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Hardware

Introducing Precursor

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Hardware

Precursor is a mobile, open source electronics platform. Similar to how a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino can be transformed into an IoT gadget with the addition of a couple breakout boards, some solder, and a bit of code, Precursor is a framework upon which you can assemble a wide variety of DIY mobile applications.

Precursor is unique in the open source electronics space in that it’s designed from the ground-up to be carried around in your pocket. It’s not just a naked circuit board with connectors hanging off at random locations: it comes fully integrated—with a rechargeable battery, a display, and a keyboard—in a sleek, 7.2 mm (quarter-inch) aluminum case.

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GNU/Linux-Compatible Devices and Open Hardware

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Microchip SAMD21 Machine Learning Evaluation Kits Work with Cartesiam, Edge Impulse and Motion Gestures Solutions

    While it all started in the cloud Artificial Intelligence is now moving at the very edge is ultra-low power nodes, and Microchip has launched two SAMD21 Arm Cortex-M0+ machine learning evaluation kits that now work with AI/ML solutions from Cartesiam, Edge Impulse, and Motion Gestures.

    Bot machine learning evaluation kits come with SAMD21G18 Arm Cortex-M0+ 32-bit MCU, an on-board debugger (nEDBG), an ATECC608A CryptoAuthentication secure element, ATWINC1510 Wi-Fi network controller, as well as Microchip MCP9808 high accuracy temperature sensor and a light sensor. But EV45Y33A development kit is equipped with an add-on board featuring Bosch’s BMI160 low-power Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), while EV18H79A features an add-on board with TDK InvenSense ICM-42688-P 6-axis MEMS.

  • 3µA/MHz Ambiq Apollo 4 MCU Targets Battery-powered IoT Devices with Voice Processing

    Ambiq Micro is using sub-threshold voltages under 0.5V to offer ultra-low-power Arm microcontrollers. In 2015, the company launch the Apollo Cortex-M4F MCU with 30µA/MHz power consumption in active mode, which was followed in 2016 by Apollo 2 in consuming just 10µA/MHz, and Apollo 3 (Blue) dropped power consumption to as low as 6µA/MHz against using a Cortex-M4F @ 48 MHz in active mode.

  • SBC and HMI starter kit run Linux on i.MX6 ULL

    Artila’s “SBC-7530” runs Linux 5.4 on an i.MX6 ULL with WiFi, 2x 10/100 LAN, 3x USB, 2x RS-485, 2x CAN, mini-PCIe with micro-SIM, and an optional starter kit with 7-inch touchscreen.

    Taiwan-based Artila Electronics, which is known for its Matrix line of low-power, compact IoT gateways, has launched its first SBC in 12 years. The i.MX6 ULL-equipped SBC-7530 follows its circa-2008 M-508 SBC, which is based on an ARM9-based Atmel (now Microchip) AT91RM9200.

  • Industrial panel PC is an IP69 neat freak

    Adlink’s IP69-protected “Titan-AL” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on Apollo Lake and is available with 15.6-, 21.5-, and 23.8-inch HD capacitive touchscreens in either VESA with M12 or pipe-mount configurations.

    Adlink has added an Intel Apollo Lake based panel PC to its Titan Panel Computer series that adheres to IP69 water and dust-proofing protections. The Titan-AL follows Adlink’s similarly IP69-protected Penta Food-C15/C17/C19 IP69K, which is aimed specifically at food processing operations and runs on an older Atom D2550. Other IP69 protected panel PCs include TechNexion’s i.MX6 based, 10.1-inch TWP-1010-IMX6 and Wincomm’s Skylake-based, 15-, 19-, and 22-inch WTP-9E66.

  • Compact module runs on Ryzen V1000

    Axiomtek’s Linux-ready “CEM130” COM Express Compact Type 6 module provides a Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC with up to 32GB DDR4 and support for quad displays, 2x SATA, 7x PCIe, 9x USB, and -20 to 60°C operation.

    Axiomtek, which has previously tapped AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC in a 3.5-inch CAPA13R SBC and DSP600-211 signage player, has now returned with a COM Express Compact Type 6 module. The CEM130 joins other V1000-equipped, 95 x 95mm Compact Type 6 modules such as Arbor’s EmETXe-a10M0 and Kontron’s COMe-cVR6.

  • New COM Express Type 6 Compact Module Compatible with Windows 10 and Linux Operating Systems
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  • Monitor water quality anywhere in the world with WaterAid

    Clean water is one of our most precious resources, but identifying sources of pollution often means expensive equipment. This can also mean taking multiple water quality readings and somehow aggregating them together to be easily usable. As a solution to both problems, Andrei Florian has developed WaterAid — which was recently named a finalist in this year’s Hackaday Prize.

    WaterAid consists of a measurement unit that senses water pH, turbidity, and temperature, as well as atmospheric temperature and humidity. Data is relayed to the system’s backend via a cellular connection, using an onboard MKR GSM 1400. Collected information from one or more devices is then displayed on a Soracom Lagoon dashboard for water monitoring from anywhere in the world!

    Not only can a fleet of WaterAids be used to continuously track a river, lake, or any other body of water, but individuals looking to get immediate feedback on quality can utilize the portable tool’s NeoPixel ring for color-coded judgement.

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  • A MKR ZERO-based volume controller for your PC

    While some keyboards provide media keys or even knobs to adjust your overall computer sound up and down, often what you really want is the ability to tune program volumes separately. To make this extremely easy, SNR Tech Bytes has come up with a beautifully-designed controller, which runs on the MKR ZERO.

    The device features five encoders to individually tune the master volume, Discord, Chrome, gaming, and Spotify, with the help of software on the PC itself. Encoder button mutes each channel as needed, using NeoPixels below to indicate each status.

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  • How is computing taught in schools around the world?

             

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  • Build an arcade cabinet | Hackspace 35

             

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    nut – testing shutdown and startup

                     

                       

    Based on this, I’m confident the rack will properly shutdown when the power fails. Just as important, it will come back when the power returns.

Open Up: Open Source Hardware — A Chat with Carl

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Hardware
Interviews
OSS

From a broader lens, to produce “open source hardware” means that we have developed and shared the recipe to create a high-end commercial product that can be learned from, adapted, and used by anyone else. In the same way we’ve stood on the shoulders of the Linux and open source software giants who came before us, we now get to be pioneers in developing open source hardware for those who come next. If you want to learn more how a computer is designed or how something is made, our schematics are the instructions for how to do it. It describes every step of the process, from each piece of the machine and its dimensions, to the type of aluminum used and how to bend it.
It’s similar to open source software in that you can learn from the product, adapt it to your needs, and distribute it. The difference is that it requires outside equipment to produce your own version. Open hardware has become more accessible with 3-D printing, but as we found when we were making acrylic prototypes of Thelio, you reach a point where it’s time to work with metal, which presents its own challenges. You have to cut it, bend it, and paint it, all of which requires specific equipment.

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PinePhone Manjaro Edition Pre-Orders Go Live

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Hardware

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here, you can now pre-order the PinePhone Manjaro Edition Linux phone from PINE64’s online store for as low as $149 USD for the 2GB RAM model or $199 USD for the so-called Convergence Package variant, which comes with 3GB RAM and a USB-C dock to turn the phone into a PC when connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

The PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition was announced last month. It comes pre-installed with Manjaro Linux ARM, which is based on the Arch Linux ARM operating system. Three variants of Manjaro Linux ARM for PinePhone are available for you to try with UBports’ Lomiri, Purism’s Phosh or KDE’s Plasma Mobile.

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Devices With GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Raspberry Pi enables world’s smallest iMac
  • Banana Pi BPI-M5

    The Banana Pi BPI-M5 SBC, based on the 2.0GHz quad-core Amlogic S905X3 SoC, features 4GB RAM, 16G eMMC, microSD, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, GbE LAN, 4x USB3.0, and 40-pin Raspberry Pi style expansion.

  • Modules and dev kits run Linux on 2.3-TOPS equipped i.MX8M Plus

    Variscite’s “VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS” and smaller “DART-MX8M-PLUS” modules run Linux or Android on NXP’s AI-enabled i.MX8M Plus with up to 4GB LPDDR4, 64GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, and optional dev kits.

    Variscite has launched some of the first embedded boards to support NXP’s i.MX8M Plus, an up to quad-core, Cortex-A53 SoC running at 1.8GHz and equipped with a 2.3-TOPs Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Variscite’s VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS and DART-MX8M-PLUS modules join TechNexion’s Wandboard IMX8M-Plus SBC and the Wandboard IMX8M-Plus EDM SOM module that powers it. Toradex, meanwhile, has teased an upcoming Verdin iMX8M Plus module.

  • DR6018 V2 Embedded WiFi 6 Router Board Adds Support for WiFi 6E and 5G IoT M.2 Cards

    A few months ago we covered DR6018 (aka CP01) WiFi 6 Embedded SBC powered by Qualcomm IPQ6018 processor and offering six Ethernet ports including five Gigabit interfaces and one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port.

    Wallys Communications has now informed CNX Software they had a new version of the board called DR6018 V2 with a more compact form factor, support for PoE, as well as optional WiFi 6E and 5G IoT M.2 modules.

  • Epiq Solutions Introduces Matchstiq™ Z3u, a New Radically Small, Field-Ready, Low Profile Software-Defined Radio (SDR) RF Platform Ideal for On-the-Go Signal Processing

    A complete Platform Development Kit (PDK) with Linux board support package (BSP), open API and FPGA reference design source code is available to allow customers to develop their own signal processing applications for Matchstiq Z3u. This PDK leverages the same API and FPGA reference design used with Epiq’s Sidekiq portfolio of SDR modules, providing a familiar interface for existing customers.

Working From Home with a New-to-Me ThinkPad

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Like so many, but not nearly enough, I’ve been work-from-home since mid-March.

My daily driver is a Dell desktop with Ubuntu 16.04 (the GNOME spin), but it’s in the living room. It’s not the easiest place to work during the day, in that it’s high-traffic. My two-year-old daughter is way too fascinated by video calls! I took to working in the bedroom on my fairly old T420i ThinkPad for chunks of the day. It’s probably around 10 years old, but it’s rock solid, even though it’s 32-bit architecture and 8GB RAM. I ran Linux Mint Cinnamon on it and while it wasn’t blazingly fast, it handled my daily work without any issues. That is, until a Zoom update broke Zoom. Without Zoom, the computer was much less useful. And unfortunately, finding support for Zoom on a 32-bit Linux system isn’t as easy as it sounds.

[...]

I wrote this to remind everyone that while there’s a shortage of new laptops, there are lots of good used options, and Linux breathes new life into older hardware. As the people on the ThinkPad reddit are quick to point out, the more you’re able to fix up a ThinkPad yourself, the more favorable the pricing. I needed something quick and operational, but I’m comfortable with the specs I got for the price.

I’m a ThinkPad nerd. I love them (this is my third) and have had nothing but great experiences with them. But this isn’t about ThinkPads. It’s about affordability and sustainability. My story is a reminder that even if you’re not looking for a fixer-upper, you can still find something used and reliable, that runs Linux, at a good price.

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The Slimbook Essential is new affordable Linux laptop line with two models

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

When a lot of companies reveal their new Linux hardware, it often ends up being towards the high end. Slimbook have come along to help remedy that with their Slimbook Essential line.

Slimbook said in an email to us today: "A new computer that may establish a milestone in our trademark history, not for being the best Linux ultrabook, because some already claim that the PRO X holds that title, but for being the most affordable Linux ultrabook for everyone.

During our 5 years of service, we have released several high performance ultrabooks targeting professional environments with relatively moderate / high prices, but never as low as 499€ like the new Essential. With this new addition, we aim to widen our client base and reach customers that look for the best price / quality ratio."

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TUXEDO Book XUX7 Launches as Behemoth of a Linux Gaming Laptop

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Hardware

TUXEDO Book XUX7 is a monster of a Linux laptop, powered by 10th Gen “Comet Lake” Intel Core desktop processors up to Intel Core i9-10900K, which features 10 cores and 20 threads, as well as up to 5.3 GHz clock speeds and a nominal power consumption of 125 watts.

Being a gaming machine, the TUXEDO Book XUX7 laptop provides Linux gamers with maximum graphics performance on-the-go thanks to either the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Refresh, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics cards, which feature 8GB GDDR6 VRAM.

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Devices and Open Hardware

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • ACEINNA Launches OpenIMU ROS Driver for Development of Robotic Navigation Systems

    The Robotic Operating System (ROS) is a set of software libraries and tools that help developers create robotics applications. It can be described as a software development kit (SDK). As stated on ROS.org : "The ROS user community builds on top of a common infrastructure to provide an integration point that offers access to hardware drivers, generic robot capabilities, development tools, useful external libraries, and more." This allows users to get their robotics projects up and running a lot faster than starting from scratch.

  • Binary Images Optimized for Your Embedded Device

    Embedded systems developers have usually had two choices when setting off to create exciting new devices based on Linux and built using the latest embedded SOCs. Use a binary distribution typically optimized for laptops, desktops and servers and hope it either fits or painstakingly customize it. Use an embedded Linux product which makes customization easy but has a rather large learning curve and doesn't have an easy way to even determine if the learning curve is worth the journey.

    Wind River Linux now provides access to binary images of our industry leading embedded Linux OS, allowing you to get the best of both worlds. Binary images, which are optimized for embedded devices, are available to be used for deploying on your embedded device and keeping it up to date. Or these same images can be used to try out on your embedded device to evaluate the capabilities of Wind River Linux while you ease into the workflow required to use our source based embedded Linux product.

  • Raspberry Pi lookalike showcases i.MX8M Mini

    Avnet’s $72.50 “MaaxBoard Mini” SBC offers Linux and Android images to run on an i.MX8M Mini with 2GB DDR4, GbE, 4x USB 2.0, MIPI DSI- and -CSI, WiFi/BT, and 40-pin GPIO.

    A year ago, Avnet’s Embest unit launched a $60 MaaXBoard SBC featuring NXP’s i.MX8M. We missed the company’s July announcement of the promised, i.MX8M Mini based MaaxBoard Mini, but since the board did not receive wide coverage, we figure better late than never.

  • IP69K-Rated Stainless Steel Panel PCs Run Windows 10 or Ubuntu 16.04

    There are already several industrial dust and waterproof panel PCs on the market, but with its Intel Apollo Lake powered Titan-AL Series, ADLINK goes a step further with IP69K-rated stainless steel panel PCs that provide resistance against corrosion from all sort of chemicals.

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  • Magpie MIDI is an adaptive harmonica-style computer interface

    For those with certain physical restrictions, interfacing with a computer can be a difficult task. As a possible solution, Shu Takahashi and Pato Montalvo have come up with the Magpie MIDI hands-free interface. The adaptive tool, inspired in part by a harmonica, has 13 air holes that enable its user to “sip” and “puff” all 26 letters of the alphabet.

Devices: Banana Pi, Firmware in Your Firmware, Amlogic/Arm and Arduino

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Raspberry Pi: Banana Pi maker touts this new rival board with Amlogic chip and 4GB RAM

    Chinese SinoVoip has teased a Raspberry Pi-style single-board computer, the Banana Pi BPI-M5, with an Amlogic S905X3 four-core Cortex-A55 processor.

    The Raspberry Pi rival features a system on chip with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, an HDMI port, and just like its fruity rival, a 40-pin GPIO (general-purpose input/output) rack to connect other devices.

  • Putting The Firmware In Your Firmware

    Performing over-the-air updates of devices in the field can be a tricky business. Reliability and recovery is of course key, but even getting the right bits to the right storage sectors can be a challenge. Recently I’ve been working on a project which called for the design of a new pathway to update some small microcontrollers which were decidedly inconvenient.

    There are many pieces to a project like this; a bootloader to perform the actual updating, a robust communication protocol, recovery pathways, a file transfer mechanism, and more. What made these micros particularly inconvenient was that they weren’t network-connected themselves, but required a hop through another intermediate controller, which itself was also not connected to the network. Predictably, the otherwise simple “file transfer” step quickly ballooned out into a complex onion of tasks to complete before the rest of the project could continue. As they say, it’s micros all the way down.

  • Low-cost Amlogic S905L2 TV Boxes Show Up on Aliexpress for $20+

    Amlogic has plenty of variants to its S905 processors, and so far I had never heard about Amlogic S905L2 processor that can be found in some Android 9.0 TV boxes sold for a little over $20 including shipping.

    There are only two such TV boxes listed with the quad-core Cortex-A53 processor so far, and they are basically the same X7 model except for different storage and memory configuration.

  • Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Raises Licensing Questions

    This could accelerate an industry shift away from Arm designs to RISC-V, according to a Reuters source.

  • Get ready to Explore IoT with Arduino Education

    This week we are launching our Arduino Explore IoT Kit, which allows high school and college students to take their first steps in building connected devices. Educators can make a complex subject simple – explore the Internet of Things right now with Arduino Education.

    Aimed at the beginner, there is a complete set of easy to follow online projects providing students with a gateway into the digital world of connected objects and how people work together.

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