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Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

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.

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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…

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… 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.

Microchip SAM D5x and SAM E5x ARM Cortex-M4 Micro-Controllers Launched with Optional Ethernet and CAN Bus

August 2nd, 2017 No comments

Microchip has just introduced two new families of micro-controllers based on ARM Cortex-M4F with SAM D5x and SAM E5x series sporting up to 1 MB of dual-panel flash and 256 KB of SRAM both with ECC support. Both families also support QSPI flash with XIP (eXecute In Place) support, features an SD card controller and a capacitive touch controller, with SAM E5x family also adding support for two CAN-FD ports and Ethernet.

Microchip SAM A5x/E5x key features and specifications:

  • MCU Core – ARM Cortex-M4F core running at 120 MHz with single precision Floating Point Unit (FPU)
  • Memory – Internal memory architecture with user configurable Tightly Coupled Memory, System memory, Memory Protection Unit and 4KB Combined I-cache and D-cache; up to 256KB ECC SRAM, up to 1MB ECC flash
  • Storage I/F – Quad Serial Peripheral Interface(QSPI) with Execute in Place (XIP) Support
  • Peripherals
    • Up to 2x Secure Digital Host Controller (SDHC)
    • Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC) supporting up to 256 channels of capacitive touch
    • Full speed USB with embedded Host/device
    • Dual 1Msps 12-bit ADCs up to 32 channels with offset  and gain error compensation.
    • Dual 1Msps, 12-bit DAC and analog comparator
    • Up to 8x Serial communication (SERCOM) ports configurable as UART/USART, ISO 7816, SPI or I2C
    • SAM E5x series only:
      • 10/100M Ethernet MAC with IEEE1588 (E53/E54)
      • Dual Bosch CAN-FD 1.0 Controller (E51/E54)
  • Security – Symmetric (AES) and Asymmetric(ECC) Encryption, Public Key Exchange Support (PUKCC), TRNG and SHA- based memory integrity checker
  • Power Modes – Supports 5 Low power modes with 65µA/MHz Active Power Performance
  • Packages – 48 to 128-pin package options
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to 85°C

Some SAMD5x SKUs are pin-to-pin compatible ARM Cortex M0+ based SAMD2X MCU, so you can easily upgrade existing design with a more powerful MCU core. There only one main “sub-family” with SAMD5x: SAMD51, but SAME5x has three sub-families depending on Ethernet and CAN options:

  • SAME51 – 2x CAN-FD
  • SAME53 – Ethernet MAC
  • SAME54 – 2x CAN-FD and Ethernet MAC

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Microchip has used the higher end version of SAME54 processor in SAM E54 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit in order to help customer kick-start development as soon as possible. Key features for ATSAME54-XPRO board:

  • MCU – Microchip ATSAME54P20A microcontroller
  • Storage – 256 Mbit QSPI Flash, SD/SDIO card connector, AT24MAC402 serial EEPROM with EUI-48 MAC address
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45) via KSZ8091RNA PHY
  • USB – micro USB interface, host, and device
  • Expansion
    • Parallel Capture Controller header (ArduCAM compatible)
    • CAN connector
    • Three Xplained Pro extension headers
  • Debugging
    • 10-pin Cortex Debug Connector with SWD
    • 20-pin Cortex Debug + ETM Connector with SWD and four bit trace
    • Embedded Debugger
    • Embedded current measurement circuitry (XAM)
  • Security – Microchip ATECC508 CryptoAuthentication device
  • Misc – 1x reset button, 1x programmable button, 1x QTouch PTC button, 1x yellow user LED, backup super capacitor, 32.768 kHz & 12 MHz crystals
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port

The board and all Atmel SAMD5x / E5x processor are supported by Atmel Studio 7 IDE, and Atmel START online tool to configure peripherals and software.

Microchip SAM D5x and SAM E5x are in available in volume production, with pricing starting at $2.43 for 10K orders. SAM E54 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit is available for $84.99. Adafruit is also working on – likely cheaper –  SAMD51 based Feather M4 and Metro M4 boards that will support Arduino (See github for current code).

More details can be found on SAM D and SAM E MCU product pages.

Hologram LTE Software-Defined Global Network for Cellular IoT Projects Starts at $0.40 per Month per Device

July 26th, 2017 15 comments

Cellular connectivity can be rather expensive, and in the IoT realms, new LTE standards are still evolving and you may want to manage your own mini cellular network, so ideally we would need a provider that offers both low cost and flexibility. Hologram LTE network does both as it’s a software-defined network, and pricing starts at $5 for the SIM card and $0.40 per month per device.

Global IoT SIM Card

The company also just announced that their network was available for global deployment with the service available in more than 170 countries via partnerships through over 200 cellular carriers. The SIM card supports automatic roaming and carrier switching, and spacebridge inbound tunnel access allows for secure remote programming and device management.

The SIM card specifications are as follows:

  • 2G/GPRS, 3G HSPDA, 4G LTE
  • Read/Write Cycles: Min. 500,000
  • Operating Temperature: -25°C ~ 85°C
  • Data Retention: Min. 25 years at 25°C
  • Triple-cut for Mini, Micro, and Nano SIM formats
    • Mini: 15 x 25mm
    • Micro: 12 x 15mm
    • Nano: 8.8 x 12.3mm

Pricing is divided into zone 1 (cyan) and zone 2 (purple blue) depending in the country where the SIM card operates, with the latter being more expensive.

Within each zone there are two pricing methods, with pay-as-you-go plans with a fixed platform fee per month plus a charge per megabyte, or monthly  plans with a fixed amount of data. For example, a SIM card in zone 1 would cost a $0.40 platform fee per month plus $0.60 per megabyte (charged per KB), or $3.99 for 10MB of data, while a SIM card operating in zone 2 would be $0.40 platform fee per month plus $0.85 per MB, or $6.99 for a monthly 10MB plan. You can also choose monthly plans with less or more data up to 500MB per month, except in the US where the company offers high bandwidth monthly plans up to 5GB per month. Inbound SMS are free, and outbound SMS cost $0.19 per MB or $0.30 per MB depending on your zone. You’ll find all details on the pricing page.

While the SIM card costs $5, you can try the service for free by “purchasing” a developer SIM card that comes with 1MB data per month. I ordered one with DEVPLANBLASTOFF promo code for free shipping. I’ll see if I ever receive it, and whether I can use it where I live, since in theory all SIM cards must be registered with an ID card or passport to work, and mandatory fingerprinting is coming next year.

Hologram Onboarding Kit – Click to Enlarge

You can certainly use the SIM card on your own hardware, but the company can also provide Hologram Dash board based on Ublox Sara-U260 2G/3G module, and kits such as the one above with components, sensors, cables, and other accessories. The documentation explains how to get started with Dash board, the SIM card, and cloud messaging and APIs.

Hologram is not the only company offering pay-as-you-go and monthly plans for cellular IoT, as Particle (previously Spark) has offered an inexpensive monthly plan for a little while, but it does not relies on an SDN implemtation. You’ll find further information and details on Hologram website.

Intel’s Movidius Neural Compute Stick Brings Low Power Deep Learning & Artificial Intelligence Offline

July 21st, 2017 7 comments

Intel has released several Compute Stick over the years which can be used as tiny Windows or Linux computer connected to the HDMI port of your TV or monitor, but Movidius Neural Computer Stick is a complete different beast, as it’s a deep learning inference kit and self-contained artificial intelligence (A.I.) accelerator that connects to the USB port of computers or laptops.

Intel did not provide the full hardware specifications for the kit, but we do know the following specifications:

  • Vision Processing Unit – Intel Movidius Myriad 2 VPU with 12 VLIW 128-bit vector SHAVE processors @ 600 MHz optimized for machine vision, Configurable hardware accelerators for image and vision processing; 28nm HPC process node; up to 100 gigaflops
  • USB 3.0 type A port
  • Power Consumption – Low power, the SoC has a 1W power profile
  • Dimensions – 72.5mm x 27mm x 14mm

You can enter a trained Caffe, feed-forward Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) into the toolkit, profile it, then compile a tuned version ready for embedded deployment using Intel/Movidius Neural Compute Platform API. Inference occurs in real-time in the stick itself, and no cloud connection is needed. You can even connect multiple Movidius Compute Sticks to the same computer to scale performance.

It can help bring artificial intelligence to drones, robots, security camera, smart speakers, and anything that can leverage deep learning. The video below also shows the USB Compute Stick connected to what looks like a development board, so the target platform does not need to be powerful with most of the hard processing going inside in the stick. It currently does need to be an x86-64 computer running Ubuntu 16.04, so no ARM support.

Movidius Neural Compute Stick is sold for $79 via RS components and Mouser. You’ll find the purchase links, getting started guide and support forums on Movidius Developer site.

Onion Omega2S and Omega2S+ Linux WiFi Modules Launched for OEMs

July 21st, 2017 3 comments

Onion Omega2 and Omega2+ are tiny WiFi IoT development boards powered by Mediatek MT7688 MIPS processor running LEDE – OpenWrt fork – that sold for just $5 and up in Kickstarter, but are now selling for $7.50 and $9 respectively. The board also support various add-on boards, and a great for evaluation and various projects. But they may not be ideal for people who want to integrate the technology into their products, and that’s why the company have just launched Omega2S and Omega2S+ with about the same specifications, but in a package more suitable to be integrated into products for mass production.

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Onion Omega2S/2S+ specifications:

  • WiSoC – Mediatek MT7688 MIPS processor @ 580 MHz
  • System Memory / Storage
    • Omega2S – 64MB DDR2 / 16MB flash
    • Omega2S+ – 128MB DDR2 / 32 MB flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with u.FL antenna connector
  • Baseboard Interface – Half holes (aka castellated holes) with GPIOs, I2C, I2S, SPI, SDIO, serial, PWM, USB, Ethernet, PCIe, reset, antenna, and power signals: 3.3V VIN, 3.3V VINFLASH, GND)
  • Power Supply – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 34 x 20 x 2.8mm
  • Certifications – FCC and CE
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -10 to 55 °C; storage: -20 to 80 °C

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Software support will be the same as for the hobbyist boards with mainline LEDE support, the staging tree on Github, and Linux 4.4 kernel. You’ll also find Omega2S datasheet on the product page. Bear in mind that the download is integrated into their store system. so it’s a (free) purchase, and you’ll receive an invoice with the download link… The main differences between the modules and the boards are the smaller dimensions, higher number of I/Os (42 in total), no SD card slot on the plus version, and no WiFi chip antenna.

Since the customers for the module could use any of the interfaces for their product, the company also designed two versions of Omega2S Development Kit which differ only by their storage:

  • OM2S-DK-SD: SD Card Slot version (with 8GB Micro SD Card Included)
  • OM2S-DK-EM: 8GB eMMC Memory version

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The rest of the specification for the devkit are identical:

  • Easy insertion socket for the Omega2S Module
  • Wired Connectivity – Ethernet (RJ45) connector
  • USB – USB and Micro-USB ports
  • Expansion – Headers for all I/Os
  • Misc – Dual Reset Functions
  • Power Supply – Barrel power jack

The development kit will start selling for $249 on August 1st with the baseboard of your choice, two Omega2S modules, two Omega2S+ modules, an SD card (OM2S-DK-SD model only), a u.FL antenna, and various cables.

Pricing and availability for the module themselves have not been made public, so you’d have to contact the company for this type of information.

Design Amazon Alexa Gateways, Robots and Smart Speakers with WisCore Modular Development Kit

June 17th, 2017 3 comments

RAK Wireless has launched a new development board powered by Mediatek MT7628A processor running OpenWrt with built-in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and audio codec and microphone to support Amazon Alexa voice service. Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-wave will also be supported via UART modules.

Wiscore Specifications:

  • Processor – Mediatek MT7628A MIPS24KEc CPU @ up to  580MHz
  • System Memory –  128MB DDR2 (64 MB optional)
  • Storage – 16 MB flash + micro SD card

    Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

  • Audio
    • MicroSemi ZL38062 for audio in and out
    • MicroSemi ZL38067 to handle “Alexa” keyword
    • single or dual digital microphone up to 5 meter range
    • Far field voice wake up
    • Support for echo cancellation
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 2×2 MIMO up to 300 Mbps
    • 2x 10/100M Ethernet (LAN and WAN)
    • Optional UART modules for Bluetooth, ZigBeem Z-Wave
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion – Arduino headers with UART, I2C, SPI and GPIOs
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel or mini USB port

As you can see from the photo below, the main components are on separate boards (for some reasons) with a “mother board”, MT7628 module, and an audio sub-board.

As mentioned in the introduction, the MT7628 module runs an OS based on OpenWrt with RAK iGate middleware, and the company provides an SDK allowing you to develop solutions based on Amazon Alexa thanks to one codec that will detect “Alexa” keyword and wake up to the board, and another codec handling audio capture and output. The software architecture is shown below, Wiscore app for Android and iOS is provided to pair the EVK with Alexa, and more documentation and software can be found in the Wiki on Github.

WisCore Software Architecture

The solution can be used to build voice controlled home automation gateways or appliances, smart speakers, and robots. RAK Wireless sells a development kit with the three boards, an Ethernet cable, a speaker, a USB cable, two antennas, some Dupont wires, some jumpers, and a Quick Start Guide for $49 plus shipping. Visit the product page for a few more details.

$399 Intel Euclid Robotics Devkit Runs Ubuntu & ROS on Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Processor

May 22nd, 2017 No comments

We’ve seen many mini PC based on Intel Atom x5/x7 “Cherry Trail” processor in the last year, but Intel has also integrated their low power processor into hardware aimed at robotics, such as Intel RealSense development kit based on Atom x5 UP Board and RealSense R200 depth camera. The company has now launched its one-in-all Intel Euclid development kit combining Atom X7-Z8700 processor with a RealSense camera in a single enclosure.

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Intel Euclid specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail quad core processor @ up to 2.4GHz with Intel HD Graphics Gen 8
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3-1600
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash, Micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port up to 4K @ 30 Hz
  • Audio – 2x I2S interfaces, 1W mono speaker, 3x DMIC with noise cancellation
  • Camera – Intel RealSense ZR300 camera
    • RGB camera – 2MP up to [email protected], 16:9 aspect ratio, rolling shutter, fixed focus, 75° x 41.5° x 68° FOV
    • Stereo imagers – 2x [email protected], global shutter, fixed focus, 70° x 46° x 59° FOV
    • Depth output – up to 628 × 468 @ 60fps, 16-bit format; Minimal depth distance: 0.6 M (628 x 468) or 0.5 M (480 x 360); active IR stereo technology
    • Tracking module
      • Fisheye camera resolution: VGA @ 60fps,  FOV: 166° × 100° × 133° FOV,
      • IMU: 3-axis accelerometer & 3-axis gryroscope with 50 μsec time stamp accuracy
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n 1×1 WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS (GNS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, WAAS, EGNOS)
  • Sensors – Integrated Sensor Hub (ISH), accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, thermal, environmental (barometer, altimeter, humidity, temperature)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB OTG port with power, 1x micro USB 2.0 port for UART / serial console
  • Misc – ¼” standard tripod mounting hole; power and charging LEDs;
  • Battery – 2000 mAh @ 3.8V
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via battery terminals
  • Temperature Range — up to 35°C (still air)

The kit runs Ubuntu 16.04 with Robotic Operating System (ROS) Kinetic Kame, and custom software layer to allow developers to control the device using a web interface. It also supports remote desktop application, and includes evaluation versions of Intel SLAM and Person Tracking Middleware.

Euclid Camera Output: Color Stream, Depth Stream, and Fisheye Stream – Click to Enlarge

Intel RealSense SLAM Library middleware enables applications in robots and drones to understand their location and surroundings more accurately than GPS allows in GPS denied environments and inside yet unmapped spaces. You’ll find documentation about SLAM, person tracking middleware, the camera API,  RealSense SDK framework, Euclid user guide and more in Intel Euclid product page. You’ll be able to get support in RealSense forums and Euclid developer kit community, where you’ll find tutorials and example projects.

Intel Euclid Development Kit can be pre-order for $399.00 on the product page with shipping starting on May 31, 2017.

Via LinuxGizmos

Samsung ARTIK 053 WiFi IoT Module Runs Tizen RT on an ARM Cortex R4 MCU

May 17th, 2017 2 comments

Samsung has just introduced the latest member of its Artik family at IoT World 2017. ARTIK 053 is a WiFi module powered by an ARM Cortex R4 wireless micro-controller @ 320 MHz with hardware based security, GPIO, SPI, and I2C ports, and running Tizen RT real-time operating system.

Artik 053 module specifications:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex R4 @ 320MHz with 1280 KB RAM for general use, 128 KB RAM for global IPC data (likely Samsung Exynos i T200, or a variant without an ARM Cortex M0+ core)
  • Storage – 8 MB flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz
  • Expansion – 29 dedicated GPIO ports, 2x SPI, 4x UART (2-pin), 4x ADC, 1x JTAG, 2x I2C
  • Security – AES/DES/TDES, SHA-1/SHA-2, PKA (Public Key Accelerator), PRNG/DTRNG (Random Number Generators), Secure key storage, Physical Unclonable Function (PUF)
  • Power Supply – 5 to 12VDC input voltage
  • Dimensions – 40 x 15 x 3 mm
  • Certifications – FCC (U.S), IC (Canada), CE (EU), KC (Korea), SRRC (China)

The module runs Tizen RT operating system with WiFi and network middleware, support for LWM2M (Lightweight Machine to Machine) for device management, IoTivity, and JerryScript/IoT.js.

Tizen RT Block Diagram

You can develop on ARTIK 053 using ARTIK IDE, as well as open source tools like Eclipse Classic Desktop (CDT), gcc, and OpenOCD. A “Developer Reference Mobile App” working with Samsung ARTIK Cloud is also provided, and Samsung collaborated with VMWare to support Little IoT Agent (Liota) open source software development kit (SDK) developed by VMware on ARTIK 053.

ARTIK 053 starter kit – pictured below – will help you evaluation the module, and get started as soon as possible.

Artik 053 Module on Development Board

The ARTIK starter board includes Arduino-form factor interface headers, expanded GPIO headers with exposed SPI and UARTs, on-board reset and Arduino reset buttons, 2x test buttons and 2x LEDs, a micro USB connector for power and programming, a JTAG header (1.27mm pitch), and a power barrel.

ARTIK 053 sells for as low as $6.65 for 300 unit orders on Digikey, while the starter kit goes for $35 on either Mouser or Digikey. You’ll more more details, including software and hardware documentation, on Artik.io website.