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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

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

October 24th, 2017 1 comment

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.

CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Laptop Manufacturing Changes – Hardware at Launch vs Several Months Later

October 22nd, 2017 11 comments

Products may evolve over time due to parts becoming phased out (EOL), so company often issues PCN (product change notices) to the company for example to replace eMMC flash that’s not manufactured anymore by a new one. They won’t change any advertised features, so the product specifications should remain the same. Reviewers normally get product from one of the first batch of production, and if you purchase the product a few months later, after carefully reading reviews, you may end up with a device slightly different.

But in some cases, the company makes major changes, while still delivering the same advertised hardware specifications. That’s apparently the case for CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop. The photo below shows how it looked internally for the sample I reviewed.

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If you zoom on the photo, you’ll find an M.2 slot on the bottom of the right PCB, potentially allowing you to add an SSD internally. At the time, I could also install Ubuntu 17.04 to the eMMC flash. None of those features (M.2 SSD and Linux) were officially supported by the company.

I installed Ubuntu on February 2017, and I had recommended this $250 laptop as a decent inexpensive Linux laptop. But in May, I started to get reports that Linux would not find the eMMC flash. Several people had the same experience even after following the same instructions. So it was likely the company just changed the part.

But at the end of September, I had another person telling me the M.2 slot was gone too, and the company dramatically changed the hardware design with new batteries, motherboard, and so on, as shown in the photo below. The shell looks exactly the same, and connectors are placed at the same location, so I’d assume this is indeed the same model.

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Beside the different eMMC flash, missing M.2 slot, and completely different motherboard, he also pointed out other differences / issues in the model he bought in GearBest (the same seller I got my sample from):

  • Keyboard issues for some keys that need to be pressed harder.
  • Battery changed, and issue with charge controller, so the battery is not usable below 20% charge level
  • Different BIOS with few options
  • Doesn’t run Linux without considerable effort. systemd-boot worked on Arch. It can’t boot Ubuntu boot disk (without isorespin.sh/refind see below)
  • The USB touchpad replaced with a cheaper I2C touchpad, not working in Linux. (He wrote his own driver for it to make it work).

Some of the changes are confirmed in one of the customer reviews on GearBest (Search for user BearGest):

  • No m2 slot in 3rd revision
  • Linux users need to use isorespin.sh to replace grub with a compatible bootloader \’refind\’.
  • Touchpad not supported yet in latest Linux Kernel

Banana Pi M2 Magic Board Now Sold with Allwinner A33 Processor for $23

October 20th, 2017 13 comments

Banana Pi M2 Magic development board was first unveiled in February of this year with an Allwinner R16 SoC, 512 MB RAM, and 8GB eMMC flash, and its main selling points were support for MIPI DSI LCD displays, CSI cameras, and 3.7V LiPo batteries. AFAIK SinoVoIP never sold that version of the board, at least on Aliexpress.

Possibly due to the intricacies of Allwinner business units, the company has now officially launched Banana Pi M2 Magic (aka BPI M2M), but replaced Allwinner R16 by the similar Allwinner A33 processor, and removed the 8GB eMMC flash to bring the price down to $23 plus shipping. The “old” Allwinner R16 based Banana Pi M2 Magic board will apparently be sold as M2 Magic Plus soon.

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic (A33) specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A33 quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Display Interface – 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Camera Interface – CSI connector supporting up to 5MP sensor, 1080p30 H.265 video capture (OV5640 module)
  • Video Decoder – Multi-format FHD video decoding, including Mpeg1/2, Mpeg4, H.263, H.264, etc H.264 high profile [email protected]
  • Audio – On-board microphone
  • Connectivity – Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212) with u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion – 40-pin header with GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM…
  • Misc – Reset & power buttons, LEDs,
  • Power Supply
    • 5V/2A via DC power barrel
    • 3.7V Lithium battery support via 6-pin header
    • AXP223 PMIC
  • Dimensions – 51 x 51 mm
  • Weight – 40 grams

The Wiki indicates the board support Android and Linux, and provides some further information about the interface. Bear in mind SinoVoIP is often not quite fully correct, so make sure to double check if one of the feature is important to you.

PingPong IoT Development Board Supports Cellular Connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox, and More

October 19th, 2017 No comments

Round Solutions, a supplier of products, services and concepts for industrial M2M and IoT markets, has introduced PingPong IoT development board with either Microchip PIC32MZ running an RTOS, or PIC32MZ DA running Linux, and equipped with a Telit modules for either 2G or 3G cellular + GNSS connectivity.

The board can also support WiFi, Bluetooth, ISM/RF, NFC/RFID, LoRa, Sigfox, Iridium satellite, and serial interface thanks to a range of expansion boards.

PingPong IoT board specifications:

  • MCU / Flash
    • RTOS version – Microchip PIC32MZ 32-bit Microcontroller @ 200 MHz, with 512 KB RAM and 2 MB Flash Memory + 4 MB external memory
    • Linux version – Microchip PIC32MZ DA  (Full specs TBA)
  • Connectivity
    • Cellular connectivity
      • Telit xE910 module with 2G, 3G and/or 4G LTE (coming soon)
      • Data
        • GSM/GPRS – Uplink/Downlink: 9.6 kbps
        • UMTS – Downlink: 384 kbps, Uplink: 384 kbps
        • HSPA+ – Downlink: 42.0 Mbps, Uplink: 5.75 Mbps
        • LTE – Download: 100 Mbps, Uplink: 50 Mbps
      • Frequency Bands (MHz) – 1800, 1900, 2100, 850, 900
      • 2x SIM card slots, SIM on chip
      • u.FL antenna connector
    • GNSS
      • Telit SL869 module for GPS, Glonass, and Galileo E1
      • u.FL antenna connector for GPS
    • 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
    • Connectivity stackable expansion boards for
      • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: with webserver on board
      • Satellite communication: Iridium
      • ISM/RF:433MHz/868MHz/915MHz/2.4GHz
      • NFC/RFID: Protocol EPCglobal Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C)
      • Sigfox/LoRa: Ultra low power transmitter
  • Other stackable expansion boards:
    • I/O & Serial Board: 10 digital/10 analog/4 frequencies, RS485, RS232
    • Still image and video camera
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • I/Os
    • 2x connectors for stackable extension boards with UART, SPI, CAN, I²C
    • 1x CAN interface, 2x analog inputs, 4x 3-state logic inputs, 4x NMOSFET outputs, 1-wire interface
    • 2x current measurement inputs (24-bit resolution)
  • Sensors – Magnetometer, accelerometer
  • Power Supply – 9 to 60V DC
  • Dimensions – 85 x 52 x 23 mm
  • Temperature Range – -40 C to +85 C (industrial grade)
  • Certification CE

 

The RTOS version uses C/C++ and Python and comes with a USB CDC bootloader, while the Linux version is more versatile with support for Open VPN, IPSEC tunnels for example for IoT gateway / router functionality. The source code is available for both operating system, and the company can also provide ready-made software packages for remote metering, asset tracking, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth gateway, MODbus over TCP, or MODbus RS485.

The board is also compatible with MPLAB Harmony, and can connect to Cumulocity IoT Cloud Platform or Telit m2mAIR Cloud out of the box.

The Linux & 4G versions of the board still appear to be in development, but PingPong IoT 3G/RTOS board is available now, starting at 197 Euros with the board only, and up to 445 Euros with the WiFi/Bluetooth, and RF/ISM add-on boards.

Linux on Galaxy to Bring Linux Desktop to Samsung Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8+ with DeX Station

October 19th, 2017 11 comments

Earlier this year, Linux desktop mobile convergence took a serious hit when Canoncial decided to drop support for Unity and Mobile Convergence in their Ubuntu distributions, focusing instead on the enterprise and IoT market, and replacing Unity by GNOME starting with the just released Ubuntu 17.10.

Things started to look better with Purism Librem 5 Linux smartphone, which has now raised $1.8 million dollars, and partnered with well-known members of the Linux ecosystems like KDE, GNOME, and NextCloud. However, the phone will be based on a rather low end NXP i.MX 8M quad Cortex A53 SoC, is scheduled for January 2019 only, and being a crowdfunding campaign, failure is always a possibility.

But today, the outlook for Linux phones brightened even more, as Samsung unveiled plans for “Linux on Galaxy” at the Samsung Developer Conference 2017.

Samsung Dex with Android

The solution will leverage the company’s DeX (Desktop Experience) that relies on DeX Station – a dock for Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note8 smartphone – that connected to a big display, as well as a special Android desktop mode that supports multi-window, comes with a start menu, etc…

Linux on Galaxy app will enable developers and users to leverage Samsung DeX hardware (station + smartphone) to run their preferred Linux desktop distribution(s) using the same kernel that powers Android OS. For example, developers will be able to code using their mobile on-the-go, and with Samsung DeX, continue their work on a larger display.

Samsung Linux on Galaxy is still a work in progress, and the project is still private. But if you are interested, you can register your interest in order to get notified when it goes public.

Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform features CIP Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) Linux kernel

October 18th, 2017 7 comments

In the consumer space, some devices never get updated, and you can consider yourself lucky if the manufacturer provides updates for several years, often just two as Linux LTS (Long Term Support) kernels had been supported that long so far. Google and the Linux Foundation realized that was not enough, so they recently announced 6-year LTS kernels at Linaro Connect SFO 2017, starting with Linux 4.4 released on January 2016, meaning it will keeping being maintained until January 2022 with security patchsets and bug fixes.

But in the industrial/embedded space, they need even longer periods of support due to the longer equipment’s lifespan. I first heard about the Linux Foundation’s  Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project last year, when I covered the schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2016. The project aims at providing a super long-term supported (STLS) open source “base layer” for industrial grade software.

Several companies are partners of the project including Hitachi, Renesas, Siemens, Toshiba, and others, and Renesas appears to be the first to announce a product – Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform – featuring the industrial-grade CIP Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) Linux kernel enabling Linux-based embedded systems to be maintained for more than 10 years.

Key features of the RZ/G Linux Platform:

  • Verified Linux package – Supports the CIP SLTS kernel with BSP, multimedia functionality (H.264, 3D graphics), Qt/HTML5 GUI framework, and security.
  • Development tools – Cloud development environment within Renesas’ e² studio integrated software development tool, code validation and analysis tools
  • Third-party ecosystem and marketplace – The Renesas Marketplace provides access to software and hardware solutions, and users can buy and download security tools, embedded vision libraries, and other software.
  • Support for RZ/G1M MPU now, with other Renesas RZ/G1 MPU series coming later.

You can find more details about the RZ/G Linux platform, and supported hardware on the product page.  The RZ/G Linux Platform will also be demonstrated at upcoming event including Arm TechCon, (US – October 24-26, 2017), the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (Czech Republic – October 23-25, 2017), SPS IPC Drives (Germany,  November 28-30), and CIIF 2017 (China, November 7-11, 2017).

Via ElectronicsWeekly and LinuxGizmos.

Categories: Linux, Renesas MCU Tags: bsp, industrial, Linux, renesas

Telegea Smart Hub DIN Rail IoT Gateway is Powered by Raspberry Pi CM3 Module

October 17th, 2017 8 comments

DEK Italia has recently introduced Telegea Smart Hub, an IoT gateway based on Raspberry Pi Computer Module 3 (CM3) with Ethernet, WiFi, RS232/485 ports, and various other I/O ports, that can leverage Raspberry Pi software ecosystem.

The company explains the device is mainly targeted at DIY home automation applications as a smart home controller which runs open source smart home software like OpenHAB and Home Assistant, but it can also be used for many other IoT applications.

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Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, 256 byte EEPROM
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet port, optional Wifi 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz
  • Serial – RS485 serial port, RS232 serial debug port
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion
    • 6xdigital inputs via screw terminals (for dry contacts or S0 interface)
    • 4x analog inputs (0-5V) via screw terminals
    • Dallas 1-wire bus via screw terminals
    • 1x RJ14 connector for I2C bus peripherals
    • 1x XBee module compatible connector for ZigBee and other RF modules
    • 3x expansion headers with additional GPIO, SPI and I2C bus connections
  • Sensor –  SHT21 temperature and humidity sensor
  • Debugging / Programing – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – RTC with integrated battery, user button, user LED
  • Power supply – 5VDC via micro USB connector;  24V DC / 24V AC via screw terminals
  • Dimensions – 155 x 86 mm

The gateway supports a customized version of Raspbian Jessie Lite with Linux kernel 4.9.x and later. The changes to Raspbian include enablement of clock generation for integrated Ethernet bridge on GPIO pin, UART ports for RS485 connector and serial debug port, drivers for RTC/ADC/EEPROM/ I2C relay card,  configuration of the 1-wire bus on screw terminals, and installation of GPIO handling command line tools and Zulu Embedded OpenJDK VM. You’ll find source code, hardware and software documentation on Github, and get support on Telegea Google Groups.

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The boards has been designed to fit into a commercial Camdenboss CNMB/9 DIN rail enclosure as shown above, in which case the model is called TSH-CM R3B0.

Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 board is sold on eBay without the Raspberry Pi module for 179.00 Euros, while the TSH-CM R3B0 modle with DIN rail enclosure and RPi CM3 module goes for 219.00 Euros. The complete kit is also sold on Tindie for $249.99. Visit the product page for more information.

Gumstix Expands Raspberry Pi Support with Stepper Motor, Breakout Board, LoRa PoE, and Yocto Linux

October 14th, 2017 2 comments

Gumstix has recently released of three new expansion boards compatible with Raspberry Pi boards and Compute Modules:

  • Gumstix Pi Stepper HAT for 4-wire stepper motors
  • Gumstix Pi Newgate breakout boards exposing all I/Os of Raspberry Pi Compute Module and Compute Module 3
  • Gumstix Pi Conduit PoE adding PoE support to their LoRa gateway kit based on RisingHF RHF0M301 LoRa concentrator module.

The company also offers a custom Yocto 2.2 (Morty) Linux images with support for their Pi HATs and Compute Module carrier boards.

Gumstix Pi Stepper HAT

The expansion board is designed with the 40-pin header for Raspberry Pi products, and includes Texas Instruments DRV8846, a 4 – 18V, 1.4A stepper motor driver with 1/32 microstepping providing rotational accuracy below a tenth of a degree, and 6,400 distinct positions. The board supports 6 to 36V batteries via a 3-pin headers, includes 256 kbit serial EEPROM, and can be used for printers, scanners, video security cameras, projectors, and other automated equipment.

You’ll find technical documentation and software on the product page, where you can also purchase the board for $35.

Gumstix Pi Newgate

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The Gumstix Pi Newgate is a breakout board for RPi Compute Module and Compute Module 3 that exposes all I/Os of their 200-pin SO-DIMM connector via 2.54mm pitch headers with 3 terminals for each pin. The board is also equipped with a micro USB console port, and level shifters to accommodate 3.3 and 1.8 volt logic levels for peripheral devices.

The breakout board goes for $85 on Gumstix website.

Gumstix Pi Conduit PoE

Pi Conduit PoE is an update of their earlier board with added Gigabit Ethernet and PoE support, and removal of cellular support:

  • 200-pin SO-DIMM connector for Raspberry Pi Compute Module / Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module (CM3 / CM3L)
  • Headers for RisingRF RHF0M301 LoRa gateway/concentrator module
  • NimbeLink Skywire 2G/3G/4G cellular modem connector
  • Gigabit Ethernet jack with PoE support implemented via ASIX AX88179 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging via an FTDI USB to TTL chip
  • Misc – User (GPIO5) and reset buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel

If you’re using any of the Raspberry Pi modules, you’ll however be limited to the USB 2.0 interface (480 Mbps) for Gigabit Ethernet, but that’s still an improvement of the 10/100M Ethernet often used with the modules.

The board sells for $150, excluding RisinRF and RPi CM(3) modules.

Yocto Linux and Hardware Customization

Gumstix does not rely on Raspbian anymore, as the company provides custom Yocto Linux disk images (Morty) with support for Gumstix Pi HATs, Compute Module carrier boards, relevant drivers, and systemd services. The company also offers a “Smart repository” with a variety of packages for easier installation. For all the three products listed above you’ll find two Yocto images, one with XFCE environment, one headless with access to the command line.

All three boards have also been designed with Geppeto, the company’s web platform for hardware design, and can be customized to your needs and ordered right in your web browser.