Firefly – an annoying little thing

Here’s a tiny pcb that produces an annoying sound using a piezo buzzer and a ATtiny13 microcontroller.

It uses an LED, piezo buzzer, ATTINY13 Atmel microcontroller, a very small amount of Arduino code, and a coin cell battery that should last about a week.

Battery life could be improved, with longer sleep times. The device has but one function: sleep, then wake up periodically and blink and chirp, then go back to sleep.

Firefly – an annoying little thing – [Link]

EAGLE 8.7 – Parametric 2D & 3D model generation,, more!

Today we’re proud to announce the release of EAGLE 8.7 and what is quite possibly one of the biggest releases we’ve had to-date, this time focused (largely) on libraries and library development (and what that means for 3D modeling of your finished PCB)!  But before we get into it, let me share a thought —

As some of you know, most of us on the EAGLE team use the SW (imagine that!).  In fact, it’s the overwhelming majority in development, mktg, leadership, support, etc. who not only use it, but we’ve run workshops, taught university courses with it, etc.  And it’s from the experience of talking with you and having to explain many of the more idiosyncratic things either in EAGLE or in ECAD in general, that we’d decided we needed to take a shot at addressing the component creation process.  Our goal being to reduce or eliminate one of the slowest, most non-value added processes in your workflow. (This is the stuff that really slows you down and only gets harder as the parts get more sophisticated.)

That being said, this is only part of our ongoing efforts to make library development and the problems with quick, quality component creation faced by so many users (whether professionals or hobbyists or students) a thing of the past.  It’s also the first step in treating ECAD parts and their MCAD equivalents as a single component creation process which shouldn’t be decoupled (after all, it’s the same datasheet whether you’re making parts in EAGLE or in Fusion360).

EAGLE 8.7 – Parametric 2D & 3D model generation,, more! – [Link]

InnoComm NXP i.MX8M System on Module – An Advanced Video Processing SoM with Connectivity

Last year (2017), NXP announced its new applications processors, the i.MX 8 series. The i.MX 8M family of applications processors based on Arm® Cortex®-A53 and Cortex-M4 cores provide industry-leading audio, voice and video processing for applications that scale from consumer home audio to industrial building automation and mobile computers. NXP announced a select group of partners that have been engaged in the development of an ecosystem for the i.MX 8M family processor. Taiwan based Innocomm Mobile Technology was one of those selected partners among others and have announced their NXP i.MX 8M quad-core system-on-module – called WB10 with wireless and wired connectivity options.

Innocomm WB10

Innocomm WB10 is a next generation Wireless System-on-Module powered by the NXP i.MX 8M SoC. It offered advanced video processing capabilities and designed for application in the areas of internet audio, home entertainment, smart speakers among many others. With inbuilt Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity options, the WB10 can quickly find applications in the trending areas of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial applications.

The WB10 is a small module and measured at just 50 x 50 mm. The WB10 module comes with only 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and an 8GB eMMC flash memory. It provides onboard support for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Ethernet controller with MIMO 2 x 2 and Bluetooth 4.2. Apart from impressive connectivity options, you also get a host of other interfaces like – USB 3.0 host, USB 2.0 device, 2x I2C, 3x UART, GPIO, PWM, SPI, and PCIe interfaces.

WB10 Block Diagram

The WB10 has an impressive audio and video interfaces with is Media I/O expressed via three 80-pin connectors that include an HDMI 2.0a supporting 4K and HDR, as well as MIPI-DSI, 2x MIPI-CSI, SPDIF Rx/Tx, 4x SAI, and the high-end DSD512 audio interface.

The following are some of the SoM specifications:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX8M Quad, Cortex-A53 x 4 + M4
  • Display  –
    • 4K + HDR
    • HDMI 2.0a
    • MPI DSI
  • RAM – 2GB LPDDR4
  • Flash Memory – 8GB eMMC Flash
  • Connectivity –
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • MIMO 2×2 / BT 4.2
    • Ethernet 10/100M/1Gbps
  • Audio –
    • SAI
    • SPDiF Rx/Tx
    • DSD512
  • Dimension – 50 x 50 mm
  • Others –
    • USB 3.0/2.0 Host
    • USB 2.0 Device
    • i2C
    • SPI
    • UART
    • GPIO
    • CSI
    • PWM
    • PCIe
    • 80 pins x 3, board to board connectors
Carrier Board

Although no official software support has been provided, it is expected the SoM should support the usual Android and Linux BSPs as seen in most modules. A development carrier board is made available by the company to extend the SoM interfaces and will surely make development easier. The module connects to the carrier board through three 80-pin board-to-board connectors exposing many of the I/Os provided by the latest NXP processor.

At this point, no pricing or availability information is provided for the WB10. More information about the module can be found on the product page.

VIA Smart Recognition Module Recognizes Emotion, Face, Age & Gender

VIA Technologies, a global leader in the development of embedded platform and system solutions have announced its VIA Smart Recognition Platform powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 embedded platform. The VIA Recognition platform offers a robust development suite for Vision-based applications with the possibility of developing applications that can be used for detecting facial expression, faces, age and even the gender type of an individual. The VIA Technologies announced the VIA Smart Recognition Platform during the Embedded World 2018.

The Platform provides support for object and facial recognition, emotion detection, age and gender detection. Apart from that, the platform can be used for people counting and tracking. Applications for VIA Recognition Platform can be found in office buildings for staff access control and be delivering personalized adverts in retail signage kiosks.  Others areas of note can be in traffic monitoring (counting of vehicles), security screening in airports and VIP places, payment authentication, surveillance and others. The platform’s advanced AI algorithm ensures speed and accuracy.

VIA_SOM-9X20_module Carrier Board

The VIA Smart Recognition platform is based on its VIA SOM-9×20 module powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and coupled with a SOM-DB2 evaluation board. The significant difference with this current setup and the earlier SOM module is the pre-loaded facial and object recognition stack. The SOM-9×20 module features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4x Cortex-A72-like cores Kryo cores, two of those run at 2.2GHz and the last two at 1.6GHz. Measuring at 82mm x 45mm, the module features a 64GB eMMc Flash memory, 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM, a 624MHZ Adreno 530 GPU, and a Hexagon 680 DSP. It offers rich I/P and display interface through its MXM 3.0 314-pin connector including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0, SDIO, PCIe, MIPI CSI, MIPI DSI, and multi-function pins for UART, I2C, SPI, and GPIO. It comes with a wireless module that includes Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 and a separate GPS/GNSS RF receiver with an antenna connector.

The carrier (SOM-DB2 expansion) I/O board is expected to help in accelerating system development. The board extends out the module interfaces, including 2x Ethernet 2x USB 3.0, micro-USB 2.0, HDMI, and a microSD. The VIA Smart Recognition Platform comes with a BSP that features Android 7.1.1 as well as the VIA Smart ETK (Embedded Tool Kit) comprising some APIs, including Watchdog Timer (WDT) for safeguarding against system crashes, GPIO access, RTC for auto-power on, and a sample app. A BSP supporting Linux Kernel 3.18.44 is also under development.

According to Richard Brown, VP International Marketing of VIA Technologies, “Computer vision technologies such as facial and object recognition are becoming a vital tool for boosting public safety and convenience everywhere from check-in counters and security screening in airports to self-service kiosks and payment authentication systems in supermarkets. The VIA Smart Recognition Platform speeds up the development and deployment of tailor-made systems that harness these cutting-edge technologies to deliver innovative new customer services and experiences.”

The VIA SOM-9X20 module and SOM-DB2 evaluation board are available now on VIA Technologies site, but you have to contact them for the prices. For inspiration on usage in computer vision, check out the VIA Smart Recognition Turnkey System brochure and VIA SOM-9X20 Machine Vision Platform brochure.

Displaying Customized Graphics on OLED display using Arduino

One thing we all always wish we could do when using any display is to load our own custom graphics, be it a logo, gif etc. In today’s tutorial we will show how to do just that on an OLED display using an Arduino.

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display is a display based on light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound that emits light in response to an electric current. This layer of organic semiconductor is situated between two electrodes; typically, at least one of these electrodes is transparent. OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld game consoles, and PDAs. OLED displays do not require a backlight because they emit visible light and can thus, display deep black levels and be thinner and lighter than a liquid crystal display (LCD).

Displaying Customized Graphics on OLED display using Arduino – [Link]

Helix Semiconductors starts production of DC-DC power chip

Fabless power semiconductor startup Helix Semiconductors has started mass production of its MxC200, a configurable high-efficiency 15W DC-DC power chip.

Previously known as the HS200, the MxC200 takes voltage input ranging from 12V to 48V and converts it to selectable lower voltages. For example, when configured as a 48V input to 12V output, the device offers greater than 97 percent peak efficiency and greater than 90 percent efficiency at full load. by Nick Flaherty @

With the MxC200 and other MuxCapacitor-based products, Helix Semiconductors is answering the demand for more energy-efficient power ICs in the burgeoning AC-DC and DC-DC markets,” said Harold Blomquist, president and CEO of Helix Semiconductors. “The MxC200 features a unique three-stage process, each of which divides its input in half. Power can be pulled from any of its three outputs simultaneously up to 15W. The company’s MuxCapacitor technology enables the MxC200 to achieve unprecedented high efficiency and to stay nearly flat from full load down to 5 percent load.

Helix Semiconductors starts production of DC-DC power chip – [Link]

Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller Shield For Arduino Nano

The Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller shield for Arduino Nano is designed to drive mini mobile robots. Low voltage DC Motor controller interface allows Infrared wireless control of two DC motors, two PWM and 2 Direction signal outputs to drive two motors separately. TB6612 IC is the heart of the project. IC can handle constant current up to 1.2A, Supply 6-12V DC. One LDR connected to Analog pin A7 for application like light sensitive robot controller. Infrared receiver TSOP1738 used as IR receiver which is connected to Digital pin D2 of Arduino Nano. Nano D7-Direction Motor A, D4 Direction Motor B, D5 Motor A PWM signal, D6 Motor B PWM signal.

Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller Shield For Arduino Nano – [Link]

Seeed Launches Engleye-530s, A Samsung ARTIK Powered Board in a Raspberry Footprint

The Samsung ARTIK™ is an integrated IoT platform consisting of enterprise-grade modules, cloud services, and end-to-end security for the design and development of robust IoT solutions. ARTIK empowers developers with easy-to-use APIs and SDKs, extensive documentation and rich tools. It hides the complexity inherent in IoT behind open, enterprise-grade APIs. Seeed Studio, a household hardware company, has launched the Eagleye 530s.

Eagleye 530s

The Eagleye 530s released by Seeed is a maker board in a Raspberry Pi form factor and powered by the Samsung Artik-IoT Platform. The Eagleye incorporates the Samsung ARTIK 530s, a 1GB system-on-module (SoM). Samsung Artik 530/530s is a module meant for the Internet of Things; it’s based on a quad-core Arm Cortex A9 processor for local data processing and multimedia engine to handle audio and video processing. The module provides support for Ethernet, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and 802.15.4/Zigbee and Thread connectivity. Eagleye 530s supports full HDMI, MIPI camera interface, video, and audio media.

As compared to the original Raspberry Pi 3, The Eagleye has an ARM Cortex A9 installed with four cores clocking at 1.2 GHz. They both have a 1G of RAM, while the Pi 3 requires a micro SD card as it’s storage medium, the Eagleye doesn’t, it comes with a 4GB of eMMC flash memory, so micro SD card is optional. It offers much more than it’s competing product, it supports the wireless protocol Zigbee, making it suitable for IoT gateway applications.

The following are the Eagleye 530s board specifications:

  • Processor– Quad Core Arm Cortex A9 processor @ 1.2GHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, SD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11a/b/g/n dual band SISO (2.4G/5G)
    •  Bluetooth 4.2(BLE+Classic)
    • Zigbee/Thread 802.15.4
    • Gigabit Ethernet port (RJ45)
  • Video Output – HDMI port
  • Audio – 1x Headphone Jack
  • Camera– 1x MIPI CSI header
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A ports, 1x micro USB OTG Type-B
  • Debugging – 1 x Micro USB UART Type-B
  • Expansion – 40-pin GPIO expansion header compatible with Raspberry Pi
  • Power Supply – 5V via DC jack or micro USB UART connector
  • Dimensions – 87mm x 58.5mm x 20mm
  • Weight – 50g

Eagleye 530s will allow Samsung ARTIK developers to build on the powerful Raspberry and Makers ecosystem easily. Eagleye 530s is available for preorder on the Seeed website. Estimated ship date at the end of April 2018.

NXP i.MX8M SoC Powered ArmStone MX8M Pico-ITX SBC Runs Linux With 8GB LPDDR4 RAM

F&S Elektronik Systeme has unveiled its latest Pico-ITX format (100 x 72mm) SBC named ArmStone™MX8M. This board is powered by the NXP i.MX processor. Preliminary shipping will not until Q2 of this year.

armStone MX8M Single Board Computer
ArmStone MX8M Single Board Computer

The new ArmStone™MX8M is available with dual or quad-core variants of the 1.5GHz, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M. The SoC combines a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, enabling 4K HEVC/H265, H264, and VP9 video decoding with HDR. It also provides a 266MHz Cortex-M4 core for real-time tasks, as well as a security subsystem. This is the first i.MX8M based board to support up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM instead of 4GB. The storage is supported by up to 32GB on eMMC and 1GB SLC NAND memory.

Other major features include the availability of a 10/100 Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. These also a PCIe interface with SIM card support inbuilt. There are 4x USB 2.0 host ports, an RS232 interface, and extra SPI and I2C signals. A Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port is also available as additional I/O option.

The board is going to be shipped with a BSP that includes Linux 4.9.x, U-Boot, Yocto Project 2.2 or optional Buildroot build system and documentation and sample code. Configurations for standard cases (minimal, X11, Qt5, Wayland/Weston, Framebuffer) got very easy with this new board. The BSP release also includes precompiled binary images that can directly be downloaded to the board.

Key specifications of the ArmStone™MX8M:

  • Processor:

NXP i.MX8M (2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 @ 266MHz

  • Memory:
    • Up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • Up to 32GB eMMC
    • Up to 1GB SLC NAND
    • Optional SD slot
  • Multimedia:
    • 2x 24-bit LVDS
    • DVI
    • Analog resistive and PCAP touch via I2C
    • MIPI-CSI
    • Audio line-in/out/mic
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.1 LE (with BT 2.1+EDR support)
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O Ports:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
    • CAN
    • RS232
    • 2x TTL UART
    • 4x I2C
    • 2x SPI
    • 32x DIO
  • Power — 5V DC input
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -20 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Weight — 60 g
  • Operating system — BSP with Yocto 2.2/Buildroot, Linux 4.9.x, U-boot

More information may be found at F&S Elektronik Systeme’s ArmStone MX8M product page.

PaPiRus Netapp – Monitor your network with Raspberry Pi

Use PiSupply’s PaPiRus ePaper display to monitor your network with a Raspberry Pi.

Over the past few days I have been converting my “Speedtest-cron” code to work on the PaPiRus from PiSupply. Whilst going over the code, I decided to start a new Git Repository and rename this version to “PaPiRus Netapp”.

PaPiRus Netapp – Monitor your network with Raspberry Pi – [Link]