Sipeed Turns the Lichee Nano Into a RISC-V-Powered IP-KVM, the $22 Lichee NanoKVM

Delivering a 1080p60 stream right into your browser, the Lichee NanoKVM aims to make remote control of servers and more a snap.

Gareth Halfacree
11 days agoHW101

Embedded hardware specialist Sipeed has announced the impending launch of a compact network-connected keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) switch for remote access to almost any device — built around the unusual Sophgo SG2002.

"Lichee NanoKVM is an IP-KVM product based on LicheeRV Nano, inheriting [its] ultra-compact size and powerful features," Sipeed writes its upcoming device. "NanoKVM Lite is the basic configuration, suitable for individual users with some DIY skills and enterprise users with bulk requirements. NanoKVM Full is the complete configuration, featuring a refined case and full accessories, with a pre-installed system image card for out-of-the-box use, recommended for individual users."

The heart of the device, which provides a digitised video stream with USB input device support for an otherwise-inaccessible device, is the company's LicheeRV Nano single-board computer, which uses Sophgo's quad-architecture SG2002 chip — though Sipeed's documentation suggests it focuses on the part's RISC-V cores. Brought to our attention by CNX Software, the product's primary selling point is the ability to deliver a similar experience to rival IP-KVM solutions at around half the cost.

Both variants of the NanoKVM use the same core hardware, delivering a 1080p video stream at 60 frames per second encoded as Motion JPEG (MJPEG) — with, Sipeed says, an H.264 option currently in development. There's support for controlling the streamed device by transferring keyboard and mouse operations, with the USB connection between the two devices also able to serve a virtual disc image for operating system installation. There are also two serial buses available, for control of devices that lack HDMI and USB connectivity.

The NanoKVM Full adds more than just a slick case and ready-to-run microSD card, though: the higher-end version of the device includes a 0.96" 128×64 OLED display for local diagnostics, a USB-connected control board for an ATX power supply, and support for expansion with Wi-Fi connectivity or Power-over-Ethernet.

Sipeed has opened orders for a beta version of the device on its website, priced at $22 for the NanoKVM Lite or $43 for the NanoKVM full; all orders will be shipped by the end of the month, the company promises.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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