Thursday, April 8, 2010

Linux Live USB Creator

Linux Live USB Creator
This is a free software for windows that allows you to create a bootable Live USB key with linux on it.
This will enable an user to use linux in any windows PC without the need of installation or configuration changes by using automatic virtualization.

In order to configure beagle board using linux, this can prove useful. Linux can be run on any windows PC, just by inserting the USB flash drive. With the above setup, beagle board can be configured at places where one does not have his own PC.

In most cases, it is more efficient to use Linux in order to configure the beagle board. For example, if someone wants to make changes to the boot files, linux can prove useful. Also, the problem found with windows is that it only mounts the boot partition of the SD card. So, if someone wants to make changes in the ext3 partition, linux can prove useful.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paparazzi Autopilot System for RC Airplanes

Paparazzi Autopilot System by paparazzi project
Paparazzi is an open source project in order to create an autopilot system for RC model airplanes in an attempt to make it easy and affordable for all.

This autopilot system uses Linux platform which enables the use of Beagle Board. Using Beagle Board is an affordable solution for autopilot systems used in RC airplanes. Since Beagle Board is a computer, it can be used to carry out a bunch of different operations such as attitude control, altitude control, airspeed control. Also, sonars equipped with USB data transfer facilities can be used in order to detect obstacles and navigate accordingly.

Autopilot System needs a processor, RAM, DSP. Beagle board has it all. Also, beagle board is relatively smaller, fanless, lighter processor. Use of SD card on the beagle board can enable a user to switch SD cards in order to switch different flying modes if the system is not using a ground station.

The above picture has the components used in the Paparazzi Autopilot System for RC Airplanes.
Additional Sensors can also be added such as attitude sensor, airspeed sensor, altitude sensor, thermocouple.

The diagram below shows the schematics for this system.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Android Demo

In the above video, Android uses Nokia E51 as a USB GSM/GPRS modem. Using Nokia E51 as a USB modem enables the beagle board to have GSM and GPRS network access. This modifications turns the beagle board into a cell phone device with cell phone functions such as text messaging.

In the above video, Android uses Network PacketSniffer application by using a USB ethernet adapter. This will enable a user to search for packets over the internet.

NOTE: the above videos are posted by youtube user "divinekumar"

More information about Android Demo:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Practical Labs with Beagle Board
The above link has information about doing practical labs with beagle board. This link has valuable information for beagle board users.

This lecture slides are also useful in order to learn about building your own file system, boot loader for beagle board from scratch.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stand-Alone Demos

Stand-Alone Demos can boot on any beagle board without even setting the NAND. Any SD card demo can be made Stand-Alone using a custom boot.scr file. Using this boot.scr file will enable an user to boot a demo on any beagle board without even setting the environment variables or NAND. Custom boot.scr file can also work with empty NAND.

Custom boot.scr file

In order to make custom boot.scr file you need:
1) mkimage
$ sudo apt-get install uboot-mkimage
2) vim text editor

1) create an empty text file.
2) type the format for boot.scr file in the empty text file:
NOTE: see below in Text File Format:
3) once the text file is made run this mkimage command: $ mkimage -A arm -O linux -T script -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n 'Execute uImage.bin' -d name of the text file boot.scr
NOTE: this will create an executable file named "boot.scr"
4) Insert the SD card and mount the fat partition
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/card
NOTE: in some versions of linux, sdb1 might be sdc1.
In order to check type $ cat /proc/partitions and look at the second last line.

5) copy the boot.scr file in the fat partition of the SD card
6) Unmount the fat partition
$ sudo umount /dev/sdb1

7) insert the SD card in the beagle board

8) hold the user button while powering on the bb

NOTE: user button is the near the SD card slot. It is towards the end of the board.
9) enjoy your Stand-Alone Demo ! ! !

Text File Format:
This is a Shell Script Format:
if fatload mmc 0 0xboot address uImage
setenv bootargs 'environment variables'
echo ***** stand-alone demo *****
bootm 0xboot address

NOTE: There has to be a space before setenv & echo
NOTE: The line "echo" above is optional. This line prints information on the screen. for example, the above line prints "***** stand-alone demo *****" on the screen.

NOTE: environment variables and boot address depends on a particular demo.
EXAMPLE: if bootcmd is "setenv bootcmd 'mmc init; fatload mmc 0 0x80300000 uImage; bootm 0x80300000'"
then the bootaddress will be 80300000.
Bootargs EXAMPLE: setenv bootargs 'console=ttyS2,115200n8 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootwait omap.dssmode=dvi:1024x768-16@60'

Additional Resources:

Instructions regarding partitioning the SD card:

Demo images of Gnome can be found here:,com_phocadownload/Itemid,60/view,sections/

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Other OMAP3530 Processors

Embest DevKit8000 Evaluation Board

  • Dimensions: 110mm x 95mm
  • Working temperature: 0°C to 70°C
  • Processor: TI OMAP3530 microprocessor with 600MHz ARM Cortex-A8 RISC Core
  • Power supply: +5V
  • 128MB DDR SDRAM, 166MHz
  • 128MB NAND Flash, 16bit
  • LCD/Touch Screen interface (50-pin FPC connector, support resolution up to 2048*2048, optional VGA8000 module can connect via LCD interface)
  • DVI high-resolution image output port (HDMI interface, support 720p, 30fps signal)
  • S-Video display interface
  • One audio input interface (3.5mm audio jack)
  • One 2-channel audio output interface (3.5mm audio jack)
  • One 10/100M Ethernet interface (RJ45)
  • One High-speed USB2.0 OTG port (Mini USB type interface)
  • One High-speed USB2.0 Host port (USB A type interface)
  • Two serial ports (one 3-wire RS232 serial port led out from 2.54mm 10-pin connector and one 5-wire TTL serial port led out from expansion connector)
  • SD/MMC interface (supports 3.3V and 1.8V logic voltage)
  • One camera interface (30-pin FPC connector, support CCD or CMOS camera, support analog camera module CAM8000-A for option)
  • 6*6 keyboard interface
  • One 14-pin Jtag interface
  • Four buttons (Reset, Boot, User defined, On/Off)
  • One expansion connector (2.0mm 40-pin SMT Female Pin Header, McSPI, McBSP, I2C, HDQ, GPIO are led out from this connector)
  • Supports USB WiFi through WF8000-U module
  • Supports GPS function through GPS8000-S module
  • Supports GPRS function through GPRS8000-S module
  • Support 3G function through CDMA8000-U module (CDMA2000 standard)

This particular board is user friendly since it has LCD touch screen interface. Also additional modules such as GPS, GPRS, 3G, USB WiFi make networking mobile on this board. This board also has Ethernet 10/100M interface, which does not require USB in order to access the internet.

TechNexion - Thunder

  • 4.3" touch enabled display 480 * 272 pixels resolution
  • 128 MB Low power mobile DDR
  • 256 MB NAND Flash
  • Wireless LAN 802.11b/g
  • USB, LAN, G-sensor, RF interface, audio and battery management
This board has wireless LAN, which is a very useful tool in order to acess the network without LAN cable. Also G-sensor on this board can prove very useful in gaming applications.

TechNexion - Inferno Interface Board for TAO-3530 Series

  • 1 mini-USB hosts
  • 1 mini-USB device / OTG
  • SD card slot
  • Stereo audio in/out 3.5 mm
  • 2W aplified speakers (L/R)
  • S-video connector
  • DVI-D signal by HDMI connector
  • SPI, RS-232, UART, I2C, GPIO
This board is like a media center for TAO-3530 system modules. This board has USB ports, SD card slot, Speakers, S-video connector, HDMI connector, spare GPIOs. This can enables a user to play applications which require some sort of display.

TechNexion - TAO-3530 System Module

  • 128 MB Low power mobile DDR
  • 256 MB NAND Flash
  • Marvell 8686 802.11b/g
  • Two 100 pin NAIS connectors
    I2C, PWM lines, 1-wire, MMC lines,
    A/D lines, camera, audio in/out,
    S-Video, LCD interface
This board has about the same capabilities as the Beagle Board except with an additional 802.11b/g wireless module. This particular module can be used in order to enable the board to get access to a nearby wireless network.

Video Wall FOSDEM 2010

The above video-wall consists of 6 19" LCD screens controlled by 6 beagle boards working simultaneously. The video is divided into 6 tiles.
Using 6 beagle boards divides the work done by each board by 1/6. This helps the beagle boards decode a video stream in real-time.
The video stream is 1080p.
Additional Information can be found here:

Using Beagle Boards on video-wall proves a handy tool in order to decode video, because of its size and the fact that it consumes very little amount of power.
Beagle Board's decoder can be used to get real-time video stream. Beagle Board is used as a display controller here.

It might be possible to decode video stream from the network.

DRG (Digital Raster Graphics)
The above image is of 7.5-minute Digital Raster Graphic.
DRGs are topographical images which are ultra high resolution, with a minimum of 250 dots per inch.
Using Beagle Board to process DRG's can be handy tool, because of its size and the fact that it consumes very little power. One way to process DRGs can be break them into tiles, and then joining them together again after processing. Beagle Board's DSP can be used to offload some work needed in order to process DRG's
Several beagle boards can be used with each beagle board processing one tile at a time.

IRC nicks ds2 and av500 were discussing about it
The thread can be found at:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beagle Board Trainer

Beagle Board Trainer

This board is an expansion board for Beagle Board and has the following features:
  • I2C interface(+3.3v or +5v selectable)
  • SPI(+3.3v)
  • GPIO's(+3.3v)
  • large 0.1" prototype matrix and power bus.
  • Atmega168
  • Arduino compatiblle
  • +3.3v or +5v selectable
  • connected via the second uart to the BeagleBoard
GPIOs on this board can be used as General Input/Output. They can be used in order to run a particular hardware that has no USB, or Serial interface.
Also, this board adds bunch of interfaces to the beagle board.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Android by Embilinux

Android by Embilinux

The above link is a download page for Android by Embilinux. Android is a software stack for mobile devices including operating system and key applications. This demo supports input devices (keyboard, mouse), network and sound.

This particular demo image has some neat applications such as web browser, Alarm Clock, Media Gallery.

In order to make one for beagle board.

1) download the required files from the above link and untar them.
2) partitions the SD card : partition 1 - FAT 16 (bootable)
partition 2 - EXT 3
Instructions regarding partitioning the SD card
3) Mount the partitions
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/card
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb2 /media/disk_ext3
4) Copy the boot files in the FAT 16 partition
$ sudo cp MLO /media/card
$ sudo cp uboot.bin /media/card
$ sudo cp uImage /media/card
5) Copy Android file system in the ext3 partition
$ sudo cp * /media/disk_ext3
6) Boot the SD card
# setenv bootargs console=ttyS2,115200n8 noinitrd root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 video=omapfb.mode=dvi:1280x720MR-24@50 init=/init rootfstype=ext3 rw rootdelay=1 nohz=off androidboot.console=ttyS2
# mmc init
# fatload mmc 0 0x80300000 uImage
# bootm 0x80300000
7) Enjoy ! ! !

PixHawk Pioneer

PIX HAWK by Parrot

The above link is about the EMAV 2009 system : PixHawk Pioneer.
This system is made by the EMAV team. This team is from ETH Zurich.
Their system PixHawk Pioneer enables PixHawk to fly autonomously.
This system uses an OMAP 3530 processor, similar to the BeagleBoard.

This team used the OMAP3530 in order to make a bridge between several sensors they are using and between output servos and speed controller. This team is using airspeed sensor, 3D magnetometer, 3D accelerometer, 3D gyro, highspeed USB 2.0, barometric pressure indicator, temperature sensor.
The OMAP3530 processor is used in order to process the input values from these sensors in order to control servo movements and speed controller commands. As a result, PixHawk Pioneer is electronically controlled.

Beagle Board Codec Engine

The above link has instructions about setting up the Beagle Board Codec Engine.

Codec Engine is necessary in order to make use of onboard TI TMS320C64x+ DSP, which is a DSP on the Beagle Board.
This enables an user to make use of beagle board's DSP in order to decode video and audio.
Using DSP to decode video help to meet real-time playback of a video stream.

The above link also has instructions regarding running some sample applications provided with the files.
It also has instructions about building your own DSP Link file.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AR Drone, by Parrot

The above link has information about AR Drone, which is a flying vehicle made by parrot. It has certain features such as WiFi, which enables it to be controlled from an itouch, or iphone.

Since the guidance system on AR Drone uses Linux, it might be possible to use beagle board for this.
Using beagle board can provide some advantages. AR Drone has 2 cameras for live feed. Since beagle board is capable of producing HD graphics, it might be possible to produce a live HD feed from the cameras. The DSP on the beagle board can be used to encode the live feed and stream it to the viewing device.

Also, beagle board is like a mini-computer, which has many advantages:
  • Since beagle board is a processor, it might be possible to make an Auto-Pilot system for AR Drone.
  • Several image processing programs such as edge detection, obstacle recognition can be used in order to prevent AR Drone from colliding.
  • It might be possible to add an airspeed sensor, altimeter, altimeter which work as input devices for beagle board and can help the AR Drone fly by itself.
  • In short, beagle board can receive inputs from several sensors such as airspeed sensor, altimeter, and process the data received in order to guide the AR Drone by using commanding its control surfaces and speed controllers.

Beagle Board as USB Mass Storage Device

The above link has instructions regarding using the Beagle Board as a USB Mass Storage Device.

This is advantageous over a network file system because it does not need an network connection in order to be used. Also, you don't need to turn the beagle board on and off in order to copy new files to the file system like with an SD card.

Other Boards

Here are some boards which are similar to that of Beagle Board.

Hawk Board

  • Dual Core SoC
    • 300-MHz ARM926EJ-S™ RISC MPU
    • 300-MHz C674x VLIW DSP
  • ARM926EJ-S Core
    • 32-Bit and 16-Bit (Thumb®) Instructions
    • DSP Instruction Extensions
    • Single Cycle MAC
    • ARM® Jazelle® Technology
    • EmbeddedICE-RT™ for Real-Time Debug
  • ARM9 Memory Architecture
  • C674x Instruction Set Features
    • Superset of the C67x+™ and C64x+™ ISAs
    • 2400/1800 C674x MIPS/MFLOPS
    • Byte-Addressable (8-/16-/32-/64-Bit Data)
    • 8-Bit Overflow Protection
    • Bit-Field Extract, Set, Clear
    • Normalization, Saturation, Bit-Counting
    • Compact 16-Bit Instructions
  • C674x Two Level Cache Memory Architecture
    • 32K-Byte L1P Program RAM/Cache
This board is capable of producing VGA resolution, and you can even attach a SATA hard drive on this board.

Leopard Board

  • 10/100 Ethernet Port
  • USB 2.0 (can be used to power the board or as expansion)
  • JTAG and Serial ports for debugging
  • SD memory card support (also supports SDIO)
  • Stereo audio In/Out
  • Expansion connector for customer add-on feature
  • Composite TV Output
  • LCD/DVI Interface
  • Support 720p at 30pfs
  • VGA Camera board (included)
  • Support wide range of video resolutions from VGA, 1.3M, 2M, 3M to 5 Mega-pixel CMOS Sensors (High resolution camera boards available seperately)
  • Royalty-free open source 2A functions

This board has some good expansion features such as camera board.
Also it can be used as an input device for camera, with a beagle board. Basically like a stand-alone camera, with its own video decoder.