IoD-09, An Intelligent WiFi-Enabled Display Module

4D Systems, the manufacturer of intelligent graphics solutions, has announced a new 0.9” smart display module as part of the ‘IoD-09’ series. This series is a set of small full-color TFT display modules that feature the Espressif ESP8266 SoC. It also comes with microSD card slot and is compatible with Arduino IDE.

IoD-09 Display Module

The IoD-09 modules have 6-pin connector at each end, which can connect easily to other applications and boards. It is also suitable for connecting to accessory boards for a range of functionality advancements. The design of these display modules provides a suitable platform for easy integration of displays into a product.

IoD-09 Display Module Specifications:

  • 80 x 160 Resolution, RGB 65K true to life colors, TFT Screen.
  • Built-in WiFi suitable for ‘Internet of things’ applications.
  • 802.11 b/g/n/e/i support
  • Integrated TCP/IP protocol stack
  • WiFi 2.4 GHz, supporting WPA/WPA2 and WEP/TKIP/AES, along with STA/AP/STA+AP/P2P operation modes
  • 4Mbit (512kb) of Flash memory for User Application Code and Data.
  • 128Kb of SRAM of which 80kb is available for the User.
  • 12 pin/pad interface, for all signals, power, communications, and programming.
  • Onboard microSD memory card connector for multimedia storage and data logging purposes.
  • DOS compatible file access (FAT16 or FAT32 format).
  • Display full-color images, animations, and icons.
  • 4.0V to 5.5V range operation (single supply).
  • Module dimensions:
    • (TH version) 31.8 x 16.4 x 11.7mm.
    • (SM version) 37.0 x 16.4 x 5.9mm.
  • Weighing: (TH / SM) ~5 g.
  • RoHS, REACH, and CE compliant.

IoD-09 is also available on two different models, IoD-09TH TFT LCD module with Through Hole interface, and IoD-09SM TFT LCD module with Surface Mount interface. In addition, they can act as master or slave devices, connect to the internet, display a raft information and graphics, along with the capability to communicate to SPI, I2C, and/or 1-wire devices, as well as having general GPIO for digital control/input.

The IoD-09 is compatible with Arduino IDE and the 4D Systems Workshop4 integrated development environment (IDE). Workshop4 provides powerful graphics using the GFXdloIoD09 graphics library specifically for the IoD-09 series through a drag and drop style graphical user interface (GUI).

Workshop Software

Finally, you can buy the IoD-09 display module for about $20. There is also a starter kit for $40 which includes the module, the 4D-UPA programmer, and a 4GB micro-SD card. For more information, you can visit the official page and download the datasheet.

BPi M2 Zero, A Clone of Raspberry Pi Zero

A few days ago, we talked about the Banana Pi M2 Magic as the smallest Banana Pi board. Now we have the Banana Pi M2 Zero, another board by Sinovoip that follows the Raspberry Pi Zero form factor.

The BPi M2 Zero features Allwinner H2+ quad-core processor with 512MB SDRAM memory. The board size is only 60mm x 30mm, the same size of Raspberry Pi Zero W and also has the same interfaces.

BPi M2 Zero

M2 Zero design makes it ideal for light-weight systems with some space-limited applications. Like other members of Banana Pi, it supports both Linux and Android operating systems.

WiFi and Bluetooth LE are supported by the AMPAK AP6212 module. An IPEX connector will allow you to install an external antenna to improve reception, increase range or install in a metal box. And there is no clarification if the antenna is shared with Bluetooth.

Banana Pi M2 Zero Specifications

  • CPU: quad-core cortex -A7 H2+CPU quad-core cortex -A7 H2+
  • GPU: Mali-400 MP2
  • Memory: 512MB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with GPU)
  • Storage support: MicroSD Card(up to 64GB)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n (AP6212)
  • Bluetooth: BT4.0 (AP6212)
  • Video In: CSI connector that supports 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor CSI, CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL, 5MP camera, 1080p video @30Hz
  • Video Out: Mini HDMI
  • Power Source: 5V 2A Micro USB
  • USB Ports: USB OTG(Micro USB)
  • Buttons: 2GPIO 40 Pins
  • OS support: Android and Linux etc.OS
  • Dimensions: 60mm x 30mm
  • Weight: 35g

BPi Zero Interface

The Banana Pi M2 Zero is available now on the AliExpress website at a price of $13 without shipping. Till now, only Ubuntu 16.04 and Arabian images are available on the download page. And also the documentation and drivers are not ready yet.

CH340E, A New Small Serial to USB Chip

WCH, a Chinese integrated circuits manufacturer, has just released a new serial to USB chip called CH340E. Unlike other CH340 chips, it doesn’t require an external crystal and also needs less PCB space and BOM.

CH340 is a 3x3mm tiny chip comes in MSOP10 package and has 10 pins. Although it is smaller than other alternatives, it is a little more expensive than them. But considering other components and PCB size needed, the total cost of the BOM may be lower.

According to Electrodragon, it needs only two external parts to build a full function circuit. They also tested it with up to 150,000 baud rate to flash an ESP8266 chip. Most features and technical specifications are the some for CH340 family including CH340E, so the same drivers will work with it.

CH340E features

  • Full-speed USB device interface, compatible with USB V2.0.
  • Emulation standard serial port used to upgrade the original serial peripherals or add additional serial port via USB.
  • Computer applications under the Windows operating system serial port are fully compatible, without modification.
  • Hardware full duplex serial port, built-in send and receive buffer, support communication baud rate 50bps ~ 2Mbps.
  • Support common MODEM contact signal RTS, DTR, DCD, RI, DSR, CTS.
  • Through the additional level conversion device, providing RS232, RS485, RS422 and other interfaces.
  • Software compatible CH341, CH341 driver can be used directly.
  • Support 5V supply voltage and 3.3V supply voltage or even 3V supply voltage.
  • Built-in clock, no external crystal.
  • Available in SOP-16 and SSOP-20 and MSOP-10 lead – free packages, RoHS compliant.

The chip costs about 42 cents with a minimum order of 5 pieces on Eelectrodragon store. There is also an option to get a small board featuring the CH340E for about $1, and maybe cheaper in the future. Finally, the most powerful feature of this chip is that you can easily add USB connectivity to your own design.


Source: CNX-software

Volterman, Your Personal Smart Wallet

With the rapid growth of technology, smartphones and e-payments are replacing cards, cash, and wallets. However, developers are still trying to keep wallets relevant in the 21st century, and Volterman is the newest attempts. Besides WiFi hotspot and power bank, Volterman also provides novel security features to protect your phone and wallet from loss.

Similar to other smart wallets, Volterman has a GPS tracking capability, so you can find it easily in case it lost. Through Bluetooth connectivity, it connects to the smartphone to ensure that you will not forget one of them. An alarm will start ringing to notify you and pick up what you have missed.

The new innovative idea on Volterman is a small built-in camera. It captures everyone trying to open the wallet while “lost mode” is running. The pictures are sent directly to the paired smartphone, meaning that you will know who is using your wallet and where is he. With an embedded SIM card, you are also able to track your wallet via the website.

Volterman’s Embedded System Specification

Inside the wallet, there is a full computing system to do all the stuff. The main components are:

  • CPU: ARM Cortex A9
  • Memory: 512MB RAM, and 32GB ROM
  • SD card: 64GB embedded card
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Camera: 4MP
  • Mobile Network: Worldwide 2G, 3G
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 BGN, Hotspot
  • GPS: A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Connector: magnetic connecter by Volterman
  • Power Bank: 2000mA, 2600mA, 5000mA, in addition to the capability of wireless charging.
  • Input voltage: 5V, 1A
  • Output voltage: 5V, 500mA

An interesting point is that the purchase price is covering the data charges for the GPS tracking and sending of photos to the Volterman server. According to the makers, Volterman will automatically connect to local networks in 98 countries, but at the moment the exact tariffs from country to country are unclear. However, it is offering up to 3 times cheaper internet cost than the regular price, with an early estimate of around $15 per 1 GB.

The Volterman comes in three different sizes: a small cardholder model $98 with 2,000-mAh power bank, a conventional bifold wallet $135 with 2,600-mAh power bank, or a larger travel size $157 designed to hold more cards, a passport and with a 5,000-mAh power bank.

After reaching more than one million dollars on IndieGoGo, Volterman is now ready for mass production and estimated to start shipping and the first quarter of 2018.

Take a look at the crowdfunding campaign video below:

Banana Pi M2 Magic, Smallest Banana Pi Board

Sinovoip had announced its new board Banana Pi M2 Magic. At first, it is an ARM SoC development board that features a high computing performance in a 51mm square portable design. In addition to onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, M2 Magic offers 8GB eMMc storage and DDR3 SDRAM of 512 MB. There is also an SD card slot for more storage, to install an OS for example.

Banana Pi M2 Magic

Banana Pi M2 Magic specifications:

  • SoC: Allwinner R16 or Allwinner A33, quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
  • System Memory: 512MB DDR3
  • Storage: 8 GB eMMC flash (option: 16, 32 or 64GB) + micro SD slot
  • Display Interface: 4-lane MIPI DSI connector
  • Camera Interface: CSI connector supporting up to 5MP sensor, 1080p30 H.265 video capture
  • Video Decoder: Multi-format FHD video decoding, including Mpeg1/2, Mpeg4, H.263, H.264, etc H.264 high profile 1080p@60fps
  • Audio: Onboard microphone
  • Connectivity: Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212)
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 host, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion: 40-pin header with GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM…
  • Misc: Reset & power buttons, RGB LEDs,
  • Power Supply:
    • 5V @ 2A via DC power barrel
    • 3.7V Lithium battery support
  • Dimensions: 51 x 51 mm
  • Weight: 40 grams

Alongside the processor and the memory at the front side of the board, you will find a 40-pin GPIO header, a DSI display slot, an Antenna connector, a CSI camera slot, a USB OTG adapter, a USB2.0 port, a microphone and a DC power jack. On the rear side, there is an antenna, a PMIC AXP223, a battery interface and a microSD card slot.

Front and rear sides

This board is oriented for IoT applications in general. Since there is no HDMI interface, M2 Magic is suitable for headless use, or you can use the MIPI DSI display interface to connect a screen. It also doesn’t have an Ethernet interface, so you will have to use WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The board will run Tina IoT Linux, which is a lightweight Linux distribution optimized for Allwinner R-Series processor.

Tina IoT Linux

Both A33 and R16 versions are available in the market. A33 version is for $23, while R16 is for $28. You can get it from any global distributor or cooperative partner of Banana Pi products. Finally, you can reach more information and data at the official wiki.

Imagina Book, For Augmented Reality Education

Virtual reality and Augmented reality became essential technologies these days. They have an important role in making products much exciting and entertaining, especially in education. Recently, Livit Studios announced its new augmented reality book series “Imagina Book“.

Imagina Books is an educational book series that converts the classic and traditional book into an interactive and 3d visualized. It provides a new reading and learning method which leads to better understanding and also more enjoyable experience for kids.

Imagina consists of two components, a mobile application, and a printed booklet. Using the app is easy, so the kid in only need to put the camera on a page and then an interactive animated 3D model will appear on the screen.

This technology can cover most of the scientific topics by making some customization to the app and print a new book. However, the first book of the series is about the human body, and Livit had launched it through a kickstarter campaign. It is a journey inside the human body allows kids to explore their body organs and functions with an interactive augmented reality experience. Below I will talk more about the book and the application.

Imagina Book Features

The book is a hardcover 32-page booklet for children from 8 to 12. It is designed to be attractive for kids and to have a substantial amount of science on its own. It also consists of several sections, each one talk about a system in the human body.

Sarah and Adam are two friendly characters who will take the learners on a journey to explore their body. They make the learning experience more friendly and enjoyable for kids. In addition, the printed book is a high quality and colorful, to make sure that kids will love it.

Imagina Book App Features

The app is compatible with both IOS 9 and above devices, and Android 5.0 and above devices. Inside the app, the “gamification” process is one of the main aspects of the learning process. The 3D games include levels and achievement goals to help the learner develop a sense of competition among his peers and friends.

Main features of Imagina book app:

  • 3D Models Overlay
    The app simply adds another dimension to the 2D conventional world of books. It overlays 3D models of each organ or system on each page of the book.
  • Organs Animation
    Each model is a realistic rendering of the body organs and systems with accurate animations that portray the functionality of each organ.
  • 3D Info Labels
    The user can inspect the anatomy of the human body organs with the help of accurate 3D labels for each part of the organ.
  • Interaction
    The user can interact with 3D models by resizing and rotating them to better visualize each organ.
  • Screenshot & Share
    The user can take screenshots from the application anytime and share these shots via social media.
  • In-Game Currency
    You gain coins when you finish each level. You use coins to build your own in-game hospital.
  • 3D Games
    For each organ, they made a customized 3D interactive game in which Sarah and Adam help the learner identify the basic anatomy of the organs.

Although there are still 17 days remaining for the kickstarter campaign, Imagina Book achieved their goal of $9,000. And with $21, you can pack your early bird copy of the human body book, while the original copy is available for $25.

More details and information can be found on the official website.

A New Soundproof Air-Transparent Window

Imagine you have a window that isolates noises and passes only nature sounds like sea waves in addition to fresh air. Seems like it will happen in dreams only, right? Actually, researchers from South Korea, bring this window from dreams to the real.

Soundproofing is difficult and expensive, it usually relies on transferring sound into a medium which absorbs and attenuates it. But this also will stop the airflow. Sang-Hoon Kima and Seong-Hyun Lee have successfully build a new window that allows airflow to pass without sound and noises.

The new design is simple and depends on two acoustic conditions, strong diffraction and negative bulk modulus.

Strong Diffraction

At first, this method makes the sound waves diffused into a customized resonator called diffraction resonator. This resonator maximizes the diffraction impact with its air hole in the center of the body. In addition, the diameter of the hole will control the range of frequencies to restrict. Only waves with a wavelength smaller than the diameter can pass through the hole.

Artificial atoms of diffraction resonators. Diameters of the air holes: 20mm for (a1), (a2), and (a3), and 50mm for (b1), (b2), and (b3). There are three structures: one room for (a1) and (b1), two rooms for (a2) and (b2), and four rooms for (a3) and (b3).

Negative Bulk Modulus

A material’s bulk modulus means its resistance to compression. It is also an important factor in determining the speed at which sound moves through it. So, a material with a negative bulk modulus exponentially attenuates any sound passing through it.

While it is hard to find a solid material having a negative bulk modulus, Kima and Lee have designed a new sound resonance chamber. This chamber consists of two parallel transparent acrylic plastic plates. The efficiency of the double-glazed window is measured by getting the sound into the chamber. To maximize the efficiency, they drilled a hole through each plate. This double-glazing window has also used as a building block to make windows in larger sizes.

Designs of the medium-sound separator. 20mm (left) and 50mm (right). It is composed of the three kinds of artificial atoms which are connected in series and parallel.

There are several applications of this windows, changing the size of the holes makes the windows tunable for certain frequencies. To know more about this research review this paper.

SprintIR6S, World’s Fastest NDIR CO2 Sensor

Gas Sensing Solutions (GSS) Ltd is a designer and manufacturer of low power, high speed Non-Dispersive Infrared (NDIR) carbon dioxide gas sensors. Recently, it has claimed a new speed record for its SprintIR6S NDIR CO2 sensor.

The new sensor comes with response rates that had never been reached before by any other NDIR CO2 sensors. It can take up to 20 readings per second, and has a six-times faster response rate than the current SprintIR.

According to Ralph Weir, GSS’ CEO, the sensor uses LEDs and photodiodes to measure differential light absorption between light at 4.2 and 4.4 μm. So, they succeeded to develop ultra-speed sensor, while other detectors take several seconds or even minutes to take a reading.

“Our LEDs, by contrast, are Solid State emitters, and illuminate almost instantly. With the new SprintIR6S, we’ve also minimised the sample volume down to only 2ml, which enables us to achieve our fastest ever response rates.”
~ Ralph Weir

The SprintIR6S is less than a cubic inch in dimension with 23.8mm in diameter and 24mm tall. It operates at a range between 3.25V and 5.5V and consumes only 35mW. SprintIR6S is also available in measurements ranges from 0% to 100%.

Main Specifications of SprintIR6S

  • Warm-up Time: < 30 seconds
  • Operating Conditions:
    • 0°C to 50°C (Standard)
    • 0 to 95% RH, non-condensing
  • Recommended Storage: -30°C to +70°C
  • Sensing Method:
    • Non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) absorption
    • Patented Gold-plated optics
    • Solid-state source and detector
  • Sample Method: Flow through
  • Measurement Range: 0-5%, 0-20%, 0-100%
  • Accuracy: ±70 ppm +/- 5% of reading (100% Range ±300 ppm +/-5% of reading)
  • Non Linearity: < 1% of FS
  • Pressure Dependence: 0.13% of reading per mm Hg in normal atmospheric conditions
  • Operating Pressure Range: Atmospheric pressure range. Lower and higher pressures require more advanced pressure compensation.
  • Response Time: Flow Rate Dependent – see graph below. Response time also depends on user configurable digital filter settings.
  • Power Input:
    • 3.25 to 5.5V. (3.3V recommended).
    • Peak Current 33mA.
    • Average Current <12mA.

Applications of SprintIR6S are those which require capture of rapidly changing CO2 concentrations. Such as capnography, fitness testing, metabolic assessment, sports science, veterinary medicine, bio-medical, and incubators.

For more information and detailed specification, you can download the datasheet, or contact GSS to order or for more information.

IoT Projects Is Now Easier With Bolt IoT Platform

Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most important technologies these days. It became an essential component of many hardware projects core. And in order to make it easier for developers, Bolt IoT platform appeared as a complete solution for IoT projects.

Bolt is a combination of hardware and cloud service that allow users control their devices and collect data in safe and secure methods. It also can give actionable insights using machine learning algorithms with just some few clicks.

The platform consists of three main components, Bolt hardware module, Bolt cloud, and analytics. The hardware module is a WiFi chip with a built-in 80 MHz 32-bit RISC CPU that operates at 3.3v. It also works as an interface for a set of sensors and actuators through GPIO and UART pins to collect data and react with it.

Bolt Hardware

The next part is Bolt cloud which used mainly for configuring, monitoring, and controlling connected devices. It is a visual interface enables users to setup hardware and prepare the system easily and quickly. In addition, there is a code editor to write and edit codes for the hardware. The special feature is that you can reprogram the system remotely!

Finally, the analysis and monitoring unit provide visualized insights based on machine learning algorithms. The collected data are stored securely on the cloud, and the reports are presented as graphs, charts, or any customized visualization.

Bolt IoT Platform Features

  • A Wifi or a GSM chip
    An easy interface to quickly connect your hardware to cloud over GPIO, UART, and ADC. Also, connects to MODBUS, I2C, and SPI with an additional converter.
  • Robust Communication
    Bolt is equipped with industry standard protocols to ensure a Secure and fast communication of your device data with cloud.
  • Security
    Bolt has built-in safeguards to secure all user data from unwanted third party intrusions and hacks.
  • Machine Learning
    Deploy machine learning algorithms with just a few clicks to detect anomalies as well as predict sensor values.
  • Alerts
    Utilize Bolt’s quick alert system providing invaluable information sent directly to your phone or Email. You can config the contact details and set the threshold.
  • Mobile App Ready
    Customize and control your devices through Mobile apps. Bolt gives you full freedom to design your own mobile app centered around your requirements to monitor and control.
  • Global Infrastructure and Easy Scalability
    Bolt lets you scale from prototype to millions of devices in just a few weeks time.
  • Over the air updates
    Simultaneously program or update all your Bolt powered IoT devices wherever they are. Bolt offers you unparalleled scalability and elasticity to help your business grow.

The scope of applications that may benefit from using Bolt is very wide, including environmental applications, smart cities, electricity management, and much more. Bolt is available for ordering in two packages, the first is for developers and the other is for enterprises. Developers option contains one Bolt unit with three free months of cloud services, and its cost is about $75.

At last, Bolt makers are launching a Kickstarter campaign on the 3rd of November 2017. If you are interested and want to know more about this platform, take a look at the official website and read this detailed features document. Update 6-11-2017 – They achieved the goal of $10,000 USD funding in just 5 hours from launch!

Da Vinci Color, The First Full Color 3D Printer

3D Printing became an important process in prototyping, and sometimes in manufacturing. But till now, the filament types available in the market are limiting printing colors. Although there are many multi color printers, printing a design in full color is still a dream.

XYZprinting has announced its da Vinci Color printer, the world’s first full color 3D printer. In fact, the printer combines inkjet techniques with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). It uses ink cartridges to drop pigment onto each layer of plastic filament as it prints.

da Vinci Color Specification

  • Build volume: 200 x 200 x 150 mm
  • Layer resolution: 100-400 microns (0.1-0.4 mm)
  • Filament material: 3D Color-inkjet PLA / PLA / Tough PLA / PETG
  • Ink type: Separate ink cartridge (CMYK)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Print bed: EZ-removable print bed (non-heated)
  • Print bed leveling: Auto-leveling
  • XYZ position precision: X/Y 12.5 micron, Z 4 micron
  • Build speed: Average: 30-60 mm/sec, Max: 120mm /sec
  • Print head travel speed: 30 – 300 mm/s
  • Host software: XYZmaker
  • File type: AMF, PLY, OBJ, STL, 3CP
  • Power requirements: 100-240 V, 50-60 HZ
  • Connectivity: WiFi, USB 2.0 port
  • Operating temperature: 15-30℃

Fortunately, the printing base area of ​​20 x 20 x 15 cm provides a large build volume in a relatively small housing. The machine prints at an average resolution of 100-400 microns, so the lines where two colors meet can get a little blurry when viewed up close, but the output is generally pretty impressive. It’s basically an ink jet printer that outputs in 3D, so the results aren’t quite as sharp as a professional production job.

In addition, the software is easy to use and supports most common 3D file formats, amf, ply, obj, stl, and 3cp. Users of any age can download designs and add colors, or create their own colored prototypes from scratch. Thus, with an embedded color touch screen, users can control the printer and do some setting easily, such as connecting to the home wireless network. Also, da Vinci Color has many sensors that indicate broken material during the printing process, allowing users to save time and filament.

Applications of da Vinci Color printer

This types of 3D printer may have a several areas of applications, some of them according to the manufacturer are:

  • Animation and film: Enables production of prototypes in color that can be used immediately after printing
  • Architects and designers: The production of solid models, miniatures and prototypes provides customers with a better appreciation of design concepts.
  • Small businesses: The 3D printer helps to create your own company models and products with 3D full-color printing. Color printing reduces costs and speeds up production. The use of PLA filaments ensures that time and money is not wasted on post-processing.
  • Schools: Enables color printing by students in 3D, let their creativity run wild.
  • Model makers and collectors: All types of model figures and accessories can be produced including comic book figures rendered in authentic colors. You can also print the original designs.

The printer price is $3,500. But it is available now for pre-ordering for only $3,000 on XYZ official store, with estimated shipping date at the end of November. Beyond that, you have to buy four ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) for $65 each, and you need a special filament that works with the ink, which costs $35 per roll.