The quickest path to a prototype

February 27, 2018 Rich Nass

We’ve written a fair amount about the Gumstix solution, as we believe it can be a very valuable tool in the designer’s arsenal. This includes adoption of IoT sensors for smart buildings, as well as support for various microprocessor architectures. If you’re not familiar with what Gumstix provides, the best way to describe it is as “design-to-order hardware.” You simply drag and drop your components onto a board in the easy-to-use Geppetto tool and hit “build.” Gumstix does all the rest, including shipping you working boards.

The latest news from these folks is that they’ve released the Chatterbox tool for the Colibri iMX7, a development board for Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service (AVS). With the momentum that’s building for AVS, this can provide an immediate jump-start to a design and put you on level footing with the competition.

Designed by Gumstix in Geppetto following the AVS Functional Design Guide, the Chatterbox can be deployed as a voice- or push-button activated Alexa device. The Chatterbox includes a 2.5-W speaker driver, an on-board microphone and line-in jack for high-quality audio I/O, and WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet for connectivity.

In addition, a Toradex Colibri iMX7 COM connector module is now bundled into Geppetto. This is a powerful IoT SOM with an NXP i.MX7 SoC, which includes an ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and an integrated NXP Cortex-M4 microcontroller. Other features of the SoC include an audio codec, DDR3 RAM, and power regulation.

The Chatterbox development boards can be used for prototyping or they can be copied and modified in Geppetto D2O to create their own custom iMX7 AVS or IoT design in a short amount of time. Then, you go straight to ordering a board with virtually no engineering required, getting hardware with just about any popular networking connection.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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