miniNodes: Low Cost, High Efficiency ARM Dedicated Microservers

April 10, 2018 | Celine Marie Barrozo

Because of Geppetto, we receive a lot of emails from innovators, engineers, and consultants who are looking to build a prototype with minimal investment and in short amount of time. This is how we met David Tischeler, co-founder of miniNodes.

David Tischler photo

miniNodes are tiny dedicated servers that run Linux on ARM processors. They built a prototype using 5 Raspberry Pi COM Connectors in one board with the use of Geppetto.

miniNodes with Geppetto

Geppetto miniNode board

According to David, “The new miniNodes Cluster Board consists of 5 Raspberry Pi CoM slots to hold the Pi Compute Modules, with a gigabit Ethernet switch built right in, all conveniently laid out on a small PCB with a single power input and Ethernet port. This design will certainly save space and cabling mess but will also allow us to build automation into our sales and provisioning process.”

Learn more about it on this article from Arm Community blog.

Geppetto is our free online design tool that allows you to create a custom hardware design — no electrical engineering required from you. Moreover, we handle everything, from sourcing of parts to production, to ensuring that your board boots out of the box. We take care of production while you focus on your software or application. We will deliver your pre-tested, production-ready boards after 15 business days.

New Geppetto Feature: Disconnect Widget

March 27, 2018 | Celine Marie Barrozo

Last month, we released three new features in Geppetto. This month our team is focused on making a Disconnect Widget.

What is it?

When using Geppetto, there will be times that a provider will not have enough capacity to satisfy the signal you need. Previously, you won’t know where things are connected so it’s a challenge to find what to disconnect to move forward with your design.

The disconnect widget will display all the connections of the signal you want to use.

How to use the Disconnect Widget?

Below is an example on where the Disconnect Widget is useful.

I have a Gumstix Pi Conduit PoE design open in Geppetto.


Gumstix Pi Conduit PoE design in Geppetto

I want to add WiFi capabilities on my board so I add a TI WiLink8 module. Then, we connect all the required signal. We will pick the signals with Tux (penguin) because those are the tested, verified, and recommended connections of our engineers so when it’s available be sure to use that one.

Required Signal Module Provider
1.8V Drag a 1.8V/0.6A Regulator and connect the signal
3.3V 3.3V of the 3.3V/1.5A Regulator
BT_ENABLE GPIO4 of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Connector
SDIO SDIO1 of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Connector
UART_4W Please see below
WLAN_ENABLE Please see below
WLAN_IRQ GPIO6 of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Connector

UART_4W

As you can see, we want to connect UART_4W to UART0_4W of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Connector but it’s unable to provide. Previously, you had to find where UART0_4W is connected to manually by checking all require signal and finding the right one.

Now, you just click the provider flag and the disconnect widget will appear. It will display all the connections of that signal and you can select which one you want to disconnect.

After you click Disconnect, click the UART_4W in the TI WiLink8 again and connect it to the now available UART0_4W.

Do the same for the WLAN_ENABLE.

Now my Gumstix Pi Conduit PoE design includes WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.


What do you think of this new feature? If you have any feedback or feature request, kindly send a message to support@gumstix.com.

Geppetto is our free online design tool that allows you to create a custom hardware design — no electrical engineering required from you. Moreover, we handle everything, from sourcing of parts to production, to ensuring that your board boots out of the box. We take care of production while you focus on your software or application. We will deliver your pre-tested, production-ready boards after 15 business days.

How to Design and Build Alexa into the Colibri iMX7 and Chatterbox AVS Development Board?

February 27, 2018 | Celine Marie Barrozo

Toradex is going to have a webinar and our CEO, Gordon Kruberg will be the guest speaker. The webinar is “How to Design and Build Alexa into the Colibri iMX7 and Chatterbox AVS Development Board?”.

Toradex Webinar with Gumstix

When will it be?

It will be on March 21, 2018 with two available time slots 08:00 A.M. – 09:00 A.M. (PDT) and 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. (PDT)

Who will be speaking?

W. Gordon Kruberg, M.D. – President and CEO, Gumstix, Inc. and Daniel Lang, CMO, Toradex

What is this about?

In this webinar, we detail the complete hardware and software suite for the Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and the steps to deploy the Chatterbox and NXP® i.MX 7 powered Toradex Colibri iMX7 module as a wake-word or push-button activated Alexa device.

The Chatterbox simplifies designing voice-enabled devices while reducing cost and accelerating the integration process. Target applications include smart speakers, smart home and IoT devices, router and gateway devices, sound bars and set-top boxes. The Chatterbox design is freely available in Geppetto at Gumstix.

Gumstix Colibri iMX7 Chatterbox (Amazon Alexa Voice Service evaluation board) image

The Chatterbox includes a 2.5-Watt speaker driver, on-board microphone and line-in jack for high-quality audio I/O, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet for connectivity. These features accompany the Toradex Colibri iMX7 module, microSD storage and real-time clock to create a complete home companion platform. The Chatterbox development boards can be used by designers for prototyping or can easily be copied and modified in Geppetto® D2O to create their own custom i.MX 7 AVS or IoT design in minutes. The i.MX 7 family of NXP SoCs is an ideal platform for many embedded and IoT applications.

Why you should attend?

Key takeaways include:

  • Chatterbox and Colibri iMX7 breakdown
  • How to integrate hardware and software for Alexa Voice Service (AVS)
  • How to transform this prototype into a final product and meet the necessary cost requirements
  • Simple steps to build your own or customize Chatterbox to exact specifications in minutes using Geppetto, a free online design to order to platform

How to register?

Click on the button below to register.

Amazon Alexa, say hello to the Chatterbox AVS for Colibri iMX7

February 27, 2018 | Celine Marie Barrozo

We are happy to announce the new Gumstix Chatterbox for Colibri iMX7 evaluation board and Toradex Colibri iMX7 Connector in Geppetto. They both support the Toradex Colibri iMX7, a powerful IoT SOM with an ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, integrated Cortex-M4 microcontroller and a full complement of features.

Gumstix Chatterbox for Colibri iMX7

The Gumstix Chatterbox is an evaluation board designed by Gumstix in Geppetto and conformant to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service functional design guide. It bares all features of the Toradex Colibri iMX7 SOM needed to implement your own product with Alexa (Amazon’s cloud-based voice service).

The board is now available in our store for $140.00.

Gumstix Colibri iMX7 Chatterbox (Amazon Alexa Voice Service evaluation board) image

Watch demo videos

Want to see the board in action? Check out this videos:




Toradex Colibri iMX7 Connector in Geppetto

If the Chatterbox is not exactly what you’re looking for, you can now customize it in Geppetto with our new Colibri iMX7 (Toradex) Connector.

Colibri iMX image
Customize the Chatterbox in Geppetto
Customize the Chatterbox in Geppetto

The module is a SO-DIMM connector and supporting electronics for the Toradex Colibri iMX7 COM. The COM datasheet has all the information you need about this new compute module and you can order the Colibri iMX7 here. The main features of the Colibri iMX7 includes:

  • NXP i.MX7 Processor at 1.0GHz
  • Up to 1.0 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Up to 4 GB eMMC
  • USB 2.0
  • 10/100 Base-T Ethernet

Where in Geppetto?

The new module can be found under the ‘COM Connectors’ shelf in the Geppetto module library.

imx7

You just need to drag and drop it on your board and you will be on your way to designing a custom board with the iMX7.

Geppetto is our free online design tool that allows you to create a custom hardware design — no electrical engineering required from you. Moreover, we handle everything, from sourcing of parts to production, to ensuring that your board boots out of the box. We take care of production while you focus on your software or application. We will deliver your pre-tested, production-ready boards after 15 business days.

What’s new in Geppetto? Undo, Touchscreen, and Sharing!

February 21, 2018 | Celine Marie Barrozo

What MORE can you do with Geppetto?

  • Undo.
  • Design on the go with improved usability on touchscreen.
  • Share your product page and payment options with co-workers anywhere.

Undo

You can now Undo in Geppetto by pressing CTRL + Z in Linux and Windows and CMD + Z in MacOS. What actions can you Undo? All the usual things you do in Geppetto:

  • Add module
  • Remove module
  • Move module
  • Rotate module
  • Connecting and disconnecting module

Touchscreen

We also made progress in making Geppetto more mobile friendly. You can now drag, drop, and connect modules using your touch-enabled device. You can open, save, and do what you usually do on Geppetto desktop on a tablet or smart phone with a browser.

Geppetto on a Tablet

Sharing

Geppetto is being used by startups and companies in prototyping their products. Now, our team just made it possible for design owners to share their product pages to co-workers.

This means the whole team will now have access to the design specification document, list of features on the board, and custom device tree on the software tab. They will also be able to place an order of the board on your behalf.

How to use it?

  1. Login to the store.
  2. Go to ‘My Designs‘.
  3. Select the design you want to share.
  4. On the product page, click ‘Email’.

    Click Email on the product page
  5. Add a message for the person you’re sharing the product page with.
  6. Add their name and email address.

    Be sure that you only add those that should get access to the design. Right now, we have not implemented a way to revoke access so please be careful when sharing.

  7. Add collaborator window.

  8. Click ‘Send Email’.

Now, the person you shared it with will have access to your design for review or to purchase it on your behalf.


What do you think of these features? If you have any suggestions in making Geppetto better, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Geppetto is our free online design tool that allows you to create a custom hardware design — no electrical engineering required from you. Moreover, we handle everything, from sourcing of parts to production, to ensuring that your board boots out of the box. We take care of production while you focus on your software or application. We will deliver your pre-tested, production-ready boards after 15 business days.