iMX6 Rex Open Source Hardware SoM and Baseboard Designed to Teach Schematic and PCB Layout Design

Voipac, a Slovakian manufacturing company, has recently unveiled iMX6 Rex module and iMX6 Rex development baseboard, which have mainly been developed in order to support FEDEVEL Academy Schematic Design and Advanced PCB Layout courses, but can also be used for other purposes. The module is powered by Freescale i.MX6 Dual (Solo and Quad also available on request), and comes with 512MB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB), and up to 32MB SPI flash. The complete hardware will be released under an open source hardware license, but with some caveats as I’ll explain later. iMX6 Rex module specifications (basic configuration): SoC – Freescale iMX6 processor up to 1.2GHz / 2 cores (1 and 4 cores also available) System Memory – 512MB DDR3-1066 (533MHz), up to 4GB Storage – 2MB On board SPI Flash, up to 32MB 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet PHY 2 high speed board to board connectors (only one required) with signals for HDMI, […]

Terasic’s Altera DE1-SoC Board Based on Cyclone V Dual Cortex A9 + FPGA SoC Sells for $150 Up

A few months ago, Terasic unveiled its SoCKit powered by Altera Cyclone V dual Cortex A9 + FPGA. They’ve now announced a cheaper version will a less powerful Cyclone V SoC and lower specs (e.g. less RAM, only one sensor, etc…) that sells for as low as $150 for educational or academic purposes, and $199 for the rest of us. Altera DE1-SoC Board specifications: FPGA Device Cyclone V SoC 5CSEMA5F31 Device Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 (HPS – Hard Processor System) 85K Programmable Logic Elements 4,450 Kbits embedded memory 6 Fractional PLLs 2 Hard Memory Controllers Configuration and Debug Quad Serial Configuration device – EPCQ256 on FPGA (EPCQ = Erasable Programmable Configurable Quad-SPI device) On-Board USB Blaster II (Normal type B USB connector) Memory Device 64MB (32Mx16) SDRAM on FPGA 1GB (2x256Mx16) DDR3 SDRAM on HPS 128MB QSPI Flash on HPS (QSPI Flash does not come pre-installed out of factory) Micro SD […]

Intel Education Tablets Come with a Temperature Probe, a Magnification Lens

Intel has recently announced 2 educational Android 4.x tablets: The 10″ Intel Education Tablet powered by Intel Atom Z2460, and the 7″ Intel Education Tablet based on the newer Intel Atom Z2420. Beside standard features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, dual cameras, etc…, the tablets also come with items such as a temperature probe, and a snap-on magnification lenses for experimentation, as well as a educational software. The table below adapted from LinuxGizmos lists both tablets’ specifications side-by-side. 10.1″ model 7″ model Processor Intel single-core Atom Z2460 (“Medfield”) @ 1.6GHz Intel single-core Atom Z2420 (“Lexington”) @ 1.2GHz RAM 1G LPDDR2 Flash 16GB eMMC 8GB eMMC + microSD slot Display 1280 x 800 capacitive 5-point touch TFT LCD (16:10) with stylus 1024 x 600 multitouch TFT LCD (16:9) with optional stylus Wireless 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1 EDR 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0 (optional) Camera 2MP rear; 0.3MP front USB 1x micro USB 2.0 (Type B) […]

NI myRIO is an Education Platform Powered by Xilinx Zynq-Z7010

National Instruments has been working on a device called NI myRIO, an hardware & software platform that aims at giving engineering students the ability to design real systems quickly for automation, robotics, data logging or embedded systems. The hardware is based on Xilinx Zynq-7010 with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and an FPGA with 28,000 programmable logic cells, and features 10 analog inputs, 6 analog outputs, audio I/O channels, and up to 40 lines of digital input/output (DIO). NI myRIO Hardware  Specifications: SoC – Xilinx Zynq-7010 with a dual core Cortex A9 processor and FPGA with 28,000 cells System Memory – Unknown Storage – Unknown Expansion Ports: myRIO exPansion Ports (MXP) – Two identical ports (MXP A and MXP B) with 4 analog inputs, 6 digital inputs/outputs, 2 analog outputs, 1 quad encoder, 3 PWMs, 1 UART, 1 I2C and 1 SPI by default. Ports configuration is customizable with Labview […]

Lernstift Digital Pen Hits Kickstarter for $150

Lernstift is a digital pen running Linux that aims at helping children learning how to write by vibrating when they’ve made calligraphy or orthography errors. I’ve covered the overall concept in an earlier post, which you can read for details. The company has made some progress, and they have just launched a kickstarter campaign where you can pledge 99 GBP (about $150) to receive the pen later this year or in early 2014. We do know a little more technical details. The first prototype was based on Gumstix Overo (TI OMAP3 or Sitara), but they are now working to design a custom board based on the platform for the final design. The pen comes with 128 MB RAM and runs embedded Linux. In order to gather handwriting data, Lernstift leverages a motion sensor that combines gyroscope with accelerometer, and adds a magnetometer. They’ve got a drawing with Freescale MMA9950L, but […]

Lollybot is a $10 Robot Made with a USB Gamepad and Chupa Chups

I attended Barcamp Chiang Mai 6 yesterday, and sessions dealt with a wide range of subjects ranging from SEO and web development to things like nuclear energy, VMAT2 God gene, or Edward Snowden. There were just four talks somewhat related to the subjects I usually write about in this blog: Project Manhattan – An interactive TV infrastructure project for TV operators based on open source libraries (but not open source itself). They provide both back-end software and a mobile app (Android or iOS) for smartphones and set-top boxes. They had an Android set-top box, but unfortunately there was no time for demo. There’s no project website, but the solution is said to be used by horizon-tv.tv (in Russian). A Raspberry Pi session which I could not attend Firefox OS – Keng is the owner of a mobile and web development company called opendream, but he’s also one of the 4 […]

Lernstift – Linux Based Learning Digital Pen

Lernstift UG, a German startup, is working on a digital pen, called Lernstift as well, that can help children learning how to write by vibrating in case of errors. The Lernstift can be used in 2 modes: Calligraphy Mode – Pointing out flaws of form and legibility. Orthography Mode – Detecting orthographic (1 vibration) and grammatical (2 vibration) mistakes. Since it features a ballpoint, it can be used as a real pen, you know to write on paper…, but you can also write in the air, so I suppose they’ll also make a version without ballpoint, so that kids can enjoy one of their favorite pastimes: writing on the walls! The pen features a CPU module (2) that’s used to handle handwriting recognition, gather data from the motion (1) and pressure (3) sensors, and manage the Wi-Fi module (4). A battery, a power switch, and a pen refill complete Lernstift […]

Marvell SMILE Plug DevKit is Now Available for $199

The SMILE Plug is a development kit, designed jointly by Marvell and Standford University, that brings Wi-Fi connectivity to a classroom, and allows up to 60 pupils / students to interact with their teacher via their phones’ or tablets’ web browser. Other possible applications include cloud computing, wireless AP, industrial control, medical instrumentation, office automation, as well as mesh and grid computing. The SMILE Plug is now available with the following updated specifications: SoC – Marvell ARMv7 compliant Marvell ARMADA 370 CPU System Memory – 512 MB DDR3 Storage – 1 GB NAND Flash + microSD slot Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n via Marvell Avastar 88W8764 4×4 WiFi for up to 60 nodes 2x Gigabit Ethernet USB – 2x USB 3.0 External backup battery for hours of reserve power* (optional accessory) Power on button and restart Power Supply – 12V/2amp external power supply JTAG and UART port for programming and debugging […]