Akarel – which recently surfaced on Indiegogo – is a hardware development kilt that integrates Atmel’s ATmega328P microcontroller (MCU) and a 1GHz Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor (CPU) on a single board with a touch screen.
As Akarel creator Karel Kyovsky notes, the platform is targeted at devs and Makers who require a touch screen interface to implement their respective projects.
The development platform is currently available in two iterations: Akarel 7 (7-inch display) and Akarel22 (22-inch display). The former features an industrial grade projected capacitive multi touch connected via I2C, while the latter is equipped with a USB-linked capacitive single touch.
“Some development kits are missing displays or touch, [while] others use obscure software stacks. Imagine implementing your hack ideas within hours instead of days like you’ve been doing until now,” Kyovsky explained.
“Akarel integrates Android OS running on [the] ARM Cortex A7 via UART, with Arduino software running on [Atmel's] ATmega328P MCU. Integration and connection of both chips on [a single] PCB [offers a number of] advantages.”
According to Kyovsky, these include:
- Graphics and UI capabilities of Google’s flagship Android OS
- Optimized environment for application development
- Seamless network connectivity via WiFi or Ethernet
- Access to extensive Arduino community libraries
Kyovsky says he envisions Akarel being used to develop smart home automation and security systems, kiosks/payment terminals, along with Internet of Things (IoT) devices and appliances.
On the software side, the Akarel kit offers Makers and developers access to a Git repository stocked with Uboot source code, Linux kernel source (3.4.39), fine-tuned Android OS sources (4.2.2), Arduino firmware sources, Arduino tools (i.e. avrdude) and example apps.
“We want you to concentrate on writing an application not on spending time to make the basic things work. We have done it for you already. And if you want to dive deeper and modify the Linux kernel or Android OS…Why not? You have all the sources available for you to change and compile,” Kyovsky added.
“In order to save you from the hell of installing all the toolchain (correct version of gcc, libs, headers, automake, make, java, you name it) we have also prepared a Ubuntu virtual machine for you which may be downloaded and which has [the entire] toolchain preinstalled so that you can start recompiling your complete stack within a few minutes.”
Interested in learning more about the Akarel? You can check out the project’s official Indiegogo page here.