Project POCKIT

    You'll get a message when a new demo/update or POCKIT units are ready.

    PocKit is a computer made for the real, physical world. On top of its powerful, versatile Core, you can attach BLOCKS - any number of any kind - to suit your application.

    WHAT IS POCKIT?

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    STM32 + ESP32 Dual-Processor
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    24+ feature BLOCKS ready to use in seconds
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    Compact and beautiful casing for real-world
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    Rapid coding for applications
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    WiFi + BLE, ready for IoT use
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    Instant connection with magnetic-snaps
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    Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
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    Easily modifiable for hacking

    Timeline

    #19: DEMO: Pockit with Linux

    March 18, 2021

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    Pockit goodness + a tiny Raspberry Pi module. This video shows me quickly assembling and using a Linux PC, then transforming it into a handheld.

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    The back of the newest version of Pockit provides a DDR-form connector to optionally insert a Raspberry Pi "Compute Module" (with the BCM2837 CPU)

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    So, Pockit's real-time interaction with Blocks can now be married with the accelerated capabilities of a Linux-capable processor. The video (1st item) shows various possibilities with this combination.

    #18: The most data-heavy Blocks yet

    February 26, 2021

    High-speed-signal (HSS) PCB layout is difficult to do well, but provides great rewards -- such as high-resolution, high-framerate camera streams.

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    3 types of Camera blocks, with different resolutions and fields-of-view (FOV), all using parallel data-buses.

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    This particular Block supports night-vision, when paired with the IR-LED Block (see Update #16).

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    A processing-accelerator Block, meant for AI-class applications. I will cover this in a future demo, after finalizing the testing phase.

    #17: Fresh casing design

    February 13, 2021

    This is one of the most important updates so far, and the result of almost 5 weeks of intense experimenting + testing... which ended positively.

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    Until recently, Pockit has always had a casing but the magnets stayed always exposed, in order to create stronger attraction.

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    Inspired by a post on Pockit’s Facebook group, I decided to see how if I could directly embed the magnets within Pockit’s enclosure.

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    The updated CAD model. Several variants with slight dimensional adjustments were prepared, so that mechanical-fit calibration could be performed more quickly.

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    A custom-built stepper-driven jig performed hours of automated-testing of electrical contact quality, for comparison of design variants.

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    Shown here are the old version and the final new design, with slightly thicker magnets, upgraded spring-contacts, and full enclosure of the magnets. Works very reliably, and maintains good holiding strength.

    #16: Fresh new year, fresh new Blocks

    January 2, 2021

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    The pH-sensor Block (shown without the sensor) and Mini-Relay Block (perhaps a good pair for gardening or... chemistry-based automation?).

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    IR LED. Ethernet. Fingerprint sensor. Reading data from the last one was a pain, thanks to a poor datasheet, but the sensor's detection-speed is remarkable.

    #15: DEMO: Gardening: PocKit to PocKit to Plant

    November 25, 2020

    Indoor plants are getting a lot more love these days, with people spending more time indoors. I wanted to show POCKIT being used for an indoor-gardening application.

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    The full demo!

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    The absolute minimum needed would be a SOIL-MOISTURE block and the (newly completed) PUMP block.

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    But I wanted a more capable setup, so I plugged in a TEMPERATURE-SENSOR Block, a UV-SENSOR Block, and some BUTTONS, etc.

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    Wireless synchronization (with the inbuilt ESP32s) is now implemented. Whatever one POCKIT sees/does with its BLOCKS can be seen/done by other nearby POCKITs, so this forms a virtual-expansion ability.

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    Of course this kind of wireless talk allows tons of possibilities with remote monitoring. With very little work, I can remotely check on my plants -- and take care of them.

    #14: DEMO: Touchless soap dispenser

    June 30, 2020

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    A little demo to show how quickly one can use POCKIT to build a functional device like a noncontact dispenser (which is obviously important in these pandemic times).

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    POCKIT's newest internal battery has 1500mAh capacity + enough current to comfortably run the metal-gear Servo Block, but a USB charger can also be used.

    ##13: Upgraded battery to 1500 mAh

    June 23, 2020

    With some recently made tweaks (CAD shown here), there is now more room below the PCB inside POCKIT, and that means a larger battery 1500 mAh.

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    Battery capacity is measured in mAh, and POCKIT's newest battery stands at 1500 mAh, which is generous for most applications.

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    But where POCKIT really shines is how long it runs on that fuel. POCKIT contains optimized circuitry with components that all have either low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##12: ESP32 on the main PCB

    June 6, 2020

    Wireless capability (with ESP32) was previously an afterthought, and hence a secondary board.

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    ^image description

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    ^image descriptionher low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##11: Upload the 2nd video (teardown)

    May 23, 2020

    Open the block! let's have a look at what's inside.

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    Tear down demo video.

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    BACK SIDE: Recess with magnets for mechanical connection; Extrude with Pogo pin spring tips for electrical connection.

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    FRONT SIDE: high resolutioin SLA 3D printed enclosure with exact features for different block.

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    INSIDE: PCB is the most important part of block.

    ##10: Upload the first video (alarm clock)

    May 21, 2020

    Neodymium magnets are typically graded based on their Maximum Energy Product (measured in units of Mega-Gauss Oersteds), with N52 and N55 the strongest currently available grades.

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    Battery capacity is measured in mAh, and POCKIT's newest battery stands at 1500 mAh, which is generous for most applications.

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    2.6 inches E-paper block: resolution of 296 x 152px and super low power consuming.

    ##9: Upgrade: Neodymium Magnets are strong!

    March 19, 2020

    Neodymium magnets are typically graded based on their Maximum Energy Product (measured in units of Mega-Gauss Oersteds), with N52 and N55 the strongest currently available grades.

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    A typical refrigerator's magnetic field strength is around 50 gauss. An N52 magnet can go up to 15,000 gauss.

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    ^image descriptionher low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##8: Locked down BLOCK design

    December 17, 2019

    Each Block will measure 21 mm x 21 mm (with an internal circuit board measuring 18.1 mm x 18.1 mm).

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    It's important to choose a unit-size that is small so that we maximize the number of Blocks that can be connected on one POCKIT — but the unit-size also needs to be large enough that a commonly-used BLOCK like a Pushbutton or a Dial doesn't use up more than one unit (one position slot) of the POCKIT real-estate.

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    The calculation of optimum unit-size was done by first tabulating the minimum sizes of all major components that I can envision using, and then performing a simulation study, with heavier weighting given to more common use-cases.

    ##7: POGO pins enter the ring

    November 26, 2019

    Wireless capability (with ESP32) was previously an afterthought, and hence a secondary board.

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    ^image description

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    ^image descriptionher low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##6: Battle of the Connectors

    November 3, 2019

    Not Type C, then which one has the best combination of small size, strong mechanical connection and > 24+ pins?

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    ^image descriptionher low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##5: VERSION 2: birth of businesss card size

    July 5, 2019

    Small, small and SMALLER! I want it to be super portable.

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    After using the previous version for a few months, the size appears to be not so convenient, because since the first day, the goal has been to make the most flexibly modular but also compact solution. It's not ideal to carry around a train of large blocks. Bulkiness (together with lack of versatility) is after all what causes otherwise entertaining products like LittleBits to stay constrained mostly to kids' desks.

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    But where POCKIT really shines is how long it runs on that fuel. POCKIT contains optimized circuitry with components that all have either low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##4: Upgrade: SLA 3d prints

    May10, 2019

    Enclosure is not just about appearance. Here's my journey to get the best printed box for the design.

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    ^image description

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    ^image descriptionher low quiescent current or have the ability to be dynamically disabled by the internal microcontroller.

    ##3: SnapFit for stronger connection

    April 26, 2019

    Turns out USB-C by itself is not a perfect choice, change or add?

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    The USB connector was used for both electrical and mechanical connection. This worked well for a chain of 3-4 BLOCKS in a row, but eventually the cantilever/loaded-beam effect kicks in — the accumulated load causes a large vertical displacement, which threatens the reliability of the connection.

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    The USB connector was used for both electrical and mechanical connection. This worked well for a chain of 3-4 BLOCKS in a row, but eventually the cantilever/loaded-beam effect kicks in — the accumulated load causes a large vertical displacement, which threatens the reliability of the connection.

    #2: Version1: 40x40 blocks with USB-TypeC connectors

    March 12, 2019

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    This was one of the earlier designs of PocKit, where USB-TypeC connectors were used to connect blocks side by side, much like Lego bricks.

    #1: Version Zero: The birth of the concept

    A long time ago!

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    This is where it all started... the humble stripboard-based beginnings of Pockit -- they were not the most beautiful things in the world, but extremely handy.