Monthly Archives: August 2012

Raspberry Pi, Battle of the Enclosures

via Wolf Paulus » Embedded

Overturned Basket with Raspberries and White Currants, 1882
By Eloise Harriet Stannard (1829 – 1915)

Eventually, you will start looking for an enclosure for the Raspberry Pi. Even during the early hardware development phase of your project, you can put the Raspberry Pi into an enclosure, given that the mainboard doesn’t have any on/off switches and that a Cobbler Breakout Kit provides easy access to the Raspi’s GPIO Pins (on a neighboring solderless breadboard).
Unlike for many other popular embedded development platforms, there are already many enclosures for the Raspberry Pi to chose from; many of which are listed over here at elinux.org.

We have bought two Adafruit Pi Boxes and two Raspberry Pi Cases from Barch Designs.

Adafruit Pi Box

  • Crystal-clear Acrylic (6 pieces)
  • Engraved Labels on all Connector Slots
  • Long Slot to connect a 26-pin IDC cable (e.g. Cobbler Breakout Kit)
  • No additional vents or cooling required
  • $14.95

Evaluation

The case has no screws or standoffs and the little feet have to be squeezed to make the pieces snap together.
Very elegant design, however, (probably accelerated by the Raspberry Pi’s heat emission) after a few days of use, the acrylic became extremely brittle and started to show cracks around the cutouts. One of the feet broke off, while we were trying to open the enclosure, rendering the case useless (all feet are needed to snap the enclosure parts together again.)
Despite operating extremely carefully, the same happened to the second case only a few days later. Kudos to Adafruit though. Once we mentioned our experience with the enclosure, a refund was issued.

While this could have been a temporary issue related to the acrylic used for our cases, we would not recommend the enclosure for longer use or if you needed to open and close the enclosure often or even rarely.

Raspberry Pi Case by Barch Designs

  • CNC Machined from Billet Aluminum
  • Customizable Engraving
  • Long Slot to connect a 26-pin IDC cable (e.g. Cobbler Breakout Kit)
  • Acts as a Heat Sink
  • LED Fiber Optics
  • $69.99 (incl. shipping)

Evaluation

This precisely enclosure is milled from Solid 6061-T6 Aircraft Grade Billet Aluminum in the USA. Fiber Optic cables that have been manufactured into the case and each cable is positioned directly above an LED.
The whole enclosure acts as an heat sink, even a small package of thermal paste is included.
While the price is about four times that of the Acrylic enclosure, if you need an enclosure that lasts you may want to consider this one. It is the Mercedes among the Pi cases, but money well spent.

Raspberry Pi / Case by Barch Designs / with EW-7811Un USB Wireless Adapter

Accessing Raspberry Pi via Serial

via Wolf Paulus » Embedded

Using a serial connection to connect to a Raspbery Pi has many advantages. The boot process (Kernel boot messages go to the UART at 115,200 bit/s) can be monitored, without the need to hookup an HDMI-Monitor. Once booted, you can of course login through a serial terminal as well, i.e. the serial connection allows logging-in form a remote computer without running an SSH daemon on the Raspi.

UART TXD and RXD pins are easily accessible (GPIO 14 and 15), however, like for all GPIO pins, the voltage levels are 3.3 V and are not 5 V tolerant!

Since most of the desktop and laptop computers don’t come equipped with a serial port anymore, accessing the Raspberry Pi via a Serial Connection requires some requisites. I have recently connected to the Raspberry Pi using three different hardware setups ..

1. USB to Serial Adapter

There are many USB-to-Serial adapters available and while not all of them are capable to handle the highest data transfer speeds, the Keyspan HS-19 (OS-X drivers are available here) is certainly one of the best.
However, adapters based on the Prolific 2303 chip, like the Zonet ZUC3100, seem to be a little less expensive, well-supported in Linux, and much more widespread. Drivers for 2303 based devices can be found here, if required, use GUEST as user name and password to gain access.
E.g. I’m currently using the Mac OS X Universal Binary Driver v1.4.0 on OS X 10.8.1 without any issues.

1.1. Level Shifter

Very few of those USB-to-Serial adapters have the standard RS-232 +/- 12V voltage levels on the serial ports (the Zonet ZUC3100 w/ the pl2303 chip however does!) and using a level shifter is certainly a very good idea. Since the Raspi wants no more than 3.3V, TTL-RS-232 level converters based on the Maxim MAX3232 are your best choice.

This photo shows the blue Zonet ZUC3100 Usb-to-Serial adapter, with a Maxim MAX3232 based level shifter. Since the level shifter needs to be powered, the Raspi’s 3.3V pin (red) and Ground (black) are connected to the Level-Shifter. Yellow and Orange are used for the Transmit and Receive lines.

On OS X, a simple Terminal with the screen /dev/tty.usbserial 115200 command issued is all what is needed to connect to the Raspberry Pi. A more dedicated application like CoolTerm may become handy as well.

2. FTDI Basic 3.3V – USB to Serial.

I have a basic breakout board for the FTDI FT232RL USB to serial IC, which is mainly used to program those Arduino boards that don’t have an USB connector. It can of course also be used for general serial applications. Big benefit here is that the FTDI Basic 3.3V already provides the 3.3V levels that the Raspbi requires. The Virtual COM Port Drivers (VCP-Drivers) for the host computer are available here
Since the FTDI Basic does’t need to be powered, only the TXD and RXD pins need to be connected.

This photo shows the FTDI Basic 3.3V Usb-to-Serial adapter, with only two (TXD and RXD) pins connected to the Raspberry Pi. Again, the FTDI Basic is powered through the USB connection coming from your host PC or Laptop. Still, the Raspberry Pi needs to be powered through its micro-usb port.

3. FTDI Basic 3.3V – USB to Serial.

If you look hard and long enough, you will find USB-to-Serial Cable, 6 Female Header Wires, 3.3V I/O, like this one over here at Micro Controller Shop. Adafruit has one as well here.

Cable like these are the easiest way ever to connect to the Raspberry Pi’s serial console port, since they can also power the Raspi.

The USB-to-Serial cable (uses an FTDI FT232RQ) is a USB-to-Serial (3.3V TTL level) converter cable which allows for a simple way to connect 3.3V TTL interface devices to USB.

The 3.3V TTL signals are color coded as follows:

  • Black – GND
  • Brown – CTS
  • Red – +5V DC supply from USB
  • Orange – TXD
  • Yellow – RXD
  • Green – RTS

This photo shows the Micro Controller Shop’s FTDI based 3.3V Usb-to-Serial adapter cable, powering the Raspberry Pi, as well as connecting to its TXD and RXD pins.

Tiny WiFi Adapter for Raspberry Pi

via Wolf Paulus » Embedded

[Updated on Feb. 2. 2013 for (2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian) Kernel Version 3.2.27+]

The extremely small EW-7811Un USB wireless adapter looks like the perfect WiFi adapter for the Raspberry Pi. Not only is it tiny and relatively inexpensive, it also seems capable enough to be a great companion device for the Raspi. While elinux still shows that some users report timeouts trying to initialize the module, I cannot verify this with 2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.

WiFi is not really necessary for the Raspberry Pi. It already comes with an ethernet port, provides RS-232 (aka serial-) connectivity, and has two USB ports. However, in case you wanted to add WiFi to the Raspi, this little adapter seems to be as good as any. Here is why:

The Edimax EW-7811Un

  • complies with wireless IEEE802.11b/g/n standards
  • adjust transmission output by distance and CPU offload, to reduce power consumption when wireless is idle
  • is currently the smallest wireless adapter
  • currently cost between US$ 9 and US$ 15

more than enough reasons to cut the cord and add WiFi connectivity to the Raspberry Pi.

After performing the usual initial configuration in raspi-config, using WiFi Config (a GUI tool sitting at the desktop when starting LXDE with startx) is by far the easiest way to get the Edimax EW-7811Un configured.

But let’s quickly run through the steps of creating that bootable SDCard before dealing with the actual WiFi issues:

Creating that bootable SDCard

  1. Download the image file from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads
  2. Unzip the file to get to the image file.
  3. df -h to determine which drive is used for the sdcard, e.g. integrated SDCard Reader turned out to be disk2 for me.
  4. sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1
  5. sudo dd bs=1m if=/Users/wolf/Downloads/2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/rdisk2
  6. sync
  7. sudo diskutil eject /dev/rdisk2

On a class 10 SD Card, the whole process shouldn’t take much longer than 70 seconds maybe. Insert the SDCard into the Raspi, power up, boot, and use the on screen menu:

In case you need to do this over a network, the Raspberry Pi’s default hostname is raspberrypi. I.e.
ssh pi@raspberrypi .. the pasword is raspberry

sudo raspi-config
to:

  • Expand root_fs
  • Change password
  • Change locale to EN_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 (un-select english UK and select select in long list)
  • Set Time zone (America / Los_Angeles)
  • Change memory split to 128:128
  • Enable ssh

Finally reboot: sudo shutdown -r now
Running the raspi-config again to execute update feature, reboot and login.
Now finding more updates and upgrades like so:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Changing the PI’s hostname

Edit the host name in these two locations:

  • sudo nano /etc/hostname
  • sudo nano /etc/hosts

Adding WiFi support / EW-7811Un

With previous wheezy builds, I had to install the realtek firmware, blacklist the already installed 8192cu driver and install a new one. Not this time. ifconfig shows the wlan0 interface and iwlist wlan0 scan can be used to scan for available Wifi access-points, without any firmware installation or driver updates.

/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

All what’s needed to do to connect the Raspberry Pi to a Wifi Network, is to add a network configuration to /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf.

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

The network configuration depends very much on your network, SSID, Password Security etc. However, here is what I have added, to make the EW-7811Un connect to my WiFi network:


network={
ssid="MY_SSID"
psk="******"
proto=RSN
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
pairwise=CCMP
auth_alg=OPEN
}

With the correct WiFi network configuration added to the wpa_supplicant.conf file, the ethernet cable can be removed and the Raspberry Pi will automatically switch over to WiFi.
This behavior is pre-configured in /etc/network/interfaces, which looks something like this:

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual
wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
iface default inet dhcp


Raspberry Pi – WiFi (Edimax EW-7811Un)

Backup the SD Card

Once done with setting up Raspian, I usually create an backup image that later can be copied onto the same or a different SD Card (of equal size).

Backup

Insert the perfect SDCard into the Card Reader and find out how to address it. Again, for me that usually is disk2s1.

sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1
sudo dd bs=1m if=/dev/rdisk2 of=~/RASP_3_2_27.img
sync
sudo diskutil eject /dev/rdisk2

Depending on the size of the SDCard, this will create a huge file (like 16GB) an may take a while (like 7min).

Restore or Copy

Insert am empty SDCard into the Card Reader and find out how to address it. Once again, for me that usually is disk2s1.

sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1
sudo dd bs=1m if=~/RASP_3_2_27.img of=/dev/rdisk2
sync
sudo diskutil eject /dev/rdisk2

Open Source Hardware Camp 2012

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp 2012 will take place place in the north of England in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. Building on the success of last year's OSHCamp, it will be a weekend long event with ten talks on the Saturday and four parallel workshops on the Sunday.

Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel which adjoins the venue, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

There will be a social event on the Saturday evening from 8PM, and those interested in pre-event drinks on the Friday should join the discussion list.

Practical Experiences with the Google Android Accessory Development Kit (ADK)

The ADK is an exciting development platform that makes it possible to easily combine Android applications with custom hardware built around Arduino. Such combinations have the best of both worlds by enabling the creation of a mobile phone application with access to peripheral devices that is only limited by your imagination.

This talk will cover two projects that extend what the phone can do by integrating both input and output devices. And will cover some of the dos and don'ts of using the ADK and associated IDEs. If time permits there will also be a demonstration with a quick run through of the code.

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

If you can't wait to get your hands on the ADK software browse to http://developer.android.com/tools/adk.

The Internet of Things and Arduino

As connecting hardware to the network becomes cheaper and cheaper we're seeing the rise of what is being called the Internet of Things, or “IoT” for short.

This talk will give an introduction to the Internet of Things and explain how open hardware platforms such as Arduino are helping it grow. With plenty of examples of IoT projects, from using sensors to map global radiation levels to bakeries that tweet when the bread is fresh out of the oven.

Adrian McEwen has been connecting odd things to the Internet since the mid-90s. Starting with cash registers, and then as part of the team who were first to put a web browser onto a mobile phone. As the mobile phone and set-top box work became more mainstream he dropped down a level to Arduino which led to Internet-enabled bubble machines and chicken-food silos...

Adrian has been working with Arduino since 2008 — which is when Bubblino, the aforementioned bubble machine which watches twitter, was created — and is charge of the Arduino Ethernet library. He is based in Liverpool, where he runs MCQN Ltd, a company that builds IoT devices and products.

Developing Linux on Embedded Devices

This talk will provide an introduction to developing Linux on embedded devices. Firstly we will look at the capabilities of popular boards such as the BeagleBone and the Raspberry Pi. Then using the example of a BeagleBone controller for a 3D printer the talk with explain how to develop for an embedded device. It will consider what comprises an embedded Linux software stack. The talk will discuss boot loaders, kernels and root filesystems. We will discuss what are the minimum software packages required in a root file system. The talk will then go on to consider the tools required to develop for an embedded target. It will look at what tools are available to help the embedded developer and speed up this development process. Once you have developed your software you need to debug it. The talk will look at what debugging tools are available for debugging embedded devices.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors.

Interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the World — Everything you need to know about P1

You've received your Pi, set up a web server on it and maybe played a few rounds of Quake. You're looking for a new challenge and suddenly the header on the corner of the board catches your eye. A quick Google search for "P1 Raspbery Pi" gets you to the eLinux wiki page on Low level peripherals, and you suddenly realise that you can do all sorts of fun stuff by adding extra bits to your Raspberry Pi using this magical expansion port. Where do you start? Is it safe to connect a motor directly to the pins? What sort of interesting components are out there?

In this talk we will look at the ways we can communicate with the outside world using the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi. We will explore the mechanical, electrical and software side of things and talk about a few example projects you can try at home, and the hardware limitations will be covered and workarounds provided.

Omer Kilic is theoretically still a research student at the University of Kent, although he intends to submit his thesis (which is about a reconfigurable heterogeneous computing framework) pretty soon. He likes tiny computers, things that 'just work' and beer. He currently works for Erlang Solutions in London, exploring the use of Erlang programming language in the Embedded Systems domain and develops tools and support material to help the adoption of this technology.

This talk will also serve as an introduction for the Raspberry Pi workshop on the Sunday, where we will explore the example projects covered in more detail.

Sensing Wearable Technology

An introduction to wearable technology that will include examples which incorporate sensors, plus work which makes use of the LilyPad Arduino, an open source, sewable microcontroller.

Rain Ashford creates wearable technology & electronic art, her most recent work involves investigating physiological sensing technologies and how they can be applied to wearable artworks to measure and interpret moods, health and lifestyle data. Rain also creates fun, interactive and aesthetically pleasing works that include gaming and musical elements. She is keen to demonstrate that electronics, components and circuitry doesn't have to be regarded as cold, boring, hard and boxy and instead can be fun, colourful and elegant, plus be integrated into an overall design of a work.

Rain’s background is in developing online activities for the BBC as a Senior Producer at BBC Learning and also as Technologist at BBC R&D, co-running BBC Backstage. She currently works as a freelance consultant for the Open University and for Technocamps designing and leading workshops in coding and electronics in the form of wearable technology for 11-19 year-olds, plus is a PhD researcher, peering into wearable electronics & art.

Running OpenBTS in the Real World

This talk will explore the OpenBTS project and describe how it uses software-defined radio and open source Internet telephony to create a small but complete GSM mobile phone network.

Experiences of operating OpenBTS installations on the Pacific island of Niue and at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert will be covered, along with how OpenBTS has been integrated with other systems for use in disaster relief. Licensing permitting there will also be a live demonstration.

Tim Panton is a software engineer with a particular interest in projects that blend web applications and person-to-person speech into an integrated user experience. He has many years hands-on experience with the OpenBTS project, working closely with the core development team on numerous installations.

Tim is currently working on the Phono.com, Tropo.com and Rayo.org products at VoxeoLabs, producing web developer-friendly APIs by using XMPP protocols to drive innovative telephony applications that can be used anywhere by anyone.

Developing a Heavy Lift UAV — Pitfalls, Problems and Opportunities

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are suitable for replacing dull, dirty and dangerous airborne tasks. The next future developments in UAV use are in heavy lift and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The ability to place a useful load in a geographic location of choice becomes pressing in many applications. The problems are that helicopters are excellent heavy lift machines but are limited by range and payload. Aeroplanes don’t provide the VTOL unless heavy engines and complex gearboxes are utilised.

The development of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) UAV is the beginning of a utilitarian UAV which is modular and low cost. The future will involve VTOL and higher payloads (Euro-pallet sized). This presentation will show a path of development from CTOL, through to VTOL Olecopter and ultimately a heavy lift (pallet container) UAV.

Edward Strickland is a Chartered Engineer with a background in aerospace and a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He was the project manager for the Empire Test Pilot School, has lived and worked in Tanzania as a VSO volunteer, and has produced a CTOL airframe for the OpenRelief project which has been designed so that it can be constructed in developing countries using local resources.

The 3D Printed Revolution

Over recent years Open Source 3D printers have quickly developed alongside their commercial counterparts offering affordable and accessible alternatives. This talk will cover experiences using commercial printers and how the speaker's interests have moved to open source designs and how the two compare. Examples will be shown of projects using these technologies, such as "Fable", a clock manufactured by Selective Laser Sintering, and a wrist watch designed to be printed on a RepRap. There will also be a run through of the design considerations and how files were created, fixed and sliced in preparation to print on a RepRap.

Mark Gilbert graduated in 2000 from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Industrial Design Innovation. After several years working as a design engineer, Mark started working as a freelance industrial designer for several companies in the Northwest. Over the last 6 years he has also worked closely with the Bolton Science and Technology Centre as the "Designer in Residence" where he has developed workshops around the centre's 3D printing and CAD facilities.

In 2008 Mark set up the design studio Gilbert13 with his wife Angela where they design and develop products inspired by experimentation into digital manufacturing processes, 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Recent projects have taken their experience from rapid prototyping to use 3D printing as a manufacturing tool that can change the way people design, co create and distribute objects.

The Bots are Coming

In the last two decades we have seen software and data change the fabric of economics, and the advent of personal computing and the Internet enable many new business models. However, the next two decades will be even more radical as that wave of innovation shifts from the virtual domain to a physical manifestation. Atoms are the new bits and the open sourcing and democratisation of bot technology is allowing us to enter into an era of personal production. And this talk will explore how 3D printing and additive manufacturing are revolutionising production as we know it.

Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, got lost in software engineering and open source for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum over the last few years.

DIYBIO - The Next Frontier

DIYBIOMCR is an public group based at MadLab dedicated to making biology an accessible pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers who value openness and safety. This talk will give an overview of the movement, and what is going on at MadLab involving not only biology but also diverse fields such as hardware-hackers, artists, journalists and the open-source movement.

Hwa Young Jung is a co-founder and a director of MadLab, a community centre for creative, tech and science based the Manchester. Over 50 user groups meet once a month, including DIYBIOMCR, initially a joint funded project with MMU and the Wellcome Trust.

Sunday Workshops

Workshops will be reasonably informal and shaped by the participants, and details are subject to change depending upon the level of interest expressed.

Please feel free to bring along equipment and components provided that you are able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others. Common sense should be exercised!

Practical IoT Applications with the Google ADK and Arduino

Hands on IoT building sessions that follow on from Saturday's ADK and Arduino talks.

Run by: Paul Tanner & Adrian McEwen.

Bring an Arduino with Ethernet and/or a Google ADK if you have one, along with sensors, LEDs and displays etc.

Interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the World

Here you will learn how to connect a selection of devices to your Raspberry Pi utilising the methods discussed during Saturday's talk.

Run by: Omer Kilic & Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

We will have a few Raspberry Pi boards available for the workshop but please bring your own if you were one of the lucky ones to have received one, along with breadboard and any useful components if you have these.

Building GSM Networks with Open Source

A look at the practical steps involved in creating a low power GSM network using open source technology.

Run by: Tim Panton & Andrew Back.

Note: this workshop will be subject to a spectrum licence being granted.

Practical 3D Printing

In this workshop we will work with simple models that will be printed out using a RepRap.

Run by: Alan Wood, Mark Gilbert & Mike Beardmore.

Note:

  • Please aim to arrive for 09:00 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:30 prompt.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided on the Saturday. Please ensure that you make any dietary requirements clear when registering.

Sponsored by:

OSHCamp kit bags provided by:

Open Source Hardware Camp 2012

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp 2012 will take place place in the north of England in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. Building on the success of last year's OSHCamp, it will be a weekend long event with ten talks on the Saturday and four parallel workshops on the Sunday.

Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel which adjoins the venue, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

There will be a social event on the Saturday evening from 8PM, and those interested in pre-event drinks on the Friday should join the discussion list.

Practical Experiences with the Google Android Accessory Development Kit (ADK)

The ADK is an exciting development platform that makes it possible to easily combine Android applications with custom hardware built around Arduino. Such combinations have the best of both worlds by enabling the creation of a mobile phone application with access to peripheral devices that is only limited by your imagination.

This talk will cover two projects that extend what the phone can do by integrating both input and output devices. And will cover some of the dos and don'ts of using the ADK and associated IDEs. If time permits there will also be a demonstration with a quick run through of the code.

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

If you can't wait to get your hands on the ADK software browse to http://developer.android.com/tools/adk.

The Internet of Things and Arduino

As connecting hardware to the network becomes cheaper and cheaper we're seeing the rise of what is being called the Internet of Things, or “IoT” for short.

This talk will give an introduction to the Internet of Things and explain how open hardware platforms such as Arduino are helping it grow. With plenty of examples of IoT projects, from using sensors to map global radiation levels to bakeries that tweet when the bread is fresh out of the oven.

Adrian McEwen has been connecting odd things to the Internet since the mid-90s. Starting with cash registers, and then as part of the team who were first to put a web browser onto a mobile phone. As the mobile phone and set-top box work became more mainstream he dropped down a level to Arduino which led to Internet-enabled bubble machines and chicken-food silos...

Adrian has been working with Arduino since 2008 — which is when Bubblino, the aforementioned bubble machine which watches twitter, was created — and is charge of the Arduino Ethernet library. He is based in Liverpool, where he runs MCQN Ltd, a company that builds IoT devices and products.

Developing Linux on Embedded Devices

This talk will provide an introduction to developing Linux on embedded devices. Firstly we will look at the capabilities of popular boards such as the BeagleBone and the Raspberry Pi. Then using the example of a BeagleBone controller for a 3D printer the talk with explain how to develop for an embedded device. It will consider what comprises an embedded Linux software stack. The talk will discuss boot loaders, kernels and root filesystems. We will discuss what are the minimum software packages required in a root file system. The talk will then go on to consider the tools required to develop for an embedded target. It will look at what tools are available to help the embedded developer and speed up this development process. Once you have developed your software you need to debug it. The talk will look at what debugging tools are available for debugging embedded devices.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors.

Interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the World — Everything you need to know about P1

You've received your Pi, set up a web server on it and maybe played a few rounds of Quake. You're looking for a new challenge and suddenly the header on the corner of the board catches your eye. A quick Google search for "P1 Raspbery Pi" gets you to the eLinux wiki page on Low level peripherals, and you suddenly realise that you can do all sorts of fun stuff by adding extra bits to your Raspberry Pi using this magical expansion port. Where do you start? Is it safe to connect a motor directly to the pins? What sort of interesting components are out there?

In this talk we will look at the ways we can communicate with the outside world using the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi. We will explore the mechanical, electrical and software side of things and talk about a few example projects you can try at home, and the hardware limitations will be covered and workarounds provided.

Omer Kilic is theoretically still a research student at the University of Kent, although he intends to submit his thesis (which is about a reconfigurable heterogeneous computing framework) pretty soon. He likes tiny computers, things that 'just work' and beer. He currently works for Erlang Solutions in London, exploring the use of Erlang programming language in the Embedded Systems domain and develops tools and support material to help the adoption of this technology.

This talk will also serve as an introduction for the Raspberry Pi workshop on the Sunday, where we will explore the example projects covered in more detail.

Sensing Wearable Technology

An introduction to wearable technology that will include examples which incorporate sensors, plus work which makes use of the LilyPad Arduino, an open source, sewable microcontroller.

Rain Ashford creates wearable technology & electronic art, her most recent work involves investigating physiological sensing technologies and how they can be applied to wearable artworks to measure and interpret moods, health and lifestyle data. Rain also creates fun, interactive and aesthetically pleasing works that include gaming and musical elements. She is keen to demonstrate that electronics, components and circuitry doesn't have to be regarded as cold, boring, hard and boxy and instead can be fun, colourful and elegant, plus be integrated into an overall design of a work.

Rain’s background is in developing online activities for the BBC as a Senior Producer at BBC Learning and also as Technologist at BBC R&D, co-running BBC Backstage. She currently works as a freelance consultant for the Open University and for Technocamps designing and leading workshops in coding and electronics in the form of wearable technology for 11-19 year-olds, plus is a PhD researcher, peering into wearable electronics & art.

Running OpenBTS in the Real World

This talk will explore the OpenBTS project and describe how it uses software-defined radio and open source Internet telephony to create a small but complete GSM mobile phone network.

Experiences of operating OpenBTS installations on the Pacific island of Niue and at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert will be covered, along with how OpenBTS has been integrated with other systems for use in disaster relief. Licensing permitting there will also be a live demonstration.

Tim Panton is a software engineer with a particular interest in projects that blend web applications and person-to-person speech into an integrated user experience. He has many years hands-on experience with the OpenBTS project, working closely with the core development team on numerous installations.

Tim is currently working on the Phono.com, Tropo.com and Rayo.org products at VoxeoLabs, producing web developer-friendly APIs by using XMPP protocols to drive innovative telephony applications that can be used anywhere by anyone.

Developing a Heavy Lift UAV — Pitfalls, Problems and Opportunities

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are suitable for replacing dull, dirty and dangerous airborne tasks. The next future developments in UAV use are in heavy lift and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The ability to place a useful load in a geographic location of choice becomes pressing in many applications. The problems are that helicopters are excellent heavy lift machines but are limited by range and payload. Aeroplanes don’t provide the VTOL unless heavy engines and complex gearboxes are utilised.

The development of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) UAV is the beginning of a utilitarian UAV which is modular and low cost. The future will involve VTOL and higher payloads (Euro-pallet sized). This presentation will show a path of development from CTOL, through to VTOL Olecopter and ultimately a heavy lift (pallet container) UAV.

Edward Strickland is a Chartered Engineer with a background in aerospace and a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He was the project manager for the Empire Test Pilot School, has lived and worked in Tanzania as a VSO volunteer, and has produced a CTOL airframe for the OpenRelief project which has been designed so that it can be constructed in developing countries using local resources.

The 3D Printed Revolution

Over recent years Open Source 3D printers have quickly developed alongside their commercial counterparts offering affordable and accessible alternatives. This talk will cover experiences using commercial printers and how the speaker's interests have moved to open source designs and how the two compare. Examples will be shown of projects using these technologies, such as "Fable", a clock manufactured by Selective Laser Sintering, and a wrist watch designed to be printed on a RepRap. There will also be a run through of the design considerations and how files were created, fixed and sliced in preparation to print on a RepRap.

Mark Gilbert graduated in 2000 from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Industrial Design Innovation. After several years working as a design engineer, Mark started working as a freelance industrial designer for several companies in the Northwest. Over the last 6 years he has also worked closely with the Bolton Science and Technology Centre as the "Designer in Residence" where he has developed workshops around the centre's 3D printing and CAD facilities.

In 2008 Mark set up the design studio Gilbert13 with his wife Angela where they design and develop products inspired by experimentation into digital manufacturing processes, 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Recent projects have taken their experience from rapid prototyping to use 3D printing as a manufacturing tool that can change the way people design, co create and distribute objects.

The Bots are Coming

In the last two decades we have seen software and data change the fabric of economics, and the advent of personal computing and the Internet enable many new business models. However, the next two decades will be even more radical as that wave of innovation shifts from the virtual domain to a physical manifestation. Atoms are the new bits and the open sourcing and democratisation of bot technology is allowing us to enter into an era of personal production. And this talk will explore how 3D printing and additive manufacturing are revolutionising production as we know it.

Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, got lost in software engineering and open source for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum over the last few years.

DIYBIO - The Next Frontier

DIYBIOMCR is an public group based at MadLab dedicated to making biology an accessible pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers who value openness and safety. This talk will give an overview of the movement, and what is going on at MadLab involving not only biology but also diverse fields such as hardware-hackers, artists, journalists and the open-source movement.

Hwa Young Jung is a co-founder and a director of MadLab, a community centre for creative, tech and science based the Manchester. Over 50 user groups meet once a month, including DIYBIOMCR, initially a joint funded project with MMU and the Wellcome Trust.

Sunday Workshops

Workshops will be reasonably informal and shaped by the participants, and details are subject to change depending upon the level of interest expressed.

Please feel free to bring along equipment and components provided that you are able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others. Common sense should be exercised!

Practical IoT Applications with the Google ADK and Arduino

Hands on IoT building sessions that follow on from Saturday's ADK and Arduino talks.

Run by: Paul Tanner & Adrian McEwen.

Bring an Arduino with Ethernet and/or a Google ADK if you have one, along with sensors, LEDs and displays etc.

Interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the World

Here you will learn how to connect a selection of devices to your Raspberry Pi utilising the methods discussed during Saturday's talk.

Run by: Omer Kilic & Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

We will have a few Raspberry Pi boards available for the workshop but please bring your own if you were one of the lucky ones to have received one, along with breadboard and any useful components if you have these.

Building GSM Networks with Open Source

A look at the practical steps involved in creating a low power GSM network using open source technology.

Run by: Tim Panton & Andrew Back.

Note: this workshop will be subject to a spectrum licence being granted.

Practical 3D Printing

In this workshop we will work with simple models that will be printed out using a RepRap.

Run by: Alan Wood, Mark Gilbert & Mike Beardmore.

Note:

  • Please aim to arrive for 09:00 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:30 prompt.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided on the Saturday. Please ensure that you make any dietary requirements clear when registering.

Sponsored by:

OSHCamp kit bags provided by:

Raspberry Pi – Where to start?

via Wolf Paulus » Embedded

At its core, the Raspberry Pi uses the Broadcom BCM2835 System-on-a-chip. This single chip contains

  • an ARM1176 CPU (normally clocked at 700MHz)
  • a VideoCore 4 GPU, i.e. a low-power mobile multimedia processor (also used in the Roku-2)
  • 256 MByte SDRAM
  • in addition to the ARM’s MMU, a second coarse-grained Memory Management Unit for mapping ARM physical addresses onto system bus addresses.

The memory needs to be divided into ARM and GPU memory (happens by including one of the supplied start*.elf files into the boot partition). The minimum amount of memory which can be given to the GPU is 32MB. However that will restrict the multimedia performance and 32MB does not provide enough buffering for the GPU to do 1080p30 video decoding.

The second, slightly smaller chip on the Raspberry Pi board, is an LAN9512, an USB 2.0 hub and 10/100 MBit Ethernet controllers. The LAN9512 is a low-cost, power-efficient, small-footprint USB to Ethernet and multi-port USB connectivity solution in a single package, contains a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 hub with two fully-integrated downstream USB 2.0 PHYs, an integrated upstream USB 2.0 PHY, a 10/100 Ethernet MAC/PHY controller, and an EEPROM controller.

Single-Chip, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hub and High-Performance 10/100 Ethernet Controllers

Boot Process

Besides the hardware board itself, starting with the boot process seems to be as good an idea as any… When the Raspberry Pi powers up, it’s the GPU that is active, looking for bootcode.bin, loader.bin, start.elf at the root dir of the first partition at the (fat formatted) SDCard. I.e., booting is hardcoded to happen from the SDCard.
The GPU reads and executes bootcode.bin, which then loads loader.bin, which loads start.elf.
Again in the root dir of the first partition it looks for config.txt, contains information like the arm speed (defaults to 700MHz), address from where to load kernel.img, etc.
Now it kernel.img (arm boot binary file) is copied it to memory and the ARM11 is reset that it runs from the address where kernel.img (default kernel_address 0×8000) was loaded.

Memory Split

The memory needs to be divided into ARM and GPU memory and currently, we have three start.elf files to choose from (see below for details).

  • arm128_start.elf: 1:1, 128MBytes for the ARM11 and 128MBytes for the GPU
  • arm192_start.elf: 3:1, 192MBytes for the ARM11 and 64MBytes for the GPU
  • arm224_start.elf: 7:1, 224MBytes for the ARM11 and 32MBytes for the GPU

Broadcom states in their BCM2835 documentation that 32MBytes might not be enough memory for the GPU and until you reach the point where 128MByte aren’t quite enough for the ARM, you may want to go with the 1:1 spit.

Minimal Boot Image and Blinky Program

Let’s put this Boot Process assumptions that were made above to the test.

  • Prepare an SDCard card (a 1 GByte Class-2 cards works just fine) by formatting it with the MS-DOS (FAT) file system.
  • Download a Raspberry Pi Distribution (currently wheezy-raspbian vers.2012-07-15), uncompress the zip file and open the resulting image file 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img, for instance with DiskImageMounter, if you are using Mac OS X.
  • Copy bootcode.bin form the wheezy-raspbian.img to the root directory of the SDCard.
  • Copy loader.bin form the wheezy-raspbian.img to the root directory of the SDCard.
  • Copy arm128_start.elf form the wheezy-raspbian.img to the root directory of the SDCard and rename it to start.elf.
  • Copy config.txt form the wheezy-raspbian.img to the root directory of the SDCard.
  • Add the following two lines to your config.txt:
    kernel blinky.bin
    kernel_address 0×8000
  • Uncompress and copy blinky.bin to the root directory of the SDCard.

Now insert the SDCard into your Raspberry Pi and power it up. If all goes well, you should see the Raspberry Pi’s OK LED blink.
The five files, which total just over 2MBytes are probably the closest and smallest you can get to an Hello_World style program for the Raspberry Pi.

Stay tuned for how to create your own Raspberry Pi Tool Chain and how to make blinky.