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iMX6-based IoT module gains an easily customizable carrier board

Sep 12, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1059 views

Gumstix unveiled a baseboard for TechNexion’s Linux-friendly, i.MX6-based, Pico-IM6X COM that can be customized with its Geppetto design service.

Gumstix continues its Geppetto tour of major IoT-oriented ARM computer-on-modules with a customizable “PICO-IMX6 Development Board” designed to actualize the TechNexion PICO-IMX6 module. Built around NXP’s Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, or Quad SoCs, the PICO-iMX6 is notable for its small, 40 x 36mm footprint and its Intel Edison-compatible expansion connector.

Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board with TechNexion COM installed
(click image to enlarge)

The PICO-IMX6 Development Board is the latest in a growing list of Gumstix’s customizable baseboards for third-party COMs that can be developed and manufactured using its online, drag-and-drop Geppetto DIY design tool and accompanying quick-turn prototype manufacturing service. The catalog includes baseboard customizable designs and ready-to-buy kits for Toradex’s Colibri i.MX6 COM, Critical Link’s MitySOM-335x COM, and the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, among others.

About the PICO-IMX6 module

Designed for IoT endpoints, wearable applications, drones, or industrial mobile terminals, the baseboard extends the PICO-IMX6 with real-world ports and other gizmos. Although larger than the Edison and running an i.MX6 instead of an Intel Atom, the TechNexion COM duplicates much of the layout and functionality of the Edison, and has a similar 3.3 to 4.5V power supply. You can fit a PICO-IMX6 module into the 70-pin Hirose connector “Edison socket” on an Edison carrier board.

TechNexion PICO-IMX6 COM front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The PICO-IMX6 module ships with 512MB or 1GB of RAM and either 4GB of onboard eMMC flash or a microSD slot. Other features include a GbE controller as well as onboard WiFi and Bluetooth. The wide array of interfaces includes a SATA interface on the quad-core model.

In addition to supporting the Edison carrier, TechNexion sells its own 95 x 95mm PICO-Dwarf carrier board for the PICO-IMX6. The new Geppetto-based Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board offers a third option for the PICO-IMX6 with an expanded set of expressed interfaces, and unlike the others, it’s customizable.

Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board details

The Gumstix board offers coastline ports including HDMI, GbE, dual USB 2.0 host, micro-USB OTG, and micro-USB console. Other edge connections include a microSD slot and 5V power and audio jacks.

Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board is further equipped with DSI and capacitive touch enabled LCD display connectors, with the latter available with an optional 4.3-inch Newhaven touchscreen. You also get a MIPI-CSI-2 camera connector that is compatible with Raspberry Pi cameras. Other features include a real-time clock, a 9-axis IMU, and various GPIO headers.

Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board details
(click images to enlarge)

The board was designed with Gumstix’s web-based Geppetto design-to-order (D2O) platform, which offers both a minimal “connector” design and a stock carrier board design. This allows customers to either “clone the Gumstix PICO-IMX6 dev board into their Geppetto D2O workspace and drag-and- drop hardware modules on to it,” or “custom build an expansion board for the PICO-IMX6 from scratch,” says Gumstix.

Using Geppetto to design a customized PICO-IMX6 board
(click image to enlarge)

Gumstix has long been focused on ARM boards, including its own TI OMAP-based Overo and DuoVero modules. Last month, however, the company expanded into the x86 world with a line of Geppetto-designed, customizable carrier boards that build upon the new Atom T5700 and T5500 based Intel Joule modules.

Further information

Finished and tested Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Boards are currently available at Gumstix’s shopping site for $139, here.

To create your own version of the Gumstix PICO-IMX6 Development Board, design it at the Geppetto this Geppetto page, and then order prototypes from the associated Geppetto design service. Once the design is completed within Geppetto, one or more working prototypes can be ordered from Gumstix’s quick-turn manufacturing service, for delivery within 15 working days. The standard price is $1,999 plus BOM costs, with additional units available at quantity discounts, says Gumstix.

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