Compute Module 3 launched by Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has just announced the launch of two new versions of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. The two versions, known as CM3 and CM3L (lite) feature the Pi 3’s BCM2837 CPU and 1GB of RAM, an upgrade from the 512MB of the CM1. Also released is a new version of the development board which breaks out all the interfaces, pins and slots that are available to the CPU. The lite version “still has the same BCM2837 and 1Gbyte of RAM but brings the SD card interface to the module pins so a user can wire this up to an eMMC or SD card of their choice.”

They’ve kept the form factor roughly the same, although as James Adams, Hardware Lead at Raspberry Pi, comments:

The CM3 is largely backwards compatible with CM1 designs which have followed our design guidelines. The caveats are that the module is 1mm taller than the original module and the processor core supply (VBAT) can draw significantly more current and consequently the processor itself will run much hotter under heavy CPU load – i.e. designers need to consider thermals based on expected use cases.

The new Compute Modules and development board are available from element14 and RS Components.

IQaudIO releases new audiophile add-on board for the Raspberry Pi

IQaudIO have just released their newest board, the Pi-DAC Pro HAT. Using the PCM5242 DAC, this board gives higher quality output than its predecessors and features both Phono and Headphone sockets. Here is the list of features:

  • Raspberry Pi HAT (A+/B+/2/3) compliant accessory
  • Full-HD audio – up to 24-bit/192kHz playback
  • Integrated hardware volume control (via ALSA)
  • Built in high quality audio headphone amplifier (TI TPA6133A)
  • Class-leading audio: 114db SNR, and -94db THD
  • Audiophile TI Burr Brown 32-bit/384kHz DAC (TI PCM5242)
  • Advanced ESD protection
  • Uses the digital I2S audio signals to reduce CPU load over USB audio solutions
  • Raspberry Pi powered, no external power requirements
  • Industry standard audio quality Phono/RCA connectors
  • Supplied (but not fitted) JST headers to deliver Balanced output to XLR or similar
  • Built in mini DSP
  • Fully built and tested Raspberry Pi accessory
  • Designed and manufactured in the UK

This is an interesting step-up from IQaudIO (who have always proved themselves ahead of the curve in terms of audio quality) and is sure to please audiophile Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. The board costs (a very reasonable) £42 from the IQaudIO website.

French car manufacturer’s open source car uses two Raspberry Pis

French car manufacturer Renault are to launch an open source car platform called POM (based on Twizy), it was announced at CES last week. What seems to have slipped under the radar is that there are two Raspberry Pis on board! Businessman and author Chris Anderson was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the internals of the car and took the photo above, tweeting it later. They appear to be Pi 2s (because they’ve got wifi dongles, I’m making that leap in logic) and are using Sukkin Pang’s CAN-bus HATs, which are designed and manufactured in the UK, to talk to, I assume, the engine and onboard diagnostics. Read more about POM here.

Whether or not they continue to use the Pi beyond the prototype stage is open to debate, as is the suitability for using the Pi in any real-time application. Very interesting industrial use, though!

Plant monitoring kit from SwitchDoc Labs uses a Raspberry Pi to look after your growing environment

SwitchDoc Labs have launched their latest Kickstarter – SmartPlantPi. It’s a plant-monitoring system suitable for families and schools that measures and keeps track of the following:

  • Soil moisture
  • Sunlight level
  • Air quality
  • Temperature and humidity

It uses the Grove system of sensors and comes (if you choose) in a 3D-printed stand to keep everything together.

The full kit starts at $85 for Earlybirds. Postage isn’t low, but probably about right for the size of the kit. You’ll need to provide your own Raspberry Pi (and fence!) but all the source code is provided for you.

As usual with the SwitchDoc stuff, it seems well thought out and nicely presented, so should be a lot of fun, particularly if you like your indoor plants!

Take a look at the Kickstarter here or view the campaign video below:

Accio Raspberry Pi! Control a gesture-sensitive lamp with a Harry Potter wand

Photo by Hep Svadja

This is the second Harry Potter project in as many days! See yesterday’s Daily Prophet animated picture frame here.

Sean O’Brien from Make has taken a Raspberry Pi and a Particle Internet Button and embedded them inside a lamp base. Also used is a NoIR camera module and an infra-red LED which detect the movement of a ‘point of reflectiveness’ – in this case the end of a Harry Potter interactive wand. You don’t even have to have the ‘official’ wand (although it’s a lot more fun if you do, obviously) – anything with a flat sequin on the end will do. Neopixels on the Particle button are used for illumination and some fancy frosting effects for the lamp glass complete the device. You can read all about the build, called Raspberry Potter, over at Make and there’s even a Raspberry Potter website! All the code is available on GitHub.

Robotic Raspberry Pi-driven bomb squad for developing countries

Photo credit: Dr. Garrett M. Clayton

A team from Villanova University, Philadelphia, comprised of four faculty and more than twenty-five students, has developed a ‘bomb squad’ robot. The robot is intended to be used in developing countries to deal with explosive devices and uses a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. The boards, together with plenty of other hardware, drive four wheels, a robot arm and a water cannon that can be used to detach a fuse from the explosives on a device. The whole robot is expected to come in around $10,000, which is a fraction of the cost of commercial products, generally costing between $50k-$100k.

It’s taken them just over three years to get to this point, and that has included a field test in Cambodia. When starting out, they had four primary objectives (which have been satisfied):

  • The model is made from low cost computer hardware
  • It can be assembled in-country and repaired locally
  • It fits into a suitcase so that it can be taken on a plane and deployed to different locations
  • The robot control interface has been designed for intuitive operation to enable users with limited training

They’re now seeking donors to bring the product to market.

You can see a video about the robot below. There’s more information on the Villanova website and also on Robotics Business Review. There is also a National Geographic interview with members of the team available.