Blaze is also supported by:
Please check out the latest updates for Blaze by visiting the updates section of this Kickstarter page. Also, please visit getblaze.co.uk for additional information
Blaze is a stackable miniature development board, based around a high-resolution 1.6" display with capacitive touch and a high-speed 32-bit ARM micro-controller.
Blaze contains an on-board Micro SD socket for storage as well as a USB socket and various analog and digital external IO to allow expansion.
Blaze is also Arduino-compatible and can be used as a interface for your Arduino projects.
Blaze is pretty powerful for its size, here's what you can expect:
Microcontroller: ARM Cortex-M4
Clock Speed: 120MHz
Flash Memory: 1MB (upgraded from 512KB)
Display: 1.6" TFT
Color Depth: 262,143 colors
System Voltage: 3.3VDC
ADC Resolution: 16-bit
ADC Channels: 2x differential or 4x single ended
DAC Resolution: 12-bit
DAC Channels: 1x
Blaze can be powered from the on-board USB socket. Alternatively, it can derive its power from the VBAT pin on the external IO header which allows Blaze to be connected to external Li-Po batteries.
The ability to be powered from Li-Po batteries makes Blaze suitable for wearable applications.
Blaze has an on-board real-time clock, allowing you to keep track of time. By default, the RTC is disabled and is powered via dedicated VBAT pin on one of the external IO headers. Alternatively, a jumper can be fitted to Blaze which will ensure that the RTC is powered from the on-board 3.3V regulator, however, the RTC will lose track of time when Blaze is un-powered.
Blaze can be configured to support up to 5x 16-bit PWM outputs. These PWM pins can also be used as input capture and output compare signals.
The following video gives you an idea of the drawing speed of Blaze, with fast, efficient routines making in excess of 300fps possible. In fact, the drawing of the random squares in the video was clocked at 340fps!
The following video shows how a simple 3D cube can be rendered on the display. A primitive 3D engine is being developed as part of the Blaze API.
Blaze also provides a number of external IO and power connections. The external IO allows you to connect Blaze to your own hardware or other such platforms like Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
Note - Blaze is a 3.3V system which means that it is only compatible with other 3.3V platforms such as Arduino Zero.
Almost all of the DIO signals can be configured to perform alternative functions, such as UARTS, I2C ports, ADC inputs, etc. This allows a great deal of flexibility and connectivity when interfacing to external sensors and other hardware.
The table below shows the alternative configurations possible for each pin:
All Blaze boards come shipped with the Blaze Bootloader. This allows you to download your own code to board over USB via the Blaze IDE - a development environment similar to the Arduino IDE.
Blaze IDE makes full use of the Blaze API - a complete software library written in C++ which provides extensive access to the on-board peripherals and provides optimized routines to allow drawing on the display.
The present API has the following features:
- Powerful, efficient drawing routines including outline and fill
- Access to all external and internal peripherals of the ARM micro
- File access through the on-board SD card socket
- Multi-language support
- Image support (formats including Bitmaps and JPEGs)
- Support for any font
The following features are planned for Blaze and will be implemented during the campaign:
- Back-buffer support
- Alpha transparency
- 3D graphical routines (drawCube, drawSphere, etc)
- Transformation routines including translation, scaling and rotation
- Animation and keyframe support
Once the Kickstarter campaign finishes, the source code for Blaze will be available on GitHub - both Blaze API and Blaze IDE projects will be downloadable.
Should you wish to go one step further, the JTAG signals are available on Blaze via the external GPIO so you can load in your own baremetal code. A BSP library will be made available which will allow you to get up and running with your own baremetal code.
Blaze can also support real-time operating systems such as mbed, Freescale MQX, FreeRTOS, etc however at this present time, the required board-support packages are not available.
For those of you already familiar with coding for Arduino, Blaze API supports a compatibility layer to ease the transition between platforms.
Using only a few lines of code, you can quickly put together powerful, beautiful displays for your applications.
Due to the non-Atmel nature of the microcontroller, Blaze is only hardware compatible with the Arduino platform via the external IO - and only Arduino boards which are 3.3V compatible such as the Arduino Zero.
Here are a number of suggestions for what you could do with your Blaze:
A elegant and beautiful smart-watch display. Why not?
Mini Calculator:A miniature calculator that you can fit in the palm of your hand!
A palm-sized display for your tweets and notifications.
Mini Map Viewer:
Display mini-maps on your Blaze. Go one step further and create a micro navigation system
Simple App Launcher:
Launch your favourite apps via a simple interface across the USB link.
It would be awesome if you could help make Blaze a success. To make Blaze extra-cool, the following stretch goals are available should this campaign be successful:
£8,000 - Blaze IoT
An add-on board which turns Blaze into an IoT widget. Featuring BLE and Wi-Fi, Blaze can be connected to a multitude of devices and even The Cloud!
All additional functionality will be supported via the Blaze API (as well as in the Arduino compatibility API) and through the Blaze IDE.
£9,000 - Blaze IoT-X
As of the latest update, should the campaign get to £9,000 then an eXtended version of the IoT board will be available. The IoT-X board includes all current features of the IoT board but with additional GPS capabilities.
Note: unlike the IoT stretch goal, sadly this one isn't a freebie and would require an additional £20 to be added to your pledge in order to get this eXtended version.
See Update #12 for more information.
£12,000 - Blaze Box
A miniature enclosure for your Blaze!
Note: please be aware that the stretch goals will not affect the manufacturing schedule for Blaze or the overall quality of the end product. Blaze is the priority for this campaign and this will not be sacrificed.
There are two fully-working Blaze prototypes in existence. A couple of minor tweaks need to be done to the hardware prior to manufacturing the boards.
These tweaks are:
- Altering the footprint for the touch screen connector
- Reducing the brightness of the diagnostic LED (its BRIGHT)
- Alter the footprint for the USB socket
Risks and challenges
Most electronics projects come with risks in the form of component lead-times, possible component obsolescence and general sub-contractor or supplier delays.
The beauty of Blaze is that it uses common components which are readily available and also parts that have a long term availability. Local sub-contractors are being used for the manufacture and assembly of the circuit boards, suppliers who not only offer outstanding quality and service but also deliver on time.
This doesn't guarantee 100% risk free however it does seriously reduce any potential risks or challenges that could occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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