Traditional solar cell production techniques are usually time consuming and require expensive vacuum systems or toxic chemicals. Depositing chemical compounds such as CIGS on a substrate using vapor phase deposition also wastes most of the expensive material in the process. For the first time, engineers at Oregon State University (OSU) have now developed a process to create “CIGS” solar cells with inkjet printing technology that allows for precise patterning to reduce raw material waste by 90 percent and significantly lower the cost of producing solar cells with promising, yet expensive compounds.
Researchers cut waste and lower cost of ‘CIGS’ solar cells using inkjet printing technology - [Link]
Microchip has a new PIC 24F development board for microcontroller beginners. The documentation makes this board stand out. It includes introductory guides to pulse-width modulation, analog-to-digital converters, and other peripherals: [via]
The MX PIC24 Module includes an onboard PIC24FJ256GB110 16-bit microcontroller from Microchip that features 256 KB Flash program memory and 16 KB RAM. The module also includes 32 KB on-chip EEPROM and an onboard debugger/programmer. The MX Educational Target Board accepts any MX module and includes a breadboard area, plus SPI, I2C, RS-232, CAN and JTAG ports, along with four LEDs.
PIC 24F development board for beginners - [Link]
follower presents his project using a USB accessory to create a “dual screen” Nexus One with SMS notification & time display. Besides the Nexus One phone, the hardware consists of an Arduino Duemilanove with ATmega328, a SparkFun USB Host Shield and 2×16 LCD display. This hack is made possible by Android’s Open Accessory API. [via]
The sketch listens for bytes sent over the USB connection and displays them on the LCD–it special-cases two values to determine which row of the display text should be displayed on.
The Android App is invisible and starts automatically when you connect the accessory. (You probably need to approve the running of the application within a few seconds or the accessory may time out.) A background service is started which displays a notification of the accessory found, listens for new text messages and starts sending the current time to the accessory for display. You can use your phone as normal while the service is running in the background.
When the accessory is disconnected the notification is removed and the background service cleans up after itself before stopping.
Full source code and further details are available at follower’s labradoc webpage.
Dual-screen Nexus One – [Link]
Freescale’s MC13260 System-on-chip two-way radio is one chip to watch for. Now in the “introduction pending” stage and highlighted in this video from the recent FTF 2011 conference, it promises to be a one chip analog/digital radio solution.
Preliminary design specs show RF coverage from 60-960 MHz, comprehensive digital radio mode coverage including DMR, dPMR, P25 and Tetra, dual mode analog FM and digital voice/data, and ‘Talk around the network’ capability for cellular applications. The MC13260 includes an ARM926EJ-STM MCU operating at clock speeds up to 150 MHz, a modem processor (software-defined radio) operating at clock speeds up to 100 MHz, 640 Kbytes of integrated RAM, MCU peripherals to support control and monitoring functions and onboard DAC and ADC. The chip is a full-speed USB device with Integrated PHY. The chip supply voltage is 2.775V with on-chip LDO voltage regulators.
This looks like a RF hackers dream chip.
Packaging will be a 104 pin dual row laminate QFN making it somewhat of a challenge to work with. We can only imagine what the price will be, but the early specs sure make it look interesting.
Freescale’s MC13260 two-way radio chip – [Link]
Silver pen allows electrical circuits to be handwritten on paper and other surfaces… [via]
While metallic inks have been used to manufacture electronic devices using inkjet printing technology, the silver pen offers users the freedom and flexibility to construct electronic devices on the fly, says Jennifer Lewis, the Hans Thurnauer professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois who led the research team along with Jennifer Bernhard, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.
“The key advantage of the pen is that the costly printers and printheads typically required for inkjet or other printing approaches are replaced with an inexpensive, hand-held writing tool,” said Lewis. “This is an important step toward enabling desktop manufacturing (or personal fabrication) using very low cost, ubiquitous printing tools.”
Silver pen allows electrical circuits to be handwritten on paper and other surfaces – [Link]
LabVIEW Interface for Arduino Thanks Jose!
The LabVIEW Interface for Arduino (LIFA) Toolkit is a FREE download that allows developers to acquire data from the Arduino microcontroller and process it in the LabVIEW Graphical Programming environment. For more information, check out the Getting Started with the LabVIEW Interface Toolkit video tutorial from VI Shots.
LabVIEW Interface for Arduino – [Link]
IR detectors are little microchips with a photocell that are tuned to listen to infrared light. They are almost always used for remote control detection – every TV and DVD player has one of these in the front to listen for the IR signal from the clicker. Inside the remote control is a matching IR LED, which emits IR pulses to tell the TV to turn on, off or change channels. IR light is not visible to the human eye, which means it takes a little more work to test a setup.
IR detector – [Link]
- 3 preset buttons: to easily configure any preferred temperature quickly
- LCD display: monitors current and set temperature
- the heating element uses low voltage AC current, ensuring anti-static, low leakage and interference
- ergonomic handle for long time usage
SOLDERING STATION WITH LCD OUTPUT, 60W – [Link]