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BeagleConnect Freedom

Important

Currently under development

BeagleConnect-Freedom-C5-HandPhoto

The initial BeagleConnect™ Freedom production release will:

  • Support at least 100 mikroBUS-based Click boards from Mikroelectronika

  • Work with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled Linux computers at 2.4GHz

  • Work with long-range sub-1GHz IEEE 802.15.4 wireless connections at 500 meters with data rates of 1kbps, and

  • Work with a low-cost BeagleBoard.org Linux single-board computer (SBC) as a BeagleConnect™ gateway device and work with at least 10 other BeagleConnect™ node devices each supporting 2 add-on sensor, actuator or indicator devices.

Future releases will be collaborated with the community, evolve dynamically, and contain additional functionality. The goal is to support over 500 add-on devices within the first year after the initial release.

Important

BeagleConnect™ Freedom enables wirelessly adding new device nodes and is targeted to cost initially around US$20 with a roadmap to variants as low as US$1.

BeagleConnect™ Freedom

BeagleConnect™ Freedom is based on a TI Arm Cortex-M4 wireless-enabled microcontroller and is the first available BeagleConnect™ solution. It implements:

  • BeagleConnect™ gateway device function for Sub-GHz 802.15.4 long-range wireless

  • BeagleConnect™ node device function for Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) and Sub-GHz 802.15.4 long range wireless

  • USB-based serial console and firmware updates

  • 2x mikroBUS sockets with BeagleConnect™ protocol support

#TODO: provide image of BeagleConnect™ Freedom in a case with a hand for size perspective

BeagleConnect™ Freedom beta kit

A small number of beta kits have been assembled with BeagleConnect™ Freedom rev C5 boards, which is the version that should be taken to production.

The kit includes:

To get started with this kit, see [demo-1].

What makes BeagleConnect™ new and different?

Important

BeagleConnect™ solves IoT in a different and better way than any previous solution.

The device interface software is already done

BeagleConnect™ uses the collaboratively developed Linux kernel to contain the intelligence required to speak to these devices (sensors, actuators, and indicators), rather than relying on writing code on a microcontroller specific to these devices. Some existing solutions rely on large libraries of microcontroller code, but the integration of communications, maintenance of the library with a limited set of developer resources and other constraints to be explained later make those other solutions less suitable for rapid prototyping than BeagleConnect™.

Linux presents these devices abstractly in ways that are self-descriptive. Add an accelerometer to the system and you are automatically fed a stream of force values in standard units. Add a temperature sensor and you get it back in standard units again. Same for sensing magnetism, proximity, color, light, frequency, orientation, or multitudes of other inputs. Indicators, such as LEDs and displays, are similarly abstracted with a few other kernel subsystems and more advanced actuators with and without feedback control are in the process of being developed and standardized. In places where proper Linux kernel drivers exist, no new specialized code needs to be created for the devices.

Important: Bottom line: For hundreds of devices, users won’t have to write a single line of code to add them their systems. The automation code they do write can be extremely simple, done with graphical tools or in any language they want. Maintenance of the code is centralized in a small reusable set of microcontroller firmware and the Linux kernel, which is highly peer reviewed under a highly-regarded governance model.

On-going maintenance

Because there isn’t code specific to any given network-of-devices configuration , we can all leverage the same software code base. This means that when someone fixes an issue in either BeagleConnect™ firmware or the Linux kernel, you benefit from the fixes. The source for BeagleConnect™ firmware is also submitted to the Zephyr Project upstream, further increasing the user base. Additionally, we will maintain stable branches of the software and provide mechanisms for updating firmware on BeagleConnect™ hardware. With a single, relatively small firmware load, the potential for bugs is kept low. With large user base, the potential for discovering and resolving bugs is high.

Rapid prototyping without wiring

BeagleConnect™ utilizes the mikroBUS standard. The mikroBUS standard interface is flexible enough for almost any typical sensor or indicator with hundreds of devices available.

Note: Currently, we have support in the Linux kernel for a bit over 100 Click mikroBUS add-on boards from Mikroelektronika and are working with Mikroelektronika on a updated version of the specification for these boards to self-identify. Further, eventually the vast majority of over 800 currently available Click mikroBUS add-on boards will be supported as well as the hundreds of compliant boards developed every year.

Long-range, low-power wireless

BeagleConnect™ Freedom wireless hardware is built around a TI CC1352P7 multiprotocol and multi-band Sub-1 GHz and 2.4-GHz wireless microcontroller (MCU). CC1352P7 includes a 48-MHz Arm® Cortex®-M4F processor, 704KB Flash, 256KB ROM, 8KB Cache SRAM, 144KB of ultra-low leakage SRAM, and Over-the-Air upgrades (OTA).

Full customization possible

BeagleConnect™ utilizes open source hardware and open source software, making it possible to optimize hardware and software implementations and sourcing to meet end-product requirements. BeagleConnect™ is meant to enable rapid-prototyping and not to necessarily satisfy any particular end-product’s requirements, but with full considerations for go-to-market needs.

Each BeagleBoard.org BeagleConnect™ solution will be:

  • Readily available for over 10 years,

  • Built with fully open source software with submissions to mainline Linux and Zephyr repositories to aide in support and porting,

  • Built with fully open source and non-restrictive hardware design including schematic, bill-of-materials, layout, and manufacturing files (with only the BeagleBoard.org logo removed due to licensing restrictions of our brand),

  • Built with parts where at least a compatible part is available from worldwide distributors in any quantity,

  • Built with design and manufacturing partners able to help scale derivative designs,

  • Based on a security model using public/private keypairs that can be replaced to secure your own network, and

  • Fully FCC/CE certified.

Getting Started