Last summer, I made an ESP8266 MP3 Sound Machine using ESPHome to play calming sounds when my son goes to sleep. I used ESPHome to develop the firmware so it could communicate with my Home Automation platform, Home Assistant. Well, requirements change and projects need updating. So over the holidays, I created a v2.0 of the project.
An important new feature is now available in the Arduino IoT Cloud — full support for LoRa® devices!
LoRa® is one of our favorite emerging technologies for IoT because it enables long-range and low power transmission of data without using cellular or WiFi connections. It’s a very powerful and promising technology but it comes with its own complexity. In our pursuit to make IoT easier, we’ve already released a few products that enable anyone to build a LoRa® device (or a fleet of LoRa® devices!). Thanks to the Arduino MKR WAN 1310 board, combined with the Arduino Pro Gateway you can create your own LoRaWAN network. But we have decided to do more than that, and it’s time to release one more important piece….
The Arduino IoT Cloud now provides an incredibly easy way to collect data sent by your LoRa® devices. With a few clicks, the IoT Cloud will generate a sketch template for the boards that you can adapt to read data from your sensors, pre-process it as you want, and then send it to the IoT Cloud. With a few more clicks (no coding required), you’ll be able to create a graphical dashboard that displays the collected data in real-time and lets users see their history through charts and other widgets. You will not need to worry about coding your own compression, serialization and queueing algorithm, as it will all be done under the hood in a smart way — you’ll be able to transmit multiple properties (more than five), pushing the boundary beyond the packet size limits of LoRaWAN!
This is our take on edge computing – you program the device to collect and prepare your data locally, and then we take care of shipping such data to a centralized place.
Such a simplified tool for data collection is already quite innovative, but we decided to take it an important step further. All the available solutions for LoRa® currently focus on collecting data, but they do not address it from the other way round i.e. sending data from a centralized application to the LoRa® device(s). Arduino IoT Cloud now lets you do this — you’ll be able to control actuators connected to your device by sending messages via LoRa®, with no coding needed.
Build and control your own LoRaWAN network with Arduino IoT Cloud, the Pro Gateway and the new improved MKR WAN 1310 board that features the latest low-power architecture to extend the battery life and enable the power consumption to go as low as 104uA.
Following on from our recent announcement that Raspberry Pi 4 is OpenGL ES 3.1 conformant, we have some more news to share on the graphics front. We have started work on a much requested feature: an open-source Vulkan driver!
Standards body Khronos describes Vulkan as “a new generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs”. The Vulkan API has been designed to better accommodate modern GPUs and address common performance bottlenecks in OpenGL, providing graphics developers with new means to squeeze the best performance out of the hardware.
The “first triangle” image is something of a VideoCore graphics tradition: while I arrived at Broadcom too late to witness the VideoCore III version, I still remember the first time James and Gary were able to get a flawless, single-tile, RGB triangle out of VideoCore IV in simulation. So, without further ado, here’s the VideoCore VI Vulkan version.
First triangle out of Vulkan
Before you get too excited, remember that this is just the start of the development process for Vulkan on Raspberry Pi. Igalia has only been working on this new driver for a few weeks, and we still have a very long development roadmap ahead of us before we can put an actual driver in the hands of our users. So don’t hold your breath, and instead look forward to more news from us and Igalia as they make further development progress.
Hello everyone! This week we have a load of new products, starting with two new Qwiic shields - one for the Arduino Nano and one for our popular Thing Plus line. We also have new versions of our micro:climate kit and weather:bit Carrier Board, both for micro:bit. Last, and certainly not least, we have two brand new LIDAR Mappers from SLAMTEC that we know a lot of you have been asking about! Let's jump in and take a closer look.
The SparkFun Qwiic Shield for Arduino Nano and Qwiic Shield for Thing Plus provide you with a quick and easy way to enter into SparkFun's Qwiic ecosystem with your Arduino Nano or Thing Plus boards. The Qwiic Shields connect the I2C bus (GND, 3.3V, SDA and SCL) on your boards to four SparkFun Qwiic connectors (two horizontally mounted, and two vertically mounted). The Qwiic connect system allows for easy daisy-chaining - so long as your devices are on different addresses, you can connect as many Qwiic devices as you would like. Additionally, the Thing Plus Shield is also compatible with the Feather footprint!
The SparkFun micro:climate kit is a full weather station kit built on top of the weather:bit Carrier Board. Unlike previous weather kits we've carried, this micro:climate kit is Qwiic-enabled and includes our tried-and-true Weather Meters and Soil Moisture Sensor, so whether you’re an agriculturalist, a professional meteorologist or a hobbyist, you will be able to build a high-grade weather station powered by the micro:bit. You can even talk via wireless communication between two micro:bits with this kit, so you can monitor the weather without being exposed to it! Of course, if you are just looking for the weather:bit Carrier Board inside the kit, we have that available alone as well! Please be aware that neither of these products come with a micro:bit and it will need to be purchased separately.
The SLAMTEC Mapper Developer and Pro Kits are a new type of laser sensor introduced by (you guessed it) SLAMTEC, which is different from the traditional LIDAR. Each version has built-in functions of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and is suitable for many applications such as robot navigation and positioning, environmental mapping and hand-held measurement.
That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!
The ware for Dec 2019 is an async mux module from a PDP-11, more specifically, a DVZ11 quad asynchronous multiplexer (M7957). I found this board while rummaging among my childhood possessions looking for unrelated gear…I seem to recall picking it out of a trash pile at a local university back in the day. I had no idea what it was back then, it just looked cool. Congrats to dwu for naming it right away, email me for your prize!