Silicon Labs Releases Z-Wave Public SDK, Raspberry Pi 3 Image

Z-Wave Raspberry-Pi

Z-Wave is a wireless communication protocol initially developed by Zensys, before being purchased by Sigma Designs which provided Z-Wave compliant chips, and this year Silicon Labs purchased Z-Wave from Sigma Designs,  Z-Wave is fairly popular in the US, and the Z-Wave alliance has certified around 2,400 products so far. However, we seldom hear about hobbyist projects featuring Z-Wave because the wireless protocol is proprietary, documentation was not available publicly, and you’d also need a few thousands dollars to get started: $4,000 a year to be a Z-Wave Alliance member, $2,500 for certification, and the development kit sells for about $2,000… But in 2016, things improved with Sigma Designs releasing Z-Wave Application Layer specifications publicly, as well as Z-Wave over IP (Z/IP), Z-Ware Middleware, and the Z-Wave S2 Security Specification. But you still needed to acquire the Z-Wave SDK and obtain access to the Z-Wave Technical Support website and the Z-Wave Certification Portal. Silicon Labs has now announced a new public …

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Dav1d Open Source AV1 Decoder Aims to be Fast and Lightweight

Dav1d AV1 Decoder

Lots of efforts are being put into AV1 open source, royalty-free video codec with the AV1 specification published in March, and companies like YouTube and Netflix having recently uploaded AV1 video samples for testing and evaluation. We also reported FFmpeg 4.0 was released with AV1 supporting using libaom reference decoder. However, the library is not really optimized for code size and speed, but instead just to demonstrate AV1 decoding and encoding. So VideoLAN, VLC and FFmpeg communities have been working on another decoder called Dav1d – which stands for “Dav1d is an AV1 Decoder” – that aims to be lightweight, cross-platform, fast and open source. Some of the technical details about dAV1d include: written in C99 without VLAs (Variable Length Arrays) ASM in NASM/GAS syntax (no intrinsics), Meson/ninja buildsystem, Works on x86, x64, ARMv7, ARMv8 architectures for now Runs on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS operating systems Licensed under BSD which allows to be easily integrated into both open source …

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Realtek RTD1296 U-boot & Linux Source Code Released, RTD1619 Cortex A55 SoC Shows up in Code

RTD1296 Linux Source Code

Media centers based on Realtek RTD1295 or RTD1296 processors have been around for a few years. They usually run both Android and OpenWrt operating systems for respectively media functions (4K video playback, HDMI input recording…), and NAS functions like file sharing. media downloads, etc…. SinoVoIP also unveiled Banana Pi BPI-W2 board powered by RTD1296 last year, but so far I was not aware of any source code for the target. Synlogy actually released a Linux 4.4 tarball a while ago, but more recently SinoVoIP released Linux 4.9.119 and U-boot source code for RTD1296 in Github. You’ll find instructions to build from source, and flash the resulting U-boot and Kernel image from the Github page. There’s also some mainline Linux support for RTD1295, but maybe this release will help further speed up mainline support. Beside code for RTD129x (RTD1295/RTD1296), we’ll find references to RTD139x (RTD1395) a cost-down version of RTD1295, as well RTD16xx, more specifically RTD1619, an hexa-core Cortex A55 processor …

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Retro-uC Open Source MCU Brings ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 Back to Life (Crowdfunding)


If you’ve started your computing experience in the early eighties, you’ve probably used a ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and/or Atari ST home computers. Those products are long gone, except for collectors, but thanks to chips4makers project’s Zilog Z80, MOS 6502, and Motorola M68K cores are coming back to life via Retro-uC open source microcontroller. As a bonus, developers also worked on Retrino, a board following Arduino Mega form factor, and featuring Retro-uC MCU, as well as Retro-uC ProtoPlus with the chip fitted to a large Perf+ 2 style prototyping board, and Retro-uC Breadboard which can be inserted into a standard breadboard. Retro-uC Microcontroller Retro-uC specifications: Open source microcontroller with a Z80, MOS 6502 and Motorola 68000 core 4 kB of on-chip RAM 72x 5V digital general purpose I/O pins JTAG interface for programming the device Optionally bootable from external I2C flash memory I/O pins that can select the enabled core during reset One or more UART, I2C and PWM controllers …

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OpenMV Cam H7 MicroPython Machine Vision Camera Launched on Kickstarter


OpenMV team has launched an upgrade to their popular OpenMV CAM M7 machine vision camera, with OpenMV CAM H7 replacing the STMicro STM32F7 micro-controller by a more powerful STM32H7 MCU clocked at up to 400 MHz. Beside having twice the processing power, the new camera board also features removable camera modules for thermal vision and global shutter support. OpenMV CAM H7 camera board specifications: MCU – STMicro STM32H743VI Arm Cortex M7 microcontroller @ up to 400 MHz with 1MB RAM, 2MB flash. External Storage – micro SD card socket supporting up to 100 Mbps read/write to record videos and store machine vision assets. Camera modules Omnivision OV7725 image sensor (default) capable of taking 640×480 8-bit Grayscale /  16-bit RGB565 images at 60 FPS when the resolution is above 320×240 and 120 FPS when it is below; 2.8mm lens on a standard M12 lens mount Optional Global Shutter camera module to capture high quality grayscale images not affected by motion blur Optional …

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BlitzWolf Inexpensive & Compact EU & US Smart Sockets Work with ESPurna & Sonoff-Tasmota Open Source Firmware

BlitzWolf US / EU Smart Socket

When I first started to look into WiFi smart sockets a few years, there were some fairly compact models such as the Linux based Kankun KK-SP3 or ESP8266 based Konke Mini K sockets. In recent years, more wireless smart sockets have come to market, but fewer companies have made compact models, and for example Sonoff S26 or Sonoff S31 smart sockets are not exactly small. But this morning I got contacted by a company called BlitzWolf that sells various accessories including low cost and compact smart sockets for the US and EU markets. It could prove to be interesting, so let’s check out the specifications: BlitzWolf BW-SHP1 US Smart Socket Rated Voltage – 110-240V @ 50-60 Hz Rated Current – 10A (Max) Max Total Power Output – 2000W Dimensions – 4.5 cm ∅ (VO fireproof material) Temperature Range – -10 to +60°C BlitzWolf BW-SHP2 EU Smart Socket Rated Voltage – 110-240V @ 50-60 Hz Rated Current – 16A (Max) Max …

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PiMecha Humanoid Robot Based on Raspberry Pi Sells for about $500

SB Components introduced PiMecha humanoid robot powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero (W)/ A+ / 2 / 3 (B+) board, and offering 17 degrees of freedom (DoF) on Kickstarter a few months ago. But with KS backers expecting their rewards in September, the company is now taking pre-orders on their own website for the robot for 399 GBP, or about $511 at today’s exchange rate. The company has apparently not published any detailed specifications of the robot on their website. But the robot is basically comprised of an outer shell comprised of removable metal pieces, and precise smartbus servo motors. Your chosen Raspberry Pi board would be fitted to the robot’s chest together with PiMecha shield add-on board handling the servo control. PiMecha can be easily customized with a Pi camera, an LCD display, your own sensors an so on. SB Components provide software to program the robot in order to make it walk, dance, ride a bike, fight, or …

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Pocket Science Lab (PSLab) is an Open Source Hardware Electronics Lab

Last Saturday I created a virtual schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2018 where I listed some of sessions relevant to myself and hopefully regular readers of CNX Software, but due to scheduling conflicts one talks did not make it to the list: “Pocket Science Lab – An Open Source Hardware for Electronics Teaching & Learning” by FOSSASIA. The project is also referred to as PSLab, and aims to  “create an Open Source hardware device that can be used for experiments by teachers, students and citizen scientists to learn and teach electronics”. It looks interesting enough so let’s have a closer look. The project  is inspired by the earlier expEYES project that combines with Raspberry Pi or other Linux platform to create an electronic labs, and the work by the Open Science Hardware community. PSLab key features and specifications: MCU – Microchip PIC24EP256GP204 16-bit microcontroller @ up to 70 MHz with 32KB SRAM, 256KB flash Wireless Connectivity – Footprint …

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