Bo Lechnowsky of ameriDroid.com shows the fully-programmable robot kit based on the ODROID-C1+ and controllable through the web. We then moved on to an 8-inch tablet kit for the ODROID-C1+ which includes case, multi-touch screen and battery for less than $100 due to be available this December. After this, we looked at a new 7-inch tablet-style multi-touch display from ODROID called the VU7 that allows attaching an ODROID-C1+ to the backside providing an expandable tablet-like solution for low cost. The ODROID-XU4 was discussed, an Exynos-5422 octa-core ARM Cortex-A15 at 2.0GHz and ARM Cortex-A7 at 1.4GHz ARM board with 2GB LPDDR3 on-board, USB3.0/2.0 ports and gigabit Ethernet along with removable eMMC and microSD storage options. An ODROID-C1+ was shown which is a low-cost but powerful AmLogic S805 quad-core ARM Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz ARM board with 1GB LPDDR3 on-board with USB2.0 ports and gigabit Ethernet, also with the removable eMMC/microSD storage options. We then moved on to a display from a partner company, Withrobot.com, that showed real-time bar- and QR-code reading from three cameras simultanously through one USB3.0 port on an ODROID-XU4 and a 5MP standalone USB camera processed by OpenCV on an ODROID-XU4. In the background was an ODROID-C1+ with a HiFi Shield and a VU7 streaming high-quality audio to a stereo running Rune Audio. Volumio is also available for this platform. Both distributions are controllable by a smartphone or tablet from anywhere.
UICO duraTOUCH makes it possible to use Smartwatches and Phones in any weather, with sweaty fingers, under the rain, snow, even while wearing gloves in the winter. As people come to depend on wearable devices and use them everywhere, users want touchscreens to work under any weather condition everywhere and anytime. UICO’s duraTOUCH projected capacitive (PCAP) touch controllers enable touch sensing to work in any environment, with rain, sweat, and using gloves also. duraTOUCH out-performs traditional PCAP that is in devices like Moto360 and Samsung Gear Live. It is ideal for wearable and IoT devices with super-low power requirements like 1X charge per week with wake on touch. duraTOUCH products include duraTOUCH controllers, touchscreens, and duraTOUCH Surface, a bendable wrap-able touch sensing surface. Look for this technology in the next generation of consumer electronics and wearable devices, you will now have technology that UICO previously shipped in millions only to customers in the heavy industrial and medical markets.
Haptic feedback is one of the most important features of Smartwatches and other wearable devices. The Apple watch with its Taptic engine has one of the best haptic actuators in the industry but at the IDTechEx show, the folks at Novasentis were showing technology that aims to do much better. With traditional haptic technologies like LRA and ERM, they are bulky and provide just a solitary, universal buzz which vibrates the entire wearable device. Novasentis has invented a new technology based on electro mechanical polymers which is ultra thin, when they placed this in my hand, I could barely feel its weight, and the material is flexible. So instead of putting a big haptic device in the body of the wearable device, Novasentis proposes that you embed their haptic film right into the strap of the watch since is is so thin and you could have localized vibration and detect the all important patterns all around the wrist to understand different notification categories without even looking at your smartwatch display. This will enable thinner and lighter smartwatches without a big haptic engine inside. Most importantly, Novasentis material allows to offer a range of haptic feedback from very low frequency ‘taps’ to very high frequency audible ‘alarms’. Their idea is to create a haptic language and a wearable device could have as many as 10 or even 100 different haptic ‘feelings’ that a user can get used to and memorize and could get very useful information before having to turn to the display. Novasentis said that 5 OEM’s are currently designing wearable devices with their material and the company is currently raising funds to get their technology into mass production hopefully arriving soon to awesome Smartwatches and other smart device.
Cambrios talks about the progress that they are making to build flexible touch screens, to enable flexible smartphones and wearables coming to the market soon, flexible solar cells and flexible OLED lights also. Their material is silver nanowire based ClearOhm ink, it is like spaghetti on transparent films, these are great conductors since silver is the best conductor on the planet. The material is flexible, it is already being shipped into millions of devices made by Lenovo, HP, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, DELL and other big companies. Cambrios can enable ten finger touch in monitors and all-in-one computers with a film that is so thin and light that it can replace ITO.
ARM shows their open source hardware and software Smartwatch reference design with 2 months battery life runs mbed OS on a Silicon Labs EFM32 Giant Gecko ARM Cortex-M3 SoC and memory LCD, it also have an ARM Cortex-M0 for Bluetooth and an ARM Cortex-M4 for the fingerprint sensor. GPS, NFC, 9-axis sensor (accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer), ambient light sensor, capacitive sliders for UI scrolling, buttons and more are on the flexible PCB. The power consumption is around 70microAmps with the animation running on the memory LCD, the battery life should be about 2 month on a compact and light 160mAh battery. ARM is building open source experimental smart wearables to explore the potential of ARM in wearables and IoT, to encourage device makers to use all the latest ARM technologies in combination with innovative display technologies and sensors to to create better concepts, to better use technologies to try to contribute to and improve the internet of things and the wearables market. Some goals for better Wearables can be to last months on a battery, to connect and interact with all devices seamlessly, to enable new forms of trusted interactions and ultimately aim to fade in to the background. These advances are to be integrated into ARM's open source mbed OS, there might be subsets of mbed OS, less is needed on the Bluetooth chip for example than on the microcontroller of the Smartwatch or other IoT device.
Developing this mbed OS Smartwatch reference design gives ARM the opportunity to get first-hand experience of the realities of building complete and complex physical products - the mechanical design, electronics, software and taking it all through the production process. ARM has taken a complete design from concept through to manufacturing a few hundred working units thus far, and learned a huge amount. This may inspire and encourage device makers to advance and innovate faster to make the Smartwatch market a success.
1 million 11 year olds in the UK will receive the BBC microbit when they come back to school after the Christmas holiday in January 2016, they can use it to get started with programming and hacking with hardware. BBC micro:bit runs on Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 16MHz 32bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller, Freescale Kinetis KL26Z – 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ core, that includes a full-speed USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) controller, used as a communication interface between USB and main Nordic microcontroller, Freescale MMA8652 3-axis accelerometer sensor,
Freescale MAG3110 3-axis magnetometer sensor to act as a compass and metal detector, 25 LED lights in a 5×5 array and Bluetooth technology, it is given for free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK. You can read more about BBC micro:bit here.
The newest trends in various phones, phablets, tablets and laptops is the analog writing ability. eWriting is making a major come back with several OEMs offering stylus inputs in their devices. Yet, the true pen-on-paper experience is rarely found when you write on glass based tablets or phones. Kent Displays solves this problem with their cholesteric LCD writing tablets popularly known as the Boogie Board. The electronic writing experience with their solution is akin to writing on paper, you can even hear the pen scratching on the surface and the experience is truly unique. That would partly explain the success of the Boogie Boards which are shipping in millions of units each year. I met up with Dr Asad Khan who is Kent Displays’ CTO, in San Jose this week. He describes the various products including what is expected from their product roadmap.
IBM Internet of Things Foundation is a fully managed, cloud-hosted service that makes it simple to derive value from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, be it a sensor, a gateway or something else. Using IBM's recipes, it can get connected and start sending data securely up to the cloud using the open, lightweight MQTT messaging protocol. From there, setup and managing the IoT devices using online dashboard or IBM's secure APIs, so that IoT apps can access live and historical data fast. Users can easily start creating applications using device data, within IBM Bluemix platform, another cloud or own servers.
In this video, the dashboard displays an example of some of the analytics which can be calculated using IBM IoT Foundation, such as the impact analysis from the live hits on the hard hat which are then displayed on Bluemix, IBMs cloud infrastructure. This platform allows a "one-stop-shop" for a device developer to get started and make use of the sensor data and connected devices, immediately.
Eric Klein, Partner at Lemnos Labs, a San Francisco based Hardware Incubator, is looking for IoT and Wearables entrepreneurs making new IoT and Wearables designed to change behaviors, to affect change, which he says is the key to unlocking the Internet of Things and really useful Wearables, he encourages startups to have clinical psychologists on staff, like coaches with science degrees, to design devices that can help people grow and get stronger.
Arne Weber, General Manager at faytech Tech. Co., Ltd., leads us through his factory in Hongmen Technology Park, Shenzhen, China. The tour starts with the presentation of faytech's 55'' capacitive multi-touch solution which can be used as conference table, single POS information display, for industry automation as well as information- and videowall. faytech also presents its new 15.360 x 8.640 pixel interactive information-and videowall with up to 256 simultaneous touch points. Together with the products, Arne presents factory premises with its specialized clean room, and various machines, used in the production and improvement of faytech’s products. Although in the last years faytech has grown significantly, Arne Weber tells the plans of further expansion. Founded in 2010, faytech specializes in Touchscreen Monitors and Touchscreen PCs. Having its roots in Germany the company combines German quality standards with Chinese manufacturing.