My son got one of these Leap Frog toys a few years ago as a gift. He enjoys playing with it very much. I am not sure how much counting and learning he is doing but it makes funny noises and sings to him so its a lot of fun.
Recently the unthinkable happened. It died. Not the batteries but something else. I took the back off to look at what might be wrong (which was very easy for a toy). Unfortunately, other than the speaker, a switch, battery compartment, and a ribbon cable to the front, there wasn’t much to investigate. A couple of glop tops and nothing else. I fiddled a bit more with it but everything “external” seemed fine.
Make a Custom Membrane Keypad for Arduino – [Link]
Two-dimensional (2D) materials such as molybdenum-disulfide (MoS2) are attracting much attention for future electronic and photonic applications ranging from high-performance computing to flexible and pervasive sensors and optoelectronics. But in order for their promise to be realized, scientists need to understand how the performance of devices made with 2D materials is affected by different kinds of metal electrical contacts.
Researchers in PML’s Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division, in collaboration with researchers from George Mason University, compared silver and titanium contacts on MoS2 transistors to determine the influence of the metal–MoS2 interface.
Scientists discover a better metal contact that improves two-dimensional transistor performance – [Link]
by David Nield @ gizmag.com:
The batteries inside our smartphones and laptops are fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping these devices juiced up, but researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered a new type of glass material that could make a major difference: vanadate-borate glass. The glass can be used as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries to almost double the amount of time they last between charges.
A new type of glass could double your smartphone’s battery life – [Link]
Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:
Encapsulated in a tiny 9.0×6.5×1.83-mm QFN package, the ISL8203M step-down DC/DC power module from Intersil furnishes an adjustable output voltage between 0.8 V to 5 V to allow designers to use one device to build a single 6-A or dual 3-A output power supply. The ISL8203M simplifies power-supply design for FPGAs, ASICs, microprocessors, DSPs, and other point-of-load conversions in communications, test and measurement, and industrial systems.
Intersil shrinks step-down DC/DC power module – [Link]
A USB DAC designed using a TI PCM2707:
it was a very fun project and very fulfilling to make something that I actually use everyday. Overall the audio specs aren’t anything amazing, but it definitely is an improvement on the built in audio of my computer.
DIY USB DAC – [Link]
This minimalistic board is packed with features and comes with an extensive ecosystem of documentation and firmware.
For the student (we are never too old) that wants to fast track his career as a professional firmware developer there is:
- a detailed getting started guide
- an Atmel AVR quick start guide, with tutorials and examples
- Recommend best practices
For the developer that wants to improve his game there is:
- A header to quickly connect different kinds of peripherals (GPIO, A/D, UART, SPI & I2C). Notice that each interface has it’s own +3V3 and GND pins to make wiring easier and also improves EMC.
- A full-featured CLI application to experiment with the connected device and verify that it works, before committing to a single line of C code.
- A firmware framework that lays the foundation so that you can quickly develop a new application.
- A Temp&Pressure Logger and Analog voltage Logger application that demonstrates how you can quickly develop your own custom logging application using the onboard AT45D DataFlash.
Atmel ATmega328P Scorpion Board – [Link]
With a focus on the 2.4 GHz RF application area, Holtek is delighted to announce its new I/O Type Full Speed USB Flash MCU, the BC68FB540. This device forms one of a series of new generation 8-bit Flash USB RF MCUs. The 2.4 GHz RF Transceiver includes the features of low power consumption, high performance and high noise immunity characteristics and has a data rate of up to 2 MBPS.
The BC68FB540 is compatible with the USB 2.0 specification and has an operating voltage of 2.2 V to 5.5 V, and with an operating temperature of –40 °C to +85 °C it meets with industrial specifications. The RF circuitry derives its system clock from an externally connected 16 MHz crystal while the MCU system clock is derived from a fully internal 12 MHz HIRC oscillator.
Holtek New BC68FB540 2.4GHz Full Speed USB Flash Type RF TRX MCU – [Link]
TOREX Semiconductor Ltd. has developed the XC6190 series of push button Reboot Controllers, designed to provide a system reboot signal to the controller used in small wearable devices. The chip itself measures just 1.3 mm square (USPN-6 outline) and is available in four variants. The A variant only requires one external resistor to define the reboot delay timing between 1 s and 20 s while the B variant uses no resistor but can only generate a reboot delay of 7.5 s or 12.5 s depending on the state of the TS input.
Torex Reboot Controller – [Link]
Alex Lidow @ edn.com:
For the first time in 60 years, a new higher-performance semiconductor technology is less expensive to produce than the silicon counterpart. Gallium nitride (GaN), has demonstrated both a dramatic improvement in transistor performance and the ability to be produced at a lower cost than silicon. GaN transistors have unleashed new applications as a result of their ability to switch higher voltages and higher currents faster than any transistor before. These extraordinary characteristics have ushered in new applications capable of transforming the future. But this is just the beginning.
GaN field effect transistors (FETs) are now available as discrete transistors and as monolithic half-bridges, with performance 10 times better than the best commercial silicon MOSFET. But what happens when many devices are integrated to create a system on a single chip? What happens when the performance of that chip is 100 times better than silicon?
GaN technology will transform the future – [Link]
by PeterHaban @ makechronicles.com:
I made a water level sensor a little while a go to measure the water level in my underground rainwater harvesting tank. Thanks to the Jubilee I found time to finally setup the first part of my Arduino/Xbee wireless sensor network and the first sensor node was also meant to read from this water level sensor. I was somewhat surprised when it only returned 0s so I went and had a closer look. How the slug got into the enclosure is still a mystery to me… but looking at the bright side (after the uncontrolled swearing) I now had a reason to build a much better water level sensor
Measuring a water tank level – [Link]