Tag Archives: crowdfunding

CortexProg is a Cortex-M Programmer and Debugger

The ARM Cortex family of 32-bit RISC-based processors has emerged as the leading processor core in embedded designs due to its efficient architecture, robust and scalable instruction set, and extensive base of development tools and software. Cortex-M MCUs has been one of the most used microcontrollers for embedded systems and they have seen applications in various hardware products from wearables to IoT applications. The ARM Cortex-M series offers a range of scalable and compatible core options, from the ultra-low-power Cortex-M0+ to the top-of-the-range, high-performance Cortex-M7.

One significant advantage of the Cortex-M series over the other 32-bit microcontrollers or the 8-bit microcontroller like the Atmega 328P is it’s low cost and low power requirement. Despite their awesomeness, they still face some challenges especially in the aspect of development tools. Developers and engineers tend to use different tools for microcontroller flashing and also debugging which not only increase the cost of development but also waste valuable time.

The CortexProg

Using different ARM chips from some different manufacturers, users will tend to have different programmers because of the different programming by manufactures. Dmitry Grinberg wants to solve this with the CortexProg, a universal programmer of the Arm Cortex-M series.

CortexProg is meant to be a debugger for all Cortex-M microcontrollers. When users are looking into the possibility of reverse-engineering a device, creating new designs, debugging embedded and cortex-m microcontrollers, programming individual boards or on a production line, and other makers exploits, CortexProg might just come in very handy unlike using several tools for those purposes.

The quest of building the CortexProg is not something that just started from this year according to Dmitry. Dmitry wanted to create a generic Cortex-M debugger out of everyday components a maker can find around. The first prototype was based around an AVR ATTiny85 using the ModulaR bootloader. It provided support for an HID-based communications protocol to a PC and firmware updates. It could only debug 3.3V targets, and rather slowly at that.

First working CortexProg

The first prototype based around a V-USB setup is actually open-source for anyone interested in building one. Of course, don’t expect the same performance as the current version and it comes with an upload speed of about 800 bytes per second.

CortexProg can read data from a microcontroller, write data into it, program flash, provide live tracing for printf-style debugging (ZeroWireTrace), and even allow complete GDB debugging. The PC-side tool uses the HID transport to not need any drivers on any of the supported OSs: Linux, Windows, MacOS. The tool source is also available, so you can build yourself a copy for whatever other esoteric environments you might desire to run it on. CortexProg is the complete solution for all your ARM Cortex-M debuggng and programming needs.

Dmitry is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for the device on Kickstarter. Backing the crowdfunding campaign at the $25 level will get you a CortexProg board. It is estimated the boards will be ready for shipment starting at November.

Top Funding Platforms For Hardware Based Projects

In the last few years, we have seen that the Makers’ Movement is growing quite strong, more makers, innovators, and hardware startups are beginning to come up. We saw back in 2015, the most famous hardware prototyping board “The Arduino” is now assembled in the USA as compared to it being manufactured only in Italy, this not only increases the number of Arduinos but also broadens up the whole hardware ecosystems. Remember Pebble Time? The guys that broke the Kickstarter record, they received $1 million in 49 minutes, breaking a current record, and became the most funded Kickstarter to date, reaching $20.4M dollars all the way to its deadline, from over 78,741 backers.

It’s one thing to have an idea, and it’s another thing to get it to people that need it. One of the challenges of getting a crafted idea to users is “Funds,” you need quite some level of funds to mass produce your product and sell it out to users. While the big corporations have the necessary funding and resources, most hardware projects are developed by individuals or small startups and don’t necessarily have such funds available. Projects that are just starting out sometimes need a financial boost to get things going, and most won’t get backing from a VC or angel investor the first time, but perhaps crowdfunding platforms could help here. Crowdfunding is where you get a lot of people to invest in your idea, rather than finding one person to come up with everything you need.

In this post, I will highlight some of the go-to platforms to get funding for your hardware projects and boards easily. Note – I am not affiliated with any of these platforms (at least for now).

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the most well-known name in crowdfunding and arguably the most active platform, raising over $2 billion since its launch in 2009. Kickstarter is geared more toward creative projects like a new album or writing a book, as well as products and inventions like a personal single-wheel vehicle or a pocket-sized solar charger.

Kickstarter has been one of the significant go-to platforms for hardware-focused products, and we have seen a lot of projects that came to life as a result of there fully funded campaigns on Kickstarter. Kickstarter favors creative project from wearables, smart glasses, drones to robots have been funded on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter isn’t geared towards individuals that have a product they want to release but startups/companies that can manage the whole product cycle and value chain. So, if you have a working product (an MVP preferable and not just a prototype) Kickstarter might be the platform to get the money rolling.

Here’s another vital caveat with Kickstarter: If you don’t raise 100% of your goal, you get none of that cash. Your project needs to be 100% funded for you to collect that money. If you meet your goal? Kickstarter has a 5% fee, and the payment processor will charge an additional 3-5 percent.

IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo is another familiar crowdfunding platform which shares similar traits with Kickstarter. Even though Indiegogo can be used for all sort of projects from profits to non-profits, you can still fund your focused hardware projects on them, and quite many hardware projects have been funded here.

One major difference between Kickstarter and Indiegogo is the funding flexibility. Kickstarter requires you to reach your target to get the funds but IndieGoGo offers flexible funding, which means you get to keep the funds you raised, even if you didn’t reach your goal, of course, this comes at a price of an increased fee. The fee for either is 5% (fixed and flexible), but if you don’t hit your goal with a flexible funding campaign, you’ll pay a higher fee (which is reportedly 9%). There’s no fee for a fixed funding campaign if you don’t hit your goal. And, of course, there will be additional fees (usually around 3%) from payment processors.

IndieGoGo might be your go-to platform if you aren’t sure of getting the exact money you need and feels any funding will do.

CrowdSupply

CrowdSupply is a crowdfunding platform that has a high preference for hardware projects and boasts “over twice the success rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo.” On crowd supply, you can create a campaign for any hardware projects, from raw IoT board to a full consumer product. CrowdSupply favors creative projects as well as individuals built projects.

CrowdSupply is my recommended go-to platform for makers, tinkers, and innovators out there with the likelihood of getting your creative project funded very high. Get started with CrowdSupply here.

Tindie

Tindie is a marketplace for makers to fund and sell their hardware creations. It is a DIY Hardware MarketPlace and not a crowdfunding platform, unlike others. Tindie pride itself as a hub where hardware makers can quickly sell their products or prototypes without the overhead required in creating a crowdfunding campaign.

Tindie is excellent if you have a customized hardware creation you want to sell out to the hardware community, it could be a new shield you just built or an addon for the raspberry pi that adds some extra functionality.

Final Words

Going by numbers alone, hardware projects should be a win-win proposition for both entrepreneurs and crowdfunding platforms. Seven of the top ten most-funded projects on Indiegogo are hardware projects. Getting your hardware product to markets is now easier than ever before and now could be the best time to get funded. If you have something nice, chances people will fund you are high if you use one of these platforms.

XMotion All In One Controller for Robotics

If there is a motion, it must have XMotion. Recreating Arduino & interface circuits user focused.

XMotion is Arduino Compatible all in one robot controller. Which designed specially for robotics, IOT and maker projects.

It includes powerful Motor drivers, switching mode regulator, interface circuits and more. With protected features, it is all in one board for lots of different type robot projects.

But not only this. Also we added some supporting materials, like starter codes, libraries. If you want to do line follower, mini-sumo or any basic robot we have ready-made codes for beginners.

XMotion All In One Controller for Robotics – [Link]

Tomu – An ARM board which fits inside your USB connector

Tomu is a programmable computer that is so small that can fit entirely inside a computer’s USB port. It sticks out just a little bit, enough to allow you to press one of the two buttons on it’sy side. It also have two LED lights, to let you know what I’m up to. The project is coming soon on crowdsupply.com

Specifications

  • 25 MHz ARM Cortex M0+ CPU
  • Two LEDs
  • Two capacitive-touch buttons
  • 8 kilobytes of RAM
  • 64 kilobytes of flash
  • Full and Low Speed USB

Volterman, Your Personal Smart Wallet

With the rapid growth of technology, smartphones and e-payments are replacing cards, cash, and wallets. However, developers are still trying to keep wallets relevant in the 21st century, and Volterman is the newest attempts. Besides WiFi hotspot and power bank, Volterman also provides novel security features to protect your phone and wallet from loss.

Similar to other smart wallets, Volterman has a GPS tracking capability, so you can find it easily in case it lost. Through Bluetooth connectivity, it connects to the smartphone to ensure that you will not forget one of them. An alarm will start ringing to notify you and pick up what you have missed.

The new innovative idea on Volterman is a small built-in camera. It captures everyone trying to open the wallet while “lost mode” is running. The pictures are sent directly to the paired smartphone, meaning that you will know who is using your wallet and where is he. With an embedded SIM card, you are also able to track your wallet via the website.

Volterman’s Embedded System Specification

Inside the wallet, there is a full computing system to do all the stuff. The main components are:

  • CPU: ARM Cortex A9
  • Memory: 512MB RAM, and 32GB ROM
  • SD card: 64GB embedded card
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Camera: 4MP
  • Mobile Network: Worldwide 2G, 3G
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 BGN, Hotspot
  • GPS: A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Connector: magnetic connecter by Volterman
  • Power Bank: 2000mA, 2600mA, 5000mA, in addition to the capability of wireless charging.
  • Input voltage: 5V, 1A
  • Output voltage: 5V, 500mA

An interesting point is that the purchase price is covering the data charges for the GPS tracking and sending of photos to the Volterman server. According to the makers, Volterman will automatically connect to local networks in 98 countries, but at the moment the exact tariffs from country to country are unclear. However, it is offering up to 3 times cheaper internet cost than the regular price, with an early estimate of around $15 per 1 GB.

The Volterman comes in three different sizes: a small cardholder model $98 with 2,000-mAh power bank, a conventional bifold wallet $135 with 2,600-mAh power bank, or a larger travel size $157 designed to hold more cards, a passport and with a 5,000-mAh power bank.

After reaching more than one million dollars on IndieGoGo, Volterman is now ready for mass production and estimated to start shipping and the first quarter of 2018.

Take a look at the crowdfunding campaign video below:

iBlinds – Make Your Existing Blinds Intelligent

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Z-wave Alliance contest winner and Texas-based HAB Home Intelligence has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com to bring iBlinds, a DIY home automation kit, to the market.  The product will allow customers to make their existing window blinds “smart” and to control multiple devices with a touch of one button on a phone, tablet, PC or Z-wave remote.

iBlinds is an easy-to-install solution for homeowners looking to automate and control the blinds already in their home.  No need to purchase any special tools, order a new set of blinds or even call a contractor.  The intelligent blind motor will work with any Z-wave controller and app to give homeowners control over their blinds.  Z-wave integration will also enable iBlinds to interact and communicate with other smart home devices on the network, which can be used to create scheduled times to open and close.  Remotely control a single blind or a group of them from anywhere in the house or in the world.

iBlinds – Make Your Existing Blinds Intelligent – [Link]