Low Power TinyPICO ESP32 Board Ships with Micropython (Crowdfunding)

TinyPICO ESP32 Micropython

There are so many ESP32 boards available now, so why bother with another ones. Some of the key selling points of TinyPICO are that it is really small at 32 x 18 mm, it’s easy to use out of the box with MicroPython firmware pre-loaded, and supports LiPo batteries with an optimized power path for low-power battery usage. The developer, named Unexpected Maker, also provides various shields for TinyPICO adding a display, sensors, an audio amplifier, an RTC, Grove headers, and more. TinyPICO board specifications: System-in-Package – Espressif Systems ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP with ESP32 dual-core processor operating at 240 MHz, 4 MB SPI flash External System Memory – 4 MB PSRAM Connectivity – 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, 3D antenna Expansion – 14x GPIO broken out to standard pitch headers Debugging / Programming – USB + serial/UART for programming Misc – Power (red) & charge (orange) LED’s, APA102 RGB LED Power Supply 5V via micro USB port 700 …

Rockchip RK1808 AI Compute Stick Launched with Linux SDK

RK1808 AI compute stick

Rockchip RK1808 looks like a nifty and inexpensive little chip for artificial intelligence applications delivering up to 3.0 TOPS at low power, and the company has already released documentation and a Linux SDK with Caffe and Tensorflow framework support for the chip. So the main hurdle now is to get hardware to play with. Some people are selling (samples?) of the official RK1808-EVB on Taobao, but it costs close to $500 US.  There’s still no RK1808 development board, but Rockchip has discreetly launched the RK1808 AI Compute Stick a few weeks ago. RK1808 AI Compute Stick specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK1808 dual core Cortex-A35 processor with NPU AI inference performance – 3 TOPS for INT8, 300 GOPS for INT16, 100 GOPS for FP16 Video – 1080p60 H.264 decoding, 1080p30 H.264 encoding Camera, ISP – 2MP camera support, ISP with BT.601/656/1120 support Host Interface – USB 3.0 port Power Supply – Via USB port Dimensions – 60 x 19 mm It …

$100 Reolink Argus 2 is a Wire-Free IP Camera with Optional Solar Panel

Reolink Argus 2 Security IP Cam

This morning I had a look at battery-powered IP cameras since they avoid the hassle of wiring power and/or Ethernet around the house. I could remember I covered Immedia Blink IP camera with up to 2-year battery life back in 2014, and the company did very well since it got acquired by Amazon, and Blink IP security camera is now sold on Amazon US for $99.99 and up. It’s probably one of the best, if not the best options, for low-cost battery-powered cameras but the problem is that they only ship to a limited number of countries. Last year, there was a new entrant with Eufy Evercam outdoor IP camera with up to one year of battery life, but again it’s not easy to purchase from overseas, and the price starts at $279.99 for a single camera system. I also covered a solar and battery powered IP camera made by Wanscam a few years ago, and it could do the …

ESP32 CoinCell is a Tiny, Coin Cell Powered ESP32 Pico D4 Board

ESP32 CoinCell

ESP32 boards can easily be powered by batteries, either through an external USB battery shield, or direct connection to an ESP32 board fitted with battery charger circuitry. But Miek Rankin has done something a bit different, as he designed ESP32 Coincell board based on an ESP32 Pico D4 SiP (System-in-Package) powered by a rechargeable LIR2450 coin cell battery with 100mAh capacity. ESP32 CoinCell board specifications: SiP – Espressif Systems ESP32 Pico D4 Wifi/Bluetooth processor Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n WiFi up to 150 Mbps Bluetooth 4.1 LE On-board antenna Display – 0.69″ OLED display with 96×16 resolution USB – 1x micro USB port for charging and debugging (via CP2102N USB to TTL chip) Sensor – LIS3DHTR accelerometer Battery / Power Supply SE5218ALG-LF 500mA LDO power supply SL4054ST25P LiPo battery charger Socket for  for LIR2450 (3.7V/100Mah battery) Consumption – 0.45mA in sleep mode Dimensions – Small If you don’t connect the battery, the board can still be powered through the USB port. No battery …

Self-powered Swallowable Thermometer Measures Internal Body Temperature

Swallowable Thermometer

Having just written about a thermometer board for home automation,  I’ll stay on the temperature measurement topic, as I’ve found another thermometer that targets the medical field instead. Body temperature measurement at my local hospital is done under the armpit, which does the job in most cases, but more accurate temperature measurement of “deep body temperature” is normally achieved through rectal temperature measurement which is not as practical and comfortable for most people. Daily measurements of deep body temperature can apparently allow physicians to better understand “biological clocks”. In practical terms, it means doctors would be able to know ovulation cycles, measure the fatigue degrees of athletes, and even prevent heat strokes and hypothermia. Seeing the impractically in the conventional method, Nakamura Lab at Tohoku University developed a “swallowable thermometer” for this purpose. The swallowable sensor measures just 9.16mm in diameter, is allegedly perfectly safe to the human body, and is powered in the stomach using the same principle as …

NXP i.MX 6ULZ Cost Efficient Processor Drops Ethernet, Display, & Camera Interfaces

NXP i.MX 6ULZ

Freescale i.MX 6 processor was first announced in January 2011, and in the first few years I covered many products and development boards based on the single to quad core Cortex A9 processor. Further down the road, the company became part of NXP, and launched Cortex A7 variant such as i.MX 6ULL providing both lower costs and power consumption. But now, I usually skip new products based on i.MX6 because they are often just more of the same, and not really new worthy. But yesterday while writing about Linux 4.20 release, I realized I missed the announcement of i.MX 6ULZ processor similar to i.MX 6UL (UltraLight), but cost optimized for applications that do not require Ethernet, display, nor camera interfaces. NXP i.MX 6ULZ key features and specifications with differences with i.MX 6UL highlighted in bold or stricken-through: CPU – ARM Cortex A7 core @ up to 900 MHz with 128KB L2 cache Memory I/F – 16-bit DDR3/DDR3L, LPDDR2 Storage I/F …

Qualcomm 9205 NB-IoT & Cat M1 LTE Modem Lowers Costs, Power Consumption

Qualcomm 9205

Qualcomm has introduced a new LTE IoT chipset with Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem that supports Cat M1 (eMTC), NB2 (NB-IoT), 2G/E-GPRS fallback, as well as GNSS. Qualcomm 9205  comes at a lower price, smaller footprint, and up to 70% lower power consumption in standby mode compared to its predecessor (MDM9206). Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem key features and specifications: Processor / OS – Arm Cortex A7 up to 800MHz with support for ThreadX and AliOS Things real-time operating systems Connectivity Standards 3GPP release 14 Category M1 and NB2; 2G/E-GPRS fallback where Cat M1 / NB2 is not available. Category M1 mode supports voice for applications such as monitored security panels, and mobility for applications such as asset trackers. RF transceiver Bandwidth support from 450 MHz to 2100 MHz Built-in RF front-end, a first in the cellular IoT space Geolocation Integrated GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems)  support for GPS, Beidou, Glonass, and Galileo. Flexible antenna design – shared with LTE antenna, or …

Ambiq Apollo2 Blue Ultra Low Power MCU adds Bluetooth Connectivity

Ambiq Apollo2 Blue

Ambiq Micro unveiled their ultra-low power Apollo MCU back in 2015 with claims of Cortex-M4 performance at Cortex-M0+ energy efficiency by leveraging SPOT (Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology) technology that allows operating the microcontroller at very low voltages (less than 0.5V). Since then the company introduced Apollo2 MCU with 10 μA/MHz power consumption, but still a generic purpose microcontroller. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a new version of Apollo2 microcontroller adding Bluetooth connectivity, and allowing Bluetooth applications that last years on a charge. Meet Apollo2 Blue. Apollo2 Blue key features and specifications: Arm Cortex-M4 Processor up to 48 MHz with FPU, MMU, wake-up interrupt controller with 32 interrupts Ultra-low power memory Up to 1 MB of flash memory for code/data Up to 256 KB of low leakage RAM for code/data 16kB 1 or 2-way Associative Cache Bluetooth 5 Low Energy RF sensitivity – -95 dBm TX: 5mA @0 dBm; RX: 3.5mA Tx output power: -40 dBm to +5 dBm AES …