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Topic: Reinventing the Arduino with built-in networking for IoT.  (Read 493 times) previous topic - next topic

l1l1

Hi all,

After more than a year of work, I'm launching a Kickstarter for the Omzlo One: An Arduino compatible board with built-in networking.



The Omzlo One very much like the Arduino UNO R3, featuring an Atmega328pb at 16Mhz. You just need a plain old RJ45 cable to connect Omzlo One devices together to form a network: the cable brings both networking and DC power. It's conceptually similar to PoE (power over ethernet) but is based on the simpler and cheaper CAN bus protocol.

You can write code in the Arduino IDE and upload it over the network to your Omzlo One device. And you can also send/receive messages to these devices through a simple web interface. It's made to be super simple.

Check it out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1242572682/omzlo-one-reinventing-the-arduino-with-built-in-ne

pert

Whenever I see a new dev board the first question to my mind is how well will this be supported by the Arduino ecosystem? We see people create nice hardware with fancy modern chips but often they don't make the extra effort on the software side of things. This even happens with official Arduino certified boards, which I think has led many potential customers to be wary of trying new hardware. If I understand correctly, this is not an issue for the Omzlo because it's binary compatible with ATmega328P and thus can take advantage of the excellent support for that chip that already exists. There will be no need to install an Omzlo hardware package and hope that out favorite libraries will happen to be compatible, you just treat it as an Uno with a superpower. Although you have mentioned this several times in your Kickstarter, I think that the sort of customer who would be concerned about this will not understand the term "binary compatible". One thing I think would help to make this clear would be to change:

Quote
To upload your Arduino sketches to the Omzlo One, you simply follow these steps:
  • Write your Arduino sketch in the Arduino IDE
  • In the Sketch menu, click on "Export Compiled Binary"
  • Go to the NoCan web interface, select the node and upload the binary.

to something like:

Quote
To upload your Arduino sketches to the Omzlo One, you simply follow these steps:
  • Write your Arduino sketch in the Arduino IDE
  • Select "Arduino/Genuino Uno" from the Tools > Board menu
  • In the Sketch menu, click on "Export Compiled Binary"
  • Go to the NoCan web interface, select the node and upload the binary.


jremington

What sense could it possibly make to use a 48 MHz ARM Cortex M0 merely as the interface to "the real workhorse", a 16 MHz ATMega328?

And on a slow CAN bus to boot, which is of interest to no one outside the automotive industry.

pert

What sense could it possibly make to use a 48 MHz ARM Cortex M0 merely as the interface to "the real workhorse", a 16 MHz ATMega328?
See my reply above. For an advanced user who doesn't care about software support there is no sense but for the typical Arduino user who values ease of use over performance it makes good sense (assuming the use of the ATmega328PB doesn't introduce significant complications, which I believe is not an issue here).

And on a slow CAN bus to boot, which is of interest to no one outside the automotive industry.
Having no experience with CAN, I can't comment on that criticism, hopefully @l1l1 will do so.

l1l1

See my reply above. For an advanced user who doesn't care about software support there is no sense but for the typical Arduino user who values ease of use over performance it makes good sense (assuming the use of the ATmega328PB doesn't introduce significant complications, which I believe is not an issue here).
Having no experience with CAN, I can't comment on that criticism, hopefully @l1l1 will do so.
Whenever I see a new dev board the first question to my mind is how well will this be supported by the Arduino ecosystem? We see people create nice hardware with fancy modern chips but often they don't make the extra effort on the software side of things. This even happens with official Arduino certified boards, which I think has led many potential customers to be wary of trying new hardware. If I understand correctly, this is not an issue for the Omzlo because it's binary compatible with ATmega328P and thus can take advantage of the excellent support for that chip that already exists. There will be no need to install an Omzlo hardware package and hope that out favorite libraries will happen to be compatible, you just treat it as an Uno with a superpower. Although you have mentioned this several times in your Kickstarter, I think that the sort of customer who would be concerned about this will not understand the term "binary compatible". One thing I think would help to make this clear would be to change:
to something like:

Thanks, I made some adjustments to the kickstarter page.

By binary compatibility, I mean that any "hex file" compiled for the classic Arduino UNO can be uploaded unmodified to the Omzlo One and will work exactly as it did on the Arduino UNO. If you want to benefit form the network capability offered by the Omzlo One and create networked application, you need to download a board descriptor for the Omzlo One in the Arduino IDE.

l1l1

What sense could it possibly make to use a 48 MHz ARM Cortex M0 merely as the interface to "the real workhorse", a 16 MHz ATMega328?
Well it turns out that this was the cheapest solution. In fact it's cheaper than adding a dedicated CAN bus driver such as the MCP2515 (and it's cheaper than adding another Atmel AVR chip).

In the end it doesn't really matter what the specs of that chip are. It is designed to make the life of Arduino users easier.

And on a slow CAN bus to boot, which is of interest to no one outside the automotive industry.
People use serial USART lines in their Arduino projects everyday and seem quite happy about it, despite the fact that it is even slower than the CAN bus that is used in the Omzlo One.

The Omzlo One does not claim to fit very need. Sure, if you are voice over IP, than the Omzlo One is not for you. But if you want to get sensor data, activate relays, switch lights or water your garden automatically then the speed offered by CAN bus is way sufficient.

Using CAN bus allows you to build a cheap and simple network solution for Arduino.


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