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Arduino has announced a new line of Nano boards that will begin shipping next month. From the design, to the chips and features on the board, to the price, there’s a lot that is new here. I stopped by their booth at Maker Faire Bay Area for a look at the hardware.

Immediately noticeable is the new design for the pins on either side of the board, which has transitioned from through-hole to a castellated through-hole hybrid. The boards can be ordered with or without pin headers soldered in place. If you get them without, you can reflow these nano boards as modules on a larger PCB design. Recommended footprints are not yet available but I’m told they will be published soon.

The most basic model in this lineup is the “Nano Every”, a 5V board with the ATmega4809 at its center. This brings 48 KB of flash and 6 KB of RAM to the party, running at 20 Mhz. A really nice touch is the inclusion of power regulation that turns up to 21 V of input into the regulated 5 V for the chip, with the added bonus of sourcing up to 1 A for external components through the 5 V pin on one of the headers. For the hackers out there, you can choose to inject your unregulated power through the VIN line, or the USB header.

All of this is a really nice upgrade to the previously available Nano design, with the $9.90 price tag making it a really desirable board for your 8-bit microcontroller needs. The one critique that comes to my mind is that the pins are labeled nicely on the bottom silk screen, but I would also have liked to see these labels on the top layer. When used in a breadboard, or soldered to another PCB, pin labels will be hidden.

The rest of the Nano family center around more powerful chips. As mentioned above, the “Nano Every” board runs an 8-bit chip at 5 V, but the three different “Nano 33” boards have 32-bit chips running at 3.3 V. There’s an “IoT” version with an Arm Cortex-M0+ SAMD21 processor, 6-axis IMU, plus a uBlox NINA-W10 modules which is an ESP32-based board for WiFi, Bluetooth, and cryptography features. MSRP on this board is $18.

The “Nano 33 BLE” and “Nano 33 BLE Sense” boards both do away with the SAMD21 chip and utilize the Nordic nRF52480 which is part of the uBlox NINA-B306 modules and provide Bluetooth connectivity. At $19, the BLE flavor gets you a 9-axis accelerometer. For an additional ten bucks, the “BLE Sense” adds a slew of sensors: pressure, humidity, digital proximity, ambient light, gesture sensor, and a microphone. Pre-orders for these two are slated to begin shipping this July.

The new Arduino Nano designs bring a lot of power to a small footprint. I have to wonder if Arduino is looking to compete with ESP32 modules. The castellated edges on ESP32 modules have allowed them to pop up in all kinds of development boards and other products. The new Nano design continues the legacy of Arduino boards being prototype friendly, but adds the ability to include the boards in a product design based on surface mount assembly.

The cost of getting a piece of hardware into space is now cheaper than ever, thanks in no small part to the rapid progress that’s been made by commercial launch providers such as SpaceX. In the near future, as more low-cost providers come online, it should get even cheaper. Within a few years, we could be seeing per kilogram costs to low Earth orbit that are 1/10th what they were on the Space Shuttle. To be sure, this is a very exciting time to be in the business of designing and building spacecraft.

But no matter how cheap launches to orbit get, it’ll never be cheaper than simply emailing some source code up to the International Space Station (ISS). With that in mind, there are several programs which offer students the closest thing to booking passage on a Falcon 9: the chance to develop software that can be run aboard the Station. At the 2018 World Maker Faire in New York we got a chance to get up close and personal with functional replicas of the hardware that’s already on orbit, known in space parlance as “ground units”.

On display was a replica of one of the SPHERES free-flying satellites that have been on the ISS since 2006. They are roughly the size of a soccer ball and utilize CO2 thrusters and ultrasonic sensors to move around inside of the Station. Designed by MIT as a way to study spaceflight techniques such as docking and navigation without the expense and risk of using a full scale vehicle, the SPHERES satellites are perhaps the only operational spacecraft to have never been exposed to space itself.

MIT now runs the annual “Zero Robotics” competition, which tasks middle and high school students with solving a specific challenge using the SPHERES satellites. Competitors run their programs on simulators until the finals, which are conducted using the real hardware on the ISS and live-streamed to schools.

We also saw hardware from “Quest for Space”, which is a company offering curricula for elementary through high school students which include not only the ground units, but training and technical support when and if the school decides to send the code to the matching hardware on the Station. For an additional fee, they will even work with the school to design, launch, and recover a custom hardware experiment.

Their standard hardware is based on off-the-shelf platforms such as Arduino and LEGO Mindstorms EV3, which makes for an easy transition for school’s existing STEM programs. The current hardware in orbit is setup for experiments dealing with heat absorption, humidity, and convection, but “Quest for Space” notes they change out the hardware every two years to provide different experiment opportunities.

Projects such as these, along with previous efforts such as the ArduSat, offer a unique way for the masses to connect with space in ways which would have been unthinkable before the turn of the 21st century. It’s still up for debate if anyone reading Hackaday in 2018 will personally get a chance to slip Earth’s surly bonds, but at least you can rest easy knowing your software bugs can hitch a ride off the planet.

I caught up with Federico Musto, President and CEO of Arduino SRL, at the 2016 Bay Area Maker Faire. Their company is showing off several new boards being prepared for release as early as next month. In partnership with Nordic Semi and ST Microelectronics they have put together some very powerful offerings which we discuss in the video below.

arduino-primo-core-alicepad-star-otto-lcdThe new boards are called Arduino Primo, Arduino Core, Arduino Alicepad, and Arduino Otto.

The first up is the Primo, a board built to adhere to the UNO form factor. This one is packing an interesting punch. The main micro is not an Atmel chip, but a Nordic nRF52832 ARM Cortex-M4F chip. Besides being a significantly fast CPU with floating-point support, the Nordic IC also has built-in Bluetooth LE and NFC capabilities, and the board has a PCB antenna built in.

On an UNO this is where the silicon would end. But on the Primo you get two more controllers: an ESP8266 and an STM32F103. The former is obvious, it brings WiFi to the party (including over-the-air programming). The STM32 chip is there to provide peripheral control and debugging. Debugging is an interesting development and is hard to come by in the Arduino-sphere. This will use the OpenOCD standard, with platformio.org as the recommended GUI.

The same nRF52 microcontroller is present on the Arduino Core and the Alicepad, which are targeted at wearable electronics. The circular form factor of the Alicepad mimics the familiar sewable form of the Lilypad.

Arduino Star Otto Arduino Star LCD

Arduino’s other offerings are where the horsepower really gets crazy. The Otto board boasts a gigantic STM32F469: a 169-pin ARM Cortex-M4F clocked at 180 MHz. The chip has a ridiculous assortment of built-in peripherals, and you’re not likely to run out of either pins or CPU cycles. It’s also got a hardware graphics accelerator, so it’s no surprise to find that the Otto has a DSI-IF connector on the back that is designed to plug into the LCD screen also being demonstrated at the event: a capacitive touch 480×800 display. The Otto also includes an ESP8266 to provide WiFi (why not, right?).

There are a few question marks in my mind on this one. First off, the Otto and the LCD have a product-family designator of “Star” which will be assigned to all the boards that feature the STM controllers. This seems a bit confusing (Star Otto, Star LCD, etc) but I guess they want to differentiate them from the “normal” Arduini. But are these devices becoming too complex to bear the Arduino name? Maybe, but the UNO is always going to be there for you and the new boards give you access to newer and more powerful features. Whether or not this complexity can be easily harnessed will depend on the software libraries and the IDE. After all, I think Donald Papp made a great point earlier in the week about the value of Arduino comfort in custom electronic work.

The Lawsuits

Finally, I asked Federico if there is any news about the Arduino versus Arduino trademark litigation. He spoke with us almost a year ago on the topic, but he had no new information for us at this point. (The US court case may be ruled on as early as July of this year, so there’s probably not much he could say, but I had to try.)

Federico spoke a little bit about the conflict between the two Arduinos, and said that it was brewing inside the company long before he got there. And it does appear that both companies calling themselves Arduino are trying to outdo each other with new boards and new initiatives, and going in different directions. If there is a bright side, it’s that this competition may end up building us better hardware than a single company would, because both are making bets on what will put them out ahead of the game.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons, Interviews
Mag
18

Adafruit And The Arduinos At Maker Faire

adafruit, arduino, arduino hacks, cons, Maker Faire, Maker Faire Bay Area, MFBA, SRL, Yun, Yun mini Commenti disabilitati su Adafruit And The Arduinos At Maker Faire 

The apparent lull on the Arduino front the last few weeks was just the calm before the storm that is the Bay Area Maker Faire (BAMF). Both companies claiming the Arduino name were there over the weekend, with news and new products in tow. Ironically, you could see from one booth straight over to the other. Small world.

Perhaps the biggest news from Arduino LLC is that hacker-friendly Adafruit is now going to be making officially-licensed boards in the US. Competing with this news, Arduino SRL brought its new boards, including the Yun Mini and ARM-powered Arduino M0. And [Massimo Banzi] and Arduino LLC seem to be taking an end-run around the Arduino SRL trademark by announcing the “Genuino” brand for European production. For all the details, read on!

The Adafruit Connection

As announced by [Massimo] in his “State of the Arduino” keynote speech at the BAMF, Arduino is licensing Adafruit to produce a range of the “most-requested” Arduino boards at their factory in New York. So those of you looking to support Arduino LLC with your purchases also get to help line [Ladyada]’s pockets at the same time. That’s a big win in our book.

CFJ0V-OUMAA4IH_
Photo: Atmel

It’s not a complete surprise that Adafruit should get tapped as a US fab for Arduino.cc. They’ve been selling the boards and producing copious Arduino-related tutorials since their beginnings in 2005. More recently, Adafruit partnered with Arduino LLC to create the Gemma board, which is basically an ATTiny85-based Arduino-a-like in a tiny round, wearable-friendly board. (If you’re familiar with the Adafruit lineup, it’s essentially a Trinket in the round format of a LilyPad Arduino.)

Indeed, after the deal is done and the dust has settled, it’s a bit surprising to us that this hasn’t happened earlier, what with both Adafruit and Sparkfun producing licensed boards and Arduino LLC looking for new manufacturers. Anyway, good job Adafruit and Arduino (LLC)!

(New) Hardware from Arduino SRL

Arduino SRL had its Yun Mini, which is essentially a smaller version of the Yun — a mashup of an Arduino Leonardo with an OpenWRT-capable router chipset. We’ve reported on these previously but it’s fun to see them in the flesh.

yun_m0_images

The M0 is interesting. Before the troubles began, Arduino designed an ARM-M0+ based board with Atmel. Now Arduino LLC has it listed on their website as the Arduino Zero, but still hasn’t got any for sale yet. Arduino SRL has the boards on their website as the Arduino Zero Pro, with a different name, but is now touting this version as the “M0 Pro”. What’s in a name? Not much. The circuit layouts and parts appear identical.

The Portal Battle

Both of the Arduino companies are working on getting your Arduino development into “the cloud”. (Conscience compels us to note that “the cloud” is actually just other people’s computers.) Anyway, this essentially means new web-based and browser-based versions of the IDE that tie into web services. Interestingly enough, the two companies have different takes on what that entails.

According to their Maker Faire press release, Arduino SRL will be launching a web portal for makers to “promote and distribute their products” and share code and ideas. Located at my.arduino.org (which currently seems to be password-access only), the idea seems to be to create a mini-Tindie for Arduino-based products. This couples with their “Arduino IDE-alpha”, a JavaScript-based IDE that will run in the browser.

Blogpost_f9Meanwhile, Arduino LLC displayed previously announced their alternative development platform, Arduino Create. Arduino Create lets you write, compile and upload sketches “directly from the browser with the Arduino Web Editor”, and store your code in the “Arduino Cloud”. Arduino Create looks slick: certainly a lot better than the homely Java IDE that we’re all used to. It’s too early to tell what this “cloud” is all about, but it looks like it will include code sharing, schematic and wiring hookup storage, and easy sharing among users.

We already use blogs, Hackaday.io (shameless plug!), Github, and other “cloud” services to store our projects and code, so we’re not entirely sure what either of these portal offerings will bring to the table. It’s 2015, is anyone still hurting for project hosting space on the web?

Cynically, we note that both of these companies are in a battle to “own” the Arduino community and that getting people to host code and projects on their servers is an obvious strategy, and providing a web-based IDE to facilitate this capture is the tactic.

And before we leave “the cloud”, we should note that both Arduinos are late to the game. codebender has been around and programming Arduinos on the web since 2012.

New Names

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Photo: Making Society

Finally, as if it weren’t bad enough with Arduino LLC and Arduino SRL, [Massimo Banzi] also announced that licensed boards for the European market will be sold under the new “Genuino”.

Actually, this is a pretty cagey maneuver, because it side-steps the European trademark issues (which [Massimo] referred to as “the bullsh*t” in his talk) and is a cute name to boot. “Genuine”, get it?

Our take? As [Massimo] almost said in this video interview with Make, “a rose by any name would smell as sweet.” If Arduino LLC loses the trademark lawsuit in Italy, they’ll not be allowed to sell boards using the “Arduino” name. The best way to limit the damage in the future is to make the switch now, while everyone is watching, and give the market time to adapt.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons
Mar
19

SXSW Create: Sparkfun Gives Kids Awesome Badges to Hack

arduino hacks, badge, badge hacking, cons, LED matrix, sparkfun, sxsw, sxsw create, wearable hacks Commenti disabilitati su SXSW Create: Sparkfun Gives Kids Awesome Badges to Hack 

By far the most desirable booth for the crowds at SXSW Create was the Sparkfun quadrant. We call it a quadrant because they had a huge footprint approaching 1/4 the tented area, but it was well used. They brought a number of staff down to Austin in order to give away a legit electronic badge project they call BadgerHack.

sxsw-sparkfun-badgerhack-kit-thumbWe love badge hacking. LOVE IT! But South-by isn’t purely a hardware conference so the badges aren’t made of PCBs (for shame). Add to that, free entry to Create scores you a wristband but no badge.

This is the answer to that, a badge giveaway and build-off aimed at kids but cool enough to make me feel only slightly awful for accepting one when I pretty much knew they were going to run out before the final day was done.

The USB stick PCB is, as you guessed it, an Arduino compatible loaded up with an FTDI chip and an ATmega328p which they call the BadgerStick. Accompanying this is a multiplexed 8×7 LED matrix board. Solder the three pin headers and the battery holder leads, connect to the plastic badge using the supplied double-stick tape, and you have a badge that scrolls a message in LEDs.

DSC_0508What an awesome giveaway. I really like it that they didn’t cut corners here. First off, the kids will value the badge much more because they had to actually assemble it rather than just being handed a finished widget. Secondly, there is the USB to serial chip and USB footprint that means they can reprogram it without any extra equipment. And an LED matrix… come on that’s just a gateway drug to learning Wiring. Bravo Sparkfun and Atmel for going this route with your marketing bucks.

The badge activity rounded out with some hardware interfacing. There’s a 3-pin socket that attendees could plug into 4 different stations around the booth. Once done they received a coupon code for Sparkfun that scrolls whenever the badge is booted up. For some at-home fun, the writeup (linked at the top) for the BadgerHack firmware is quite good. It offers advice on changing what is displayed on the badge and outlines how to build a game of Breakout with just a bit of added hardware.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons, wearable hacks
Ott
28

SAINTCON Badge (Badge Hacking for Mortals)

arduino hacks, badge, Beginner, cons, crypto, puzzle, saintcon Commenti disabilitati su SAINTCON Badge (Badge Hacking for Mortals) 

saintcon-badge

[Josh] attended his first SAINTCON this weekend before last and had a great time participating in the badge hacking challenge.

The 2014 SAINTCON is only the second time that the conference has been open to the public. They give out conference badges which are just an unpopulated circuit board. This makes a lot of sense if you figure the number of people who actually hack their badges at conferences is fairly low. So he headed off to the hardware hacking village to solder on the components by hand — it’s an Arduino clone.

This is merely the start of the puzzle. We really like that the published badge resources include a crash course on how to read a schematic. The faq also attests that the staff won’t solder it for you and to get your microcontroller you have to trade in your security screw (nice touch). Once up and running you need to pull up the terminal on the chip and solve the puzzles in the firmware’s menu system. This continues with added hardware for each round: an IR receiver, thermistor, EEPROM, great stuff if you’re new to microcontrollers.

[Josh] mentions that this is nothing compared to the DEFCON badge. Badge hacking at DEFCON is **HARD**; and that’s good. It’s in the top-tier of security conferences and people who start the badge-solving journey expect the challenge. But if you’re not ready for that level of puzzle, DEFCON does have other activities like Darknet. That is somewhere in the same ballpark as the SAINTCON badge — much more friendly to those just beginning to developing their crypto and hardware hacking prowess. After all, everyone’s a beginner at some point. If that’s you quit making excuses and dig into something fun like this!


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons
Lug
29

2013 Open Hardware Summit badge includes ePaper display

arduino hacks, badge, cons, epaper Commenti disabilitati su 2013 Open Hardware Summit badge includes ePaper display 

open-hardware-summit-epaper-badge

Take a look at this sexy piece for open hardware. It’s what you’ll be wearing around your neck at the Open Hardware Summit this year. WyoLum teamed up with Repaper for the display and Seeed Studios for the boards.

It’s called the BADGEr and it’s both an Arduino and and Arduino shield. There are several different power options; coin-cell, microUSB, unpopulated barrel jack, or the lanyard terminals if you want to wear the power supply around your neck. You can see the five momentary push buttons see above, but on the back you’ll find the microSD card slot along with a power switch for preserving the coin cell.

Check out the video below for a quick look. In addition to acting as your credentials the conference schedule comes preloaded. And of course, this is an Open Source design so you can dig through schematic, board artwork, and code at the page linked above. Oh, and the first hack has already been pulled off. Here’s the badge reading Crime and Punishment.

Speaking of conference badges, DEF CON starts this week. Hackaday writer [Eric Evenchick] will be there and we hope he has a chance to look in on some of the badge hacking at the event.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons


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