Tag Archives: Linux

Dual-mode Avalanche and RF Random Number Generator

via Hackaday » » hardware

OneRNG Open-Source Random Number Generator

[Paul] designed a new open-hardware RNG (random number generator) that includes two sources of entropy in a small package. The first source of entropy is a typical avalanche diode circuit, which is formed by a pair of transistors. This circuit creates high-speed random pulses which are sampled by the onboard microcontroller.

What makes this design unique is a second entropy source: a CC2531 RF receiver. The RF receiver continuously skips around channels in the 2.5Ghz band and measures the RF signal level. The least-significant bit of the signal level is captured and used as a source of entropy. The firmware can be configured to use either source of entropy individually, or to combine both. The firmware also supports optionally whitening the entropy byte stream, which evens out the number of 1’s and 0’s without reducing entropy.

The OneRNG uses the USB-CDC profile, so it shows up as a virtual serial port in most modern operating systems. With the rngd daemon and a bit of configuration, the OneRNG can feed the system entropy source in Linux. [Paul] also has a good writeup about the theory behind the entropy generator which includes images of his schematic. Firmware, drivers, and hardware design files are open-source and are available for download.


Filed under: hardware

A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn’t A Router

via Hackaday » » hardware

Here’s somethirouterng that be of interest to anyone looking to hack up a router for their own connected project or IoT implementation: hardware based on a fairly standard router, loaded up with OpenWRT, with a ton of I/O to connect to anything.

It’s called the DPT Board, and it’s basically an hugely improved version of the off-the-shelf routers you can pick up through the usual channels. On board are 20 GPIOs, USB host, 16MB Flash, 64MB RAM, two Ethernet ports, on-board 802.11n and a USB host port. This small system on board is pre-installed with OpenWRT, making it relatively easy to connect this small router-like device to LED strips, sensors, or whatever other project you have in mind.

The board was designed by [Daan Pape], and he’s also working on something he calls breakoutserver There’s a uHTTP server written specifically for the board that allows any Internet connected device to control everything on the board. There’s also an HTML5 app they’re developing which could be pretty interesting.

All in all, it’s a pretty cool little device that fits nicely in between the relatively simplistic ‘Arduino with an Ethernet shield’ and a Raspi or BeagleBone.


Filed under: hardware

Open Source Hardware Camp 2014

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp will take place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. For the second year running it is being hosted as part of the technology festival, Wuthering Bytes. However, this year OSHCamp will have the Waterfront Hall to itself on the Saturday and Sunday, with a separate Festival Day taking place on the Friday and with talks on a broader selection of technical topics.

Details of the OSHUG talks and workshops can be found below and the Wuthering Bytes website will be updated in due course with details of the complete programme of events.

Note that socials are planned for both the Friday and Saturday evenings, with the former being hosted at the Town Hall and where there will be a bar, food available and music and a live performance, and the latter will be hosted at a local hostelry that serves food.

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

Any questions should be directed to the Discussion List.

Saturday :: Talks

Linux bootloaders and kernel configuration

Linux is popular in embedded devices, but most use it once the kernel has booted and don't consider how it was started. This talk explores just what happens when you first start an embedded device that is running Linux, and will look at common bootloaders, such as U-Boot, along with kernel boot options. Finally, we will look at useful kernel configuration options for 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. Recently Melanie became a sporty person and now spends a lot of her time hitting girls. She will probably bore you with tales of roller derby!

Open source archaeological geophysics - is it achievable?

The advance of technology into Archaeology has allowed geophysical surveys to "peer into the ground" and direct the diggers to the most likely "targets". However, as anyone whose watched Time Team will know, using Resistivity and Magnetometry doesn't always guarantee results. Such equipment is not usually within the financial reach of most hobbyists. However, the recent explosion of the Arduino, Pi and other cheap electronics has meant making such surveying equipment may be possible.

A small research project involving an informal collaboration between members of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS) & Derby Makers is exploring whether a high accuracy GPS unit, Magnetometer and a resistivity probe can be made and yield worthwhile results within a budget of £1,000. DAS has kindly funded this research and we are about 50% of the way through the GPS project. This talk will introduce the project and take a look at progress to date.

Tony Brookes was firstly an engineer and then worked in IT for a while (!) Now working part-time, hobbies easily fill the time available. Drawn to archaeological and historical research by way of Time Team, he now tries to apply open source software (Scribus, Inkscape, Qgis) and hardware (Arduino, et al) to investigating parish history and other interesting topics.

An open source aquaponics control system

Aquaponics is a closed system of food production that farms fish alongside vegetables, and this talk will look at the development of an open source aquaponics control system for the Incredible AquaGarden project in Todmorden, highlighting certain features of the design and exploring some of the difficulties encountered and how these have been addressed.

A control and monitoring system with an event-driven 'flowchart' interface will be presented, where data about aspects such as pH, temperature and light level etc. are collected and logged in order to monitor the environment. The system responds dynamically to control the level of water in the plant growing bed, to maximise the yield. Some design decisions and technical aspects of the system will be demonstrated and discussed, together with the open source model for sustaining the project.

Finally, we will look at the operational Node-RED installation in Todmorden, showing how the system is collecting readings and controlling the water level, and we'll talk about how MQTT has been used to loosely couple the code running on the Arduino with Node-RED on a Raspberry Pi.

Gareth Coleman is a inventive hardware hacker who's talent lies in connecting diverse devices. Dr Naomi Rosenberg is a freelance software developer with a background in formal logic who works on a wide variety of platforms. They both get a especially enthusiastic about open hardware, free software and empowering humans.

From Idea to Finished Product: A Tale of DFM and CEM

With numerous easily accessible embedded platforms around and concepts such as rapid prototyping and crowdfunding now being useful things as opposed to just buzzwords, designing the Next Big Thing without leaving your study is becoming a common story for makers and tinkerers.

While it is true that going from an idea to a finished product has never been easier thanks to the abundance of design resources and affordable manufacturing services, designing for volume manufacturing requires a different mindset that usually does not apply to casual weekend hacks. From component choice to packaging and logistics, there are several elements that needs to be taken into consideration, as they may cause significant headaches otherwise.

This talk will provide an overview of electronics manufacturing process, covering details such as managing design data, handling dependencies, component and process choices, testing and certification and several other aspects of DFM: Design for Manufacturability.

Omer Kilic is an Embedded Systems hacker who likes tinkering, a lot. He also likes tiny computers, things that just work and good beer.

Driving milling machines with Linux

Driving a milling machine with Linux is fairly easy and LinuxCNC (previously known as “EMC”) even provides a real-time distribution install disk. However, driving the machine is only half the story and gcode generation is at least as important.

This talk will share experiences using a mill and a router with Linux, looking at PCB manufacture, engraving, 3D milling, casting, tool paths, materials, tools and parametric design.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matt plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

Oxford Flood Network - easier to Apologise Than to Ask Permission

Oxford Flood Network is a citizen sensing project which monitors water levels around the city, in streams, rivers and even under floorboards, sending water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless.

The network explores the possibilities of a smart city that is created by its citizens, rather than a more typical top-down deployment. Sensor networks are generally used to collect data about us for reasons and agendas chosen by others, but we can build sensor networks too; crowd-sourced data can be gathered for your agenda — providing evidence for your issues.

In this talk we will hear how Oxford Flood Network has developed an open source model for hardware and software, and the challenges of sticking mysterious boxes under bridges.

Ben Ward is founder of Love Hz, promoting the use of white space spectrum for open innovation in the Internet of Things. A survivor of the dotcom bubble, subsea bandwidth glut and the UK broadband wars, he's still surprisingly optimistic about the future.

An introduction to writing applications for the Parallella board

Parallella is a credit card-sized computer with a many-core accelerator that allows it to achieve high floating-point performance while consuming only a few watts. In this talk we will take a look at the Epiphany architecture and how to use the eSDK to write highly parallel applications for it, using hardware and software features to benchmark code and optimise performance.

Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation and is lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

Radio Then and Pararchive: decentralised, pervasive, and open story telling

Radio Then is a citywide cultural history experience, telling stories about Manchester’s jazz and popular music heritage using a small, Arduino-powered radio. Participants explore the city and tune in to archival broadcasts related to places, people, and events of note. In actual fact, the ‘radio’ contains GPS and audio breakouts to track its location and cue audio tracks depending on its coordinates.

The project is being created to showcase findings from Pararchive, an AHRC project being conducted by the University of Leeds, in partnership with the BBC, National Media Museum, Science Museum Group, and Manchester Digital Laboratory, among others. Pararchive represents an opportunity for members of the public to engage with archives, decentralising the material from archive holders, and offering alternative and personal perspectives on events.

James Medd is an artist, musician, and maker based in Manchester. He teaches all things digital in the north west of the UK, and creates whimsical, entertaining, and accessible interactive artworks. He currently leads Arduino Manchester, a community group for Arduino users in Manchester, and will be developing more interactive audio experiences at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio later this year, as a winner of their graduate and new talent competition.

Commercialising your ideas

Whether you're taking the time to build something fun, or have a solution to a problem you have faced, you are 'in your own right' an inventor.

One of the biggest challenges inventors face isn't making their product work, it's generating a living to continue inventing. Having spent over a decade in both sales and business development I have witnessed people use various methods to overcome this hurdle. I hope to share with you some of my experiences to provide you with some ideas you can take away and use when looking to turn a hobby or bright idea into a financial success. Our topic of conversation will take us from having a light bulb moment, to securing orders and reaping the rewards.

William Stone is the Head of Channel Strategy for hardware manufacturer, Ciseco. He is responsible for various commercial areas of the business including the very familiar responsibility of growing Ciseco's rapidly expanding chain of partners and distributors. Now with 36 recognized distributors worldwide, Ciseco has a growing presence and reputation in electronics manufacturing and Internet of Things (IoT).

OpenTRV: energy technology that saves householders money

The OpenTRV project aims to provide software, hardware designs and excellent interoperability to allow UK and EU householders to as much as halve their heating bills and carbon footprint with simple to fit hardware costing around £100 per house. Everything is freely available under liberal licensing — even our 3D printed enclosures — to enable adoption and cost savings.

Damon Hart-Davis gets excited about electronics, parallelism, robotics, distributed systems and resource efficiency, and solar PV and halving space-heating carbon footprint with cheap microcontrollers (OpenTRV) are two of his current passions. Damon has been working on “mission-critical” systems in banking for most of the last 20 years and before that founded one of the first UK Internet Service Providers.

Interfacing with SPI and I2C

SPI and I2C are industry standard methods of interfacing IO devices to micro-controllers and CPUs using just a few connections. SPI requires four wires and I2C just two.

This talk introduces SPI and I2C. It describes how they work and how you use them. It will look at common IO devices that connect via SPI or I2C. Finally it will look at controlling SPI and I2C devices from two example controllers, the Arduino and the Raspberry PI, in languages such as C and Python.

Speaker: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Introduction to Baserock

Baserock is a new set of open source tools for creating "appliance" operating system images. The aim is to close the gap between source code repositories and the code running on a device. This talk will go over Baserock's philosophy, what it provides and how you can try it out today.

Sam Thursfield likes it when technology is surprising in a good way but does not like it when it is surprising in a bad way. He spends a lot of time trying to reduce the amount of code that is required to do things. He has been known to play the trombone in and around Manchester.

Concurrency in the real world with xCORE and XC

There are many cases where a simple microcontroller won't cut it and the FPGA design route may be too drawn out and costly, particularly if your background is in software.

With the XMOS multi-core microcontroller architecture and toolset it's now possible to tackle complex hardware problems using familiar software and algorithms, avoiding the need to work with Verilog or VHDL. The XMOS XS1 microcontrollers provide tens of nano second resolution and deterministic, predictable, real-time operation in software. The XMOS toolset enables designs to be simulated and analysed, and signals to be monitored and scoped all within the IDE.

The XC extensions to C provide simple interfaces and tasks to write concurrent programs, taking care of nasty race conditions and parallel usage errors. xCORE open source libraries help break down complex domain-specific tasks, allowing you to focus on developing applications. While XMOS Links enable microcontrollers and boards to be chained together in a divide and conquer manner, allowing you to orchestrate your own hardware solutions.

This talk will introduce the XMOS technology and explore a selection of real world applications.

Alan Wood has been working with concurrent and distributed programming for over a decade. His recent work includes smart grid, control, and motion systems based on XMOS' concurrent technology. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE and other SHW communities, such as TVRRUG, as well as a founder of hackspace, SHH.

Compered by:

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.

Sunday :: Workshops

Some workshops will provide tools, boards and components etc. However, subject to demand this may involve an element of sharing and please feel free to bring along equipment and components, but note that you must be able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others in respect to these. Common sense must be exercised!

Let's build a flood network for Hebden Bridge!

Split into two teams, one will attempt to install flood sensors on the beautiful Hebden Water just outside the venue, while the other links these these to the Internet using readily available technology.

Proven hardware designs will be used to show you how can send water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless links, and sustainable approaches to citizen sensing will be explored.

Run by: Ben Ward.

Workshop notes: you may want to bring wellies if you plan to join the sensor installation team! Also feel free to bring sensors and boards that you think may be useful.

Building applications that sense and respond to the real world

Following on from their talk, Naomi and Gareth will be joined by Paulo Marini, the Tormorden project's resident aquaponicist. Together they will facilitate a hack session to help you build applications that respond to the real world.

Run by: Gareth Coleman and Dr Naomi Rosenberg.

Workshop notes: Bring your own hardware to work on, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino etc. if you can, and they'll try to find ways to get your projects connected.

Do you want to build a robot? #meArm assembly workshop

How about starting with an Arm? With just a screwdriver and enthusiasm you can build an Open Source Robot Arm. If you bring an Arduino or Pi with you, you're free to stay on with your meArm and tinker with the code too.

The meArm is a project to get low cost robot arms into the hands of as many people as possible. Started in February this year it's made fast progress through open development. Already "home brew" (those not from the laser forges of phenoptix in Nottingham) versions have been spotted in the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico!

Ben Gray is a proponent of Open Hardware and founder of phenoptix, a maker business based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Ben graduated from the University of Exeter with a chemistry degree and a fledgling phenoptix before moving to Nottingham to complete a PhD in theoretical physical chemistry. Through the open hardware movement he has been able explore the wonderful world of electronics and take phenoptix from a pocket money project to the full time job it is today.

Workshop notes: Bring along a laptop and, if you like, an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Introduction to Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate is a universal open source hardware device that can be used to communicate using various buses, such as SPI, I2C, UART and JTAG, with various devices. The Bus Pirate is, per the designers, intended to "Eliminate a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips."

This tutorial will introduce the Bus Pirate. Describe how to configure it and install the software required to use it. It will then look at some basic interfacing to devices via SPI and I2C. It will work through how you can 'sniff' buses. Finally it will look at use the Bus Pirate as a simple frequency measurement and generator device.

Run by: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop (Bus Pirate is supported under Windows, Linux and OSX) and, if you can, some hardware to debug. There will be a limited number of Bus Pirates available, but if you have one please bring it along.

Building your first Parallella application

This workshop follows on from the previous day's talk and participants will build a simple project which targets the Parallella board and uses all 16 cores of the Epiphany floating-point accelerator.

Run by: Simon Cook.

Workshop notes: Please bring along a laptop and, if you have one, a Parallella board (a limited number of boards will be available for use by those who do not own one).

The real world works concurrently and so can you

This workshop will take you through the basics of embedded concurrent programming using an XMOS multi-core startKIT. We will cover basic parallel processing extensions to C (XC) using tasks, interfaces, timers and ports. We will also get some insight into our running code using xSCOPE, a real-time debugging system built in to the XMOS tools. In addition we will use software modules to drop in rich functionality from the open source xCORE libraries.

Run by: Alan Wood.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop and any devices you would like to interface.

Design a PCB Shrimp and have it fabricated

The Shrimp is a super low cost Arduino clone. It makes an excellent teaching resource, and is usually delivered as a 'breaded shrimp' - using a breadboard. For hackers, it's a great way to knock up a quick, cheap microcontroller circuit.

In this workshop we'll make a PCB version of the shrimp — a more robust and Arduino shield compatible version — and you will be guided through the process of drawing the schematic, laying out the PCB and optionally placing an order with OSHPark for your very own PCB shrimp.

Participants will be working in pairs. Boards will cost about £6 each. Kits of components can conveniently be ordered from shrimping.it for £4.

Run by: Matt Venn.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop.

OpenTRV build and getting started

Kits will be available to solder and boards and cables to buy, along with valves that will be used to demonstrate how you can use Arduino-based technology to halve your heating bill.

Run by: Damon Hart-Davis.

Workshop notes: Please bring your own soldering iron, solder and AA batteries if you would like to build a kit to take away, and be aware that SMD soldering experience and a steady hand will be required to solder the TMP112 temperature sensor.

NOTE:

  • There are separate tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.
  • Please aim to arrive between 09:00 and 09:15 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:20 prompt.
  • HummingBoard, The Vastly More Powerful Raspi

    via Hackaday» hardware

     

    Humming

    The Raspberry Pi has been around for a while now, and while many boards that hope to take the Pi’s place at the top of the single board ARM Linux food chain, not one has yet succeeded. Finally, there may be a true contender to the throne. It’s called the HummingBoard, and packs a surprising amount of power and connectivity into the same size and shape as the venerable Raspberry Pi.

    The HummingBoard uses a Freescale i.MX6 quad core processor running at 1GHz with a Vivante GC2000 GPU. There’s 2GB of RAM, microSD card slot, mSATA connector, Gigabit Ethernet, a BCM4329 WiFi and Bluetooth module, a real-time clock, and IR receiver. There’s also all the usual Raspberry Pi flair, with a 26 pin GPIO connector, CSI camera connector, DSI LCD connector,  stereo out, as well as the usual HDMI and analog video.

    The company behind the HummingBoard, SolidRun, hasn’t put a retail price on the board, nor have they set a launch date. You can, however, enter a contest to win a HummingBoard with the deadline this Friday. Winners will be announced in early May, so maybe the HummingBoard will be officially launched sometime around then.

    It’s an amazing board with more than enough power to rival the extremely powerful BeagleBone Black, with the added bonus of being compatible with so many of those Raspberry Pi accessories we all love dearly.


    Filed under: hardware, Raspberry Pi

    A Motherboard for a WiFi Enabled SD Card

    via Hack a Day» hardware

    SD

    Over the last few months, a few very capable hackers have had a hand in cracking open a Transcend WiFi-enable SD card that just happens to be running a small Linux system inside. The possibilities for a wireless Linux device you can lose in your pocket are immense, but so far no one has gotten any IO enabled on this neat piece of hardware. [CNLohr] just did us all a favor with his motherboard for these Transcend WiFi SD cards, allowing the small Linux systems to communicate with I2C devices.

    This build is based upon [Dmitry]‘s custom kernel for the Transcend WiFiSD card. [CNLohr] did some poking around with this system and found he could use an AVR to speak to the card in its custom 4-bit protocol.

    The ‘motherboard’ consists of some sort of ATMega, an AVR programming header, a power supply, and a breakout for the I2C bus. [Lohr] wired up a LED array to the I2C bus and used it to display some configuration settings for the WiFi card before connecting to the card over WiFi and issuing commands directly to the Linux system on the card. The end result was, obviously, a bunch of blinking LEDs.

    While this is by far the most complex and overwrought way to blink a LED we’ve ever seen, this is a great proof of concept that makes the Transcend cards extremely interesting for a variety of hardware projects. If you want your own Transcend motherboard, [CNLohr] put all the files up for anyone who wants to etch their own board.


    Filed under: hardware, linux hacks, wireless hacks

    A sneak preview of Arduino TRE powered by Texas Instruments

    via Arduino Blog

    Arduino TRE

    Next saturday  5th of October Massimo Banzi with Jason Kridner and Gerald Coley (Texas Instrument) will talk about the new collaboration on Arduino TRE during a talk at Maker Faire Rome ( from 15.30 in Room G – Archimede).

    Arduino TRE, based on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor is the “most powerful Arduino to date” and the first that will be able to run “full Linux.”

    Thanks to the 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor, Arduino developers get up to 100 times more performance with the Sitara-processor-based TRE than they do on the Arduino Leonardo or Uno. This performance opens the doors to more advanced Linux-powered applications. The Sitara-processor-based Linux Arduino can run high-performance desktop applications, processing-intensive algorithms or high-speed communications.

    The Arduino TRE is two Arduinos in one: the Sitara-processor-based Linux Arduino plus a full AVR-based Arduino, while leveraging the simplicity of the Arduino software experience. The integration of the AVR Arduino enables the Arduino TRE to use the existing shield ecosystem so that innovators can expand the Arduino TRE to develop a wide range of high-performance applications such as 3D printers, gateways for building automation and lighting automation, telemetry hubs that collect data from nearby sensors wirelessly, and other connected applications that require host control plus real-time operations. 

    In addition, the Arduino TRE is partially the result of a close collaboration between Arduino and the BeagleBoard.org foundation. These open hardware pioneers share a passion for expanding open source development and making technology accessible for artists, designers and hobbyists. The TRE design builds upon the experience of both Arduino and BeagleBoard, combining the benefits of both community based boards.

    “By choosing TI’s Sitara AM335x processor to power the Arduino TRE, we’re enabling customers to leverage the capabilities of an exponentially faster processor running full Linux,” said Massimo Banzi, co-founder, Arduino.

    “Our customers now have a scalable portfolio at their fingertips, from the microcontroller-based Uno to the TRE Linux computer.”

    The Arduino TRE is expected to be available in spring 2014 but you’ll be able to see it live during Maker Faire Rome.

    See more pictures of Arduino TRE on Flickr.

    LinuxCon keynote, Maker Faire NYC, Cambridge GCSE Computing news

    via Raspberry Pi

    You’ll notice I’m posting quite late today: it’s because I’m in the US for LinuxCon, so I’m out by a few time zones. (Thanks to Clive for looking after the blog yesterday.) Eben gave a keynote yesterday, immediately after Gabe Newell (who didn’t give any hints about Half Life 3 – sorry, Ryan). The talk should be put online shortly, and we’ll be here in New Orleans at LinuxCon for the rest of the week – if you see either of us, please come and say hi. You can read a bit more about what Eben had to say at LinuxCon’s conference blog.

    Later this week, we’ll be heading up to New York City for World Maker Faire. We’ll be based at Pimoroni’s stand in the tent (where a limited number of $40 Raspberry Pi/8GB NOOBS SD card bundles will be for sale – they’re a great deal and we’ll sign them if you ask us to), we will have Pi goodies for sale and a few special items to give away, and Eben will be giving a talk on Saturday at 4pm. As usual, we’d love to see and chat with any of you who decide to attend: come and grab us if you see us.

    Back in Blighty, Cambridge GCSE Computing Online, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) we are working on with OCR, the UK examination board, and Cambridge University Press, has just released its first newsletter. If you’re interested in how things are progressing, you should head straight over and have a look. We are intending on having between 30 and 40 of the teaching videos we’ve promised available by the end of the month, with more scheduled for December and April. We’re very excited to be able to share some of the educational materials we’ve been working on with you: we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback at the end of September.

    I’m off to listen to a LinuxCon talk by Planetary Resources about deep-space data centres. More tomorrow!

    Let’s explore Arduino Yún’s unique features – Hardware review

    via Arduino Blog

    Arduino Yún

    As announced a few days ago, the newest addition to the Arduino family, the Arduino Yún, will be available starting September 10. This is the first in a series of posts that will describe some of the Yún’s unique features. Today, we’ll focus on the hardware.

    ———————–

    The Yún is unique in the Arduino lineup, as it has a lightweight Linux distribution to complement the traditional microcontroller interface. It also has WiFi and Ethernet connections on board, enabling it to communicate with networks out of the box. The Yún’s Linux and Arduino processors communicate through the Bridge library, allowing Arduino sketches to send commands to the command line interface of Linux.

    Introduction
    The Arduino Yún has the same footprint as an Arduino Uno but combines an ATmega32U4 microcontroller (the same as the Leonardo) and a Linux system based on the Atheros AR9331 chipset. Additionally, there are built-in Ethernet and WiFi capabilities. The combination of the classic Arduino programming experience and advanced internet capabilities afforded by a Linux system make the Yún a powerful tool for communicating with the internet of things.

    The Yún’s layout keeps the I/O pins the same as the Arduino Leonardo. As such, the Yún is compatible with the most shields designed for Arduino.

    With the Yún’s auto-discovery system, your computer can recognize boards connected to the same network. This enables you to upload sketches wirelessly to the Yún. You can still upload sketches to the Yún through the micro-USB connector just as you would with the Leonardo.

    Connectivity
    The Yún has two separate network interfaces, a 10/100 Mbit/s Fast Ethernet port and a IEEE 802.11 b/g/n standard compliant 2.4GHz WiFi interface, supporting WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. The WiFi interface can also operate as an access point (AP). In AP mode any WiFi enabled device can connect directly to the network created on the Yún. While a Yún in this mode can’t connect to the internet, it could act as a hub for a group of WiFi enabled sensors.

    Historically, interfacing Arduino with web services has been challenging due to memory restrictions. The Yun’s Linux environment simplifies the means to access internet services by using many if the same tools you would use on your computer. You can run several applications as complex as you need, without stressing the ATmega microcontroller.

    To help you develop applications that can connect to popular web services, we have partnered with Temboo, a service that simplifies accessing hundreds of the web’s most popular APIs. A Temboo library comes with the Yún, making it easy to connect to a large variety of online tools. Check out their website for the full list of services they offer.

    Connection between the two processors
    The Yún’s Bridge library enables communication between the two processors, connecting the hardware serial port of the AR9331 to Serial1 on the 32U4 (digital pins 0 & 1). Another post will describe the library in greater depth. The serial port of the AR9331 exposes the Linux console (aka, the command line interface, or CLI) for communication with the 32U4. The console is a means for the Linux kernel and other processes to output messages to the user and receive input from the user. File and system management tools are installed by default. It’s also possible to install and run your own applications using Bridge.

    The ATmega32U4 can be programmed from the AR9331 by uploading a sketch through the Yún’s WiFi interface. When connected to the same WiFi network as your computer, the board will appear under the “Port” menu of the Arduino IDE. The sketch will be transferred to the AR9331, and the Linux distribution will program the ATmega32U4 through the SPI bus, emulating an AVR ISP programmer.

    Power consideration
    The Yún can be powered through the micro-USB connector, the Vin pin, or the optional Power Over Ethernet (POE) module. When powering the board though the Vin pin, you must supply a regulated 5VDC. There is no on-board voltage regulator for higher voltages.

    Linux OS specifications
    The Yún runs a version of the OpenWRT Linux distribution called Linino. The on-board 16MB flash memory that contains the Linux image has a full python installation and package manager you can use to install additional software.
    The AR9331 has 64 MB of DDR2 RAM available, providing the resources to perform complex tasks like running a web server or streaming video from a webcam.
    You can expand the storage memory by adding a micro-SD card or a USB pen drive. By including a directory named “arduino” at the root level of the storage device, it will be automatically recognized by the Yún.

    USB Host
    The Yún has a USB host port connected to the AR9331. You can connect USB peripherals like webcams, memory sticks, or joypads to this input. Generally, Linux has drivers included for the more common devices like mass storage or mice and keyboards. For more specific devices like webcams, you will need to refer to the device specifications to find the appropriate driver. As the USB port is connected to the Linux processor, it’s not directly accessible from sketches on the 32U4.

    —————-

    The next post about the Yún will focus on the Bridge library, describing how it facilitates communication between the two processors. Stay tuned!

    Updating about Arduino Yún (video preview!) and Arduino Robot

    via Arduino Blog

    Arduino Yún - Unboxing

    Some months ago we announced that we were developing a new product to meet the growing demand for wi-fi, linux based boards. The blogpost on the upcoming Arduino YÚN was our most read ever, and since then the attention has stayed high.

    Recently, some of you have been asking why the YÚN hasn’t come out yet and why the Arduino Robot is not yet available for purchase.

    Simply put, moving to a wifi-enabled linux board is a whole new step for Arduino and it’s taking longer than we expected. Arduino YÚN  is our most complex product ever and we decided to working on getting it right regardless of timing.

    The early prototypes boards mounted 8MB of Flash and 32MB of RAM. While we managed to implement most of the YÚN features previously planned inside this amount of memory, we were forced to use optimized versions of the most common software packages: smaller in size but missing a lot of cool features available in the “full” non-optimized version.

    We also quickly discovered that there wasn’t plenty of free space remaining for the user to install additional packages or to run complex programs without incurring in stability problems.

    Considering this we finally decided to double both Flash and RAM, giving a comfortable 16MB of Flash and 64MB of RAM.

    We try our best to get everything done as soon as possible while still providing the quality that we hope distinguishes Arduino products.

    The delay in the Arduino Robot is connected to that of YÚN and our distribution processes.

    We are really happy about the new Arduino YÚN and we hope the community will be as well.

    The board is going to be available on the Arduino Store from September the 10th, while being delivered to our distributors late this month. In the video below you can watch a  preview of the board with me and David Cuartielles giving some more details about it.

     

    From the product pages on the Arduino Store,  for the YÚN and Robot, you can activate an alert that will send you an email when the product is available from the distributors.

    Welcome Arduino Yún – the first member of a series of wifi products combining Arduino with Linux

    via Arduino Blog

    Arduino Yun - iso

     

    Massimo Banzi announced it some minutes ago during his annual “The state of Arduino” presentation at Maker Faire Bay Area:  Arduino Yún  is the first of a revolutionary family of wifi products combining Arduino with Linux.

    Yún means “cloud” in chinese language,  as the purpose of this board to make it simple to connect to complex web services directly from Arduino.

    ArduinoYun - scheme

    Designed in collaboration with Dog Hunter, a company with extensive experience with Linux, the board adopts the Linino distribution which provides signed packages to ensure the authenticity of the software installed on the device.

    Historically, interfacing Arduino with complex web services has been quite a challenge due to the limited memory available and they tend to use verbose text based formats like XML that require quite a lot or ram to parse. On the Arduino Yún we have created the Bridge library which delegates all network connections and processing of HTTP transactions to the Linux machine.

    Arduino Yún is the combination of a classic Arduino Leonardo (based on the Atmega32U4 processor) with a Wifi system-on-a-chip running Linino (a MIPS GNU/Linux based on OpenWRT). It’s based on the ATMega32u4 microcontroller and on the Atheros AR9331, a system on a chip running Linino, a customized version of OpenWRT, the most used Linux distribution for embedded devices.

    Like a Leonardo, it has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator and a micro USB connector.

    Arduino_Yun
    Like any modern computer, it’s Wi-Fi enabled, it has a Standard-A type USB connector to which you can connect your USB devices and it has a micro-SD card plug, for additional storage.

    The Yún ATMega32u4 can be programmed as a standard Arduino board by plugging it to your computer with the micro USB connector. And you can also program it via Wi-Fi.

    When the Yún is turned on for the first time, it becomes an Access Point, creating a Wi-Fi network named “Arduino”. Open your browser and go to the webpanel: configure the board by entering your Wi-Fi network name, type and password. Click the “Configure” button to restart the board and have it join your home network. Opening the IDE, you’ll see it listed in the “Port” sub menu with its IP address instead of the serial port name.

    Using the Bridge library in your sketches, you can link the 32u4 to Linux, launching programs and scripts, passing them parameters (sensor readings for example) and reading their output, thus creating a strong integration between the creativity of your sketch and the power of Linux. The Yún supports Shell and Python scripts out-of-the-box but you can install a wide range of open source software and tools.

    For the Linux geek in you, Yún can be reached with SSH:  that means you’ll be able to customize it in whatever way. And you’ll always be able to reset it to its factory settings.

    On top of that to make it even simpler to create complex applications we’ve partnered with the innovative startup Temboo which provides normalized access to 100+ APIs from a single point of contact allowing developers to mix and match data coming from multiple platforms (for example Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare but even FedEx or PayPal).

    Arduino Yún will be available at the end of June at the price of 69$ + taxes.

     

    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

    Practical System-on-Chip (Program your own open source FPGA SoC)

    via OSHUG

    At the ninth OSHUG meeting we were given an introduction to FPGA development, and to the OpenCores community and the OpenRISC 1000 open source processor family. At the seventeenth OSHUG meeting we will be given a comprehensive introduction to the practicalities of programming your own open source FPGA system-on-chip.

    How to Program Your Own Open Source FPGA System-on-Chip

    It is possible to buy a FPGA prototyping board like the Terasic DE0-nano, capable of running a complete 32-bit System-on-Chip for around £50. Even larger boards with the memory capacity to bring up a full Linux system on the design cost a few hundred pounds.

    In this talk Julius Baxter and Jeremy Bennett will present the OpenRISC architecture and OpenRISC Reference Platform SoC (ORPSoC), and show how to take this open source design and get it running on an FPGA board.

    This is a practical evening, aimed at users who have never done any chip design. Using a Xilinx ML501 prototyping board, Julius Baxter will demonstrate all the steps from obtaining the initial hardware design through to bringing up the board and booting a full Linux system.

    The following topics will be covered:

    • an overview of OpenCores and the OpenRISC project
    • an introduction to the Verilog Hardware Design Language
    • how to synthesize the design into a FPGA bitstream
    • what needs modifying to run on different boards
    • how to get software running
    • porting a simple (newlib) library to the board
    • demonstration of Linux booting

    Note that this will be an interactive session, and participants are encouraged to bring along their own FPGA dev boards and laptops and to join in, should they wish. If you have a board that is not listed as having a preconfigured ORPSoC build, or you have any other questions concerning the practicalities of this, you should direct your question to the OSHUG discussion list.

    Julius Baxter has been involved with the OpenRISC project for 4 years, and during that time he's worked on everything from processor Verilog RTL to the Linux kernel port. After finishing undergraduate studies in his native Australia, he then studied a System-on-Chip design Master's at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden, while working at ORSoC AB - the owners and operators of OpenCores.org. Now living and working Cambridge, Julius maintains a role as an active developer and maintainer on the OpenRISC project, largely dealing with RTL, toolchain and architecture work.

    Dr Jeremy Bennett is Chief Executive of Embecosm which provides open source services, tools and models to facilitate embedded software development with complex systems-on-chip. He has been involved with OpenCores for the past decade, and is responsible for much of the software tool chain. Contact him at jeremy.bennett@embecosm.com.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    Practical System-on-Chip (Program your own open source FPGA SoC)

    via OSHUG

    At the ninth OSHUG meeting we were given an introduction to FPGA development, and to the OpenCores community and the OpenRISC 1000 open source processor family. At the seventeenth OSHUG meeting we will be given a comprehensive introduction to the practicalities of programming your own open source FPGA system-on-chip.

    How to Program Your Own Open Source FPGA System-on-Chip

    It is possible to buy a FPGA prototyping board like the Terasic DE0-nano, capable of running a complete 32-bit System-on-Chip for around £50. Even larger boards with the memory capacity to bring up a full Linux system on the design cost a few hundred pounds.

    In this talk Julius Baxter and Jeremy Bennett will present the OpenRISC architecture and OpenRISC Reference Platform SoC (ORPSoC), and show how to take this open source design and get it running on an FPGA board.

    This is a practical evening, aimed at users who have never done any chip design. Using a Xilinx ML501 prototyping board, Julius Baxter will demonstrate all the steps from obtaining the initial hardware design through to bringing up the board and booting a full Linux system.

    The following topics will be covered:

    • an overview of OpenCores and the OpenRISC project
    • an introduction to the Verilog Hardware Design Language
    • how to synthesize the design into a FPGA bitstream
    • what needs modifying to run on different boards
    • how to get software running
    • porting a simple (newlib) library to the board
    • demonstration of Linux booting

    Note that this will be an interactive session, and participants are encouraged to bring along their own FPGA dev boards and laptops and to join in, should they wish. If you have a board that is not listed as having a preconfigured ORPSoC build, or you have any other questions concerning the practicalities of this, you should direct your question to the OSHUG discussion list.

    Julius Baxter has been involved with the OpenRISC project for 4 years, and during that time he's worked on everything from processor Verilog RTL to the Linux kernel port. After finishing undergraduate studies in his native Australia, he then studied a System-on-Chip design Master's at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden, while working at ORSoC AB - the owners and operators of OpenCores.org. Now living and working Cambridge, Julius maintains a role as an active developer and maintainer on the OpenRISC project, largely dealing with RTL, toolchain and architecture work.

    Dr Jeremy Bennett is Chief Executive of Embecosm which provides open source services, tools and models to facilitate embedded software development with complex systems-on-chip. He has been involved with OpenCores for the past decade, and is responsible for much of the software tool chain. Contact him at jeremy.bennett@embecosm.com.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:00 - 18:20 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by:

    TTL Bluetooth Transceiver with Linux

    via Brewbot Mk2

    I recently got one of these cheap chinese TTL to Bluetooth transceivers.

    http://gb.suntekstore.com/wireless-bluetooth-transceiver-module-rs232-||-ttl.html

    I got mine off ebay delivered for under US$7. The seller unfortunately didn't have a pinout diagram or any real info about the module (or maybe couldn't understand enough English to work out what I was asking).

    I figured that all of them on the market are probably the same design so it shouldn't be a big deal.

    Luckily I was right. The best resource I found was this:

    http://www.egochina.net.cn/e-shop/ebay/datasheet/Bluetooth_Module_L6.rar

    A number of diagrams, manuals and pieces of software in that archive.

    The only problem is they are all windows specific.

    The Ubuntu Bluetooth applet let me see and pair with the device, but no clue on how to use it.

    Time to learn a little more about the Linux bluetooth stack.

    hcitool scan
    Scanning ...
    00:19:5D:24:B7:63 OBDII

    Ok so we can see it from the command line and see it's address, it's the only thing found.

    Most of the other diag tools didn't return any useful info.

    Eventually I found the following to work.

    sudo rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 00:19:5D:24:B7:63

    picocom -b 38400 /dev/rfcomm0

    At that point I could talk to my MCU over bluetooth!

    Renesas RDK bring up

    via Brewbot Mk2

    I'm a free software junky. Have been since the late 1990's. I run Linux on all my machines. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Which can pose a problem in the embedded space. Nearly all tools are highly Windows centric.

    With the RDK, things are even worse, in that they are pushing a proprietary RTOS, Toolchain, and Debug environment. I think as also is typical, most are restricted in some way. A drug dealer approach to getting you to cough up some cash. Just a taste.

    As as Engineer and tinkerer, I like to understand how things work, to have a chance to be able to fix bugs.

    "If you can't change it, you don't own it." - DJ Delorie

    What I find incredible that so many hackers types, who like to dismantle, re-purpose and build things, are happy to be closed off to this whole world by using highly restricted OSes and tools. It seems like a contradiction.

    Anyway, there is no coincidence with the above quote, luckily for the RDK, free software hero DJ Delorie has done a lot of the heavy lifting for us Linux users.

    I started here: http://www.renesasrulz.com/thread/3137

    To shortcut bring up a little, I went and got the precompiled GCC binaries from kpitgnutools

    The blinky example worked first go, yay!

    For my application, I was initially planning on skipping using an OS entirely (due to the proprietary nature of the one that comes with the kit) and just coding to the hardware directly.

    First step would be to get an on board timer running and generating interrupts... the heart beat of the application.

    Plus blinking LEDs are pretty boring when you have an LCD sitting there.

    So I set about modifying the blinky example from DJ to be timer and interrupt driven and also use the LCD.

    The result is here: https://github.com/Zizzle/blinky2

    Since getting that running I discovered that FreeRTOS looks good and is easy to build under Linux and run thanks again DJ.

    http://www.renesasrulz.com/thread/3109

    http://interactive.freertos.org/entries/308741-makefile-for-linux-hosted-demo-build-on-144-pin-rx-62n-board

    So I may end up using FreeRTOS for my brewbot. Subject of another post I guess.