Hardware category

3D Gaming With Raspberry Pi & ExaGear

ExaGear is a virtual machine that implements virtual x86 Linux container on ARM and allows you to run Intel x86 applications directly on ARM. With this software by Eltechs you can run Intel x86 application on your ARM-based Mini PC simultaneously with common native applications.  It is like QEMU but 5 times faster! You can even run Windows applications on your ARM Mini PC if you install Wine.

ExaGear is user friendly software with transparent operation so you don’t notice a difference between running x86 applications on x86-based or ARM-based platform. Use your favorite applications on ARM-based devices and overcome platform compatibility.

In 2014 ExaGear Desktop was launched to allow running PC games on ARM-based devices (Raspberry Pi, Odroid etc.). ExaGear Desktop is an emulator too but dramatically differs from other emulators with its performance. ExaGear Desktop provides very low slowdown – 1.3 times instead of 50-100 times for other kind of emulators! It enabled to run such games as Arcanum, Disciples II, Fallout , Might And Magic VI,Pharaoh and Cleopatra, Stronghold Crusader, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Caesar 3 and many others on Raspberry Pi! You can learn how to set up these games from this article

However, there was one important issue. ExaGear Desktop didn’t support hardware graphics acceleration. That mean that games which actively use 3D were terrible laggy.

But amazing things happened!  A new version of ExaGear Desktop – ExaGear Desktop 2.0 is fully supporting 3D graphics acceleration on Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3!

Check this video that run Counter Strike and Diablo II on Raspberry Pi:

More games are going to be added gradually and you can also suggest on the team your favorites. The team solved this problem after the OpenGL library was adapted into Raspberry Pi architecture, so they could develop some OpenGL calls to the hardware in order to solve the problem of 3D graphics.

This option is only available at Raspberry Pi since it is the only development board that uses OpenGL. You can learn more about this new era of gaming from this article and get ExaGear from here.

 

Arrow’s New FPGA-Based IoT Maker Board

Arrow Electronics has introduced a new FPGA IoT Maker Board designed for end-to-end application development and optimised for cost. The Arrow MAX1000 board can be installed directly into a custom application or integrated on to a completely separate board.

It has been created for start-ups, universities or established equipment manufacturers who want a flexible, low cost FPGA platform for development, and the distributor can also supply customised variants.

At the heart of the maker board is a compact (11x11mm) Intel MAX10 FPGA with 8000 logic elements. This single chip includes integrated flash memory, a 1Msps 12bit ADC for analogue signals and a 3.3V power supply. Other features include embedded SRAM, DSP blocks, instant-on within milliseconds, and the ability to implement Intel’s NIOS II soft core embedded processor to perform microcontroller tasks. The board is equipped with an integrated Arrow USB-Blaster that enables the FPGA to be programmed directly from a PC and debugged using the free of charge Intel Quartus Prime Lite software.

The MAX1000’s power can be supplied as 5V from the USB port or via a separate pin. An Enpirion DC/DC converter with integrated coil then generates the 3.3V supply used on board. A MEMS oscillator provides the clock supply for the FPGA and the USB bridge. The low power, 3-axis acceleration sensor – also based on MEMS technology, can be used for position and motion detection, which are often required in IoT applications. External SDRAM can be used for storage of application data or as memory for the NIOS II processor.

Visit Arrow Electronics at www.arrow.com

Source: eeDesign Europe

Scout ESC, A New Tank Controller Board By Open Panzer

Open Panzer Project is an attempt to create open source versions of all electronics used in RC tanks today, with professional quality and features. The goal of this project is to expand the hoppy and to improve everyone’s experience of RC tanking corner, which will speed-up its growing.

Open Panzer recently developed the Scout ESC board, a dual brushed-motor speed controller that accepts both standard RC inputs or logic-level serial commands. It features an ATmega328 that can be programmed with the Arduino IDE through standard FTDI cable.

The Scout ESC operates at ultrasonic frequencies, at voltages up to 16 volts, and is rated at 10 amps continuous per channel, but the addition of a fan can increase the current capacity. The Scout has its own onboard fan controller that can drive any standard 12 volt 2-pin PC case fan. An onboard thermistor also allows the processor to monitor the board temperature.

The Scout is 65mm x 47mm board that is perfect for controlling even the heaviest 1/16th scale RC tanks. It is compatible with the Open Panzer Tank Control Board, so no additional setup is required.

Scout ESC specification:

  • Input voltage: 6 – 16 volts
  • Operating current:
    • 10 amps per channel continuous without fan
    • 20 amps peak
  • Motor PWM: 21 kHz
  • RC Inputs: Standard 1000-2000 uS pulse width (1500 uS = motor stopped)
  • Serial Input: 38400 baud; 8 data bits, no parity, one stop bit; TTL level (5v max)
  • Dimensions (L x W): 2.6″ x 1.9″ / 65mm x 47mm
  • Mounting holes: 1.57″ / 40mm (use 4-40 or 3mm screws)

As it is an open source project, you can get Scout board files, schematics, and bill of materials from the website, and the firmware and libraries from the github repository. The Open Panzer wiki has more information about the project, and the Open Panzer Community is open for everyone for discussion.

Call for Makers: Hackaday Prize for Social Impact Projects

In patnership with Digi-Key, Supply Frame and Microship, Hackaday is calling for the curious, the creative, and the determined who are working to create social change in order to transform the world using their hardware and programming knowledge in addition to scientific, design, and mechanical abilities. This contest by Hackaday will encourage people innovate projects that can impact in people lives.

All you have to do is designing an impactful project that suits you, or collaborate with a team to do it. You can create things like reliable utensils for the disabled, a way for denizens to find clean drinking water in rural villages, refreshable braille displays for image text and a smart home to build a sustainable community. Or go beyond that and create something that has never been seen before. The purpose of the contest is to encourage participants to develop solutions to address technology issues facing humanity today.

With the global collaboration behind this contest, the total prizes will reach $250,000 and they will be divided as following: $120,000 goes to top 120 finalists ($1,000 each), $50,000 Grand Prize, $30,000 Best Product Prize, $20,000 2nd Place, $15,000 3rd Place, $10,000 4th Place and finally a$5,000 5th Place.

The first stage of the Contest will consist of five (5) Challenge Rounds. Participants may enter the Contest during any of the Challenge Rounds. Up to twenty (20) entries from each Challenge Round will be chosen to advance to the final round. Participants must complete the requirements for at least one (1) Challenge Round to be eligible for the final round. An entry may be submitted to any or all of the Challenge Rounds as long as it meets the requirements for each Challenge Round in which it is submitted. All submissions must be in English and must comply with any specified requirements.

Challenge Round 1: (Get Started: Design Your Concept.)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on March 20, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on May 1, 2017. This round is for showcasing your idea, hacks and logs and presenting the problem and how will your project solve it.

Challenge Round 2: (Internet of Useful Things :: IuT ! IoT)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on May 1, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on June 12, 2017.
Let’s take Internet of Things and make it practical for everyday life. Internet of Useful Things projects showcase a way to build a better tomorrow with the data you track and analyzeChallenge

Round 3: (Wheels, Wings and Walkers)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on June 12, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on July 24, 2017. This round is for building things that move, so the objective of the project is movement and support for things that help move humanity forward.

Challenge Round 4: (Assistive Technology)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on July 24, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on September 4, 2017.  Assistive technology projects ensure a better quality of life for the disabled and enhance learning, working, and daily living.

Challenge Round 5: (Anything Goes)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on September 4, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on October 16, 2017. No reservation, no theme, no topic. it is up to you to build on your idea that resonates with you and encompasses the spirit of making. Build whatever you think would benefit humans and the world we live in.

Best Product

To be eligible for Best Product the product must not have received more than $2,000,000 in funding within the life of the product. The sum of the product’s dimensions (width + height + depth) must total 36 inches (91.44 centimeters) or less. Best Product Final Round. By 1:50 p.m. P.D.T. on October 21, 2017

It’s time to leverage your talent and find solutions to address a problem facing humanity today. With a new technical design challenge every 6 weeks, you are expanding the frontiers of knowledge and engineering.

In order to bootstrap your project before completing your final application of this contest, Hackaday now gives you the chance to participate in a public voting and win up to $200. Just start your entry to get access to this.
Check the rules of the contest to make sure that your country is eligible to apply. Also check this page to know more details about the contest.

Roshamglo Badge, The Rock-Paper-Scissors kit by SparkFun

The SparkFun Roshamglo is the new and fun way to play Rock-Paper-Scissors with your friends! The board uses the ATtiny84, and has an IR LED and receiver to communicate between badges. To play, simply point the USB connector at your opponents Roshamglo up to 5 feet away and press the 5-way switch to the left for rock, up for paper, and right for scissors. The red/green LED will display a solid red for lose, green for win, or alternate red and green for a tie. Your Roshamglo can also be worn with a lanyard clip to provide you easier access when a battle is about to ensue!

The Roshamglo Badge comes as an easy to assemble kit that only requires you to solder on six battery clips to the underside of the board and insert three AAA sized alkaline batteries. No other soldering or programming is required! Once you install the clips and batteries you can start playing Rock Paper Scissors with a friend or start hacking your Roshamglo.

The Roshamglo uses the Micronucleaus bootloader, which allows for programming from the Arduino IDE via the USB connector at the front of the board. We have included two tutorials below to help teach you how to hack your new Roshamglo as well as turn it into a remote to control to turn on and off most styles of televisions!

Features:

  • 8kB of flash memory for our program (~6kB after the bootloader is installed)
  • 512B of SRAM, which stores our variables used in our program
  • 512B of EEPROM
  • 12 IO pins MAX (the Roshamglo breaks out 9 of these pins)
  • 10-bit analog to digital converter which can be used on 8 pins
  • IR LED
  • IR receiver with built in 38kHz demodulator
  • USB programming
  • Programmable red and green LED
  • Power switch
  • 5-way switch for input
  • Reset switch

Roshamglo comes with 3x AAA Alkaline batteries and a 6x AAA battery holder and you can order it now for $12.95.
You can also check the product page for more technical details and source files. Also check this guide to know how to use the Roshmalgo Badge from SparkFun.

Source: SparkFun

Snapmaker, The Modular & Multi-Functional 3D Printer

Snapmaker is a Kickstarter project with a lofty goal: to be the holy trinity for at-home makers by using detachable modules to convert between a 3D printer, a CNC carver, and a laser engraver. In retrospect, the idea seems almost obvious. All three devices need three-axis motors to work: so why not combine them into one?

But Snapmaker doesn’t just stand out for its modular nature — it’s also impressively cheap. The default Snapmaker costs $299 on Kickstarter, and includes just the 3D printer. The laser engraver and CNC modules then each cost $75, making the entire package cost $449 — which would be a pretty good price for just one of these devices, let alone all three.

Snapmaker also claims that it’s offering a fairly high-quality printer for the price, with an “all-metal” construction and 3.2-inch color touchscreen. When it comes to actual specifications, the 3D printing module can print items up to 125 x 125 x 125mm in size at a resolution of 50–300 microns. When it comes to engraving, the laser module offers a 500mW beam that can work with wood, bamboo, leather, plastic, fabric, and paper. And the CNC module can carve wood, acrylic, and PCB at speeds between 2,000 and 7,000 RPM.

Obviously, these are some pretty big promises to be making, especially at the relatively low price point that Snapmaker sells for. And as a first time, crowdfunded project from a new company that has yet to ship a product before, the burden is on Snapmaker to show that they can actually deliver. And while the company has posted videos to YouTube demonstrating the various modules in action, at the price that Snapmaker is selling, it’s possible the whole thing is too good to be true.

The crowdfunding campaign still has 35 days to go, and is already 130% funded! Check out the technical details at the official website.

Source: The Verge

ReRAM, Process Data Where They Are Stored

Because data storage and processor are separated from each other, moving data between the storage and the computation unit became a main factor in computing.
Many techniques were developed to speed up this process, such as pipelining, caching, and look-ahead execution, but “ReRAM” appears as a new technique to solve the root of the problem by merging memory and processor together.

Resistive RAM, which known as RRAM or RERAM, is the new generation of memories. Its cells are simpler than classic transistor-based memory cells, they are non-volatile, switch fast and can run from low voltages. Researchers now have managed to make RERAM cells store more than just a ‘0’ or a ‘1’, enabling in-place computations.

The first small memory devices based on this technology is the MB85AS4MT, that was developed by Fujitsu Semiconductor with Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions. MB85AS4MT is a 4 Mbit ReRAM chip that operates with a supply voltage in the range from 1.65 to 3.6 V and has an SPI interface. One of the stand-out features of this technology is its low operating current, just 0.2 mA, at a maximum read speed of 5 MHz.

Using so-called RERAM crossbar arrays, researchers have demonstrated the in-memory execution of binary matrix computations frequently encountered in high-performance computing, algebraic cryptanalysis, combinatorics and finite geometry data, and in general large scale data analysis. Although we are only at the beginning of this technology, the results are already promising.

More mathematical details can be found in this paper.

Source: elektor.

Easy ARM Programming With 1Bitsy & Black Magic Probe

1 Bit Squared executes hardware and software design, development and manufacturing for a wide range of micro to nano UAV systems available on the market: from quadcopters to multicopters as well as airplanes, helicopters and transitioning vehicles. A Kickstarter campaign was launched to unveil  the new Black Magic Probe V2.1 with its companion demo platform 1Bitsy V1.0.

The Black Magic Probe is a JTAG and SWD Adapter used for programming and debugging ARM Cortex MCUs. It’s the best friend of any ARM microcontroller developer. It works like a brain tap, it allows you to inspect and affect any aspect of the program you are running on your 1Bitsy without having to add special code. 1Bitsy is a user friendly open-source ARM Cortex-M4F Development Platform.

Check the campaign video to know more about the new products.

The Plug & Play JTAG/SWD ARM debugger features:

  • On board implementation of JTAG (Joint Test Access Group) protocol
  • On board implementation of the SWD (Serial Wire Debug) protocol
  • High speed data interface to the Device Under Test 4.5MBit
  • On board implementation of the GNU Debugger Server protocol (no need for OpenOCD) works with stock arm-none-eabi-gdb (no patches or plugins needed)
  • Automatic detection of the Device Under Test (no need for config files)
  • Frontend Level shifter. Usable with targets that run on voltages as low as 1.7V and as high as 5V.

In efforts to demystify ARM programming, you are now able to do the following applications while using a Black Magic Probe:

  • Interrupt program
  • Inspect and modify registers and variables
  • Watch variables (the program gets interrupted and reports a variable value change)
  • Breakpoints (you can set a point in your code that will cause the program to stop as soon as it is reached)
  • Call stack and backtrace (you can see what functions, with which parameters brought us to the current point and state of the program)
  • Disassembly (see the machine code and find out exactly what your program is doing)
  • Dump memory (download the RAM and/or flash content to a file)

1Betsy & Black Magic was available as an early bird combo for $65. The campaign has exceeded its $10,000 goal with $47,841 and should be delivering rewards now. More technical details can be reached at the campaign and the official website.

Arduino-Programmable ESP32 Development Board

Ezsbc, an American embedded control solutions retailer, had produced a new development board that simplifies working with ESP32 module and makes it programmable via USB using the Arduino IDE.

The ESP32 is a low cost, ultra low power microcontroller with integrated Wi-Fi & dual-mode Bluetooth, which employs a dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX6 microprocessor. ESP32 is created and developed by Espressif Systems for mobile devices, wearable electronics and IoT applications. It is a successor to the ESP8266 microcontroller.

Other than the ESP32 module, the board has an FTDI FT231XS USB to Serial converter, a 3.3V LDO, reset and flash switches and a multi color LED. The module can be programmed directly from the Arduino environment with 921600 bps upload speed.

It supports auto-download and will automatically be set in download mode by the downloader. Once the download is complete the board will be reset, just like a normal Arduino board.

Features of the ESP32 board:

  • 240 MHz dual core Tensilica LX6 microcontroller with 600 DMIPS
  • Integrated 520 KB SRAM
  • Integrated 802.11BGN HT40 Wi-Fi transceiver, baseband, stack and LWIP
  • Integrated dual mode Bluetooth (classic and BLE)
  • 16 MByte flash
  • 2.2V to 3.6V operating voltage
  • On-board PCB antenna
  • 3 x UARTs, including hardware flow control
  • 3 x SPI
  • 2 x I2S
  • 12 x ADC input channels
  • 2 x DAC
  • 2 x I2C
  • PWM/timer input/output available on every GPIO pin
  • SDIO master/slave 50 MHz
  • Supports external SPI flash up to 16 MB
  • SD-card interface support

The board is available for $17 on tindie store. Datasheet, documentation, and schematics are also available there.

Meet BeagleBone Blue by Beagleboard

A new development board by BeagleBoard has been just unveiled: BeagleBone® Blue! The new board is dedicated for designers, hobbyists and professional featuring a Linux-enabled robotics controller complete with an extensive set of peripherals for building mobile robots quickly and affordably.

It is easier today to build your robot using BeagleBone Blue since it has onboard 2 cell (2S) LiPo battery management with charger and battery level LEDs, 8 real-time software controlled PWM/PPM outputs for 6V servo motors or electronic-speed-controllers (ESCs), 4 PWM-enabled DC motor drivers, 4 quadrature encoder inputs, on-board sensors including a 9-axis IMU and barometer, a wide array of GPIO and serial protocol connectors including CAN,4 ADC inputs, a PC USB interface, a USB 2.0 host port, a reset button, a power button, two user configurable buttons and eleven user configurable LED indicators.

BeagleBone Blue also has a pre-configured Wi-Fi access point that enables the process of connecting a battery and coding through a web browser. The board is compatible with Debian, ROS, and ArduPilot software, in addition to Cloud9 IDE on Node.js and other graphical programming options.

Key Features

  • Processor: Octavo Systems OSD3358 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
    • 512MB DDR3 RAM
    • 2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs)
    • 4GB 8-bit on-board flash storage programmed with Debian Linux distribution
  • Connectivity and Sensors:
    • Battery: 2-cell LiPo support with balancing, 9-18V charger input
    • Wireless: 802.11bgn, Bluetooth 4.1 and BLE
    • Motor control: 8 6V servo out, 4 DC motor out, 4 quadrature encoder in
    • Sensors: 9 axis IMU, barometer
    • Connectivity: HighSpeed USB 2.0 client and host
    • Other easy connect interfaces: GPS, DSM2 radio, UARTs, SPI, I2C, analog, buttons, LEDs
  • Software Compatibility
    • Debian, ROS, Ardupilot, …
    • Graphical programming, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js
    • plus much more

Designed and developed in coordination with the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab, BeagleBone Blue will the best board to use  for your next robot!

BeagleBone Blue is available today from Arrow, Element14 and Mouser for around $80. For more details, visit https://beagleboard.org/blue.