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Open hardware quad-core ARM SBC hits Kickstarter

Apr 13, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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A project to build a compact, low cost, open-hardware SBC (single board computer) has turned to Kickstarter for funding its way to production. The 110×85 mm UDOO board runs Linux or Android on an ARM i.MX6 Freescale applications processor, and also has a built-in Arduino Due-compatible subsystem.

The team says it’s been developing the board for more than a year, and prototypes are already running. In just a few days, the project’s Kickstarter page has logged pledges in excess of $67,000, substantially beating its funding goal of $27,000.



UDOO SBC

One particularly unique feature of the UDOO board is that in addition its dual- or quad-core Freescale i.MX6 SOC (system-on-chip), it also integrates an Arduino Due-compatible subsystem based on an Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 SOC. Through this dual-SOC architecture, Linux or Android will be able to run on the high-end i.MX6 SOC while the low-end Atmel SOC manages the board’s Arduino-compatible I/O expansion bus.



UDOO with an Arduino shield (installed) and Arduino sensors

Key features of the UDOO SBC, according to the team, include:

  • Primary SOC — Dual- or quad-core Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9, clocked at 1GHz
  • Integrated graphics — each ARM Cortex-A9 processor provides 3 graphics accelerators for 2D, OpenGL ES2.0 3D and OpenVG
  • Secondary SOC — Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 (pdf file) SOC
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • MicroSD socket (boot device)
  • Video out — HDMI and LVDS
  • Touch interface — I2C signals
  • Analog audio in/out
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi Module
  • 1x USB and 1x USB OTG; 2x USB type A
  • SATA (only on quad-core version)
  • Camera interface
  • Expansion bus:
    • 54-pin Arduino R3 1.0-compabile
    • Provides digital I/O and analog input
  • Dimensions — 110 x 85 mm (4.33 x 3.4 in.)
  • Power — 5-12V



Freescale i.MX6 Cortex-A9 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

As an open-hardware project, UDOO’s schematics, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license, will be available for download from the UDOO website when the board reaches production, according to the team.

The team reports UDOO’s ARM Linux OS is based on Linaro 11.10, at the moment. The board’s Android OS, currently at v4.0.4 (ICS), is said to provide “all the features of an Android device.” Updated OS versions will available when the board reaches production. Additionally, the standard Arduino IDE can be used for building and uploading “sketches” to the SBC’s onboard Arduino-compatible subsystem, without requiring added external cables.

The UDOO project has been conducted in partnership with SECO, a well-known manufacturer of small form-factor SBCs and COMs (computer on modules) based in Italy.

Those pledging $99 or more will receive dual-core UDOO boards; and pledges of $159 and upwards get quad-core versions, assuming the project follows through on its plan. According to the project’s Kickstarter page, production boards will be sold for $129 and up, and they’re expected to start shipping in September.

The project’s kickstarter video appears below.




 

For further details, visit the project’s Kickstarter page, here.
 

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