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Devices: Librem 5, MARK and Ameba/Arduino

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  • Librem 5 Update: Fresh Dogwood Pictures

    As we mentioned in our Dogwood update post, we have been busy testing the significant changes that have gone into the Dogwood batch. In the previous post we just showed a few pictures of the board with some testing wires attached but we figured you’d like to see more. Now that we are about ready to wrap up testing we wanted to share some additional Dogwood pictures. Like with previous batches Dogwood is a small batch process. We’ll see mass-production processes with the next batch Evergreen.

  • MARK AI Robot Kit Aims to Teach AI & Robotics to 12+ Years Old (Crowdfunding)

    Tinkergen offers pre-trained model to recognized objects like humans, books, pens, or smartphones, as well as traffic signs, numbers from 1 to 9, as well as domestic and wild animals. As such, the company also provides signs, as well as optional illustrated and numbered cards together with magnets and card stands to facilitate various AI recognition applications.

  • Ameba RTL8722DM Cortex-M33/M23 IoT Development Board Now Available for $23.90

    Earlier this year, we noticed some RealTek RTK8720DN dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 IoT modules, and quickly mentioned Ameba RTL8722DM development board available for under $50.


    It ships with one IPEX antenna, as well as two Arduino female headers that you’d need to solder if you plan on using Arduino shields. Seeed Studio also explains the final version of the board will have all the GPIO pins bent at an angle of 90° from the board to allow convenient access to the Arduino pins.

This DIY laptop costs as much as a MacBook Air — How is it selling so well?

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Storage can either be via an SSD in the M.2 socket or there is an SD slot as well. The company views the latter as a nice option for those with particularly sensitive data that could run a separate OS or leave their sensitive work on that SD card to be easily removed when traveling.

The MNT Reform features a full HD 12.5-inch IPS display and while it lacks any USB-C ports, it has an abundance of USB Type-A with three external USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports inside. It also includes HDMI, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, and a power input jack.

The keyboard is a point of pride for the MNT Reform team, this laptop isn't shooting for any thin and light awards which leaves plenty of room for the mechanical keyboard with Hailh Choc Brown switches and a dimmable backlight. It should make for a pretty untouchable laptop typing experience.

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Related (Purism): Anti-interdiction Update: Six Month Retrospective

Devices With GNU/Linux: BOXiedge, Raspberry Pi and Xiaomi Mi Router

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  • Fanless edge server has 24-core Arm SoC and 3-TOPS-per-Watt NPU

    Foxconn, Socionext, and Hailo are launching a fanless “BOXiedge” AI edge server with Socionext’s Linux-driven SynQuacer SC2A11 SoC with 24x Cortex-A53 cores. The system also features an up to 26-TOPS Hailo-8 NPU for analyzing 20 streaming cam feeds in real time.

    In January, Foxconn, Socionext, and Network Optix announced a BOXiedge AI video analysis solution that combined a Foxconn edge computer equipped with an unnamed AI acceleration card and Socionext’s SC2A11 Arm server SoC. The BOXiedge also incorporated Network Optix’s Ubuntu compatible Nx Witness v4.0 video processing and analytics software. Now Foxconn and Socionext have followed up with a new BOXiedge model that omits the Nx Witness v4.0 stack and replaces the AI card with an up to 26 TOPS Hailo-8 deep learning processor.

  • Make it rain chocolate with a Raspberry Pi-powered dispenser
  • $31 Honor Router 3 WiFi 6+ Router Supports 3000 Mbps Data Rates

    I wrote about the “Most Affordable WiFi 6 Router Yet“, namely Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800, just two days ago, as it sells for around $60 on Aliexpress and 329 CNY ($46) in China. But the Xiaomi router did not hold the top spot for long, as Honor Router 3 WiFi 6 AX3000 router was just launched for 219 CNY (about $31 US) in China.

Embedded computers tap Jetson Xavier NX and AGX Xavier

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Advantech’s “MIC-710AIX” edge AI computer and 8x PoE “MIC-710IVX” NVR system run Linux on Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX. There’s also an AGX Xavier based MIC-730AI system.

Advantech has launched two embedded computers built around Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier NX module, which recently began shipping with a $399 Jetson Xavier NX Dev Kit. The MIC-710AIX is a compact, rugged AI inference edge computer while the MIC-710IVX targets network video recorder (NVR) applications for H.264/H.265 cameras connected via 8x PoE ports.

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Devices: AMS210, ESP32 and Raspberry Pi

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  • Coffee Lake Box PC offers PCIe and PCI expansion

    Ibase’s semi-rugged “AMS210” box PC runs on 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs with features including dual SATA bays, 4x GbE, 6x USB, 3x DP, and PCI and PCIe expansion slots.

    Ibase announced an industrial embedded box PC and “automatic control system” for factory automation, machine vision, digital signage, and industrial IoT applications. The AMS210 has a lot of in common with last month’s AMI230 series, including the 8th and 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs, dual SATA bays, 4x GbE ports, and PCIe expansion slots. No OS support is listed, but we imagine that like the AMI230 series, the AMS210 supports Linux and Windows.

  • Olimex ESP32-S2-Devkit-LiPo WiFi Board Consumes as Little as 2uA in Sleep Mode

    When we covered ESP32 powered TTGO T-Watch-2000 smartwatch this week-end, people noted that with a 350 mAh battery, the watch would last about 3.65 days considering a 4mA drain with the screen always off, WiFI and Bluetooth off, and around 65mA when the screen is on good for about 5 hours of continuous use without Bluetooth nor WiFi.


    Despite the added battery charger and circuitry, ESP32-32-Devkit-LiPo will have the same size as ESP-32-Saola-1R, and use the same ESP32-S2-WROVER module with 2MB RAM and 4MB Flash.

  • Coolest Projects goes online and everyone is welcome!

The cheapest laptop in the world is powered by a 28-year-old operating system

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At $99.99 (roughly £85/AU$155), the Pinebook from Pine64 is by far the cheapest brand new laptop on the market. Despite leaving plenty to be desired from a hardware perspective, it has amassed a loyal following worldwide.


Other than a small screen update, the device is pretty much unchanged since it was launched (and reviewed) in 2017.

At the time, our reviewer said: “If you’re after an affordable Linux laptop, look no further. Yes, you’ll need to get used to the keyboard, and the touchpad is oversensitive – but for Linux students, coding beginners and even children, the Pinebook is an excellent option that you should not overlook.”

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Open Source 3D Printing for Medicine and Healthcare Examples and Use-cases

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3D printing is one of the technological fields that have been steadily growing in the last years. The boost that it got in the 2010s turned it from being a small niche market that no one knows about into an important sector in the DIY field.

You'll discover that 3D printing is currently being used everywhere; From rapidly printing small plastic objects and all the way up into fighting Covid-19 and helping the health care sector, 3D printing is quite helpful in most areas that you may hear of.

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Devices With GNU/Linux

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  • 10th Gen Comet Lake-S splashes down on embedded PCs

    Vecow’s Linux-ready ECX-2000 Series offer up to 10-core Comet Lake-S CPUs with 6x GbE with PoE and optional 2.5GbE and 10GbE. Below, we take a closer look at Comet Lake-S and sum up the latest news on Intel’s Ice, Rocket, Tiger, and Alder Lake.

    Vecow announced one of the first embedded industrial computers based on Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake platform. The rugged, fanless ECX-2000 Series supports the newly released Comet Lake-S Xeon and Core models with up to 95W TDPs along with a new Intel W480E chipset.

  • Most Affordable WiFi 6 Router Yet: $60 Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800

    When Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 launched in April for around $135, we noted that while it was the most affordable WiFi 6 router we’d seen so far, the other 802.11ax WiFi 6 routers had also come down in price significantly.

    But now the company has come up with a really inexpensive router: Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800 which I first discovered on Gearbest for just $67.50, but also available on Aliexpress for about $60 shipped. If you are in China, you should be able to get it for 329 RMB (around $46).


    Just like other Mi routers, Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800 runs MiWiFi operating system based on OpenWrt and can be managed via the router web admin interface, and/or Android/iOS MiWiFi mobile apps. The router ships with a user manual, an Ethernet cable, and the power supply.

  • New Breakout Board For Grid-EYE Thermal Sensor

    A common way to interface with the Grid-EYE is over I2C, but to make connecting and developing on a PC more straightforward, [Pure Engineering] has made sure the new unit can plug right into their (optional) CH341A development board to provide a USB interface. Getting up and running on a Linux box is then as simple as installing the Linux drivers for the CH341A, and using sample C code to start reading thermal data from an attached GridEye2 board.

Free/Open Hardware: University of Cambridge, Open-Source Camera Stack for Raspberry Pi and 3D Printing

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  • Cambridge researchers design an open-source ventilator for low-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

    Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

    The first ventilators will be delivered in May by a team of South Africa-based companies led by Defy, a leading southern African manufacturer of domestic appliances, and Denel, a major state-owned company.

  • Electronics News Byte: New Open-Source Camera Stack for Raspberry Pi, Semico Start-Up Funding Increases, and More

    Creativity continues to drive innovation in the electronics industry, even during these difficult times. This week we are reporting on key developments from around the electronics industry: Raspberry Pi news, semiconductor start-up funding, semiconductor sales, and electrical engineering graduate school enrollment. Here is your regular Electronics News Byte.

    Open-Source Camera Stack for Raspberry Pi: Want better access to Raspberry Pi camera system? Want to customize a camera system? Well, now it is possible. Just days after announcing the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, Raspberry Pi released an open-source camera stack RPi using libcamera. “We provide all the pieces for Raspberry Pi-based libcamera systems to work simply ‘out of the box,’” David Plowman reports on the Raspberry Pi blog.

  • COVID-19 and 3D Printing: Go Open Source to Save Lives

    As the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., fears of ventilator shortages spread across states, who requested far higher numbers of the breathing machines than the national stockpile maintained. According to the Trump administration, the country is now at a point where there are a sufficient number to treat patients with severe respiratory issues resulting from COVID-19, and the U.S. is now shipping ventilators to other countries that are running on short supply.

    However, if the administration’s reporting is inaccurate or the situation worsens, we have seen that there may be ways around the shortage. For instance, states could share ventilators based on supply and need and there may be a number of viable, low-cost alternatives waiting in the wing, including simple methods for converting existing equipment into ventilator systems to completely novel and untested, but easy-to-assemble machines. Putting aside the question of whether or not ventilators are the safest method for treating severe respiratory problems, the crisis has raised the question of why these systems, as complicated as they are, are so hard to manufacture.

Open Hardware/Modding

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  • Ferrari unveils open-source ventilator for COVID-19 patients
  • Hospitals Open Source the War on Covid-19

    As the coronavirus hit, staff at the Texas Children’s Hospital raced to invent a new device that would better protect doctors, nurses and patients during intubation procedures. The hospital then open-sourced their novel product design for others to use, and found a manufacturing partner called Sawbones that put their "Airway/Respiratory Containment System" up for sale.

  • New Open-Source Ventilator Design Joins the War on COVID
  • Lilygo TTGO T-Watch-2020 is a Nicer Looking Arduino Programmable ESP32 Watch

    We’ve covered several ESP32 watches over the last year include TTGO T-Wristand, Watchy, and DSTIKE ESP32 watch. Those don’t really have the nicest looking design, and some people complained about various shortcomings including the difficulty to customize/program the watch.

    Last year, Lilygo introduced TTGO T-Watch smartwatch that, due to support for expansion boards, was relatively thick, but at least documentation and Arduino code samples can be found on Github. The company has now launched a slicker version with Lilygo TTGO T-Watch-2000.

  • This 3D printable “laboratory-grade” open-source microscope will set you back $18

    A team of researchers at the University of Bath, UK, have developed an open-source design for a 3D printable “laboratory-grade” microscope, costing as little as $18.

    The OpenFlexure microscope is a fully automated device with motorised sample positioning, focus control and a precise mechanical stage.

    As well as being easy to use, the microscope has also been designed to be more affordable than a commercial microscope. Its open-source, 3D printable design gives labs across the world the opportunity to 3D print their own precision microscopes as well, equipping them with the means to analyse samples and detect diseases.

  • Open Source Pick And Place Has A $450 BOM Cost

    Give your grizzled and cramped hands a break from stuffing boards with surface mount components. This is the job of pick and place machine, and over the years these tools of the trade for Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) have gotten closer to reality for the home shop; with some models diving below the $10,000 mark. But if you’re not doing it professionally, those are still unobtanium.

  • Open Source Raman Spectrometer Is Cheaper, But Not Cheap

    Raman spectrography uses the Raman scattering of photons from a laser or other coherent light beam to measure the vibrational state of molecules. In chemistry, this is useful for identifying molecules and studying chemical bonds. Don’t have a Raman spectroscope? Cheer up! Open Raman will give you the means to build one.

    The “starter edition” replaces the initial breadboard version which used Lego construction, although the plans for that are still on the site, as well. [Luc] is planning a performance edition, soon, that will have better performance and, presumably, a greater cost.

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Recovering audio from a lost format with open source

Back in the early 2000s, we made a family decision to upgrade the living room stereo. The equipment in place at the time was based on a collection of gear that I had purchased some 20 years earlier when I first had a steady post-university income. That early collection could best be described as "industrial chic," most notably the Hafler amplifiers I had built from kits and the Polk speakers made from some kind of composite wood product and finished with an ugly faux-rosewood vinyl wrap. They produced decent sound, but the dorm-room-style decor just wasn't working out in the living room. Those of you who remember the early 2000s will recall that most of the world was still consuming music on CD. Our family was no exception, and we ended up with a fine CD player that had an interesting feature—it was able to decode regular CDs as well as high-definition-compatible digital (HDCD) discs. According to Wikipedia, HDCD is a proprietary audio encode-decode process that claims to provide increased dynamic range over that of standard Red Book audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing compact disc players. Read more

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Linus Torvalds: "I Hope AVX512 Dies A Painful Death"

Linux creator Linus Torvalds had some choice words today on Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) found on select Intel processors. In a mailing list discussion stemming from the Phoronix article this week on the compiler instructions Intel is enabling for Alder Lake (and Sapphire Rapids), Linus Torvalds chimed in. The Alder Lake instructions being flipped on in GCC right now make no mention of AVX-512 but only AVX2 and others, likely due to Intel pursuing the subset supported by both the small and large cores in this new hybrid design being pursued. Read more Also: The Linux Team Approves New Neutral Terminology background on AVX-512

Top 5 Open Source Video Conferencing Tools for Remote Working and Online Meetings

Working remote and looking for an open source video conferencing solution for hosting online meeting? Here are some of the best tools you can use. Read more