TI Evalbot development under Linux

We have some beefs about how Texas Instruments does things, the biggest of which is their lack of support for development under Linux operating systems. But if they build it, someone will try to get Linux involved in one form or another. This time around, [BLuRry] put together a guide to developing for the Evalbot under Linux. He got a shove in the right direction from the code package that went along with that nunchuck-controlled Evalbot. Picking apart that example to the bare essentials he wrote up the process of setting up the cross-compiling toolchain in a virtual machine so as not to clutter your system. From there he details how to set up and use Eclipse when starting a new project. What what did he choose for a Hello World experience? Well a plain “Hello World” was first but right on its heels is the “Hello Hack-A-Day” seen above. So if you’ve got one of these on hand get out there and start coding for it.

Hands-on with eZ430-F2013

At the beginning of the Month we came across a coupon code for a free eZ430-F2013 development stick. TI has given these things now and again so we took the opportunity to acquire one. It arrived yesterday and we’ve spent just a bit of time looking it over. Above you can see the first project completed; Hello World on a salvaged Nokia cell phone screen. Join us after the break for our thoughts on the device, as well as more pictures and details.

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Peer network using graphing calculators

These calculators are networked together, able to pass information and play games on a multi-screen playing field. All of this is thanks to [Christopher Mitchell's] work on a package called CalcNet. This networking software takes advantage of [Christopher's] shell and GUI for TI calculators called Doors CS. To demonstrate the high reliability and throughput of his network he wrote NetPong, a multi-calculator version of the popular game that you can watch in a clip after the break.

This is definitely an instance where asking ‘why?’ is the wrong question. We’re more interested in the how, a question you can answer for yourself by reading the whitepapers he provided in both of the links above. [Christopher] knows what he’s doing, he proved that with his face-recognizing augmented reality.

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EvalBot: arrival and assembly

[Chris Muncy] just received his EvalBot from TI and took some pictures of the assembly process. He was one of the lucky folks that picked up the kit for just $25 using a short-lived coupon code. Seeing the kit makes us wish we had ordered one. There is some assembly required but as you can see, it’s pretty much just mechanical assembly of the wheels and the front bumper arms.

We think the wheel design is quite good. It consists of two small gearhead motors mounted on the rectangular PCB parts that you can see on the right portion of the image above. Those mount to the circular mainboard using metal L brackets. The wheels themselves are three circular pieces of PCB, one with a smaller diameter sandwiched in between its two larger cousins. This creates a channel that is perfect for a neoprene O-ring to give the wheel traction. The main board uses an optical sensors and a hole through all three parts to function as a rotation counter.

It’s a fancy piece of hardware and we can’t wait to see what you can do with it! If you’ve got one, we want to hear about your adventures.

$125 off the Evalbot is a steal

When you see $125 off something you probably assume it cost several times that to start with. Nope, this drastic discount leaves just $25 plus shipping. Use coupon-code: 2JLP-R4XRT3 when ordering the little rover. There’s a quick video snippet of it embedded after the break.

What you’ll get is a Stellaris ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller on a board with a bunch of goodies.

  • MicroSD slot
  • USB host and device connectors
  • I2C audio with speakers
  • Ethernet connector
  • 96×6 OLED display
  • Motors
  • Optosensors
  • Bump detectors

As always, we want to hear about the hacks you come up with once you have this little guy in hand.

[update, the code is now expired]

[final update -- Someone from TI explains what is going on.]

—-  from the comments.

As some posts already note, the coupon code is only available to ESC Boston attendees. That said, we’re psyched about all of your interest and understand there seems to have been some confusion, so TI plans to fulfill all of the finalized orders to date. We’re working on some logistics in getting the code up and running again for ESC Boston attendees, but proof of ESC registration will be required. Stay tuned.

We hear you about the e-store and are working as quickly as possible to avoid issues in the future. Thanks for your patience.

Bottom line – we’re glad to see the excitement around EVALBOT and look forward to checking out your projects! We encourage you to share them on our e2e Forums at http://e2e.ti.com/

-Jean Anne Booth, Texas Instruments

——-

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Launchpad not limited to value line chips

Wanting to use my TI Launchpad as more than just a development board I thought I’d do a few experiments using it as an in-system programmer. After a few tripping points I was able to get it working and then some. It seems that the device is not limited to just the value line of microcontrollers it was intended to support. In the image above I’m using it to program an MSP430F2272 which is a pretty powerful little chip with 32 KB of program space. Click through the break for more information on the setup.

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PlayStation 3 exploit using a TI84 calculator

[Brandon Wilson] came up with a way to exploit the Play Station using a TI84 calculator. This uses the same PSGroove open source code that we looked at last week. That package was running on the Teensy, which is currently sold out (we’d guess because people want to run the exploit). There’s a video demonstration of this new trick after the break. The calculator connects via a USB A to USB mini-B cable which comes with the calculator and is also used to charge the PS3 controllers. Once the connection is made, launch the software on the calculator, power cycle the PS3, and turn it on with the familiar power-eject button presses. The only problem with the system is that the calculator needs to be connected every time you boot.

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