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Gumstix touchscreen baseboard can be customized online

May 31, 2013 — by Eric Brown 3,693 views

Gumstix announced a touchscreen baseboard for its Linux-ready Overo computer-on-modules built entirely with the company’s new Geppetto custom design platform, and available for further modification via the web-based Geppetto. The Alto35 is available with a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen from InTouch Electronics.

Like the Palo35 that it baseboard replaces, the Alto35 supports Gumstix Overo COMs, which plug into standard or custom application baseboards via a pair of 70-pin AVX connectors. Features that are similar to the Palo35 include a 3D accelerometer, audio in/out jacks, two USB mini-B jacks, a USB console port, and 3.5V – 5V DC power input.

Overo COM and Alto 35 baseboard
(click images to enlarge)


New features on the Alto35 include an RC (radio control) servo, LEDs in four colors, and two tactile switches. Instead of the LG screen offered with the Palo35, the Alto35 includes an InTouch Electronics display with similar 3.5-inch resistive technology


The Alto35 is the first Gumstix board designed entirely with the company’s Geppetto cloning and customization software. Announced in February, Geppetto is a web-browser based service that lets customers design and order a custom baseboard for Overo COMs. Using the Chrome-optimized online GUI, users can choose the size of the board, and delineate which Overo COMs, components, and I/O to include.

Alto35’s Geppetto model
(click image to enlarge)


A drag and drop interface let users place components where they want on a 3D rendering of the board. Afterward, users can save the design, choose to share it with others, including the Geppetto developer community, and/or order Gumstix to build the custom board.

As described in this favorable hands-on report from CNXSoft, Geppetto alerts users to any requirements or conflicts, such as power voltage issues. “It’s really very easy to use, and once you are used to the software, you can go from design to ordering within 10 minutes,” says the report.

The bad news is a steep $1,999, apparently one-time, setup fee. Manufacturing costs start at a modest $6.30 per unit, according to the Geppetto site, but that is perhaps for volume orders only. CNXSoft reported its design cost $52.38 per unit for under 60 units.

The Linux-supported, open source Overo modules are available in 14 flavors, based on different versions of the Texas Instruments ARM OMAP35x family of system-on-chips. Currently, there are 17 expansion boards available for the COMs, including boards focused on cameras, displays, sensors, robotics, and wireless options. Linux support includes Yocto Project, Linaro, Ubuntu, and Robot Operating System (ROS) code. For more on Overo, see our earlier Overo TidalSTORM coverage.

“The Alto35 is the next great evolution in open-source hardware, and is completely customizable through Geppetto,” says Gumstix CEO Gordon Kruberg. “No other expansion board offers the same level of intuitive customization and scalability.”

The Alto35 is available now for $89, including the display. More information may be found at the Gumstix Alto35 page. The Alto35 can be customized with Geppetto starting June 28; more information on that process may be found at this Geppetto page.

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Gumstix touchscreen baseboard can be customized online”

  1. Patola says:

    Seems very nice! I have been keeping an eye on gumstix, will they succeed in popularizing COMs for the masses? Hope so.

  2. digi_owl says:

    A 4-5″ screen, a case, a battery and it may make for a interesting DIY “tablet”.

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