Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
LoPy is a MicroPython triple-network dev platform which doubles up as a LoRa Nano gateway. Arduino IDE compatible as stretch goal.
LoPy is a MicroPython triple-network dev platform which doubles up as a LoRa Nano gateway. Arduino IDE compatible.
LoPy is a MicroPython triple-network dev platform which doubles up as a LoRa Nano gateway. Arduino IDE compatible.
Created by
1,329 backers pledged €120,419 to help bring this project to life.

Today, we announce a strategic partnership with ESPRESSIF for supply of ground breaking and state of the art SoC.

12 likes

Dear amazing Backers,

As this journey enters its final week, we finally let the cat out of the bag and confirm our choice of SoC supplier for the LoPy. In addition, we also want to share an update on our Asian trip.

First things first though. Thank you to all you great backers in over 56 countries whom have consistently supported us during the past 4 weeks. You have made LoPy a reality and it’s fantastic to see our idea come to life!

Our work with ESPRESSIF SoC

So, Daniel and I have been busy meeting our strategic manufacturing and supply partners in Shanghai and Shenzhen, 2 technology metropoles of South East Asia. Whilst we have some more work to do, we have made great progress including finalisation in appointing suppliers for our LoPy and other modules. I will try not to steal too much of Daniel’s thunder (mini blog below), however it gives me great pleasure in confirming that Pycom and Espressif have agreed a long term supply relationship for Pycom products. Our LoPy will be powered by their ESP32, a state of the art and future generation SoC.

Fred and Teo, CEO of Espressif
Fred and Teo, CEO of Espressif

Whilst this was a technical decision driven during the development phase of the LoPy, our choice was reinforced as a result of meeting up with Teo (founder) and the rest of the Espressif leadership team. Simply put, a World class organisation intent on revolutionising and pushing the boundaries of traditional SoC manufacturing! Reviewing their current and future product roadmap reaffirmed the knowledge that Espressif easily ranks as leader within their field. Seeing the delighted look on Daniel’s face during our technical discussions, it was clear he was getting very excited, so much so, he has insisted on putting it in words.

Daniel's Blog

Hello backers,

Daniel here, reporting from the Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai.

I wanted to tell you a story about the LoPy.

Our board was conceived around 8 months ago, and was initially a WiFi+LoRa only module, but after a month on the drawing table, we said to ourselves: "We have to make this the swiss army knife of IoT, so why not add Bluetooth into the mix?" Guess what? Challenge Accepted!

So, we began adding a BLE radio to our existing WiFi+LoRa PCB design, and it meant having to change the main SoC, accommodate a different RF front end, replace many passive components, completely rewrite hardware abstraction layer and spend a ton of hours debugging. But we were not afraid, so we went for it and built some prototypes. Sooner rather than later we were making serious progress and we were very happy about it, both with the WiFi and the BLE features.

Just when we thought that the picture was clear, the ESP32 beta testing program was announced, some of the specs were disclosed, and we couldn't help but fall in love with it. Since the timeline for the release of the new ESP32 was a bit unclear back then, we decided to go on and design the LoPy around Espressif's technology, but without stopping the developments on our previous board, therefore, for a few months the LoPy existed in two parallel universes… was it challenging? Oh yes, very much, but trust me, it was super fun and it was worth it!

Today we can announce that we have chosen a winner and it is the ESP32. The reason is quite simple: it’s the best. The ESP32 is truly a master piece, it is light years ahead of any other WiFi+BLE SoC in the market. Let's start with the fact that the Espressif guys have taken the "integrated circuit" term to the next level, so much, that internally they call the ESP32 a "Module on Chip” (MoC) instead of a "System on Chip (SoC)", and they couldn't be more right since most of the passive components that you would have had to place outside of the chip are already built-in. This has 2 big positive effects, the first is reducing the footprint of the PCB, and the second is that it eliminates almost completely the negative effects of tolerances. Every ESP32 chip is calibrated in the factory to compensate for the internal tolerances, but the best thing is that it is also able to auto-calibrate itself dynamically during its entire operating life, delivering maximum performance despite of the ageing effects.

Let's talk about it's multiprocessing capabilities... what can you do with 2 symmetric Xtensa cores running @160MHz? The right answer is: A LOT! and Espressif is working hard on the SDK to make sure that we can squeeze the most out of multiprocessing capabilities of the SoC, it’s rich set of peripherals, the Bluetooth and WiFi networking capabilities. Best of all, use of this SoC works well with our production timelines so no worries regarding supply dates.

We cannot reveal many more details because most of the info is still under NDA, but we have spent some quality time at the Espressif offices in Shanghai and they are committed to give us full support so that we can get all the juice out of the ESP32 and make it available to you, through a beautiful and simple (yet powerful) Python API. Espressif has the goal of making IoT simple and feature rich. At Pycom we happen to share the same vision... As Leonardo da Vinci once said: "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication"

Asia Trip Update

Whilst we are not ready to push “GO” on LoPy manufacturing, we thought you would like to see the manufacturing facility where the modules will be manufactured. Here we have a shot of the WiPy’s from the same assembly unit where the LoPy boards will be made in July 2016.

Manufacturing partners
Manufacturing partners
Well, hello there little WiPy fellows
Well, hello there little WiPy fellows
Daniel inspecting our babies...
Daniel inspecting our babies...

Campaign Update

We have now reached short of 200% of our financial target and very much hope still to see the first University Gateway’s attained! The number of countries now totals 56 with some 1115 backers.

Arduino IDE compatibility coming up next!

Post campaign pricing

We thought it would be worth reminding all backers that now is the time to remind your chums to get the lower Kickstarter LoPy pricing. Post campaign the RRP will go from €29 to €34 + VAT (€40). Please pass the message on to any other friends/hackers!

That’s it from us for the time being. 

Thank you once more and catch up soon.

Fred, Daniel and the Pycom Team

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Anders Öster
      Superbacker
      on March 4, 2016

      Great!

    2. Pycom 2-time creator on March 4, 2016

      @Anders Öster: Not at all, delivery will take place in August just as planned.

      Cheers,
      The Pycom Team

    3. Anders Öster
      Superbacker
      on March 4, 2016

      Btw. does the choice of ESP32 affect delivery plans?

    4. Pycom 2-time creator on March 2, 2016

      @Mac Ha Nguyen:

      We completely agree with you, and before shipping the WiPy we worked very hard together with Damien in order to define a common MicroPython API for all boards. This is the API used by the WiPy and also the LoPy. I do hope that the ESP8266 follows this same API as well, since that was the goal when we designed it.

      Please check here: https://github.com/micropython/micropython/wiki/Hardware-API and you'll see what I mean.

      Cheers,
      Daniel

    5. Mac Ha Nguyen on March 2, 2016

      Great news, and as a supporter of MicroPython and all Damine's effort to make it run on as much devices as possible, as well as all 3 Pycom boards, I fully agree with all comments below, with one additional wish: to make MicroPython as seamlessly as possible on all supported platforms. And this includes not only core python, but all modules too... For this, I think, you guys should work very closely together to ensure one common repository of supported modules, so if, say I have an application with NeoPixels running on the original PyBoard, it should run without any modifications on the WiPy, LoPy as well as any ESP8266, or whatever else you guys decide to port MycroPython too!!
      And congratulations, we are reaching EUR 100,000!!

    6. Pycom 2-time creator on March 1, 2016

      Hi Freek,

      Many thanks. All great points (and all points we are considering). I totally agree with your position. It is absolutely the right position to take of supporting both campaigns. Damien deserves that support and we will continue to play a part there too.

      Best wishes Fred

    7. Missing avatar

      Freek Dijkstra on March 1, 2016

      Fred: thanks for the info. I fully understand your business concern. I guess it boils down to the question if PyCon strives to be a hardware, software or intergrator business, and thus which parts you like to retain confidential or open source: the hardware schematics, the software or both. Another approach is to release code after 6 months or a year, so you still have a competitve advantage.

      In the mean time, I'm happy to back both you guys as well as to give my Pledge to The God of MicroPython at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/214379695/micropython-on-the-esp8266-beautifully-easy-iot/. Given that WiPy, and Pycom would probably not have existed without him, he certainly deserves that.

    8. Pycom 2-time creator on March 1, 2016

      Hi Freek, Great point and thanks for voicing that. We are big believers in Open source and are on record to continue funding core modules of MicroPython to remain available on that basis. We will port MP onto the ESP 32 and still working out the details of what / how we make that available. Our support to free development for the community remains unchanged. We simply need work out the detail. Not trying to be evasive but we also have an enterprise business which will help fund this process... hope you understand and please be patient. Thanks Fred

    9. Anders Öster
      Superbacker
      on March 1, 2016

      Thanks Pycom! Very happy for ESP32 :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Chris Thomson on March 1, 2016

      ESP8266 solutions are significantly cheaper to buy - so if ESP8266 solves a particular problem its still a good choice.

    11. Missing avatar

      Freek Dijkstra on March 1, 2016

      @Fred, Daniel and the Pycom Team: I'm not sure how related the API of the ESP8266 and ESP32 are, but does this mean that you are going to port MicroPython to the ESP32? And what kind of interaction do you expect with the ESP8266 project of Damien George? E.g. do you plan on open source your code for the ESP32?

    12. Pycom 2-time creator on March 1, 2016

      The ESP 32 being the flagship SoC we wonder why you would want the older WiFi only.

    13. Missing avatar

      Freek Dijkstra on March 1, 2016

      A bit unrelated, but for those interested in MicroPython on the ESPRESSIF ESP8266 (as opposed to the ESP32), you still have 24 hour to back https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/214379695/micropython-on-the-esp8266-beautifully-easy-iot (by Damien George, the original author of MicroPython).

    14. Claudio Duffini on March 1, 2016

      When i saw "Dual processor (each core running @ 160 MHz)" my ears buzzed, and I said: "where did I just seen this ?" ESP32. Now it's confirmed.