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Edison Developers
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Information and tutorials on microcontrollers and single-board computers
Information and tutorials on microcontrollers and single-board computers

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I have had a lot of opportunities to use V-REP (the virtual robot experimentation platform) over the last couple of years, but was never a fan of the Lua programming/scripting language. I also believe that whatever code you write for simulation should be identical to the code that you will end up using in your robot. I decided to make a 2-part Matlab - V-REP integration tutorial to help newcomers get started quickly.

The first video shows how to connect V-REP to Matlab.

The second video shows how to send actuator commands, read sensors and transfer video data and is geared towards new-comers to V-REP.
#matlab, #vrep, #v-rep, #RobotSimulation
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In an effort to further computer literacy among a younger generation, the BBC sponsored the development of the BBC micro bit microcontroller, which it handed out to students across Britain earlier this year. This is surprisingly not the first microcontroller that the BBC rolled out. The BBC Microcomputer system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Micro) was released in 1981 and was also geared towards education. The UK, home to the Raspberry Pi foundation, appears to have a culture of empowering their citizens to become makers.

What makes the system appealing is its Bluetooth connector, 3-axis acclerometer, a 3-axis magnetometer, two user buttons, and a 5x5 LED display. It is geared towards education and the tutorial articles are often geared towards younger makers. The initial free distribution of the BBC Micro:bit to UK students is now finished and it is available for anyone to buy, but I have yet to find a distributor outside of the UK. Ebay has them for as low as ~$30 CAD.

For more information, take a look at the manufacturer's website at https://www.microbit.co.uk/.
home
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microbit.co.uk
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The Raspberry Pi foundation released their camera V2 today. The original camera was released in 2013, but the OV5647 sensor was discontinued at the end of 2014 and all the cameras sold since were from large stockpiles.

This new camera has a Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor with a fixed focus and retails for $25 USD. The maximum still-picture resolution of this new sensor is 3280 X 2464 pixels and support a image transfer rate of 30 fps for 1080p and 60 fps for 720p. The V2 camera sensor comes as a visible-light and as a infrared-version (Pi NOIR) for the same price.

To clarify, all CMOS sensors detect infrared wavelengths called "near-infared", which are adjacent to the visible light spectrum. Regular visible light cameras come with an infrared filter on the sensor, which blocks these wavelengths thus allowing only visible light to be captured. The NoIR camera does not have this filter and is able to capture some of the infrared spectrum, which makes it useful for night photography or for scenes that are flooded with infrared light (by an infrared LED, for examples).
For more info and purchase link, take a look at the manufacturer website in the attached link.

#raspberrypi #camera #picamv2  
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UDOO currently has a Kickstarter campaign for what they call the most powerful Maker board to date: the UDOO x86 (compare to the original board here). This new board is advertised to be 10 times as fast as the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Basic board starts at $89 with an expected delivery date of November 2016.

The board is powered by an Intel Quad-Core processor (up to 2.0 GHz for Basic, up to 2.24 GHz for Advanced, and up to 2.56 GHz for the Ultra board). The Basic board comes with 2 GB of RAM and the higher cost models are slated to have 4 GB of RAM. The board has 8GB eMMC flash memory storage, but has a SATA and an M.2 connector for additional hard-drives. The UDOO x86 comes with Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity.

The UDOO is a powerful single board computer with an Arduino 101-compatible GPIO pinout, which makes it compatible with all Arduino 101-compatible shields, sketches, and libraries. The board has a 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope. A cool feature is the interconnectivity of the Arduino and the Quad-core processor, which allows the low-power consumption Arduino to start and wake up the high power consumption computer portion, which can potentially extend battery life for your IoT (Internet of Things) device as it allows your computer to react to the environment only when required to.

Currently, the Kickstarter campaign is fully funded and has over 1 month left to go and can be found at the attached link. As always, keep the potential dangers and delivery problems of crowd-funding campaigns in mind.

#udoo #singleboardcomputer #IoT #maker #kickstarter  
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The Intel Up Board (created by Aaeon Europe) is said to start shipping in May. Pre-orders are accepted for an UP board outperforms the Raspberry Pi 3, but this additional performance starts at a cost of $89 USD.

The UP board features a quad-core Intel Atom x5 Z8350 64-bit 1.92Ghz processor with 2 GB DDR3L RAM (the shop does offer 1GB, 2GB, and 4 GB options). It has 16 GB eMMC Flash for on-board storage (32 GB and 64 GB options are available) and Intel HD 400 Graphics.
The board features an HDMI connector, four USB 2.0 connectors, two USB port pin headers, and one USB 3.0 USB OTG connector. The UP board comes with an internal real-time clock (RTC), which is rarely seen on other single board computers. The UP Board has the same form-factor as the Raspberry Pi 2 and has 40 GPIO pins. The Raspberry Pi 3 is cheaper and comes with built-in wireless communication. The UP-board currently only has an Ethernet connection.

The board is available for pre-order at http://up-shop.org/4-up-boards

#upboard #raspberrypi #intel  
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The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released the Raspberry Pi 3 four years after releasing the R-Pi Model B. This new processor is a step up from the R-Pi 2 and comes with a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, which is advertised to have 10 times the performance of the Raspberry Pi 1 (and 50%-60% increased performance over the R-Pi 2 at 32 bit). All this for $35 USD (at Element 14 for example: https://www.element14.com/community/community/raspberry-pi)

Geared towards the Internet of Things (IoT), the Raspberry Pi 3 has an integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1. You should be able to save some money and time trying to find a compatible Wi-Fi dongle now that the wireless networking is integrated. The new Raspberry Pi is fully compatible with the R-Pi and R-Pi 2, which means that all the GPIO capabilities of the Raspberry Pi 2 are maintained. It is recommended to get a 2.5A  power supply though to power this extra performance.

For the manufacturer announcement take a look a the release announcement in the attached link
#RaspberryPi #raspberrypi3 #singleboardcomputer  
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If you are looking to do more advanced computation with your single-board computer (machine vision, artificial intelligence, etc.) then you might find the majority of current boards lacking.

This is where the NVIDIA Jetson comes in. It comes with a NVIDIA 4-Plus 1 Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU and an NVIDIA Kepler GPU with 192 CUDA Cores. The GPU will allow you to do those intense computations, which the bulk of other single-board computers are not capable of. The computer comes with 2GB of RAM, 1 PCIE slot, 1 audio in and 1 audio out connector, and 2 USB slots (1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.0). You get 16 GB on-board storage, a full-size SD slot, and a 1 SATA Data port for hard-drive connection to extend and accelerate your storage needs. The board also comes with various GPIO connectors that support i2c, UART, SPI, etc.

All of this computational power does not come cheap at $192 USD, but today's mobile robotic application will surely benefit from the added Umpf that this board delivers. For more information take a look at the following link: http://www.nvidia.ca/object/jetson-tk1-embedded-dev-kit.html

#nvidia #jetson #singleboardcomputer #gpu  
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How about some shame-less self promotion: I recently needed to do some matrix calculation on a MSP430F5529 Launchpad. The existing matrix libraries for Energia were difficult to find and lacked a some functionality. I added a dot product, a scalar product, and a vector normalization function. It has been tested with a MSP430F5529, but I don't see any reason why it should not work with other similar boards.
So, take a look at the MatrixMath Energia libraries on GitHub.

Also, feel free to add/expand remove in the regular GitHub fashion.
#msp430 #matrixmath #library #singleboardcomputer  
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The Beaglebone Green has been released as a collaboration between Seeed studios and the BeagleBoard.org.

The BeagleBone Black (BBB) and the BeagleBone Green (BBG) are identical, except that the BBG has no HDMI port, but instead has two Grove connectors, one for I2C and one for UART. Grove sensors are building blocks, which allow you to simply connect sensors and use them right away, without having to spend time interfacing. More info here: http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/Grove_System

The BeagleBone Green is also only $39 USD, compared to the $55 for the BeagleBone Black. Other than that, they are identical.

Take a look at the Seeed website here:
http://www.seeed.cc/beaglebone_green/

#beagleboard #seeed #singleboardcomputer  
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The Arduino Zero is now shipping in the US!

While the Arduino Zero may look like the Arduino UNO/Leonardo, it features a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ core (Atmel SAMD21) at 48Hz, which makes it signigicantly faster than the previous 8 bit boards. The boards feature 256KB flash memory and 32KB of RAM. If you are planning on writing 256KB worth of Software, you will be delighted to hear about the new Atmel Embedded Debugger (EDBG), which will gives you a full debug interface.

If you are not planning on writing intensive Software, but planning to use these board for hardware purposes, there are improvemnts on that front. All the digital pin (except Tx/Rx and pin 7) can send PWM signals. The analog pins now have 12 bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), which gives you increased resolution over the previous 10-bit ADCs (4096 divisions vs. the previous 1024). The Arduino zero operates on 3.3V, unlike most of the previous boards.
#arduinozero #arduino  
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