OpenFest 2015 is 7 and 8th of November in Sofia

Screenshot from 2015-10-29 12-05-59

Next weekend in Sofia will be held the biggest event for Free/Open Source technologies in Bulgaria – OpenFest which is run every year since 2003.

Olimex is approved for talk and workshop yay!

The lecture is in Saturday at 17.00 o’clock and we will show what we have been working mainly this year:

“Physical computing and IoT with Open Source Software and Hardware”.

We will demonstrate how easy is to connect physical objects to Internet with our new ESP8266 boards, and our plug and play firmware which recognizes the UEXT modules connected to ESP8266 like: electricity metering, LED displays, Fingerprint sensors, door locks, relays, buttons. etc. We will shop how to display Twitter messages on LED matrix display, how to make door lock with fingerprint sensor, how to implement DO button for IFTTT directly with ESP8266 by secure connection with 2048bit encryption, and how to connect and switch loads and measure what energy they consume.

Specially for Open Fest we made our new WiFi enabled LED 8×8 badge. It contains ESP8266 and can be programmed to do lot of stuff, like to display all tweets with hashtag #openfest2015 or to display what are the lectures which run now and in which rooms by connecting to Open Fest program web page and extracting the necessary info.

WiFi-BADGE

Needless to say WiFi Badge is OSHW and all software project sources will be on GitHub (sorry still work on the software and can’t upload yet, we will do this early next week keeping the good developer’s traditions everything to be complete and debugged in the last minute 😉 ).

WiFi-BADGE-3

As you can see all ESP8266 GPIOs are exposed on this badge so it is good also for development board, power supply is done with single 1.5V AA battery only!

The workshop will be about SMD component soldering, we will bring some Binary Watch Kits with us and teach you how to solder your own Binary Watch. These who already have been at TuxCon do remember these watches:

binary

Looking forward to see you there 🙂

New Product: Electromagnetic Door-Lock

doorlock

DOOR-LOCK is electromagnetic door lock. It operates with 12V DC, when power is applied the door lock pin is moving inside housing, when power is released the pin is moving out by spring.

With SNS-FINGERPRINT and DOOR-LOCK you can make complete access system with logging with platform of your choice – ESP8266, Arduino or OLinuXino.

New Product: Optical Fingerprint sensor SNS-FINGERPRINT adds fingerprint recognition to your next project

SNS-FINGERPRINT

SNS-FINGERPRINT is optical fingerprint sensor which will make adding fingerprint detection and verification very simple. Inside there is DSP chip that does the image rendering, calculation, feature-finding and searching. You can teach the sensor for fingerprint images and up to 1000 images can be stored in the internal Flash memory. There’s a red LED in the lens that lights up during a photo so you know its working. In image search mode the sensor compare the current scanned image with the stored database and if images match it sens index number of the stored image which match the current scanned fingerprint.All communication is done by UART.

ESP8266 IoT firmware plug and play detects if SNS-FINGERPRINT is connected to UEXT uart so you can make wireless door access system very easy using just Javascript programming.  We also have demo in Arduino C++ and OLinuXino Python3 so you can access this sensor with any of our development boards.

 

Do button for IFTTT with ESP8266-EVB now you have endless opportunities to make receipts with the IFTTT tools

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IFTTT is a web platform that facilitates connections between other big platforms under the form of recipes giving a great degree of flexibility in creating mashups. You can interact with almost  every social platform on the web like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. For this purpose you make receipts like: If I get e-mail with picture on my Gmail account store the picture in my Dropbox and share it on Twitter, or etc.

Just a few days ago IFTTT launched a channel for makers.This was a highly awaited feature since until now it was impossible to connect prototypes to the recipes and only a few approved devices were available from large producers that were accepted in the platform. The Maker channel changes all that. It allows both making web requests to the channel to send events to other platforms from devices and from other platforms to the devices.

Constantin Craciun almost immediately add “DO” button with ESP8266-EVB and here is his tutorial.

You can see on this video how he uses ESP8266 to switch ON and OFF lamp via his phone:

Now you can think of endless apps for this DO button, like sending SMS “I’m home” to parents phones when the kid arrive from school and press the button.

Or button at the reception desk of hotel which send message to taxi company “go to hotel xxx to pickup customer”, etc. etc.

We are working on the small cloud broker for our ESP8266 IoT Firmware, and this IFTTT API will be definitely among the first implemented!

ESP8266-EVB support for JTAG development with flash load, breakpoints, disassembly, step debugging in Visual Studio C/C++

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Ivan Shcherbakov @SysProgs shared interesting article. He wrote support for ESP8266-EVB to VisualGDB Visual Studio plugin for embedded software development in C/C++.

With this plugin you can use JTAG to debug code in ESP8266, also to set breakpoints, view the disassembled code etc. This adds new level for professional developing using ESP8266.

ESP8266 has now lot of followers but they do not offer anything better

EMW3165

ESP8266 took the developers hearts for no time. To have WIFI stack and processor resources in tiny chip with only 4 external components necessary to operate was great success story by Espressif.

Needless to say this didn’t remain unspotted by others and now we are going to see boom of similar modules.

IMO they are doomed to not gain such success though. Why? It’s simple – nobody can make simplier device.

ESP8266 is already simple and well optimized. If you buy it in reel price for 5000 pcs is $1.50/each, if you can buy in volume I’ve heard you can buy it for less than $1.

Espressif sells about 1 million of these chips now per month. Their sales warned me that if I want to order more than 500K pcs I have to warn them 4 weeks in advance, small orders like 5-10K they ship same day from stock.

So whoever decide to beat ESP8266 should make something better which cost less $1 which is quite steep goal.

We saw now next competitor MXCHIP it’s nothing fancy STM32+MarvelWIFI chip and TCP-IP stack. it’s sold for about x2 end user price, but we are not impressed at all from it. Why? Because it’s in the same league like ESP8266.

We develop IoT Firmware for more than 4 months now and we work extensively with ESP8266 so we learned his good and weak sides.

Good side: incredible simplicity as hardware – you have everything in the chip. High integration, reliable work. Most of the problems are due to the not so good software implementation, although Espressif now rised their bug bounty award to $2000 for reported bug i.e. they are confident the bugs in their firmware are fixed.

Weak side: their RTOS is binary blobs which make hard to contribute, we see lot of missed events when you enable more timers etc, but we can’t see where these comes from as the software is closed. We do workarounds on higher level to make sure IoT Firmware works reliable though for end user who do not have to worry about what happens at low level. Another issues is lack of memory to run normal TCP-IP stack. https? forget it no memory, once one https connection is made there is no resources to handle other, so in practice is not usable. SSL? forget it, no memory for more than 512 bit encryption which is assumed compromised already, so basically with ESP we do not advice you to connect to anywhere else than your local WIFI net, as WIFI is encrypted, it provides you with good security, but if you want to make your “IoT” available to outside, you have to put between ESP and Internet something with real TCP-IP stack and good security, like RT5350-OLinuXino running real Linux, where you can install SSL with 2048 bit key, and hide well your devices which otherwise could be hacked from outside. We already work on such ‘broker’ which to allow access to ESP8266 IoT Firmware from outside.

So whatever comes next as ESP competitor will be in the same league unless have at least few megabytes of RAM to may handle properly https and ssl encryption, and I highly doubt one could make such for less than $1 to compete with ESP.

ESP8266 already deeply penetrated the low cost low security market. Good luck to the others trying to compete them!

SoftUni Conf June 2015, Borovetz

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The already traditional SoftUni Conf this year was in Borovetz last weekend.

Olimex was invited to speak for ESP8266 and we presented there our latest development the IoT Firmware.

We demonstrated how easy is to work with ESP8266-EVB and other modules like relays, temperature sensors, GAS sensors, RGB displays, RGB Leds, etc controlling everything by HTML and JavaScript without any electronics background nor low level programming.

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here is code snip which will switch the ESP8266-EVB relay ON, just make web page containing this code:

// Connect to ESP8266-EVB events entry point 
var socket = new WebSocket('ws://192.168.4.1/events');

// Send authentication message
socket.onopen = function () {
    this.send(
        JSON.stringify(
            {
                User: 'olimex',
                Password: 'olimex'
            }
        )
    );

// Switch relay on ESP8266-EVB
    setTimeout(
        function () {
            socket.send(
                JSON.stringify(
                    {
                        URL: '/relay',
                        Method: 'POST',
                        Data: { Relay:1 }
                    }
                )
            );
        },
        500
    );
}



We will speak more about ESP8266-EVB IoT Firmware on TuxCon  which is 11th of July in Plovdiv and there will be Hackathon on 12th of July for people who want to hack with it.


	

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