I’ve been following Anavi Technologies ever since they (he) hit the market with a board for the Raspberry Pi back then called RabbitMax Flex (Now called Anavi Flex Raspberry Pi HAT for IoT) and overtime his company grew more and more thanks to a successful series of products he designed.
Since then Leon Anavi has steadily put on the market more boards mostly focusing on the pHAT (pronounced well … Fat) format now officially standardised by the Raspberry Pi foundation as uHAT (aka MICRO-HAT) of which the first example I encountered on the market is the Raspberry Pi TV HAT (shouldn’t it be uHAT?!?). In the end we went from pHAT to uHAT but Anavi is still coming up with yet new pHATs the last of which is the ANAVI Thermometer successfully funded on CrowdSupply a few days ago.
CrowdSupply appears to be the platform of choice for Anavi at least for bigger boards where for smaller ones he also has a presence on Tindie.
What products are out there
So far these are the boards that have been made available (or about to in the case of the ANAVI Thermometer):
- Flex Raspberry Pi HAT for IoT
- Infrared pHAT
- Play pHAT
- Light Controller
- Light pHAT
- Traffic Light
How does Anavi Technology operates
Leon is a software engineer with a passion for electronics, he is a great believer of open source
and uses Kicad for his projects. He does these project in his spare time (which is not much from what I get talking to him 🙂 but despite that his designs are always quite meticulous and his products are complemented with very good documentation and material. Just look at his GitHub where you not only get the specs and code but also the Kicad files.
Certified open source hardware and free software for Internet of Things based on Raspberry Pi and ESP8266
He has also been a valid contributor to the Raspberry Pint event in London when he presented the Open Source 12 Volt LED Control Board and shared his experiences on Designing Open Source Add-On Boards for the Pi proving once again that sharing is at the heart of his hobby company.
What makes Anavi Technology unique
For the Raspberry Pi boards he has developed his own footprint by always adding an eeprom and three I2C break-out connectors for the ever present:
- HTU21D sensor for temperature and humidity
- BMP180 sensor for barometric pressure
- BH1750 sensor for light
But to which you can also connect:
- 0.96” OLED I2C display
- DS18B20 waterproof temperature sensor
- APDS-9960 I2C sensor for RGB color and gesture detection
as is the case for the Anavi thermometer.
Despite there has never been a specification for the pHAT the norm was not to use an eeprom to keep the boards cheaper and simpler. In Anavi’s you will always find a rather cumbersome through-hole eeprom which despite taking a bit too much space and going through two layers of your precious two layer PCB will add a valuable plug and play experience simplifying the configuration and integration with the OS. I personally think the through-hole is a legacy requirement in his designs that were initially trying to follow a DiY type of approach more in line to a all rounder maker profile. Some of the kits like the Traffic lights and the Buttons are still available as Soldering Kits although the Traffic Lights is not for the fainthearted with three 0805 SMD resistors that will challenge your soldering skills. It is a shame that more and more kits are coming as fully populated but I can fully understand the practicality of this as well as the extended lifespan that the customer service people gain with non DiY kits (Believe me, I know what I’m talking about here).
The Light Controller has been the first board non-Raspberry Pi related and in fact based on ESP8266 opening up Anavi’s market to a different platform loved by Arduino enthusiasts since the ESP8266 can be easily programmed via the Arduino IDE in practically the same way you would and Arduino board.
Most of Anavi’s projects cover aspects of IoT and Home Automation in one way or another but, with code on his repository in several languages but also covering a wide spectrum of technologies, there is an undeniable educational aspect which makes this products not just for the hobbyist but also suitable for the student.
Open source hardware hobby products created and powered by free and open source software
Here is an example of the code you can find on Anavi’s GitHub. This specific one for the Buttons board uses gpiozero which makes it really nice and easy to program.
#!/usr/bin/env python3 from gpiozero import Button import time btnB1 = Button(13) btnB2 = Button(19) btnB3 = Button(26) print("ANAVI Buttons") print("---") print("Please press a button") print("---") while True: time.sleep(0.1) if btnB1.is_pressed: print("B1") if btnB2.is_pressed: print("B2") if btnB3.is_pressed: print("B3")
Obviously you can get more elaborated pieces of code for those which are more adventurous or simply more advanced as in the case of the Light Controller Arduino Sketch.
I wish Leon could have more time to dedicate to his hobby, unfortunately that’s not his day job!
Getting in touch
Leon Anavi and Anavi Technologies can be found: