Toit open-source language claims to be 30x faster than MicroPython on ESP32

Toit language

Developed by a team of former Google employees, Toit is a complete IoT platform with remote management, firmware updates for fleets of devices with features similar to the one offered by solutions such as balena, Microsoft Azure, or Particle edge-to-cloud platform. Toit currently works on ESP32 microcontrollers using lightweight containers, and after seeing existing high-level languages MicroPython and Javascript were not fast enough on low-end microcontrollers platforms, the team at Toit started to develop the Toit language in 2018, and has just made it open-source with the release of the compiler, virtual machine, and standard libraries on Github under an LGPL-2.1 license. One of the main reasons to switch from MicroPython to the Toit language is if your application is limited by performance or you operate ESP32 from a battery, as Toit claims up to 30x faster performance with Toit on ESP32: We went into crunch mode and some months […]

How to flash firmware to Rockchip devices in Windows and Linux (2021 Edition)

We’ve written several articles detailing methods to flash firmware to Rockchip devices in Windows or Linux over the years, with tools like RKAndroidTool, RkFlashKit, upgrade_tool, or the open-source rkdeveloptool utility. This is mostly useful to flash another OS or if the device does not boot, as most products will now support OTA firmware updates. But following my review of Zidoo M6 with Android 11, I’ve now got a Linux image for the Rockchip RK3566 mini PC, so let’s revisit the firmware flashing methods in 2021. Zidoo sent me instructions for Windows, but since I’m a Ubuntu user, I flashed the firmware with the Linux tools used by Firefly. The same methods should work for the older processors such as RK3066, RK3288, and RK3399, besides the more recent Rockchip RK3566 and RK3568 processors. How to flash Rockchip firmware in Linux [Important update: If your device comes with both eMMC flash and […]

Intel Seamless Update to enable BIOS/UEFI firmware updates without a reboot

Updating the BIOS/UEFI binary usually requires a reboot, but Intel is working on changing that, at least on Linux servers for now, with the Intel Seamless Update aiming to carry out system firmware updates (e.g. UEFI) at run-time without having to reboot, a bit like what Canonical does with the Ubuntu Livepatch service, but at a lower level in the software stack. Intel submitted a patch that “Introduces Platform Firmware Runtime Update and Telemetry drivers” to the Linux kernel mailing list a couple of days ago with the description reading in part: High Service Level Agreements (SLAs) requires that the system runs without service interruptions. Generally, system firmware provides runtime services such as RAS (Reliability, Availability and Serviceability) features, UEFI runtime services and ACPI services. Currently if there is any firmware code changes in these code area, the system firmware update and reboot is required. Example of bug fix could […]

BL-63B – A smaller BL602 IoT module that sells for $1.5

Bouffalo Labs BL602 is a low-cost, low-power RISC-V microcontroller that offers 2.4 GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity for IoT projects for about the price of ESP8266. We first discovered it last year, together with a development board. Pine64 created its own PineCone board fitted with the $2 PineNut module, and some reverse-engineering work has started on BL602 SDK. But there’s now another smaller BL602 module with “Machine Intelligence” (that’s the company name) BL-63B that sells for $1.5 on Taobao in China, as well as on LCSC Electronics albeit you’d need to purchase 1000 pieces to get that price, and single-unit pricing is currently $2.5. BL-63B WiFI & BLE module specifications: SoC – Bouffalo Labs BL602 32-bit RISC-V processor @ up to 192 Mhz with 276KB RAM, 128KB ROM, 1Kbit eFuse, WiFi and BLE Storage – 2MB flash Wireless 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n WiFI 4 1×1 SISO up to 65 Mbps […]

Board for 60 ESP-01 modules that update firmware from Github, mine “Duino Coins”

When I first saw the large ESP-01 V1.0 board on Facebook, I thought it was designed to speed up firmware updates of up to 60 ESP-01 modules. The developer, Thanormsin, just explained it would take 5 to 24V DC input to power all ESP8266 attached to it. It looks cool to have so many But there was no PC interface to update the firmware, so it did not make sense to me, even if it could be used for OTA firmware updates, as the first time, one would have to manual update the firmware. So I discussed with Thanormsin, and he explains to me his initial arrangement was a cable mess. That is why he designed a board to make it neater, and easier to manage. Each ESP-01 module can update firmware from the Internet, more especially from Github, as each time a new firmware version is uploaded to Github, […]

PandaZhu – ESP32 powered 3D Printer controller board supports Marlin 2.0 & ESP3D WebUI

Around two years ago, we noted beta Marlin 2.0 support for ESP32  and some initiatives to create ESP32 powered 3D printer controller boards with built-in WiFi connectivity. Now Marlin 2.0 firmware officially supports ESP32 boards such as FYSETC E4, E4d@BOX, or MRR ESPA. Another ESP32 based 3D printer controller board has now been brought to my attention. PandaZhu supports up to eight motor drivers, up to three heaters, up to three thermistors, one external LCD display, and on the software-side, the board is compatible with Marlin 2.0 as well as ESP3D WebUI. PandaZhu board’s specifications: Wireless module – ESP32-WROOM-32 based on Espressif ESP32 dual-core Xtensa processor @ 240MHz with 520 KB SRAM, plus 4MB flash Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n up to 150 Mbps, Bluetooth 4.2 3D printer peripherals Up to 8x motor drivers Up to 3x heaters Up to 3x thermistors  with 30°C to 250°C range, BLTouch auto-leveling sensor with a […]

Keyboardio Model 100 wooden keyboard runs open-source Arduino firmware (Crowdfunding)

Are you bored with keyboard news yet? Keyboardio Model 100 does not quite look like most keyboards though. It’s basically a piece of art with an enclosure made of walnut or maple hardwood, and designed as an ergonomic keyboard with left and right parts with a total of 64 mechanical switches with RGB LEDs and custom-sculpted keycaps. Keyboardio Model 100 also runs Kaleidoscope open-source firmware programmed in the Arduino IDE, and can be customized by the user with Chrysalis open-source, cross-platform graphical configuration tool. The community is also working on porting QMK firmware to the keyboard. The Keyboardio Model 100 ships with QWERTY keycaps, but alternative keycap sets with Dvorak, Colemak, Linear A, or blank legends are available as a add-on. Other accessories include a 1.5 USB-A to USB C cable for connection to the host, a 10cm  RJ45 interconnect cable and a 1m RJ45 interconnect cable to connect the […]

Windows 11 announced with widgets, Android apps support, new system requirements

As expected, Microsoft has formally announced Windows 11 operating system that’s basically Windows 10 with a new look, and some extra features such as Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops to further improve the multitasking experience. Snap Layouts and Snap Groups will allow you to select pre-defined layouts to quickly arrange windows as you see fit, and you can define multiple “Desktops” for work, gaming, or school, etc… Other changes include Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar, new gaming features such as DirectX 12 Ultimate, Direct Storage for faster loading, or Auto HDR, a new Microsoft Store with support for Android apps through the Amazon Appstore, and AI-powered widgets to display useful information like calendar, weather, news, stock quotes, etc… There are also features that have become deprecated or pushed to the wayside with, for example, Cortana not used anymore during installation and not pinned to the taskbar, […]