Archive

Posts Tagged ‘ios’
Orange Pi Development Boards

Wibeee Power Monitoring Device Plugs right into Your Home’s Circuit Breaker Box

February 16th, 2018 8 comments

We’ve covered several smart plugs or switches capable of monitoring electricity consumption and displaying results right in a smarphone app, or computer’s web browser with products such as Sonoff S31 or Broadlink SP2 WiFi smart sockets, or Sonoff POW switch. Those work for individual plugs, but if you want to cover your full house, you’d need several of those, and in some case it may not be so convenient as no plugs may be available for example for lights or air conditioner.

Smilics Technologies has come up with an easier method, although less granular, thanks to their WIBEEE device that clips to your fuse / circuit breaker box using DINZERO “clip-on” technology, and available in single and  three phase models.

Single-phase and Three-phase Wibeee Devices

Main features:

  • Voltage Range – 85 to 265 V AC @ 50 ~ 60 Hz with 2% accuracy + variation in range of use depending on temperature, humidity, etc…
  • Current Range – 500mA to 65A with 2% accuracy + variation in range of use
  • Power Accuracy – 4% + variation in range of use
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, AES128 encryption
  • Misc – Red LED for power, Blue LED for WiFi status
  • Power Consumption – 1.5 to 4.5W
  • Safety – Double isolation; II IEC/EN 61010-1:2010 protection class
  • Safety standards – UNE-EN61010-2-03, UNE-EN 61326-1:2006, EN 301 489-17 V2.2.1
  • Certifications – FCC, ETSI, IC
  • Temperature range – -10 to 45°C
  • Max altitude – 2000 meters

Hardware installation is explained in the video below, and it looks very easy not requiring a certified electrician for installation (although you may want to check your country regulations and/or home insurance company first).

Once the device is clipped to your fuse box, it will power on and start in access point mode. You can then install the Android or iOS app to complete configuration, or access the web dashboard from any browser using 192.168.1.150 IP address, where you’ll be able to see details daily power consumption, expected bill, and monthly power consumption.

Android app – Click to Enlarge

Power Consumption Chart & Data in Android Tablet – Click to Enlarge

You’ll find more details including a multilingual user manual on the product page. The downside is that it appears to be for sale in Spain only, and the only English speaking website I found is AlphaOmega Electronics which offers the single-phase version for 135 Euros, and the three-phase model for 190 Euros. Wibeee is also sold under the CIRCUTOR brand on Carlos Alcaraz online shop (Spanish only). If you’re interested in other smart power monitoring solution, you may want to browse Wibeee website as they have other products suitable for both home and industrial markets.

Via Gadgetoadicto

Open Source Software Releases – VLC 3.0 and Android-x86 7.1-r1

February 10th, 2018 7 comments

Two completely unrelated open source projects have released a stable version of their software this week, but instead of writing a post for each I’ll write about them in a single post.

VLC 3.0 Vetinari

VLC developers have just released version 3.0 – codenamed Vetinari – of the popular media player with new features such as ChromeCast support, and 8K video playback. Other highlights from the release include:

  • Hardware decoding enabled by default to get 4K and 8K playback
  • 10-bit and HDR support (only on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for now)
  • 360 video and 3D audio, up to Ambisoncics 3rd order
  • Allows audio passthrough for HD audio codecs
  • Can play Blu-Ray Java menus: BD-J
  • Browsing of local network drives and NAS

VLC 3.0 is also the first major version to be released for all platforms at the same time, and you can download VLC 3.0 for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone / RT, and since the project is open source so you can also retrieve the code. You may also find more details about Android specific changes, where the developer mentions Android support on DeX, Chromebooks and Android auto. I tried VLC on a TV box a few years ago, and it did not work well at all, but now they claim support for Android TV too, so this must have improved.

Android-x86 7.1-r1

Android-x86 project allows you to run Android on your Intel/AMD computer, and the developer have just released the first stable Android Nougat release with Android-x86 7.1-r1.

Changelog / key features:

  • Android-x86 installer was improved a lot:
    • Created EFI boot entry to efibootmgr.
    • Added auto-installation function which is useful to install Android-x86 as the only one OS.
    • Provided more information on disk and partition selection menu.
    • Added advanced options to provide more boot options.
    • Saved the last choice in grub2 menu.
  • Updated kernel to the LTS kernel 4.9.80 with more patches from AOSP.
  • Added a new HAL for IIO type sensors.
  • Shows poweroff menu by Ctrl-Alt-Del.
  • Fixed a lot of bugs.

You’ll find more details on the release page, including download links for the 32-bit / 64-bit ISO or RPM images.

Via Liliputing and XDA Developers

Bolt IoT Platform Combines ESP8266, Mobile Apps, Cloud, and Machine Learning (Crowdfunding)

November 22nd, 2017 4 comments

There are plenty of hardware to implemented IoT projects now, but in many cases a full integration to get data from sensors to the cloud requires going though a long list of instructions. Bolt IoT, an Indian and US based startup, has taken up the task to simplify IoT projects with their IoT platform comprised of ESP8266 Bolt WiFi module, a cloud service with machine learning capabilities, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Bolt IoT module hardware specifications:

  • Wireless Module – A.I Thinker ESP12 module based on ESP8266 WiSoC
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi secured by WPA2
  • USB – 1x micro USB for power and programming
  • Expansion – 4-pin female header and 7-pin female header with 5 digital I/Os, 1x analog I/O, and UART
  • Misc – Cloud connection LED

The hardware is not the most interesting part of Bolt IoT, since it offers similar functionalities as other ESP8266 boards. But what may make the project worthwhile is built-in support for the company’s cloud service (lifetime access to backers) that simplifies node and data management, as well as Bolt IoT mobile app to control the board with your smartphone (Android or iOS)

Some other noticeable features of the Bolt IoT cloud platform include:

  • Remote configuration of the pins on Bolt WiFi module from the dashboard
  • Built-in code editor, and code deployment to all your Bolt based IoT devices with a single click.
  • Data Visualization
  • Machine learning for future data prediction and anomaly detection with just a few clicks.
  • Notifications over SMS and E-Mail.
  • Integration with systems like IFTTT and Zapier
  • Integration with smart home devices like Alexa and Google Home

The whole ecosystem supposedly allows developers to work 10 times faster, and use 80% less code than other methods.  The company will also provide an API that let you manage notifications, select third party visualization tools, and control devices from your own app.

The company launched their platform on Kickstarter at the beginning of November, and they’ve now surpassed their $10,000 funding target, having raised close to $30,000 from about 700 backers. Bolt IoT module with lifetime access to Bolt Cloud requires a $12 pledge, but they also have kits with Arduino baseboard and sensors starting with a $37 Starter Kit to the $650 Legendary kit with multiple Bolt board, and a very long list of modules. For some reasons that I may have missed all kits also include $10 credit with DigitalOcean VPS provider. Bolt Cloud will be free to all backers for life, but after the KS campaign Bolt IoT will charge a fee for commercial projects, and potentially for hobbyist projects too. Shipping adds $5 to $100 depending on the selected reward, and delivery is scheduled for February 2018.

Fingbox Helps You Monitor & Manage Devices on Your Network with Your iOS/Android Smartphone

November 19th, 2017 10 comments

Fing network scanner mobile app available for iOS and Android that allows you to discover which devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network, map devices, detect intruders, assess network security risks, troubleshoot network problems, and optimize wireless network performance.

But in order to go beyond network monitoring, the developers have designed Ubuntu Core based Fingbox hardware to add features such as access control (e.g. parental control), analyze the usage of bandwidth for each clients, find Wi-Fi sweet spots/ avoid black spots, verify your Internet speed, monitor devices in your network, and protects it with a digital fence that works against threats.

From a hardware perspective Fingbox is a round shaped Ethernet node with the following specifications:

  • Processor – ARMv7 processor
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet

The Linux (Ubuntu Core) device just needs to be connected to your network via an Ethernet cable, and powered by its adapter. You’d then run Fing app on Android or iOS, which will automatically detect the Fingbox, and allow you to easily monitor and control devices on your home network. The best way to clearly understand what the device brings to the table is to watch the demo embedded below.

Fingbox was launched through an Indiegogo campaign, that ended up very successfully with 20,000 backers, and over @1.6 millions raised, but now you can purchased it directly from Amazon for $129 with shipping to US, UK, EU, and Canada, or Fing website for other countries.

When I think about it, I’m wondering why we don’t get such functionality from the router directly, as surely that’s something vendors could implement in the firmware, except possibly on the cheapest models due to storage and/or memory limitations, with no added hardware cost. Feel free to comment if you can already use your smartphone to monitor and manage other devices via your router, or is Fingbox the only workable solution right now?

Google Releases Tensorflow Lite Developer Preview for Android & iOS

November 17th, 2017 1 comment

Google mentioned TensorFlow Lite at Google I/O 2017 last may, an implementation of TensorFlow open source machine learning library specifically optimized for embedded use cases. The company said support was coming to Android Oreo, but it was not possible to evaluate the solution at the time.

The company has now released a developer preview of TensorFlow Lite for mobile and embedded devices with a lightweight cross-platform runtine that runs on Android and iOS for now.

TensorFlow Lite Architecture – Click to Enlarge

TensorFlow Lite supports the Android Neural Networks API to take advantage of Machine Learning accelerators when available, but falls back to  CPU execution otherwise.

The architecture diagram above shows three components for TensorFlow Lite:

  • TensorFlow Model – A trained TensorFlow model saved on disk.
  • TensorFlow Lite Converter – A program that converts the model to the TensorFlow Lite file format.
  • TensorFlow Lite Model File – A model file format based on FlatBuffers, that has been optimized for maximum speed and minimum size.

The model file is then within a Mobile App using a C++ or Java (Android only) API, and an interpreter optionally using the Neural Networks API.

TensorFlow Lite currently supports three models: MobileNet (A class of vision models to identify across 1000 different object classes),Inception v3 (An image recognition model with higher accuracy, larger size), and Smart Reply (An on-device conversational model for one-touch replies to chat messages).

The preview release is available on Github, where you’ll also find a demo app that can be tried with a pre-build binary, but it’s probably more fun/useful to instead build it from source in Android Studio and try to change the code to experiment and learn. You can also build the complete framework and demo app from source by cloning the repo. TensorFlow Lite may also be coming to Linux soon, as one of the comment in the announcement mentions that “it should be pretty easy to build TensorFlow Lite on Raspberry PI. We plan to make sure this path works seamlessly soon“. While most of the documentation can be found on Github, some more info may be available on TensorFlow Lite page.

Use your Smartphone as an IR Remote Control with ROCK USB Type C IR Remote Control Transmitter

October 27th, 2017 4 comments

A few years ago, I wrote about ZazaRemote transforming your smartphone into a universal IR remote control. ZazaRemote is a hardware and software solution that combines infrared dongles micro USB port or 3.5mm audio plug, and a mobile app that allows you to control all sort of devices (TV, aircon, etc…) from your smartphone.

Over three years later, more and more phones are now deprived from the audio jack, and micro USB ports have given way to USB type C ports, so that solution does not work anymore on newer phones. Some of the recent phones like Xiaomi Mi A1 integrate an IR transmitter, but for others, Zazaremote’s developer (Tiqiaa) has apparently not come up with a USB type C version, but just sells micro USB to USB type C adapters, not the most convenient. Upon further research, I eventually found a USB type C IR transmitter for smartphone sold for about $7 on FastTech.

The brand name is “ROCK”, but they don;t provide that many details about this “USB Type C IR Remote Control Transmitter” except the dimensions (37.5 x 14.5 x 7.1 mm) and weight (9 grams). The form factor is not the most convenient, as I prefer the lower profile USB OTG ZazaRemote dongle.

FastTech did not mention any information about the app to be used, and I could not find ROCK USB type C IR transmitter anywhere else, but noticed that ROCK IR audio jack was listed on Banggood, and linked to Zaza Remote Universal Remote app for Android and iOS. It’s highly likely the USB type C transmitter uses the same app.

Zaza Remote app Screenshots

Beside the USB type C IR transmitter, the company is also selling a Wi-Fi to IR USB dongle for $10 shipped. The advantage here is that you don’t need to add anything to your phone, but of course you’d need one per room where there are IR controllable appliances. Directionality may be an issue with this type of device, which explains why some others WiFi IR controllers – like Broadlink RM Mini 3 – use an array of IR transmitters to cover all directions.

AMBE+2 Vocoder Promises High Voice Quality at Low (2.0 to 9.6 Kbps) Data Rates

October 24th, 2017 4 comments

Opus 1.2 open source audio codec was release a few months ago with the ability to deliver low power low high-quality audio bitrate for speech with bitrates as low as  12 Kbps. Digital Voice Systems (DVSI) claims to have gone even lower thanks to their AMBE+2 vocoder (Advanced MultiBand Excitation) providing high-quality speech at data rates from 2.0 to 9.6 kilobytes per second.

AMBE+2 vocoder is said to outperform the company’s previous generation AMBE+ Vocoder as well as the G.729 and G.726 vocoders, while operating at only 4.0 Kbps. The vocoder is suitable for mobile radio, secure voice, satellite communication, computer telephony, digital voice and storage applications

AMBE+2 Vocoder Chips

The solution can be integrated into product either using software licensing, or through Vocoder chips, and the company lists the following key benefits:

  • Maintains speech intelligibility and speaker recognition at rates as low as 2.0 kbps
  • Resistant to background noise and channel bit errors
  • Customizable data from 2.0 to 9.6 kbps
  • Uses fewer computations than CELP (Code-excited linear prediction) as used in G.729
  • Does not require the use of a residual signal
  • Eliminates fixed data-rate and codebook problems
  • Low complexity reduces implementation costs

You can listen to male and female samples at different bitrate for your own evaluation. DVIC claims the technology is already used in digital mobile radio and satellite telephony solutions such as Inmarsat, Iridium, DMR Communication PBX, etc…

AMBE-4020 HDK

AMBE+2 voice compression algorithm is available for DSPs and CPUs from Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, ARM, MIPS, Intel, NXP, and others, and runtime environments are available for Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, VxWorks, uC/OS, and other operating systems on request. The company can also provide hardware development kits (HDK) based either on AMBE-3000 or AMBE-4020 AMBE+2 chip, USB based products from a single channel dongle to a the 12 full-duplex channel USB-3012 product, as well as Net-2000 VCUs (Voice Connect Unit) that bridge analog speech I/O to an Ethernet network for example for VoIP or voice-monitoring / recording products (for the CIA? :)).

More details can be found on DVSI’s AMBE+2 product page.

Google Clips is an A.I. Camera Powered by Movidius Myriad 2 VPU

October 5th, 2017 1 comment

Most consumer cameras offers some ways for the photographer to check the framing of the picture, such as a viewfinder or LCD display, before pressing the button. The first time I saw a consumer camera without such features was with MeCam, a tiny snap-on camera that you can wear on your shirt, and just press a button to take a picture. Convenient, but no ideal as subjects were often out of frame with the camera pointing at the wrong angle.

That was in 2013. But today, those cameras can be improved with artificial intelligence, and Google Clips is a camera without viewfinder nor LCD display that can allegedly take good photos – or short clips – automatically, acting in some ways like a human photographer, so that every human in the room / the whole family can be on the shot.

Google Clips specifications:

  • Vision Processing Unit – Movidius Myriad 2 VPU as found in Intel Movidus Neural Compute Stick
  • Storage – 16 GB for photos
  • Camera
    • TBD?? megapixels; 1.55μm pixels;  130° field of view; auto focus; auto low lux/night mode.
    • Motion photos (JPEGs with embedded MP4s) @ 15 fps, MP4, GIF, JPEG. No audio.
  • Connectivity – WiFi direct and Bluetooth LE
  • USB – 1x USB type C port for charging
  • Battery – Good for 3 hours of smart capture
  • Dimensions – 49 x 49 x 20 mm
  • Weight – 42.2 grams without clip, 60.5 grams with clip

The camera works with Google Clips app for “compatible mobile devices” running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher, such as Google Pixel, or Galaxy S7/S8, or iOS devices starting from iPhone 6. Google Clips will ship with a clip stand, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a quick start guide, and a user guide.

Google Clips will sell for $249, and if you’re interested you can join the waiting list on the product page.