96Boards goes to Japan!

Robert Wolff

ET2017 - Embedded Technology Conference


The Embedded Technology 2017 conference kicked off on November 15, 2017. Day one, the gates of the convention center rolled up at 8:00a and exhibitors were allowed entrance to begin booth setup. Clearly, the construction crews had spent the days prior setting up towering exhibits to fill the hall with names like Intel, Toshiba, Socionext, Toshiba, NEC, among hundreds more… And in the back area of Section “C” is where you would find Linaro’s quaint exhibition and demo table. Located smack in the corner of Arm’s very large stake of ET real estate, Linaro was granted a nice sized table to showcase what we felt would be fitting for such a convention.

At the Linaro booth, 96Boards was the dominating theme. We had two main demos up and running throughout the entire conference, both of which seemed to get their fair share of attention.

Applications showcase included:

  • Industrial Gateway demo.
    • Demo runs AWS Greengrass on the DragonBoard 410c, collects information from the sensors connected to the Mezzanine board, and sends data to the AWS cloud service.
  • Security Camera demo.
    • Demo walks you through face detection and recognition using open source libraries like OpenCV.

Both the workshops are written in python, so we will be using QTerminal to launch both the demo’s.

Booth Showcase #1

This demo has already been seen at Linaro Connect, OpenHours and several other conferences and workshops around the world. It includes a variety of visually appealing sensors and lights, a USB webcam attached to a dual-servo mount, an Arrow LinkSprite 7-inch LCD capacitive touch display and a wireless keyboard/mouse. The setup is conveniently organized on a slab of plexiglass and propped up on a carbon fiber base. The main component of this kit has to be the Consumer Edition based 96Boards, DragonBoard 410c. We paired the DragonBoard with a Grove Seeed Sensor Mezzanine to facilitate the many demos this kit is capable of doing off hand.

The DragonBoard 410c would stay booted up the entire conference, and on it there would be several programs running. The first was a sensor demo that not only took environmental input but also provided output. We could collect temperature, accelerometer and sound data, and by setting thresholds, we could assign the output to an RGB LED which would blink when the thresholds were met. We also used Amazon Web Services (AWS) Greengrass to run an industrial IoT gateway demo which would both compute the data on site and also stream to one of the AWS cloud services. Due to some connectivity issues in the convention center, this demo was not fully functional the entire time. The third and final demo in this showcase used OpenCV (computer vision) to detect and recognize faces of the conference goers who passed by our booth, and while we did not have the servos running our camera would have been capable of following pre-assigned “known” or “unknown” faces.

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Booth Showcase #2

The Socionext SynQuacer SC2A11 24-core Cortex-A53 Arm developer box was up and running! A very exciting sight to see, and even more fun for those who had a chance to click around and play with it. The fulling functional personal computer / dev box had several browsers open, a high definition YouTube video playing and a terminal printout of how all the cores were performing. Conference goers had the chance to come up, explore the interface and ask questions. This joint effort between Linaro, Gigabyte and Socianext, using the 96Boards Enterprise Edition specification as the skeleton clearly paid off. Hundreds of awe struck eyes stared down at this beautiful machine and realized the immense role it will play in the future of native Arm development.

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96Boards Speakership

The Linaro/96Boards speakership happened early morning, on the second day of the conference. Approximately 40 had registered (which would have likely filled the room); however, we had no idea how many would actually show until the actual time of the session. The crew shuffled our way over to the session room about 15 minutes before our slot, the plan was as follows:

  • 15 minute segment on Linaro
  • 45 minute segment on 96Boards
  • 15 minute segment on Secure96
  • 15 minute segment for the 96Boards Socionext Dev Box

A total of 1.5 hours! How excited I was that Linaro would have 1.5 hours to talk and more than half of it would be about 96Boards. I made sure my slides were in tip top shape!

Everyone did an outstanding job and the audience brought forward some good questions and they all seemed genuinely interested in the many initiatives we are involved in as well as the mezzanine ecosystem as a whole. Questions about using 96Boards as a strong path to product, the future of the specifications, and how one might get involved further if choosing to either design a new 96Boards and/or mezzanine. By the end of the session, I counted upwards of 25 people in attendance. This was slightly lower than we had expected, a fun and engaging audience, nonetheless!

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96Boards Blurb

“Robert Wolff, 96Boards Community Manager and Engineer, would like to introduce you to the 96Boards ecosystem. In his talk, he will address the following topics:

  • 96Boards Community growth and engagement
  • Vertical market penetration and path to product with 96Boards
  • 96Boards applications engineering efforts
  • Current and future 96Boards initiatives
  • How to get involved…

At the end of this talk, there will be a 96Boards demo using the DragonBoard 410c, Grove Seeed Sensors Mezzanine, various sensors for input and output, a LinkSprite HDMI Display and USB Hub.”

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Universities, onsite

There was a section of the conference hall dubbed the “University Pavilion” where over 10+ universities hosted their own booths and brought students to showcase the many things their professors are researching. I was struck with awe as a walked by these booths to see all of the amazing things these professors and their students are working on! Ganted, everything was in Japanese, and it was hard for me to read or understand everything on their posters, but luckily a colleague was helping to translate. Professors who are creating and cutting their own IC chips, light frequencies that render cameras useless without affecting the human eye, real time operating systems made from scratch and use in the space program, these professors are truely at the top of their game, I had to meet some of them…


The over all experience at ET2017 was very positive. The fact that we were hosted by Arm led to great booth activity, wonderful engagement with conference goers, and new friendships/connections with our neighboring booths and companies. It was nice to meet so many new people from Arm, who were very welcoming and helpful throughout the convention. Every chance I had, I would wander around and explore the exhibition hall, this led to many discoveries. It was nice to see more than 10 other booths showcasing their research, products/prototypes and demos being done with 96Boards. Our session was a lot of fun, and it had a great turnout (With over 20 attendees). Great questions were raised, all of which were addressed during the time of the session. 96Boards looks forward to being a part of this convention in the years to comes.

On a more personal note, this was my first time to visit Japan. My overall experience can be summarized in one word, “Amazing!”. From arrival to departure, I felt welcomed and enveloped in the beauty of Japan. The food was amazing, public transportation was easy (fellow travelers were very helpful when I got lost :-), and the cities were vast with plenty to see and do! I look forward to returning as soon as possible with family and friends! Thank you to everyone who helped me during my travels.

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