Weekly Roundup #55: New Maker Products // News

The Weekly Roundup of New Maker Products returns after a bit of a hiatus and a lot has happened since my last one. In particular, something that will completely change the electronics Maker community.


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Kickstarter

There’s quite a few Kickstarter campaigns that have finished since my last Roundup, but I won’t mention them in this video. Otherwise you’ll be disappointed. So, on to the new stuff…

CrowPi

WR-NMP55p1The CrowPi is a STEM education thingy. There’s a number of these around, but this is the first stab at a Kickstarter campaign by Elecrow. It’s a kit based on the humble Pi and has buttons, LEDs, motors, pots and sensors all in a snazzy portable case. They also have a bunch of lessons you can follow.

UDOO BOLT

WR-NMP55p2UDOO is upping the ante with the next revision of their SBC called the Bolt.
The starting price tag of US$229 may seem steep, but for that you are getting a dual-core 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen SoC with a Radeon Vega 3 graphics, 32G eMMC and a DDR4 RAM slot. So, you’ll have to buy your own RAM.
They also have other early bird levels that give you 4G and 8G DDR4 RAM and a WiFi and Bluetooth module.
There’s also another model that gives you Vega 8 graphics and a quad-core 3.6GHz SoC.
All the boards have three M.2 key slots, SATA 3.0, and surprisingly an ATmega32U4 with a standard 26 GPIO Arduino header and GPIO expander with an additional 10 GPIOs, Grove ports, GbE, USB Type C, dual HDMI 2.0, dual SODIMM RAM slot, 2 USB 3.1, and powered from a 19v DC supply.
This SBC is a real powerhouse – you can drive 4 displays at 4k/60Hz resolution, with SATA and GbE.
The addition of the ATmega almost seems an after-thought and I’m surprised they didn’t use a SAMD21 or SAMD51 instead as you get more features for the same price as the ATmega.
It remains to be seen if the ATmega has any power control over the SoC.

Pirl Charger

WR-NMP55p3Coming down from that high we have the Pirl charger, which I tested in my last mailbag. This is a USB charger with four independent ports giving you 2.7A per port. It’s a pretty decent charger with over-load, over-current, over-temperature and short circuit protection.
If you want to see what I think of it, check out my mailbag.

Digirule2

WR-NMP55p4Do you remember the Altair 8800? This was the first commercial electronics computer kit running off the 8080 CPU and was really the first SBC.
If you want to relive those 70s glory days, then you can pick up the DigiRule2. It simulates the Altair programming interface using a PIC MCU, with address and data LEDs, program load, save and run buttons. They have a handy Excel spreadsheet that compiles your assembler into machine code for you, so you can enter it into the ruler.
Pretty cool… oh and it’s also a ruler… I think.

Up AI Edge

WR-NMP55p5The Up guys are back at it again with the AI Edge Kickstarter. This campaign isn’t just for one board, but a whole stack of boards and kits, some of which were launched back in February.
They have the AI Core M2 card, which runs two Intel Movidius VPUs and 512M RAM.
Then there’s the Vision Plus board, which runs 3 Intel Movidious VPUs and 512M RAM, GbE, two USB 3.0 ports and miniPCIe expansion.
Then the Net Plus, which provides 4 GbE ports, mPCIe, SATA and USB3.0.
Then they have an Up Squared AI vision dev kit, with an Up Squared E3950 SoC, 1080p camera, AI Core M2 card, enclosure and power.
Most of the pledges aren’t cheap, but you’re getting some serious AI grunt.


CrowdSupply

μArt

WR-NMP55p6If you’ve ever had to work with UARTs, then you’ll know that your mileage can vary a lot with them.
Over at Crowd Supply, the uArt looks to address a lot of the issues you can get with USB to UART bridges. It works off a wide voltage range of 1.8 to 5.4v with auto-sensing,
has all the UART handshake lines with pullups on all inputs,
reverse polarity, over-current, ESD and filtering protection,
full galvanic isolation,
and up to 3MBps transfer rate. This is definitely one for your toolbox.

AIR-T

WR-NMP55p7The AIR-T is another Software Defined Radio, but is a whole lot more beefier than others I’ve seen around. It’s more of an SBC than an SDR as it has an Nvidia Jetson TX2 module, Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA, and an Analog Devices MIMO transceiver.
Capable of handling up to 250MHz on two Tx channels and 100MHz on 2 Rx channels.
If you’re a radiohead, then this one would interest you.

SPIDriver

WR-NMP55p8The SPIDriver is a small board that allows you to debug SPI signal lines between any device and USB.
Since it’s a debug device it can only hit 500Kbps on the SPI bus, but it allows complete control using an Open Source application. So you can read and write to SPI flash, or LCD screens. There’s also libraries for Python and C if you really want to test out your code.

LiFePO4wered

WR-NMP55p9LiPo batteries have a lot of inherent problems. They are fairly unstable storage devices that don’t like being either fully discharged or fully charged and don’t have a huge amount of charge cycles.
LiFePo4 batteries, on the other hand, address all these issues.
Here’s a CrowdSupply campaign for a LiFePo4 battery charger for your Pi. Capable of handling standard 18650 or 14500 batteries and has all the usual protection circuitry that you’d expect in a reasonable charger as well as full control over the unit from the Pi.

NeTV2

WR-NMP55p10Bunny Huang is back on CrowdSupply with a video development board aiming squarely at the DMCA. It’s an FPGA based board that allows video processing applications to be created without the encumbering restrictions of the DMCA. For example adding pixels to an encrypted bitstream without decrypting, or have full processing access to an unencrypted stream.
It can handle two HDMI input streams at 1080p/60Hz and output to two HDMI ports and can interface to an ordinary PC via a PCIe bus, or using a Raspberry Pi.
If you’re using a Raspberry Pi, then you can power the whole thing from a 12v DC jack.


GroupGets

Capacitive Fingerprint Recognition Module

WR-NMP55p11Over at GroupGets they have a couple of fingerprint sensors in. This one is a capacitive sensor with a 192 by 192 pixel sensor and onboard STM32 running off a 5v DC supply. Capable of storing 200 prints locally and controlled via USB.

Optical Fingerprint Recognition Module

WR-NMP55p12Then there’s this optical version, with a 258 by 202 pixel resolution running off a 3.6 to 6v DC supply.