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Matrix Creator for the Raspberry Pi - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 9
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 7
Product was easy to use: 8
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 54 / 60
  • RoadTest: Matrix Creator for the Raspberry Pi
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes - Though almost everything was there, I would have loved a SD CARD and POWER ADAPTER.
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Matrix Voice , ReSpeaker , Google Voice KIT
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: The Cloud Integration Breaks sometimes. Documentation not up to mark.

  • Detailed Review:

    1. Introduction

    Internet of Things has taken such a pace that It is, now, even more challenging to differentiate between a Education Kits and feature rich development platform. First of all I would like to thank Element 14 and Element 14 Community to give me the opportunity to RoadTest Matrix Lab's Matrix Creator development Kit.

     

    Jumping rt into the Roadtest Lets get through with the Unboxing.  

    UNBOXING OF MATRIX CREATOR AND RASPBERRY PI 3

     

    2. About the Kits

     

    The kit has the Following modules, One in Blue are on the Matrix Creator and In Green are Features added By Raspberry Pi

     

    MicrocontrollerAmtel Cortex-M3 ATSAM3S2
    FPGAXilinx Spartan 6 XC6SLX4
    Microphone Array8 MEMS MP34DB02 audio sensor digital microphones
    IMUST LSM9DS1 3D accelerometer, 3D gyroscope, 3d magnetometer
    Temperature / HumidityST HTS221 capacitive digital sensor for relative humidity and temperature
    Altitude SensorNXP MPL3115A2 precision pressure sensor with altimetry
    zigbeeSilicon Labs EM358X - 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4
    Z-WaveSigma Designs ZM5202 - 868/908/921 MHz
    IR RecieverVishay TSOP573 - carrier 38.0 kHz
    IR Blaster2 Vishay LEDs (front and bottom), 930nm, 100mA, 120° viewing angle
    Ultraviolet SensorVishay VEML6070 UV light sensor
    NFCNXP PN512 NFC reader
    Everloop35 RGBW LEDS
    BluetoothBluetooth 4.1 (Classic and Smart)
    WiFiWiFi b/g/n/ac
    Graphics400 MHz VideoCore IV
    ProcessorBCM2837 (1.2GHz Quad Core A53 with ARMv8 Instruction set )**

    Assembling the Kit :-

     

    {gallery} Matrix Creator RoadTest

    SD Card

    SD Card, I Didn't Find this inside the RPi Package

    Rpi3 Front

    RPi 3 : Front

    Rpi3 Back

    RPi 3 : Back

    MC

    Matrix Creator Front (With Camera Camera Attachment Later in review)

    Matrix Creator Rear (With Camera Camera Attachment Later in review)

    Case

    case rip

    Thank You Element 14 For this Lovely Case

    ups hat back

    My Pi UPS Hat : Front (Ordered from Banggood.com)

    ups hat front

    My Pi UPS Hat : Rear (Ordered from Banggood.com)

    Battery from old laptop

    Batteries to be used with the Pi UPS Hat.

    NOTE : The blue-green one are standard Cells recycled from old UPS Battery

    battery with hat

    I Got this 2500mAh Battery With the Pi UPS HAT

    connector and spacers

    Some Essential Connectors

    header

    Headers for Proper Pi HAT Spacing

    ASSEMBLY BEGINS :

    First Add the SD CARD

    mounting screws

    Add the Mounting Screws

    add header

    Connect the 40 Pin Header

    add camera connector

    Connect the Pi Cam Flex Cable

    add base

    Adding the Base of the Case

    connect the case

    Completing the case

    ups hat

    Getting the Camera Cable Out of UPS HAT

    fixed

    Fixing the UPS HAT On Pi

    So Far So Good

    connect with camera

    Connecting the Camera connector

    add spacers

    Adding Final Spacers and securing the Pi UPS HAT To Pi

    Final Product

    Assembly Completed

    Going though the Side Views

    Going though the Side Views

    Going though the Side Views

    Now Just Connect the HDMI and Switch the UPS HAT ON

     

     

     

    Adding Camera to the KIT :

    {gallery} Camera Complications

    Life Saver : As no screws were provided, Using double side tape to my rescue.

    Finally Got the Camera Stuck

    BEAUTY

    Connections (UPS HAT IS IN BETWEEN)

    Setup : Next to Original Pi and not so clean desk

    NOTE :: I would request Matrix to provide Camera Mounting Screws with the Kit as these does not come with the Pi cam and its really difficult to find one of that size !!

     

    3. Proper Software Installation Instructions

    Firstly, I set up to find a 8GB memory card as well as at least 2 amp power supply adapter.

     

    Now follow this link One issue I faced is that Matrix uses the latest version on Node and npm and I had difficulty getting those rt the first time.

     

    So, here's the trick that will work 100%, First install the MOS not the Matrix CLI (As per their documentation) this will insure you download the node and npm versions that matrix uses. Then install the Command line version and Voila it will install like a charm.

     

    It takes about 2 hours getting the initial setup done so please do grab a beer  

     

    BEWARE sometimes the device behaves funny and somehow their arrives an authentication problem and you will not be able to connect to the matrix servers and mod won't start up in such case De-Register the device and Re-Do the registration process with the Secret key.  That seams to solve the issue.

     

     

     

    4. Example Applications

     

     

     

    ## Unfortunately, during testing and trying stuff, I broke by 8GB Class 4 SD CARD and was back to square 1 So I will update with the process of installation once again.

     

    But before that Let me give you what all I Have tried.

    1.      Using the Board is like super simple With the issue that it takes a good amount of time sending the data to the matrix servers and getting them back.

    2.      I was successful in getting Google Assistant up and running, I used this link

    3.      I was successful in running few demo apps included on the Matrix App Store.

    4.      I was able to make my first app and see colours going ZooM.

     

    Few things I faced issues with.

    1.     Though I have a Raspberry Pi Camera , but even after 1week trying I was not able to get the mos-eye working properly: PROGRESS - I was able to get the sensor info nothing else

    2.      Though basic app programming using the js libraries is pretty simple, but I was still not able to get Widget functionality working

     

    Things I will Try

    1.     Beam-forming libraries Open source as well as the DOA Also that Matrix is working on.

    2.     Alexa Setup

    3.     Communications Setup

    4.     I have downloaded the Xylinx IDE for the FPGA , Will update in future once I teach myself basics of VHDL  

     

    5. Adding a UPS

    TO provide a battery backup source, I bought this Pi UPS Hat from banggood. I still have to test out reading the battery information using I2C Bus but that is a pretty useful feature.

    The Hat has a limitation of providing a max of about 1.4 Amps and thus as I try powering my beefy 7 Inch Cap LCD display via this setup I can hear those surface mount caps making some noise

     

    The Matrix Creator works just absolutely fine and as the setup consumes about 1Amp so it should last for about 20+ hours in IDEAL conditions.   

     

    5. Power

    As using my USB Tester you can see about 0.67 A at 5.1 V so not to bad. (MIND that these values includes RPi also without any load on the CPU, I.e. Raspberry pi is in ideal state)

     

    6. Conclusion

     

    Finally, I would like to say, This is a Real Deal Board, with so much in that price, it is a steal. But, It is still nascent and you have to manage with few glitches here and there.

    Further if you are using the whole package of MOS you will have to do that using their servers that pretty much make you use their servers for their libraries and services. 

    The Matrix community is still immature with almost half of questions unanswered !! (THATS ONE HELL OF HURDLE IN DESIGNING )

    So In summary I would recommend this product to developers with some development experience, it is a Feature rich Awesome Board, but in this stage not a Novice (Like Arduino) deal.

     

    Thanks and Regards,

    GS GILL


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