AIOT-MSSP01 – AAEON’s Intelligent Vending Development Kit & UP Board

(Taipei, Taiwan – April 24, 2018) – AAEON, a leading developer of industrial computers and intelligent retail systems, releases an updated version of its Intelligent Vending Development Kit. The kit is a complete hardware solution that makes it easier than ever before for retailers to implement the latest smart vending technologies.

The kit includes a vending machine controller unit, a separate UP Board PC unit to handle the interactive retail functions, a motor for the machine’s internal mechanisms, a camera, a QR Code device, and all the cables needed to connect these components. Additional WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity components are also available on request.

AAEON is now offering two versions of its Intelligent Vending Development Kit, but both come with the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise OS and a customer-friendly API pre-installed. The kits also utilize the power of the UP Board and its Intel® Atom™ x5-z8350 processor and DDR3L memory to manage a fast, effective facial recognition program.

As a customer approaches the vending machine, an image of their face is captured and their age range, gender and mood are detected. Based on the results, a particular set of products are recommended. Crucially, the process happens almost instantaneously, so there’s no risk of the customer being inconvenienced.

The latest version of the development kit also incorporates Microsoft Azure and Power BI services. With this service, information about every product sold and the gender, age range and mood of each buyer is collated by Azure and broken down by Power BI’s data analytics tools. The result is real-time inventory control information and a series of insightful customer behavior reports and charts that operators can access at any time. Users who buy this version of the development kit will also receive a 60-day free trial for the Power BI Pro service.

“Intelligent vending machines represent the future of automatic retailing,” AAEON design manufacturing product manager Brenda Huang said. “Increasingly, customers are both expecting and relying on intelligent, interactive systems, and the data these machines collect will also give businesses an edge over their competitors.”

Banana Pi BPI-W2 – A Multimedia Powerhouse SBC for Media, Storage, and Networking Applications

SinoVoIP, the makers of the DIY Raspberry Pi lookalike board, the BananaPi has unveiled a new maker board designed for media, storage, and networking applications called the Banana Pi BPI-W2. The Banana Pi BPI-W2 is based on the Realtek RTD1296 processor. Recently, Realtek worked on the first RTD1296 processor with extra Gigabit Ethernet, SATA interfaces and USB 3.0. The Realtek RTD1296 is a high-end processor which already powers some Android TV Boxes like the Zidoo X9S and some others but there is little adoption in the general maker’s ecosystem. SinoVoIP is hoping to bring the powerful Realtek processor to the maker’s world with the introduction of the BananaPi BPI-W2 which is a friendly maker’s board.

BananaPI BPI-W2

BananaPi BPI-W2 is going to be SinoVoIP’s fourth board so far and comes with some improved features and modifications. The board integrates a Realtek RTD1296 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with a high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU. It also incorporates dual GbE ports and a GbE WAN Port for router applications. It includes a variety of peripherals, including an HDMI input in addition to the HDMI output, and a mini-DisplayPort. A single PCIe2.0, PCIe1.1 & SDIO, M.2 interface, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 Port, SATA port, the WAN port provides support for 802.11ac/n WLAN connection through PCI-e port. From this onboard features, it is obvious the board is designed for media, storage, and networking applications.

Just like other Banana Pi boards in the past, the BananaPi BPI-W2 provides support for popular Raspberry Pi add-on boards through a 40-pin header. Some of its other features include an RTC, IR, debug, audio I/O, and a 12V input.

BananaPi BPI – W2 is expected to work with Android 6.0 and 7.0 as well as multiple OS such as Open WRT, Debian, Linux, Ubuntu Linux and many more. The router can be used for home entertainment, high wireless performance, automation of a building and so on.

Below are some of the specifications of the BananaPi BPI-W2 board:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1296 quad-core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (optional 16, 32 or 64GB), 2x SATA 3.0 interfaces,  micro SD slot up to 256GB
  • Video
    • Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz, mini DP
    • Input – HDMI 2.0 input up to 1080p60
    • Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 30 fps, BDISO/MKV, etc…
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, mini DP, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet
    • SIM card slot (requires mPCIe modem)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports, USB type C interface (still no idea if video and power are supported)
  • Expansions
    • 1x M.2 Key E “PCIe 1.1/SDIO” slot
    • 1x M.2 Key E “PCIe 2.0” slot
    • 40-pin “Raspberry Pi” GPIO header
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART connector
  • Misc – Power, reset and LSADC keys; RTC battery connector; IR receiver; fan header
  • Power Supply – 12V /2A via power barrel connector
  • Dimensions – 148 x 100.5 mm (same as Banana Pi R2 board)

Banana Pi BPI-W2 SBC is billed as open source, and should eventually ship with schematics and other documentation. The board is available and can be purchased for $93  on Aliexpress. More information about the board can be found here.

HioTron IoT Kit – A Modular and Enterprise IoT Development Kit

HioTron IoT Kit is a modular and enterprise IoT kit that is entirely pre-programmed prototyping kit for quickly building and testing IoT concepts. All modules are plug-n-play, allowing for flexible prototyping, customization & production. This set of kit is made by the Indian based company HioTron, which specializes in IoT solutions development. This Kit includes Hardware, IoT Platform & User App/Dashboard needed to build quickly any IoT application right from Scratch to Production.

Hiotron Development Kit

One of the challenges that come with embarking on IoT project is that of the platform, software, wireless standard, API, and hardware selection. We have numerous IoT enabled hardware in the market, with each having their own software stack and also several IoT platforms available to pick from. The process of going through these selection pools, valuable and productivity time could be lost and still not arrive at something that genuinely works or is efficient. Hiotron’s goal is to solve this by providing a complete package that can be used from PoC (Proof Of Concept) to Production. HioTron complete IoT solution which includes not only the hardware building blocks (Nodes & Gateway) needed to quickly prototype a wireless IoT system from scratch but most importantly hIOTron enterprise IoT™ Platform is integrated with custom mobile application & GUI dashboard that enable user to get up and run PoC of any idea as easily and quickly as possible.

The IoT Kit is ideal for makers, enthuthat siast, startups and even organization that wants to embark on IoT projects in the areas of smart cities, agriculture, industrial & smart factories, energy, healthcare, logistics, and several others. The kit is modular which means you can easily stack in add-ons on top of existing ones or add another device to the network infrastructure. The kit includes the following:

  • Hi-Node
  • Hi-Gate
  • hIOTron IoT Platform
  • Dashboard and Mobile App

Hi-Node

Hi-Node is a battery (2700 mAh Li-ion) or USB [Optional] powered wireless node which comes with 4 output channels to control real-world devices using 4 relays (Output 5A 230VAC) with 4 connectors and 4 universal (Analog/Digital) input channels to communicate with real-world sensors and transmit this information to IoT gateway using wireless (Zig-bee & BLE4.0) protocols.

Hi-Node

Hi-Node provides standard interface that offers not only remote monitoring but also control capability for managing many types of devices and it also offers advanced Edge Analytics & Local storage. The Hi-Node ZigBee is based on the Digikey Wired XBee module which boasts a range of about 80 – 100 meters line of sight and about 40 meters indoor. The Hi-Node is based around the ATmega328P with 2KB of SRAM, 32KB of Flash memory, and 1KB of EEPROM.

Hi-Gate

Hi-Gate is the brain of this kit which is fully Modular & Enterprise IoT gateway and which doesn’t only translate the protocol [RF/ NON-RF –To– REST/MQTT] but has TI CC3200 at its heart. The Gateway device comes with Zig-Bee and BLE4.0 to support its local network infrastructure with the Hi-Nodes and an outbound connectivity for connecting to the outside world using Wi-Fi 802.11 B/G/N Radio, Ethernet, and Cellular connectivity (2G, 3G, and 4G).

Hi-Gate

The Gateway device supports dual mode of operation – As a Node or Gateway. The Hi-Gate can support up to 25 wireless Hi-Nodes and offers an auto-reconnect for Wi-Fi and GSM network.

The following are the specification of the Hi-Gate:

Hardware System
  • Controller: ARM Cortex-M4 Core at 80 MHz
  • Flash: 1MB Serial Flash Memory
  • RAM: 256KB
  • EEPROM: 512KB External
Interface
  • Power input: 9-12V DC
  • 2-GPIO Port Pins
  • 2-Analog Port Pins
  • RTC
WiFi Specs
  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Frequency Band: 2.4 ~ 2.462 GHz

HioTron IoT Platform

The hIOTron IoT Platform supports five major D’s such as Device Management, Device Connectivity, Data Storage, Data Analytics and Dashboard/Application enabled for the management of an IoT project life cycle. The Hi-Gate stream data to the hIOTron platform where all the analytics, storage, automation will be carried out.

The Hiotron IOT Platform

Dashboard & Mobile App

You can monitor & control your project application through the Dashboard & Mobile Application provide by HioTron and do unlimited customization from anywhere, anytime.

The Modular & Enterprise IoT development kit comes in 3 versions are Standard, Advance & Customized which can be selected based on applications requirement. The kit pricing is currently not disclosed. More information about the Kit can be found here and for more details on about getting started with the kit can be found here.

Researchers Develop New Hybrid Solar Panel That Can Generate Power From Rain Too

The researchers at Soochow University in China, have published a paper on the hybrid device that is able to harness the power of sun and rain using a hybrid panel. By attaching a transparent nanogenerator to a silicon solar cell, researchers have designed a device that harvests solar energy in sunny conditions and the mechanical energy of falling raindrops in rainy conditions. The dual functionality of this hybrid panel may provide a way to collect energy with greater efficiency in the midst of constantly changing weather conditions.

Hybrid solar panel can generate power fro rain too
The hybrid solar panel can generate power fro rain too

The hybrid device consists of a conventional silicon solar cell and a Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG), which turns the mechanical energy of falling raindrops into electricity. Although previous research has shown that these two types of devices can be connected with an extra wire, in the new design the solar cell and TENG are integrated by sharing a mutual electrode.

The biggest breakthrough in this work is that an integrated generator composed of a solar cell and a TENG was demonstrated through sharing a mutual electrode,

Zhen Wen at Soochow University said,

Compared to previous work, the simple design of the mutual electrode reduces the number of functional layers, which greatly improves the output efficiency.

The mutual electrode not only results in a more compact design, but it also offers advantages to both the solar cell and TENG. In particular, the TENG protects the solar cell by acting as a waterproof barrier and prevents water from penetrating the silicon. The textured electrode surface also greatly overcomes unwanted reflection of light, enhancing light harvesting of the solar panel. The textured surface results in a greater contact area between the TENG and falling raindrops, which improves the overall performance of the nanogenerator.

Due to the unique design, it has advantages of being lightweight and having a high efficiency, The team is now designing a fiber-shaped device and expect to weave them together as a fabric. In near future, it is possible to fabricate such clothing that can generate electricity from sunshine and raindrops, and then use this electricity to power wearable electronic devices.

Using a Hall Effect Sensor with Arduino

Hall Effect Sensor

Hi guys, welcome to today’s tutorial. Today we will look at how to use a hall effect sensor with Arduino.

A hall effect sensor is a sensor that varies its output based on the presence or absence of a magnetic field. This means that the output signal produced by a Hall effect sensor is a function of magnetic field density around it. When the magnetic flux density around it exceeds a certain pre-set threshold value, the sensor detects it and generates an output voltage sometimes called the hall voltage to indicate the presence of the magnetic field.

Hall sensors are becoming very popular due to their versatility and they are used in many different applications. One of the popular applications of hall effect sensors is in automotive systems where they are used to detect position, measure distance and speed. They are also used in modern devices like smartphones and computers and also used in different type of switches where the presence of a magnetic field is used to either activate or deactivate a circuit.

Using a Hall Effect Sensor with Arduino – [Link]

Epiq Solutions Develops Wideband RF Transceiver SDR Module Running Linux On Zynq SoC

Epiq Solutions, a company from the USA, has included a new member of its Sidekiq line of Software-defined radio (SDR) add-on cards called the Sidekiq Z2. Dimensions of this card are only 51 x 30 x 5mm, the size of a full-size mini-PCIe card, the Sidekiq Z2 computer-on-module is advertised as “the world’s smallest wideband RF transceiver + Linux computer in a product-ready module”. The module is most suitable for handheld RF testing and measurement, remote RF sensing, wireless security applications, and CubeSat/UAS datalinks. A carrier board is also available with this module.

Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module
Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module

Unlike previous Sidekiq cards, the Sidekiq Z2 can act as a standalone computer, running Linux on a Xilinx Zynq-7000 series Arm/FPGA SoC. Like the original Sidekiq, which is available in mini-PCIe or M.2 form factors, the Sidekiq Z2 operates at 70MHz to 6GHz. There’s also a Sidekiq X2, which uses the VITA57.1 FMC form factor, which supports 1MHz to 6GHz frequencies.

Epiq claims, the new Sidekiq Z2 can boot Linux in under two seconds, with a typical system power consumption under 2 Watts. The Zynq comes with 512MB DDR3L RAM and 32MB QSPI flash. The SoC drives USB 2.0 OTG, serial UART, JTAG, and GPIO signals to a carrier board.

The shielded AD9634 1Rx + 1Tx transceiver has a 4-band Rx pre-select filter bank and an up to 61.44 Msamples/sec sample rate. The 40MHz TCVCXO ref clock features +/- 1 PPM stability. The 3.3V, 8-gram module supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. The module also offers many U.FL antenna connectors.

The company offers a Sidekiq Z2 Evaluation Kit (EVK) that includes two Sidekiq Z2 cards pre-loaded and supported by Analog Devices’ open source IIO reference design, along with two simple carrier cards. An optional Platform Development Kit (PDK) offers enhanced support and an optimized FPGA reference design to maximize processing capability of the FPGA. Epiq Solutions also presents applications for embedded RF spectrum analysis as well as 2G/3G/4G cellular network survey.

The Sidekiq Z2 is available now at a price of $649 for 1,000+ unit orders. The Sidekiq Z2 EVK and PDK also appear to be available, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in the Epiq Solutions Sidekiq Z2 announcement and product page.

Arduino board based on ATmega644p

A DIY Arduino type hardware board based on ATmega644p Atmega1284p

This project is free and based on @MCUDude’s MightyCore which has awesome well designed kits for serious development with AVR’s.

Mightyduino is an Arduino with more memory than an Arduino Pro mini. It can use 644p (64k) or 1284p (128k) chips. Its voltage can be configured by U1 and the frequecy can be configured by the Murata’s ressonator (crystal). It has a power led and another one connected to pin D0. The push button performs reset. DTR pin can be used to external reset. The RAW pin is the input voltage <16v. The VCC pin is the regulator output and IC voltage, it can be loaded up to peak of 500mA.

Arduino board based on ATmega644p – [Link]

Ten USB ports and 12 COM ports mean there are no constraints on the slim type GENE-APL7

(Taipei, Taiwan – April 19, 2018) – AAEON, a leading developer of advanced industrial computing platforms, announces the launch of the GENE-APL7, a subcompact motherboard with an extensive I/O interface for use in the retail and fintech sectors.

The feature-rich GENE-APL7 features support for an enviable 10 USB ports and up to 12 COM ports. The single board computer also boasts one VGA and two LVDS connectors, and customers can change this configuration to incorporate eDP technology. MiniCard and mSATA expansion slots, an 8-bit DIO, and a speaker amplifier are also built into the board. Despite offering such a comprehensive list of features, the GENE-APL7 remains an extremely cost-effective solution.

The board is powered by an Intel® Pentium® N4200 or Celeron® N3350 Processor and has up to 8GB DDR3L memory. Thanks to the low power consumption properties of its CPU and the motherboard’s innovative design layout, the GENE-APL7 is a slim, fanless solution that can be used in applications with severe space constraints.

“With the GENE-APL7, we’ve focused on giving users what they need and removing any unnecessary features,” said Julie Huang, AAEON embedded computing division product manager. “The result is a subcompact board that’s powerful, expandable, competitively priced, and perfect for the target retail and fintech markets.”

Features

  • Intel® Pentium® N4200/ Celeron® N3350 Processor SoC
  • DDR3L 1866 MHz SODIMM x 1, up to 8 GB
  • VGA/LVDS1/LVDS2 (LVDS1 Co-design with eDP, VGA with Internal and Rear Design)
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s x 1, GPIO x 8
  • USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 8, COM up to 12 ports (COM2-5 with 5V/12V/ RI Design)
  • mSATA x 1 (Full size), Mini Card x 1 (Full size) with uIM
  • DC 12V Only, AT/ATX Mode
  • Optional: SPK Amplifier, I2S Design

Banana Pi BPI-W2 SBC – A Multimedia Router And NAS Board That Runs Android Or Linux

SinoVoip has released Banana Pi BPI-W2 multimedia network and smart NAS router SBC. The BPI-W2 has a faster processor and more advanced features than last year’s Banana Pi BPI-R2. However, the new model has only two Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of four.

This SBC is designed for applications such as high wireless performance, home entertainment, home automation, and many more. The BPI-W2 runs on a Realtek RTD1296 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with a high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU. By comparison, previous year’s BPI-R2 used a quad-core, Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT7623 with a Mali-450 MP4. SinoVoip confirms full support for Android 6.0CentOSDebian 9Raspbian, and Ubuntu 15.04, and the board is also said to support OpenWrt.

Banana Pi BPI-W2
Banana Pi BPI-W2

The updated I/O support is shown in the BPI-W2’s dual SATA III ports, compared to only one on the single SATA interface found on the MT7623-based BPI-R2 and RTD1295-based devices. The BPI-W2 also has 8-64GB eMMC, a microSD slot, and 2GB of DDR4.

Although limited to dual GbE ports, the board also has a GbE WAN port for router applications. Unlike the R2, there is an HDMI input in addition to the HDMI output, and a mini-DisplayPort has replaced the earlier MIPI-DSI connection. In either case, the output resolution is still limited to HD (1080p) only.

Four USB ports are available, including single USB 3.0 and Type-C ports. There is a 40-pin header that is claimed to support Raspberry Pi 3 add-on boards. Other features involve RTC, IR, debug, audio I/O, and a 12V input.

Like other Banana Pi boards, the BPI-W2 is open source, shipping with schematics and other documentation. The AliExpress and wiki pages list and show PCIe 2.0 and 1.1/SDIO slots on the front as well as a single M.2 slot on the back. Yet the PCIe slots are also tagged as M.2 slots (E-Key), and it’s unclear which slots are capable of what. The PCIe slots are capable to support up to 802.11ac WiFi, and there’s also a SIM card slot.

The Banana Pi BPI-W2 is available now for $93 plus shipping on AliExpress. More information may be found on the BPI-W2 wiki page.