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.

Wireless power in AA battery format

Ossia has created the world’s first wirelessly-powered alternative to disposable AA batteries. The “Forever Battery” puts a long distance wireless power receiver into an AA battery format. The technology can receive up to 4W from a nearby RF transmitter (Cota transmitter), and includes a data link. [via]

Forever Battery bridges the gap between the battery-wire age and the wireless power era,” said Mario Obeidat, CEO of Ossia. “When people see how Cota Real Wireless Power can be implemented in a AA battery, they will start to see the vision of Cota everywhere. The Forever Battery will create awareness of Cota and provide confidence that devices will be powered when it matters.

Characteristics and applications of fast recovery epitaxial diodes

Read about epitaxial ultrafast diodes in thia app note from IXYS. (PDF)

During the last 10 years, power supply topology has undergone a basic change. Power supplies of all kinds are now constructed so that heavy and bulky 50/60 Hz mains transformers are no longer necessary. These transformers represented the major part of volume and weight of a traditional power supply.

Characteristics and applications of fast recovery epitaxial diodes – [Link]

SYZYGY Brain-1 – FPGA development platform featuring the SYZYGY standard

SYZYGY Brain-1 is an open source, modular ARM + FPGA development platform featuring the new SYZYGY standard for high-performance peripherals. This new development board bridges the gap between Pmods and FMCs allowing high performance peripherals to be used with ease. The author claims it’s the first realization of a carrier board supporting SYZYGY that can be used in various high performance applications. The development board is live on crowdsupply.com and has 50 days to go.

Applications

  • Data Acquisition
  • Machine Vision
  • Digital Communications
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
  • Video Output
  • Multi-channel I/O
  • Sensors
  • Robotics

Features and Specifications

  • Xilinx Zynq 7012S Single-core ARM + FPGA (dual-core 7015 optional)
    • 667 MHz ARM Cortex-A9
    • 55,000 programmable logic cells
    • 2.5 Mb block memory on FPGA
    • 120 DSP slices
  • Open source hardware – Schematics and PCB artwork will be available for free.
  • Open source software – Linux board support package sources will be available for free.
  • Compact form factor: 110 mm x 75 mm
  • Wide input power supply: +5 V to +18 V
  • 3 x SYZYGY standard ports
    • 28 I/O each
    • 2 x clock pairs each (could also be used as I/O)
  • 1 x SYZYGY transceiver port
    • 18 I/O
    • 2 x GTP receive pairs (up to 3.75 Gb/s)
    • 2 x GTP transmit pairs (up to 3.75 Gb/s)
    • 1 x transceiver reference clock pair
  • 1 GB DDR3 memory
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet (via RJ-45)
  • 1 x USB Type-C OTG
  • 1 x USB (serial console for ARM)
  • SYZYGY SmartVIO support with two groups
  • microSD card slot
  • JTAG
  • 8 x LEDs
  • 2 x User I/O pushbuttons
  • 1 x Reset pushbutton

Universal OpAmp Evaluation Board Using LMV321

The Universal Op-Amp Development board is a general purpose blank circuit board that simplify prototyping circuits for a variety of Op-Amp circuits. The evaluation module board design allows many different circuits to be constructed easily and quickly. This board supports single SOT23-5 package. Universal single Operational Amplifier (Op-Amp) board is designed to aid in the evaluation and testing of the low voltage/low power and some precision operational amplifiers.

Universal OpAmp Evaluation Board Using LMV321 – [Link]

Arduino Nano to PIC40/28 Pin Shield

Arduino Nano to PIC40/28 PIN development shield is an extension for Arduino Nano. This project is useful to create many projects using PIC40/28PIN shield published on electronics-lab.com, refer to schematic and connection diagram to use this shield. Two on board regulators are provided which outputs 5V DC and 3.3V DC, this dual supply helps many projects which need dual supply. Jumper J1 is for supply selection VCC To 3.3V or 5V, diode provided at input of regulator for reverse supply protection. Not populated J4, Close J3 to supply 5V to Nano.

Arduino Nano to PIC40/28 Pin Shield – [Link]

Distance Measuring Sensor Shield for Arduino Nano Using GP2Y0D810Z0F

The project published here is a distance measuring sensor shield for Arduino Nano including power driver BJT transistor to drive a load like solenoid, motor or LED. This project can be used as Arduino shield or as stand-alone sensor.

GP2Y0D810Z0F from Sharp is heart of the project, The sensor is a composed of an integrated combination of PD (photo diode) , IRED (infrared emitting diode) and signal processing circuit. The variety of the reflectivity of the object, the environmental temperature and the operating duration does not influence easily to the distance detection because of adopting the triangulation method. The output voltage of this sensor stays high in case an object exists in the specified distance range. So this sensor can also be used as proximity sensor. Output is normally High and it goes low when it detects the object.  The output VO is connected to Analog pin A0 of the Arduino Nano. Q1 Transistor helps to inverse the output which also controls the LED. This inversed output also connected to Analog pin A1 of Arduino. Digital pin D11 goes to base of Q2 power NPN BJT transistor MJD3055. This transistor provided to develop high power load driving application like Auto flush, Auto LED on/off when object is detected etc.

Distance Measuring Sensor Shield for Arduino Nano Using GP2Y0D810Z0F – [Link]

Rotary Encoder with Arduino and Nokia 5110 LCD Tutorial

Today we will take a look at using a rotary encoder with Arduino and displaying rotation data on the Nokia 5110 LCD display.

A rotary encoder is an Electro-mechanical device that converts angular position or the rotation of a shaft into analog or digital values. By turning the shaft to the right or left, we either get an increase or decrease in value. One of the major advantage of rotary encoders is the fact that rotation is limitless. If the maximum position, (which is 20 for the particular rotary encoder used in this tutorial) is reached, the device starts the position counting all over again while the Value attached to the position continues to increase/decrease with every turn of the knob in the same direction. This means we could still keep increasing the value associated with turning the rotary encoder so far we keep rotating in the same direction.

Rotary Encoder with Arduino and Nokia 5110 LCD Tutorial – [Link]

xaVNA – A low cost two port Vector Network Analyzer

xaVNA is a simple and cheap vector network analyzer that allows you to easily tune up antennas, filters, and amplifiers by plugin it to USB. It is able to display smith charts/graphs on the including PC software.

The main board connects to a PC through usb and communicates via a virtual serial port device; the PC software sets the frequency and other parameters by sending two-byte register write commands, and the device sends averaged vector values representing magnitude and phase of measured wave.

The project is open source and available on github and a kickstarter campaign is live with 31 days to go.

Specifications

  • Frequency range: guaranteed 137MHz – 2500MHz, typical 135MHz – 3500MHz
  • Measurement signal level (controlled using on-board switches, iteration 1 board only): -5dBm to 10dBm, with 2dB increments
  • Measurement signal level (controlled using spi interface): -20dBm to 10dBm, with 1dB increments
  • 3 receivers: forward coupled, reverse coupled, through; can measure S11 and S21 of a two port device. To measure S22 and S12 the DUT needs to be manually reversed.

COLIBRÌ: the driver for RGBW LEDs

Boris Landoni @ open-electronics.org designed COLIBRI, a board able to drive 4 color LEDs. He writes:

Recently some multicoloured power LEDs have appeared on the market and, differently from the more common RGB LEDs, they incorporate a white LED, as an addition: they are named RGBW (Red, Green, Blue, White) just because of this. They have been created because, even if in order to obtain a white light it is enough to light red, green and blue LEDs together (the brightness proportion as for red, green and blue will determine the white’s tone, that may be warm or cold), the addition of a white LED allows to obtain some much more “clean” white colours, in comparison with what could be obtained from mixing the three basic colours; it is moreover possible to use all the four LEDs together, in order to obtain a much greater luminous power.