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26 Nov 2011

A team at Stanford’s School of Engineering has demonstrated an ultrafast nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) that is orders of magnitude lower in power consumption than today’s laser-based systems and is able to transmit data at the very rapid rate of 10 billion bits per second.

The researchers say it is a major step forward in providing a practical ultrafast, low-power light source for on-chip data transmission.

Stanford’s Jelena Vuckovic, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, announced their device in a research paper set to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. [via]

Nanophotonics LED achieves ultrafast data transmission rates - [Link]

26 Nov 2011

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale du Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a technique for giving touchscreens tactile surfaces, so that users have the impression of touching a raised surface. Among the many potential applications, it could be used to make touchscreens more accessible for people with visual impairments.

The novel technique, developed by EPFL’s Integrated Actuators Laboratory in Neuchâtel, is targeted at smartphones, tablets, computers, and vending machines. [via]

Touchscreens go tactile - [Link]

24 Nov 2011

Calunium: An ATMega1284 Arduino Clone – [via]

Whoa! Steve Marple has created Calunium, an Arduino clone built around the ATMega644/1284 chip. In addition to the larger memory and I/O that the ’1284 provides, he’s also integrated a DS1307 real-time clock and coin cell on-board, and broken out the footprint for an LM61 temp sensor. This is a really interesting project, and a nice looking one, too!

You can check out more details at his blog, including posts about building your own Calunium with strip board and the differences between the Calunium and Arduino.

Calunium is Open Source Hardware, and you can get the board and schematic files over on GitHub.

Calunium: An ATMega1284 Arduino Clone - [Link]

24 Nov 2011

ColorNode » DigitalMisery.com – [via]

ColorNode is a wireless Arduino-compatible microcontroller board designed to replace the stock controller board on GE Color Effects light strings.

ColorNode was inspired by the original controller protocol reverse-engineering effort featured here: Hacking Christmas Lights. That work enabled simple control of each individual bulb of these light strings using just one pin on a microcontroller. The stock controller works nice and the patterns are good, however being able to have full control of the color and brightness of each bulb unlocks the potential for awesome holiday light displays. Hacking these lights is also relatively inexpensive, compared to using other addressable strings or light sequencers on the market.

ColorNode – OSHW LED string controllers - [Link]


24 Nov 2011

“ColorHug”… [via]

For the past 3 weeks I’ve been working long nights on an open source colorimeter called the ColorHug. This is hardware that measures the colors shown on the screen and creates a color profile. Existing hardware is proprietary and 100% closed, and my hardware has a GPL bootloader, GPL firmware image and GPL hardware schematics and PCBs. It’s faster than the proprietary hardware, and more importantly a lot cheaper.

Making hardware does cost money, and I can’t give the hardware away for free like I do my other software. I’m aiming to do an initial production run of 50 units, but I’m going to need some advanced orders just to make sure I don’t get stuck with a lot of stock and no buyers. I’m offering a 20% discount on each unit, on the assumption the first users will be testing the firmware and reporting problems. If you want to support a cool open source project, I’m asking £48 for each unit, plus postage and packaging. There’s a whole website http://www.hughski.com if you want to know more about the project, and there’s even an newsletter if you don’t need hardware, but want to know how we’ re getting on.

“ColorHug”… - [Link]

24 Nov 2011

If you have a micro-controller based application and you face the problem with insufficient memory space, the micro-drive uSD-G1 may be an ideal solution for you.

The micro-DRIVE uSD-G1 is an extremely compact high performance “Embedded Disk Drive” module that can be easily added to anymicro-controller design that requires a DOS-compatible file and data storage system.

Most micro-controllers have small and limited on-chip memory. For those applications that require large volumes of data, the uSD-G1 with the GOLDELOX-DOS chip is a simple solution in a form of a tiny ‘drop-in- module’. A simple serial interface is all that is required to take away the burden of low level design that would otherwise be required for the host controller. The micro-DRIVE module utilises common microSD memory cards of up to 2GB of capacity as its medium. A handful of straightforward commands provide direct access to the onboard memory card or storing and retrieving any size or type of data. Access to the card can be at (FAT based)

Don´t be limited by a memory space! - [Link]

24 Nov 2011

New UNI-T multimeter UT132D can serve you, besides usual meauring also for measuring of parameter, which usual multimeters don´t handle – measuring of SMT transistors´ Hfe.

Measuring of DC current gain of transistors we nowadays can find at many measuring device. However, much more rare is the posibility to measure this parameter even at SMT transistors, NPN and PNP types in a SOT-23 package. UNI-T UT132D is a quality measuring device with a well readable, sufficiently big display with a maximum vaue of 1999. With it you can measure all usual values and a capacity of condensators. A novelty is the included adapter for measuring of hfe of transistors, not only for classic with wire leads but also for SMT transistors. It enables to check the functionality and to roughly measure SMT transistors, what can be a big help at development or production of prototypes. hfe is measured at a IB 10uA a Vce 2,3V. It has a HOLD function and a main switch, thus it is not necessary to turn a measuring ranges switch to switch off the device. UT132D is very reliably and comfortably held in a hand thanks to compact dimensions and an ergonomic shape.

With the new UNI-T multimeter you can handle even SMT transistors - [Link]

23 Nov 2011

alternet.us.com writes:

For use with my home theater PC I developed an IR Transceiver by combining 2 projects (Receiver, Blaster). Note that this device may be taxing of your serial port, I take no responsibility for any damage you cause to your equipment. That said, I’ve provided PDF’s of the silkscreen, copper layout, and the Eagle PCB files.

IR Remote Control Transceiver- [Link]

23 Nov 2011

alternet.us.com writes:

I’ve finally gotten around to assembling a breakout board for the Skyworks SKY65116 UHF amplifier. It’s really amazing how the state of the art in RF ICs has advanced. They can still be on the expensive side ($6 at digikey), but still relatively cheap when you consider the cost of all the support parts that it takes to build an amplifier from a RF transistor. This particular amplifier has a 50 ohm input and output, and 35dB of gain. It works from 390Mhz to 500Mhz, which means its perfect for the 70cm ham band. The breakout board is stupid simple, copied directly from the evaluation board schematic in the datasheet, but I’ll include schematic and design files anyway.

SKY65116 Amplifier - [Link]

23 Nov 2011

alternet.us.com writes:

For a while now, my friends and I have been brewing beer at my house. I was inspired by an old Sparkfun tutorial about a bubble logger for Nate’s terrible wine. I figured that while logging bubbles is interesting and all, wouldn’t it be more useful to have real-time information on the fermentation process? I basically copied the optical gate method of counting bubbles, added a sensitive pressure sensor, and an AVR development board (Yes, Arwen, that’s your old TekBots board! ).

Homebrew bubble counter - [Link]





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