.NET softwired

Tetris for Tahoe-II board

Pavel Bánský made this great game and demo application for the Tahoe classic (Tahoe I) development board last year.

Since then a new version of the development board from Device Solutions has come out and they switched the screen from portrait to landscape mode. They also made some changes to how you reference the buttons on the board.

So in order to make the Tetris game run on the Tahoe-II, I have made some adaptations.

Here are a few pictures of it. It runs in the Tahoe-II emulator as well.

You can download the adapted code from here: MicroTetris3.zip (41.00 kb)

All credits to Pavel for a great program.


Maxstream XBee RF module documentation

I have digged out the specifications for the Maxstream XBee RF modules, which I received as part of the "Dare To Dream Different" competition package.

Please note that there is also a Zigbee variant of these modules. The ones I received are 802.15.4 versions. I'm not currently sure of the differences, so you have to look that up yourself if you need it.

You can find the specs. and other information here:

1. XBee XB24-AWI-001 802.15.4 module product manual.
2. XBee XBIB-U-DEV development board diagram.
3. USB driver for Windows (for the development board)


New Micro Framework development kit from AUG Elektronik Gmbh

AUG Elektronik Gmbh, from Austria is in the process of making a new Micro Framework based development board. According to the specifications, it looks like a real killer! Plenty of memory and an OLED Display in a nice high resolution.

Andreas Schloffer from AUG, informs me that the capacitive keypad mentioned in the specs. is a transparent keypad which makes it possible to place the display behind a glass surface to make sure that the system is vandal safe and still use the touch functionality. You do not use both the resistive keypad and the capacitive keypad at the same time.

You can find more info on the company homepage here: AUG Elektronik Gmbh

Some of the specifications (from the technical product sheet) are:

- Atmel AT91SAM9261 (200 MHz)
- 160 kB SRAM (internal)
- 256 MB NAND Flash
- 3.4” OLED Display 480x272, 24 BPP RGB
- resistive touch screen (SPI)
- capacitive sensor keypad (16 keys, I2C)
- 4 serial Ports (2 RS-232, 1 RS-485, 1 Debug RS-232)
- 10/100 MBit Ethernet Auto-MDI
- I2C Bus
- SPI Bus
- battery backed realtime-clock (I2C)
- several (15) free GPIOs (more depend on peripherals)

.NET Micro Framework 3.0
USB Host (Note 1)
USB Device (Note 1)
Micro SD-Card slot (Note 1)
single 5 V power supply
PowerOverEthernet PoE power supply (optional)

Note 1: Features are not yet implemented in MF core or in the AUG port!


Dare To Dream Different hardware arrived today

Yihaa, today I received a package with the MF development board and other stuff.

The package contains the Tahoo-II development board from Device Solutions, a USB cable, 2 XBee 802.15.4 radio modules from Maxstream and an XBee development board so that one of the radio modules can be connected to a PC on the USB port. 

There was no USB cable for the XBee development board and there is no documentation on the XBee stuff at all! I will probably also need a USB driver for that board. - Well I guess that I just have to find it on the Internet...

XBee dev. board to the left and Tahoo-II board to the right. Two XBee radio modules on the top.


The backside of the Tahoo-II board - the Meridian MF processor in the lower left corner.


The Meridian processor board is not much bigger than a standard SD memory card! 



Close up on the two XBee modules.  


The XBee development board. 


 This just looks nice and I'm looking forward to get started playing with it.


Dare To Dream Different contest - Round 2


I have been selected to move on to round 2 in the Dare To Dream Different Challenge. I didn't believe my eyes when I saw my name on the wall of selected participants. I'm in the hobbyist category.
This is great and I'm looking very much forward to receive some hardware to test on.

Oh boy - now I actually have to produce a prototype and a presentation video of my submitted design proposal.

Although working with the emulator is not bad, there is nothing as the real stuff - hardware with buttons, display and I/O ports. So I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

Until the development board arrives I have started collecting other hardware that I am going to use in my design. When I made my submission to the contest I did not really have any idea of what parts I was going to use or where to get it from. New ideas about the design comes up every day so I am still in the discovery phase and I have not landed on a final design yet - only on a building block level. This is almost like making a new jig saw puzzle; Right now I have about 5-6 pieces making up the complete picture and in the coming days and weeks I will cut each of the big pieces into smaller ones. I just hope that I don't end up with a puzzle in 1000 pieces and no time to put it all together!

Anyway, I have managed to collect most of the critical hardware parts I'm going to use, so this is really great. Now I just have to agree with myself on how the software is going to work and let myself dream up some nice innovative features.

Let the fun begin!




Dare To Dream Different contest - Round 1

Have you heard about the  .NET Micro Framework "Dare To Dream Different" competition? - Of course you have... (Me too).

To get started I just had to come up with a great idea for a design to be built with the Micro Framework and Microsoft will give me the necessary hardware to get started (That is if I am selected to go on to round 2). OK, this chance will propably not come again for a very long time, so think, think...

What kind of design should I come up with??? 

I had been circling around this competition for weeks but could not come up with a good design idea. I could see that the deadline came closer and closer, so I had to come up with something and my mind was all blank. This was a chance to get some real hardware to play with and maybe even win some of the other prices in the competition.

 The last week before the deadline (December 15th), I managed to brainstorm a list of 14 different designs that I thought could be fun to make. After looking at them for a few days I decided on 3 different contest proposals and submitted these to be part of the "Dare To Dream Different" competition only in the last minutes before the deadline - whew!

Now I just wait until January the 15th, where all the submitted design proposals are judged in or out of the competition.