Matrix Creator for the Raspberry Pi - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Matrix Creator for the Raspberry Pi

Author: gsgill112

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: 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, I Didn't Find this inside the RPi Package

RPi 3 : Front

RPi 3 : Back

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

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

Thank You Element 14 For this Lovely Case

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

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

Batteries to be used with the Pi UPS Hat.

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

I Got this 2500mAh Battery With the Pi UPS HAT

Some Essential Connectors

Headers for Proper Pi HAT Spacing

ASSEMBLY BEGINS :

First Add the SD CARD

Add the Mounting Screws

Connect the 40 Pin Header

Connect the Pi Cam Flex Cable

Adding the Base of the Case

Completing the case

Getting the Camera Cable Out of UPS HAT

Fixing the UPS HAT On Pi

So Far So Good

Connecting the Camera connector

Adding Final Spacers and securing the Pi UPS HAT To Pi

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

Anonymous
  • Thanks a lot . Its really great of you guys to set up a rocking community.

     

    I am definitely planning to use this great kit more.

    Will do post my findings.

     

    Regards,

    GS Gill

  • It is always great to see a manufacturer taking a proactive approach regarding their product reviews including constantly evolving their support material. Well done matrixlabs

     

    Rod

  • Hi GS Gill,

     

    Thank you for taking the time to create a comprehensive RoadTest review of the MATRIX Creator. We love seeing stories of how people use our devices and we thought your review was great.

     

    We just wanted to give you and the community a heads up that we have completely re-written and re-organized our documentation over the past couple of weeks to make our libraries much easier to use. Additionally, MATRIX Open System (MOS) is currently under maintenance so we suggest you use MATRIX Core to get the most out of your MATRIX Creator.

     

    In regards to our community, we have recently hired a full time Community Manager who will be starting in August to help with answering all of our communities questions as well as making instructive videos and guides.  We are growing faster than anticipated and are making everything possible to be as efficient as possible with being of value to the community.

     

    We have made some very exciting progress and we can't wait to share our future developments with you and other makers around the world. Thank you again for the amazing review, and we hope that you will look at the MATRIX Creator again in the next few months. If you have any more feedback or suggestions please reach out on our community or email us at info@matrixlabs.ai.

     

    Sincerely,

    Team MATRIX

  • Hi Mark,

     

    Firstly, I did try a lot of things and I (Till NOW) conclude that you cannot Shutdown the device by a command, you do have to remove the plug brutally. Though I usually do it that once the power to the device is cut that does not effect the SD Card much .

     

    Secondly, While writing the review for this, I had initially forgot to click the photos , so when I realised I needed to click the photos , I dissembled the device and had forgot to remove the SD card hence BREAKING it into 2 pieces

     

    Regards,

    GS Gill

  • Hi!

    regarding : "Unfortunately, during testing and trying stuff, I broke by 8GB Class 4 SD CARD"

    forgive my curiosity but,

    wasn't it because of inability od poweroff the raspberry coupled with Matrix?

    Can you poweroff it efficiently?

    In my case it perpetually restarts and the only way to switch off is brutal ejection of power plug

    - which is well known recipe to broke the memory system (at least) or even permanently kill the card (reported widely by RPi community)

    I'm seriously afraid of damage my SD so I'm looking for proper power off solution

     

    Marek

    BTW

    Great report!

    congratulations!