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Internet of Things

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Having just spent 2 days at the mHealth summit in Washington DC, a major theme of the event was how wearables were going to play a part in Healthcare.   As I think back to how the medical system was when I was growing up, if you were sick you went to the Doctor to told them your symptoms after which the Doctor would perform an examination and tell you what was wrong with you and how to go about getting better. 


Contrast that with today where we can research our symptoms online using tools like WebMD and have a rough idea of what maybe wrong with us even before setting foot in the doctor’s office.  Actually we also have an option now to opt out completely from getting in the car to go to the doctor’s office by seeing a board certified doctor remotely through our mobile devices by using apps such as Teledoc, MDlive, or Doctor on Demand to name a few. 


Finally, through the use of wearables, we are able to collect actual data that we have been measuring such as blood pressure, heartrate, glucose, temperature, SpO2, etc. in addition to fitness data such as amount of exercise, weight providing doctor’s with further insights into a diagnosis.  


This is only increasing as fashion accessories such as smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, are starting to incorporate sensors to monitor your heartrate providing further convenience of tracking key metrics as it relates to your health without you having to do anything. In the future these sensors could also be embedded into your clothing, many of these powered by ARMs low-power silicon technology.  


There are further innovations, powered by ARM technology, which drastically reduce the size of sensors such as this one from Sensogram which measures Blood Pressure, Respiration rate, Oxygen saturation, Heart rate, and Skin temperature all using a small device which fits in the palm of your hand.  Imagine chronic illness patients with High Blood Pressure, now taking measurements discretely at their desk in the office throughout the day without attracting attention to themselves by having a large cuff around their arm. This is a major disruptive trend because of two key factors:


  1. acquiring health data is becoming unobtrusive and inconspicuous and probably most importantly
  2. acquiring data is seamless and requires little or no action on part of the user


It’s only a matter of time before this kind of technology gets integrated directly into the smartwatch. However this brings up a major concern which is whilst it’s getting easier to collect this health data in an unobtrusive and highly convenient way, the data being collected is that of an individual’s health which in and of itself, is very personal and needs to be kept secure, confidential, and private that that individual.


With the advent of many of these devices onto the market, raises more questions with regard to that data: who owns the data, where is it stored, who has access to it, what is the policy that governs access to that data, who determines that policy, can I opt out of having my data stored in the cloud, can I have it deleted at any time, the list goes on and on.   Many of today’s popular wearable and healthcare devices such as Misfit, Fitbit, Withings, and Garmin, to name a few do store your personal data from these sensors in the cloud.   Fortunately, many if not all of these companies listed do offer some kind of privacy policy on their website, although like any other cloud provide, these are subject to change.


In order to get the data to the EMR, healthcare aggregation services, like Validic for example, then aggregate the sensor data from these other clouds before finally sending it to the provider. A user’s data, in effect, traverses at least two 3rd party cloud services before arriving at the user’s healthcare provider destination where that data can analyzed.


What if there was another way?


What if there was a way to keep your healthcare under users control and only authorize which data gets sent to whom? ARM is pleased to announce and demonstrate this week a new proof of concept which takes us a step in this direction.



Leveraging ARM’s hardware based security technology, called ARM TrustZone®, ARM, together with industry partners, is offering an alternative solution.  The solution enables a trusted entity (e.g. your healthcare provider) to acquire data directly from the sensor (from within their App on the mobile device), allow the user to validate the data is theirs and confirm their consent to share the data, then allow the 3rd party to pack & send it their EHR directly, without the need for a 3rd party cloud.


Data is kept secure by encrypting it from the sensor to the mobile device (in the future there will be support fixed gateways), the data is kept secure within the phone when data is “in motion” by utilizing a technology called Trusted UI. The user is then presented an option to validate the data and whether or not they consent to share that data by clicking “submit” then allowing the provider to pack and send the data directly to the EHR.


To demonstrate this proof of concept, ARM is pleased to have partnered with two leading companies, HeartToHeart and Neurosky. Heart2Heart develops structured intelligence comprised of protocols with established algorithms and guidelines for personalized medicine and clinical decision support for care teams and the individuals and families they serve. NeuroSky biosensor technologies enable the most insightful and easy-to-understand health and wellness biometrics for mobile solutions, wearable devices, and service providers. The company’s proprietary, market-leading biosensor technologies provide a foundation for analyzing biometric data in a way that’s never before been practical.


Please visit the ARM booth at ARM Techcon to see a live demo and learn more.

Quick links to the highlights

Press Release  Developer Blog


The full scoop

There is a great deal of momentum around the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform since ARM Tech Con 2014, when we announced the plans for mbed 3.0. This has mainly been focused on three key areas: extending the cloud services and ecosystem choice available to developers, developer tools designed to help you improve productivity and reducing the time to market so that businesses can take advantage of IoT quickly.


Leading cloud partners have centralized their technologies around the mbed IoT Device Platform with the likes of IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, and Zebra Technologies joining the mbed ecosystem. We are also excited that the momentum of the mbed ecosystem continues to grow the choice of silicon, tools, applications and support continues to grow. Since May 2015, we have welcomed 24 new partners including: 1248, Alcatel-Lucent, Analog Devices, Baidu, Captiva, Delta, Express Logic, ForgeRock, GreenPeak, Nuvoton, ON Semiconductor, PixArt, Renesas, Schneider-Electric, Silver Spring Networks, SK Telecom, Smeshlink, SpinDance, Switch Science, Western Digital and WIZnet.


Today, just ahead of our ARM Tech Con 2015 conference in Santa Clara, Nov 10-12th, we are releasing mbed Device Connector, a new service for developers to connect and manage up to 100 devices and handling up to 10,000 events an hour for free. This is available to you on


mbed Device Connector to ease development and manageability of IoT devices

mbed Device Connector service.png

This is your developer console that will help you get started in minutes, access example code for applications and connect to your choice of cloud partners quickly. mbed Device Connector is a first step and you can find details of this release here. You can get started today and when you are ready to move to more than 100 devices, all the development done on this free version is ready to move to commercial scale through our ecosystem.

Scaling IoT with mbed Device Connector.png


What’s new in mbed OS Technology Preview


When we announced the mbed OS beta version, you would have noticed that this was a combination of OS and developer tools that are focused on offering the building blocks for IoT build on inter-operable standards, ready for next generation connectivity and with strong foundations of security. mbed OS is a new operating system build with the strong security, connectivity and manageability for large-scale IoT deployments in mind.


Today, we’ve released the first public mbed OS Technology Preview version and associated tools to offer you early access to upcoming product innovations, enabling you to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process. Our focus in this release is on laying the foundation for mbed OS development and collaboration, particularly core tools, technology and testing. We expect mbed OS developers to be able to access, build and run example projects and to explore the underlying code.


mbed OS Technology Preview brings:

  • First native OS support for Thread
  • First inclusion of BLE
  • mbed uVisor support for sample ARM Cortex-M4 devices using the ARM MPU
  • Further improvements in test coverage and stability – an ongoing endeavor
  • Stronger defect management, and errata reporting through “known issues” documents
  • yotta target support for mbed Enabled targets from a selection silicon partners


With this technology preview we’re ready to start receiving contributions back from the community and we expect this list of supported targets to grow quickly. If you’d like to work on mbed OS with us, we’d encourage you to pitch in.


Visit the ARM mbed Zone on Booth 512 at ARM Tech Con 2015


Alongside these released products, we are also taking some exciting early demonstrations that will be on the ARM mbed Zone (Booth #512) on the ARM Tech Con show floor. Our lead engineers will be onsite to take you through our latest products and how we are enabling developers to focus on their key value add features and ease deployment of IoT devices at scale. Demos will include mbed OS Technology Preview, mbed Device Connector, new developer tools and not to mention more than 20 mbed partners showcasing their own mbed supported products and services. If you are not attending, here is a sneak peak:


mbed Device Connector:

To illustrate how mbed Device Connector is making connectivity, manageability and building of web applications simple and easy for developers, the ARM mbed team has build a live demonstration of an example that uses the service. The live demo of the Device Connector Service will show how an mbed Enabled development board can be programmed with a simple drag and drop then connected to Device Connector in seconds.  Diagnostic data is visible on the Device Connector dashboard while payload data is relayed to webapps running on 3rd party services like Heroku and Microsoft Azure.  See the connected lights on the mbed Zone change at the press of a button on the development board.


Thread application demo:

See how a mesh network running the mbed OS integrated Thread stack can be managed using Device Connector.  This demo example shows how Device Connector can interface to a 3rd party service like Google Calendar to toggle LED colors in the mesh.  This would be similar to a scenario of walking past a meeting room in the office and not seeing anyone in there but unsure if it is booked; the ambient illumination color will indicate the booking status of the room.


Test and Quality Assurance:

Our new yotta tool isn’t only for building new mbed OS images, it also supports test automation.  This demonstration shows an example of our test rack running live on the show floor loaded with many mbed enabled development boards and how this can be recreated locally for users to prove their new software using the same systems as used at ARM.


mbed App:

This demo shows off the new mbed App which offers provisioning running on a smart phone.  Ever wondered how you would go about configuring a small IoT device to join the network and its intended service provider?  This app simplifies the whole process by scanning for new devices using Bluetooth Low Energy and sending the network credentials in a familiar way.  Using this technique allows the user interface of tomorrows to be simplified or removed completely which also has the benefit of recurring Bill Of Material costs.


mbed Reference Designs:

Typically 80% of hardware engineering time is spent on getting to the first prototype. mbed Reference Designs are aimed at a broad audience who wants to gain a time-to-market advantage, build on their own innovation and launch differentiated products quickly.


There are multiple products being shown on the mbed Reference Designs demo - first of which is the new mbed Wearable Reference Design.  The mbed Reference Design serves as a good example of how to make use of typical IoT wireless technologies, sensors and output devices. The demo runs mbed OS with a live power consumption measurement and sports an eight-week long battery life running multiple applications. The mbed Reference Designs will be available as an open source platform with hardware schematics, gerbers, mechanics and software included.


For industrial businesses who have the need to connect a large number of devices, we have a demonstration of the mbed Smart City Reference Design, featuring  Sub-GHz 6LoWPAN technology.  This shows how a long range wireless sensor system ideally suited to smart city type applications can be built using mbed technology.  As we can’t guarantee IPv6 connectivity at the show we also created a tunnelling gateway that is able to provide our demo with IPv6 over IPv4.


Next, let's chart the path together

Don't forget to share your comments back here on how you would like to know of mbed plans and upcoming releases? If you are developing with mbed OS and have any questions, you can also engage with mbed developer community here.

We are only a few weeks away from TechCon 2015, where all communities around ARM technology meet. TechCon is a wonderful showcase of the ARM ecosystem, with over 4500+ attendees over 3 days, enabling chip designers, system engineers and software developers alike to collaborate, learn from each other, and discover insights from industry leaders and innovative startups. Check this blog from Brian Fuller to know more.



After a huge success in 2014, the ARM mbed Zone is coming back even bigger and better!


Once again highlighting the breadth of ARM® mbed™ IoT Device Platform products, it will include the latest mbed software using low-power ARM Cortex®-M processors, and connectivity solutions integrated into mbed including wireless standards such as Bluetooth® Low Energy, Ethernet, GPS, Wi-Fi®, Thread and 6LoWPAN.


In the zone

On the booth itself, leading mbed OS engineers will be at hand to answer your questions, as well as showcasing several demos based on mbed. There, they’ll show you numerous demos from the mbed Ecosystem, on end-to-end embedded to cloud, or device management solutions.


The mbed Zone is expanded to 23 partners exhibiting this year, with demonstrations showing products including:

At the mbed technology bar, you’ll be get the chance to have hands-on demonstrations of the latest mbed technologies– so stop by! The mbed zone is located in the main expo area, for which registration is free. You can’t miss it, it’s right in the middle of the hall!


mbed sponsored sessions

If you have registered and want to get an in-depth look in how your team and business can benefit from the latest mbed technologies, don’t miss the chance to attend the mbed sponsored technical sessions on 11th of November. The day will feature several partners and enterprises deploying IoT, latest insights from the industry on standards for connectivity and security and an exploration of how the mbed ecosystem is addressing the key challenges for IoT:


Nov 11

10:30am – 11:20am

Accelerating Internet of Things with ARM mbed

Krisztian Flautner (ARM)

11:30am – 12:20pm

Making IoT Scalable, Robust and Easy to Deploy                

Zach Shelby (ARM), Michael Norman (Freescale), John M Cohn (IBM), Pilgrim Beart (

2:30pm – 3:20pm

Supporting the Latest Standards in Connectivity for IoT - An Insight into Thread

Bill Curtis (ARM)

3:30pm – 4:20pm

Keys for Success: Today's Landscape of IoT Technologies and Security Standards

Pratul Sharma (ARM)

Amit Shah (Alcatel-Lucent)

4:30pm – 5:20pm

Building mbed Together: An Overview of mbed OS and How To Get Involved

Hugo Vincent (ARM)

Paul Bakker (ARM)


Register !

So, if you haven’t registered yet, here’s the place to start.


See you there!

This week Google launched their new Chromecast audio and encouraged you to switch to WiFi for your streaming audio. The shift in audio listening habits is real, content is no longer local, and streaming is growing at a huge rate.


So does this mean the end for Bluetooth Audio?


Shareable audio


The outlook in home listening is bleak for Bluetooth Audio. With competition in streaming audio services we are being reintroduced to audio quality.  Services such as Tidal HiFi and Deezer Elite are driving Lossless and higher fidelity codecs.  This is likely to drive a shift from Bluetooth toward WiFi as the primary streaming source at least in the home.


It is not the end of Bluetooth in this category. It is likely that many players will keep a Bluetooth link. The applications will likely shift to setup and configuration. Bluetooth low energy in particular enables simple discovery and app based control. It will be easier to enable others to discover the player and connect using Bluetooth low energy as shown in the new B&W Zeppelin Wireless, which uses an iPhone app for setup. There is also a need for a local remote, and as the recent 4th generation Apple TV teardown shows Bluetooth low energy is a great technology for this application.


Personal audio


The outlook for Bluetooth in personal audio is still strong, but quality has become a challenge that the standard must address. As consumers grow to expect HD audio capability in their streamed content the high-end wireless headphones must also meet the challenge. A number of proprietary codec extensions to Bluetooth streaming standards have emerged, such as aptX (owned by Qualcomm) or Sony LDAC, which offer improved fidelity of the audio content.


There is one further segment where Bluetooth may evolve to meet consumer needs. Recent kickstarter innovations have shown the potential for the reinvention of the Bluetooth headset. Projects like Dash, Dot and Ear-in show a drive for more compact low power wireless earbuds. The success of the projects shows the interest in ditching the wires on the ubiquitous earbud, but the current standard and technology weren’t built with this product in mind, and there will be some serious Engineering work to get these products to the mainstream.


So Bluetooth is facing some challenges. It is being pushed to deliver new audio capabilities of lower power and lower cost at one end while meeting higher quality at the other. The outlook for Bluetooth is still strong, and perhaps in the area that is least visible – Connect and Control. In the Smartphone Bluetooth low energy maintains a unique position offering simple user experience for setup and control, and this could be the reason that means that Bluetooth is deployed in ever more products.


About the Author


Paul Williamson is general manager of the wireless business unit at ARM. ARM processors are the brains in billions of devices, and now ARM Cordio IP provides the latest low power connectivity to devices. ARM Cordio offers complete fully qualified Bluetooth low energy IP to enable the rapid development of connected devices.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, a London-based startup raised the concept of wearables (Wearables) design to a new level. BLOCKS, the brainchild of Ali Tahmasebzadeh, an Imperial College of London bioengineering student, and Serge Vasylechko, an Imperial College Ph.D student, launched its Kickstarter program for a design considered the world’s first modular smart watch. The goal was to raise $250,000 to enable the design to be manufactured and sold broadly. The company reached its goal in just 56 minutes. After meeting Tahmasebzadeh at an ARM event in September (see photo right), I caught up with him to get insights into the inspiration, the design, the engineering challenges and his vision for wearables.


Q: How did you get the idea, first of all, to design a wearable and, second, to make it a modular smart watch?Blocks co-founder Ali Tahmasebzadeh


Tahmasebzadeh: I was very interested in gesture control and different ways to control smartphones by small wrist and hand finger movements. Initially I was thinking about a wristband that could identify finger taps in order to control music. I teamed up with a friend of mine, Serge Vasylechko, and we were looking into more sensors to include in this wearable device. He was interested in sensors related to health and fitness, and I was looking for contact-less payment, gesture control, and cellular connectivity. We asked a lot of people about their ideal wearable and sensors and functionalities, and since people have different lifestyles, they had different expectations. There was no ideal wearable that worked for everyone. Late in 2013, I came up with the idea of modularity, which solves this problem.


Q: Why Kickstarter versus another funding mechanism?


Tahmasebzadeh: Kickstarter helps you to gather a community and establish your brand early in the market before competitors. It allows you to get early feedback and build your device based on what people really want. Getting a company to the Kickstarter stage already needs one to two years of work and at least couple of hundred thousand dollars of investment. Crowd funding is the place to show traction and demand in order to raise investment from venture capitalists.


Q: Tell us about the hardware design and why you made certain design decisions and components selections.


Tahmasebzadeh: Other than requirements, the decisions are mostly based on reducing the risk, selecting components that are more readily available and more known to developers, being able to get more supportive partners, and having more development resources. As a start-up, you always need to make decisions that will take the company forward.


Q: Why did you pick the Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 400? And is it used in the modules outside the core module?


Tahmasebzadeh: As a start-up we want to use the components which are reliable and tested. Snapdragon 400 running Cortex-A7 is used in most of Android-based smart watches. Outside of the core module, there is an ARM-Cortex-M0 processor in each additional module.


Q: Wearables is a crowded market. How do you differentiate with your technology?


Tahmasebzadeh: It is about making a wearable that actually does something essential for each person. Wearables are not a must-to-have at this stage, but there is always a unique need and a unique function that can make it an essential device for everyone. Modularity is about letting people find and build a wearable that actually is useful for them.


Q: What technical and market problems are you addressing?


Tahmasebzadeh:  On the technical side, it is something that has not been done before. There is a lot of electronics and design challenges. Regarding the market, the whole idea of modularity is new, and there is no success story in a different modular product. We want to make sure people understand the benefits of modularity. Not only are we making a product but we’re making a new way to interact with technology. It is introducing a whole new culture.


Blocks-core-module-electronics-Qualcomm-Snapdragon-400-SoC.0.jpgQ: What security requirements are to be considered for this design?


Tahmasebzadeh: There are two main considerations: contact-less payments and data. We are relying on our expert partners for making sure it lives up to highest standards.


Q: What would you consider the biggest challenges you’ve confronted with this design?


Tahmasebzadeh: The biggest challenge has been the connectors and industrial design. They have a lot of requirements: low noise, high bandwidth, high number of channels, rotation, it needs to be small enough to be comfortable but have enough space for the electronics. It must have a low manufacturing cost and low number of parts. These make it very hard, but that’s where our know-how and intellectual property come in.


Q: How is this market evolving and what new technologies do you see coming down the road?


Tahmasebzadeh: We will move towards more connected wearables, with more essential useful sensors and less friction in controlling and interacting with them.


Q: What’s your roadmap for things like new services, new devices, technology integration in other devices etc.?


Tahmasebzadeh: BLOCKS is an open platform. Going forward, partners and third-party developers are the most important part of the BLOCKS ecosystem.


Q: How much of your inspiration came from Project Ara?


Tahmasebzadeh: The idea was born before Google announced Project Ara, ( Google's Project Ara: Implications for Embedded Design) however as soon as we saw Project Ara, it was a sign that we were working on a serious project and even Google believes in modular consumer electronics.


Q: When Project Ara was put on hold, did that give you cause for concern about the concept of modularity?


Tahmasebzadeh: Not at all. The fact that Google has put itself forward to take on this brilliant project is a good sign. There are always hardships and technical problems that cause delays, but modularity is close.


Q: You’re still studying engineering, correct? What made you want to build a startup at the same time you’re finishing your degree?


Tahmasebzadeh: I did a bachelors in bioengineering and I am graduating this month. I started BLOCKS when I was in my second year, at the age of 20. I’ve always wanted to work on things that will be practical. I started doing academic research in high school and had published books and scientific papers before BLOCKS, but I was looking to make a device that could be used in people’s daily life. A lot of students think they need to wait until they finish studying and then start thinking about a start-up or job. I simply couldn’t wait for it.


Q: Given your journey so far, what advice do you have for other engineers who want to create their own technologies/companies?


Tahmasebzadeh: Don’t wait for the perfect idea; don’t wait for the perfect situation, perfect team, perfect technology. It will never happen. Start working on something you are passionate about, and make something that people want. Be open to change.

ARM TechCon 2015: IoT, Mobiles, Wearables and Trust in a Connected World


Build your own router

Posted by jensbauer Oct 11, 2015



Today, most people have an always-online internet connection.

That means many people (including me) decide to run their own (web / mail / git / ftp / other) servers.

It's easy to get the needed equipment, but if not choosing carefully, you might end up with a very slow system.

One of the keys to a high performance home server system is to pick a router, which does not eat all your bandwidth.


This will not be a step-by-step tutorial, because you might not want to build exactly what I want to build.

Instead, I provide links to all the required resources for building your own router (and customizing it to include exactly those features you want - see IPFire and OpenWRT).



Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.




Recently, an open-source project called Banana Pi added an on-board Gigabit switch to their famous board.

This results in a perfect choice for a router:

It's able to interface directly to a S-ATA hard disk and various options for connecting this board to your server, without compromising security or bandwidth.

The Banana Pi router allows you to pick any firmware you like; including OpenWRT and IPFire.

The GPIO pins on the board allows you to interface to your favourite microcontroller.

A HDMI connector allows you to connect a monitor directly to the board (how many other 5-port Gbit routers with WiFi allows you to do this?)

-We've seen all the above before; except from when combined with the switch, which is the special part that makes the big difference.


Connecting a Cortex-M microcontroller will allow you to go completely bananas and have a small Cortex-M server, which communicates with the Banana Pi router.

For instance, you could make this microcontroller detect spam (via web-forms) and automatically block those IP addresses, so they do not waste bandwidth and CPU time on your servers.

Communicating with the Banana Pi can be done using your favourite interface: SPI, CAN bus, I2C or UART.

If those do not suit you, you can also roll your own by using the GPIO pins.

You can add a bunch of extra LEDs easily by using the GPIO pins as well; these could be used for things like CPU usage, status indicators and indicators to draw your attention, etc.


If you like having a live web-cam, you can connect a CMOS camera and point it to your window or office; the camera only cost around $5 (shown below).

ericgowland recently wrote a series of artciles on Sensors to Servers; I find the Banana Pi R1 of particular interest regarding this topic.

On this topic, the Banana Pi R1 could be used as your IoT-hub by adding different wireless interfaces (for instance the nRF51 or RF based modules) via the GPIO header.

As you can imagine, this board has several other use cases than just a router. It's definitely interesting for running some smart servers on it too.

It could be used as a low-cost NAS (using the S-ATA drive or an external USB drive) or for streaming your movies to your TV-box; there are plenty of possibilities.

If you like having music on your bathroom, set up icecast to stream to your entire house.




Board support


You can find firmware and information on, which offers a specific forum for each of their boards.



Pricing and availability


The price for this cool board is only about $65, maybe less if you can find it elsewhere, so it's very affordable.

You'll most likely need to purchase the power supply seperately and a chassis if you wish.

-It is probably a good idea to find a 5V / 3A power supply and not use the 'official' 5V / 2A power supply if you plan on attaching a hard disk.

I've found Banana Pi R1 available on eBay (for instance this one); which is probably the easiest way to purchase one for most of us.

It's also possible to find more information on how to get one from newegg on

A number of accessories are available from their site as well.

And if you can read chinese, might be helpful; they have their own shop too.



Other stuff


You can add an aluminum heat sink, if you think the CPU will be doing a lot of work. For this you'll also need some heat sink compound.

If you do this, make sure you only apply a very thin layer (less than 1/10mm) of heat sink compound.

If in doubt, the amount of heat sink compound should be the size of one drop of water, then you should spread it all over the top of the A20 using a sharp knife or a piece of stiff carton.

Finally push the heat sink down on the A20 firmly and leave a heavy object on top of the heat sink for several hours until the heat sink compound is hardened.



Technical specifications




CPUAllwinner A20Dual-Core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
GPUARM Mali-400MP2Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
RAM1GB DDR3Shared with GPU

2.5" S-ATA connector (Up to 2TB)

Micro SD card slot (Max. 64GB)

Supports S-ATA1 / S-ATA2 (1.5 Gbit/sec / 3.0 Gbit/sec)

FlasheMMC(Currently the boards are without eMMC, use SD card instead)

4 x LAN 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec

1 x WAN 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec

The switch is a Broadcom BCM53125


IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi module with

  2 on-board connectors for extrernal antennas

11n: Can reach 150 Mbps.

11g: 6/9/12/18/24/36/48/54 Mbpx (dynamic).

11b: 1/2/5.5/11 Mbps (dynamic)

Video Input

1 x Camera CSI interface (multiplexed with 21 GPIO pins)

Supports 720p@30FPS and 1080p@30FPS

Video Output

1 x LCD_RGB 24-bit (multiplexed with 36 GPIO pins)

LVDS. Supports resolutions up to 1920x1200 pixels
Video Output1 x HDMIHDCP transmitter. Supports HDMI 1.4
Nerd Ports

13x2 pin GPIO block:

  1 x SPI0 with two CS pins

  1 x CAN bus

  1 x I2C (TWI2)

  2 x UART (UART2, UART3)

  1 x PWM


4x2 pin GPIO block:

  1 x UART7

  + 2 GPIO pins


2x1 GPIO block:

  1 x UART0

Audio Input1 x On-board Microphone
Audio Output1 x 3.5mm Headset Jack SocketSupports up to 100dB SNR during DAC playback

1 x USB 2.0 OTG

1 x USB 2.0 Host Type A

Supports High Speed (480 Mbit/sec)

Support EHCI/OHCI-compliant hosts

IR Receiver1 x on-board IR Sensor

1 x Power Button

1 x Reset Button


1 x User Defined LED (green)

1 x Power Status LED (red)

1 x Ethernet Status LED (blue)

Power Supply5V / 2.7A via Micro-USB port

PSU must supply 2.7A when a S-ATA hard disk is connected.

1.2A is required for CPU+SD card+USB Host.

Dimensions140mm x 100mm

A whole lot of Linux variants.

IPFire, Armbian and Bananian are probably the most interesting.

Armbian, Bananian, Raspbian, Arch, Lubuntu, openSUSE, fedora

IPFire, OpenWRT


...and more...

Package Dimensions15 cm x 12 cm x 3 cm(5.91 in x 4.72 in x 1.18 in)
Package Weight0.5 kg(1.10 lb)



You can find more information on, including connections, drawings and schematics.

(Thank you to Lamobo for providing additional information)



Related articles


Sensors to Servers Demo (Part 1)

Sensors to Servers Demo (Part 2)

Sensors to Servers Demo (Part 3)

Are you curious to know more about the exciting new Windows 10 IoT platform for Embedded ARM Devices? Join Daniel Lang (CTO, Toradex Inc.) as he demystifies Windows 10 IoT for you in his speaker session at the upcoming ARM TechCon 2015, one of the world’s leading platforms for system developers working on the ARM® architecture.

ARM-TechCon 2015-Daniel-Lang-Toradex.jpgWindows 10 IoT marks the first time in the history when the Windows OS will be simultaneously used across the entire range of computing platforms, from the smaller mobile phones to our household PCs, servers and even devices like Xbox and HoloLens. Join the 50-minute Technical Session conducted by Daniel to understand Windows 10 IoT and know about its advantages and limitations. You will also learn about the developer experience and how you can gain access to low level interfaces like GPIOs, I2C and SPI during the conference. Get your passes now!

An update from Phill Smith, Senior Marketing Manager with ARM's IoTBU, fresh from the floor of Maker Faire New York:

I am now on my way back to Cambridge after visiting the 2015 edition of Maker Faire New York.  ARM sponsored a post set-up, pre-exhibition reception for the Makers on Friday night. This was a great chance to meet some of the most innovative people around and chat about what they're building and what their challenges are. I'm particularly interested in wearable devices just now, where power consumption is a recurring theme. We had some demos running the new mbed OS on hand - this has been designed specifically to work hand-in-hand with the hardware to maximise power efficiency, so watch this space!


I spent Saturday on the show floor, and it is clear 3D printing is rapidly improving with all shapes and sizes of thing off the vast range of printers and kits now available.  Couple 3D printing with easy to use electronics like Arduino, mbed, Raspberry Pi or Beagle boards, and easy access to large scale manufacturing in China, and we are going to see some really innovative products emerging from today’s Makers and the start-ups they create.


Some of the interesting ideas that stood out to me at the show were:


A tiny quadcopter made by seeed and called Crazyflie 2.0 running on an STM32F405 with an AR marker tag attached (similar to the tag used in Magic Mirrors demo from the ARM Mali team) which is able to track the drones position using a simple webcam.  This is a really innovative approach to short range point-to-point navigation, which could unlock a whole range of applications.


SatNOGS is a network of open source satellite tracking ground stations.  The rig on show consisted of 3D printed cogs driven by a DC motor fitted with a magnet sensor for extreme precision, rather than stepper motors.  The helical antennas were suspended by plastic plumbing pipe while the tripod was constructed of metal tube.  The whole thing is driven by a Beagle Board connected to the cloud over Ethernet to receive tracking coordinates.


Ever arrived home and just not had the energy to make diner?  Well, the Food by Print: Chef E One could be the answer.  The prototype consists of a series of tubes that could hold almost any ingredients from slices of bread, peanut butter, jelly, pasta etc. which are all assembled on the moving plate below. Today’s prototype makes sandwiches but development for deep fat frying and boiling water is under way.  A peak at the back of the machine reveals a Raspberry Pi!


That's just some of the crazy, brilliant stuff going on at Maker Faire. There was an incredible buzz all weekend, and it is impossible to come away from this show without a tremendous sense of excitement. My colleague woodsy will be posting his summary soon, so watch for his picks from the show floor, and his big takeaways from the event.

At the beginning of September Freescale announced their key contribution of FNET to ARM® mbed™ OS. Just as the Offspark acquisition allowed mbed OS to provide a core mbed TLS stack under the Apache 2.0 license, this contribution will allow us to integrate a core network stack under the Apache 2.0 license as part of mbed OS. This contribution is a perfect example of the collaboration model we envision for mbed OS, where partners and the community can join their efforts to make mbed OS an even better platform.


The FNET software will serve as the basis for the new TCP/IP stack in mbed OS and will enhance the platform’s existing connectivity capabilities. What this really means for mbed OS developers is the availability of a solid network stack that can be used both for IPv4 and IPv6 environments. The FNET stack is designed for constrained embedded environments and the way it is structured fits well with the core design philosophy for mbed OS.


So what will happen now? This contribution is just the starting point. In the following months, FNET will be used as the basis for a new IP stack module for mbed OS. When that initial work has finished, mbed OS will switch from using the lwIP stack to using our new network module based on FNET. The new stack will complement our existing 6LoWPAN and Thread technologies, without interruption to our standards support. Tighter integration and combination between the stacks is something to look at on the road ahead.

Check this post out on DIY Audio.  Would you believe that ARM Cortex-M4 or Cortex-M7 MCU can do audio DSP?  This is using DSP Concepts' graphical user interface.  Why write DSP code when Audio Weaver has done all the optimization for you?  The modularized architecture let's you design any system you want.  Your work is graphically self-documented, and you can achieve your goal in 10% of the time.


This DIY example is a sophisticated speaker cross-over design done very elegantly and simply.


Lots more audio applications can be achieved.  Imagine sophisticated audio effects.  How about playback enhancements?  How about microphone enhancements?  How about medical acoustical applications?  With an exceptional development environment, you are not bogged down by the code.  Unleash your imagination and creativity.

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It's that time again

The Nordic Global Tech Tour is about to hit the road again. This time it is all about the goodies inside our nRF52 Series for Bluetooth Smart and what they enable you to do. The Nordic Global Tech Tour (GTT) is always an exciting and fun time for us here at Nordic. It is the marker that years of hard work on a new IC family and supporting software are complete, and we’re ready to take it on the road to spread the good news. It is eagerly anticipated by the staff engineers from R&D that we take with us as it is a unique opportunity for them to directly engage with developers using or considering using our devices.

Developers love it

We first embarked on our GTTs with the launch of the nRF51 series some 3 years ago. It was a bold step sending so many of our highly valuable and hard-working R&D engineers on the road to deliver a masterclass in the nRF51 and its benefits to you, our developers. It’s a lot of cost it’s a lot of logistics and a lot of planning. But it’s also a lot of fun.

But my, it was well worth it, every location was over booked and we received an incredible response from attendees saying this sort of high-value technical, marketing free training was exactly what you wanted.We continued to do local Tech Tours subsequent to the first GTT and expanded the topics each time to cover different demands.

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Getting you up and running on the nRF52

The GTT this time around is of course about our new nRF52 Series Bluetooth Smart SoC and getting you familiar with its features so that you are well placed to get up and running and doing great things with it as soon as possible.

The nRF52 Series, simply put, is the most powerful, capable Bluetooth Smart SoC out there. It has a Cortex-M4F at its heart taking Bluetooth Smart application possibilities to a completely new level. But we have gone to great lengths to make the nRF52 and its internal features as easy to use as possible and also to make them perfectly suited to the goals of ultra-low power operation. Our design engineers will explain the philosophy of using the nRF52 for maximum performance as needed and also how to consume the minimum possible power.

Some important features will get special attention such as the advanced automatic power control schemes and taking advantage of them. The nRF52 peripherals have their own dedicated on-chip regulators and clock sources. This allows only exactly the peripherals required to be energized as needed with all non-required peripherals and CPU disabled. You will learn how to set up a communication interface (I²C module) to read data from an external source and store it into SRAM at periodic intervals without the need of CPU intervention. This specific example will be shown to relate to all peripherals on the device as they follow the same common design philosophy. After this example you will then see it used in conjunction with the Programmable Peripheral Interconnect (PPI) and EasyDMA to link up peripherals together and to memory thus creating ultra-low power operation and task completion without the CPU being involved.



Bringing NFC to Bluetooth pairing

There are some very special features that make the nRF52 stand out from the Bluetooth Smart crowd. One special case is the on-chip support for NFC tag. We will show you how this feature, we believe, is going to be the de-facto standard for Bluetooth pairing in IoT. It just makes the whole process simpler and safer. Our engineers will run through this feature and demonstrate its simplicity in operation and how easy it is to add NFC touch to pair to your design.



Software support and real applications

At Nordic we know it isn’t just about great ICs we recognize the value of good reliable, supporting software, and lots of it to help you achieve your aims. The nRF52 SDK will be covered and used extensively in support of demonstrating the nRF52’s great hardware features. The SDK covers everything from low-level peripheral drivers all the way up to full-blown Bluetooth Smart applications.

SoftDevices are a Nordic concept, fully encapsulated protocol stacks with associated APIs that run in their own reserved memory space thus ensuring complete logical and physical separation from application code. During a walkthrough of a Bluetooth Smart application we show you how to configure and use a SoftDevice, specifically the S132 SoftDevice. The S132 is a perfect choice for this as it supports concurrency for all 4 Bluetooth Smart roles: Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer. Once you become familiar with the S132 in this session you’ll find it an easy switch over to the other SoftDevices for ANT and ANT/Bluetooth Smart combination SoftDevices.


Have your say

In addition to getting a day crammed full of great information, examples and tips. You get a unique opportunity to talk to our R&D people give them your thoughts and ask them questions. We’re always willing to listen and always value what you guys tell us. Who knows? Maybe your input could influence a new chip design? Wouldn’t that be cool?

The Nordic Global Tech Tour kicks off in Boston, US on October 5th 2015 and runs through 30 separate locations until December 10th in Osaka. It is free to attend and we’ll even feed you and supply you with beverages! All you need to do is register at the link below.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Click on the link below to register for this year's nRF52 Global Tech Tour


This is the third and final instalment of the Sensors to Servers demonstration blog. Today we’ll talk about the server side of the story, and the visualisation we provided to client devices.



One of the catalysts for building this demonstration was the availability of real, ARMv8a 64-bit server silicon. For our first deployment of the demo at the Consumer Electronics Show® 2015 in Las Vegas, we were able to get an Applied Micro® X-C1 development kit, a board featuring a real, production ready ARMv8-A 64-bit server on a chip (the ***883208 XGene® SoC). What was particularly impressive about this platform was just how easy it was to install our choice of Linux distribution and Java. We were ready to deploy our software within an hour of powering up the server. For anyone who has worked to get a Linux distribution running on an ARM powered system over the past several years, this is a significant mark of progress. Linaro and other initiatives have really made a difference.



We chose to run Ubuntu® Linux 14.4. Following some relatively straight forward instructions to boot and install this, we used Ubuntu’s built in package manager to install Java… and that was that. The mbed Device Server is a Java application. We wrote an additional Java app that used Device Server’s Restful API to subscribe to all inbound notifications. This app then logged these to a local SQLite database.

To really bring the data to life, we built a series of rich web pages with Javascript. Our custom Java app used the Jetty framework to host these pages. More details on the pages can be found in the next section.


Whilst our server ran on a local network on the booth, it could just as easily have been deployed remotely – as we demonstrated, the requisite software is available for this application and many others. Whilst our server was a development kit, real rack-mountable ARM powered servers are now coming to market. Connecting this demonstration to a cloud-hosted mbed Device Server and client application would have been just as straight forward.



We chose to implement our data visualisation as a series of rich web pages. Any ARM powered Smartphone, Tablet or other client device (Chromebook, Smart TV etc) would thus be able to display the live data from the booth. The ubiquity of these devices and the accessibility they give to anything that is online is incredible – we didn’t need to develop any special software on the client side to provide an extremely rich experience of the data from our sensors.



We developed some of our own custom visualisations, but also used Flot and Heatmap.js, two freely available online Javascript libraries, to present the data. Heatmaps were drawn on top of floor plans of the booth, with ‘hot’ representing more frequent activations of the various presence sensors. Most other data was presented either ‘weather map’ style on top of the booth floor plan or as a graph drawn by Flot. We also highlighted some specific statistics, such as the noisiest sensor station, or most frequently used door.  A sample of the visualisation is provided below.




That concludes our blog series on the Sensors to Servers demonstration – an end-to-end IoT system. We hope that providing some of the detail of how this system was built was informative, but also that it might help inspire or advance your own projects. An instrumented trade show booth is an interesting demonstration, but the real world applications of this technology are the real story. As an engineer I also found a real change here in the difficulty of developing a system like this compared to when I started as a young intern many years ago. It is easier to obtain development platforms suitable for your application, easier to deploy software to these platforms, and easier to connect this software to distributed networks and services. All this allows much more freedom to focus on the applications of this technology, and has widened the audience of makers, developers and entrepreneurs who can access it. Exciting times! Thanks for reading, and watch for future updates on this and other ARM demos.

SAN FRANCISCO—If you’re looking for something fun and exciting to do this weekend, take the Qualcomm challenge at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon. dragonboard 410c.png

The hackathon is a 24-hour contest open to innovators who can devise solutions using various resources and means in one spot: Pier 70 here. (Check out some of the winners from 2014).

Qualcomm's challenge offers hackathon innovators the opportunity to create something that includes a smartphone-class processing capability.

The challenge is this: Build a multimedia-rich IOT application with the DragonBoard 410c from Arrow Electronics , featuring Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. Three prizes will be awarded ($3,000, $1,500, $500) for teams that make the most of the multimedia capabilities, which include PC-class graphics support, 1080p HD video playback and capture with H.264 (AVC) and advanced image processing.

Here is a link to information about the Qualcomm challenge. And watch this space in the future for the winners and their innovations.


Related stories:


Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 410 based on 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 & details on AnandTech's Q&A with ARM's Cortex-A53 Lead Architect.

That Just Happened (Aug. 13): Learning the Alphabet; Qualcomm's New Snapdragon; De Geus on Security

Qualcomm and the sixth sense


Is it possible to design a smart wearable with an 8 week battery life? To find out, we went and built one. This week at Dreamforce we're demonstrating mbed OS running on a Cortex-M3 with real-life 8 week battery time. This shows the benefit of fully designing mbed OS for energy efficiency, from the ground up, matched with the latest in low-power Cortex-M silicon. This is all part of a new ARM mbed wearables reference design. Stay tuned, we'll be providing more details at TechCon.

Over the last few years, we have been building an experimental smart wearable to explore new concepts and technologies that could contribute to the internet of things. We set ourselves some stretch goals; it would last months on a battery, connect and interact with all your devices seamlessly, enable new forms of trusted interactions and ultimately aim to fade in to the background. What we’ve come up with for a watch design itself is pretty interesting, but the experiment is working too; some of the concepts and technologies it has helped us develop are already making their way in to mbed OS this year, some will appear in products over the next year or so, and some ideas will never leave the bench but almost certainly teach us something!


It has given us 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. We’ve now taken a complete watch design from concept through to manufacturing a few hundred working units ourselves, and learned a huge amount. Ultimately, we think these learnings will be interesting and helpful to others.


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Live demonstration of the wearables reference design integrating heart rate measurement with at Dreamforce, come by this week and see it for yourself.

Hardware interoperability is a long-standing issue. Ideally different computer and microcontroller boards expose their internals the way it fits their capabilities best. On the other hand, ideally peripherals should be reusable between platforms. There were always some platforms which were ahead the others in terms of interoperability (think Raspberry Pi, or platforms with "shields" in general), but that still just meant reusability in a very narrow sense.


Recently an initiative by Seeed Studio, the hardware creator platform based in Shenzhen, came up with Grove to take another stab at the problem, but now from the other side - the peripherals instead of the platform. Grove is based on a standardized 4-pin connector, standardized PCB sizes for the peripherals, and adapter boards & shields for all the most popular platforms (and beyond). This comprehensive approach enables Grove to immensely extensible on both sides - the platforms and the add-ons. They even have made a Grove-focused remix of the BeagleBone - the BeagleBone Green, with two onboard I2C Grove connectors.


Working at VIA, I thought it would be interesting to bring Grove to our embedded ARM boards as well. This would potentially allow enterprise and industrial users to take advantage of the quickly expanding Grove peripheral offering. A simple Grove break-out board was easy enough to put together and get manufactured by Seeed Studio - the GroveHat. It was great to see it working on the first try:




To demo the system, I've added an LCD with RGB Backlight, and a system monitoring script to display current CPU and memory usage of a system. I can imagine such simple tool be helpful for example for headless systems to use instead of screens to display simple metrics.



This break-out board makes digital and I2C peripherals available for system, both under Linux and Android. The latter is enabled by the VIA Smart ETK, and as far as I know, this is the first (and so far only) Android system that can use Grove! Besides this very simple version, I'm already thinking about an expanded version which includes serial connector, and hopefully pulse-width-modulation (but that's for the future).


In the meantime, I'm trying more interesting use cases with the compatible Grove peripherals, checking out if this would work well enough for industrial IoT and connected devices.


For a much more detailed writeup, please check this blogpost! Also find GroveHat on Tindie, the indie hardware marketplace.

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