Electronica 2018 highlights – AI, Smart Solutions, Communication and Security

electronica2018

Electronica in Munich trade fair is the most important meeting place for the electronics industry. Last week more than 3000 exhibitors and 80 000 visitors met together .

What was very visible this years is that beside the traditional big number of German companies the second biggest by number of companies exhibitor was China. There were both big:

cnbig

 

and small companies:

cnsmall

Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Smart solutions, Connectivity and security were dominating topics among the exhibitors.

LoRa and NB-IoT solutions were present on almost every fifth booth 🙂

Open Source / Free Software for Effective Industry 4.0 Meetup by Nexedi GmbH and Fraunhofer IAO on November 12th, 2018 in Stuttgart with Amarisoft, Linutronix, Olimex and Télécom ParisTech

Smart-Factory

On 12th of November in Stuttgart at Fraunhofer IAO (Nobelstraße 12, 70569 Stuttgart, GERMANY) will be held “Open Source / Free Software for Effective Industry 4.0 Meetup”  organized by Nexedi GmbH and hosted by Fraunhofer IAO.

Olimex will present there Open Hardware solutions for Industrial Automation.

 

 

A20-OLinuXino-LIME Revision H is now in stock. The OSHW Linux computer now support eMMC and can be produced with industrial grade temperature -40+85C

Ax0-OLinuXino-LIME-1.jpg

A20-OLinuXino-LIME now is at revision H. What is new?

  • We now support eMMC Flash
  • Ethernet PHY is changed from Realtek to Micrel/Microchip as latter can be purchased in both commercial and industrial grade
  • SPI Flash with hardware write protect is supported which allow board to boot from net.
  • Industrial version of LIME is available with T2 Allwinner with all components -40+85C operating temperature
  • EEPROM now contain unique MAC address , serial number and configuration info

We decided to drop the odd shape which was made specially to fit LIME in the Hammond plastic box, instead it range of Metal Boxes is available.

Latest image supports all new feature.

Allwinner released T2 SOC working -40+85C targeting automotive entertainment, it’s re-branded A20 with expanded operating temperature

T2

Allwinner released recently their T2 SOC targeting automotive entertainment panels.
Looking at the specs we saw that it suspiciously looks like A20.

t2-blk

This is not the first time Allwinner releases their old silicons under new names like A13-R8, A33-R16, R40-T3 etc.  I personally find this quite confusing.

We got some T2 samples and now assembly A20-OLinuXino-LIME, A20-OLinuXino-LIME2, A20-OLinuXino-MICRO and A20-SOM with them to test for hardware and software compatibility.
Once we are sure everything works OK will release T2-OLinuXino boards which will be with industrial temperature grade -40+85C for all components on the boards.

T2-abs

To this moment all our A20-XXX-IND boards has components for or exceeding -45+85C, but A20 SOC was specified -20+70C.

This is FOSDEM 2018

fosdem1

Last weekend in ULB (University Libre of Bruxelles) took place the biggest Open Source event in Europe – FOSDEM.

With 678 talks, split in 55 devrooms this is something every open source enthusiast waits whole year.

It’s amazing how the organizers make such event possible, between 8 and 10 000 people all around the world come together at one place. If you want to meet some open source project, Linux kernel or Linux distribution maintainer there is great chance to meet him/her there.

FOSDEM usually is made in the weekend Saturday and Sunday, but traditionally starts with Friday evening welcome beer party at Delirium cafe. Do not be fooled by the name nobody go there to drink coffee.

fosdem-delirium

Delirium usually can’t hold all people so the streets around it looks like this:

street

Every year this event become bigger and bigger. I was always wondering how they manage to keep their WiFi infrastructure in order with so many people attending. This year for the very first time the WiFi was impossible to connect to, so I guess we reach the infrastructure capacity 🙂

In Saturday the talks started, needless to say for me most interesting was the CAD and Open Hardware devroom.

One of the most anticipated talk there was about KiCad 5 new features.

Wayne Stambaugh the project manager started his talk with red T-shirt from Digikey and announced that Digikey made the single most significant donation to KiCad team just few days before the conference. So he said them “thank you” by presenting his talk wearing their red T-shirt.

wayne

It was very interesting to hear that Wayne got feedback from popular PCB prototype providers, that about half of PCB projects now they receive for prototyping production are made with KiCad! It’s amazing to see the progress KiCad made for the last 4 years!

I personally like more the T-shirt Wayne was wearing when he closed his talk 😉 KiCad team really like the complex boards we design with their product and this was very kind gesture.

wayne2

Another interesting talk was Introduction to LibrePCB . This is the first time I hear about this project and it looks itneresting. The author is obviously capable young man and thinkered a lot about how to make component libraries more easy to use, but while I was watching the talk I was wondering (as many others) why the author just do not join KiCad, which is already well established project and leading as features and completeness. We all know that KiCad team is very small and more people joining the project will make much more sense than to re-inventing the hot water, because you do not like some feature in this popular project. Well this is the open source 🙂 and everyone is free to scratch his own itch, but I would love to see Urban Bruhin helping KiCad to become better instead to duplicate the work creating similar product alone.

Jesús Arroyo Torrens presented Icestudio – graphical way to program FPGAs. I would say this is quite entertaining and easy start for beginners with no previous knowledge about electronics.

main

Juan Gonzalez-Gomez (Obijuan) upgraded this talk with very entertaining presentation about what he did with Icestudio and small funny blocks he created. He is using his daughter as beta tester. I recommend you to watch this talk when the video is available.

Juan and Jesus are part of Spanish community working with FPGAs. You can see more about what they do on this site FPGAwars.

Staf Verhaegen shared his findings about is it possible today to implement ASIC design with open source tools. Very interesting topic, let’s hope the time Makers and small companies will be able to make their own chips with Open source tools is approaching.

My talk was about current TERES laptop status and the experience we got during the development with KiCad. Using FOSS tool like KiCad is great to make OSHW, but if you want to use latest features and the daily builds, they are available only via ppa repository for Ubuntu. This means if you use other distribution you have to build from sources every day. Windows daily builds are not available at all. This confuses many beginners who can’t manage to open our files when they want to study them as they use old builds (official Ubintu repository KiCad version is probably one year old, same for Windows version). My slides are now uploaded at Slideshare.

Other devroom talks I found interesting:

Exploiting modern microarchitectures Meltdown, Spectre, and other hardware attacks 

Programming UEFI for dummies 

Improving Linux Laptop Battery Life

Kodi and Embedded Linux

Linux as an SPI Slave

How to keep your embedded Linux up and running

Drive your NAND within Linux

Image capture on embedded linux systems 

New GPIO interface for linux user space 

It was nice to see three four other talks at FOSDEM by Bulgarian speakers!

Automating Your Lights with Open Source 
Turning On the Lights with Home Assistant and MQTT
Testing Red Hat Enterprise Linux the Microsoft way 

Current meta of video compression and probable futures

Overall FOSDEM is must see event for anyone who is interested in FOSS/OSHW.

Bruxelles is excellent location and offers lot to see, both Wizzair and Ryanair offer low cost flights to this destination and I don’t know where else you can drink beer from half meter glass (not half litter but half meter!) so looking forward to see you next year there!

half-meter

 

OLinuXino EEPROM content – one step ahead to single Linux image for all A20 boards

LCD10-METAL-FRAME-1

We are struggling for some time now to make one single image which to work on all A20 boards we have.

Our problem is that we have more than 20 different A20 boards/revisions/ etc and every time we have to add or improve something we have to generate and test enormous amount of images.

It’s not so easy task as this image should run on different boards with differnt memory speed etc settings, different ports connections etc.

To achieve one single image which to boot to all A20 boards our first step is to add some content in the EEPROM which all OLinuXino has.

The EEPROM now contain this info: Header, ID, Revision, Serial number, Configuration, Reserved area for future (MAC etc), Checkcum.

The new image we work on now (based on Armbian with mainline kernel) will automatically recognize the board from the EEPROM content and run.

What will happen if no valid EEPROM content is read (i.e. old boards), there is tool which to be used to write EEPROM content based on board revision.

We are going to release this image soon.

 

A13-SOM-512 Android image for 4.3″ LCD with touchscreen released

A13-4.3-android

We got request from customer for Android image which supports 4.3″ LCD with touchscreen. He did his development with Beagle Bone, but wanted to optimize the cost for production so A13-SOM512 price was very attractive, but default Allwinner Android image although allow you to define smaller LCD resolutions has no working touchscreen calibration for small LCDs, also default Android screen was not set well and status bar was taking big portion of the screen.

Here is the newly released SD-card image for A13-SOM512 Android with 4.3″ LCD with touchscreen display.

A13-som-android

Now you can develop your embedded Andoid application on low cost board with small LCD.