Raspberry Pi category

Pixy 2 – Computer Vision at a Whole New Level

Computer vision started as a way for computers to understand their surroundings, this requires making a computer with a high-level understanding of digital images or videos. A device that performs computer vision needs to acquire, process, and analyze images to extract data from the real world and turn it into numerical information that can be used for something. The main application for this technology has always been artificial intelligence since giving a computer the ability to understand its surroundings (and learn from them) it’s a huge step towards decision making which is a fundamental part of AI.

Makers have also started using this type of technology which lead Charmed Labs to create Pixy in 2013. Pixy is a small, easily programmable device used to recognize certain things in its sight. Pixy can be taught objects, and it can also recognize color codes. This year, Pixy 2 was announced, and it can do everything Pixy could plus some additional features.

Pixy 2 has a custom pan tilt mechanism, making it easy to look around. Also, the image processing is now at 60 frames per second. It includes new algorithms for line detection, so it can track lines, and it’s now capable of identifying intersections, and reading signals to make decisions. Signals are simple barcodes which can be printed out and can be easily programmed to a certain instruction to be performed at the sight of that specific barcode.

The device includes a cable to plug it directly into the Arduino, or it can be connected to Raspberry PI via USB cable. It can also communicate via SPI, I2C and UART giving the makers a wide range of options to work with. Finally, the new version has a LED light meant to be used in dark spaces.

A lot of projects for Pixy can be found on the internet, and with the new additions that Pixy 2 offers, there would soon be a lot of applications for this device too. Pixy 2 is smaller, faster, and smarter. As a result, makers will find creative ways to exploit these characteristics in their projects. Finally, Pixy can also be used with Lego Mindstorms (NXT and EV3).

The first Pixy was launched on Kickstarter, but Pixy 2 is not crowdfunding, and its already available to be bought on Amazon or on its official website.

CrowPi Development Board For the Raspberry Pi

CrowPi- A Raspberry Pi Kit to Learn Computer Science, Programming, and Electronics

CrowPi Kit for learning programming

Ever since the first Raspberry Pi was released back in 2012, millions of them have been sold worldwide and have revolutionized the learning industry especially in STEM Education. The Raspberry Pi has not only been used in the classroom but deployed into commercial applications as well.It has seen countless applications, and several projects have been built around it. The Raspberry is a single board computer but can be used for more than your general computer stuff. Just like the popular open-source hardware Arduino, the Raspberry Pi can be used for hardware prototyping. For that reason, the team at Elecrow is launching a new raspberry kit called CrowPi that will help learners, makers, enthusiast learn and apply the Raspberry in an entirely new way.

CrowPi is the brainchild of Elecrow Engineers, a company devoted to the open source hardware industry with the hope of making something that can help instantly solve computer science, programming, and electronics challenges more easily.

CrowPi Development Board

CrowPi is a development kit for learning basic computer science, practice computer programming and complete numerous electronic projects. CrowPi is designed for people that don’t want to do just basic things with the Raspberry Pi but do more. It is intended for people that are interested in electronics, the ones passionate about STEM education, or the ones that one to explore the dark web of the electronics world.

Unlike most development kit out there, the CrowPi is equipped with a 7-segment display which will give you the ability to keep learning, hacking, be building, and experiment anywhere you are. The CrowPi is an all in one kit that embeds everything you will need for doing most Raspberry Pi projects. It is convenient to carry the CrowPi around because of the nice case and compact layout.

The CrowPi is specially designed to help users develop their python programming skills. The kit provides printed user manual and step by step digital tutorial as shown below:

CrowPi Manual Snippet

The kit is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2/3 and Raspberry Pi Zero, and includes LED indicators to show status of GPIOs and even comes with add-on camera (only available in the Advanced Kit version).

CrowPi comes in 4 kit variations; The CrowPi Basic Kit which comes without a Raspberry Pi and is available for $149, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with a RPI Zero and is available for $179, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $209, and lastly the CrowPi Advanced Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $249. These kits are currently available for pre-order on their kickstart campaign at discounted prices and shipping is expected by July 2018.

CM3-PANEL – A Panel PC based on the Raspberry Compute Module 3

Early last year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, a board designed to provide firms with low-cost computer hardware to build into products. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) packs the same 1.2GHz, quad-core Broadcom BCM2837 processor and 1GB memory used on the Pi 3 onto a slimmer and smaller board. The CM3’s compact design, the same size as a DDR2 small outline dual in-line memory module, is suited to be built into electronic appliances. The Compute Module already sees some adoption in commercial applications and Acme Systems is an organization building on it with their latest release of the CM3-PANEL.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Device
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3

The latest product to leverage Raspberry Pi CM3L SoM is made by Italy based company Acme Systems, and designed for Panel PCs and tablets. Acme Systems isn’t new to developing products based on the Raspberry Pi; they launched the Acme CM3-Home last year, a Raspberry Pi 3 Compatible Board designed for Home Automation.

CM3-Panel
CM3-Panel is a 7-inch thin touch-panel PC based on Raspberry Pi 3 industrial module deemed to be integrated on the front panel of your devices. The device comes with a socket for attaching the Raspberry Compute Module 3 and featuers a MIPI connector for the Raspberry Pi Camera. It extends out 24 GPIO lines from the Raspberry Pi where some are used for; Lcd backlight control (1 GPIO), Camera led and camera shutdown control (2 GPIO), SPI bus (5 GPIO), Hardware PWM lines (2 GPIO), Serial line (2 GPIO), PCM line (4 GPIO), and I2C bus (2 GPIO). The CM3-Panel can operate in temperature range of -20°C to +70° C and is less than 22mm thick.
The device comes in four different models, including two with modules that support Acme’s open source 868MHz Yarm RF radio module spec:
  • CM3-Panel-U — USB 2.0 port — 95 Euros ($113)
    • No WiFi module
    • USB Host port
    • No Yarm radio module
  • CM3-Panel-W — 2.4GHz WiFi — 99 Euros ($118)
    • WiFi @ 2.4GHz
    • No USB Port
    • No Yarm radio module
  • CM3-Panel-UY — USB and 868MHz Yarm ISM — 115 Euros ($137)
  • CM3-Panel-WY — 2.4GHz WiFi and 868MHz Yarm ISM– 119 Euros ($142)

Yarm is a smart and cost-effective solution for system integrators to build their own RF applications at 868 MHz avoiding all the hardware design costs requested to start a new custom RF project. Yarm integrates a low power MCU (35 µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode) and a high sensitivity transceiver.

The 868MHz Yarm module is compatible with Acme’s ISM 868MHz Energy Harvesting radio nodes. The module is equipped with a Cortex-M0+ based, 22 x 14mm Microchip ATA8510 ISM transceiver. The CM3-Panel has a separate array of Yarm GPIO in addition to the main Raspberry Pi GPIO. The optional RaLink RT5370N 2.4GHz WiFi module is based on USB 2.0 and is fully supported by the latest Kernel Linux versions.

CM3-Panel appears to be an open source product because ACME systems have published it’s schematic, mechanical drawing, and a 3D stem model for 3D printing. The product is available for purchase and can be bought online from the product page.

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same.

A Raspberry Pi SBC

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same. A faster processor and Power over Ethernet capability were advertised – OEMsecrets tells you what you need to know.

Raspberry Pi’s are always sold via the ecosystem. This is a promise which the foundation, by and large, manages to keep: if you use a sufficiently recent version of RaspBian so that the new SOC is supported, the same memory card can also be used in older versions of the process computer. When looking at the thing from the top, not many differences can be seen. The most important change is the addition of the four pin header for the Power over Ethernet hat: it might cause problems with some cases. Other than that, the physical dimensions remain the same.

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same – [Link]

Google Launches New DIY Artificial Intelligent Kit Powered by The Raspberry Pi Zero WH

The Google AIY (Artifical Intelligent Yourself) Project Team is no new and has been in existence for a while now. Their job is to deal with two significant parts of the AI community namely; voice and image recognition. Although they launched the first generation of AIY Vision and Voice kits that comes equipped with a Raspberry Pi last year, they have now modified the kits and this lead to the creation of a new generation of AIY Vision and Voice kits. Unlike the previous kits which made use of Raspberry Pi 3, the new kits which are smarter and cost-effective are based on the smaller Raspberry Pi Zero WH.

AN INTELLIGENT CAMERA

Due to the “continued demand” for the Voice and Vision kits mostly from parents and teachers in the STEM environment, Google decided to “help educators integrate AIY into STEM lesson plans and challenges of the future by launching a new version of our AIY Kits.” The new vision kit has a Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2 which can be easily assembled to create a do-it-yourself intelligent camera which cannot only capture images but also recognize faces and objects.

The Vision Kit comes with USB cable and a pre-provisioned micro SD card. Raspberry Pi Zero WH which the new kit was based on, has the same features as the Raspberry Pi Zero W. However, the Pi Zero WH comes with a soldered 40 – pin GPIO. It is also more flexible and less expensive than Raspberry Pi 3. The Vision kit is less costly as compared to the previous version because Pi Zero WH was used and can be bought for just $90. Other parts of the Vision Kit include; the cardboard case, a speaker, wide lens kit, standoffs and many more.

A SMART SPEAKER

 

The Voice Kit has most of the features found in Vision Kit but there are few differences such as the absence of a camera module and the presence of a Voice Bonnet Hat and Voice Hat stereo Microphone boards. If you argued that cardboard cannot talk, then you were wrong as the AIY Voice Kit has accomplished that already. The kit comes enclosed in cardboard and costs $50. It also has a speaker, wires, and even an arcade button.

The Voice Kit is linked with Google Cloud Speech API & Google Assistant SDK , can answer questions and perform certain tasks that has been programmed to do.

The new AIY Kits are available for purchase at US retailer Target:

The kit is expected to be available in the UK this summer.

The Google team is introducing a new way to interact with the Kits alongside the traditional use of “monitor, keyboard, and mouse” using a companion app for Android devices. The app aims to make wireless setup and configuration a snap. The app will be available alongside the launch of the new kits from the Google Play store. Google is also working on iOS and Chrome companion apps, which should be coming along soon.

More information about this development can be found on the Google AIY website

“ApplePi DAC” audio HAT

ApplePi DAC Audio HAT Add-on For The Raspberry Pi Features 24-bit DAC And A 128dB SNR

Orchard Audio quickly exceeded its $5K Kickstarter goal for its ApplePi DAC HAT board, which it is promoted as “the most advanced and highest performance sound card hat for the Raspberry Pi.” You can order the add-on board from May 13 starting at $175. Options include a $5 stacking header and a $25 5.25V, 3A power supply. The ApplePi DAC supports the Asus Tinker Board and Allo.com’s Sparky in addition to the Raspberry Pi.

“ApplePi DAC” audio HAT
“ApplePi DAC” audio HAT

A fully assembled $374 system provides the new HAT board, header, and power supply plus a Raspberry Pi 3 SBC, an acrylic stand, and an SD card with a choice of preconfigured Volumio, Rune Audio, or Raspbian. For $574, you get the assembled system plus a 7-inch touchscreen. All the products ship in July.

The board is powered by dual TI Burr-Brown DACs (PCM1794A) configured in monaural mode. The system has a dynamic range of >135dB and a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 128dB, which can bump up to 132dB. Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) is listed as an impressively low <0.0005% (-106dB). The board supports both 16- and 24-bit bit rates, as well as sample rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192kHz.

Orchard highlights the board’s ultra-low noise linear regulation and low jitter PLL clock generation. The mentioned derives are not from the usual crystal, but rather from a CS2300 IC from Cirrus Logic. This clock chip integrates a crystal, PLL, and clock multiplier into a single device, the input jitter is attenuated by 60dB (1/1000). It is remarkable that the onboard balanced (Mini XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) outputs are driven by dual differential output circuit stages. Orchard says that most competing boards offer only single-ended outputs. So, this feature really makes it stand out.

The ApplePi DAC runs at 4.5W and can be powered by a Raspberry Pi, but the manufacturer recommends using the optional 5V adapter. In addition to Volumio and Rune Audio, the ApplePi DAC supports moOde Audio, piCorePlayer, and Roon Network Endpoint software.

The ApplePi DAC is available on Kickstarter through May 13 starting at $175, with shipments due in July. More information may be found at the ApplePi DAC Kickstarter page and Orchard Audio’s ApplePi DAC product page.

How to Get Started With The Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s also capable of doing most things you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-documents as well as playing games. In this how-to, you will learn how to get the Raspberry Pi up and running!

The Raspberry Pi

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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.

TinyPi – World Smallest Raspberry Pi Game Boy-Style Retro Console

After the release of Raspberry Pi Zero in 2015 many projects have been built with it. Another exciting project built around the Raspberry Pi Zero is this full-fledged gaming device called the Pocket TinyPi.

RaspberryPi Retro Gaming device
Pocket TinyPi

If you ever wanted to get your hands on some gaming on the go, the Pocket TinyPi maybe your best bet. Based on the Raspberry Pi, you have instant access to a retro gaming system such as RetroPie and Pico-8. The TinyPi is not only good for gaming, it is also tiny and can comfortably fit into your pocket without much of a notice.

Peter Barker is the creator of Pocket TinyPi, and he got inspired by the launch of the Pi Zero where several makers came up with very inspiring projects especially the ones hacking an old Game Boy. Unlike other makers, Barker didn’t tear apart a working Game Boy but instead built a standalone Pi Zero-based gaming device using a cheap 2.2-inch SPI screen flanked by two button arrays. Things progressed from there, and Barker was able to build it using a 1.44-inch display as compared to the earlier 2.2-inch screen to finally make the Pocket TinyPi gaming device.

The Pocket TinyPi comes in an unassembled kit that will have to be fully assembled to get it to work. Aside from the possibility of playing an amazing and classic game with the TinyPi, the kit gives a user the opportunity to put their soldering skills into real test and even some eyesight testing since you will need to solder small parts on a small piece of board. One can also order an entirely built and tested kit, but of course there is no fun in that.

The kit consists of the following parts,

  • 1.44”color screen with a resolution of 128×128 pixels
  • 5-way joystick (4 directions plus a center click)
  • 2 action buttons
  • 3-way nav switch (gives two more buttons and a center click)
  • Stereo sound
  • Raspberry Pi for brains (1GHz CPU, 512MB ram, WiFi, and Bluetooth)
  • 300mah battery giving an hour of play time (in the full kit and full build)

On the front of the PCB are a five-way joystick (with push-in function) and two push buttons. There’s also a three-way navigation switch at the top, which can be mapped to extra functions. The device is powered by a slimline LiPo battery, strapped to the Pi Zero along with a TP4056 charger. Stereo sound is supplied by two piezo transducers situated behind the screen.

TinyPi Rear

The Pocket TinyPi is expected to come in 3 options :

  • The Base Kit – It includes the PCB, Screen, and components to let you build a working TinyPi. This kit doesn’t come with any battery and a case, so you will need to supply your own power to it. A basic Li-Po battery will work here and you can easily 3D print your own custom case for it as well.
  • The Full Kit – This includes everything the basic kit does, plus a 3D printed case, battery, and supporting PCB.
  • Fully Assembled – This is a fully assembled kit. It will be prebuilt and tested.

They were on sale for a while on Tindie, but demand was too high, so they will be available on CrowdSupply soon. Of course, TinyPi is not just limited to gaming, the flexibility of the Raspberry Pi means your imagination the only limits!

Introducing Project Fin: a board for fleet owners

Introducing Project Fin, a carrier board designed for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Lite.

It’s a carrier board that can run all the software that the Raspberry Pi can run, hardened for field deployment use cases, and adding some of the things we’ve seen our users needing the most. It includes 8/16/32/64 GB of on-board eMMC depending on the model, has dual-band connectivity for both 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi networks, can take an external antenna for WiFi and Bluetooth, and can accept power input from 6v to 30v (or 5v if you power through the HAT) via industrial power connectors.

It also comes with two special features. The first is a microcontroller that has its own Bluetooth radio and can operate without the Compute Module being turned on. This enables the Fin to perform well in real-time and low-power scenarios. The Compute Module, along with its interfaces, can be programmatically shut down and spawned back up via the microcontroller, which can access the RTC chip when the Compute Module is OFF for time-based operations. In addition, the Fin has a mini PCI express slot, which can be used to connect peripherals such as cellular modems. The Fin also has a SIM card slot to make it even easier to connect a cellular modem.

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