OnQ

Developing with Mezzanine Boards and the DragonBoard 410

Jun 19, 2017

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

In today’s fast paced world, tools and resources are not only integral to product development, but also critical for its success. Innovators equipped with the right development tools can build on their creativity and bring the next wave of smart products to life. Platforms like the DragonBoard™ 410c development board from Arrow Electronics play an important part in the innovation cycle as they are designed to allow developers to quickly realize proof of concepts and provide a realistic path to production. DragonBoard 410c is a 96Boards compliant development board based on a 64-bit capable Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410E processor by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., which features advanced processing power, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity and GPS. It is engineered to help reduce time to commercialization for various verticals by supporting open source hardware and software development in a variety of operating systems like Android, Debian, OpenEmbedded, Ubuntu Core and Windows 10 IoT Core.

The 96Boards Consumer Edition specification for single board computers standardizes the minimum functions that manufacturers can build upon to create mezzanine products that target their vertical markets. Mezzanine products are add-on boards that connect to the standard low speed and high speed peripheral connectors on the DragonBoard 410c, and provide a way for developers to interface with a wide variety of sensors.

One example of a mezzanine board is the recently launched DesignCore Camera Mezzanine Board from D3 Engineering Embedded Vision Solutions. Designed for rapid development of embedded vision applications, the board allows the developer to directly connect up to two MIPI CSI-2 cameras to the DragonBoard 410c. At the same time, expansion headers provide access to two UART’s, two SPI, one I2C, one PCM, and GPIO’s to interface with other sensors. The kit includes one OV5640 5MP CMOS image sensor with auto focus that supports 1080p video. To find out more about the camera mezzanine, join the 96Boards OpenHours session on June 22nd with the D3 Engineering team as the guest speakers. And in case you miss the live OpenHours session, it will be posted on 96Boards YouTube channel as OpenHours #59. Also, check out the Camera Kit GitHub and short unboxing video.

A variety of 96Boards mezzanine products enhance the DragonBoard 410c development experience by interfacing with a unique set of sensors and peripherals.

The Linker mezzanine card is a great way to get started with 96Boards, and it contains a lot of tools to help you make fun projects by following step-by-step tutorials. Starting from the basics of electronics modules, to more complex projects, the kit will help you control the physical world with sensor and actuators, and help you ramp up your programming using 96Boards. It has eight connectors supporting Analog, UART, I2C and GPIO, and two channels of analog input using the MCP3004 ADC chip. There are bidirectional voltage-level translators which allows for low-voltage bidirectional translation between any of the 1.2-V,1.5-V, 1.8-V, 2.5-V, 3.3-V, and 5-V voltage nodes. So, it is compatible with 3.3V or 5V modules and makes connecting peripherals easy. You just plug a jumper onto JP9 to select which input voltage you need.
The Sensors Mezzanine adapter is designed to make it easy to connect your favorite Grove modules and Arduino compatible shields. On the board, you will find sockets for 18 Grove modules, an Arduino-compatible shield socket, and two SPI headers. It also includes an ATMega328 microcontroller which can be programmed from the Arduino IDE and will run most Arduino UNO sketches unchanged. The shield connector and half of the Grove sockets are controlled by the microcontroller, while the remaining Grove sockets are controlled directly by the baseboard. This makes it a flexible prototyping platform which supports both direct control of devices from application software, and offload to a microcontroller. This board is ideal for developers who are familiar with the Arduino platform and are building applications that read from a whole bunch of sensors, but need the additional processing power of the Snapdragon 410E processor to crunch data and optimize their application. Home and industrial automation, robotics, IoT and healthcare are just few of the industries that come to mind.
The STM32 Sensor mezzanine board is based around the STM32F446 MCU. In addition to providing multiple expansion possibilities through the Arduino Uno Revision 3 and Grove connectivity, this board allows users to prototype systems that are aware of their environment thanks to the onboard sensors for movement, pressure and sound.
The Audio Mezzanine Board is a Grove interfaced board that provides one 3.5mm audio port and two independent MICs, which can be used for multimedia processing. This board also supports features like USB to Serial circuit, reset button, and ability to choose 3.3/5V as the output voltage for the GPIO’s.
The AeroCore 2 provides MAV control with the 9-axis IMU, altimeter, CAN bus, optional GPS and CSI2 camera connector. With additional support for NimbeLink Skywire LTE modems, the AeroCore 2 combined with the DragonBoard 410c makes a great platform for drone and swarm projects.

And talking about projects, here are some cool projects using the various mezzanine boards that you can find here on QDN.

Alexa Voice Service using the Audio Mezzanine Board
Breakerball using both Sensors Mezzanine and Linker Mezzanine
Sensors demo for Android using the Sensors Mezzanine
DragonBoard 410c drone project using the Aerocore 2

As of today, we have around five dozen inspiring projects posted on the QDN Projects page. With a mindset for creative development and equipped with the right development tools, we are looking forward to seeing what you create!