connectivity, features motion sensors, plenty of LEDS, a few buttons, a micro USB connector for power & programming, as well as a header for LiPo batteries.  There are various ways to program the board either interpreted languages such as Python or JavScript, or graphical drag and drop programs such as Microsoft Block Editor. All technical details and example projects available on Micro:bit official website. Beside the board only, several kits are being offered included micro:bit Go with a USB cable, battery holder & 2x AAA batteries, and […]

BBC Micro:Bit Board is Now Getting into the Hands of British Students

After several delays, BBC is now giving free Micro:Bit Bluetooth LE enabled boards to UK students with the goal of getting them interested in coding and electronics in a way that’s even easier and cheaper than using a Raspberry Pi board. Micro:bit specifications: MCU – Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth SoC based on Cortex M0 core @ 16MHz with 16KB RAM 2x user buttons, 1x reset button 25x red user LEDs  in a 5×5 matrix Connectivity – Bluetooth LE Sensors – Compass, magnetometer, accelerometer USB – 1x micro USB port for port and programming Expansion – 20-pin edge connector, 5x “rings” for 3V, GND, and 3 digital/analog I/Os Power – 5V via USB or battery port to connect two AAA batteries Dimensions – 4cm x 5cm There are four ways to “code” the board: Code Kingdoms JavaScript  graphical ‘drag and drop’ and text-based programming, Microsoft Block Editor graphical, drag and drop code editor, Microsoft Touch Developer text-based programming language, and Python. I […]