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Hardware

Linux-driven module and dev kit combine Apollo Lake with FPGA

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Hardware

Exor and Arrow announced a “GigaSOM GS01” module and 10GbE equipped dev kit that runs RT Linux on an Apollo Lake along with a Cyclone 10 GX FPGA. The products offer TSN, fieldbus protocol, and Corvina Cloud support.

Italian embedded hardware firm Exor Embedded is collaborating with Arrow to launch a GigaSOM GS01 module and a GS01 development kit based on it that combine an Intel Apollo Lake SoC with an Intel Cyclone 10 GX FPGA. The processors are tightly linked via a high-throughput, dual-lane PCIe Gen2 interconnect, and the module is soldered to the dev kit’s carrier board, which features dual 10GbE SFP+ ports. The platform provides the combined capabilities of an industrial PC, an HMI controller, and PLCs, says Exor.

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Open Hardware/Modding: FPGAs, AR, HardwareX, COVID-19 and More

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Hardware
  • An Open Source HDMI Implementation For FPGAs

    With some clever hacks and fast IO work, it’s possible to get your average garden-variety microcontroller to output some form of video. Old analog standards like composite and VGA are just slow enough that it’s possible to bitbash one’s way to success. If you’re serious about video work, however, you’ll want something more capable. For those use cases, [purisame]’s got what you need – an open source HDMI implementation for FPGAs.

  • CR Deck Mk.1 open source AR headset soon available via Kickstarter

    Combine Reality as unveiled their new open source augmented reality headset which is based on the Project North Star that utilizes Ultraleap hand-tracking. The AR headset will soon be available via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which is expected to launch very soon.

    Unfortunately very little is known about the new CR Deck Mk.1 AR headset currently in development by Combine Reality but as soon as more information regarding specifications or a launch date for the Kickstarter campaign our revealed we will keep you up to speed as always.

  • African scientists leverage open hardware

    A 2018 article in the journal HardwareX details “an open source hardware setup to measure locomotor activity in rodents”. It has a simple design. But for developer Victor Kumbol, then a neuroscience master’s student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, that device, called Actifield, has had an outsized impact.

    Actifield is an actimeter, a device that quantifies animal activity (V. Wumbor-Apin Kumbol et al. HardwareX http://doi.org/ggb8hw; 2018). “I needed the actimeter to test for potential drug compounds that could modify behaviour in mice. But my department had only one actimeter available, and it was outdated,” Kumbol says. “So I decided to build one for myself.”

  • Open-Source Release Allows Coventor to Be Produced Worldwide

    The design for a low-cost ventilator created at the University of Minnesota has now been released as open-source, giving manufacturers around the globe a way to help supply care providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ventilators serve a crucial role in treating COVID-19—but the surge in patients sickened by the pandemic is outpacing the number of ventilators available. The Coventor was designed by a team of UMN Twin Cities researchers and an alumnus as a compact, first-of-its-kind alternative to traditional ventilators, giving physicians another means to increase the oxygen levels in patients’ blood.

  • Improved swing trajectory

    While not the entirety of the problem by any stretch, I figured fixing the swing trajectory was a fine first step that would be mostly independent of any other resolutions. I wanted the swing phase of the leg movement to have a few properties:

    Continuous velocity profile (I don’t care about jerk)

    When lifting off and touching down, maintain the ground velocity for a brief period of time

    For now, I’m not doing whole body control, so the trajectory can be scripted, and it is acceptable to lock in the target position at foot liftoff time

    I decided to tackle the problem independently in the Z axis and in the XY plane. In both cases, the approach is based on piecewise cubic bezier curves. In one dimension, these curves have a continuous first and second derivative, but only the position and first derivative are controllable.

Devices: Netbooks, Raspberry Pi and RISC-V

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Hardware
  • Netbooks: The Form Factor Time Forgot

    The first machine to kick off the craze was the Asus EEE PC 701, inspired by the One Laptop Per Child project. Packing a 700Mhz Celeron processor, a small 7″ LCD screen, and a 4 GB SSD, it was available with Linux or Windows XP installed from the factory. With this model, Asus seemed to find a market that Toshiba never quite hit with their Libretto machines a decade earlier. The advent of the wireless network and an ever-more exciting Internet suddenly made a tiny, toteable laptop attractive, whereas previously it would have just been a painful machine to do work on. The name “netbook” was no accident, highlighting the popular use case — a lightweight, portable machine that’s perfect for web browsing and casual tasks.

    But the netbook was more than the sum of its parts. Battery life was in excess of 3 hours, and the CPU was a full-fat x86 processor. This wasn’t a machine that required users to run special cut-down software or compromise on usage. Anything you could run on an average, low-spec PC, you could run on this, too. USB and VGA out were available, along with WiFi, so presentations were easy and getting files on and off was a cinch. It bears remembering, too, that back in the Windows XP days, it was easy to share files across a network without clicking through 7 different permissions tabs and typing in your password 19 times.

  • Raspberry Pi–powered robot farmers
  • Efinix Releases Three RISC-V Software-Defined SoC’s Optimized for Trion FPGA’s

    Efinix has announced three RISC-V Software-defined SoC’s based on Charles Papon’s VexRiscv core and optimized for the company’s Trion T8 to T120 FPGA’s.

    VexRiscv is a 32-bit RISC-V CPU using RISCV32I ISA with M and C extensions, has five pipeline stages (fetch, decode, execute, memory, and writeback), and a configurable feature set. Each SoC includes a RISC-V core, memory, as well as various I/O and interfaces.

NexDock Touch Laptop Shell Features a Touchscreen Display, an Optional Magnetic Mount for Your Phone

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Hardware

NexDock is a Motorola Lapdock alternative launched in 2016 with a 14.1″ non-touch display, a built-in battery, and a Bluetooth keyboard. It was followed by NexDock 2 last year with a Full HD display and a USB-C port.

The company has now announced they had started manufacturing NexDock Touch based on NexDock 2 but adding a touchscreen display and some other features, and the company has also developed a magnetic mount – compatible with all NexDock models – to conveniently attach your phone to the side of the display.

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Also: Rikomagic DS02 Android Digital Signage Player Supports 4G LTE or WiFi Connectivity

Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi, Astro Pi and OpenPower Foundation

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Hardware
  • Low-cost air quality sensor works with Raspberry Pi

    Metriful is launching a $39 “Sense” indoor air quality sensor module that works with the Raspberry Pi and other I2C-enabled systems. Other sensors include temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, and sound.

    In recent months, much of the world’s population has spent a lot of time indoors, often crowded into small apartments. If the air quality has improved outside due to the pandemic, the same cannot always be said for the indoor realm.

    Metriful has gone to Kickstarter launch a remarkably low-cost sensor board called Sense to help you find how much pollution has come inside and how much is being generated from within from HVAC, cooking, and manufactured goods. It also checks temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, sound, and even gives you a rough estimation of CO2. Metriful has posted example code and setup instructions for Raspberry Pi and Arduino on GitHub and offers additional documentation.

  • 6558 programs from young people have run on the ISS for Astro Pi 2019/20!
  • OpenPower Puts Open Source Software Guru In Charge

    Effective today, Kulina, is the new executive director of the OpenPower Foundation, and his appointment follows the trend of gradually moving from a systems-centric view from the people at the top to one where people are more familiar with the open source software movement and how to build ecosystems. We had a chat about the OpenPower effort and what plans Kulina has to shape what the foundation does and to make Power more broadly implemented than it is currently today.

Starting our next Open Source Project - TrueNAS SCALE

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Hardware

As many of you are aware, TrueNAS 12.0 BETA is soon to be released. It unifies FreeNAS and TrueNAS into a single image and will make maintaining and documenting these releases significantly more efficient. The early testing and reviews have gone very well and it’s exciting to see the upcoming OpenZFS 2.0 perform as well as it does. We’re confident that you’ll like TrueNAS CORE when you try it out.

With the bulk of the TrueNAS 12.0 development work starting to wind down, we wanted to take some time to confirm the rumors of some new work that has been occurring behind the scenes in the iX development labs. As some clever GitHub code-watchers have already noticed, we’ve been hard at work on a new project called TrueNAS SCALE. This is an ambitious new Open Source initiative allowing us to take some big new steps forward in software-defined infrastructure capabilities.

SCALE is an exciting new addition to the TrueNAS software family. It uses much of the same TrueNAS 12.0 source code, but adds a few different twists.

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Also: iXsystems Announces TrueNAS SCALE As A Linux-Based Offering

Devices With GNU/Linux

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Hardware
  • Pinebook Pro, First Impressions

    After seeing it in action at FOSDEM (from afar, as the crowd was too large), I decided to buy a Pinebook Pro for personal use. From the beginning, the intention was to use it for pkgsrc development, with NetBSD as the main OS. It was finally delivered on Thursday, one day earlier than promised, so I thought I would write down my first impressions.

    If you have never heard of the Pinebook Pro: It is a cheap, open, hackable laptop with an ARM processor, the successor of the original Pinebook (which I thought was too low-end to be a useful daily driver) with generally more premium components.

  • Let’s make art at home this week
  • What’s the deal with edge computing?

    With over 41 billion IoT devices expected to be active by 2027 — that’s at least 5 devices for every person on the planet — edge computing has emerged as a tenable solution to prevent the impending snowballing of network traffic.

    Allow me to lift the veil on this buzzword and explain why it’s been gaining attention in tech circles lately.

    The concept

    IoT devices generate a lot of data. Smart home hubs constantly accrue information on voice commands, ambient noise, and auxiliary device output. Connected security cameras transfer several gigabytes of image data each day. And self-driving cars will, in all likelihood, be gathering hundreds of terabytes of data each year.

    The idea of edge computing is to process all this data at the location it is collected. Data that is only of ephemeral importance can (and should) be crunched on the device itself. This is in contrast to cloud computing, where data is sent to massive, far-away compute warehouses for processing.

  • 10th Gen Comet Lake computer has GTX GPU and 10 GbE ports

    Sintrones’ fanless, Linux-ready “ABOX-5210G” transport PC features an up to 10-core Comet Lake-S CPU, Nvidia graphics, 3x M.2, 2x mini-PCIe, 3x DP, 2x HDMI, 2x SATA, and 10x GbE ports with optional PoE.

    Sintrones has announced the second embedded PC we’ve seen with an Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake-S processor after Vecow’s recent ECX-2000 Series. The fanless ABOX-5210G uses slightly lower powered, but more power-efficient Core TE Comet Lake-S models than the Vecow system, including a 2.0GHz/4.5GHz Core i9-10900TE. There is also a 2GHz/4.6GHz Xeon W-1290TE, which similarly offers 10x dual-threaded cores, 20MB Intel Smart Cache, and a 35W TDP.

Development Boards and Open Hardware/Modding

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Hardware
  • Cucumber ESP32-S2 Development Board Comes with USB OTG Port, Optional Sensors

    Yesterday, I wrote about LilyGO TTGO ESP32-S2 WiFi IoT board, but one commenter mentioned it missed one of the key features of ESP32-S2 chip: a USB OTG port. While USB OTG is accessible through the header pins, it’s not the most convenient to use.

    I also quickly mentioned Cucumber ESP32-S2 development board in that post, but I did not expand too much since I thought it should only ship within Thailand. But the board does include two USB Type-C ports, one for the usual USB UART connector, and the other for USB OTG, and I found out the board is available worldwide.

  • TTGO ESP32-S2 WiFi IoT Board Comes with Optional MicroSD Card and Battery Support

    All ESP32-S2 boards I’ve seen so far were from Espressif Systems themselves including ESP32-S2-Saola-1 and ESP32-S2-Kaluga-1, but LilyGO TTGO ESP32-S2 is the first third-party board for sale so far.

    The tiny board is somewhat similar to ESP32-S2-Saola-1 board and comes in two versions with a similar form factor, but a completely different pinout and the presence of a MicroSD card socket and a battery connector on one of the boards.

    [...]

    The boards are a bit more different than I expected at first look. Please note that specifications should be seen as preliminary, as there were obvious mistakes such as Bluetooth support (not available for ESP32-S2) which I did not included in the specs above, but there may be others which I missed.

  • CR Deck Mk.1 Is An Open Source AR Headset Based On Project North Star With Ultraleap Hand-Tracking
  • Open Source Ventilators Helped by Electronic Design Software

    In the early days of the pandemic, the first major challenge facing nations was a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. The former helps safeguard hospital personnel from potential contamination; the latter are necessary to keep the most critically ill patients breathing once the virus attacks their respiratory systems.

    Ventilators are traditionally large and very costly devices; smaller ventilators—known as field emergency ventilators (FEVs) have been used in emergency settings, including combat missions and in Third World nations for decades to help keep patients alive as they await transport to hospitals for intubation.

  • NASA JPL Team Fires up Open Source PPE Respirator Designs

    Does it really take a team of rocket scientists to rapidly engineer a top-notch line of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against COVID-19 spread? And then to open source its production designs for the benefit of anyone with access to a 3D printer?

    The answer: not necessarily, but it sure can help.

    That’s the latest good news on the pandemic front from the technology and innovation team at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

  • NASA and other innovators work to redesign ventilators for Covid-19 patients

    NASA scientists as well as other innovators are busy developing alternatives to the traditional ventilator being used worldwide to treat severe cases of Covid-19. The movement is in response to growing evidence that in some cases ventilators can cause more harm than good in some patients with low oxygen levels. Statistics tell the story: 80% of patients with the coronavirus die on such machines.

    This comes just a few months since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when U.S. healthcare providers said that they needed ventilators to accommodate the flood of new patients, and lots of them. The crisis triggered the Trump administration to activate the Defense Production Act so manufacturers including Ford, GM and GE could start ventilator production to produce these medical devices for the U.S. government.

Linux on Devices and Open Hardware/Modding

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Hardware
  • Developing Qt5 applications natively on Wind River Linux

    Wind River Linux provides the technologies essential to building a flexible, stable, and secure platform for your embedded devices.

    Based on OpenEmbedded releases from the Yocto Project, it is designed to let you customize your platform to include only the packages and features you need. Powered by bitbake, it provides the ability to build an entire Linux distribution from source by following repeatable recipes. This is really powerful, but can be foreign to application developers that already have a workflow they are comfortable with.

    Developers building graphical user interfaces (GUI) have their own set of tools that they rely on. Often they prefer to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) tailored to the language and frameworks they are working with. Typically this IDE and the tools it uses are running natively on the same platform they are building for.

    Fortunately, these developers can still do this on Wind River Linux. This tutorial describes building Wind River Linux with the GCC toolchain and Qt Creator included to enable native application development.

  • Udoo Bolt Gear mini-PC launches with Ryzen V1000 Udoo Bolt SBC

    Seco has launched a $399 “Udoo Bolt Gear” mini-PC kit built around its Ryzen Embedded V1000 based Udoo Bolt SBC. The $399 kit includes a metal case, 65W adapter, and a WiFi/BT M.2 card.

    A growing number of open-spec, community-backed SBCs ship with optional. and in some cases, standard enclosures, but most of these are simple plastic cases. Seco’s new Udoo Bolt Gear mini-PC, which is based on its Udoo Bolt SBC, provides a metal case, a power adapter, US and EU cables, a VESA mount, and a WiFi/BT kit. There are also plenty of vents to help the SBC’s standard fan cool AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC.

    [...]

    The Bolt and the Bolt Gear are further equipped with an Arduino Leonardo compatible Microchip Atmega32U4 MCU. The MCU can be used for robotics and other real-time applications. It can also be configured to run while the system is turned off and then turn on the computer based on trigger input.

  • Ultra-narrow DipDuino Arduino Compatible Board is a Perfect Breadboard Companion

    We previously wrote about a uChip DIP-sized Arduino Zero compatible board with 0.3″ spacing between the two rows of pins making it perfect for breadboards as it left four rows on each side of the breadboard.

    There’s now another similar option with the appropriately named DipDuino board equipped with a Microchip Atmega328P MCU compatible with Arduino Pro or Pro Mini boards.

  • Using Photoresistor From Raspberry PI To Detect Light

    Photoresistor (also known as photocell) is a Light Dependent Resistor (LDR). As the name suggests, this components act just like a resistor, changing its resistance in response to how much light is falling on it. Ususally, photoresistors have a very high resistance in near darkness and a very low resistance in bright ligh.

    This component is used to manage electronic or electric devices to answer light conditions enabling or disabling functions.

    Photoresistors are analogic components. So it can be used with microcontrollers having analogic inputs (like Arduino) to read light level.

    Unfortunately, Raspberry PI has only digital inputs (with threshold between High and Low being around 1V). This means that, without specific analogic-to-digital hardware, we’ll be able only to read if light is high or low.

Devices/Embedded With Linux

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Hardware
  • Gemini Lake industrial mini-PCs are loaded with USB and COM ports

    GigaIPC latest QBiX Series industrial mini-PCs run Linux or Windows on Intel Gemini Lake and offer up to 8x USB and 5x COM ports plus dual displays, GbE, SATA III, M.2, and ruggedization features.

    Taiwanese computer vendor Gigabyte primarily produces consumer and enterprise desktop PC and server equipment, so we were surprised in 2017 when it launched an embedded 3.5-inch, Intel Apollo Lake GA-SBCAP3350 SBC. The following year in 2018, Gigabyte spun off GigaIPC as an embedded unit, and it has already generated a large catalog of Intel-based products including Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, thin Mini-ITX, and 110 x 105mm “10×10” boards. There are 15 different 3.5-inch “QBi Pro” boards much like the GA-SBCAP3350, but also available with Whiskey Lake and Kaby Lake-U processors.

  • 19″ Rackmounts Support up to 12 Raspberry Pi SBCs

    Last time, we wrote about myelectronics.nl we covered their Tesla Cybertruck Case for Intel NUCs which housed the mini PC into a mini CyberTruck looking enclosure. The company has now come up with new housing solutions specifically designed for Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/4 Model B/B+ boards.

  • PoE-ready Ryzen V1000 SBC is all about camera control

    Axiomtek’s “MIRU130” SBC targets embedded vision applications with a Ryzen V1000 SoC, 4x USB 3.1 Gen2, HDMI and DP ports, cam triggers and lighting controls, 2x M.2, PCIe x16, and 4x GbE ports, 2x of which offer PoE.

    Axiomtek recently launched a CAPA13R, joineing Seco’s similarly 3.5-inch SBC-C90 as the only SBCs we have seen based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V100. Now Axiomtek has returned with a larger, V1000-based MIRU130 motherboard with a 244 x 170mm form factor that falls in between Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX.

  • IAR Systems Delivers Efficient Embedded Software Building on Linux

    Through the C/C++ compiler and debugger toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench®, IAR Systems provides its customers with the market's most diverse microcontroller support as well as adapted licensing options to fit different organizations' needs. This flexibility is now extended to the build environment as the well-known build tools in IAR Embedded Workbench now support Linux. The tools offer leading code quality, outstanding optimizations for size and speed, and fast build times. Supporting implementation in Linux-based frameworks for automated application build and test processes, the tools enable large-scale deployments of critical software building and testing and is suitable for installations ranging from a few licenses on a small build server, to massive installations with several hundreds of parallel builds active at the same time.

  • Librem 5 April 2020 Software Development Update

    This is another incarnation of the software development progress for the Librem 5. This time for April 2020 (weeks 14-18). Some items are covered in more detail in separate blog posts at https://puri.sm/news. The idea of this summaries is so you can have a closer look at the coding and design side of things. It also shows how much we’re standing on the shoulders of giants reusing existing software and how contributions are flowing back and forth. So these reports are usually rather link heavy pointing to individual merge requests on https://source.puri.sm/ or to the upstream side (like e.g. GNOME’s gitlab.)

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