Monthly Archives: January 2022

Perfecting Factory 5.0 With Edge-Powered AI Workshop Recap

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Perfecting Factory 5.0 With Edge-Powered AI Recap

Last December we hosted a workshop in conjunction with Edge Impulse, Advantech and NVIDIA that focused on implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning in manufacturing. Automated smart factories are using AI and ML to analyze data, run systems, and improve processes over time. In manufacturing, computer vision on the edge is an increasingly popular IoT application used in safety and quality assurance applications.

In this workshop we learned how to:

  • Apply ML models on factory floor cameras and run calculations and return output for monitoring and troubleshooting of equipment and production environments - ensuring compliance and upholding worker safety.

  • Use cached video streams for auditing model retraining, recognize defects and anomalies in your manufacturing environment.

  • Detect personal protective equipment (PPE) and monitor building entrances for personnel security.

  • Use smart notifications to enable people to intervene at certain steps in the automation, as part of the intelligence captured by the models, creating a continuous cycle of training, testing and validating processes.

  • Learn how Edge Impulse MLOps can automate ML models for complex decision-making, enabling teams who build, train, evaluate, and deploy the models.

Watch the Video to learn more and see how it went!

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Decisions, Decisions…Transitioning from Teensy 3.x to Teensy 4.x or MicroMod

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With the recent announcement of shortages around the Teensy 3.2, 3.5 and 3.6, we expect many of you will begin upgrading your Teensy designs to the latest versions - Teensy 4.0, Teensy 4.1 or MicroMod Teensy.

At a high level, the layout of the Teensy 4.x is very similar to the version 3.x boards, while providing a superset of functionality. In addition, all of the Teensy 4.x versions are much more powerful than the 3.x versions, with faster processors (5 to 15 times faster!) and more memory. Luckily, both versions run on the same world renowned Teensy software, making firmware transition straightforward.

Teensy 4.0

We would highly encourage anyone still using a Teensy 3.x board in their designs to consider upgrading to a Teensy 4.x version. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of the benefits, tech specs and pinouts of each board.

Transitioning from Teensy 3.x to Teensy 4.0 or 4.1

When it comes to transitioning from a Teensy 3.x board to the Teensy 4.0, Hackaday wrote a fantastic breakdown on the benefits of the 4.0 over 3.x boards, but specifically the 3.2, that’s definitely worth a read.

The path to transitioning to the 4.x version of Teensy often depends on the specific application the Teensy is being used in. Luckily, the awesome team at PJRC has resources to assist in any transition work.

For a full technical specification break down on each version of the Teensy boards, PJRC compiled this handy comparison chart.

From a pinout perspective, the simplest transition is going to be from the 3.2 to the 4.0, due to its pinout layout and similar size. However, none of the updated models should present much of a challenge. For reference, the pinout charts for each version can be found below:

Transitioning to SparkFun MicroMod Teensy

If you’re looking to add a bit more flexibility to your Teensy 3.x transition, the SparkFun MicroMod Teensy Processor Board is a great choice. The SparkFun MicroMod Teensy Processor Board is based on the Teensy 4.0 - supporting the same processor and capabilities in the Teensy software package and containing the same microprocessor. Delivered as a MicroMod processor board, the MicroMod Teensy opens up the "click and screw" rapid prototyping of MicroMod to the incredible power delivered by Teensy 4.0.

alt text

While a variety of MicroMod Carrier and Function boards are available within the MicroMod ecosystem, those looking to take full advantage of the Teensy Processor during their investigation and prototyping efforts should consider pairing it with the SparkFun MicroMod ATP Carrier Board, as many of the pins with extra functionality may be tied to a specific use on other Carrier Boards.

Additionally, the SparkFun MicroMod DIY Carrier Kit provides the basic M.2 connections and screws needed to build your own SparkFun MicroMod Carrier Board connection if you're feeling ambitious.

A pinout of both the processor and MicroMod Connector on the MicroMod Teensy Processor Board can be found in the pinout section of this page.

In Summary

Upgrading an existing product/solution is never an easy decision – required engineering work, changes in potential functionality and cost must all be evaluated. Luckily, with a migration to Teensy 4.x, hardware support information is readily available, and the common Teensy software makes the firmware transition straightforward. The end result being a modern, high-performance solution that easily meets today’s needs, as well as those of tomorrow.

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It’s Livestream Time!

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

This year, we're trying something new - a monthly livestream!

On the first Tuesday of the month at 2pm MT/4pm ET/9pm UTC, we'll be live on YouTube and Twitch talking about all the products and news that caught our attention over the last month. Be sure to mark your calendars and come prepared with any questions you may have.

This month's details:

  • Date: Tuesday, February 1st
  • Time: 2pm MT/4pm ET/9pm UTC
  • Where: YouTube and Twitch
  • Who: Alie Gonzalez

Future Dates: March 1, April 5, May 3, etc...

SPongeBob Rainbow Gig
It's livestream time and it's going to be magical.

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Tick-Tock Goes the GNSS Timer

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

This week, we finally get to show off a board that we have been working on for the past couple of months, the ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout! This is a new piece of technology that we are excited to finally release and we eagerly await some of the new projects you make with it! Following that we have a new telemetry radio kit from our friends at HolyBro, as well as a few new cables from SparkX. Now, let's jump in and take a closer look at all of this week's new products.

If you've ever been curious about GNSS Timing, the ZED-F9T from u-blox is right for you!

SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout - ZED-F9T (Qwiic)

SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout - ZED-F9T (Qwiic)

GPS-18774
$299.95

The SparkFun GNSS Timing Breakout offers a unique entry into SparkFun's geospatial catalog by featuring the ZED-F9T GNSS receiver from u-blox. The ZED-F9T provides up to five nanosecond timing accuracy under clear skies with no external GNSS correction, making it perfect for applications where timing accuracy is imperative. Need an extremely accurate time reference to maximize the efficiency of your IoT network of 5G devices? The ZED-F9T GNSS Timing Breakout could be the perfect solution.


SiK Telemetry Radio V3 - 915MHz, 100mW

SiK Telemetry Radio V3 - 915MHz, 100mW

WRL-19032
$56.95

The SiK Telemetry Radio from Holybro, is a small, lightweight, and inexpensive open source radio platform that can transmit serial data more than 300m out of the box. The radio uses open source SiK firmware, which allows for a simple serial cable replacement to transmit any serial data including telemetry, RTK correction data (RTCM), or simple Serial.print() statements without any configuration required.


smôl 100mm 16-way Flexible Printed Circuit

smôl 100mm 16-way Flexible Printed Circuit

CAB-18984
$2.45
smôl 36mm 16-way Flexible Printed Circuit Z-shaped 18mm

smôl 36mm 16-way Flexible Printed Circuit Z-shaped 18mm

CAB-18985
$2.45

These are the 100mm straight and 36mm Z-shaped 16-way 0.5mm-pitch Flexible Printed Circuits from SparkX used to interconnect smôl boards end to end.


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, Facebook or LinkedIn. Please be safe out there, be kind to one another, and we'll see you next week with even more new products!

Never miss a new product!

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Sending Sensor Data Over WiFi Tutorial

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

We’re all familiar with WiFi. It runs our home, let’s us stream our favorite movies, and keeps us from having to talk with other people when we’re at a coffee shop. But there's more ways to use WiFi than simply accessing the internet through different applications. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to set up your own peer-to-peer network to sense data from one area and send that data to an LCD screen somewhere else without needing any internet connection or routers. This a great first step in being able to remove the wires from any embedded physical computing application.

New!

Sending Sensor Data Over WiFi

January 16, 2022

This tutorial will show you how connect, send and receive sensor data between two ESP32 WiFi boards.

For this build, we're going to create a simple point-to-point closed WiFi system that reads the data from an environmental sensor and sends it to a display somewhere else. We'll keep this example as simple as possible by using our hardware, utilizing the Qwiic Connect System to connect without the need for soldering. The required hardware includes a pair of ESP32 Thing Plus Wroom modules, a Qwiic Environmental Combo Breakout, a Qwiic 20x4 SerLCD RGB Backlight Display, and a couple of Qwiic Cables. (And of course, a power supply - either battery or wall charger - for each.)

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Precision Meets Customization Meets…You! Meet the MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board!

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

As you can probably tell with the last few product releases, we're really excited about all things geospatial. One of our larger recent product releases, the new SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board, exemplifies everything that is so revolutionary in that space right now. This board, equipped with the ZED-F9P chip from u-blox, sits at the convergence of highly-precise and highly-configurable. Plus, being a MicroMod board, it is part of a highly-customizable ecosystem that makes it easy to utilize different processors depending on your specific project needs.

SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board (ZED-F9P)

SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board (ZED-F9P)

GPS-17722
$324.95

Overview of the board

The ZED-F9P chip on the SparkFun MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board is a top-of-the-line module for high accuracy GNSS and GPS location solutions, including RTK, capable of 10mm, three-dimensional accuracy. With this board you will be able to know where your (or any object's) X, Y, and Z location is, roughly within the width of your fingernail! The ZED-F9P is unique in that it is capable of both rover and base station operations. Utilizing the M.2 and Qwiic connectors, no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still broke out 0.1"-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard to attach additional peripherals.

To properly utilize this kind of module, you'll want to use an antenna that can get a clear view of the sky. It will need to be one that is robust enough to be outside, has long cable, and has an SMA connector.

The Taoglas AA.200 MagmaX2 Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna is a good choice for the job. It can access most major constellations including GPS (L1/L2/L5), GLONASS (G1/G2/G5), Galileo(E1/E5a/E5b) and BeiDou(B1/B2). The AA.200 antenna is an active multiband GNSS magnetic mount antenna that exhibits excellent gain and good radiation pattern stability. The combination of these elements help ensure the best possible positional accuracy for systems where RTK is enabled and disabled.

MagmaX2 Active Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - AA.200

MagmaX2 Active Multiband GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - AA.200

GPS-17108
$77.95

Lastly, you'll need to pick up a processor board of your choosing; you can use our comparison chart to decide, or try a few out!

SparkFun MicroMod Artemis Processor

SparkFun MicroMod Artemis Processor

DEV-16401
$14.95
SparkFun MicroMod Teensy Processor

SparkFun MicroMod Teensy Processor

DEV-16402
$19.95
2
SparkFun MicroMod ESP32 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod ESP32 Processor

WRL-16781
$16.95
SparkFun MicroMod RP2040 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod RP2040 Processor

DEV-17720
$11.95
SparkFun MicroMod SAMD51 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod SAMD51 Processor

DEV-16791
$18.95
SparkFun MicroMod nRF52840 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod nRF52840 Processor

WRL-16984
$19.95
SparkFun MicroMod STM32 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod STM32 Processor

DEV-17713
$14.95

As usual, we produced a product showcase that goes through the board specs and capabilities in depth. We also included a more complete understanding of the many different GNSS technologies that the ZED-F9P chip utilizes, as well as different software platforms to make full use of the module.

The showcase highlights all the satellite constellations the ZED-F9P can communicate with!

How to configure using u-center

For any board based on u-blox chip, using u-center, a Windows free software tool, is an easy way to configure your receiver. We have a robust beginner tutorial on connecting your receiver with u-center through configuring your COM port and baudrates. Make sure that your antenna has a clear view of the sky, and once you're connected you'll see a breadth of data appear.

u-center dashboard
The u-center main dashboard

There are two things to note in the next screenshot - firstly, that the receiver is acquiring data from multinational satellite constellations, meaning it is a proper GNSS tool. You can see on the right hand side that is communicating with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou satellites. You can also see, in the second screenshot, that the module sis communicating with 25 satellite units at the moment, so it is gathering a lot of information. The other thing to note, is that without any correction data, the module is within 2 meters of accuracy. We have a tutorial on using NTRIP to stream correction data to your device using both u-center and other platforms.

accuracy without NTRIP
Without any correction data, the ZED-F9P module is still within 2 meters of accuracy!

SVs
Not only is the module receiving data from 25 SVs, but they are from each of the international satellite constellations.


There are multiple menus to utilize within u-center, one of which is the maps menu. By using Google Maps Static API, you can visualize the module spatially, as well as add speed vectors and scales. You'll need to add billing information to your Google Developer profile for the API to work properly.

google map
Go to Tools -> Preferences -> Access Tokens to add your Static Google API key.

There's also preferences for creating a Google Earth Server that will track in real time where your module is.


A key use case for a receiver as precise as this one is the ability to geofence, or create a boundary for the module's location. If the module leaves that boundary, then the user is notified that it has left that radius. U-center makes it easy to set this tool up. Within the configuration menu, you can set the latitude and longitude of the location, as well as radius that will serve as the boundary. Then, in the messages menu, under NAV, you'll be able to track whether the module is inside or outside of that radius you set up.

setup geofence
Within u-center, it's easy to set a boundary for geofencing.

test geofence
You can watch if your module is inside or outside of your designated geofence!


U-center is a dense but extremely useful program for utilizing your GNSS receiver to it's full potential. There's tons more information not included in this blog, like logging data into a database, utilizing camera view, and so much more. If you're interested in these features, check out the in-depth user guide, or comment below on what parts of the software you'd like us to dig into to help you with your projects. In the meantime, put that brand new MicroMod GNSS Carrier Board to good use, and track where it is (and isn't) at all times. Happy Hacking!

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