Now that we can power our BeagleBoard through the expansion header (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/223), it is time to go a step forward and power picoFlamingo on batteries. Using the expansion header we can easily include the batteries inside the case to power the system and keep it pretty small. But, what is still missing, is a way to make the system aware of the battery charge.
Anyone that had tried to produce a kindof closed thingy based on a Beagle has finished up with a bigger-than-expected box or with quite some connectors sticking out the box. The power jack is a difficult one because you always need power.
It is not that much of a problem as you need to connect your board to some kind of power source anyhow, however, for a "better finished" product you will expect things like a power switch and some LED indicator in your project's box (the POWER_ON led on the BeagleBoard is not very useful when you put the whole thing inside a box). Even worst, if your system will run on batteries it is not very aesthetic to see a big barrel connector going out your box into the Beagle power plug.
Our previous interface to ID-12 was pretty cheap. Around 2 Euros for a Logical level converter and some wires, but as the ID-12 RFID reader does not need any programming or command in order to work, we end up just using the RX line from one of the available channels in our converter. That looks like a waste :).
Recently we've been exploring the Beagleboard Expansion Header on our old BeagleBoard C3 board running Ubuntu 11.10. We installed Ubuntu following the instructions on http://elinux.org/BeagleBoardUbuntu#Oneiric_11.10. Then we explored the GPIO pins in the header (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/205) finding out how to use them as inputs and outputs and later we tried the I2C bus (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/210) using just a couple of components for those of us that do not want to invest a lot of money on simple tests.
After playing with the GPIO (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/205) for a while, let's move on through the BeagleBoard Expansion Header. Now it is time for the I2C bus. I2C bus is available through pins 23 (Data) and 24 (Clock).
Finally I've been brave enough to solder a connector into my BeagleBoard expansion header to further explore how to attach different stuff to this little one. After verifying that the board still boots (i.e. it survived my poor soldering skills :) I went for the "Hello World" for this kind of hardware... a blinking LED.
Actually, the idea was to reinstall Angstrom and set up a working development system on my old BeagleBoard C3. However after several hours fighting the installation and the documentation I just gave up and I tried Ubuntu. Not sure what was the problem, probably I did something wrong, but as a matter of fact I waste several hours with no result.
One of the easiest ways to promote your business is to add a screen showing some relevant information on your windows or even inside your premises. For instance, showing some offer or the latest products in the shop, making customer easily aware of the news.
We had already tried to build some simple casing for our Beagles but it looks like we are not the most skilled guys out there so we come out with the idea to build something really easy to assemble and robust against "inaccurate cutting". The result is the VelcroBox.
It looks like this :
We are still testing the latest picoFlamingo version on the different hardware platforms we have available in preparation for a forthcoming stable release. Yesterday we carried out a fresh Ubuntu 11.10 installation on our Pandaboard to check the detailed set of steps required to make picoFlamingo work on this device.
We have been working on small improvements on picoFlamingo during the last months. It is not completely ready yet but we think that these updates have to be released. This is a brief summary of what is new in this picoFlamingo release:
- It now builds using autotools
- Basic Texture Manager
- Build-in network capabilities (TCP and BT). NetKitty is no longer needed to run picoFlamingo
- Added slide items groups. Now several items can be grouped together and manipulated at once
- Added special events to image items for easy button implementation (CLICK, ENTER, LEAVE)
- Several minor bug fixes
The Fiono 330 fan is quite loud even when it works OK, but some weeks ago mine started to make really a lot of noise. After having quite some problems with this little one (it stop booting some time ago, then the hard drive broke down...) the warranty expired so I took a look inside.
Finally a new and interesting issue of the Technical and Scientific Magazine Occam's Razor is available for download. In this issue we can find two special papers related to Space; one about SMOS (all the ESA mission details) and another one SPICE (an interesting SW developed by NASA).
Ex-nihilo is a Latin phrase that means "out of nothing". The idea comes from the "Impromptu Sound Board", but instead of using a Kinect why not use just ARToolkit and draw yourself the markers?. Check this video.
It is again that time of the year you spend money!. We had finally bought a PandaBoard and some microcontroller stuff with the hope to materialise some projects in the near future.