Android was designed originally for use in consumer electronics especially tablets and phones. Due to its wide proliferation, now there are many needs for developing platforms based on Android OS that finds applications in industrial HMI, Auto infotainment, etc. Simplicity, portability, low cost and rich GUI are some of the advantages of using Android in such applications.

Freescale iMx6 based SECOSBC-A62

On the hardware front, there are a lot of low cost development boards like Raspberry Pi/Raspberry Pi+, TI’s Beagleboard/Beagebone, Freescale’s SABRE platforms, UDOO board, Allwinner based Cubie platforms, Rockchip platforms, Intel boards etc. While these platforms are ideal for many applications, using them for a qualified industrial application is not possible as they are not industrial grade systems. Of a few options available, the latest offering from SECO the A62 SBC is an ideal choice. Available in multiple variants, features of the SECOSBC-A62 board include

  • Processor – Freescale i.MX6 Series – i.MX6S/i.MX6DL/i.MX6Q
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3L, 64-bit interface
  • Graphics – Integrated Graphics, with up to 3 separated HW accelerators for
  • 2D, OpenGL® ES2.0 3D,
  • Video Interfaces – 1 x Dual Channel or 2 x Single Channel 18/24 bit LVDS interface HDMI connector
  • Mass Storage – 4GB eMMC disc soldered onboard, microSD Card slot
  • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet connector, Internal USB connector for Wi-Fi Module
  • USB – 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports and 1 x USB 2.0 internal connector, USB micro-B Client port
  • Audio – AC’97 Audio Codec Realtek ALC655 with Mic-In, Line-Out audio Jacks
  • Serial Ports – 1 x Serial (TTL level), 2 x Serial (RS-232), 1 x CAN (TTL level)
  • Other Interfaces – Dedicated connector (I2C, GPIO signals) for external Touch Screen controller, MIPI-CSI Camera connector.
  • Configurable expansion connector with:
    • Up to 28 GPIO
    • SPI interface
    • SPDIF Audio interface
    • CAN interface (TTL level)
    • SDIO interface
    • PWM
    • I2C
    • UARTs

Android Lollipop on iMX6 based SECOSBC-A62

Embien has ported Android Lollipop on iMX6 based industrial grade SECOSBC-A62 platform. Below video demonstrates the same.

About Embien: A leading technology service provider in Embedded domain, Embien offers highly specialized services for Android including BSP porting, HAL developments, Customization, Optimization etc. Our other service offering include embedded software services, hardware design services, Industrial protocol development, technical consultancy etc. We also offer corporate training on Android, Multimedia, GStreamer and other technologies. Kindly contact us for your embedded/Android development and/or training requirements.

In today’s world of technology, User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) of a product is as much important as the functionality offered by the product. The UX/UI is changing fast to accommodate the needs of the customers, especially when it comes to displays. While there are many approaches like Metro Design by Microsoft, design by Apple, Google’s material design captured imaginations of many. Being used in the most shipped smartphone/tablet platform – Android, the material is accustomed to many users across geographies. And in a way, it has become a standard for UX and is even expected in Embedded Systems. In this blog, we will demonstrate a UI based on our Sparklet Embedded GUI library with a theme inspired by Material Design.

Sparklet – A Fast and Low Footprint UI

As discussed above, the visual composition of the GUI and its behavior on interaction is very important aspect of any Human Machine Interface, whether being used for Medical equipment, or for an industrial HMI, or for a Smartphone or an automotive infotainment system. Usability of the system is enhanced by a proper design of the UI so that the necessary information/data is conveyed to the user intuitively rather than explicitly. Apart of the usability, another important factor in UI design is the responsiveness. Users expect their system to be ready to interact with them as soon as the power is switched on. These require a specialized GUI Libraries along with necessary design tools.

Embien’s Sparklet is one of best options that is suited for such requirements. With small foot print – typically in few tens of KB in flash, the Sparklet library is ideally suited for low cost embedded systems. Another major advantage of Sparklet is that it is ready to accept inputs within 1-2 seconds of booting. Accompanied with Flint – an eclipse base IDE, Sparklet is the best option for fast and interactive UI design.

Material Design Inspired Embedded GUI

With increased expectation on UX/UI, Embien has themed the Sparklet Embedded GUI library with the Material Design. Below video show cases the same.

The demo depicts the Sparklet embedded GUI library on the popular Freescale Kinetis K70 MCU. Specification of the system relevant to the GUI is as follows

  • ARM Cortex-M4 core + DSP
  • 128 KB of SRAM
  • 512 KB-1 MB flash
  • On-chip Graphic LCD Controller
  • Capacitive Touch Input

As it can be seen, all the underlying widgets such as List view, Scroll view, Spinners, Edit box, Labels, Buttons, Menu etc. are skinned to Material Design inspired theme. Still the overall interaction is very responsive and meets the requirements of the industry.

The modular design of Sparklet makes it easy to adapt to any theme. Just as the Material Design Inspired Embedded GUI is done, users can customize the Sparklet library to suit their own theme based on the product/company preferences.

About Embien Technologies: Embien Technologies is a leading provider of embedded design services for the Semi-conductor, Industrial, Consumer and Health Care segments. Our innovative solutions like Sparklet Embedded GUI library, eStorm platforms enables customers design their product quickly and beat time-to-market challenges. We also offer design services for embedded software, hardware design, BSP/Driver porting etc. We also do specialized services for GUI design for embedded systems including porting, theming, optimizing, redesigning etc. Embien can be reached at their website.

Embien with hands on experience in developing BSPs for various platforms has ported Windows Embedded Compact 2013 on to the Cubietruck board. This blog demonstrated a sample IoT application running on top of the Cubietruck/WinCE platform with internally generated data.

Windows Embedded Compact/Windows CE on Cubietruck

Cubietruck, powered by Allwinner A20, with its rich connectivity options is an ideal platform for IoT applications. The sub-100$ open source platform, when used with Windows CE, proves to be a powerful combination indeed leveraging the low-cost OS running .NET applications along with powerful software stack for IoT.

The board features the following

  • SoC: Allwinner A20
  • CPU: ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz dual-core
  • GPU: Mali-400 MP2 Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
  • Display: supports HDMI and VGA 1080P display output on-board
  • 2 GiB DDR3 @ 480 MHz
  • 8 GB NAND flash built-in
  • 1x microSD slot
  • 1x SATA 2.0 port (Hard Disk of 2.5″)
  • 10/100/1000 RTL8211E Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x USB Host, 1x USB OTG, 1x CIR
  • S/PDIF, headphone, VGA and HDMI audio out, mic and line-in via extended pins
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on board with PCB antenna (Broadcom BCM4329/BCM40181)
  • 54 extended pins including I2S, I2C, SPI, CVBS, LRADC x2, UART, PS2, PWMx2, TS/CSI, IRDA, LINEIN&FMIN, TVINx4 with 2.0 pitch connectors.

The below videos shows Windows CE on Cubietruck with a demo application used to render various graphical data.

IoT application Demo with WEC2013

Internet of Things and Smart Connectivity are transforming many industries and enabling manufacturers to contend with the challenges of today’s rapidly changing business environment. Microsoft is betting big on IoT by investing a lot on Windows 10 IoT platform. Its predecessor, Windows Embedded Compact 2013 is also ideally suited for IoT applications. It supports a variety of connectivity options like WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth and USB. It enables the devices to be connected to Internet or the local network and share data. Intelligent action on the data can help gain deep insight to the process and used to device ways to improvise them. Powered by this Real Time OS, reliability and durability are assured.

Windows CE also supports programming interfaces such as Win32, MFC, ATL, and support for .NET applications, which include support for networking, internet browsers, media players, and so on. The small footprint, componentized, real-time operating system also supports SMP whereby it can run on multiple processor cores. Low cost licensing also relieves the user various risks associated when using unverified open source components. Security offered by the system is also very important consideration in today’s’ world.

The graphical visualization and data browsing shown in this basic IoT demo is only a very few of the potential possibilities with Windows CE running on Cubietruck. Data could be gathered from various sensors over multiple interface options available and sent to cloud like Azure, Bluemix etc and intelligent decisions taken. Quicker local decision could be taken in the system itself.

About Embien: Embien Technologies is a leading technology solution provider in Internet-of-Thing Technologies. An IDH for leading silicon vendor, Embien has successfully executed many projects like IoT in Wearables, M2M Connectivity etc. Also we offer solutions and services for Windows Embedded Compact (WinCE). We also offer boot optimization services to reduce the time to show the first application on boot and power optimization services to prolong battery life. Feel free to contact us for your Window CE BSP/Driver as well as embedded design services requirements.