MarsCat is a Bionic Cat Powered by Raspberry Pi 3 (Crowdfunding)

MarsCat

Elephant Robotics MarsCat is a robotic cat that tries to mimic the behavior of actual cats through artificial intelligence. It can have a life of its own roaming the house, and you can also interact with it as it will play with toys/teasers through its camera, and you can send voice command to ask it to walk, run, look at you, be quiet. etc… but the trick is that it may not always obey like a real cat, and its personality will evolve depending on how you interact with it. Beside being a bionic pet, MarsCat can also be used to teach/learn robotics as the company will release an open-source SDK allowing you to change the Python code running on the Raspberry Pi 3 board powering the cat, and access API’s to control the camera, microphone, touch sensors, as well as the 16 servos connected to a Microchip ATMega2560 MCU via two servo boards. Visual programming for the robot will …

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Snekboard Controls LEGO Power Functions with CircuitPython or Snek Programming Languages (Crowdfunding)

Snekboard

LEGO has provided robotics kit for years, and LEGO blocks and accessories in general are great to build all sort of projects, so it’s not surprising third-parties have come up with LEGO-compatible boards and accessories for makers which include DFRobot BOSON kits, STEMTera smart breadboard, Brixo LEGO blocks with built-in electronics, and more. Snekboard is another option with the Microchip SAMD21 board designed to work with LEGO Power Functions motors and switches are programmable with MicroPyhon based CircuitPython or Snek programming languages. Snekboard hardware specifications: Microcontroller – Microchip SAMD21G18A Arm Cortex-M0 MCU with 256 KB flash and 32 KB RAM. Storage – 2MB SPI flash USB – 1x Micro USB port for power and programming Motor Control – 4x TI DRV8800 DC motor drivers tp provide up to 2.8A for LEGO motors and servos I/O- 8x GPIOs (3.3V) Misc – 2x RGB LEDs, 1x blue LED Power Supply 5V via USB port Single-cell LiPo battery support with USB charging and …

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Raspberry Pi 4 Powered Open Source Hardware Robot Paves the Way for Robot Maids

Raspberry Pi 4 Open Source Hardware Robot

Eventually, we all expect robots to do chores and other manual tasks performed by humans such as preparing and serving food at restaurants, carry objects over rough terrain as opposed to just inside the warehouse with a flat floor, or even moves pieces on a chessboard when other humans are no here to play with us. I’m fully expecting to eventually own a robot maid of sorts to wash dishes, mop the floors, and perform other tasks on my behalf. We are not there yet, but Raspberry Pi 4 powered Pollen Robotics’ Reachy open source-hardware robot is getting us closer to the goal as it can handle small objects and via two robotic arms and a dual-camera head, and can also interact with humans using a microphone and a speaker. Key features and specifications of Reachy robot: Main body SBC – Raspberry Pi 4 SBC with 2GB according to a teardown on Tom’s hardware AI accelerator – Google Coral AI …

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Zidoo M9 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown

Zidoo M9 Review

Over the years, Zidoo has made TV boxes for the consumer market, and digital signage players for businesses. The recently announced Zidoo M9 aims at both markets, plus other applications such as IoT, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Zidoo M9 is either sold as a board or a complete TV box reference design with a case, as it exposes all the usual ports of a TV with HDMI, USB, and Ethernet. But you can do more with internal connectors for cameras, PCIe interfaces, SIM card slot, MPI DSI and eDP connectors, and so on. The company has sent me a review sample, so let’s first check out the accessories provided with the box, and have a look into the hardware design today, before testing the Android firmware in the second part of the review. Zidoo M9 Unboxing The package makes it clear Zidoo M9 “mini PC” looks like a TV box, but it’s also designed for other purposes like automotive infotainment, …

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Some Interesting Talks from FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

FOSDEM 2020 Schedule

We wrote about IoT devroom call for proposals for FOSDEM 2020 a little while ago, and as the free open-source developer meetup is getting closer, FOSDEM 2020 organizers released the schedule. So I’ll look at some of the talks in the relevant devrooms such as the Internet of Things, hardware enablement, Embedded, Mobile and Automotive, as well as RISC-V and others to compose my own little virtual schedule for the 2-day event. Saturday, February 1 10:30 – 10:50 – How lowRISC made its Ibex RISC-V CPU core faster – Using open source tools to improve an open-source core – by Greg Chadwick Ibex implements RISC-V 32-bit I/E MC M-Mode, U-Mode, and PMP. It uses an in-order 2 stage pipe and is best suited for area and power-sensitive rather than high-performance applications. However, there is scope for meaningful performance gains without major impact to power or area. This talk describes work done at lowRISC to analyze and improve the performance of …

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NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX SoM Delivers up to 21 TOPS for AI Workloads at the Edge

NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX

NVIDIA has just announced Jetson Xavier NX system-on-module, with the company claiming it is the “world’s smallest, most powerful AI supercomputer for robotic and embedded computing devices at the edge” with a 70x45mm “Jetson Nano” form factor, and delivering either up to 14 TOPS at 10 Watts or 21 TOPS at 15 Watts. The company expects the module to be used in small commercial robots, drones, intelligent high-resolution sensors for factory logistics and production lines, optical inspection, network video recorders, portable medical devices, and other industrial IoT systems. Jetson Xavier NX specifications: SoC – NVIDIA Xavier with 6-core NVIDIA Carmel ARM v8.2 64-bit CPU, 6MB L2 + 4MB L3 caches, and a 384-core NVIDIA Volta GPU with 48 Tensor Cores, 2x NVDLA deep learning accelerators delivering up to 21 TOPS at 15 Watts System Memory – 8 GB 128-bit LPDDR4x @ 51.2GB/s Storage – 16 GB eMMC 5.1 flash Video Encode 2x464MP/sec 2x 4K @ 30 (HEVC) 6x 1080p @ …

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Intrinsyc Unveils Open-Q 845 µSOM and Snapdragon 845 Mini-ITX Development Kit

Open-Q 845 µSOM Development Kit

Intrinsyc introduced the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 hardware development platform last year with its Open-Q 845 HDK designed for OEMs and device makers. But the company has now just announced a solution for embedded systems and Internet of Things (IoT) products with Open-Q 845 micro system-on-module (µSOM) powered by the Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor, as well as a complete development kit featuring the module and a Mini-ITX baseboard. Open-Q845 µSOM Specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon SDA845 octa-core processor with 4x Kryo 385 Gold cores @ 2.649GHz + 4x Kryo 385 Silver low-power cores @ 1.766GHz cores, Hexagon  685 DSP, Adreno 630 GPU with OpenGL ES 3.2 + AEP (Android Extension Pack),  DX next, Vulkan 2, OpenCL 2.0 full profile System Memory – 4GB or 6GB dual-channel high-speed LPDDR4X SDRAM at 1866MHz Storage – 32GB or 64GB UFS Flash Storage Connectivity Wi-Fi 5 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5Ghz 2×2 MU-MIMO (WCN3990) with 5 GHz external PA & U.FL antenna connector Bluetooth 5.x Audio & …

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Raspberry Pi CM3+ based EagleEye Smart Camera Works with OpenCV and LabVIEW NI Vision

Raspberry Pi CM3 Industrial Smart Camera

We previously covered Q-Wave Systems’ Melon S3 board combining a Xilinx Spartan 3E FPGA with ESP8266, but the Thai company is back is a completely different product: EagleEye Smart Camera. The board is powered by Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ (CM3+) with 16GB or 32GB flash, and equipped with a 5 MP camera for machine vision and robotics applications.  There are two version of the board Uno and Industrial with the latter adding 24V digital input and outputs, circuit protections and support for industrial temperature range. EagleEye smart camera key features & specifications: SoM – Raspberry Pi CM3+ with Broadcom BCM2837B0 quad core cortex-A53 processor, 1 GB RAM, and 16GB or 32 GB flash Camera – 5 MP OV5647 image sensor,  CS/M12 lens holder + 4mm CS lens Video Output – mini HDMI port Networking – 10/100M Ethernet USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port up to 1.2A Expansion Uno – 4x 3.3V digital input; 4x 3.3V digital output; both …

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