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Linux-capable Arduino TRE Debuts At Maker Faire Rome

timothy posted about a year ago | from the increasing-power dept.

Linux 47

DeviceGuru writes "At the Maker Faire Rome this week, Arduino announced a next-generation Arduino single board computer featuring a dual-processor architecture, and able to run a 'full Linux OS', in contrast to the lightweight OpenWRT Linux variant (Linino) buried inside the Yun's Atheros WiFi module. The Arduino TRE features a 1GHz 32-bit TI Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 SoC for running Linux software, plus an 8-bit Atmel ATmega MCU for AVR-compatible control of expansion modules (aka shields). The TRE's Sitara subsystem includes HDMI video, 100Mbps Ethernet, and 5 USB 2.0 ports, and is claimed to provide up to 100X the performance the Arduino Leonardo and Uno boards. Interestingly, the TRE's development reportedly benefited from close collaboration between Arduino and the BeagleBoard.org foundation."

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But does it run..... (0)

OutOnARock (935713) | about a year ago | (#45040473)

Windows RT?


Re:But does it run..... (0)

acariquara (753971) | about a year ago | (#45040519)

That would be a hell of an identity

Re:But does it run..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45041005)

Windows RT?

No, but it runs Windows RG! [windowsrea...dition.com]

Unboxing Flickr Set (1, Informative)

StefanJ (88986) | about a year ago | (#45040481)

SF author / design maven Bruce Sterling picked up one at the Maker Faire and posted an Unboxing photo set:


Scroll to the bottom for the first picture in the set.

The display box is rigged with a sound chip that plays portentous music when the board is removed.

Re:Unboxing Flickr Set (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45040545)

D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (1)

StefanJ (88986) | about a year ago | (#45040561)

You are correct sir! I didn't realize Arduino had released multiple new boards.

The Galileo is pretty cool, though.

Re:D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45040621)

This one looks better, though. Apparently, the SoC used, in addition to the application processor, has two extra 200 MHz dedicated independent microcontrollers. It just seems like a better match for hard-RT control applications. I'm not sure about Galileo but without a hard-RT OS and with caches on the CPU, it doesn't look all that juicy for these applications.

Re:D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (1)

acariquara (753971) | about a year ago | (#45040705)

Looking at the specs, it's like the Arduino R3 and Beaglebone Black had some time alone in a room and this thing spawned.

Same Sitara 1Ghz processor, and BBB also has 2 Cortex M4 MCUs. However, this one sports a fullsize HDMI out instead of the microHDMI on the BBB, and loads more USB ports. Looking good...

Re:D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45041659)

They will both be interesting. Galileo will be available in November for $60. This comes in the spring and price is not yet announced. Time to start playing with robots.

Re:D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45041935)

TI refers to those as 'PRU-ICSS'. They aren't exactly baby's first arduino sketch [element14.com] to get working; but they are present, and are more or less explicitly designed to support various too-weird-for-fixed-silicon; but too fast for just bitbanging with any GPIO, interfaces that the designer might wish to deal with.

Re: Unboxing Flickr Set (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45044107)

Every time I hear of an Unboxing Video now, I worry that they might get two of the same prize in the Happy Meals, and the horror that would ensue.

Unboxing is for packaging fetishists, and the sort of poor sucker who became an engineer who designs packaging, I guess.

The rest of us just want out of the store, and to strip off the crap in the way of what we bought.

Bit off-topic (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#45040667)

Back when I was wee lad, little electronic kits consist of discrete transistors, LEDs, op-amps, etc. You can make little toys with blinking lights and such, and perhaps gain some rudimentary but empirical experience with electronics.

I realize today's a different, whole lot more sophisticated (in terms of technology) era, but what would be the equivalent today? This Arduino kit seems way over the top for such purpose.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#45040689)

GPIO ports, power and ground on a 0.1" connector are the key.

It doesn't matter what is driving it whether an 8051, 80C66, 68000, pentiblob, PDP11 or even ghetto chips with ARMs in them. The 0.1" connector lets you plug in your prototype board and wire up transistors and LEDs and stuff like that.

Re: Bit off-topic (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#45041093)

It does matter what's driving it, though. If it's so abstracted away that you can't actually address the real port hardware it might as well be an io module plugged into a windows box and programmed with labview or visual basic. And no, if you work in "IT" you probably don't get what I mean.

Re: Bit off-topic (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#45041685)

>if you work in "IT"

Ha ha. Good one.

Re:Bit off-topic (5, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#45040807)

Whether you use this, a regular Arduino or whatever, you still need transistors, op-amps, resistors and so on to build the stuf it interfaces with. I think the possibilities you gain with an easy to program microcontroller actually makes regular electronics more powerful and more fun to play with as a result.

Re:Bit off-topic (2)

danomatika (1977210) | about a year ago | (#45040835)

That Arudino kit *is* over the top. You're looking more for the original style Arduino Uno: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardUno [arduino.cc]

Re: Bit off-topic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45041045)

But--- that doesn't have a keyboard and video. Everybody knows it's not a computer unless it has a keyboard and video.

(thats sarcasm, for the kiddies who have no idea what I am getting at)

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#45040993)

Most of the available boards including RaspberiPi are not suitable for embedded design experiments (that's my personal opinion though). I prefer to program low level I/O code using C or even assembly for such purposes than writing a linux code (which in the case of RaspberyPi is several giga bytes).

I guess older versions of Arduino used to be what I want. I bought a few cheap Chinese boards (ARM and AVR) from ebay a few years ago and they are exactly what I want.

Btw. I built my first radio (the circuit board using Acids and so on) in 5th grade and designed an FM transmitter in 8th grade. Even now at 40 I enjoy playing with these things as a hobby from time to time. Though I enjoy FPGA design as much. I somehow regret that I changed my field from electronics engineering to computer science for masters and PhD.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45043769)

If the more powerful boards in questions would get a easy Arduino IDE and a simple Arduino API, would that change your mind ?
I don't know the future, but I really hope that the Linux will adopt the Arduino library for basic I/O programming that fit a lot of simple applications.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about a year ago | (#45041015)

The Arduino, and similar microcontroller based products, are the equivalent of those little electronics kits. Some vendors even bundle the board with a guide and assorted electronics components to help people get rudimentary emperical experience with electronics.

These boards are much more than tiny computers. They will happily accept analog signals. You can also create analog outputs with a rudimentary circuit. This allows you to hang traditional passive and active components off of the I/O ports, which is what most people do. The big difference is that you can create simpler circuits that do more powerful stuff, because the microcontroller can take the output from one part of the circuit, process it, then use it as output to another part of the circuit. You don't have to design a complex circuit to interface the two parts. You just have to figure out the code.

In some respects, it isn't all that different from those old electronics kits. If you didn't have the ability to design a circuit that did the interfacing, you would buy a chip to do the job for you. The big difference is that chip usually completed a single function (e.g. counter, drivers for 7-segment displays) so you had to spend money to obtain the appropriate chip for each project and spend a lot of time sourcing it. With a microcontroller, you simply reprogram the same chip over and over.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45041981)

Back when I was wee lad, little electronic kits consist of discrete transistors, LEDs, op-amps, etc. You can make little toys with blinking lights and such, and perhaps gain some rudimentary but empirical experience with electronics.

I realize today's a different, whole lot more sophisticated (in terms of technology) era, but what would be the equivalent today? This Arduino kit seems way over the top for such purpose.

This Arduino is their their big, bad, powerful one. Your basic Arduino Uno, or a nice, breadboard-compatible Arduino nano (non-Arduino branded nanos are under $10) are probably more analogous to a 'little electronics kit'. This device is, of course, capable of that as well(in fact, it's capable of also being the computer you write the code on as well as the arduino you run it on. the BeagleBone isn't exactly god's gift to high-performance desktop experiences; but it works just fine as a full fledged linux desktop if you keep your WM lightweight); but it's overkill unless you have a larger project in mind.

And, of course, they still sell discrete versions of pretty much all those items, and breadboards to go with them, though you'll probably run into something you want that is SMT only sooner or later.

The Arduino is the equivelant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45042483)

Tech has moved on. Nobody is going to be impressed anymore with a blinking red led. You need full color on a string of individually addressable leds

And really, comments such as by oldhack just show a personality so centered on oneself that they forget that their time in history is not the only time.

There was a time when these kind of experiements involved building your own battery because THAT was the tech of the time and just getting a spark was edgy! Real men bang their own copper!

Oldhack didn't make his own lamps did he? My grandfather did. Leds? That is so "shop bought".

Simple hardware doesn't do it anymore, it is now about using software and hardware together to create cool little thingies. And even that is changing, RGB leds now come with their own chip so you can address them over a single wire. Power, Ground and data. And even that went from needing two data wires to just one.

Progress, it just keeps on happening!

Re:The Arduino is the equivelant (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45043939)

The most basic microcontrollers like the attiny4x or attiny8x, witch are easily supported on the Arduino IDE, allow to program design that perfectly fit your "full color on a string of individually addressable leds" and "Power, Ground and data. And even that went from needing two data wires to just one." goals.

I just shipped boards to a client that need to control a string of 20 lasers from just a single strobe signal of a camera with the capability to modulate the strobe signal to modulate additional datas without disturbing the laser synchronization. The datas allow to detect each individual board connected on a hierarchical tree (there have 1 input port and 2 outputs ports each), assign a individual address to each of them, end then to control detail of each 4 lasers outputs per board as well as an optional tricolors LEDs on each boards. All of this with only a attiny84 on each boards, and all programmed on the Arduino IDE.

By the way, I am 43 years old in a few days...

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#45042739)

Check AdaFruit.com and Radio Shack for starters. I've also been looking for the equivalent of the oldschool kids' kits to help me practice my soldering & learn the basics, and those are the two stores I've found some real potential at. I might work my way up to the computer-style PCBs in the distant future, but for now I'm closer to the "connect a handful of components and get excited if the LED actually turns on" stage. :-)

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#45042839)

Back when I was wee lad, little electronic kits consist of discrete transistors, LEDs, op-amps, etc. You can make little toys with blinking lights and such, and perhaps gain some rudimentary but empirical experience with electronics.

I realize today's a different, whole lot more sophisticated (in terms of technology) era, but what would be the equivalent today?

FPGAs [fpga4fun.com] . Instead of programming a chip someone else designed, you make your own circuits, just like in the good old days. Except you don't have to solder much, and you have all sorts of macro programming tricks (e.g. for repeating a circuit block 100 times, each with different parameters) you'd expect from software development.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45044033)

FPGA allow a lot of fun design, but there are still more expensive and complex to understand than a simple Arduino kit and IDE. Many FPGA need multiple power rails, external bitstream memory and external oscillator. Not really as fun as a small highly integrated small uC. But I hope that those two technologies will collides and bring the fun of FPGA flexibility to the uC world. There is more and more experiments on that matter from more and more manufacturers, but none are actually as open and as simple as the Arduino fans are expecting.

Re:Bit off-topic (1)

Molt (116343) | about a year ago | (#45043273)

With an Arduino kit you can build those same projects and use it as a USB-connected power supply, connect your project built using the components and breadboard provided and get power and ground pins on the board and ignore everything else. Then, when you want to add more control mechanisms start to use the GPIO pins to drive the electronics, providing a level of sophistication beyond that a classic kit would and moving the projects more towards digitally controlled electronics.

Re:Bit off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45043337)

Back when I was wee lad, little electronic kits consist of discrete transistors, LEDs, op-amps, etc. You can make little toys with blinking lights and such, and perhaps gain some rudimentary but empirical experience with electronics.

I realize today's a different, whole lot more sophisticated (in terms of technology) era, but what would be the equivalent today? This Arduino kit seems way over the top for such purpose.

Depends what you are after.
You are right. This is board is not a beginners product. But the plain Arduino is (this, minus the ARM computer bit), or it's many variants.

Ignore the usual choir of idiots. They just get snotty when someone dares to use something they don't.

An Arduino is a perfectly fine way to get your feet wet with Micro controllers, and it is essentially just a breakout and programming header for the Atmel chip. So when the time comes to solder up. The chip and a few discreet components replace the more expensive ready made board.
It also has a beginner friendly community, and no end of tutorials and projects to seek inspiration from. And importantly, a simple programming environment.

Plenty of companies offering starter kits. Usually an Arduino, a bunch of LEDs, resistors, transistors, sensors, a breadboard and jumpers etc. And a project book, so you can get an intro to the programming side. Check out Sparkfun, Adafruit, Oomlout. All of these let you download and flip through the starter kit manual free.

Those simple kits you mention still exist today. But much of what is in the resurgent kit market is micro controller based.
Back when I was a teenager, no way would I even attempt to make a function generator, but I picked a cheap kit up at a local shop when I needed to make a few simple signals. Not as good as the real thing, but good enough to be useful.

To get into playing around with general electronics, and learn the basics. Plenty of beginners books out there with simple projects. Can't think of any generalised kits off the top of my head, but a couple of breadboards, a few selection bags of components, and you have a nice set of supplies for having fun. And those 30 in 1 experiment sets are still available of you look hard enough.

Electronics as a hobby had died off in the 80s, when the home computer craze started. But is now back with a vengeance. Cheap components available on-line, economical and good test gear, and endless Youtube tutorials, blogs and forums. It is possible to learn a hell of a lot with just internet based information.

I started out with an Arduino starter kit a few years ago, and have now built up a nice stock of components, and some test gear that I could only dream of in my teens. And all on a fairly tight budget.

Thanks (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#45046007)

Hey, thanks to all for chiming in. I'll look into these kits, and maybe I'll dust off the breadboard, even wire it up to do something silly. I hope this helps to get interested young'uns going, as well as geezers like me.

To wmac1, I hear you, I'm in a somewhat similar boat, although I don't have no PhD. Software, abstract and non-tactile, doesn't give you the same satisfaction as even a primitive hairy-wired breadboard prototype. Maybe it's like the difference between math and physics, as Feynman once said. :P

But how fast does it boot? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#45040851)

How fast does the thing come up with a file system, USB support, and wifi? That needs to happen in less than 10 seconds for a faceless embedded application or people are going to wonder if it's working. And what about the file system? Can you pull power without corrupting it or requiring a long fsck operation?

Re:But how fast does it boot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45042303)

We don't know.

Ok arduino (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#45040913)

There's this, a Intel version, great, but there is already non existent support for due and not much more for leo, so keep making new boards, it doesnt do much good if they are not supporing it and people are not making libraries for it

Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45040965)

The AM3359 I/O capabilities easily outperform the ATmega32u4, so why not use the CONFIG_PREEMPT_RT patch and porting the Arduino libraries directly on the AM3359 ? The response is probably the time to do this work, but I hope that the Adruino API will be in the future directly integrated into the Linux kernel, this would make the basic I/O programming far more standard and easy than it is today. Setup a basic PWM output or an analog input is still too hard on Linux compared to an Arduino.

Re:Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#45041505)

Setup a basic PWM output or an analog input is still too hard on Linux compared to an Arduino.

its trivial after someone writes a kernel module to do those things

Re:Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45043325)

Have you ever programmer a AM3xxx I/O ? Just read the appropriate user manual to figure out how complex this can be. And last time I checked you have to statically do the multiplexer configuration in the C board file and have to change the definition header file too because only the internal signals defined for the evaluation board are defined, witch is only maybe something like 1/4 of the possibilities of the multiplexer. There is no way to even like a simple GPIO name to the corresponding multiplexed configuration to output that GPIO on a pin, all is manual and really non trivial. For the record I have wrote a code to automatically multiplex a GPIO when you open the corresponding /sys file and a can tell you that this is just a nightmare.

And maintaining a custom kernel module is a consuming task in the long term because of the non-stable API nature of the Linux kernel. Not that I want a stable API, but it's just stupid to have to many peoples doing there own private small kernel driver when probably most of them would have been very happy with a Adruino API on Linux.

Re:Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45041517)

My current (hobby) project is a robot with Beagleboard Black (TI Sitara AM335x)CPU. After a lot of tinkering trying to get the BBB to drive servos directly, I've changed tack and am building an ATmega328P daughter board. The gap between a fast, 3.3v ARM CPU and the noisy, spiky physical world was just too great for my meagre electrical skills.

Nice to be able to do all my image processing and autonomous control on the BBB (in Python/OpenCV) but there's still a need for tougher, slower PICs and AVRs to handle the grunt PWM work (in C and assembler).

The TRE's hybrid design is pretty much where I've ended up.

Re:Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (1)

jcdr (178250) | about a year ago | (#45043289)

And you are luck to even have 3.3V in your design. I have worked on a AM3xxx design where we have to use 1.8V because most of the peripherals components where 1.8V. I did't have a noise problem, but the AM3XXX have so complex I/O programming model that some tasks are now handled by a external CPLD, to prevent lost of knowledge in case we change the processor in the futures, witch is about to be the case after 3 or 4 years. A standard and easy library like the Arduino provides would have been very welcome on that design.

Re:Next board without the ATmega32u4 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45043881)

The big-OS CPU and small-IO CPU architecture is pretty much where the systems are at. Microcontrollers are so inexpensive that they are cheap enough to deploy to each I/O device. When you are dealing with high-power servo's, it is often easier to use a microcontroller and isolate the communication signals than it is to deal with the complex gate-drive and analog current-sense voltage level isolation issues. Additionally, most ARM IC's don't have quadrature encoder inputs, so a dedicated chip is needed anyway.

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45041465)

This is what the Beagle Bone should've been from the start.

Re:Finally... (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#45042069)

What is the point of the small extra Atmel MCU?

Re:Finally... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45042385)

hw pwm shitniz? for servos, motor control and such.

Re:Finally... (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#45042435)

I have a beaglebone black and it does all that by itself. Tons of GPIO, PWM, 8 ADC inputs, plus it can bit bang all the usual serial bus stuff.

Re:Finally... (1)

Mprx (82435) | about a year ago | (#45042923)

Hard real time support, and greater electrical robustness. There's no OS or caches changing your timings unexpectedly, and interrupt latencies are very low and consistent. It also sources/sinks a lot more current, so you can do things like driving an LED directly from an IO pin without an external transistor.

Re:Finally... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#45044603)

There are a few reasons for adding a small "IO processor" to a system. Firstly more IO. The BBB looks like it has lots of IO on first glance but on closer inspection you realise that much of that many of the IO pins conflict with either the HDMI output or the EMMC. Secondly the small processor can do the ugly bit-banging stuff (for example driving a multiplexed LED display) without bothering the main CPU too much. Thirdly the characteristics of the IO pins on microcontrollers are often more friendly to hobbyist experimentation (more current drive, less sensitive to abuse). Fourthly if something goes wrong you have only fried the cheap IO processor, not the relatively expensive and very difficult to replace application's processor (though from the pictures i've seen replacing the AVR on the TRE doesn't exactly look easy :( ).

Interestingly the chip on the TRE and BBB has an onchip IO processor known as the "PRU" but it seems at the moment at least it's a bit of a pain to develop for http://www.element14.com/community/community/knode/single-board_computers/next-gen_beaglebone/blog/2013/05/22/bbb--working-with-the-pru-icssprussv2 [element14.com]

So by putting the AVR on the TRE they can provide all the IO needed for arduino shields (allowing the "maker" noobs to build stuff just by plugging boards together) without having any of it conflict with the onboard hardware and they can easilly support it with their existing software stack (unlike the PRUs).

The missing information at the moment is price. If it's basically the same price as a BBB with a AVR thrown in virtually "for free" then it might be quite attractive. If it's much more epensive than a BBB it will be a lot less attractive.

call me when it's actually available (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#45042269)

...because almost a month after the Yun was announced as being "available", it still isn't available from any of the major US distributors (digikey, mouser, adafruit, sparkfun, and a handful of others I've tried.) I'm not sure what's going on - I think distributors might be trying to clear out stock on existing WiFi boards.

You can buy it online from Arduino direct...if you want to pay nearly the value of the device in shipping. Seriously, they want $50 to ship a $60 board from Spain to the US.

Re:call me when it's actually available (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45044969)

Well, I see a great reseller opportunity for you. Order 100 of them and sell on Amazon or eBay.

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