Giveaway Week – Videostrong VS-RD-RK3399 Development Board

VS-RK3399 Board

That’s the time of the year for another Giveway Week on CNX Software. They will be some development boards, add-on boards, and one gadget. You’ll have to keep reading this blog everyday to find out, but I’ll start with VideoStrong VS-RD-RK3399 development board and accessories. Also know as Mecool VS-RK3399, it is one of the many Rockchip RK3399 development board on the market. The board I have comes with 4GB LPDDR3, and 32GB eMMC flash, as well as all accessories above, minus the USB type-C cable which I can’t find anymore… A 12V/2A will also be provided in the kit given away. I reviewed the board with Debian, tested the SDK, and ran a few benchmarks in Linux about a year ago, and I found that while the board mostly worked as expected, software support and documentation needed some improvements. The SDK page is still there,but they have not really updated it since last year. The device was also sold …

Singles’ Day 2018 Promotions on GearBest, Aliexpress, GeekBuying, Banggood…

Singles' Day 2018

Taking place every year in China on November 11, Singles’ Day is the equivalent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US with shops offering large discounts on various products. The good news is that the event is not actually limited to China, since popular online shopping websites based in China will all organize events and promotions for overseas customers. I posted a list of Singles’ Day promotions in 2017, and I’ll do that again this year with promotions launched by shops like GeekBuying, Aliexpress, GearBest, and others, often starting in early November, and culminating on November 11 for the deepest discounts. GearBest GearBest will have two main Singles’ Day events: Deposit Expansion – To maximize your saving, GearBest implemented a “deposit expansion” policy. This is a FREE bonus that increases the worth of the deposit you made. Put a deposit in advance, get the extra discount when finalizing your payment later. Coupon Rain on Nov 5 -10 at …

Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing

Particle Argon WiFi Bluetooth Kit

Back in February of this year, Particle introduced three low cost IoT development boards based on Nordic Semi nRF52840 wireless chip supporting “Particle Mesh” networking based on the 802.15.4 radio in the chip and OpenThread implementation of Thread IoT communication protocol. The company recently announced they were now shipping the kits pre-ordered earlier this year, and released two IoT development tools based on Node-RED and Visual Studio Code. Particle contacted me as well as to find out whether I was interested in reviewing their latest WiFi / Bluetooth / Mesh kit, and I’ve just received the bundle, which comes with a bunch of items, so I decided to write an unboxing post first to have a first look at the hardware, before playing with it in one or two weeks. Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Bundle Unboxing That’s what I got from UPS… From top left to bottom right: The Argon kit (ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth + Mesh) A Grove …

Nubia X Dual Screen Smartphone Drops the Selfie Camera

Smartphone without front-facing camera

Consumers don’t seem to be fans of bezels, so manufacturers try to keep them as small as possible, and many phones are now launched with a notch for the front-facing camera, and some with a front-facing camera that pops up during use. The former is not eye-pleasing to some users, and the latter may not feel robust. Nubia X smartphone does away with either simply because the company dropped the front-facing camera, instead relying on the rear camera plus a second screen on the back for selfies. This setup enables an utra-slim bezel on all four sides. Nubia X specifications: SoC – Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor with 4x Kryo 385 Gold cores @ up to 2.65 GHz, 4x Kryo 385 Silver cores @ up to 1.80 GHz, Adreno 630 GPU System Memory + Storage –  6GB LPDDR4X + 64GB storage, or 8GB LPDDR4X + 128 GB storage Displays 6.26″ main display with 2280×1080 resolution 5.1″ rear display with 1520×720 resolution Camera …

SiFive Introduces 7 Series RISC-V Cores with E7, S7 and U7 series

SiFIve U74 Core

SiFive has recently announced their Core IP 7 Series of RISC-V cores offering better performance, and designed to enable “embedded intelligence” in applications such as 5G, networking, storage, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, SLAM, and sensor fusion. Three families of the new 7 Series been launched with namely SiFive E7, S7 and U7 Core IP Series, so let’s have a look at each of them. E7 Core IP Series – E76 and E76-MC Cores The E7 Core IP Series comprises the 32-bit E76 and E76-MC (Multi-core),  provides hard real-time capabilities, and compares to Arm’s Cortex M7, Cortex-R7/R8 cores. E76-MC Key Features Fully compliant with the RISC-V ISA specification 4x RV32IMAFC E76 Cores Machine and User Mode Support In-order, 8-stage pipeline Advanced Memory Subsystem 32KB Instruction Cache 32KB Instruction Tightly Integrated Memory (ITIM) 32KB Data Cache 32KB FIO RAM 256KB L2 Cache High-performance TileLink Interface Benchmark Scores- 2.3 DMIPS/MHz, 4.9 CoreMark/MHz E76 is basically the same but with one core, no L2 …

H96 Max X2 Amlogic S905X2 TV Box with 4GB RAM, 32GB Storage Sold for $49.99 (Promo)

H96 Max X2

We’ve recently started seeing TV boxes based on the latest Amlogic S905X2 processor that offers slightly better speeds, USB 3.0, and several other improvements over Amlogic S905X. Models we’ve covered before including Beelink GT1 Mini, and X96 Max which started selling for under $50 with 2GB RAM and 16 GB storage at the time of the announcement. With competition and the holiday season coming soon, prices have started to come down, and you can now get H96 Max X2 TV box with 4GB RAM, and 32GB storage for $49.99 shipped on Banggood. H96 Max X2 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905X2 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0 GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 “Dvalin” GPU System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, micro SD card slot up to 32GB Video & Audio Outputs HDMI 2.1 output up to 4K @ 75 Hz with HDR/HDCP 2.2/CEC 3.5mm AV port (composite + stereo audio) supporting 480i/576i Video Codecs –  VP9 Profile-2 …

Bonsai Algorithm Enables Machine Learning on Arduino with a 2KB RAM Footprint

Bonsai Machine Learning

Machine learning used to be executed in the cloud, then the inference part  moved to the edge, and we’ve even seen micro-controllers able to do image recognition with GAP8 RISC-V micro-controller. But I’ve recently come across a white paper entitled “Resource-efficient Machine Learning in 2 KB RAM for the Internet of Things” that shows how it’s possible to perform such tasks with very little resources. Here’s the abstract: This paper develops a novel tree-based algorithm, called Bonsai, for efficient prediction on IoT devices – such as those based on the Arduino Uno board having an 8 bit ATmega328P microcontroller operating at 16 MHz with no native floating point support, 2 KB RAM and 32 KB read-only flash. Bonsai maintains prediction accuracy while minimizing model size and prediction costs by: (a) developing a tree model which learns a single, shallow, sparse tree with powerful nodes; (b) sparsely projecting all data into a low-dimensional space in which the tree is learnt; and …

Shelly H&T is a Battery Powered ESP8266 WiFi Temperature & Humidity Sensor

Battery Powered ESP8266 Temperature Humidity Sensor

WiFi and long battery life do not usually go hand-in-hand, but as we’ve seen recently, companies have managed to design battery powered WiFi cameras that are said to last up to a year on a charge. So for simpler WiFi devices it should be feasible to last over a year, and that’s what “Shelly H&T” – an ESP8266 based battery-powered WiFi temperature and humidity sensor has apparently achieved, with claims of up to 16 months battery life. Shelly H&T specifications: Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Wifi 4) Sensor – Temperature & humidity  Battery – 1x CR123A battery good for up to 16 months Dimensions – 35 mm Ø sphere with flat top/bottom  The firmware supports MQTT, and a Rest API, and works with Alexa, Google Home, and home automation suites like OpenHAB, Home Assistant, or Domoticz. The sensor is “open source ready”, meaning you’ll be able to flash your own firmware through the serial interface as shown below. The device …