Black Swift - at the Embedded World Conference

    Hello, Habr!

    The fact that Black Swift successfully funded on Kickstarter is no longer news - in the end, we have already successfully funded 200+%, completed the first achievement (all KS backers will receive beautiful plastic cases for the boards), and end today at 17:00 MSK (if there is still less time on the watch - you have a chance to join the ranks of the aforementioned lucky ones).

    But I want to start turning the page a bit and talking about something else. In a previous article in our blog, I specifically mentioned that, in my deep conviction, for the successful operation of the project, it is not the investors that everyone talks about that are important, but the partners who talk about much less often.



    This is the demo board that we have been preparing for the company over the past two weeks.Imagination Technologies (owner of MIPS Technologies, a developer who understands which processor architecture) - ImgTec wants to show it at the Embedded World Conference in Germany starting next week as an example of a ready-made module for IoT devices. And no one will convince me that an investor giving money could provide our presence there - at least for a reasonable amount, and a reasonable amount at our stage does not include a trip to Germany for a couple of days. Partner? It’s free for him, he’s involved in any case - for us, the cost comes down to quitting everything and urgently making some kind of visual demonstration. Moreover, the long-term consequences of such participation can be very, very interesting, and we are extremely grateful to ImgTec for such attention to our project.

    Of these two weeks, by the way, 4 days were spent waiting for Chip-i-Deep, which, due to reassortment in the warehouse, took one 9-ruble diode for a 5-ruble order from another store. Beautiful picture: two boxes lie on the output, one is full, in the second there is a tiny SMA diode lost at the bottom. We are not offended, it was just funny. Well, plus any delays in the fact that the boards are already ready, but we can only meet and transfer them tomorrow, before 4:00 pm on Friday - the order will be processed on Monday, and so on. That is, I would not say that the team was sitting and working hard - rather, it turned out phased work with small delays in the process.



    The board is able to show the basic features that are realized with Black Swift here in such a time - literally in a matter of days and by the efforts of a couple of people.

    • Standard GPIOs: LEDs, buttons, relays. The LEDs have a programmable PWM brightness control.
    • Ethernet and USB ports are what are hardware-supported in Black Swift itself, and only connectors and a small passive cable are displayed on a large board
    • The 2x16 character screen (WH1602A, HD44780-compatible) - connected to the GPIO and managed by our userspace-utility (there’s nothing particularly complicated in it, then we will lay out all these giblets)
    • DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, also connected to the GPIO
    • Peripheral microcontroller (ATMega1284P), connected via SPI - it can be programmed directly from the Black Swift console, and communicate in both directions from there
    • The sensor consumed by the current board connected to the ADC of the aforementioned atmega with which Black Swift collects these numbers
    • A web interface and a smartphone application that allows you to control the LEDs and relays, as well as show the temperature, humidity and current consumed by the board - that is, there are jQuery with AJAX requests inside, and PHP, and two-way communication with the software running on Black Swift through UNIX socket


    We have been asked many times - what can you do on Black Swift? So, it seems to me that such a demo board is a good answer to it, in fact, it has all the things you need to create some kind of IoT artifact (at least connect a refrigerator to the Internet, if you need it), while developing and the first prototype needs a very modest time. And in the end it turns out not Arduino, which can do almost anything, not ESP8266, which, with all its cheapness, is unlikely to allow creating a web interface with PHP, sockets, women and gambling - but a device with functionality that fully complies with the modern understanding " smart things. "

    Yes, Black Swift has limitations - there is no work in hard real time, there is no hardware PWM, and there is no ADC. But, as you can see, even they are overcome easily and in a variety of ways.

    I think I answered the question. :) Or, at least, set the course for constructive discussions - I'm sorry that it happened in passing, but it was painful, in my opinion, a good example. Further we promise more specifics, a lot of documentation, source codes and detailed examples of what few have described for OpenWRT before us (for example, at least cry, at least laugh, but a simple example of working with SPI in full duplex mode, which could understand and repeat new to programming, I just could not find it for OpenWRT - although there is only something like a dozen lines of code, plus or minus).

    Yes, and the board from the photo is already traveling to the United States.

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