ENTRIES TAGGED "arduino"

Supercomputing on the cheap with Parallella

Blowing open the doors to low-power, on-demand supercomputing

Parallella topview

Packing impressive supercomputing power inside a small credit card-sized board running Ubuntu, Adapteva‘s $99 ARM-based Parallella system includes the unique Ephiphany numerical accelerator that promises to unleash industrial strength parallel processing on the desktop at a rock-bottom price. The Massachusetts-based startup recently ran a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign and gained widespread attention only to run into a few roadblocks along the way. Now, with their setbacks behind them, Adapteva is slated to deliver its first units mid-December 2013, with volume shipping in the following months.

What makes the Parallella board so exciting is that it breaks new ground: imagine an Open Source Hardware board, powered by just a few Watts of juice, delivering 90 GFLOPS of number crunching. Combine this with the possibility of clustering multiple boards, and suddenly the picture of an exceedingly affordable desktop supercomputer emerges.

This review looks in-depth at a pre-release prototype board (so-called Generation Zero, a development run of 50 units), giving you a pretty complete overview of what the finished board will look like.

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Upward Mobility: The Forgotten Mobile Platforms

They may not be as pretty, but low cost embedded computing is a big thing

When thinking about the mobile development space, it’s easy to make the mistake of restricting it to smartphones. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the stragglers dominate the news, and seeing someone typing away at a handset has become ubiquitous. But below the surface, there’s another set of mobile platforms that tend to get ignored, outside the DIY community, but are revolutionizing the world in their own way.

Traditionally, embedded computing was restricted to high-volume commercial applications (e.g., smart refrigerators and automobile control systems.) The intrepid hackers dabbled, but the amount of hardware knowledge required to get a CPU, memory and I/O logic onto a breadboard prevented any but the most experienced from implementing their own low-power embedded creations.

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Hot Swap Devices and Increase Arduino Interface Options with I2C

Don't be afraid of the bus

After a short period of time, beginners working with the Arduino development boards often find themselves wanting to work with a greater range of input or sensor devices—such as real-time clocks, temperature sensors, or digital potentiometers.

However each of these can often require connection by one of the two digital data buses, known as SPI and I2C. After searching around the Internet, inexperienced users may become confused about the bus type and how to send and receive data with them, then give up.

This is a shame as such interfaces are quite simple to use and can be easily understood with the right explanation. For example let’s consider the I2C bus. It’s a simple serial data link that allows a master device (such as the Arduino) to communicate with one or more slave devices (such as port expanders, temperature sensors, EEPROMs, real-time clocks, and more).
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A First Slice of Raspberry Pi

Tips on Getting Started with Simon Monk

Simon Monk @simonmonk2 is a full-time author who focuses his writing talents on open source hardware topics. He is currently writing the Raspberry Pi Cookbook which will be available in early release in July and in final release in the fall. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Simon and we talked about one of the coolest things in open source hardware today, the Raspberry Pi.

Key highlights include:

  • Invest in a Raspberry Pi starter kit [Discussed at 0:29]
  • Python is probably the best bet for beginners [Discussed at 1:25]
  • Raspberry Pi and Arduino are both great but really excel in different ways [Discussed at 3:54]
  • How about when Raspberry Pi and Arduino are used together? [Discussed at 5:14]
  • Save time and avoid common mistakes like hardware compatibility issues [Discussed at 7:23]
  • Overclocking helps performance [Discussed at 8:47]

You can view the full interview here:

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Sensors and Arduino: How to glue them together

Author Federico Lucifredi on developing sensor-enabled Arduino sketches.

Federico Lucifredi (@federico_II) is the maintainer of man(1) and also the author of the upcoming book, Sensor Interfaces for Arduino. We had a chance to sit down recently and talk about how to connect sensors to microcontrollers (in particular Arduino).

Given how many sensors there are in the wild, there’s a lot to say about sensors. Some of the key points from the full video are:

  • When to look for a library to support your sensor and when to just write a few lines of code to read it. [Discussed at the 3:00 mark]
  • Thinking about sensors that return non-linear responses and how that might affect your code. [4:40]
  • Detecting a human presence on a door mat. [6:00]
  • Using a Geiger counter to measure radiation and generate random numbers. [8:14]
  • Where to look for docs and code when you start working with an unfamiliar sensor. [11:30]

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Developer Week in Review: The new iPad and the big meh

Developer Week in Review: The new iPad and the big meh

It's iPad evolution rather than revolution, increasing patent penalties for Android, and Raspberry Pi is served.

Apple unveils pretty much what it was expected to unveil, and decides to treat Android as a cash cow rather than an enemy. Meanwhile, the Raspberry Pi is finally out, so let the hacking begin.

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Developer Week in Review: Adobe sends Flex to Apache

Developer Week in Review: Adobe sends Flex to Apache

Flex goes FLOSS, some cheap Pi, and brain on a chip.

Adobe just gave away Flex, a new single-board computer might dethrone Arduino as the tool of choice for makers, and researchers bring us a step closer to our robotic overlords.

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Hardware hacking heaven

Hardware hacking heaven

OSCON's hardware track looks at ways to hack the world around you.

Hacking isn't just for software anymore. A full range of open source hardware hacks — everything from Arduino to parallel programming to small-form computing — will be discussed at OSCON this year. With the current slate of tools, it's never been easier to write code that runs on low-power, small-format devices. And many of these tools are familiar to conventional software developers.

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