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Alexa development board runs Linux on Raspberry Pi Compute Module

Mar 15, 2018 — by Eric Brown 2,196 views

Gumstix has launched a version of its Linux-driven Chatterbox Alexa Voice Service development board designed for the RPi Compute Module, and updated its AeroCore 2 drone controller for the DragonBoard 410C.

Gumstix has developed a variation on its recently announced Chatterbox for the Colibri iMX7 that is instead powered by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module. The Linux-powered audio board is similarly designed for developing Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) applications, but offers different features including MIPI-CSI and GPIO connectors.

Chatterbox Pi for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

In addition, Gumstix announced an updated version of its AeroCore 2 for DragonBoard 410C drone controller board. Like the Chatterbox Pi, the AeroCore 2 was built with the Gumstix Geppetto D2O online development platform, and can be customized using the service. Both designs are freely available with open schematics.

Chatterbox Pi for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module


Like the Chatterbox that debuted last month for the NXP i.MX7 based Colibri iMX7 module, the $116 RPi Compute Module version is designed for creating wake-word or push/hold button activated AVS voice services on devices including smart speakers, smart home and IoT devices, router and gateway devices, sound bars, and set-top boxes. The board complies with Amazon’s AVS Functional Design Guide, and ships with a pre-loaded Linux image.


It appears you can use the new board with either the original Raspberry Pi Compute Module or the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3). The $30, 67.6 x 31mm RPi CM3 computer-on-module has the same 1.2GHz quad-core -A53 SoC as the RPi 3 Model B SBC. (Today, a new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ SBC was launched that boosts the SoC to 1.4GHz, upgrades to precertified, dual-band 802.11ac, and adds USB-based GbE with PoE support.)

The layout and specs are somewhat different on the new Chatterbox. Like the Colibri version, the RPi CM3 Chatterbox includes a 2.5-Watt speaker driver plus an omnidirectional, -42DB microphone. There’s a stereo audio codec, but unlike the Colibri model, there are no audio jacks.

Chatterbox Pi detail views
(click image to enlarge)

Since there’s no Ethernet controller on the Compute Module, the board is missing the original model’s 10/100 Ethernet port. However, you get the same TI WiLink 8 module with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1/BLE. There’s also a U.FL antenna connector.

As before, you get a USB 2.0 host port and micro-USB serial console, but there’s no micro-USB device port, microSD slot, or real-time clock. On the other hand, the new Chatterbox adds a 2-lane, 15-pin CSI-2 camera connector and a 20-pin GPIO connector. Other features include a 5V jack, 2x user pushbuttons, and 2x user LEDs.

AeroCore 2 Dragonboard 410C updated

The latest version of the AeroCore 2 Dragonboard 410C is available for $170. The board is very similar to original DragonBoard version launched in 2016, one of several AeroCore 2 models designed as a controller board for Linux-driven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs).

AeroCore 2 Dragonboard 410C (updated 2018 version) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The new version replaces the 15-pin RPIcam connector with 2x OV5640 connectors. There’s also a new MIPI-DSI ribbon connector, and the unpopulated buzzer shut-off header has been replaced with a dipswitch. The micro-USB connector that links to the board’s Cortex-M4 based STM32F427 MCU has moved.

As before, the 11.5 x 6.65cm AeroCore 2 runs the Nuttx RTOS on the MCU, and leaves high-level functions to the Linux-driven DragonBoard. Like all the AeroCore MAV controllers, the board support integration with open source projects like Robot Operating System (ROS), APM-based PX4, and PX4-compatible projects such as QGroundControl and MAVLink.

The DragonBoard version of the AeroCore 2 offers MIPI-CSI-2 and NimbeLink LTE radio interfaces, as well as a remote connector for RF support. There’s also an interface for adding third-party GPS devices. In addition to the dual micro-USB ports, you get 8x PWMs, 3x UARTs, I2C and SPI headers, a CAN header, and a 9-axis IMU motion sensor with altimeter and barometer.

Further information

The Chatterbox Pi for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module is available for $116, and the updated AeroCore 2 Dragonboard 410C costs $170. More information may be found on the Gumstix the Chatterbox Pi and AeroCore 2 for DragonBoard 410C product pages.

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