myBuddy 280 dual arm robot features Raspberry Pi 4 SBC and ESP32 controllers

myBuddy 280 dual arm robot

Elephants Robotics myBuddy 280, aka myBuddy 280 Pi, is a dual-arm collaborative robot for education with a 7-inch display powered by Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, and also features three ESP32-based M5Stack core modules that help with the internal communication between the motors and the Raspberry Pi board. It builds upon the earlier myCobot 280 Pi robot with a single arm, with the same 280mm working range, but the new robot offers two arms, and a total of 13 degrees of freedom (DoF).  The robot is also equipped with two 2MP HD cameras for computer vision, a standard 3.3V expansion I/O interface, a LEGO expansion interface, and can be fitted with a variety of adapters such as suction pumps, grippers, little hands (see below), etc… myBuddy 280 specifications: SBC – Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB or 4GB RAM) single board computer to control the display and communicate with the ESP32 modules IoT […]

CrowPi L Review – Part 2: Learn programming and electronics with a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop

In the first part of our review of CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop for education, we checked the hardware and accessories such as the CrowTail starter kit with various sensors and other electronics modules, and showed how to install or remove the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC from the laptop shell. I’ve now had more time to play with the educational software, so I’ll report my experience with the laptop when learning game design and hardware control with Letscode visual programming IDE, as well as the Python lessons for more advanced students. Reinstalling CrowPi OS image It’s the rainy season here in Thailand meaning it’s both hot and humid, and even though I’m not entirely sure it’s related, I recently had to reinstall Raspberry Pi OS on one of my Raspberry Pi with a corrupted SD card. It happened again with the CrowPi L after I left it in its […]

Save the planet! Program in C, avoid Python, Perl

As a former software engineer who’s mostly worked with C programming, and to a lesser extent assembler, I know in my heart that those are the two most efficient programming languages since they are so close to the hardware. But to remove any doubts, a team of Portuguese university researchers attempted to quantify the energy efficiency of different programming languages (and of their compiler/interpreter) in a paper entitled Energy Efficiency across Programming Languages published in 2017, where they looked at the runtime, memory usage, and energy consumption of twenty-seven well-known programming languages. C is the uncontested winner here being the most efficient, while Python, which I’ll now call the polluters’ programming language :), is right at the bottom of the scale together with Perl. The study goes through the methodology and various benchmarks, but let’s pick the binary-trees results to illustrate the point starting with compiled code. To the surprise […]

An ESP32-based BBC Micro:bit clone – Meet Mbits

A few years ago, we noted a BBC Micro:bit clone based on ESP32 WiSoC with Banana Pi ‘s BPI:bit board with an array of 25 RGB LEDs and WiFi & Bluetooth LE connectivity. There’s now another such clone with Elecrow Mbits designed in a way that resembles the BBC Micro:bit v2 board, but replacing the Nordic Semi nRF52833 2.4GHz/BLE SoC with the ESP32 dual-core wireless chip with support for both WiFi and BLE. The specifications between Elecrow Mbits and BBC Micro:bit v2 are close enough, although ESP32 is a more powerful processor, and the MBits board comes with more memory and storage. Power consumption of the BBC Micro:bit v2 should be much better, so if anything needs to run on battery for an extended period of time, it may be a better choice, or you’re gonna need a bigger battery.  The GPIO pinout looks different too, so not all Micro:bit […]

Arm introduces Open-CMSIS-Pack and Keil Studio Cloud for MCU software development

Arm has just announced two new initiatives that aim to boost the productivity embedded, IoT, ML, and MCU software developers: the Open-CMSIS-Pack project and Keil Studio Cloud. The Open-CMSIS-Pack Project The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) packs have been around for years providing a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for microcontrollers, mostly Cortex-M based, but others too, and currently support close to 9000 different microcontrollers. I always assumed CMSIS was open-source as the source code is available in Github under an Apache 2.0 license. But apparently, not all components are, and Arm has now announced the Open-CMSIS-Pack project that will move part of CMSIS into the open project in collaboration with the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group. Linaro, Arm, and other partners like STMicro and NXP will initially focus their work on command-line tools and CMake workflows, with the ultimate goal of making the CMSIS-Pack technology into a true open […]

Crowbits Master Kit Tutorial – Part 2: ESP32 intrusion scanner and visual programming

I started Crowbits Master Kit review last month by checking out the content, user manual, and some of the possible projects for the ESP32 educational kit including a 2G phone and a portable game console. For the second part of the review, I’ll go through one of the lessons in detail, namely the intrusion scanner to show the whole process and how well (or not) it works. Let’s go to Lesson 5 directly, although I’d recommend going through the first lessons that provide details about the hardware and visual programming basics using Letscode program, which is basically a custom version of Scratch for Crowbits The user manual introduces the project, explains it is to detect intruders, and lists the learning goals as we’ll learn how to control the servo and play music on the Crowbits kit. Kit Assembly But first, we’ll have some assembly to do, in a similar way […]

BHI260AP is an AI smart sensor with built-in IMU by Bosch Sensortec

BHI260AP AI smart sensor integrates a 6-axis IMU, a 32-bit customizable programmable microcontroller, and various software functionalities. The AI smart sensor has embedded AI with on-sensor applications such as fitness tracking, navigation, machine learning analytics, and orientation estimation. The dimensions of the miniaturized AI smart sensor are 4.1mm x 3.6mm x 0.83 mm. Hardware Features of BHI260AP AI Smart Sensor ARC EM4 CPU includes ARCv2 16/32 bit instruction set working up to a frequency of 3.6 MHz. The core also integrates Floating Point Unit (FPU) and Memory Protection Unit (MPU) with 4 channel micro DMA controller. CPU has two modes of AI functioning at 25Hz and 50Hz with 249µA and 386µA of current consumption respectively. Integrated sensor (6-DoF IMU) includes 16-bit 3 axis accelerometer and 16-bit 3 axis gyroscope. The sensor works at an operating voltage of 1.8 V with a standby current value of 8µA, hence the power consumption […]

KB-IDE Open Source IDE Supports ESP-IDF, Arduino, and Visual Programming for ESP32 Boards

We’ve previously written about MakerAsia when covering their KBX Extension case for Kidbright ESP32 educational board. The company has now launched a new product, but it’s not an hardware platform, and instead KB-IDE is an open IDE (Integrated Development Environment) ESP32 boards. The IDE is suitable whatever your level from kids getting started with supports visual programming, to Arduino programming, and even the official Espressif ESP-IDF framework for more experienced makers. The IDE comes with with a Board Manager, a Plugins System and works with any Arduino Library out of the box. Made with Vue.js framework, KB-IDE is open source with the code available on Github.  You can install a binary release, or build it from source for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. Since it’s open source, it’s also expandable so makers can customize it, for instance by adding new architectures (AVR and ARM are already planned), new boards,  creating […]