Weekly Roundup #37 – New Maker Products // News



WR-NMP37p10I mentioned in a previous Weekly Roundup the MicroZed board, which was a small board based around the Zynq-7000 FPGA. Zedboards have now added the MiniZed to it’s lineup selling for around $89 US compared to the $199 US of the MicroZed.
Contains WiFi, Bluetooth, 512M DDR3 RAM, 128Mb flash, 8GB eMMC, Arduino compatible headers, along with two PMOD connectors, motion sensing and microphone. This is great to see and is hopefully the start of a flood of FPGA boards.

Linux Gizmos competition

WR-NMP37p11Over at Linux Gizmos they are running their yearly competition for the hacker board survey. There’s 27 SBCs up for grabs and all you have to do is answer a 3 minute survey. Nice.


WR-NMP37p12What does Ubuntu and turtles have in common? Nothing really except if you’re talking about the TurtleBot3. These are pretty expensive starting at $549 US all the way up to $1800 US, but if you’re heavily in to robotics, then the on-board Intel Joule and Pi3 along with LiDAR, OpenCR, RealSense and SLAM algorithms.

AWS Greengrass for Linux

WR-NMP37p13We’re starting to see a bit of a fight now between Google, Apple, and Amazon with grabbing the IoT market. I mentioned in a Weekly Roundup last year that Amazon released a preview of AWS Greengrass, but it has now been officially released.
It supports a range of boards from DragonBoard, Pi3, Artik and Advantech and handles all the messaging, caching and compute power in the AWS cloud.

HomeKit Accessory Protocol Specification

WR-NMP37p14While Apple have now officially recognized that people want to hack around and have opened up the HomeKit specification. Essentially not much has changed except you can now use HomeBridge without violating Apple’s terms and conditions.


WR-NMP37p15Another Allwinner A64 board has joined the ranks of 64bit boards. This one coming from OLinuXino, which has 1 or 2GB RAM, SD slot, 4 or 16GB eMMC, HDMI, USB2.0, all the usual GPIO options, GbE with optional WiFi module and power from DC jack, or LiPo. Coming in at around 50 euros it’s a decent board.


WR-NMP37p16CompuLab have a new NXP MX7 SoM with a unique feature. It has a flexible cable connecting two boards that can be folded on top of each other. Great for reduced space requirements. Contains the dual core Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 cores, 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, all running off a 3.2 to 4.5 volt Li-Ion battery. This thing is tiny at 30 by 27 by 8 mm.


WR-NMP37p17Remember the Pine64? Well the Pine64 guys have now come out with a new SBC based on the Rockchip RK3328 with 1 to 4GB DDR3 RAM, eMMC socket, SD slot, 128Mb flash, USB2.0 and USB3.0 ports, GbE and a standard 40 pin GPIO header, and an additional 22 pin GPIOs all in the same Pi form factor, but with a few differences that shouldn’t affect putting this thing in a Pi case.
Also, power is from a DC jack which is a good move.


WR-NMP37p18Here’s another Rockchip based board. This one based on the RK3399, which is a dual core Cortex-A72 and quad core Cortex-A53. It also has 4GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB eMMC flash, SD, USB2.0, USB3.0, 2 USB-C GbE, HDMI, eDP and PCIe. This is the DIMM board which fits into the main board. No indication of pricing, but it’ll probably be expensive.

Huawei source code Kirin960

WR-NMP37p19One of the issues with newer SoCs is the writing of software that supports them. In a good move by Huawei, they have released the kernel sources for their Mate 9 smart phone. Why is is this great? The Mate 9 runs the Kiren 960 SoC which means development on boards such as the HiKey960 will ramp up significantly.


WR-NMP37p20OpenH have a few new 4G modules. The Pulsar is a an Arduino shield with 4G LTE, GPS, on-board antenna, Bluetooth, NFC and also a SAMD21 MCU. Not only can you use it on an Arduino, but you can mount a Pi Zero onto it. Even supports 4G OTA re-programming.


WR-NMP37p21Then there’s the Quasar, which is the same module, but designed for Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone.