IoT Protocols for the Electronics Designer

Here is an interesting article from autodesk.com about IoT for the Electronics Designer. Learn how to choose the Right Protocol for Your First Project.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting our world together more intimately than ever. It’s also adding a whole new level of complexity and confusion on the shoulders of the electronic designer. The biggest problem is the overwhelming amount of choices and considerations that have to be made for an IoT project. Which protocol is the best? Will my chosen protocol be irrelevant a year from now? Do I have the time to design RF and an antenna? In this blog, we’ll be focusing on the topic of protocols, how they fit into the networking stack, and how you can use modules to make easy work for your first IoT project.

Solid-state battery – a hybrid of battery and capacitor

With CeraCharge, TDK has developed the world’s first solid-state battery in SMD technology. In contrast to most common battery technologies, CeraCharge works without any liquid electrolytes. by Christoph Hammerschmidt @ eenewseurope.com:

Similar to ceramic capacitors, the CeraCharge is based on multilayer technology and combines a high energy density in the smallest possible space with process reliability in the manufacture of multilayer components. The use of a ceramic solid as electrolyte also excludes the risk of fire, explosion or leakage of electrolyte fluid.

In the compact size EIA 1812, the battery, which can be rechargeable several dozen to 1000 times, offers a capacity of 100 µAh at a nominal voltage of 1.4 V depending on the requirements. In the short term, currents in the range of a few mA can also be drawn.

Neutrino 3.0: The 32-bit Arduino Zero compatible!

The Neutrino 3.0 is an inexpensive, open source, miniaturized version of the Arduino Zero! Featuring a 32-bit ARM processor running at 48MHz, and boasting 32K of ram, the Neutrino is far more capable than your typical Arduino. And because it has the same processor and pinout, all libraries written for the Zero will work on the Neutrino without any modification!

Technical Specs

  • Microcontroller: Atmel ATSAMD21G18 ARM Cortex M0+
  • Clock speed: 48 MHz
  • Operating voltage: 3.3V
  • I/O pin limits: 3.3V, 7 mA
  • Digital I/O pins: 14, with 12 PWM
  • Analog input pins: 6, 12-bit ADC channels
  • Analog output pins: 1, 10-bit DAC
  • Flash memory: 256 KB
  • SRAM: 32 KB
  • Voltage regulator: 3.7-5.5V input / 3.3V, 300mA output
  • Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.7″ (36mm x 18mm)

The project is live on kickstarter and has 14 days to go.

Wand-Pi-8M: New Open Source SBC

The Wand-Pi-8M is an open source hardware project with community support and a full range of Linux-based distros, starting with Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android Oreo. The board schematics and software source will be available for free download.

This Raspberry Pi like SBC comes in three different  models:

  • Wand-Pi-8M-Lite ($89) – 1GB of DDR4 and 4GB eMMC
  • Wand-Pi-8M-Pro ($99) – 2GB DDR4 and 8GB eMMC
  • Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe ($119) – 2GB DDR4 and 16GB eMMC

All three Wand-Pi-8M models use the quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M Quad clocked at up to 1.3GHz.

Specifications

  • Processor — i.MX8M (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.3GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • RAM — 1GB DDR4 (Lite) or 2GB DDR4 (Pro and Deluxe)
  • Storage — 4GB (Lite), 8GB (Pro), or 16GB (Deluxe) eMMC
  • Display — HDMI port at up to 3840 x 2160 (4K HDR)
  • Wireless (Pro and Deluxe only) — Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 module with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 (BR+EDR+BLE) and MHF4 antenna connector
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port (Atheros AR8035)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 3.0 Type-C port with 5V input support
    • Micro-USB debug port
    • 2x MIPI-CSI
  • Expansion — 40-pin RPi-compatible GPIO header; mikroBus connector
  • Other features — Reset button
  • Power — 5V DC input via USB Type-C; NXP PF4210 PMIC
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50°C
  • Shock resistance — 50G/25ms
  • Vibration resistance — 20G/0-600Hz
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56 x 19.3mm
  • Operating system — Linux, Yocto, Ubuntu, Android Oreo

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

by Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office:

Now physicists working in MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science have designed a pocket-sized cosmic ray muon detector to track these ghostly particles. The detector can be made with common electrical parts, and when turned on, it lights up and counts each time a muon passes through. The relatively simple device costs just $100 to build, making it the most affordable muon detector available today.

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector – [Link]

UDOO X86 Microboard Breakdown

The UDOO X86 board is a single board computer based on Intel quad core 64-bit chipset that runs Windows 10 and any flavor of Linux. The board also has a separate chipset with a full implementation of Arduino. But what make it special is the 64-bit operating system, the USB 3.0 support, up to 8GB of RAM, eMMC/M.2 SSD/MicroSD/SATA, Intel HD graphics, Gigabit ethernet, Separate non-shared data buses and it’s very good expandability. To learn how it’s compared to Raspberry Pi, check the full article by James Chambers here.

Continuity Tester using ATtiny85

This article describes a simple continuity tester based on an ATtiny85. The tester features a buzzer that sounds to help you determinate the trace continuity. It is designed for checking circuit wiring, or tracing out the tracks on a PCB. According to it’s author David Johnson-Davies it has a low threshold resistance of 50Ω to avoid false positives, and passes less than 0.1mA through the circuit under test, to avoid affecting sensitive components. It’s powered from a small button cell, and automatically switches itself off when not in use, avoiding the need for an on/off switch.

Pi/104 – Pi Compute carrier board

Pi/104 is a Pi Compute carrier board in PC/104 format with industrial durability.

The Pi Compute Module is a powerful tool for custom electronics projects. But if your project requires industrial grade specifications, you’re currently out-of-luck. This is where Pi/104 comes in – with a wide temperature rating and a power supply that encompasses common industrial cabinet voltages. Pi/104 doesn’t try to do too much out of the box. Instead, it relies on an industry standard form factor for accessories, which allows people to build custom stacks to meet their goals in a cost effective way. It also means the base board is cheaper, bringing an industry-ready board to the hobby market.

Features

  • Based on the PC/104 format, compact, sturdy, and stackable.
  • Uses the “OneBank” connector leaving more PCB area and cheaper than a full PCIe/104 connector.
  • “OneBank” has 5/3.3 V and two USB channels allowing you to use USB-powered peripherals in the stack such as cellular modems, Wi-Fi cards, USB to SATA, FPGA, and serial connectors. (Note: PCIe pins in OneBank connector are not used.)
  • Flexible power. Board can be powered through the wire terminals (8 to 35 volts), OneBank connector (5 V and 3.3 V), or through the USB OTG connector.
  • USB OTG connector supports full range of functionality including OTG and USB boot.
  • Display flexibility with either HDMI or DSI support as well as a camera through the CSI port
  • IDE-style connectors for GPIO, making I/O ribbon cables easy to find. Connector closest to module is pin compatible with Raspberry Pi and has been successfully tested with several HATs. The other connector carries the rest of the compute module pins and some extra grounds.
  • Recessed Ethernet connector allows for a full size, standard ethernet cable to be used even in stack configuration.
  • On-board microSD card slot allows for use of Pi Compute 3 Lite modules.

Specifications

  • 2 x USB A
  • 1 x microUSB OTG
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • 1 x microSD slot (CM3L only)
  • 1 x CSI
  • 1 x DSI
  • 59 x GPIO in two IDE-style connectors
  • OneBank stacakble connector with 2 USB and 5/3.3 V
  • Wide power supply, 8-36 V
  • Temperature spec with Pi Compute Module, -25° C to 85° C
  • Temperature spec without Pi Compute Module, -40° C to 85° C

Hi-Fi Stereo Headphone Amplifier using LME49600

This project is the ideal solution for high output, high performance high fidelity stereo head phone amplifier. The project consists of Op-Amp LME498720 and LME49600 as output driver. The LME49600 is able to drive 32Ω headphones to a dissipation of greater than 500mW at 0.00003% THD+N while operating on ±12V power supply voltages.  The LME49600 is a high performance, low distortion high fidelity 250mA audio buffer. The LME49600 is designed for a wide range of applications and is fully protected through internal current limit and thermal shutdown.

Hi-Fi Stereo Headphone Amplifier using LME49600 – [Link]

RoboBee – A Flying Microbot That Can Perform Search And Rescue Missions

Inspired by the biology of a bee, researchers at the Wyss Institute developed RoboBees, man-made microbots that could perform endless roles in agriculture or disaster relief. A RoboBee is about half the size of a paper clip, weighs less than one-tenth of a gram, and flies using materials that contract when an electric pulse is applied. Now, they progressed even further and designed a hybrid RoboBee that can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of the water, and safely land.

New, hybrid RoboBee can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of water, and safely land.
New, hybrid RoboBee can fly, dive into water, swim, propel itself back out of the water, and safely land.

New floating devices allow this multipurpose air-water microrobot to stabilize on the water’s surface before an internal combustion system ignites to propel it back into the air. This latest-generation RoboBee is 1000 times lighter than any previous aerial-to-aquatic robot. This can be used for numerous applications, from search-and-rescue operations to environmental monitoring and biological studies. Yufeng Chen, Ph.D. and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wyss Institute, said:

This is the first microrobot capable of repeatedly moving in and through complex environments

The researchers have faced numerous challenges to design a millimeter-sized robot that moves in and out of the water. The robot’s wing flapping speed will vary widely between the two mediums as water is 1000 times denser than air. If the flapping frequency is too low, the RoboBee can’t fly. If it’s too high, the wing will snap off in the water. So, it requires a precise balancing as well as a smart multimodal locomotive strategy to overcome this problem.

RoboBee has four buoyant outriggers and a central gas collection chamber. Once the RoboBee swims to the surface, an electrolytic plate in the chamber converts water into oxyhydrogen, a highly combustible gas fuel. The gas increases the robot’s buoyancy and pushes the wings out of the water. The outriggers stabilize the RoboBee on the water’s surface. Elizabeth Farrell Helbling, a graduate student in the Microrobotics Lab, said:

Because the RoboBee has a limited payload capacity, it cannot carry its own fuel, so we had to come up with a creative solution to exploit resources from the environment.

The research team hopes that in future research the RoboBee can fly immediately upon propulsion out of the water, which is currently not possible due to the lack of onboard sensors and limitations in the current motion-tracking system.