Archive

Posts Tagged ‘beaglebone’

Aspencore 2017 Embedded Markets Study – Programming Languages, Operating Systems, MCU Vendors, and More

August 15th, 2017 2 comments

Aspencore media group asked readers of their EE Times and Embedded.com websites to fill out an online survey about their embedded system projects. They got 1,234 respondents mostly from North America (56.3%), followed by Europe (25.2%), and Asia (10.6%). This resulted in a 102-page market study which you can download here. I’ve extracted a few slides to have a look at some of the trends.

My current embedded project is programmed mostly in:

C language is still the most used language in embedded systems, but other languages like C++, Python and even assembly language are gaining traction.

Please select ALL of the operating systems you are currently using.

Operating system is more spread with Linux being the most used via Embedded Linux distributions, Debian, and Ubuntu. FreeRTOS comes in second place, while Android registers fourth with 13%.

Which of the following Version Control software systems do you currently use?

Git has finally supplanted Subversion in 2017, with all other version control software losing ground.

Did you start your current embedded design with a development board?

Switching to some hardware slides, 44% used a development board to start their embedded design with ST Microelectronics, Texas Instruments and Xilinx at the top three.

Which form factor boards are you currently using, and considering using ?

Most used custom or proprietary form factors in their designs, and I’m actually surprised at the rather large number of designs using low cost boards form factors such as the ones used in Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone boards. The “considering using” for Raspberry Pi is particularly high. The question does not clearly states whether it’s for evaluation / prototyping only, or in the end product however.

Please select the processor vendors you are currently using.

The chart is a little confusion due to the recent M&A activity, but Texas Instruments, Freescale (now NXP) and Atmel (Now Microchip) take the top three spots. You cannot add Freescale (26%) and NXP (17%), or Atmel (26%) and Microchip (25%), since some respondents may have already selected both. Renesas is only at 9%, but it was only second to NXP (Freescale + NXP) in MCU market share in 2016, so maybe the apparent discrepancy is due to the sampling in the survey with the majority of respondents from the US & Canada, which may also explain why Greater China companies like Holtek, or CEC Huada Electronic Design do not register at all.

You’ll find many more interesting slides in the full study.

DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM Adds a Pico Projector to BeagleBone Black for $99

August 3rd, 2017 2 comments

Back in 2012, Texas Instruments introduced DLP LightCrafter pico projector evaluation module powered by a TMS320DM365 ARM9 processor @ 300 MHz running embedded Linux, and selling for $599. Since then, we have seen many products including projectors based on DLP technology such as standalone tiny projectors, Windows mini PCs, Android TV boxes, tablets, an even light bulbs. However, so far I can’t remember seeing any easy way to easily integrate DLP projector with the cheap ARM Linux development boards available today.

Texas Instruments has now filled that void with DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM that adds a pico-projector to BeagleBone Black (or Green) based on the new 0.2″ DLP2000 DMD (Digital Mirror Device) chip. The board is comprised of two subsystems:

  • Light engine (top) with the optics, red, green, and blue LEDs, and the 640 × 360 (nHD) DLP2000 DMD configured to deliver around 20 lumens by default (this can be adjusted)
  • Driver board (bottom) with DLPC2607 display controller and DLPA1000 PMIC/LED driver, and headers to connect to BeagleBone Black board

It is recommended to power the EVM with a 5V/3A adapter, but it’s also possible to power it through the host board as  long as it can supply at least 320 mA.

Click to Enlarge

There are then two ways to use the module, either via a host processor, as would be the case if you connect it to a BeagleBone Black board, or without host processor, through a USB to I2C dongle connected to a computer.

When using the BeagleBone Black / Green, you’ll need to install the latest Debian image first, then the board will automatically detect the add-on board using the EEPROM data, and configure the boards with an RGB888 interface for the video data, and I2C for the commands, which can be sent using i2cget & i2cset tools. You’ll find the list of I2C commands in DLPC2607 Software Programmer’s Guide.

The relatively low resolution (640×480) may not be ideal to watch movies, but TI envisions their latest DMD chip to be used for home automation displays, factory 4.0 HMI displays, and in thermostats, Bluetooth speakers, and so on.

DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM, is selling for $99 on TI eStore, while DLP2000 DMD chip is sold for just $20. You’ll find more information on the product pages for the EVM and DMD chip.

Via LinuxGizmos and EETimes

EduMIP Self-Balancing Robot Kit Based on BeagleBone Blue is Now Available for $50

July 14th, 2017 1 comment

BeagleBone Blue is a board designed for robotics projects, and one of those projects is EduMIP self-balancing robot that was first designed around BeagleBone Black and a robotics cape, but so far was not available for sale. Renaissance Robotics is now selling the kit, without board, for $50.

EduMIP with Beaglebone Blue (left) and BBB and Robotics Cape (right) – Click to Enlarge

The kit has been designed by UC San Diego Coordinated Robotics Lab in order to teach robotics to students, and it works with BeagleBone Blue, or BeagleBone Black with the Robotics Cape and an optional WiFi dongle.

Some of the subjects that can be learned with eduMIP include:
  • Dynamic modeling and feedback control (classical, state-space, adaptive, …) of unstable systems.
  • Robot motion planning and collision avoidance.
  • DC motor control via (built-in) H-bridges and encoder counters.
  • Attitude estimation via (built-in) IMU and barometer.
  • Communication via (built-in) WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth (4.1/BLE).
  • Charging, balancing, protection, and monitoring of 2-cell LiPo (included).
  • Multithreaded event-driven C programming in Debian Linux.
  • Multithreaded Graphical System Design for embedded applications.


eduMIP is compatible with Python, ROS, MATLAB & Simulink, and LabVIEW.
The CAD designs for the hardware are released under a Creative Commons CC-by-v4 License, while source code is released under a 3-Clause BSD License. There’s no link to those resources on Renaissance Robotics website, but you should find everything you need in that Hackster.io page.

OpenH PULSAR and QUASAR Boards Add 4G LTE Cat M1, or Cat 4/1 to Raspberry Pi Boards

May 31st, 2017 No comments

We’ve seen a bunch of IoT boards with 2G connectivity recently including Orange Pi 2G-IoT, Wio GPS, and Nadhat, but while in some countries 2G will still work for many years, those boards are already obsolete – or soon will be – in many other countries. However, finding low cost 3G / 4G  boards is more difficult, and while one solution is to use 3G or 4G USB dongles,  “OpenH – Open Hardware” – part of KLiP Industries – has designed two boards with 4G connectivity provided by Quectel modules.

OpenH PULSAR Board

PULSAR board is compatible with Arduino Zero and features the following specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel/Microchip SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU (the as the one used in Arduino Zero)
  • Connectivity
  • Security – Dedicated management CPU with crypto engine
  • Power Supply 10W digital power supply and battery charger with direct solar input
  • FCC and Carrier certified

The board can work in standalone mode, but if needed, a Raspberry Pi Zero can optionally be mounted to the board. PULSAR is designed for low-bandwidth projects up to 200 kbps, support OTA firmware updates, and can work with the cloud provider of your choice.

OpenH QUASAR Raspberry Pi HAT Board

If your project needs more bandwidth, you can use QUASAR boards instead on a Raspberry Pi 2/3 board:

  • Connectivity
  • Expansion connectors
  • Security – Dedicated management CPU with crypto engine
  • Power Supply – 25W digital power supply and battery charger with direct solar input
  • FCC and Carrier certified

You’ll get up to 150 Mbps bandwidth using LTE Cat 4 module, and just like the other board is can support OTA firmware update, and popular cloud services like Amazon Web Service (AWS) IoT, Azure IoT Hub, IBM BlueMix, Google Cloud for IoT, ThingSpeak, etc…

Installation and IP67 Enclosure

OpenH explains Bluetooth and NFC are for installation and maintenance, and they appears to have a mobile to access the serial console, authorize access, reboot the board, check GPS coordinates…. over Bluetooth, as shown above using QUASAR board.

Click to Enlarge

Many such long range IoT projects are designed to be placed outdoor, so the company also offer Rubicon IP67 weatherproof enclosure that works with both 4G boards, as well as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, BeagleBone, etc.. and is high enough for one or more add-ons board thanks to a selection of shallow or deep covers. The photo above shows the case with a Raspberry Pi board (left) and Beaglebone Black + PRUDAQ cape (right).

The downside is that the board are not available yet, pricing is unknown, and documentation is very limited right now. If you are interested, you can register your email on openh.io website by clicking on Pre-order Now button. Rubicon IP67 enclosure is available now for $35 plus shipping.

Top Programming Languages & Operating Systems for the Internet of Things

May 19th, 2017 3 comments

The Eclipse foundation has recently done its IoT Developer Survey answered by 713 developers, where they asked  IoT programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT operating systems, messaging protocols (MQTT, HTTP), IoT hardware architectures and more.  The results have now been published. So let’s have a look at some of the slides, especially with regards to programming languages and operating systems bearing in mind that IoT is a general terms that may apply to sensors, gateways and the cloud, so the survey correctly separated languages for different segments of the IoT ecosystem.

Click to Enlarge

C and C++ are still the preferred languages for constrained devices, and developers are normally using more than one language as the total is well over 100%.

Click to Enlarge

IoT gateways are more powerful and resourceful (memory/storage) hardware, so it’s no surprise higher level languages like Java and Python join C and C++, with Java being the most used language with 40.8% of respondents.

Click to Enlarge

When it comes to the cloud with virtually unlimited resources, and no need to interface with hardware in most cases, higher level languages like Java, JavaScript, Node.js, and Python take the lead.

Click to Enlarge

When it comes to operating systems in constrained IoT devices, Linux takes the lead with 44.1%, in front of bare metal (27.6%) and FreeRTOS (15.0 %). Windows is also there in fourth place probably with a mix of Windows IoT core, Windows Embedded, and WinCE.

Click to Enlarge

Linux is the king of IoT gateways with 66.9% of respondent using it far ahead of Windows in second place with 20.5%. They have no chart for the cloud, probably because users just don’t run their own Cloud servers, but relies on providers. They did ask specifically about the Linux distributions used for IoT projects, and the results are a bit surprising with Raspbian taking the lead with 45.5%, with Ubuntu Core following closely at 44.4%.

Click to Enlarge

Maybe Raspbian has been used during the prototyping phase or for evaluation, as most developers (84%) have been using cheap development boards like Arduino, BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi. 20% also claim to have deployed such boards in IoT solutions.

Click to Enlarge

That’s only a few slides of the survey results, and you’ll find more details about Intel/ARM hardware share, messaging & industrial protocols, cloud solutions, wireless connectivity, and more in the slides below.

Via Ubuntu Insights

PocketBone Board Based on Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP Fits into an “Altoids Smalls” Mint Tin Box

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Last year, Octavo Systems introduced OSD3358 System-in-Package (SiP) that includes Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 processor, 256MB to 1GB RAM, a PMIC and an LDO into a single package. Since then the SiP has been found in BeagleBone Black Wireless and BeagleBone Blue, and at the time of launch there was also some development around PocketBone, a tiny open source hardware Smalls mint tin sized board based on OSD3358, which is smaller than a CHIP board, but a little bigger than NanoPi NEO board.

Click to Enlarge

There’s now been some progress with prototypes of the board manufactured with the following specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358 with TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  PowerVR SGX530 GPU, PMIC + LDO, and 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • USB – 2x micro USB port one for power, one OTG port
  • Expansion – 10-pin header (unpopulated) with SPI, I2C, UART, GND, and 3.3V signal
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; 4-pin header for 3.7 LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – ~54mm x ~33mm (fits in Altoid Smalls mint tin box).

The first version of the board was designed with Eagle, but the schematics and PCB layout have been redesigned with KiCad open source software instead, and all hardware design files are released under CERN Open Hardware License v1.2. The boards should be able to run any distributions that works on BeagleBone Black derived boards such as Debian, Angstrom, Ubuntu, etc…

PocketBone is not for sale yet, but if you are interested you could fill out a survey, which could either end-up starting a group buy, or – if there is more interest than expected – a crowdfunding campaign. More details about the project can be found on its hackaday.io page.

$80 BeagleBone Blue Board Targets Robots & Drones, Robotics Education

March 14th, 2017 3 comments

Last year, we reported that BeagleBoard.org was working with the University of California San Diego on BeagleBone Blue board for robotics educational kits such as EduMiP self-balancing robot, and EduRover four wheel robot. The board has finally launched, so we know the full details, and it can be purchased for about $80 on Mouser, Element14 or Arrow websites.

Click to Enlarge

BeagleBone Blue specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358 with TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs), PowerVR SGX530 GPU, PMIC, and 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (TI Wilink 8) with two antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 client and host port
  • Sensors – 9 axis IMU, barometer
  • Expansion
    • Motor control – 8x 6V servo out, 4x DC motor out, 4x quadrature encoder in
    • Other interfaces – GPIOs, 5x UARTs, 2x SPI, 1x I2C, 4x ADC, CAN bus
  • Misc – Power, reset and 2x user buttons; power, battery level & charger LEDs; 6x user LEDs; boot select switch
  • Power Supply – 9-18V DC input via power barrel; 5V via micro USB port; 2-cell LiPo support with balancing,
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD

The board ships pre-loaded with Debian, but it also supports the Robot Operating System (ROS) & Ardupilot, as well as graphical programming via Cloud9 IDE on Node.js. You’ll find more details, such as documentation, hardware design files, and examples projects on BeagleBone Blue product page, and github.

The board is formally launched at Embedded World 2017, and Jason Kridner, Open Platforms Technologist/Evangelist at Texas Instruments, and co-founder and board member at BeagleBoard.org Foundation, uploaded a video starting with a demo of various robotics and UAV projects, before giving a presentation & demo of the board at the 2:10 mark using Cloud 9 IDE.


If you attend Embedded World 2017, you should be able to check out of the board and demos at Hall 3A Booth 219a.

BeagleBone Black Wireless Board Gets WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Drops Ethernet

September 27th, 2016 No comments

The BeagleBone Black is still one of the most popular development boards around, but in a world going more and more wireless, it only comes with a wired Ethernet interface. Seeed Studio BeagleBone Green Wireless and Neuromeka BeagleBone Air already provided BeagleBone compatible boards with WiFi and Bluetooth LE, as well as Zigbee for the latter, but now BeagleBoard.org themselves have launched BeagleBone Black Wireless with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE based on Octavo Systems OSD3358 System-in-Package with Texas Instrument Sitara AM3358 processor, 512 MB RAM, TI LDO and PMIC, and many passive components.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

BeagleBone Black Wireless specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 Cortex A8 @ 1 GHz with PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • USB – 1x mini USB client port for power & communication, 1x USB host port
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 LE with 2x u.FL antenna connectors
  • Video & Audio Output – micro HDMI up to 1280×1024 resolution.
  • Expansion Connectors – 2x 46-pin headers
  • Misc – LEDs for WiFi, Bluetooth, Power, and 4x user LEDs; Reset, boot, and power buttons
  • Debugging – JTAG header, serial console
  • Power – mini USB, DC Jack, or 5VDC via expansion header
  • Dimensions – 86.4 x 53.4 mm

The board is preloaded with Debian with Cloud9 IDE on Node.js with BoneScript.js library, and also support other Android and Linux based operating systems support by other BeagleBone boards. Cadsoft Eagle schematics and PCB layout have already been released on github. BeagleBone Black Wireless drops the Ethernet port just like BeagleBone Green Wireless, but keeps the micro HDMI port, which on Seeed Studio’s port is replaced by 4x USB ports and Grove connectors.

You’ll find some more details on BeagleBoard.org Black Wireless page, and can purchase the board on Mouser (Part #: BBBWL-SC-562) for $68.75.