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Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

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

November 22nd, 2017 No 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.

$9+ Libre Computer Tritium Allwinner H2+/H3/H5 SBCs Leverage Raspberry Pi 3 Form Factor (Crowdfunding)

November 15th, 2017 17 comments

A few months ago, Libre Computer introduced Le Potato board (aka AML-S905X-CC) powered by Amlogic S905X processor plus up to 2GB RAM, and using Raspberry Pi 3 form factor.

The company is now back with three Tritium boards, using the same form factor, but instead powered by Allwinner H2+, H3, or H5 processors, with a lower price point as the Tritium IoT board (H2+ / 512 MB RAM) goes for $9 only.

Tritium 1GB and Tritium 2GB Boards

Tritium boards (ALL-H3-CC) specifications:

  • SoC and Memory
    • Tritium IoT – Allwinner H2+ quad core Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP2, 512MB DDR3
    • Tritium 1GB – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 processor with Mali-400MP2, 1GB DDR3
    • Tritium 2GB – Allwinner H5 quad core Cortex A53 processor with Mali-450MP4, 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x micro SD Card slot, eMMC module connector
  • Video & Audio Output
    • Tritium IoT – HDMI up to 1080p60, AV port
    • Tritium 1GB & 2GB – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K30, AV port
  • Camera – Parallel camera interface
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi header with I2C, SPI, PWM, UART, 5V, 3.3V, and GPIO
  • Debugging –  UART via header for access to the serial console
  • Misc – IR Receiver, u-boot button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – Raspberry Pi 3 form factor

The boards do not perform as fast as the Amlogic S905X one, and the I2S and S/PDIF header are gone, but a camera connector has been added to connect a camera. Tritium IoT board runs Linux only (e.g. Ubuntu 16.04), but Tritium 1GB can run also Android 7.0, and Tritium 2GB Android 7.1, beside the listed Linux distributions:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 by Libre Computer Project
  • Debian 9 Stretch by Libre Computer Project
  • Ubuntu 16.04 by Armbian

The Linux source will be released on Github as they’ve done for Le Potato, for which they’ve also released the PDF schematics, and CE/FCC certifications.

Tritium Board in Case made for Raspberry Pi 3

The project has been launched on Kickstarter with a $10,000 goal. The bare boards are available for respectively $9 (IoT), $19 (1GB), and $29 (2GB), but you can also get kits with all accessories such as the $59 “Tritium IoT Kit Special” with comes with:

  • Tritium IoT Board
  • 8GB eMMC 4.x Module
  • Push-Pin Heatsink with Thermal Tape
  • 5.1V/2.5A MicroUSB Power Supply
  • Active Cooling Media Center Polycarbonate Case
  • 1m HDMI Cable
  • 8GB MicrorSD Card
  • Wireless RF Remote with Mini Keyboard and Touchpad

Shipping is not included and depends on the selected reward, but for example it adds $7 to $9 to Tritium IoT board, and $10 to $14 to the kit listed above. Delivery is planned for January 2018, and general availability (outside the KS campaign) in February 2018. Hardware customizations are accepted for orders of 500 units or more.

The market is starting to get crowded with Allwinner H development boards thanks to the Orange Pi and NanoPi board families, but that also means software support should be good, and AFAIK, Tritium boards are the first to be compatible (HW + Mech) to Raspberry Pi 3, excluding NanoPi Duo + mini Shield which does not come with HDMI, and is limited to Allwinner H2+ with 512MB RAM. That means you could reuse or purchase RPi 3 accessories and they should work either out of the box (enclosures), or with some SW development efforts (add-on boards). RPi MIPI camera and display modules won’t work.

Voladd Cloud-Connected Linux 3D Printer is Powered by BeagleBone Black Board (Crowdfunding)

October 24th, 2017 No comments

So far, all of the 3D printers that have been reviewed on this blog require you to design or download a 3D object on your computer, and print it from an SD card. But thanks to OctoPrint software and cheap ARM Linux developments boards, it has become possible to add a Linux computer with webcam to remotely start and control the 3D printer for a few dozens dollars. Karl has even released an OctoPrint image for Orange Pi Lite board.

Voladd 3D printer already embeds a Linux board, namely the BeagleBone Black running Debian, which allows the 3D printer to be easy to use since no software  installation is required. You can start printing by selecting an object in a web browser or an app in your smartphone, and they’ve also taken steps to eliminate/reduce maintenance tasks, such as the inclusion of a filament cartridge.

Voladd 3D printer specifications:

  • Internal computer – BeagleBone Black based on TI AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and NFC; MQTT protocol supported
  • Print area – 175 x 125 x 150 mm (xyz)
  • Printing plate – Surface treated, removable, and adjustable with 3 rollers; optional glass platform
  • Print head – 0.2 (coming next year), 0.4 or 0.6 mm
  • Noise attenuated fans
  • Misc – On/off button, switch dial for cartridge, LEDs for connectivity status, general status, server interaction and head heating.
  • Power Supply – 100-240V @ 50/60 Hz
  • Dimensions – 29 x 40 x 29 cm (xyz)
  • Weight – 4.5 kg
  • Certifications – CE, EAC

Voladd 3D printer will ship with a Cartridge with 420 grams of white filament, the printing base, , a quick start guide and warranty. Voladd Cartridges, made of biodegradable, recyclable, and plant-based PLA bioplastic, come in 7 possible colors (20 colors planned for next year), and it appears you can’t just buy filament from anywhere for a refill. So if I understand correctly, you’ll be tied to the company for both the cloud service and filament. But if it really works as advertised: no assembly, no manual calibration, no jamming, no cleaning, etc…,just select an object to print online, it could be a good option for people that just want something that works…

The company also explains the 3D printer will save you money in the long run, it’s good for the environment (no factory, no transportation, biodegradable materials..), secure (AES/TLS), sharable with friends, and Voladd Cloud also include support for the creation of simple objects like personalized signs.

They’ve also provided a tablet comparing Voladd to more typical and harder to use 3D printers.

The 3D printer has already surpassed its 25,000 Euros funding target on Kickstarter. Pledges start at 499 Euros for a “super early bird” rewards include the printer, a white PLA cartridge, and access to Voladd Cloud platform. Shipping adds 25 to 50 Euros if you live in the “Western World”, but for any other countries it goes up to 350 Euros, which means it could costs close to 1000 Euros once local taxes are included. Delivery is scheduled for December 10, 2017. More details may also be available on Voladd website.

Via LinuxGizmos

Cloud Media Openbook is Another Smartphone Laptop Docking Station (Crowdfunding)

October 12th, 2017 6 comments

Cloud Media (previously Syabas) is better known for their OpenHour and HourPopcorn Hour TV boxes, but the company also has a close relationship with Pine64 company, and helped them make Pinebook laptop powered by an Allwinner A64 ARM processor.

They’ve now used their experience, and likely some parts, from the ARM laptop to create Openbook, a 14″ laptop dock for Android smartphones.

Openbook specifications:

  • USB Monitor SoC – DisplayLink DL-4000 Series USB 3.0 to LVDS/eDP SoC
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Display – 14″ TN LCD with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • QWERTY Keyboard + Large Multi-Touch Touchpad
  • USB – USB 3.0 host port, USB port to connect to mobile phone
  • Audio – Headphone Jack, stereo speaker, microphone
  • Battery – 10,000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A (DC Jack: Type H 3.5mm OD/1.35mm ID barrel ‘coaxial’ type)
  • Dimensions – 329mm x 220mm x 12mm (W x D x H)
  • Weight – 1.26 kg

The dock works with smartphones equipped at least with a quad core processor @ 1.5 GHz, 2GB RAM, 50MB free storage, USB type C or micro USB OTG port, and running Android 5.0 or greater. Since stock Android does not exactly offer the best desktop experience, the company has patterned with LeenaOS, multi-window launcher that brings the desktop operating system experience to your mobile device.

Openbook is not exactly the first smartphone laptop dock, which also started with Motorola LapDock (now defunct), as new players have entered the market place including NexDock and Mirabook. Just like the two aforementioned products, Openbook also launched on a crowdfunding website, specifically Kickstarter with the goal of raising at least $30,000 for mass production.

A pledge of $129 should get you a white Openbook with a power adapter and a custom USB-OTG cable. Shippings adds from $22 (Hong Kong) with several other prices depending on destination up to $88, and delivery is scheduled for December 2017. The people behind Cloud Media are highly experienced in bringing products to market, so failure is very unlikely.

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.

CrazyPi Board Runs Ubuntu and ROS on Rockchip RK3128 SoC for Robotics & IoT Projects (Crowdfunding)

August 10th, 2017 4 comments

CrazyPi is a maker board powered by Rockchip RK3128 quad core Cortex A7 processor that can take various magnetically connected modules such as LIDAR, gimbal, 4G LTE, etc.., and runs both Ubuntu and ROS (Robot Operating System) for DIY robotics & IoT projects.

Click to Enlarge

CrazyPi main board specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3128 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali GPU
  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M3 @ 72 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L @ 1066 MHz
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash pre-loaded with Ubuntu and ROS
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi @ 150 Mbps, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion Headers – Two headers with a total of 36-pin exposing 1x HDMI, 1x speaker, 1x microphone, 3x PWM, 1x I2C, 1x UART, 1x SPDIF, 1x SPI, 1x USB
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port ?
  • Dimensions – Smaller than credit card

The full details are not available yet, but the company claims CrazyPi is “completely open source and DIY”, so I’d assume more details will eventually show up on CrazyPi github repo (now empty). A cloud service also allows you to stream the webcam output from anywhere in the world.

Webcam View and Map Generated from CrazyPi Robot Kit

What’s  quite interesting is that the board is designed to be connected to add-on boards, modules and accessories allowing you to build robots:

  • Robotic shield board to control motors / servos
  • Media shield board for HDMI output and use the board as a mini computer
  • 4G LTE module (maybe part of the robotic shield board?)
  • Crazyou 4K LIDAR sensor with SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) function to automatically create map of your environment
  • 720p camera module
  • 2-degrees gimbal
  • 4-wheel robot chassis
  • 2x 18650 batteries and case

Again, we don’t have the exact details for each, but the promo video explains what can be done with the kits.

Crazyou – that’s the name of the company – has launched the project on Kickstarter to fund mass production with a 200,000 HKD goal (around $25,800). The board is supposed to cost $29, but is not offered standalone in the crowdfunding campaign, so instead you could start with a $59 CrazyPi Media Kit with the mainboard, camera and media board. If you want the complete robot shown above, you’d have to pledge $466 for the CrazyPi Advanced Kit reward with the camera module, the mainboard, the gimbal, the robotic shield board, battery case and charger, the chassis, and LIDAR. Various bundles are available to match different projects’ requirements. Shipping to most countries adds around $19, and delivery is scheduled for October 2017. There’s not much to see on Crazyou website, but eventually more details may emerge there.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Sonnet is a Rugged Portable Device Creating Mesh Networks for Smartphones

July 24th, 2017 3 comments

Cellular networks are available in most places, but not always, and you may not have connectivity while climbing mountains or other remote locations, when going abroad, during natural disaster, in very crowded places where network capacity is exceeded, or when your government decides to cut it off for “national stability and harmony”.  Wouldn’t it be great if you were still able to contact with your friend in such cases, and create your own mesh networks expanding over several kilometers? That’s exactly what Sonnet does by connecting to your smartphone over WiFi, and to other Sonnet nodes over ISM frequencies (433, 868 and 925 MHz).

Sonnet hardware specifications:

  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with up to 20 dBm (max varies per country); WPA/WPA2 security
    • Long Range RF
      • Frequencies
        • 915 MHz (North America)
        • 868 MHz (Europe)
        • 433 MHz (Asia Pacific)
      • Distance – 5km typ.; up to 10km Line-of-sight; SMA connector available to extend the range with your own antenna
      • Transmit power – 1W (30 dBm)
      • Receiver Sensitivity – -148 dBm
      • Modulation Method – Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS)
  • Power Supply – micro USB port. Input: 5V / 2A; Output (e.g. to charge phone): 5.1V @ 2.1 A
  • Battery – 4,000 mAh LiPo battery good for up to 24 hours
  • Dimensions – 88 x 80 x 17 mm
  • Weight – 160 grams
  • IP Rating – IP66 rating under IEC standard 60529

Those are based on the same frequencies as LoRa, but since they don’t mention the standard at all, it must be a proprietary solution. The device should be legal in most countries, including North America, Europe, and China, but you’d still need to check, as it’s illegal in mine. I can use 433 MHz up to 10 mW only, and the 1W transmit power makes it illegal here.

The initial setup involves connecting to Sonnet access point, going to https://app.sonnetlabs.com from your web browser, and start using the app to communicate. You can chat, send pictures and voice recordings, and share your GPS coordinates. It’s like a high-end talkie walkie with higher range, and you can create a mesh network of those with up to 16 hops supported, corresponding to a 80 km range. An firmware update planned for 2018 will also allow Sonnet to create an Internet connected mesh network, with all your need is at least one Sonnet connected to the Internet over WiFi.

Smartphone vs Walkie-Talkie vs Satellite vs Sonnet + Smartphone

The web app also supports off-line maps, Panic/SOS button, and Sonnet can be used as a power bank to charge your phone too. Another use case I could envision is a city wide network for chat only, since bandwidth will be limited, for people who don’t want to pay extra for cellular connectivity, since Sonnet is free to use.

The device is now on Kickstarter with over $140,000 raised and 8 days to go. Rewards start at $89 for a pair of Sonnet devices with two power adapters and charging cables, and go up to $399 for 10 Sonnet devices. Shipping adds $10 to the US, $13 to Canada and $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is expected for November 2017.

Manga Screen 2 is Smartphone Touchscreen Display with USB and HDMI Ports for Makers (Crowdfunding)

July 20th, 2017 6 comments

Most touchscreen displays aimed to be connected to a development board work through a display interface such as MIPI DSI or LCD RGB (and USB or I2C for touch support), and come with somewhat low resolution such as 800×480 which can be suitable for HMI applications. They also often don’t work with all boards due to the different interfaces used, and there’s no way to easily connect such small display to your computer. Taking those limitations into account, and since most boards and computers come with HDMI and USB ports, Elias Bakken and his team have added HDMI and USB ports to two smartphone displays, and Manga Screen 2 was born.

The two displays – made by Sharp – have the following hardware specifications:

Big (5.9”) Small (4.8”)
Resolution 1920×1080 1280×720
FPS (max) 60 57
Color mode 24-bit
PPI 376.2 307.9
Brightness 400 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1000:1 800:1
Viewing angle 80 degrees
Power draw (max.) 600 mA 520 mA
Active area 129.6 x 72.9 mm 105.6 x 59.4 mm
Weight ~95 grams TBD
Outline size 150 x 82 mm TBD
Touch points 10

They added the electronics to convert HDMI signals to whatever interface the displays use, and a micro USB port for power and the touch screen interface. So those should pretty much be play and plug, and work with Raspberry Pi, ODROID, BeagleBone Black and other boards, as well as your computer, laptop, etc…
The project has launched on Kickstarter with the goal of raising 300,000 NOK (~$37,100 US). Rewards start at ~$83.5 US for the smaller 4.8″ screen, and ~$94 US for the 5.9″ screen. Those are early bird rewards, and retail price should be $99 for both displays? (Maybe a mistake on KS). Shipping adds 85 NOK ($10.5), and delivery is scheduled for October to the big screen, and December for the small one.

Potential projects include home automation interface, standalone Spotify player, pet food dispenser, 3D printer interface, and any project that may benefit from a ~5″ touchscreen display. The promo video demonstrates some of those applications.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.