The 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) wrapped up last month, and while teams from Korea and the U.S. took away $3.5M in prize money, the real winner was the open source robotics movement. Of the 23 teams competing in the DRC, 18 utilized the open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS) and 14 used Gazebo, an open source robot simulator that allows developers to test concepts in robust virtual environments without risking valuable hardware.
96boards is an idea from Linaro to produce some 32 and 64-bit ARM boards. So far there were two boards released in “consumer” format and few more announced of rumoured. The specification also lists “extended” version which has space for some more components.
CompuLab, the manufacturer of the Fitlet based in Israel, describes their new line-up as, "a fanless mini PC with high performance, excellent graphics, up to 4 LAN ports and 5 year warranty. filtet is among the smallest PCs available and packs more features than any similar PC...For those familiar with the Intel® NUC – fitlet is somewhat similar. Just much smaller, fanless, with more features, and more powerful than NUCs in its price range."
Razer and a small group of other companies have been trying to standardize how VR headsets work, and today the standard is getting an important update. Razer said this morning that OSVR — the Open Source Virtual Reality platform— now supports Android and position tracking. Position tracking, in particular, was a noted absence from OSVR's initial release back in January. It's something that the biggest VR headsets are using, and OSVR had to eventually get on board with it. Android support is a nice update as well, which should allow developers to start creating mobile VR experiences. Hardware support within OSVR will eventually be added to allow Android phones to take the place of a dedicated VR display.
Razer recently launched its Open Source VR intiative, complete with a virtual reality headset to get more developers into the VR game. The initial launch notably lacked Android support and positional tracking hardware, but it's now filed those holes with its latest OSVR Hacker Development Kit (HDK) 1.2. The IR system is included in the kit price, including the 100Mhz IR LED system and a camera that provides 360 degrees of position tracking. Previously, Razer included IR position tracking designs and templates, but didn't supply the hardware.
U.K. hardware startup Blocks Wearables, which is in the process of building a modular smartwatch — shown off in concept-form in this teaser video last fall, and originally inspired by Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone — has confirmed the device will run on a modified version of Android Lollipop, rather than the Google Wear platform.
Also today the team has revealed the device’s core module will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, with peripheral modules using ultra-low-power ARM processors.
The Intel Compute Stick has begun shipping, a tiny device that plugs into any HDMI TV or monitor and turns it into a fully-functioning computer. This low-power PC ships with Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, though at the moment the Windows version is first to market with the Ubuntu Compute Stick not widely shipping until June. I have an Intel Compute Stick at Phoronix for testing.