Maker Day SF with Kinoma Create

Duncan Kennedy

Duncan Kennedy

August 20, 2014

Kinoma Create was a featured technology at the recent Maker Day portion of Coworking Week, an annual event held across the US. In San Francisco, it was hosted by Citizen Space, a slick co-working spot.

Maker Day was designed to explore the combination of ingenious makers and innovative technologies that are driving innovation in manufacturing, engineering, industrial design, hardware technology and education.

Coworking Week logo

We were included in the the agenda at the encouragement of Arrow Electronics, Inc., a distributor that works with Marvell. They’re excited at the potential of making Marvell’s chips available to a new category of customer.

Kinoma intern John Sloan and I presented Kinoma Create to the attendees. The majority of them were familiar with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and more than half of the audience self-identified as being new to JavaScript.


John gave a well-received tour of Kinoma Create and Kinoma Studio.

Maker Day Coworking Week Citizen Space

The venue was ideal for an introduction to Kinoma Create. Citizen Space is an awesome co-working environment located just north of South Park and right across the street from the Sony PlayStation building in San Francisco. In addition to serving as a productive environment for entrepreneurs, Citizen Space holds classes and events, such as meetups.


Garland Kan, organizer of the SF Node.js Meetup group, was in the audience that night. He invited us back to Citizen Space for a “Hacking with Kinoma” meetup, taking place next Wednesday August 27th. Please join us! You can RSVP through the meetup event page.

Node js SF meetup logo

Designed in Silicon Valley, Made in China

Chris Krueger

Chris Krueger

August 4, 2014

Chris Krueger is Creative Director of Marvell’s Kinoma team. He’s a digital design pioneer who has led design, technical and business efforts on groundbreaking interactive programs and products for more than two decades. The photos below were taken during his recent tour of the factories producing and assembling Kinoma Create.

Kinoma Create production is underway in Shenzhen! I recently flew to China for the first (but not last) time to oversee production and testing of the first PCBs and enclosures.

Our main manufacturing factory for Kinoma Create, Beautiful Enterprise Co., Ltd.

Our main manufacturing factory for Kinoma Create, Beautiful Enterprise Co., Ltd.

Here’s my report directly from the factory floor.

PCB boards

After more than a year in design and prototyping, the final PCB designs are ready for production.

The Kinoma Create PCB is a multi-layer design, meaning that it consists of several double-sided boards bonded together with insulating layers in between. Your Kinoma Create will have a eight-layer board.

The factory uses a surface mount technology reflow soldering process. In a process similar to silk screening, a very precise screen is created and solder paste is screened onto the PCBs in the correct locations.


Carefully inspecting screens for the soldering process

Reflow soldering is used for our PCB assembly. The technology has two main stages: First a solder paste is applied to the board, then the board is heated to melt the solder.

A “pick and place” machine places the components onto the board from reels of plastic tape that hold the components in individual pouches, which are held in place on the PCB by surface tension of the solder paste.

When all the components are placed, the assembled PCB can be move to the reflow-soldering machine.


“Pick and place” machines


A pick and place machine loaded with reels of Kinoma Create components

IC components packaged in reel format for robotic placement

IC components packaged in reel format for robotic placement

The reflow soldering process has several phases that heat and cool the board to correctly make the solder joints on all the placed components.

Reflow soldering technology reliably solders surface mount components, including ones with very fine pitch leads.


Assembled boards are transferred to soldering oven via conveyer belts

After the PCB boards have their components soldered, each board is inspected visually and by an extremely high-resolution camera looking for any slightly misaligned components that could be a sign of problems.


Workstation doing visual inspection of assembled boards

The boards are then tested for circuit integrity using a “bed of nails” type probe tester.


Custom probe jig tests board circuit integrity

At this point the PCB is ready to be assembled into the case.

The case

The case is produced in an injection mold process.

The molds are milled from steel block from the 3D design files. Any undercuts require the mold to have a side pull so that the mold can come apart.


This machine is precisely measuring the milled molds to make sure the match the 3D design files

Quite a bit of care goes into the design process to make sure that the design can be cleanly produced with the injection molding process.


A factory employee adds dye to mating surfaces to check for perfect mold alignment

Kinoma Create is made of a polycarbonate blend called PC-ABS, which is a strong and durable plastic also used for phones and car interiors.

The raw material of the plastic is powdered, and the color is made by precisely blending the individual pigments.


This is an injection molding machine with the raw material in the round hopper above. The equipment with the red and black tubes is a vacuum based robot to remove parts after the molds are opened.

The outer surface texture is applied with acid to the final finish.


The actual metal molds for Kinoma Create’s case

Usually, the case needs two or three revisions to perfect the fit and color.


Voila! A finished Kinoma Create case

Touchscreen LCD module

Kinoma Create’s touchscreen is being custom produced for the device. It consists of an LCD screen, drivers and other components that are integrated into the connecting cables and the touch sensor surface. These are bonded together using optically clear tape and pressure. This has to be done in a clean room environment so that no dust is caught between the parts.

The steps are:

  1. Clean all the surfaces


  2. Laminate the bonding tape to the edges of the touch screen
  3. Align the parts using a microscope to ensure that the alignment remains exact


  4. Mount the touchscreen to the LCD with adhesive


  5. Finish the bonding with an autoclave

Now that all major components are in place, the first set of 50 Kinoma Creates can be assembled and distributed to our early testers to make sure that the full production run will be up to our standards.

Soon, we’ll make yours!

Open Source Exploration at OSCON

Peter Hoddie

Peter Hoddie

July 28, 2014

O’Reilly’s OSCON 2014 was just held in Portland. I spent a few days there at the invitation of the event organizers.


OSCON proposes that open source has evolved “from disruption to default.” I attended the conference to better understand the open source movement, specifically as it relates to the work of the Kinoma team.

We use a lot of open source software in Kinoma Create, which is a Linux device at heart. And we have begun releasing code and hardware designs under open licenses. But we are just starting the process of growing a community around that, so there’s a lot to learn.

What impressed the most at this year’s OSCON

Citrix OSCON

  • Catherine Farman and Corinne Warnshuis of Girl Develop It explained the successful steps they have taken to encourage more women to get involved in open source. Their approach to mentoring looks like an effective way to move more people—of all genders—off the sidelines of open source.

Girl Develop It OSCON

  • Michael Enescu, the CTO of Open Source Initiatives at Cisco, spoke of the importance of open source to the Internet of Things. He made the bold assertion that “All IoT will be open source” because that openness brings credibility. Great words to hear from the largest networking company on our planet. Michael also talked about the importance of open protocols, including MQTT. I’m warming up to MQTT, and Andy Piper’s “A Walking Tour of MQTT” showed the momentum growing behind it.


Kinoma Create at OSCON’s Hardware Showcase

The OSCON Hardware Showcase made its debut this year. Were were selected to share how Kinoma Create incorporates open source and communicates using open protocols.

OSCON Hardware Showcase Peter Kinoma Create

While walking the show, I ran into Kyle Simpson, author of the “You Don’t Know JS” JavaScript books, and got to explain how the Kinoma team is applying JavaScript to building embedded devices.

All in all, OSCON brought together a dynamic, extremely technology-savvy audience welcoming of our new ideas. We look forward to more involvement next year.

Team “Kinoma Interns” at IoT World Hackathon

Claire Tuna

Claire Tuna

July 18, 2014

Recently, our summer interns competed in a two-day hackathon for an Internet of Things World hackathon in Palo Alto. This is the true story of how a fresh-faced team of new recruits planned, built and demonstrated their first Kinoma project.

Tuesday, 11 am: Brainstorming

Challenged to create either a product in either “consumer” or “environment” categories using the Marvell 88MC200 microcontroller, our first move was to brainstorm.

pitch (fixed)

With a hot pink sharpie, we sketched out a bunch of ideas, including the “Internet of Babies”, an RFID-powered doggie door, and public restrooms that won’t let you out until you use hand sanitizer.


Tuesday, 3 pm: Idea Selection

After voting and discussion, we decided to work on context-aware advertising. To us, this means posters and billboards that know where they are, and can share live characteristics—such as sensor data and web service data—with their advertisers.

Advertisers, in turn, can bid on spaces based on their profile at a given time. For example, a company may bid more on a display because there is a traffic jam nearby (in which case the ad is likely to be seen by more people).

In another use case, a sunglasses company can bid on spaces with high luminosity.

For our demo, we decided to build a display that changes its content based on the temperature. When the temperature is cool, it shows an ad for sweaters. When it’s hot, it flips to an ad for frosty-cold soda.

Tuesday, 6 pm: Hardware Hacking

Fueled by nachos and energy drinks, we got our hardware up and running. We ran the Kinoma JavaScript interpreter on the 88MC200 to read the temperature from a pressure/temperature sensor and relayed that data via WiFi to the Kinoma Create. With this data, the Kinoma Create controlled servo motors to flip the display between one side and the other.

To help us debug and display the project, we whipped up an app in KPR that showed the temperature and a button for flipping the display.

hardware (fixed)

Tuesday, 10 am: X-Acto Time

As the presentation drew nearer, we crafted the enclosure for the hardware and glued the example advertisements on two pieces of styrofoam which represented a billboard.


Wednesday, 3 pm: Pitching the Project

We got to see a lot of cool demos from the other participants. One team presented a mouth guard that keeps track of teeth grinding, and another group used their device to measure the water quality of the pool at the event venue.

During our live demo, our teammate John simulated the weather getting warmer by blowing hot air onto the sensor. Reading the temperature output on the Kinoma Create, the crowd went wild when John hit the threshold of 82 degrees and flipped the ad to the Coca-Cola side.


Wednesday, 4 pm: The Results

We were very happy that our peers enjoyed the demonstration, and honored to be awarded first place in the prize for the “Built Environment” category.


Key Takeaways

The Kinoma Create really shined as a presentation tool for the demo. Rather than a mess of breadboards and wires, the hardware was packed neatly into the Kinoma Create’s enclosure. We were able to keep working on the software until the very last seconds because the Kinoma Create looked polished already.

Another strength of the Kinoma Create was its ability to communicate with the audience during the demo. With the temperature of the sensor displayed in big font, the entire audience could tell what was going on inside the hardware. Without the screen, there would have been major dead air while we were waiting for the temperature to hit the threshold to switch the display.

In short: The Kinoma Create allowed us to make a complete, sophisticated prototype very rapidly, and proved ideal for demonstrating our prototype to others.

“Kicking Down Silos: Co-Designing Software & Hardware to Create Great Products”

Charles Wiltgen

Charles Wiltgen

July 11, 2014

Thanks to our friends at O’Reilly, you now have access to video of Andy Carle’s entire talk from Solid: “Kicking Down Silos: Co-Designing Software & Hardware to Create Great Products.” Andy is Kinoma’s resident UX Strategist and Usability Scientist, and this talk comes straight out of his ongoing experience developing Kinoma Create.

By watching this top-rated talk, you’ll learn how to carve a clear path from concept, to prototype, to hardware product by:

  • Preserving progress between prototypes
  • Making user tests as authentic as possible
  • Ensuring small jumps between prototype generations

Please enjoy and share!

If you want to review the presentation slides independent of the video, they are below (and downloadable in PDF).

O’Reilly Solid is a new annual event focused on the intersection of software and hardware, exploring how we’re all about to experience a profound transformation because of the creation of a software-enhanced, networked physical world.