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Satnews Daily
January 2nd, 2014

SkyTraq Technology—Development Board With Markets Launched (GPS/GNSS)

[SatNews] SkyTraq Technology Inc. is undertaking a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to explore if there is sufficient interest in applying GPS/GNSS processor technology beyond the standard GPS/GNSS chipset/module solutions, by offering NavSpark, a small, powerful, thumb-sized, 32bit microcontroller development board with GPS/GNSS receiver as onboard peripheral.

With price approaching 8bit microcontroller development boards, the GPS/GNSS receiver is effectively provided to users free of charge. They are seeking $27,000 in funding until February 6, 2014. NavSpark features:

  • 100MHz 32bit RISC with 16Kbyte I-Cache and 2Kbyte D-Cache
  • IEEE-754 Compliant Floating Point Unit
  • 1MByte Flash Memory
  • 212Kbyte SRAM
  • GPS Receiver
  • UART x 2
  • SPI x 2
  • I2C x 1
  • 17 Digital I/O (shared with above functional pins)
  • 1 Pulse Per Sec Timing Reference with +/-10nsec Accuracy
  • Customized Arduino IDE with GPS SDK Seamlessly Integrated


NavSpark-BD model has GPS/Beidou receiver onboard, enabling users to use the latest GPS/Beidou navigation technology just as large smartphone makers are beginning to adopt this new technology. The NavSpark-GL model has GPS/GLONASS receiver onboard, enabling users to use dual-satellite navigation technology, GPS/GLONASS as used in high-end smartphones, in their hardware projects. The NavSpark development board makes the latest global navigation satellite technology easily accessible.

SkyTraq’s 7mm x 7mm QFN56 Venus822 quad-mode GPS/GNSS processor with extended I/O pins is used on NavSpark. Venus822 is designed to simultaneously process 34 GPS / GLONASS / Beidou / Galileo / QZSS / SBAS signals in parallel, thus having much higher computation power and larger memory than conventional 8bit or 32bit microcontrollers. Without using GPS/GNSS function, all the 100MIPS RISC/FPU processing power and 1MByte Flash + 212Kbyte RAM memory capacity is available for user application. When just using GPS-only mode or GPS/GLONASS, GPS/Beidou dual-satellite navigation mode, the remaining MIPS and memory still far exceeds what’s available on similar small, low-cost development boards on the market.

With average price of different model variants plus active antenna in range of $15 ~ $20, NavSpark’s goal is to provide the makers an alternative powerful, small development board with location-sensing capability, and at the same time making latest GPS/Beidou or GPS/GLONASS dual-satellite navigation technology as easily accessible as GPS to the users worldwide.

NavSpark is low-cost enough to leave in small hardware projects. For higher volume projects such as asset tracker, GPS fitness product, sports performance logger, toy quad-copter autopilot …etc., after rapid prototyping using NavSpark, volume usage can later change to lower cost 10mm x 10mm x 1.3mm Venus838FLPx module, a miniaturized LGA version of NavSpark. For applications benefiting from NavSpark’s high processing power and large memory without using GPS/GNSS, volume usage can later change to Venus822 chip to reduce cost.