Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wifi Dev Board with Linux - $5: Onion IOT Omega2

Image 1:  Omega2 is tiny! However, I can only scale in my head relative to an onion, not a cherry.

I came across Onion's Omega2 wifi dev board today on Kickstarter ...

...which seems like it will be pretty awesome.  It's a tiny, fcc certified (pending...), wifi dev board that importantly only costs $5, runs linux, can be programmed in your language of choice (NodeJS, Ruby, Python, PHP, C++...) and has all the pins you need.  Did you catch that... $5!  Linux!  Wifi!  Tiny!  Boom goes the dynamite!

The Omega2 comes from what seems to be an experienced team at Onion that already has one successful product launch (The first generation Omega) under their belts.  If you purchase an Omega2 Onion is expecting them to ship by the end of this November.

The Omega2 not only has wifi but has add-on boards that can add bluetooth, cellular and gps along with a whole plethora of other add-on boards so that you can build out whatever your application is.  It is fantastic that we are seeing more dev boards hit the market in the $5 range that are fully wifi capable with enough computing power to actually do something.  Here's the full spec for the Omega2:

  • 580Mhz CPU
  • 64MB Memory
  • 16MB Storage
  • USB 2.0
  • b/g/n WiFi
  • 15 GPIO
  • 2 PWM
  • 2 UART
  • 1 I^2C
  • 1 SPI
  • 1 I^2S

There's also a souped up version of the Omega2 called the Omega2 Plus that will bump the memory up to 128MB with 32MB of storage as well as a MicroSD Slot.

There's a ton on the Kickstarter page for the board that goes beyond what I have listed here.  You should check it out.  Try not to get overwhelmed though as there is a plethora of extras that almost get confusing at a certain extent.  The only other thing I was a little put off by was the knock in their marketing to Arduino being difficult.  Arduino has done some amazing things for the community and we should honor that with a nod as opposed to a knock.  Respect yer elders.  I'll keep my trap shut though until I see how easy the Omega2 is, perhaps they'll knock my socks off.  Let's hope so, and keep up the community momentum in pumping out lower and more powerful dev boards.  Go-go gadget awesome shit!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

HOW TO: View Arduino Serial Data from Command Line

In the past I have always viewed the information I printed to the serial port within the Arduino IDE by opening the Serial Monitor.  However, you can view the same information from the command line.  To do so simply follow these steps.

Put this in an Arduino sketch:

void setup() {

void loop() {
Serial.println("ImagineN4tion, right MEOW!");

Upload it to whatever development board you are working with.

Then, on Mac, open Terminal and execute the following command:

ls /dev/tty.*

This will list all the serial connections.  Identify which serial port you would like to listen to.  Then execute the following command to listen to that port:

screen /dev/tty.[yourSerialPortName] [yourBaudRate]

You will enter your specific information to replace what is between the [ ] in this command.  Thus, for me it becomes:

screen /dev/tty.SLAB_USBtoUART 9600

A screen window will be opened within your terminal and you will be able to see whatever your development board is printing to the serial port, yahoo!  The sketch I provided above simply prints "ImagineN4tion, right MEOW!" repeatedly.