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Hardware

Raspberry Pi 4: Could Ubuntu Be On The Way?

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Hardware
Ubuntu

On the surface the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB may not have been a revolutionary release, but it has finally brought the power of a low cost 64 bit desktop computer to homes around the world. From day one the Raspberry Pi has used a Linux based operating system, initially a rather limited release of Debian, called Raspbian which has evolved over the years to become Raspberry Pi OS. But there are times when a more refined desktop experience would benefit the user.

For over 15 years Ubuntu have provided a Linux distribution that offers a more friendly and forgiving means to delve into the Linux ecosystem.

On a recent Ubuntu Podcast, Martin Wimpress, Director of Engineering at Canonical the company which publishes Ubuntu, hinted that “maybe we’re working on Ubuntu desktop for the Raspberry Pi”. Martin Wimpress was brought in to work on the main Ubuntu release based on his work in the Ubuntu MATE community.

There is a high chance that this will be ready for Ubuntu 20.10 due for release in October 2020.

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Open Hardware: Arduino and Beyond

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Hardware
  • Don’t try this at home: Colin Furze creates a semi-automatic potato cannon

    Colin Furze decided that he needed a potato cannon for his DIY screw tank, and after making a manually loaded version, he automated the process.

    What he came up with uses a pair of linear actuators to push the barrel forward under Arduino control, allowing a potato-projectile to drop into the device’s chamber assembly. After a short delay, it closes up again, cutting the roundish vegetable into a cylindrical plug. Flammable gas then enters via a solenoid valve for a carefully regulated amount of time.

    With the gas mixed, the cannon is then fired, and a single button press starts the process over again. The powerful cannon creates a mess in his test area after a few shots, actually taking a plug out of the mattress he used to absorb the impact. It should be quite impressive once mounted on the screw tank, though it’s a project that you probably shouldn’t try at home.

  • The Simplest TS100 Upgrade Leads Down A Cable Testing Rabbit Hole

    The fake “Grundlagen Audio” USB lead from my April 1st sojourn into using GNU Radio for audio analysis meanwhile is surprisingly stiff for what was in reality a cheap Amazon Basics item. This is probably due to two factors; it has a braided outer in a bid to copy more expensive leads, and my spraying it with gold paint has only made it stiffer.

  • HeyTeddy is a conversation-based prototyping tool for Arduino

    Programming an Arduino to do simple things like turn on an LED or read a sensor is easy enough via the official IDE. However, think back to your earliest experiences with this type of hardware. While rewarding, getting everything set up correctly was certainly more of a challenge, requiring research that you now likely take for granted.

    To assist with these first steps of a beginner’s hardware journey, researchers at KAIST in South Korea have come up with HeyTeddy, a general-purpose prototyping tool based on dialogue.

    As seen in the video below, HeyTeddy’s voice input is handled by an Amazon Echo Dot, which passes these commands through the cloud to a Raspberry Pi. The system then interacts with the hardware on a breadboard using an Uno running Firmata, along with a 7” 1024 x 600 LCD touchscreen for the GUI.

Expand your Raspberry Pi with Arduino ports

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

As members of the maker community, we are always looking for creative ways to use hardware and software. This time, Patrick Lima and I decided we wanted to expand the Raspberry Pi's ports using an Arduino board, so we could access more functionality and ports and add a layer of protection to the device. There are a lot of ways to use this setup, such as building a solar panel that follows the sun, a home weather station, joystick interaction, and more.

[...]

The first step is to expand the Raspberry Pi's ports to also use Arduino ports. This is possible using Linux ARM's native serial communication implementation that enables you to use an Arduino's digital, analogical, and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) ports to run an application on the Raspberry Pi.

This project uses TotalCross, an open source software development kit for building UIs for embedded devices, to execute external applications through the terminal and use the native serial communication. There are two classes you can use to achieve this: Runtime.exec and PortConnector. They represent different ways to execute these actions, so we will show how to use both in this tutorial, and you can decide which way is best for you.

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Devices: Arduino and Raspberry Pi, Synthesizer and More

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Linux
Hardware

  • Rebuilding a Passap E6000 knitting machine with Arduino and Raspberry Pi

    Irene Wolf is the owner a Passap E6000, a computerized knitting machine which features pair of needle beds, and decided it was time to give it an upgrade. In particular, she wanted the ability to control its rear needle bed automatically in a similar manner to the way the front is normally operated for extra functionality.

  • Robotic cornhole board guarantees three points every time

    You may have seen Mark Rober’s automated dartboard or Stuff Made Here’s backboard, which use advanced engineering to create apparatuses that ensure you “can’t miss.” Now that summer is in full swing, what about a robotic cornhole board?

    Michael Rechtin decided to take on this challenge using a webcam pointed at the sky for sensing and DC motors that move the board along an X/Y plane on a set of sliding drawer rails.

    When a bean bag is thrown, the camera feeds the video over to a laptop running a Processing sketch to analyze its trajectory and passes adjustment info to an Arduino. This then controls the motors for repositioning, which attempts to predict where the bag will land and guide it into the hold for three points!

  • Synthesizer Gets An External Touch Screen

    So he started to look for a software solution to get him the rest of the way. Luckily the MODX runs Linux, and Yamaha has made good on their GPL responsibilities and released the source code for anyone who’s interested. While poking around, he figured out that the device uses tslib to talk to the touch screen, which [sn00zerman] had worked with on previous projects. He realized that the solution might be as simple as finding a USB touch screen controller that’s compatible with the version of tslib running on the MODX.

  • Coffee Lake system supports seven independent displays

    Vecow’s rugged “RCX-1000 PEG” series runs Linux or Win 10 on 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs with up to 2x PCI/PCIe x16 slots for graphics plus PCIe x4, 2x M.2, 2x mini-PCIe, 4x SATA, 6x USB 3.1 Gen2, and 2x GbE ports.

    Vecow announced another rugged, PCIe-enabled system with Intel 8th/9th Gen Coffee Lake processors to join its GPC-1000 and water-cooled RCX-1500W systems. While those models have up to 4x PCIe x16 slots for graphics cards, the RCX-1400 PEG has only 2x PCIe x16 slots, but also offers other PCIe and/or PCI interfaces, depending on the model.

  • Coffee Lake-H module features Intel CM246 chipset

    Nexcom’s Linux-ready “ICES 675” is a COM Express Basic Type 6 module with an 8th Gen Coffee Lake-H CPU and Intel CM246 chipset, triple display support, multiple PCIe connections, and an optional ICEB 8060 carrier.

Hardware: Arduino Nano, Advantech and Adafruit

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Hardware

  • Clockception combines 24 clocks to create one clock

    What if you were to use the hands of a clock not as an individual display, but as part of an array combines together to form digits? That’s the idea behind Clockception by creator “Made by Morgan,” which utilizes 48 servo motors to drive 24 clock-like faces for an 8×3 display.

    The build uses an Arduino Nano and three servo driver boards to control movement, along with a DS1302 RTC module to track time. The overall clock is constructed out of stained poplar, while the dial assemblies are 3D-printed.

  • Change the volume of any app on your PC with the turn of a knob

    Overall computer volume control is important, but what if you want to get more granular, adjusting sound from various applications individually? Rather than going through a series of menus and on-screen sliders, Ruben Henares’ Maxmix lets you do this on the fly.

    Based on an Arduino Nano, the simple yet stylish knob takes input from an encoder and button to cycle through and select a program. Just push down and then rotate to turn the volume up or down. Want to switch from Discord to Spotify? Click it again and repeat the process.

  • Atom C3000 net appliance offers options for 10GbE, PoE, WiFi 6, and 5G

    Advantech’s fanless, -20 to 70°C tolerant “FWA-1112VC” net appliance runs Linux on an Atom C3000 with 6x GbE or 4x GbE with 2x 10GbE SFP+ ports along with optional PoE and 3x M.2 for SATA, WiFi 6, and 4G/5G.

    Advantech has announced a highly customizable, IP40-protected desktop networking system with extended temperature support. The FWA-1112VC is described in the Electropages story where we found out about it as the latest in the company’s “entry and mid-level white boxes for SD-WAN and uCPE.”

  • QuickFeather Board is Powered by QuickLogic EOS S3 Cortex-M4F MCU with embedded FPGA (Crowdfunding)

    Yesterday, I wrote about what I felt what a pretty unique board: Evo M51 board following Adafruit Feather form factor, and equipped with an Atmel SAMD51 Cortex-M4F MCU and an Intel MAX 10 FPGA.

    But less than 24 hours later, I’ve come across another Adafruit Feather-sized Cortex-M4F board with FPGA fabric. But instead of using a two-chip solution, QuickLogic QuickFeather board leverages the company’s EOS S3 SoC with a low-power Cortex-M4F core and embedded FPGA fabric.

Huawei’s ARM-based desktop PC could leave you scratching your head

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

Part of the problem is Huawei’s replacement for Windows, a Linux-based Unity OS (not to be confused with Ubuntu’s Unity). While the OS itself performed smoothly, the apps running on it didn’t. The YouTuber even had to pay 800 RMB ($115) to get access to the UOS app store which had a very limited selection of software. Any Linux user would expect popular proprietary software like Microsoft Office and Adobe’s Creative apps to be absent but the store also strangely didn’t support running 32-bit programs either.

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Devices/Embedded/Open Hardware: Arduino, RasPi, Adlink, FireCuda

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Hardware
  • Build a comment-critiquing keyboard adapter using TensorFlow Lite and Arduino

    If you’ve ever left an online comment that you later regretted, this anti-troll bot will keep that from happening again by letting you know when you’re being a bit too harsh.

    The device — which was created by Andy of element14 Presents — intercepts raw keyboard inputs using a MKR Zero board and analyzes them using a TensorFlow Lite machine learning algorithm.

  • Capture cinematic shots with this motorized slider and pan-tilt camera mount

    DIY camera sliders are a great way to get professional-looking video shots on an amateur budget, but few can compare to the quality of this project by “isaac879.”

    His device features a pan/tilt mechanism outlined in a previous video, but in the clip below he’s attaching it to a piece of aluminum extrusion to enable it to slide as well.

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  • Reducing the load: ways to support novice programmers

             

  • Open frame panel PCs run on Kaby Lake-U

    Adlink’s rugged, 7- to 21.5-inch “SP-KL Series” panel PCs run Ubuntu or Win 10 on 7th Gen U-series processors with SATA, M.2, mini-PCIe, PCIe x4, DP++, 2x GbE, 2x USB, and Adlink’s optional Function Modules.

    Adlink has announced a 7th Gen Kaby Lake U-series SP-KL Series counterpart to its almost identical, Intel Apollo Lake based SP-AL series of panel PCs. Like the SP-AL Series, the SP-KL Series comprises six all-in-one, open frame panel computers ranging from 7-inch, 1024 x 600 to 21.5-inch, 1920 x 1080. The IP65-protected systems offer a choice of 5-point capacitive or 5-wire resistive touchscreens.

  • Seagate FireCuda 520 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Linux Performance

    For those that have been considering the Seagate FireCuda 520 as a PCI Express 4.0 NVMe solid-state drive, here are some benchmarks under Ubuntu Linux with this ZP500GM3A002 drive.

    [...]

    With the FireCuda 520 I benchmarked it against the PCIe 4.0 NVMe Corsair Force MP600 1TB/2TB drives as well as various PCIe 3.0 Samsung SSDs for reference. With this just being a unit purchased retail and not often receiving solid-state drive review samples, this is just a collection of tests for a few drives available at the time and mostly putting out these results for reference purposes.

Pico-ITX board based on i.MX8M ships with Linux BSP

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Linux
Hardware

F&S has launched a $407 and up “armStone MX8M” Pico-ITX SBC that runs Linux on an i.MX8M with up to 8GB LPDDR4 and 64GB eMMC with GbE, WiFi/BT, 5x USB, MIPI-CSI, DVI, and a mini-PCIe slot.

F&S Elektronik Systeme originally announced the NXP i.MX8M-based armStone MX8M Pico-ITX board in early 2018 with an intention to begin sampling in Q2 of that year. The i.MX8M-based SBC has finally arrived, selling for 360 Euros ($407) in a kit that includes cables, a Yocto/Buildroot BSP, and full access to documentation.

The key new addition since the 2018 announcement is a mini-PCIe slot and SIM card slot. Instead of supplying 4x USB 2.0 host ports, you get 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0, and the micro-USB OTG port has been updated from 2.0 to 3.0.

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Linux-ready Coffee Lake systems support Nvidia graphics

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Linux
Hardware

Neousys’ “Nuvo-8240GC” embedded PC runs on 8th or 9th Gen CPUs with 2x PCIe x16 for dual Tesla T4 GPUs and offers 2x PCIe x8, M.2 for NVMe, and 2x mini-PCIe. A similar Nuvo-8108GC system was tapped by Baidu as a dev kit for its Linux-based Apollo automotive platform.

Neousys announced a rugged, Intel Coffee Lake embedded computer that supports two 70W Nvidia Tesla T4 cards for AI inference. The Nuvo-8240GC supports applications such as medical imaging, intelligent video analytics, traffic management, and machine vision.

Neousys recently announced that its similar Nuvo-8108GC system was selected by Baidu as a development kit for its open source, Linux-driven Apollo autonomous driving platform. Announced last November, the Nuvo-8108GC supports a single 250W Nvidia graphics card. Farther below we briefly summarize the Baidu news and the Nuvo-8108GC, which like the new Nuvo-8240GC, supports Linux or Windows.

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Open Hardware and Arduino

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Development
Hardware
  • Feather-Sized Evo M51 Board Combines Atmel SAMD51 MCU with Intel MAX 10 FPGA

    Arduino unveiled its first FPGA board around two years ago with MKR Vidor 4000 combining an Intel Cyclone FPGA with Microchip SAMD21 Cortex-M0+ MCU in a form factor similar to Arduino Zero.

    But in case you are looking for an even smaller Arduino compatible FPGA board, Alorium Technology’s Evo M51 might be exactly what you are after. The Adafruit Feather-sized board is equipped with an Atmel SAMD51 Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller coupled with an Intel MAX 10 FPGA.

  • Arduino Security Primer

    In order to save memory and improve security, our development team has chosen to introduce a hardware secure element to offload part of the cryptography algorithms computational load, as well as to generate, store, and manage certificates. For this reason, on the Arduino MKR family, Arduino Nano 33 IoT and Arduino Uno WiFi Rev2, you will find the secure element ATECC508A or ATECC608A manufactured by Microchip.

  • This puck-slapping robot will beat you in table hockey

    Mechanical table hockey games, where players are moved back and forth and swing their sticks with a series of knobs, can be a lot of fun; however, could one be automated? As Andrew Khorkin’s robotic build demonstrates, the answer is a definite yes — using an Arduino Mega and a dozen stepper motors to score goals on a human opponent.

  • A History of my Mechanical Keyboards

    Years ago, at a white elephant Christmas party, I ended up with leopard print keyboard stickers. I bought a new keyboard to get the most out of these stickers, and used it for months as the stickers began to wear off. However, the space bar broke in less than a year. I had gone through many keyboards over the years, and all of them had been disappointing with their disposable build quality and lack of longevity. I decided to try a Das Keyboard Ultimate. It was my first foray into the world of mechanical keyboards, and would lead to many years of trying different key switches and purchasing custom key caps. This post is a brief history of the various mechanical keyboards I’ve bought, sold and given away over the years.

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