Maybe you are looking for a more capable board for your next ambitious project, you want to build a robot, drone or maybe a more complicated system that your Raspberry Pi can’t handle. Well, folks from Krtkl (pronounced Critical) company has your back, the company behind making the Snickerdoodle has successfully raised a crowd supply campaign and it appears to be the most affordable single-board computer yet to run on the Xilinx Zynq system-on-chip.
Last week, I got the chance to talk to Mr. Ryan Cousins the CEO of Krtkl company and the makers of Snickerdoodle, and he answered some of the questions regarding the board. For people who haven’t heard about the company Krtkl, it was actually founded in 2014, and since then it has been making and developing embedded and automated systems, real time controls and robotics, they worked from medical devices up to consumer electronics. As I asked Mr. Ryan how did the idea of making the board started? He said that idea was started a long time ago where they wanted to bring a more powerful and affordable tool for hobbyists and makers to develop more complicated systems they wanted to bring something that other boards in the market couldn’t handle yet, as for the name “Snickerdoodle” he said that they didn’t put much thought in choosing the name as they wanted to have something catchy and easy to remember.
So, the Snickerdoodle board is actually a hybrid of an ARM/FPGA SoC (System on Chip) with the integration of many other features like the wireless communication, a lot of general purpose IOs pins and the possibility to pair it with other base boards. The board was funded through Crowd Supply website and raised an amount of $120,000.
The system specs:
• Processor: Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9
• FPGA: 430 K gates (up to 1.3 M)
• RAM: 512 MB (up to 1 GB) LPDDR2
• Flash: 16 MB NOR + microSD
• Wi-Fi: 2.4 GHz (up to 5 GHz) 802.11n
• Bluetooth 4.0 – Classic & BLE
• I/O: FPGA: 100 (up to 125), Processor: 54 x GPIO
• microUSB: console, 5V power
• Comms: SPI, I2C, CAN, UART, JTAG, Gigabit Ethernet
• Power input: 3.7 V to 17 V
• Dimensions: 2 x 3.5in (50.8 x 88.9mm)
• software support: iOS/Android app, Snappy Ubuntu Core Linux, Python, java, C/C++, ROS, FreeRTOS
A number of Snickerdoodle baseboards can also be added to the basic system to provide:
• breakyBreaky breakout board – 0.1″ headers for snickerdoodle
• shieldBuddy – use your Arduino shields with snickerdoodle
• piSmasher SBC – HDMI in/out, Gigabit Ethernet, USB, 68 reconfigurable I/O
• gryphon autopilot – GPS, CAN, 22x PWMs, 3x IMUs, 2x barometers, safety uC
• whiteRhino industrial SBC.
Why a Xilinix Zynq processor?
The chip behind the processing power of the Snickerdoodle is the ARM based System on chip (SoC) from Xilinx Zynq. The reason why the team has gone with a Zynq processor and not with a regular microprocessor that are available in the market is because it offers a lot of customizability and it can be configured easily, plus the chip is powerful and has many applications in industrial, aerospace and defense systems, which allow the hardware to be reconfigured with the software and those things aren’t possible to accomplish with regular microprocessors.
What can I do with Snickerdoodle?
Well with the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Classic & low energy, a dual core ARM processor, and the 154 user customizable I/O, you can build pretty much any complicated system.
- You can use it as a cheap Linux computer: the board does support open source software including Snappy Ubuntu Core Linux, ROS and FreeRTOS.
- You can build robots, drones and Internet of things.
- By taking the advantage of the processing power of the ARM processor you can use it to develop cryptocurrency and bitcoin mining.
- Take advantage of the on board FPGA and use it in variety of applications including: video processing, machine learning algorithms, and recognition security systems.
As for the price the snickerdoodle comes at a price of $55 (1/2 GB of RAM, single band SISO WiFi), the snickerdoodle black $140 for more RAM, better WiFi connection and copperhead heat sink. You can check out the Crow Supply campaign for more details in Here.
The Snickerdoodle board is actually open source so all baseboard/microShield schematics, grebers and BOMs will be published and publicly available and the complete snickerdoodle schematics and BOM will be published and made publicly available before the end of the campaign.
If you want to learn more about the snickerdoodle board and how to get involved, you can check out: