Pressure sensors need as little as 0.9 V


Susan Nordyk@

These micropower low-pressure sensors operate from a supply voltage of just 0.9 V to 1.8 V and are intended for use with noncorrosive, nonionic working fluids in such applications as medical devices and instrumentation, environmental controls, HVAC equipment, and portable devices.

Pressure sensors need as little as 0.9 V – [Link]

Using OV7670 Camera Sensor With Arduino

Developing a hardware project became much easier thanks to the growing number of the various sensors and actuators modules, which give you the ability to shift your ideas into a wider range of applications. This tutorial presents the steps of how to use OV7670 Camera Sensor Module STM32 with Arduino.

To follow the tutorial, you will need these parts:

  1. Arduino Uno Board and USB
  2. OV7670 Arduino Camera Sensor Module STM32
  3. Resistor (2x10K & 2×4.7K)
  4. Breadboard

The OV7670 image sensor is a small size, low voltage, single-chip VGA camera and CMOS image processor for all functions. It provides full-frame, sub-sampled or windowed 8-bit images in various formats, controlled through the Serial Camera Control Bus (SCCB) interface.


The camera module is powered from a single +3.3V power supply, and external clock source for camera module XCLK pin. The OV7670 camera module built-in onboard LDO regulator only requires single 3.3V power and can be used in Arduino, STM32, Chipkit, ARM, DSP, FPGA and etc.

This is pin definition table of the module:

OV7670 Pin Definition
OV7670 Pin Definition

OV7670 module specification:

  • Optical size 1/6 inch
  • Resolution 640×480 VGA
  • Onboard regulator, only single 3.3V supply needed
  • Mounted with high quality F1.8 / 6mm lens
  • High sensitivity for low-light operation
  • VarioPixel® method for sub-sampling
  • Automatic image control functions including: Automatic
  • Exposure Control (AEC), Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Automatic White Balance (AWB), Automatic
  • Band Filter (ABF), and Automatic Black-Level Calibration (ABLC)
  • Image quality controls including color saturation, hue, gamma, sharpness (edge enhancement), and anti-blooming
  • ISP includes noise reduction and defect correction
  • Supports LED and flash strobe mode
  • Supports scaling
  • Lens shading correction
  • Flicker (50/60 Hz) auto detection
  • Saturation level auto adjust (UV adjust)
  • Edge enhancement level auto adjust
  • De-noise level auto adjust

The connection between the module and the Arduino uses 6 analog pins and 8 digital pins, and they have to be connected as shown in this figure:


The software requirements are the Arduino IDE and Java Development Kit (JDK). To run the project, you have to execute a java code through the command line. The script will search for images received from Arduino and then saves them on the PC.

Source code, additional needed files, and setting up instructions are all available at the tutorial page.

Recover Bricked ATtiny Using Arduino as high voltage programmer


Hi! Today I’ll explain you how to recover your bricked ATtiny microcontroller using your Arduino board. ATtinys are very popular due to their small form factor yet very powerful. While working with them you may accidentally brick the ATtiny. As arduino is extremely popular and really easy to use, I guess you have one or more lying on your work table. You don’t need to purchase a HVP (High Voltage Programmer), or search for an old PC with parallel port to recover ATtiny. Just build a small circuit, plug it into Arduino board, upload a sketch and you are good to go. So let’s start… (more…)


SoundDuino 3, The Latest Sound Shield for Arduino

c51db665a6d43406669fe6369ca97877_originalThe electronics engineer and microcontroller programmer expert, Masih Vahida has launched his latest SoundDuino Arduino shield product: SoundDuino 3!

SoundDuino is a WAV Sound Player & Recorder Shield for Arduino. This sound shield let you record and play sound files to or from a Micro-SD memory card with all libraries and samples for the Arduino IDE.

“SoundDuino is a sound recorder and player that is able to play the sound files from the Micro-SD memory card or even record sounds to the memory with your desired file name. It supports FAT16 and FAT32 and you can easily copy your files into the memory and to play them, you only need to use the library that we give you with this shield and just send the file name that you want to play! Yes, very very easy!” Vahida explains.

This video shows the very first version of SoundDuino and some of its applications

The newest shield, SoundDuino3,  is based on NXP LPC2103 ARM7 32bit microcontroller and it can play 16 bit 48khz sound files with a very high quality. It also has audio input and output jacks, an onboard microphone as well and can work from 3.3v to 5v. SoundDuino fits nicely on an Arduino Uno and is compatible with any Arduino boards using pins GND, VCC, RX and TX. Moreover, the device is delivered with libraries and examples for Arduino IDE.

This project is now live on Kickstarter, check the campaign video

You can use this shield to announce numbers and add you own files into the memory. You can also extend the example code and have it read the text also.


SoundDuino 3 specifications:

  • Updated firmware, high quality audio
  • Automatic baudrate detection
  • Sound quality is Stereo 16 bit 48hkz (SoundDuino 1 was Mono 8 bit 48khz)
  • Super easy to use, new functions in library to announce the numbers .
  • More useful functions in the library
  • the sound quality is much much better than the last version
  • Small size
  • System voltage is 3.3v compatible with Arduino boards

With SoundDuino shield it seems easier to start building some great audio projects. You can follow the project updates and order your own SoundDuino 3 for $59 now from the crowdfunding campaign.

Dual set point programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are cool things. They let you set the room temperature according to your schedule and will automatically make those adjustments for you. If you use them the way they’re intended to, they could be a great way to save on home energy costs. They work perfectly for people with fixed daily schedules. You can set one temperature during the time you are at home and to another when you are away. But what if your everyday routine is not the same? Then you have to manually adjust the temperature every time you are in and out. Ed Van Every was facing the same issue and he came up with a nice DIY solution for this. He wanted his place to be heated to 70ºF when it is occupied, and to 55ºF when it is not. So he made his own dual set point thermostat which allows him to implement his “working temp” with a single hit of a push button and his “away temp” with another push button.

DIY dual setpoint thermostat
DIY dual setpoint thermostat

Like most other DIY thermostats, Ed also used an Arduino board as the main brain of the thermostat and DHT22 for sensing ambient temperature and humidity. For controlling the heater, an electromechanical relay breakout board was used. A 16×2 character LCD displays the temperature setting that is currently active, its set-point value, the actual room temperature and humidity. In the event when the heater is turned on, an asterisk symbol * is displayed in the lower middle of the display indicating that the relay circuit is closed. The room temperature and humidity are refreshed every 2½ seconds and the LCD backlight automatically turns on for 60 seconds when a button is pressed on the thermostat. Ed also 3D printed a nice enclosure for his thermostat to give it a more professional look.

The Tiniest 1nm Gate Transistor

A research team led by faculty scientist Ali Javey at Berkeley Lab have debuted the smallest transistor ever reported. A gate structure of just 1 nm long can bring Moore’s law back again after the demonstration of the recent Silicon (Si) transistor with 5 nm gate. It was predicted that transistors will fail below 5 nm gate because of some short channel effects that would change the transistor characteristics, but the new finding is proving that wrong.

Model showing the transistor structure

Because of current leakage that would happen in less than 5-nm Si transistors, the  exploration of new channel materials that have more ideal properties than Si should begin. The researchers used carbon nanotubes and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), an engine lubricant commonly sold in auto parts shops. MoS2 is part of a family of materials with immense potential for applications in LEDs, lasers, nanoscale transistors, solar cells, and more. Fortunately, MoS2 electronics properties as thin layers will limit leakage that happen in Si alternatives.

While the researchers started using MoS2 as the semiconductor material, they recognized the hardship of constructing the gate using it.Thus, they turned to carbon nanotubes, hollow cylindrical tubes with diameters as small as 1 nanometer. This structure made it easier to control the flow of electrons effectively.

Optical image of a representative device shows the MoS2 flake, gate (G)

This project is just a proof of concept and researchers have not yet found a way to mass-produce it or integrate it in chips. They could break the myth of the Si transistor 5-nm gate limit and they paved the way for future researchers to demonstrate a new device architecture.

With such a small scale it will be an unexpected future of tiny devices that use lots of transistors, since all the technology we use nowadays are made of transistors with minimum 7nm geometry.

The work at Berkeley Lab was primarily funded by the Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program.

This research was introduced as a research paper in Science magazine on October 2016. More details are available here  “MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths“.

NEC Display Powered by Raspberry Pi

Earlier this month, NEC Display Solutions Europe announced that they are working on a new generation of large-format displays that support the Raspberry Pi compute module, enabling a seamless integration of Raspberry Pi devices with NEC displays.


Originally developed to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries, the first Raspberry Pi delivered good performance at a very low cost. However, the latest Raspberry Pi 3 compute module boasts significant performance and networking capabilities, making it perfect for NEC displays.

Raspberry Pi announced the compute module about two years ago, which is primarily designed for those who are going to create their own PCB. It is a small 67.6x30mm board that fits into the standard DDR2 SODIMM connector, with integrated BCM2835 quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB eMMC Flash device. The board is no longer a basic computer for coding, but a reliable intelligent device with unlimited possibilities. In addition to the standard Raspberry Pi 3 compute module, NEC will also offer a customized model to meet the specific performance demands of the display industry.


“When we started Raspberry Pi, we had one main goal of helping people learn about computing and how to make things with computers. However, we’ve been fortunate enough to have sold 10 million Raspberry Pis so far and the commercial success has led to the third generation of a more mature and powerful technology which can be used with NEC’s intelligent display. Our work on the Raspberry Pi mini-computers is driven by the huge community of developers whilst NEC’s work is driven by industry needs, enabling us to meet the demands of the AV and IT industry. Overall, this collaboration shows NEC’s confidence with our ability to provide a platform that can be used in a variety of environments.” said Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi Trading.

The new NEC displays allow easy access to embedded intelligence smartly connected to Internet of Things (IoT) for digital signage as well as presentation use. The elegant design of the displays is suitable for smooth installations in any environment. There’s also the chance to customize the screens to individual needs, making the displays more reliable anywhere and anytime.

The displays will be available in January 2017 starting with 40″, 48″, and 55″ models and will eventually scale all the way up to a monstrous 98″ by the end of the year.


“Our strategic initiative to team up with Raspberry Pi is an example of how we continue to ensure that organisations in any sector have the most advanced technology in place to meet their application needs. Our open platform approach provides display intelligence at any time, thanks to our modular and interchangeable design. Integrating the Raspberry Pis with our displays will provide businesses with advanced technology suitable for digital signage, streaming and presenting to enhance the overall visual experience at an affordable price point,” said Stefanie Corinth, Senior Vice President Marketing and Business Development at NEC Display Solutions Europe GmbH.

In this video, Thomas Walter – the Head of Product Marketing at NEC, talking more about what’s going on behind the screens.

Layout software eases 3D prototype production


A manufacturer and service provider for PCB prototyping, Beta LAYOUT has developed a 3D MID CAD program to speed up the prototyping and small-series manufacturing of 3D Mechatronic Interconnect Devices (MIDs). by Julien Happich @

Circuit carriers of the three-dimensional circuit boards are produced at Beta LAYOUT using 3D printing. This eliminates the need for costly injection moulding dies, as commonly used in series production. After this, the MID components are processed on a special production line using laser direct structuring, and then assembled.

Layout software eases 3D prototype production – [Link]

Thermal design: Get the heat out of the electronics

Häusermann has a propriety process that makes PCBs that can conduct a great amount of heat or current.

@ discuss about thermal design in electronics and how to design your board to dissipate it effectively.

If you have high-powered LEDS, or a power supply, or are trying to control larger motors, you have to get a lot of heat out of your circuit boards. The classic way to dissipate heat is to bolt your power transistor to an aluminum heat sink. That is a slow, messy, and expensive proposition, especially if you need thermal grease between the transistor and heat sink.


It’s always a good idea to make thermal management inherent in your PCB design. Experience has shown you can get about 2W of heat out of a 3×5” copper area on a conventional FR4 PCB.

Thermal design: Get the heat out of the electronics – [Link]

PiOSCBOX: A Raspberry Pi based audio processor and synthesizer

Raspberry Pi carries a lot of horsepower inside to handle the realtime audio and add some effects to it. The only limitation is it does not have a built-in sound card, but it is manageable using an external USB soundcard. PiOSCBOX is an attempt to make a low-cost, stand-alone audio effects processor and synthesizer using Raspberry Pi 3. It provides a very nice and interactive user interface using a 128×64 graphic LCD and six rotary encoders. As with all other audio processors based on Raspberry Pi, PiOSCBOX also requires an external USB audio adapter.

Raspberry Pi based audio processor
Raspberry Pi based audio processor

The audio processing and synthesizing involves heavy Fast-Fourier transform computations and other DSP capabilities. PiOSCBox utilizes Pure Data for all of the DSP implementations. If you are unfamiliar with Pure Data, it is an open source visual programming language that allows musicians and artists to develop a software graphically (without writing a single line of code) to process and generate audio, video, and 2D/3D graphics along with interface external sensors and other input devices.

The software required for the PiOSCBox can be downloaded from the following location:

Once it is cloned to the /home/pi/PiOSCBox/ location on your Raspberry Pi, you need to run the build script, which will compile the rotary encoder components. The project also requires some external dependencies like WiringPI and Liblo, which are both embedded into NOOBS operating system for Pi.