There are many small and compact Arm Linux SBCs, starting from the NanoPi NEO to the Raspberry Pi Zero or Rock Pi S, but lately a smaller board based on the MStar MSC313E Cortex-A7 SoC from BreadBee with a 64MB RAM appeared, enough to run embedded Linux.

Despite MStar MSC313E being a camera processor, the camera interface does not seem exposed in the board, so it looks to be designed to control I/Os over Ethernet. There’s no WiFi for now, but there may eventually be a future model that replaced the Ethernet jack with an Ampak WiFi module.

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/14/breadbee-tiny-embedded-linux-sbc-mstar-msc313e-camera-soc/

BreadBee specifications:

  • SoC – MStar MSC313E Arm Cortex-A7 processor @ ~1.0 GHz with NEON, FPU, 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 16MB SPI NOR flash
  • Networking – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x Micro USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 24-pin dual-row header (2.54mm pitch) with  SPI, I2C, 4x 10-bit ADC, 3x UART, GPIOs
    • 21-pin header (1.27mm pitch) with SD/SDIO, USB 2.0, GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC, Watchdog timer
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 32 x 30mm

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/14/breadbee-tiny-embedded-linux-sbc-mstar-msc313e-camera-soc/

Raspberry Pi increase in IoT significance

More and more engineers and technology providers believe that it is suitable for industrial applications in the real world. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion about the use of Raspberry Pi in industry, most of which emphasize that Raspberry Pi is a great tool for engineering experiments, but not so much for industrial applications in the real world. While it is true that the Raspberry Pi is not considered the best choice for mission-critical applications, it is also true that the Raspberry Pi is no longer a platform for experimentation.

Latest Raspberry Pi 4 development board, equipped with a 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). can be chosen from 1GB / 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Raspberry Pi 4 continues the tradition of one of the most versatile and cheapest computer devices. It can be used for virtually anything from proprietary IoT solutions to a full-fledged desktop computer. The new Malinka has two micro-HDMI ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 type A ports and two USB 2.0 type A ports.

Industrial use of Raspberry Pi 4

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0
Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0

Over 10 million Raspberry Pi’s have been sold and the Raspberry Pi is likely to stay as a new standard in the industry. Official Raspbian OS is free operating system based on Linux Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation. ModBerry devices are compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories, supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. ModBerry M500 now with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ / Raspberry Pi 4 Model B support.

The new Banana Pi BPI-F2P has the same layout and list of functions as the BPI-F2S. The biggest difference is the addition of two serial ports and the addition of a new Power-over-Ethernet function on one of the two 10/100 Ethernet ports. Meanwhile, the FPGA connector on the optional Artix-7 FPGA module has been removed.

The Banana Pi design also revealed Banana Pi BPI-EAI80 AIoT SBC, which does not work under Linux, but to some extent looks like an array. Separate reports state on on BPI-F2P and BPI-EAI80 AIoT. BPI-F2P and BPI-F2S appear to be supported by the Banana Pi community, but there is no indication that they are open source hardware boards like most Banana Pi SBCs. The BPI-F2 diagram has not yet been published.

Banana Pi BPI-F2S

Characteristics Of The SP7021

  • Easy-to-use LQFP package.
  • Quad-core 1GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, plus A926 and 8051 cores.
  • Single 3.3V power*.
  • Integrated 128MB or 512MB DDR3 DRAM.
  • Eight 8-bit 5V-tolerant IO ports, plus one high-current port.
  • Flexible Peripheral Multiplexing (PinMux).
  • Dual PinMuxable Ethernet MACs.
  • Four PinMuxable Enhanced UARTs, plus one console UART.
  • Industrial operating temperature range: -40C ~ +85C.
  • Low EMI simplifies certification.
  • Modern, Yocto-based Linux distribution.
  • 10-year supply guarantee.
  • Robust ready-to-run modern Linux distribution available

Source: https://www.electronics-lab.com/banana-pi-bpi-f2p-low-power-iot/

Industrial use of market Banana Pi-like SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

In 2019, with the premiere of Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry M500 device with the latest revision of this popular SBC, further enhancing the performance of their device. New 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). ModBerry M500 can now be configured from 2GB / 4GB and new 8GB option of LPDDR4 SDRAM.

Revised ModBerry M500 features Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.0, two microHDMI ports supporting OpenGL ES 3.x and 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video. The device is fully compatible with previous versions of Rasbperry Pi based Industrial IoT devices and accessories from TECHBASE.

Pricing and availability of 8GB RAM and M.2/SSD options

ModBerry M500 8GB option has been added to configurator here. SSD/M.2 option is currently undergoing testing – preliminary devices are available on demand, via Live Chat or contact form at https://iiot-shop.com/

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a versatile SBC that requires active cooling to maximize its potential. There are several options to combine several Raspberry Pi units, the latest one is CloverPI. Manufactured by IPTerra, the Clover PI has four 40-pin GPIO connectors for connecting four Raspberry Pi units.

CloverPI is actually the 4th edition and is properly called CloverPI 1.4. The board also has four 6-pin Ethernet connectors, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and two power connectors. It’s unclear why IPTerra needed two power connectors instead of one. CloverPI 1.4 also has a 5-port Ethernet switch.

CloverPi (Raspberry Pi cluster) features

  • Backplane compatible with any Raspberry Pis containing the standardized GPIO pins
  • Integrated power for four raspberry pies
  • Individual power switches for each raspberry pi
  • Individually addressable RGB LED for each raspberry pi
  • Link light for Network for each raspberry pi
  • Network header for each raspberry pi
  • 5 Port gigabit switch: four ports for raspberry Pi’s one for uplink

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloverpi/cloverpi-take-your-raspberry-pi-to-the-next-level

Industrial use of Raspberry Pi 4

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

Over 10 million Raspberry Pi’s have been sold and the Raspberry Pi is likely to stay as a new standard in the industry. Official Raspbian OS is free operating system based on Linux Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation. ModBerry devices are compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories, supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. ModBerry M500 now with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ / Raspberry Pi 4 Model B support.

When the news came out that ventilator shortages could be a problem, many saw the need for alternatives to the big manufacturers and rushed to create them. Unlike industrial projects, these projects were open and shared. Currently, Robert Reed and his group are starting to systematically evaluate the ranking of over 80 such open source projects.

Their work is a milestone in public research and development efforts to solve problems. For many ventilator builders, the group recognized the need for independent evaluation and testing of various projects. This control provides important feedback to both designers and future builders. This is a service you can expect from government regulators if they can act very quickly.

Reid and colleagues Geoff Mulligan, Lauria Clarke, Juan E. Villacres Perez and Avinash Baskaran to help to learn about these studies. This includes submission of modular team designs that allow distributed production and unique suggestions for testing and monitoring these systems. This is called VentMon.

Industrial Arduino-like devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilatr. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

A few years ago, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 212 processor for smart speakers. This post has nothing to do with this, but strangely enough, the company has decided to reuse the 212 number in its new Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT modem, “World’s most power-efficient single-mode 3GPP Release 14 NB2 (NB-IoT) modem“, as read.

Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT modem requires less than 1 microamp (1uA) sleep current and has a very low cutoff at system level (on the order of 2.2V) with the ability to adjust energy consumption for various source power levels It is said to support voltage.

Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem specifications:

  • MCU Core – Arm Cortex M3 @ up to 204 MHz
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 3GPP Rel.14 LTE capabilities: Cat-NB2 with multi-carrier NPRACH and Paging, Cat-NB2 Release Assistance Indication (RAI), Cat-NB2 with larger TBS and 2 HARQ processes
    • Peak Speeds – DL: 127 kbps; UL: 158.5 kbps
    • Frequency Bands (700Mhz to 2.1 GHz for global roaming)
      • LTE low bands: B5, B68, B8, B12, B13, B14, B17, B18, B19, B20, B26, B28, B71, B85
      • LTE mid bands: B1, B65, B70, B2, B25, B66, B3, B4
    • Global Emergency Services Support – ECID, OTDOA (LTE-based positioning)
  • Network Protocols – IPv4/IPv6 stack with TCP and UDP, TLS, HTTPS, PPP, SSL, DTSL, FTP, ping, HTTTP, MQTT, OMA Lightweight M2M, CoAP
  • I/O Interfaces – 2x I2C, 2x SPI, 3x UART, up to 26 GPIOs, 4-channel ADC
  • Security – Hardware-based Crypto Engine, Secure Key provisioning, Secure Boot
  • Integrated Chipsets
    • Qualcomm 9205 baseband IC
    • SMB231 charger IC
    • PME9205 power management IC
    • SDR105 radio transceiver and front-end IC
    • WCD9306 audio codec IC
  • Supply Voltage – 2.2V to 4.5V
  • Temperature Range – -40 to 85°C
  • Package – < 10x10mm

Source: https://www.qualcomm.com/products/qualcomm-212-lte-modem

Industrial use of LTE modems

With Compute Module 3+ options from Raspberry Pi, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry 500/9500 industrial computers. From now on the ModBerry 500/9500 can be supported with extended eMMC, up to 32GB. Higher memory volume brings new features available for ModBerry series. ModBerry supports wide range of industrial grade extension cards, i.e. wireless modems with 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth and many more.

 ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+
ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+

Higher performance of ModBerry 500/9500 with extended eMMC flash memory, up to 32GB , powered by quad-core Cortex A53 processor allows the device to smoothly run Windows 10 IoT Core system, opening up many possibilities for data management, remote control and visualisation.

One of the main problems during the COVID-19 crisis is the lack of adequate ventilator support for patients, a key component of equipment that has a major impact on the breathing of critically ill patients. It’s clear that more ventilators are needed because there aren’t enough devices currently in the hospital for all potential patients who can get infected. Developers use existing creation tools to participate in service calls, for example trying to create a cheap open source Arduino-based ventilators.

Another solution is the AgVa phone ventilator produced by the Indian based company AgVa Healthcare which used one tool we already have: smartphone. The AgVa Phone Ventilator, known officially as the AgVa Advance Pure, is a portable and mobile ventilator system that does the work of a typical ventilator. The vision around the ventilator is that patients should not always have to be stuck to the hospitals all the time.

The primary focus of the ventilator is to provide mechanical ventilation for everyone in need. Its small package ensures easy storage and transportation, whereas its intuitive user interface makes it extremely easy to use even for a non trained person. Finally due to its phenomenally low cost and no need for infrastructure requirement makes it ideal for scaling up the ICU.

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/09/agva-phone-ventilator-connects-to-a-smartphone-to-fight-covid-19/

Industrial Arduino-like devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilatr. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery powered sensors market growth

The lifetime of IoT sensors varies greatly: some last a year years, others 10, the first being the most realistic. When organizations need to deploy engineers to install new batteries in sensors and employ staff to monitor them, the benefits of technology itself are beginning to run out.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

It is estimated that in 2020 nearly 31 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things. Such forecasts provide ample opportunities, especially for producers associated with the products that make up it, and they are intensified by the developing IoT technology.

Source: https://globenergia.pl/co-laczy-internet-rzeczy-i-perowskity-fotowoltaika-do-zastosowan-wewnetrznych/

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation.

Pros and cons of using Raspberry Pi 4 in IoT

Every fan of new technologies has heard of small single-board computers (SBC) in the form of Raspberry Pi 4. Raspberry debuted on the market in many different versions, and the current model is Model 4B. A lot of people got infected with it for DIY, programming or Linux. But new board comes with variety of pros and cons, as compared to previous RPi3 versions.

Industrial use of market Raspberry Pi 4 SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

The ODROID-C4 is a new generation single board computer that is more energy efficient and faster than the ODROID-C2, which was introduced as the world’s first inexpensive 64-bit ARM computer more than four years ago. ODROID concept and format mimic Raspberry Pi 4 but features extended capabilities as a next level competitor to the most popular SBC on the market

The main ODROID-C4 processor is built on a Cortex-A55 quad-core cluster with a new generation Mali-G31 graphics processor. The A55 core uses basic heat sinks and operates at 2.0 GHz without thermal throttling, making it a solid and quiet computer. The performance of multi-core processors is about 40% faster than ODROID-C2, and the system DRAM memory performance is 50% faster.

RPi4 & ODROID-C4 comparison: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/24/raspberry-pi-4-vs-odroid-c4-features-comparison/

Benchmark comparison. Source: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-c4/

Raspberry Pi increase in IoT significance

More and more engineers and technology providers believe that it is suitable for industrial applications in the real world. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion about the use of Raspberry Pi in industry, most of which emphasize that Raspberry Pi is a great tool for engineering experiments, but not so much for industrial applications in the real world. While it is true that the Raspberry Pi is not considered the best choice for mission-critical applications, it is also true that the Raspberry Pi is no longer a platform for experimentation.

Latest Raspberry Pi 4 development board, equipped with a 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). can be chosen from 1GB / 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Raspberry Pi 4 continues the tradition of one of the most versatile and cheapest computer devices. It can be used for virtually anything from proprietary IoT solutions to a full-fledged desktop computer. The new Malinka has two micro-HDMI ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 type A ports and two USB 2.0 type A ports.

Industrial use of Raspberry Pi 4

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0
Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0

Over 10 million Raspberry Pi’s have been sold and the Raspberry Pi is likely to stay as a new standard in the industry. Official Raspbian OS is free operating system based on Linux Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation. ModBerry devices are compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories, supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. ModBerry M500 now with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ / Raspberry Pi 4 Model B support.