ArduCam Mega – A 3MP or 5MP SPI camera for microcontrollers (Crowdfunding)

Arducam Mega SPI camera

ArduCam Mega is a 3MP or 5MP camera specifically designed for microcontrollers with an SPI interface, and the SDK currently supports Arduino UNO and Mega2560 boards, ESP32/ESP8266 boards, Raspberry Pi Pico and other boards based on RP2040 MCU, BBC Micro:bit V2, as well as STM32 and MSP430 platform. Both cameras share many of the same specifications including their size, but the 3MP model is a fixed-focus camera, while the 5MP variant supports autofocus. Potential applications include assets monitoring, wildfire monitoring, remote meter reading, TinyML applications, and so on. ArduCam Mega specifications: Camera Type 3MP with fixed focus 5MP with auto-focus from 8cm to infinity Optical size – 1/4-inch Shutter type – Rolling Focal ratio 3MP – F2.8 5MP – F2.0 Still Resolutions 320×240, 640×480, 1280×720 x 1600 x1200x 1920 x 1080 3MP – 2048 x 1536 5MP – 2592×1944 Output formats – RGB, YUV, or JPEG Wake-up time 3MP – […]

Raspberry Pi RP2040 development board doubles as a magnetic rotary encoder

Raspberry Pi RP2040 rotary encoder board

PICO DEV M3 is a round-shaped development board based on a Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core microcontroller and serves as a magnetic rotary encoder with a few 3D printed parts. Designed by Ahmsville Labs, the board comes with 2MB QSPI flash, various through holes for GPIOs, a USB-C port, and the magnetic rotary encoder supports up to 36,000 steps per revolution and comes with 18 individually addressable LEDs. PICO DEV M3 development board specifications: Microcontroller – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ MCU at 133 MHz with 264kB on-chip SRAM Storage – 2MB QSPI flash USB – 1x USB 1.1 Type-C host/device port Encoder Base resolution of 36 steps, extending up to 36,000 steps per revolution. Ring of 18x individually addressable LEDs Encoder button Ball bearing for a smoother feel compared to traditional rotary encoders Customizable 3D printed encoder Expansion – Through holes placed on the edge of the board for: […]

Giveaway Week 2022 – Pico:ed Smart Cutebot Kit

Picoed Smart Cutebot Kit

The third prize of this year’s giveaway week comes courtesy of ELECFREAKS which offers a Cutebot Pico:ed kit based on the Pico:ed board with a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller and following BBC Micro:bit form factor. The kit also includes two high-speed motors to drive two wheels, ultrasonic & distance sensors, two RGB LED lights and clearance lamps on the bottom, two line-tracking probes, and an active buzzer used as a horn. It is powered by three AAA batteries. The company initially me asked me if I wanted to review the board/robot, but since I may not have the time to do so, I asked whether they wanted to be included in our yearly giveaway week which they accepted. The company provides instructions to program the robot with “Micro block” visual programming IDE, C++, and CircuitPython. You’ll find resources to get started and eight projects for the robot in the Wiki. […]

Quadric Chimera GPNPU IP combines NPU, DSP, and real-time CPU into one single programmable core

Quadric GPNPU

A typical chip for AI or ML inference would include an NPU, a DSP, a real-time CPU, plus some memory, an application processor, an ISP, and a few more IP blocks. Quadric Chimera GPNPU (general purpose neural processor unit) IP combines the NPU, DSP, and real-time CPU into one single programmable core. According to Quadric, the main benefit of such design is simplifying system-on-chip (SoC) hardware design and subsequent software programming once the chip is available thanks to a unified architecture for machine learning inference as well as pre-and-post processing. Since the core is programmable it should also be future-proof. Three “QB series” Chimera GPNPU cores are available: Chimera QB1 – 1 TOPS machine learning, 64 GOPS DSP capability Chimera QB4 – 4 TOPS ML, 256 GOPS DSP Chimera QB16 – 16 TOPS ML, 1 TOPS DSP Quadric says the Chimera cores can be used with any (modern) manufacturing process […]

Automation 2040 W board supports 6V to 40V I/Os, ships with Raspberry Pi Pico W

Automation 2040 Pi

Pimoroni Automation 2040 W is an industrial/automation controller based on the Raspberry Pi Pico W board that supports I/Os from 6V up to 40V and offers 2.4GHz WiFi 4 connectivity. The board offers plenty of interfaces including the ADC inputs, four digital inputs, three digital outputs, and three relays whose signals are all available through screw terminals, as well as two Qwiic/STEMMA QT connectors for further expansion. Automation 2040 W specifications: Controller – Raspberry Pi Pico W with Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ 133 MHz with 264KB SRAM, 2MB flash, 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 module I/Os 3x 12-bit ADC inputs up to 40V 4x digital inputs up to 40V 3x digital sourcing outputs at V+ (supply voltage) with 4A max continuous current 2A max current at 500Hz PWM 3x relays (NC and NO terminals) supporting 2A up to 24V, 1A up to 40V 3.5mm screw terminals for inputs and […]

3D game running on FPGA shown to be 50x more efficient than on x86 hardware

3D game FPGA

Sphery vs. shapes is an open-source 3D raytraced game written in C and translated into FPGA bitstream that runs 50 times more efficiently on FPGA hardware than on an AMD Ryzen processor. Verilog and VHDL languages typically used on FPGA are not well-suited to game development or other complex applications, so instead, Victor Suarez Rovere and Julian Kemmerer relied on Julian’s “PipelineC” C-like hardware description language (HDL) and Victor’s CflexHDL tool that include parser/generator and math types library in order to run the same code on PC with a standard compile, and on FPGA through a custom C to VHDL translator. More details about the game development and results are provided in a white paper. Some math functions were needed, including: floating point addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, reciprocals, square root, inverse square roots, vector dot products, vector normalization, etc. Fixed point counterparts were also used for performance reasons and to […]

$5.5 Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 ESP32-S3 board follows Raspberry Pi Pico W form factor

Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 Raspberry Pi Pico W alternative

Banana Pi’s BPI-PicoW-S3 is a development board following the Raspberry Pi Pico W form factor, but based on Espressif System ESP32-S3 dual-core microcontroller offering both WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE connectivity. The Raspberry Pi SBCs have inspired many designs, but the Raspberry Pi Pico MCU boards less so. So far, I had only seen the WeAct RP2040 board with the same layout except for a USB Type-C port and a 16MB flash. But the Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 provides a direct alternative to the Raspberry Pi Pico W with a more powerful microcontroller, vector instructions for AI acceleration, BLE, and about the same price at $5.5 plus shipping. Let’s see how the BPI-PicoW-S3 specifications compare to the ones of the Raspberry Pi Pico W in the table below. While the power signal (5V, 3.3V, GND) and GPIO numbers are the same on both boards, there are a few variations here and […]

Luxonis OAK-D series 2 USB and PoE cameras integrate 3D depth and AI for robotics applications

Luxonis OAK-D S2 depth AI camera

Luxonis OAK-D Series 2 are the second-generation of USB or PoE cameras with 3D depth and a built-in AI accelerator mostly used for computer vision in robotics applications. We first wrote about Luxonis’ DepthAI module for Raspberry Pi based on the Intel Myriad X AI accelerator in 2019, and later found the module integrated into OpenCV AI Kit Lite, aka OAK-D Lite camera. The second-generation OAK-D cameras replace the module with a Robotics Vision Core 2 (RVC2) “chip-down design” equipped an SoC and Myriad X AI accelerator for up to 4 TOPS of processing power, including 1.4 TOPS for AI inference. Luxonis OAK-D Series 2 specifications and features: Robotics Vision Core 2 based on Myriad X AI accelerator 4 TOPS of processing power (1.4 TOPS for AI) Video encoding – H.264, H.265, MJPEG @ 4Kp3, 1080p60 Computer vision – Warp/dewarp, resize, crop via ImageManip node, edge detection, feature tracking, custom […]

ASUS Tinker board 3N