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Posts Tagged ‘ble’

This TTGO Board Combines ESP32, LoRa Radio, and OLED Display for just $10

October 13th, 2017 12 comments

Just one year ago, it would cost around $15 to $20+ to get an ESP32 board, that is if you were lucky/fast enough to order one one before it went out of stock. Since then, availability is no longer an issue, and you now can get an ESP32 development board for as low as about $7, or even around $4 during promotions.

Today, I was made aware of another board sold under the “TTGO” brand, that includes not only ESP32 WiFi and Bluetooth SoC, but also a (433 MHz) LoRa radio, and an OLED display. Price? Just $10 plus shipping ($1.75 here).

Battery not Included – Click to Enlarge

TTGO ESP32/LoRa board specifications:

  • WiSoC – Espressif ESP32
  • Storage – 32MB on-board flash (or maybe just 16MB?)
  • LoRa
    • Semtech SX1278 with u.FL connector + 433MHz antenna (N.B.: Antenna must be connected during use or the Semtech chip could be damaged)
    • Sensitivity” ~ -148dBm; output power: +20dBm
  • Display – 0.96″ blue OLED display
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging (CP2102) and power
  • Expansion – 2x 18-pin headers with GPIOs, UART, ADC, Touch, SPI, power signals… (See pinout diagram)
  • Misc – Charging Status LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin battery header, 5V Pin. (Operating voltage: 3.3V to 7V)

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE after downloading and installing the TTGO folder in arduino/hardware. After selecting “WiFi_LoRa_32” board, you should be able to load various samples to play with the board.

Click to Enlarge

The board is sold with a 433MHz antenna, and two male headers. You’ll save a little bit on shipping if you purchase two kits instead.  The board can also be found on eBay and Banggood.

Thanks to Mpampis for the tip.

STMicro BlueNRG-MESH SDK for Bluetooth Mesh to Include Code for Firmware, Android and iOS Apps

October 2nd, 2017 2 comments

Earlier this summer, the Bluetooth SIG announced Bluetooth Mesh, which supports many-to-many (m:m) device communications for up 32,767 unicast addresses per mesh network (in theory), and is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 or greater hardware.  Several companies immediately unveiled Bluetooth Mesh SDK at the time including Qualcomm, Nordic Semi, and Silicon Labs.

ST Micro has now unveiled their own BlueNRG-MESH SDK which the company claims is “the market’s only three-part SDK that provides two app developer packages for Android and iOS, and the embedded-development software for building smart objects such as light fittings and sensors”.

Sadly, details about the SDK are near inexistent now, except – as one would expect – BlueNRG-MESH SDK will work with ST BlueNRG Bluetooth low energy wireless network processor based on an ARM Cortex M0 core, and corresponding development kits. [Update: STSW-BNRG-Mesh page has many more details about the SDK including the architecture diagram below.

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The solution was showcased at Bluetooth Asia in Shenzhen last week, with some selected customers already working with the SDK, before the public release scheduled for Q4 2017.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

HeartyPatch is an Open Source Wireless ECG Patch Powered by ESP32 WiSoC (Crowdfunding)

October 2nd, 2017 No comments

Smart health gadgets will soon have a bigger part to play in our lives, especially for health monitoring. It mainly started with fitness trackers, but now we are starting to see connected devices such as blood pressure monitors, including the upcoming watch like Omron HeartVue, thermometer, scales, vital sign monitoring systems, certified medical SBC‘s to allow engineers to developer their own medical applications, and even open source surgical robots.

HeartPatch is one of those medical board that specifically aims at measuring ECG data, and sent it over Bluetooth or WiFi thanks to Espressif ESP32 WiSoC.

HeartPatch specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif Systems ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • ECG Chip – Maxim MAX30003 analog front-end
  • USB – 1x micro USB connector for programming, data, power, and battery charging
  • Debugging – USB-UART bridge based on CP2104
  • Misc – Onboard Snap-on Buttons for disposable electrode pads, RGB LED,
  • Battery – 450 mAH LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 65 mm x 42 mm x 4 mm without battery; Dimensions with Case: ~70 mm x 46 mm x 12.7 mm

Basic Kit with Battery and Electrodes

The developers explain that HeartyPatch has several advantages over other low-price heart monitors:

  • ECG-based R-R Interval Measurement is more accurate than optical heart-rate measurement
  • Wide Dynamic Range for robust functioning during movement (not available in traditional ECG monitors)
  • Mathematical and Machine Learning Algorithms for automatic detection of arrhythmia, stress, and several other physiological conditions (not available with regular heart-rate patches)
  • Small, Wearable Form-factor with snap connectors for disposable, pre-gelled ECG electrodes.
  • Open Source and Non-proprietary – can be used with any software or algorithm

HealthyPatch is fully open source hardware with all files available on Github. The current GUI can support three modes:  beat-to-beat, Arrhythmia detection, and Heart-rate variability. If you have the required skills, you’d be able to add other modes to the user interface, or even roll your own. Note that ESP32 currently supports all BLE profiles, but the baseband works only in Bluetooth Classic mode. It will not affect the function, but battery life will be shorter than normal. Espressif Systems claims this will be fixed in the next release (SDK or Silicon?). If you want to follow the project’s progress over time, you may want to visit the Hackaday.io page.

HeartyPatch has just been launched on CrowdSupply, where you can get the basic kit with the board, a 450 mAh Li-Ion battery (soldered to the board), and a set of 10 disposable electrode pads with a $87 or more pledge. You can also add a case for $15, and shipping is free to the US, $15 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for December 14, 2017.

TECHBASE Moduino X Series Industrial IoT Modules / Endpoints are Based on ESP32 WiSoC

September 27th, 2017 3 comments

We’ve previously covered TECHBASE ModBerry industrial IoT gateways leveraging Raspberry Pi 3, FriendlyELEC NanoPi M1 Plus, or AAEON’s UP Linux boards. The company has now launched Moduino X series modules powered by Espressif ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth SoC to be used as end points together with their ModBerry gateways.

Moduino X1

Two models have been developed so far, namely Moduino X1 and X2, with the following specifications:

  • Wireless Module – ESP32-WROVER with ESP32 dual-core Tensilica LX6 processor @ 240 MHz, 4MB pSRAM (512KB as option), 4MB SPI flash;
  • External Storage – X2 only: micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi up to 16 Mbps + Bluetooth 4.2 LE with u.FL antenna connector
    • X2 only: 10/100M Ethernet
    • Options: LoRa (Semtech SX1272); Sigfox (TI CC1125); LTE Cat M1/NB1; Zigbee
  • Serial – 2x RS-232/485
  • Display – Optional 0.96″ OLED display with 128×64 resolution
  • Expansion I/Os
    • 4x Digital I/O (0 ~ 3V)
    • 2x Analog Input:
    • A2 Only: 2x analog output (optional)
    • A2 only: support for Techbase ExCard add-on modules for extr RS-232/485 ports, Ethernet ports, PCIe slots, analog input and output, digital I/Os, relays, M-Bus interface, etc…
  • Battery – Optional battery power support (A1 only); optional UPS function with LiPo battery or Supercapacitor
  • Power Supply -5V DC
  • Dimensions
    • A1 – ABS: 90 x 36 x 32 mm (LxWxH); Aluminum: 95 x 35 x 41 mm (LxWxH)
    • A2 – ABS: 90 x 71 x 32 mm (LxWxH); Aluminum: 95 x 71 x 41 mm (LxWxH)

Moduino A1 consumes less than A2, and can be powered by batteries only, but both models can use battery as UPS. The modules support Espressif ESP-IDF SDK, Zephyr Project, Arduino programming, MicroPython, Mongoose OS, and more, and would typically be used as meters & sensor nodes capable of reporting temperature, humidity, pressure, acceleration, & light with attached sensors. More sensors are being developed by the company.

Moduino X2 (right)

Moduino X1 & X2 appear to be available now, but you’d need to contact the company to get price information. Visit Moduino X series product page for more details.

Linaro Connect SF 2017 Welcome Keynote – New Members, Achievements, the Future of Open Source, and More…

September 26th, 2017 No comments

Linaro Connect San Francisco 2017 is now taking place until September 29, and it all started yesterday with the Welcome Keynote by George Grey, Linaro CEO discussing the various achievements since the last Linaro Connect in Budapest, and providing an insight to the future work to be done by the organization.

The video is available on YouTube (embedded below), and since I watched it, I’ll provide a summary of what was discussed:

  • Welcoming New Members – Kylin (China developed FreeBSD operating systems) joined LEG (Enterprise Group), NXP added LHG (Home Group) membership, and Xilinx joined LITE (IoT and Embedded).
  • Achievements
    • OPTEE open portable trusted environment execution more commonly integrated into products. Details at optee.org.
    • LEG 17.08 ERP release based on Linux 4.12, Debian 8.9 with UEFI, ACPI, DPDK, Bigtop, Hadoop, etc…
    • LITE group has been involved in Zephyr 1.9 release, notably contributing to LwM2M stack
    • More projects to be found on download page.
  • Open source future with many fields involved including artificial intelligence, security, automotive, automation, etc.
    • Security requires software/hardware combination, and with a single global standard such as OPTEE desirable
    • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
      • Trend is to move out of the CPU to off-load tasks to GPU, FPGA, or NNA (Neural Network Accelerators)
      • Not single API, for example TensorFlow supports CPU and NVIVIA CUDA, using other platforms require heavy customization
      • Linaro to work abstraction layer/ common API for machine learning
      • A.I will bring many benefits, but also potential dangers/issues: privacy, military use, etc… Development in the open is better.
    • Automotive
      • Currently Intel and NVIDIA provides ADAS / autonomous driving platform, both closed sources
      • More open platform needed, maybe a 96Boards Automotive platform with 6x cameras, GPS, touch screen display, processing power good enough for ADAS and IVI (In Vehicle-Entertainment)
      • Linux now mostly handles non-safety critical code, will change in the future. Containers will help.
      • Currently working on proof-of-concept with StreetDrone One autonomous driving development platform, DragonBoard 410c and Gumstix AeroCore 2 mezzanine. More details, maybe demo, at next Linaro Connect
  • 96Boards
    • Recently (and soon to be) announced – Hikey 960, Orange Pi i96, Uranus (WiFi board based on TI CC3220, to run Zephyr OS)
    • Mezzanine boards – NeonKey with sensors and LEDs, Secure96 with crypto chips & TPM (used to play with OPTEE)
  • ARM Platforms for developers – Three types:
  • Microplatforms
    • Definition – open source, minimal, secure, OTA upgradeable distributions
    • Cortex M platforms will use Zephyr OS, Cortex A support will be based on OpenEmbedded with a unified multi-SoC kernel
    • Currently tested on Hikey, DragonBoard 410c, and Raspberry Pi 3, more platforms to be supported in the future
    • Demos with 6x Carbon + Nitrogen board with BLE running Zephyr OS, Raspberry Pi 3 IoT gateway:
      • 1. Use Linaro Developer Cloud (running LED Enterprise Reference Platform) + Hawkbit dash to monitor temperature sensors on the board
      • 2. Switch Raspberry Pi 3 gateway to use Softbank cloud using Alibaba infrastructure on-the-fly, and control lights from Japan severs.
      • The two demos above shows how a multi-standard automation gateway could be implemented solving the problem of incompatibility of devices from different manufacturers
      • BLE mesh demo with six board controlling lights
      • Source code for demos can be found on Github
    • Going forwards downstream microplatforms will be developed by a separate entity: Open Source Foundries, unrelated to Linaro which will keep on focusing on upstream work
  • Linaro also launched the Associate Program for OEMs, ODMs, service providers, startups, and university who want to join Linaro. No details were provided, only an email address [email protected]

You’ll also find the presentation slides on Slideshare.

ESPDUINO-32 & Wemos D1 R32 ESP32 Boards Support (Most) Arduino UNO Shields

September 4th, 2017 2 comments

The compact ESP32 NodeMCU like board are great for many project, but in case you plan to leverage your existing Arduino shield, it’s more convenient to have a compatible board. We’ve previously seen Noduino Quantum board sold for 99 RMB on Taobao, and $25.90 on AnalogLamb, but doit.am has designed a cheaper model called ESPDUINO-32 that supports shields compatible with Arduino UNO, and sold for $13.73 on DealExtreme.

ESPDUINO-32 board specifications:

  • Wireless Module – ESP-WROOM-32 based on Espressif ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • Expansion – Arduino UNO headers with SPI, I2C, digital I/Os, 1x analog input up to 3.2V, 5V, GND
  • USB – 1x USB device port
  • Misc – Button
  • Power Supply – 5 to 12V input via DC jack or Vin pin
  • Dimensions – 66 x 53.3 x 13.5 mm

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE selecting ESP 32 Dev Module board. You’ll find links to documentation in Smartduino github account. Note that if you have shields using the Analog input they may not work properly since there’s only one input supporting up to 3.2V, as Arduino UNO board support 6 analog inputs up to 5V.

While searching for other sellers for the board, I also came across Wemos “TTGo” D1 R32 going for just over $10 on Banggood, and basically the same specifications as ESPDUINO-32, except it replaces the USB type B receptacle with a micro USB port. Despite the name, the board does not appears to be designed by Wemos, since there’s no mention of it on their Wiki nor Aliexpress store.

AutoPi is a 4G & GPS OBD-II Dongle Based on Raspberry Pi Zero W Board (Crowdfunding)

September 1st, 2017 8 comments

We’ve previously cover Macchina M2 OBD-II dongle based on an Arduino compatible MCU, and with 4G LTE support for the maker market, and iWave Systems OBD-II dongle with 4G LTE and LTE running Linux on NXP i.MX6 for the B2B market, but so far I had not seen an hackable OBD-II dongle running Linux for the maker market. AutoPi dongle fills that void as it is based on Raspberry Pi Zero W board, runs Raspbian with Autopi software (AutoPi Core), supports 4G LTE, GPS, etc,.. and connects to your car’s OBD-II socket.

AutoPi dongle specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARN11 Core processor @ up to 1 GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB LPDDR2 SRAM
  • Storage – 8GB micro SD card
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 4G Cat 1 modem with 3G/EDGE fallback working worldwide (but region locked)
    • 4G bands – Region specific
    • 3G fallback (WCDMA) – B1, B2, B4, B5, B8
    • EDGE fallback – B3, B8; quad band
    • micro SIM card slot
  • GNSS – Integrated GPS + A-GPS
  • Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Video – mini HDMI output up to 1080p60
  • Audio – Built-in speakers
  • Car Interface
    • STN-2120 OBD-II, SW-CAN, MS-CAN to UART Interpreter IC
    • Supported Protocols: ISO 15765-4, ISO 14230-4, ISO 9141-2, SAE J1850 VPW, SAE J1850 PWM, SW-CAN, MS-CAN, ISO 15765, ISO 11898 (raw), K-Line, L-Line
  • Expansion – 18x unused GPIO pins
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer
  • Power Supply – Via OBD-2 interface; built-in power management to avoid draining the car’s battery
  • Dimensions – 90 x 45 x 25 mm

The dongle comes pre-assembled with an OBD extension/relocation cable, a case with all electronics including RPi0 W, a micro SD card with AutoPi Core, and some Velcro strips.

Setup is pretty easy with 5 steps:

  1. Insert your micro SD card
  2. Insert the dongle into your vehicle’s OBD-II port
  3. Connect to AutoPi WiFi access point
  4. Configure the device with APN string and AutoPi key
  5. Connect to AutoPi cloud

The cloud platform allows you to remotely monitor your car, and the customizable dashboard gives access to an history of trips, car data, OBD commands, IFTTT, custom Python code development, terminal access, and a REST API is also available to develop your own web app.

Click to Enlarge

A lot of different features are possible thanks to AutoPi dongle and cloud platform, such as voice commands to control windows and aircon in your car, theft detection and tracking, remote start, crash detection with SMS alerts, auto lock/unlock from a smart device, and so on. All is supposed to be done securely, but the company did not provide that many details about that critical part for a such system.

AutoPi’s developers  have launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise at least DKK 475,000 (~$76,000). If you live in Europe, you can pledge ~205 Euros to get an AutoPi from the batch to be delivered in January 2018, others can pledge ~$261 to get a sample from the second batch in March 2018. Note the software will improve overtime, and while all models will be upgradeable, AutoPi dongle with the fully implemented firmware and software will be delivered in the third batch and beyond starting from May 2018. Shipping adds ~$9.60 to Europe, and ~$14.4 to the rest of the world. You may want to visit AutoPi.io website for many more details about the solution.

A First Look at ESP32 PICO Core Development Board Powered by ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP

August 30th, 2017 11 comments

Last week, I wrote about ESP32-PICO-D4 system-in-package (SiP) that contains ESP32 WiSoC, 4MP SPI flash, a crystal oscilloscator and some passive components in a single 7×7 mm package in order to allow smaller designs based on ESP32. The company noticed the post, and asked me whether I’d be interested in receiving “some development boards based on ESP32 PICO”, an offer hard to refuse :), and within a couple of days I received the package below.

So I  ended up with 10 identical development kits, the company probably thought it was no worth paying for DHL to only send one or two development boards… The boards may also be part of some contests… We’ll see 😉

So let’s take two, and have a closer look at “ESP32_PICO_Core_Board_V3″… It comes with two rows of 20 pins with access to all I/Os, and features three main chips: ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP, AMS1117 voltage regulator, and Silabs CP2102 USB to UART controller for programming and debugging.

Click to Enlarge

There’s also an antenna, a EN and BOOT buttons, and a micro USB port. The board measures 52x20mm. On actual product, the USB bridge part would be there, so you could have something around half size or even much smaller…

Click to Enlarge

… something like the ESP32-PICO-D4 module below whose picture I found on the web.

ESP32-PICO-D4 features are basically the same of ESP32 ones, just more compact, so how does ESP32 PICO Core board compares to other breadboard friendly board based on ESP32? To find out, I compare it to ESP32-T board with ESP32-Bit module, and ESPino32 board with ESP-WROOM-32 module, which I plan to review/play with in about 2 weeks.

ESPino32 vs ESP32 Pico Core vs ESP32-T – Click to Enlarge

ESP32 Pico Core is clearly smaller. Compared to ESP32-T it’s about the same length, but much thinner, and include 2 extra pins, while in terms on functionality it’s more comparable to ESPino32 both with 40-pins, two button, and micro USB port, but the size difference is even greater.

ESP32 Pico Core on Breadboard – Click to Enlarge

If you wonder, the board is breadboard compatible, and since it’s thinner leave two rows of pins free on each side, compared to just one for most boards.

The boards are not for sale right now, and there’s no info on their website about them. You’ll however find some more details in ESP32-PICO-D4 datasheet.