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Inforce Insights June 2016: Vol.2 Issue 3–the Newsletter of Inforce Computing

Inforce Insights Newsletter on buliding Embedded Products

Welcome to Inforce Computing’s June 2016 Newsletter! In this issue of Inforce Insights, we’d like to share a couple of useful technical application notes and two exciting customer case studies (scroll down). What does enabling 3D printing, computer vision, video analytics, and space-bound free-flying robots have in common? All of these are powered by advanced Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor-based Inforce Computing platforms [SOMs and SBCs]. Moreover, Inforce’s value added software and hardware design assistance services have complemented and accelerated product development in these cases.

Software and Product Updates

We’re close to having an upstream kernel Linux BSP release (Linaro 15.10 version) available for the Inforce 6410Plus SBC. Stay tuned for download instructions and release notes for the latest BSP. Once available, please log on to Inforce’s TechWeb and look for the product specific menu under the software tab.

For those that have been eagerly waiting for the Inforce 6601™ Micro SOM, we will be taking pre-orders soon. We thank you for your interest in the latest Inforce 6601 Micro SOM and your patience is much appreciated as we ramp up our manufacturing. In the next few weeks you’ll also be able to read about and download more technical details of the affordable and new Inforce 6301 Micro SOM powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor.

We’d love to hear your feedback about Inforce’s newsletters as well as your stories on building exciting embedded products based on Inforce’s compute platforms. We’re more than glad to share your success story in these columns, so don’t hesitate to write to us at marketing@inforcecomputing.com.

Happy reading!

From the editorial desk at Inforce Computing.
#InforceInspired

Continue reading Inforce Insights June 2016: Vol.2 Issue 3–the Newsletter of Inforce Computing

Commercial Drones: Where’re the Viable Use-cases and Core Technologies to Differentiate in a Crowded Marketplace?

Last week’s panel discussion at the Churchill Club titled “Civilian Drones: The Opportunity Takes Flight” touched varied topics from open Inforce 6410Plus Dronesource autopilot designs (such as the Pixhawk PX4) that have democratized access to technologies, to auto-navigation and collision avoidance, increasing battery life and payload weight, FAA regulations, and everything in between. The past year has indeed seen frenzied activity in the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or drone space. Several use cases have taken shape, but how many of them are going to be commercially viable and sustainable in the long run? Businesses and large corporations are actively looking to use drones to monitor their assets, infrastructure, and operations. Start-ups in this space are trying to carve a niche by differentiating with unique underlying technologies such as collision avoidance and auto-navigation, which seek to unlock the potential for new use-cases. New services that offer businesses and corporate entities instant access to professional “drone pilots” with their fleet of UAVs for hire, provide imagery and data collection for a fee. Here are a few quick takeaways from the discussions. Continue reading Commercial Drones: Where’re the Viable Use-cases and Core Technologies to Differentiate in a Crowded Marketplace?

Heading to the DARPA Robotics Challenge this week? Check out OSRF’s Turtlebot powered by the Inforce 6410 SBC!

Several robots will face off at the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) finals in Pomona, Calif., June 5-6, 2015. So, what’s at stake, you might ask. How about a cool $3.5 Mil. in prizes? The winner grabs a sweet $2MM, the runner-up $1MM, and the third place gets $500K–that’s no chump change! This challenge involves navigating a difficult simulated disaster-response course and 24 of the world’s top robotics teams are competing. The course will obviously not be easy–with degraded communication hampering the robot operators, arduous and successive physical tasks include driving a utility vehicle, stepping out and opening doors, locating and closing valves, cutting through walls, clearing debris, and walking up stairs. Here’s a cool video from the WPI-CMU team! As you can see, the DRC is setup to test mobility, dexterity, manipulation, perception, and decision making skills these robots need to excel at to navigate hazardous conditions in disaster affected areas.

Along the sidelines of the DRC challenge, you will also get to see over 80 companies display their robots and UAVs at DARPAthe Technology Exposition. The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) will demo their Turtlebot exhibit among other things–please do stop by their booth #14. What’s unique about the Turtlebot demo? It runs the Robot Operating System (ROS) and is powered by the Inforce 6410 single board computer (SBC). Recall that Qualcomm ported ROS to the Snapdragon 600 powered Inforce 6410 last year. Get your hand at driving these Turtlebots around and share your experience!

Talking about the Inforce 6410, ARM recently did a nice review of the SBC and the response to what can be done with the board was fantastic. Sorry, a winner has already been announced. If you are serious about building robots and drones that solve real-life human problems, look no further than starting with the compute building blocks Inforce provides in the form of SOMs and SBCs. Check out the ubiquitous Inforce 6501 Micro SOM that measures just 28mm x 50mm and weighs under 8 grams (0.3oz). With a profile of just 6mm and powered by the Snapdragon™ 805 processor, a custom carrier board with the right kind of I/Os can be built to fit into some of these SWaP constrained designs. You can jump-start your robot designs with Qualcomm’s FastCV™, Vuforia™, Alljoyn™, Hexagon™, and other SDKs that enable computer vision, machine learning, pattern recognition, and communication capabilities on Inforce’s compute platforms.

Vasu Madabushi
The Inforce Computing Team

© 2015 Inforce Computing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Here’s the Much Anticipated Inforce 6501 Micro SOM–What Can It Do For You?

We formally launched the much anticipated and brand new Inforce 6501™ Micro System-on-module (SOM) this week. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is a watershed moment for all of us at Inforce. We strongly Inforce 6501 Micro SOMbelieve that the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM will enable the design of sophisticated embedded products with capabilities and tiny form factors unheard of before. Early adopters of the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM are working on some of the most coolest embedded products yet to come. The Inforce 6501 Micro SOM is powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 805 processor (APQ8084 SoC), the latest shipping mobile platform technology available for embedded designs. So, to share my excitement about the new micro SOM, I’d like to list a few stand-out features:

  • The Inforce 6501 Micro SOM is the world’s tiniest module based on the Snapdragon 805 processor. With a form factor of just 28mm X 50mm (and a low profile of only 6mm with the connectors), and a weight of under 0.3 oz. (8 g), this is as miniature in size as it gets. Now think of the end-use applications that are space constrained, yet scream for bleeding edge compute horsepower and are battery powered.
  • Inforce has solved the complexity of designing and manufacturing a Micro SOM of this tiny proportion. The state-of-the-art design comes standard with 2GB POP LPDDR3 RAM and 4GB eMMC memory. It is also ROHS and WEE compliant.
  • Imagine what you can do with the quad-core ARM®v7 compliant 2.7GHz Krait™ CPU, the Adreno™ 420 GPU (4.8 GP/s processing and support for OpenGL ES3.1, OpenCL 1.2 full profile, etc.), Hexagon™ DSP v50 @600MHz, and dual image signal processors @1.2GP/s throughput.
  • Connect multiple hi-rez cameras (via MIPI-CSI up to 3 / 55MP) and concurrent displays (up to 2x MIPI-DSI + 1x HDMI)
  • Decode (H.265) and encode (H.264) 4K Ultra HD video
  • On-board dual-band WiFi + BT + GPS for all the connectivity you want (GbE is enabled on the carrier card)
  • With the most difficult part of an embedded design (the compute module) taken out of the equation, designers now can focus on their core-competencies, rapidly prototype, and get their product to market faster.Inforce 6501 Micro System on Module (SOM)
  • Two 100-pin connectors enable designers access a comprehensive set of I/Os from the Snapdragon 805 processor. To jumpstart your design, you may purchase the Inforce 6501 Development Kit, which includes the Micro-SOM, a sensor board, a carrier card, and a starter kit.
  • Full featured Android KitKat 4.4 BSP and device driver support. Linaro Ubuntu Linux BSP is in the works and will be available in May this year.

If you are designing the next great head-mounted display for an industrial hands-free computing application that requires support for multiple cameras, displays, and excellent image signal processors, the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM could be a great fit.

Thanks to robust PCIe support, one is able to do more with the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM. With its 4K HD video capabilities, next-generation videoconferencing products with multiple HDMI inputs and outputs will be well differentiated and more competitive in the marketplace.

Similarly, advances in Ultrasound, Arthroscopic, and Endoscopic medical imaging are possible, thanks to the high-end video and graphics capabilities of the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM. The miniaturization of the compute module will help designers integrate the latest mobile applications processors into connected portable medical imaging instruments, improving image resolution significantly and enabling faster time to results.

This is an ideal form factor many embedded designers have been looking for—you may fit the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM into your system and not worry about the CPU/GPU/DSP intensive algorithms that can run on it. It’s not a trade-off between compute power and size—with the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM, you get the best of the both worlds. In addition, with excellent access to I/Os from the Snapdragon 805 processor, there’s great flexibility in custom designing carrier boards to suit specific peripheral device needs. If you are designing the next industrial drone/UAV with autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance, check out the Inforce 6501 Micro SOM.

Inforce 6501 Development Kit

Typically designing the compute module is the most complex and time consuming part of building an embedded system—leave that to the readily available Inforce 6501 Micro SOM. The Inforce 6501 Micro SOM will save several months of design time, accelerate your time-to-market, and reduce overall design costs.

Vasu Madabushi
The Inforce Computing Team

© 2015 Inforce Computing, Inc. All rights reserved.