Watchy Pebble-like Smartwatch with E-paper display, ESP32 processor launched for $45

Pebble smartwatch was introduced in 2012 on Kickstarter. The Bluetooth smartwatch came with an E-Paper display, would connect to your Android smartphone or iPhone to receive notifications or other info, and the company also released an SDK for further customization. It was quite popular at the time having sold over one million units, the Pebble Time followed in 2015 with a color display, as well as other models. But despite selling millions of watches, the company folded in 2016, and the Pebble was discontinued after the intellectual property was purchased by Fitbit. Watchy is a new smartwatch that reminds me of the original pebble. It is based on ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth SoC, equipped with a 1.54-inch E-Paper display with 200×200 resolution, and the usual accelerometer for activity tracking and gesture detection. Watchy key features and specifications: SIP – Espressif Systems ESP32-PICO-D4 system-in-package with ESP32 dual-core processor with Bluetooth LE 4.2/5.x and WiFi 4 connectivity, 4MB SPI flash Display – […]

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Rotary Un-Smartphone is a rotary dial phone based on Arduino, 4G LTE module

If you feel nostalgic and misses the days of the rotary dial phone, Sky’s Edge “Rotary Un-Smartphone” is an open-source hardware rotary dial phone controlled by an Arduino board and equipped with a multi-mode 4G/3G/2G module. It’s a bit more advanced that you old rotary phone with recent cellular technology, ePaper & OLED displays, quick dialing buttons, and the rotary dial can both be used to dial full phone number or quickly access your contact list. Key features of the Rotary Un-Smartphone: MCU board – Arduino board based on AtMega2560 MCU Storage – MicroSD card to store contacts list Displays – Front-side OLED and back-side ePaper displays Cellular Connectivity 4G/3G/2G connectivity via u-Blox TOBY-L2 module Voice calls and SMS (receive-only) supported SIM card slot Internal antenna; expansion space for user-supplied external antenna Audio Microphone and speaker 3.5mm TRRS headset jack Mechanical ringer bell made from polished brass; externally visible Misc – Mechanical power switch, Incandescent-like indicator LEDs, various buttons, physical […]

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Maypole MicroSD card reader comes with ESP32 for WiFi, smart storage (Crowdfunding)

Several years ago, we covered Zsun WiFi card reader a tiny USB card reader with WiFi and a battery that allowed users to access files via USB or WiFi from any device. People managed to hack the device and run OpenWrt on the little MicroSD card reader, but this required either to open the hardware and do some soldering, or use another method that could potentially brick the hardware, so not an ideal solution. But now Akshar Vastarpara has come with a similar device. Maypole is an open-source hardware MicroSD card reader powered by Espressif ESP32 processor providing both WiFi and the resources for smarter storage. It comes with an optional battery too to access files even without having to connect it to a USB port. Maypole hardware specifications: Storage – Swappable MicroSD cards up to 32GB Wireless Connectivity WiFi 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 via ESP32 WiSoC, Up to 4 to 5 clients Access Point (AP) or station (STA) mode […]

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Open-source VSCP IoT/M2M automation framework supports Arduino, Raspberry Pi

VSCP (Very Simple Control Protocol) is an open-source IoT framework that works on development boards like Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and lets you control IoT home automation tasks. The framework is highly scalable, has a very low footprint, and as such is specially designed for resource-limited devices. VSCP is an open-source standard protocol for m2m, IoT and other remote control and measurement applications. It enables simple, low-cost devices to be networked together with high-end computers and/or to work as an autonomous system, whatever the communication media is. The VSCP Protocol has two levels: Level 1 and Level 2. The protocol was primarily used in CAN networks (that is Level 1 for tiny microcontrollers) because CAN is cheap and reliable with high efficiency. However, VSCP can be used for faster transport layers such as TCP/IP, so here comes Level 2 which achieves better performance. We have already seen Souliss, an open-source IoT framework for home automation. If you wonder why another […]

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Dragonbox Pyra open source hardware handheld Linux PC is finally shipping

We first covered the Dragonbox Pyra in 2014 when it was described as an open-source handheld game console powered by Texas Instruments OMAP5432 SoC, or maybe AllWinner A80, Intel Bay Trail, or Qualcomm Snapdragon processors since the exact specifications were still in the works for the Pandora successor. Michael Mrozek (EvilDragon) finally decided to keep going with the OMAP5 processor due to the good documentation and software support, and pre-orders started in 2016 with a 330 to 400 Euros downpayment and no clear timeline about shipping. It eventually took over four more years, but the Dragonbox Pyra is finally getting assembled and shipping to backers has started. Since so many years have passed, you’d be forgiven  if you completely forgot or did not know at all about the specifications: SoC – Texas Instruments OMAP 5432 SoC with 2x Arm Cortex-A15 @ 1.5 GHz with NEON SIMD, 2x ARM Cortex-M4, Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX544-MP2 3D GPU, and Vivante GC320 2D GPU […]

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Piunora has the guts of a Raspberry Pi 4 with Arduino form factor, M.2 PCIe socket

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a pretty cool board, but if you wished it was just a bit smaller, and you could use the PCIe interface exposed by the Broadcom BCM2711 processor more easily, Timon has designed Piunora carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. The solution provides a board with the guts of Raspberry Pi 4 SBC but using the Arduino form factor including access to the six ADC pins, and an M.2 socket with the PCIe signal from the Broadcom SoC. Piunora carrier board (preliminary)specifications: SoM compatibility – Raspberry Pi CM4 module with Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 1 to 8GB RAM, optional 4GB to 32GB eMMC flash, optional wireless module with 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 Storage – 1x MicroSD card socket (for the OS when using Raspberry Pi CM4Lite system-on-module) Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 port up to 4Kp60 Camera I/F – MIPI camera connector USB – 1x USB […]

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Glasgow Interface Explorer is an iCE40 FPGA based hardware debugging tool (crowdfunding)

We’ve seen some pretty interesting boards for hardware hackers and reverse engineers in recent months with the likes of Ollie and Tigard USB debug boards that allow interfacing various hardware interfaces and/or flashing firmware to different types of target boards. Here’s another one: Glasgow Interface Explorer. Based on Lattice Semi iCE40 FPGA, the board is described as being “designed for hardware designers, reverse engineers, digital archivists, electronics hobbyists, and anyone else who wants to communicate with a wide selection of digital devices with minimum hassle”. Glasgow Interface Explorer specifications: FPGA – Lattice Semiconductor iCE40HX8K FPGA USB – 1x USB-C port connected to FX2 high-speed USB interface capable of 480 Mbps throughput I/O headers 2x 8-channel I/O banks with 16 highly flexible I/O Each I/O bank comes with A dedicated programmable linear voltage regulator, configurable from 1.8 V to 5 V and providing up to 150 mA of power A dedicated sense ADC capable of monitoring the I/O bank voltage and […]

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Bootterm – a developer-friendly serial terminal program

There are plenty of terminal programs to access the serial console from minicom or screen to Putty. But Willy Tarreau was not quite happy with those tools, so he decided to write his own: Bootterm. I was terribly fed up with the current state of serial terminals, which either don’t cope well with errors, or take ages to start, making you lose the first characters, or don’t support non-standard speeds etc. I finally wrote mine to address all that at once, plus support for automatic port detection (the last registered one is the good one by default), waiting for the port to be ready, and also support fixed or timed captures. And a few environment variables make it possible not to type any argument at all yet have the expected behavior. If that’s something of interest to you, you can check it there: https://github.com/wtarreau/bootterm It’s still young (no support for automatic speed switching nor macros yet) but pretty usable, and […]

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