Simple Media Networks is a networking technology provider. We love audio and we live, eat, and breathe embedded systems. With this project we plan to fund software development and production of the SoundsCape: our current audio & bluetooth solution for the BeagleBone. This development platform provides a better solution for developers of connected audio devices.
The SoundsCape is perfect for:
Developers using the BeagleBone for systems that will benefit from high quality audio performance and/or Bluetooth connectivity.
Audio enthusiasts who would like an audio hacking platform.
Audio enthusiasts who would like to connect their existing speakers to the internet for audio streaming.
Features of the SoundsCape include:
Audio Codec - The included ADAU1361 codec from ADI includes Stereo Line Input, Stereo Line Output, and Headset I/O (stereo headphone out + mono mic in). Each output is supported with a 3.5mm stereo jack. This Codec provides >98db SNR on both input and output. The codec includes a comprehensive mixer with analog volume controls. As an added feature, the codec on the SoundsCape is compatible with Beaglebone systems using the LCD display interface (e.g. official BeagleBone LCD capes).
BlueTooth - In addition the cape includes a Bluetooth 4.0 Interface featuring the PAN1323 module from Panasonic (based on the TI CC2567). This hardware enables development of Bluetooth Streaming via A2DP, Headset via HFP, and controls via BLE. Firmware available on our website will demonstrate A2DP streaming. **Sadly the BT interface is unavailable on systems which use the LCD touchscreen interface due to GPIO limitations of the BeagleBone.
The SoundsCape board enables several applications including those shown in the following diagrams:
Audio Bridge - The Audio Bridge is our showcase application for the SoundsCape. The Bridge Module can be used to turn your Bluetooth or Aux input speaker system into an ethernet connected speaker system and dlna endpoint. dlna allows you to send music to your speakers via an app on your mobile device or computer. You can queue up music from the cloud, your other dlna devices, or your NAS based music collection. No more music dropouts when you move your phone away from your bluetooth speaker!
Enclosure - The Audio Bridge reward will include a custom plastic enclosure for the BeagleBone & Soundscape. A 3D model for that enclosure is currently being developed as shown in the following rendering. The final shape & colors of the enclosure are not yet determined. The final enclosure will also include slots to allow for cooling of the device.
Additional Possibilities - Developers will appreciate the many options which are possible with the SoundsCape. The board is capable of supporting a variety of audio connections. Many Bluetooth profiles can be developed for the board including HFP, SPP, A2DP, HCI. The bluetooth interface is capable of supporting BLE for remote controls and low power BT sensors. Full schematics for the SoundsCape will be posted on our website.
Applications Firmware - The SoundsCape firmware is based upon a minimal Ubuntu build. In addition to the drivers the images include the following: BlueZ Bluetooth stack. The Audio Bridge image also includes the Platinum uPnP stack, and gstreamer. As part of this project we will create at least 3 SD Card images to demonstrate the capabilities of the SoundsCape which will be downloadable via our website.
Developer SD Card - The Developer SD Cards contain a minimal build Ubuntu image for the BeagleBone Black with supporting drivers for the SoundsCape Board.
Project Status - The SoundsCape is currently in functional prototype stage with a few rework wires. We have functional drivers supporting codec configuration & controls and Bluetooth A2DP streaming on an Ubuntu based system. We also have a functioning dlna endpoint based upon Platinum UPNP and gstreamer.
Funding for the project will be used to build revised PCBs, manufacture the enclosure & complete software development for the modes described & for configuration apps & tools.
Our Team - The SMN development team is based in Northborough, MA.
Cory is the SMN electronics wizard! He holds a BSECE from THE Ohio State University, and is responsible for all of our schematics, PCB layouts, board bringup, & managing production. Cory also helps with low level firmware and a variety of marketing and business issues. When he is not developing awesome hardware at SMN Cory can be found playing bass & keyboards in local bands.
Stu is SMNs very own software Guru. He holds both BS & MS degrees in Telecommunication Technologies from the Technical University of Sofia in Bulgaria. Stu is responsible for software and embedded firmware development. He also helps with board bringup and systems level design. In his down time Stu is often hacking his DJ equipment to get the best sound possible.
The SMN development team is supported by Beth Bomarsi and Matt Moser for operations & marketing.
Production Plan - SoundsCape PCBs will be manufactured in USA by AMI. Rewards for the project will be bundled and shipped from our facility in Northborough, MA.
Partners - It takes many supporters to make any project go. We would like to thank the following companies and individuals who have helped to bring this project to life: Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, Panasonic, CircuitCo, AMI, Plutinosoft, Engineering MicroSystems, Ubuntu, Jonathan Sachs.
Risks and challenges
While the primary challenges have been resolved, development of a hardware project is always subject to many variables. The major risks to the project are:
BeagleBone Black is currently in short supply - We could have difficulty obtaining these boards for our bundles. We have plans to purchase these boards directly from CircuitCo, and will advise supporters as we get confirmation of delivery on the BBB. Should CircuitCo not be able to supply boards, we have a backup plan in place for boards from a China based supplier.
Components could become unavailable. All parts in our design have been selected based in part upon availability. While we don't anticipate any problems, vendors could discontinue critical components. In such a case we will do our best to modify the design and find suitable alternates.
The SoundsCape is hardware compatible with the BeagleBone (White) and the BeagleBone Black, all hardware versions. Software support is not included in official builds yet, but we will supply Ubuntu based SD card images for free.
A "sink" just means that it is an input connection. Bluetooth speakers function as a bluetooth sink, taking their input signal from a bluetooth connection. Other devices can function as a sink as well, televisions, radios, clocks are typical examples.
SOUNDSCAPE BT SOURCE BUNDLE: Includes a preloaded SD card with out-of-the-box working BT to audio source setup for BeagleBone Black. Use this kit to send audio to an existing BT speaker. Includes easy setup scripts to configure bluetooth.
SOUNDSCAPE BT SPEAKER/SINK BUNDLE: Includes a preloaded SD card with out-of-the-box working BT to audio setup for BeagleBone Black. Use this kit to create a BT speaker from your existing aux input speaker system as seen in our video. Includes easy setup scripts to configure bluetooth.
ETHERNET AUDIO BRIDGE: Complete working system to stream audio from the internet to your favorite Bluetooth or Aux Input speaker system. The device appears as a speaker end point to your phone music apps. Requires ethernet connection and dlna compatible app on your phone for control. Includes: Beaglebone Black, SoundsCape, DLNA SD Card, fully assembled in a Custom Enclosure, with 3ft audio cable & Power adapter. International buyers will get a Multi-Blade power supply kit.
OEM SPONSOR: We will do a prototype where we customize & integrate the design into your product. In addition we discuss our future plans for the technology with our OEM sponsors and possible directions to suit your product needs.