Willow Garage Launches The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF)

Willow Garage announces the formation of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community whose goal is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. The OSRF Board of Directors is composed of the following members: Wolfram Burgard. Dr. Burgard, a professor at the University of Freiburg,  heading the Laboratory for Autonomous Intelligent Systems. His major research interests lie in mobile robotics, state estimation and control, as well as artificial intelligence. Ryan Gariepy, co-founder and CTO of Clearpath Robotics. Clearpath Robotics is a company specializing in the design and manufacture of unmanned vehicle solutions for industrial R&D. Brian Gerkey,  Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage who has worked on the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) since 2008. Dr. Gerkey will be CEO of the OSRF. Helen Greiner, co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks. Sam …

NTT Docomo Showcases Smartphone Prototype with See-through Touch Panel

NTT Docomo and Fujitsus have jointly developed a smartphone prototype with a 2.4″ see-through OLED display (QVGA) that has touch sensors both on its front and back sides and NTT Docomo is currently exhibiting the device and showcasing the corresponding new innovative user interface at Wireless Japan 2012, until June 1, 2012, in Tokyo. The backside touch panel can be operated by using the forefinger and there are several ways to take advantage of a see-through display in the UI including: Operate the notification bar from the back side of the panel with a finger Hold an icon with a finger of one hand from the back side of the panel and stroke the front side of the panel with a forefinger of the other hand to move the home screen on which the icon is placed Play Rubik’s Cube by spinning the cube when the back side is not being touched and moving the cube parts when it is …

Toshiba Unveils TMPM061 Cortex-M0 MCU for Smart Meters

Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) has announced the TMPM061, a new 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 MCU  specifically designed for smart metering applications. This new micro-controller provides a single chip solution for smart meters, eliminating the need for the two-chip approach with an analog front end (AFE) and a MCU, delivering a smaller footprint and lower costs. In order to simplify smart meter power measurement, the TMPM061 features an onboard power calculation engine that can calculate active energy, reactive energy and power factor as well as monitoring voltage and frequency fluctuation. In addition, the TMPM061 features up to 128KB on-chip Flash ROM and 8KB on-chip RAM, as well as on-board peripherals including: 3-channel 24-bit Delta-Sigma analog-to-digital converter (ADC) supporting sampling up to 6 kHz 10-bit ADC Temperature-compensated real-time clock (RTC). 9-channel 16-bit timer LCD display controller Temperature sensor Voltage detection circuit Watchdog timer 5-channel general-purpose serial interface Serial bus interface (I2C bus mode or synchronous mode operation). The TMPM061FWFG comes in a 14 x …

Experienced Qt4 Mobile Developer? Get A Free Nokia N9 / N950 Smartphone

Quim Gil, in charge of developers relation at Nokia, announced on Maemo.org, that Nokia is currently looking for experienced Qt developers willing to port or develop apps running on top of Qt 5 before its finally release in August/September 2012 and will provide a Nokia N9 or N950 smartphones (running Meego) to selected developers. The goals of this device program are as follows: Testing Qt 5 itself and providing feedback while it’s alpha/beta. Testing the Qt 5 libraries for the Nokia N9. Developers feedback for port from Qt 4 to Qt 5, whether is was easy, a nightmare… and comments on difficulties experienced, Qt Creator and the documentation. Testing new Qt 5 features such as Qt Quick 2, textures, transitions, graphics / video effects, raw OpenGL ES stuff, post-Mobility APIs, the new Qt WebKit, JSON DB, ongoing R&D on PhoneGap own JQuery based experiments, etc… This new device program has the same goal as QtonPi program, but this time, Nokia …

Zero Devices Z900 Android 4.0 HDMI Stick

A reader (Thanks Javier!) tipped me about the Zero Devices Z900, an upcoming Android 4.0 mini PC, by one of the companies providing the MK802 / Z802 mini PC. Here are the unofficial specifications: ARM Processor @ 1Ghz with Mali-400 GPU (AllWinner A10 ?, Wrong guess. It’s Telechips TCC8925) 512 MB RAM 4 GB Flash and microSD slot HDMI video output Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 1x USB 2.0 port and 1x mini USB port (power) OS – Android 4.0 Dimensions – 89 x 32 x 18 mm Weight – 38 grams This little device also support 3D video playback. Availability and pricing are not available yet, but we can expect it to be in the same price range of his little brother (MK802 / Z802) that is around 70 to 80 USD including shipping. Since it has an HDMI male connector, it can be more convenient than the MK802 as you don’t have to carry the cables around. If the hardware …

Dell Announces Copper ARM Servers Based on Marvell ARMADA XP SoC

It looks like 2012 will be the year of ARM servers. After previous announcements of ARM servers based on Calxeda and Applied Micro SoC, Dell has just announced its own “Copper” ARM servers powered by Marvell ARMADA XP SoC (MV78460) that allegedly runs Ubuntu Server with a LAMP stack. Dell “Copper” ARM server is composed of 12 sleds with 4 SoC each slotted into a 3U C5000 Chassis. Here are the specs: Form factor 3U chassis 48 independent servers Architecture 1S 1.6GHz, quadcore Marvell Armada XP system on a chip (SoC) 4 discrete server nodes per sled 12 sleds per 3U chassis Memory 1 DIMM slot DDR3 UDIMM VLP, 1333MHz up to 8GB per node Drive bays 1 x 2.5″ SATA per node Hard disk drives 2.5″ SATA (7.2K rpm) Networking 1GB Marvell Ethernet uplink per node (QSGMII) connected to Marvell Integrated L2 Switch (98DX4122) Dell believes that ARM based infrastructures are ideal for Web front-end and Hadoop environments as …

Open Source Mali 200/400 Drivers (LIMA) Demo on Android Tablet

Luc Verhaegen, the lead developer of LIMA open source project, provided an update at LinuxTag 2012 last week-end. This open-source MALI GPU driver isn’t ready for consumers yet, but the LIMA team has made some progress and showcased an OpenGL ES demos running on a Chinese tablet running Android. Luc said the tablet used for the demo is the same hardware as the Spark KDE/Vivaldi tablet, so the video demo below must be running on an AMLogic 8726-M processor with a Mali 400 GPU. The drivers already (partially) work on both Mali-200 and Mali-400 GPUs. The fragment shader instructions set is fully known and they have disassembler and assembler fully implement, but they still need to work on the compiler. The vertex shader instruction set is 80% known, they have a simple shader disassembler and are working on the assembler. You can also watch the 40 minute presentation at LinuxTag 2012 for more details on Mali-400 GPU,  the work required …

TI TMS320C6748 DSP Low Cost Development Kit for Fingerprint Recognition and Face Detection

Texas Instruments recently introduced the TMS320C6748 DSP development kit (LCDK) for real-time analytics applications such as fingerprint recognition and face detection, as well as other digital signal processing applications, such as audio and communications. The C6748 DSP development kit comes pre-loaded with TI C6748 SYS/BIOS Software Development Kit (SDK) which includes: SYS/BIOS real-time kernel C6748 StarterWare software package (lightweight, operating-system-independent software libraries and utilities) Sample apps for fingerprint recognition and face detection Code Generation Tools DSP core performance benchmarks that show the real-time processing power of TI’s C674x DSPs. The C6748 DSP development kit also includes Code Composer Studio IDE v5.1. Several standard interfaces for connectivity and storage are available in the board to allow audio, video and other signals. Expansion headers also allow developers to add display and user interface technology, such as camera boards and LCD screens. The board schematics and design files are supposedly available for download, although I could not find where… and very little information …