Tag Archives: ARM

IQ Motor Module – An Integrated Motor With A Closed Loop Controller And Position Sensor

The drone industry is booming, and the technology is just… cool, to put it plainly. Flying robots, many of which are completely autonomous delivering our goods and also spying on us. Makers and hobbyist are getting on the bandwagon, making their customized drones with available parts. With the boom of UAV (Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle) and Drone technology also comes the growth of issues.

IQ Motion Module

Electric motors are one of the most fundamental parts of electric based flying objects like drones. Drones usually use brushless DC paired with an ESC (electronic speed control) unit for speed regulation and a possible flight controller for position handling. Building your own drone either for the fun of it or a special purpose means you have to go through the hurdle of selecting the Motors, ESC, controller etc. You also have to choose which strength to prioritize and not to mention of potential compatibility or over/under powering issues. But with IQ Motor Module, you don’t have to worry about all those. The drone industry has relied on hobby-grade motors and controllers for too long. Now, IQ is bringing advanced motor control to the drone industry and other robotics fields at an affordable price.

The IQ Motor Module from IQ Motion Control is an integrated motor and controller with an embedded position sensor that is designed to change some of the challenges faced with drone, flying object set up by combining all of those capabilities (motor, electronic speed control, controller, position sensing) into a single versatile unit. The module is made up of three major components: a brushless DC motor, a motor controller, and a position sensor. With position-sensing and advanced calibration and control algorithms, IQ can optimize motor performance and give users unprecedented control over their vehicles and machines.

The IQ module provides serial communication interface as well as standard hobby protocols making it widely compatible with the possible vehicle and drone design. It also comes with some features built in like, a 40 ms response time, over-current protection, active freewheeling, anti-cogging, mo delay with zero crossing, jitter-free startup, regenerative and active braking, and many others. The velocity and position control is based on a tunable PID + Feed Forward control.

The controller is built on a 32-bit 64 MHz Arm Cortex MCU and has two firmware options, a high-speed module, and a precision module both in a 2306 size. The high-speed module provides a constant rpm of 2200 KV, and the precision module a constant rpm of 220 KV. Both motor will have an estimated peak current of 30 A and estimated peak voltage of 25.2 V. The speed firmware is specially designed to drive propellers or any application with a target velocities. A position firmware for precision is useful for 3D printers, robots, and machine tools. The firmware can be reflashed at any time by the user, so you can always reuse your IQ Motor Modules. It comes with a power and efficiency boost; Sinusoidal commutation to give a 20% increase in battery life and Trapezoidal commutation to provide about 4.8% more shaft power.

The IQ Motor Module is suitable for a wide variety of applications including consumer and enterprise drones, as well as many other robotic projects. The new IQ Motor Module will offer “unparalleled performance.” You can back the Crowd Supply campaign until May 10th, and a single IQ Motor Module will cost you $80, or $305 for a pack of four. Orders will be shipped in September 2018.

Neutis N5 is a Tiny Quad Core System on a Module

Neutis N5 is a tiny quad-core system on a module from Emlid. Emlid which is known for its Navio2 Autopilot HAT for the Raspberry Pi and some other drone accessories is venturing into the mainstream embedded market with its Neutis N5 computer on a module.

Neutis N5

Unlike the other previous boards and products, the Neutis N5 is expected to be a complete spinoff from Emlid mostly due to the fact it is on display on a new Neutis.io website and has no reference on the Emlid website.

In a very tiny (yes, really tiny) package, of about 41 x 29.5mm square with a 4.3mm thickness, the Neutis packed a host of features and power. At the heart of the Neutis is a 64-bit quad-core ARM® Cortex®-A53 processor with a max speed of 1.3GHz and based on the prevalent Allwinner H5. Also comes powered by the Mali 450 MP4 GPU. The Neutis N5 ships with a RAM of 512 MB DDR3, a storage option of 8 GB eMMC, has onboard Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth (Bluetooth 4.0 dual-mode BLE), and an extended temperature range. It has a tamper-resistant dedicated crypto chip for storing cryptographic keys, unique ID, random number generation and many more.

Neutis N5 Pinouts

This module runs modern Linux kernel based on the mainline version. It’s based on the industry-standard Yocto build which provides support to craft a custom Linux distribution or use the pre-configured Debian. Neutis comes with an OTA support, providing an easy and safe way to deliver updates to the devices in the future.

The Neutis comes with a dual 80-pin expansion connector with some I/O ports being multiplexed. It provides interfaces for Audio, Ethernet, HDMI, USB, OTG, SPI, I2C, UART, SDIO, PCM, Line-out/Line-in, and up to 38x GPIO ports. The module runs on 3.3V and core voltage of 1.1-1.3V power and supports a temperature range of -25 to 85°C.

Neutis Development Board

The module comes with FCC and CE certification (pending approval) which will help streamline product certification. Each module has a unique ID which allows convenient management of product patch and includes a time-saving parallel flashing tool. In addition to the module, Emlid is also offering a development kit that provides all the peripheral interfaces on standard ports and 0.1” (2.54 mm) pitch pins for quick prototyping. The kit extends out the following ports of the COM (Computer on a Module):

  • 2 x USB 2.0 Type A
  • 1 x USB 2.0 OTG Micro-B
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 3.5 mm jack A/V out
  • 1 x MicroSD card slot
  • 1 x RJ45 10/100M Ethernet

The Neutis N5 will be available in April for $49 for single units, with volume discounts available. More information about the Neutis N5 product can is found on the product website.

Robby – A Simple and Powerful Robot to Learn Electronics and Programming

Robby Robot

Over the years we have seen a significant interest in people wanting to learn electronics and programming but are mostly handicapped with what they could build. Over time, learning has been proven to be more reliable when learning is more practical, and we can quickly grasp the concept if one is seeing what he or she is building in real-time and promptly learn why it works the way it works.

Lego Education robotics which has been around for a while, has allowed students to become active leaders in their education as they build everything from animals for a robotic zoo to robots that play children’s games. Lego has been tremendous, and it has quite helped students grasped the concept of engineering and programming, but one of the significant drawbacks with Lego is; it has not been fully developed for the makers open source movement and also comes with a high-cost price, unlike some Arduino based development environments.

The Arduino has caused a revolution in bringing artists into the world of robotics. It has spawned numerous offshoots from very small to wearable processors. Building something with Arduino requires some necessary electronic circuity skills and basic programming which sometimes could be intimidating for the complete novice. Robby from Mr. Robotics is a new education robot for anyone interested in learning more about robotics while also learning about robotics and programming. Robby is based on the Arduino ecosystem.

The team from Mr. Robotics based in Lille, France are crowdfunding their new educational robot called Robby, a tool to learn electronics and programming while having fun. The team at Mr. Robotics believe in this technologically advancing world, everyone should have the opportunity to be imaginative and use it for creation and development. That will need to provide the enabling environment for grooming interest in programming while cultivating natural curiosity, Robby could be the tool to bridge those gaps.

“The creativity is the intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

ROBBY robot is entirely hackable and adaptable with Plug & Play modules for any design scenario. So, today you can design to plug in a particular sensor and decide tomorrow you want another sensor in that position. Just unplug and plug back. The robot kit is fully programmable and allows you to add your own modules and sensors as well as choose your own architecture providing an open source scalable system complete with plug and play sensors. The robot kit is ideal for educational applications as well as keen hobbyists and makers.

At the heart of Robby is the ARM Cortex-M4F 32-bit microcontroller running up to 120 Mhz, and comes with three 12V DC precise motors and incremental encoders for direction, position and speed measurement. It includes a 12V extra Lipo 3S battery, Wi-Fi, USB and Bluetooth, buzzer and an open chassis for adding modules, sensors, components, and breadboard. Robby can be programmed with Blocky (graphical drag and drop block like programming) and with the Arduino IDE.

The Robby Robot is available to back via Kickstarter with pledges starting from €179 for the starter kit, €199 for the Explorer Kit, and €289 for the Creator kit. Mr. Robotics is offering the option of personalized kits costing up to €550 and some other customized packages. If Robby is successfully funded, worldwide shipping is expected to take place during August 2018.

More information about Robby can be found on their website here and their Kickstarter campaign.

HiFive Unleashed – The First RISC-V-based Linux development board

RISC-V is an open specification of an Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). That is, it describes the way in which software talks to an underlying processor – just like the x86 ISA for Intel/AMD processors and the ARM ISA for ARM processors. Unlike those, however, the RISC-V ISA is open so that anyone can build a processor that supports it. Just as Linux revolutionize the software world, RISC-V could create a substantial impact on the hardware world. This open-source chip project is might just go out to break the dominance of proprietary chips offered by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

Hi-Five Unleashed-board

Silicon Valley-based company SiFive has released the world first RISC-V based Linux development board called Hi-Five Unleashed. SiFive which has previously released the HiFive1, a RISC-V-based, Open-Source, Arduino-Compatible Development Kit. The HiFive Unleashed is powerful enough to run Linux distributions.

HiFive Unleased Block Diagram

Hi-Five Unleashed was designed around the RISC-V based, quad-core, 1.5GHz U540 SoC (Freedom U540). The Freedom U540 is the first multi-core SoC featuring the open source RISC-V ISA with 4x 1.5GHz “U54” cores and a management core, fabricated with TSMC’s 28nm HPC process, and also the first to offer cache coherence. The U54-MC Core’s high-performance and flexible memory system make it ideal for applications such as AI, machine learning, networking, gateways, and smart IoT devices. It has no GPUs or other coprocessors, but the open source hardware design is intended to encourage third parties to collaborate to develop one.

The Hi-Five Unleashed is a minimalist board that uses one Freedom U540 paired with 8GB DDR4 ECC RAM, as well as 32MB Quad SPI Flash, a microSD card slot for external storage, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and an FMC connector for future expansion cards. The development board is still barebone for now and mostly intended for developers and not the general public; it lacks hobbyist helpful resources like a video output and USB support, none of those are available on the board.

The following are some of the HiFive Unleashed specifications:

  • SoC – SiFive Freedom U540 with 4x U54 RV64GC application cores @ up to 1.5GHz with Sv39 virtual memory support
    • 1x E51 RV64IMAC Management Core
    • 2 MB L2 cache
    • 28 nm TSMC process
  • System Memory – 8GB DDR4 with ECC
  • Storage –  32MB Quad SPI Flash from ISSI
    • MicroSD card for removable storage
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Debugging – Micro USB port connector to FTDI chip
  • Expansion – FMC Connector for future add-in cards
  • Misc – On-off switch, various configuration jumpers
  • Power Supply – 12V DC input

The board is currently available for order at Crowd Supply for $999 and is expected to ship on June 30th. An earlier access board goes for $1250, which will ship on March 31st. RISC-V has grown from an academic project which first started in 2006 at UC Berkely, and now to a welcome, acceptable alternative to existing ISA and a potential game-changer in the long run.

In the future, we are not only going to build powerful open source based system but also understand their internal working and avoid something like the Spectre and Meltdown bugs that affected the likes of Intel processor.

SensiBLEduino – A full fledge ‘hardware-ready’ development kit for IoT and supports Arduino

IoT which translates to the Internet of Things has been a significant buzz for the last five years while disrupting major Industries (from Agriculture, Energy, Healthy, Sports and several others).

SensiBLEduino Development Kit

IoT adoption has seen rapid development in the makers’ world, with different makers and manufacturers producing various forms of boards, chips, software to facilitate quick IoT development. Boards like ESP8266 from Espressif System is used for rapid prototyping and a low-cost choice for Wi-Fi-based IoT applications. Israeli based IoT firm SensiEdge has launched the SensiBLEDuino, an off-the-shelf, hardware-ready development kit based on the open-source Arduino for rapid prototyping of IoT applications.

SensiBLE is a full fledge customizable solution for those wanting to design IoT products. It helps to fasten development with a variety of sensors onboard, along with Bluetooth LE 4.1 capabilities and a low-power ARM® 32-bit Cortex®-M4 CPU with FPU. Some of the main challenges when embarking on IoT product development are; what platform will I use? What sensors are available to achieve my goal(s)? How do I handle connectivity? What about the Cloud Platform to use, and so on. Developers or product designer always result in the use of several boards or modules to achieve this while also increasing the time to bring the product to life. The SensiBLE kit removes most of these fears; it combines hardware and software in tiny form factor to allow developers get their product to market quickly at lower development costs. (more…)

First Orange Pi SBC Powered By Rockchip’s Hexacore SoC Can Run Android 6.0 And Debian 9

ARM hacker board vendors and commercial x86-centric board vendors are following Firefly’s lead in experimenting with Rockchip’s ARM-based SoCs. These new single-board computers (SBC) offer x86-type features like HDMI 2.0, mSATA, and mini-PCIe. They also come with powerful and more energy-efficient ARM cores. Now Shenzhen Xunlong has launched its first Rockchip based Orange Pi single-board computer, Orange Pi RK3399, at 109 USD.

Orange Pi RK3999 Powered By Rockchip SoC
Orange Pi RK3999 Powered By Rockchip SoC

The Rockchip RK3399 features two Cortex-A72 cores that are clocked up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores typically clocked at up to 1.42GHz. There’s also a high-performing ARM Mali-T864 GPU. There are 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC flash and can be expanded with an inbuilt MicroSD slot. Mandatory I/O ports as USB 3.0 Type-C port, 4x USB 2.0 host ports. DisplayPort 1.2 with audio for up to 4K at 60Hz. There are Other RK3399 based SBCs as Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399 and similarly open source Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire.

Like most of these boards, the Orange Pi RK3399 is a high-end board with various ports and interfaces. The Orange Pi RK3399 is the only one of these SBCs with mSATA, and you can have dual mSATA drives if you dedicate the mini-PCIe slot to mSATA instead of LTE. Orange Pi RK3399 stands out with its numerous sensor assembly, which includes a G-Sensor, Gyro, Compass, HALL sensor, and ambient light sensor.

Orange Pi RK3999 front details
Orange Pi RK3999 front details

The Orange Pi RK3399 offers almost the same as Firefly-RK3399, with GbE, WiFi-AC, Bluetooth 4.1, and a large-scale collection of multimedia features. There’s a 40- instead of 42-pin expansion interface. Just like Firefly boards, there is no support for Raspberry Pi compatibility. The board also lacks the Firefly’s RTC, and at 129 x 99mm, which is heavier and just slightly larger than the Firefly-RK3399.

One of the best advantages of the Firefly board is software support. Firefly offers Ubuntu 16.04 while the Orange Pi only has Debian 9 along with Android 6.0. More importantly, since this is Shenzhen Xunlong’s first Rockchip board, software support is likely to procrastinate. Hopes are high on this being an open hardware board like the other Orange Pi models.

Asus Tinker Board S is a Raspberry Pi Competitor at $79.99

Asus, the Taiwanese computer and electronics household name, in February last year entered into the maker’s world with their introduction of the original Tinker Board. The Original Tinker Boards was believed to out-sit the household Raspberry Pi, even though the original tinker board was way better than the Raspberry Pi in all aspect of hardware functionality, it was lacking in the software and community department. Raspberry Pi is great not for it’s easy to use hardware but mostly for its community. In the maker’s world, the community is the most important thing and this is where Raspberry Pi and the like of Arduino has excelled excellently.

The Asus Tinker Board S

Fast forward to 2018, Asus is back with a new and expected more powerful board called the “Tinker Board S”.  The new and improved Tinker Board S is a single board computer (SBC) that offers greater durability, better stability and an overall improved user experience for DIY enthusiasts and makers everywhere.

Announced at the CES 2018, the Tinker Board S is a single board computer that looks like the Raspberry Pi form factor, but with an overall improved board. As with the original Tinker Board, the Tinker Board S comes in a flashy looking dark board. The S board is equipped with the same Rockchip RK3288 quad-core cortex processor on the original Tinkerboard running at 1.8Ghz, compared to the quad-core 1.2GHz Broadcom processor in the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Tinker Board S comes with a lot of built-in storage and comes with a whopping 16GB of eMMC storage, enough to install an Android or Linux operating system and still have free space left. The S board also includes a microSD card slot, so you can always increase the storage as you like. The S board has 2GB of RAM memory based on the faster DDR3 technology, a double of the 1GB of the Raspberry Pi 3, and the slower DDR2.

Tinker Board S Specs

Like ASUS’ previous board, the new Tinker Board S has a 40-pin GPIO color-coded header block compatible with the Raspberry Pi. and comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports. For better user experience, Tinker Board S is HDMI-CEC-ready for complete video entertainment, with which you can control the hacker board and TV with a single remote. It can handle a 4K display at 30fps using the onboard HDMI jack.

The Tinker Board S also features a Gigabit Ethernet for internet and network connectivity. Just like the Raspberry Pi 3, the S board comes integrated with an onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The S boards include an integrated IPEX antenna header to which allows for easy antenna replacement or upgrades.

The Tinker Board S is the latest in a long line of more powerful alternatives to the Raspberry Pi, and if you are just getting started with single board computers (SBC), the Raspberry Pi 3 is going to be the best choice. The S board is expected to be available in early 2018 with a price tag of $79.99. For more information about the Asus Tinker Board S, visit the official product page here.

MicroZed is a Powerful and Low-Cost ARM + FPGA Linux Development Board

MicroZed is a low-cost development board from Avnet, the makers of the $475 ZedBoard and the entry level MiniZed development boards. Its unique design allows it to be used as both a stand-alone evaluation board for basic SoC experimentation or combined with a carrier card as an embeddable system-on-module (SOM).

The MicroZed processing system is based on the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC. The Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC (AP SoC) family integrates the software programmability of an ARM®-based processor with the hardware programmability of an FPGA, enabling key analytics and hardware acceleration while integrating CPU, DSP, ASSP, and mixed-signal functionality on a single device. The processing system offers the ability to run standard operating systems like Linux, real-time operating systems, or a combination of the two. The programmable logic provides a unique capability to create custom interfaces or custom accelerators. Together, they provide a versatile, performance optimized solution.

ZedBoard™ is a low-cost development board for the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC. This board contains everything necessary to create a Linux, Android, Windows® or other OS/RTOS-based design all at a cost of $495. The MicroZed sells for $199 with close performance and functionality with the ZedBoard. MicroZed contains two I/O headers that provide connection to two I/O banks on the programmable logic (PL) side of the Zynq – 7000 AP SoC device. In stand-alone mode, these 100 PL I/O are inactive. When plugged into a carrier card, the I/O are accessible in a manner defined by the carrier card design. The MicroZed board targets application in the areas of general FPGA evaluation and prototyping, embedded SOM applications, embedded vision, test & measurement, motor control, software-defined radio, industrial network and industrial IoT.

The Zedboard is based on Zynq-7020 with 85K logic cells while the MicroZed is based on the lower Zynq-7010 with a 28K logic cell. The MicroZed has 1GB RAM instead of 512 MB on the ZedBoard and has lesser interfaces as compared to the ZedBoard.

The following below are the features of the MicroZed SoM:


  • XC7Z010 – 1CLG400C


  • 1 GB of DDR3 SDRAM
  • 128 Mb of QSPI Flash
  • Micro SD card interface


  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • USB 2.0

User I/0 (via dual board-to-board connectors)

  • 7Z010 Version
    • 100 User I/0 (50 per connector)
    • Configurable as up to 48 LVDS pairs or 100 single-ended I/O


  • 2×6 Digilent Pmod compatible interface providing 8 PS MIO connections for user I/0
  • Xilinx PC4 JTAG configuration port
  • PS JTAG pins accessible via Pmod
  • 33Mhz oscillator
  • User LED and push switch

The MicroZed Evaluation can be purchased from the Avnet store here and comes with the following: MicroZed board, Micro USB cable, 4GB μSD card, Getting Started Card and a Xilinx Vivado WebPACK support and the Avnet’s MicroZed SOM comes bundled with the Wind River’s Pulsar™ Linux.

1Bitsy ARM Cortex-M4F Dev Board

Open-Source Miniature Breadboard Friendly ARM Cortex-M4F Dev Board with 1MB Flash, 196kB RAM, 168MHz, floating point and more.

1Bitsy is a debuggable open source STM32F415 development board. Designed for beginners as well as advanced users that want more control over their embedded software by exposing the JTAG/SWD debug interface that is compatible with the Black Magic Probe JTAG/SWD debugger with built in GDB server.

1Bitsy ARM Cortex-M4F Dev Board – [Link]

ARM-Android open source platform for Linaro By Huawei

A development platform for the Android open source project (AOSP) has been created by Huawei. The ARM-based hardware is part of the Linaro open source collaborative engineering organization developing software for the ARM ecosystem.

Recently, Huawei has launched the HiKey 960 96Boards development platform to provide access to the latest ARM mobile technology for AOSP developers. Fortunately, You can find this new board  listed on the 96Boards website and is available through global distribution channels.

In fact, initial software support for the board is provided in the AOSP source tree based on the Android Common Kernel using the Linux 4.4 kernel release. Meanwhile, Linaro and Huawei are also working on the Linux 4.9 based Android Common kernel and maintaining support for the Kirin 960 SoC in the mainline kernel.org tree, allowing for the availability of multiple Linux distributions for this board in the future.

In addition, Huawei has released the source code with Linux and other open source libraries and programs for their Huawei Mate 9 / Mate 9 Pro and Huawei P10 / P10 Plus models powered by Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor. You can the source from Huawei open source page.

Full specifications of Hikey 960

  • SOC: Kirin 960 octa-core CPU
  • CPU: 4x Cortex-A53 cores to 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex-A73 cores to 2.4 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
  • Software: AOSP with 4.4 AOSP common kernel
  • Storage: 32GB UFS 2.0 flash storage, MicroSD card
  • Display interface: HDMI 1.2a up to 1080p plus 4-lane MIPI DSI
  • USB: 1 x USB 2.0 type C OTG port, 2 x USB 3.0 type A host ports
  • Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with on board antennas
  • Camera: 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • IO extended interface: 40 pin low speed expansion connector +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO, 60 pin high speed expansion connector 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0, PCIe Gen2 on M.2 M Key connector
  • MISC: 4x user LEDs, LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, Power button
  • Power supply: 12V/2A power supply recommended, 8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant)
  • Dimensions: 85mm x 55mm

At this point, Hikey 960 is available for $239 on Amazon (USA), Seeed, Lenovator and many other stores.

“The HiKey 960 delivers on the goal of 96Boards to provide access to the latest ARM technology to the developer community, with support for the latest Huawei mobile SoC featuring high performance ARM Cortex-A73 cores coupled with the latest generation of ARM Mali GPU technology.” – George Grey, CEO of Linaro

Moreover, you can find information about the HiKey 960 board here and about running Android from here: http://source.android.com/source/devices.html. Also, Linaro is providing instructions for developers here: http://linaro.co/hikey960-start.