290Hz Narrowband Laser On Chip For Numeros Photonic Applications

Researchers from the MESA+ research institute at University of Twente have collaborated together with the provider company of the customized microsystem solutions “LioniX International” to achieve the lowest bandwidth tunable diode laser on a chip.

The newly-developed laser operates in the IR region at 1550 nm with an 81 nm tuning range, which means that users can choose the color of the laser themselves, within a broad range. The laser is an integrated InP-Si3N4 hybrid laser consists of two different photonic chips, optically connected to each other.

Photonics is a key technology that makes numerous other innovations possible. So that, scientists and researchers are making big efforts at this field including deployment of photons for transporting and processing data.

To make photonic chips function as efficient as possible, we need to be able to control the light signals. Which means that all transmitted light particles should have the same frequency and wavelength as possible. The university researchers have succeeded developing a tiny laser on a chip with a maximum bandwidth of just 290 Hertz.

Our signal is more than ten times more coherent – or clean – than any other laser on a chip.
~ Professor Klaus Boller, the research leader

This record laser will have countless applications especially in fiber optic communications that require high data rate. This applications includes 5G mobile networks, accurate GPS systems and sensors for monitoring the structural integrity of buildings and bridges.

You can find out more details here.

The Aurora Boxealis – A Color Sensing and Mirroring Project

Besides looking damned good on an otherwise bland and ordinary desk, this project is about more than just being attention grabbing eye candy.  It’s about demonstrating a small portion of our single board computer capabilities by hooking up a color sensor, RGB light strip, and enclosing it in a nice looking wooden enclosure.  We’re dubbing it the “aurora boxealis”, and it’s made to stand out from the crowd at trade shows and provide a fun, interactive way to professionally demonstrate an interesting sensor, in this case a color sensor.  Grabbing a color swatch from the table and placing it on the top of the box will trigger the lights to mirror that color.

The Aurora Boxealis – A Color Sensing and Mirroring Project – [Link]

Arduino PICO, The Tiny Arduino-Compatible Board

MellBell, the Canadian-based hardware and electronics company, has launched their first product: Arduino PICO!

At first, the company says that Arduino PICO is the smallest Arduino compatible board ever, since it is 0.6″ x 0.6″ inch sized (~15mm squared). This tiny fully-fledged arduino-compatible board has a Leonardo-compatible 16MHz ATMEGA32U4 chip and a micro-USB port. The main cause of building PICO was to have a really small brain to use in many application with worrying about size or allocated space.

PICO’s Technical Specifications

The 16MHz ATMEGA32U4 integrates 2.5KB SRAM and 32KB flash, 4KB of which the bootloader uses. The 1.1-gram PICO has 8x digital I/O pins, 3x analog inputs, a PWM channel, and a reset button. In addition, the board has a 7-12V power with 5V operating voltage, where each I/O pin uses 40mA. It is worth to mention that PICO is competing with 12 x 12mm, $18 µduino, which similarly offers an Arduino Leonardo compatible ATMEGA32U4 MCU and which is smaller in size.

Moreover, MellBell provides an aluminum version that comes with the same ATMEGA32u4 core processor. With an Aluminum not regular fiber-glass, this makes PICO more reliable for overheated applications and environments.

Arduino PICO is now live on a Kickstarter campaign that two days ago had achieved its goal! Fortunately, there is still a chance until 17 Aug 2017 to pre-order one of PICO’s packages. You can get your early bird PICO for CA$18 ($14) and Aluminum edition for CA$32($25). Also, there is a special edition that includes  Aluminium PICO, four colored PICOs,  PICO joystick shield, micro drone kit, PICO solar station,  dual PICO board,  micro li-ion battery, PICO starter kit,  MiniMega board and finally a special “THANK YOU” video for CA$ 960 ($765).

Check out the campaign video:

Romeo BLE – An Arduino Based Powerful Robot Control Board With Bluetooth 4.0

Romeo BLE is an all-in-one Arduino based control board specially designed for robotics applications from DFRobot. This platform is open source and it’s powered by thousands of publicly available open-sourced codes. Romeo BLE can easily be expanded using Arduino shields. The most important feature—Bluetooth 4.0 wireless communication, allows the board to receive commands via Bluetooth. So, users can now use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to interact with the control board.

Control Robot From Smartphones by Bluetooth 4.0
Control Robot From Smartphones by Bluetooth 4.0

Even the codes can be uploaded over Bluetooth a USB Bluno Link adapter, without requiring any wired USB connection between the board and a PC. This is a great advantage for mobile applications where codes are debugged and uploaded frequently.

The Romeo BLE also includes two integrated two-channel DC motor drivers and wireless sockets, which makes project development more hassle-free. One can start the project immediately without needing an additional motor driver circuitry. The motor driving section also supports extra servos which need more current.

There are two ways to power the Romeo BLE board. But, the polarity must be correct. Otherwise, the board may get permanently damaged as there exists no reverse polarity protection. The two powering methods are:

  • Power from USB: Plug in the USB cable to the Romeo controller from a power source (i.e. wall jack or computer). If the input voltage and current are sufficient, the Romeo BLE board should turn on and a LED should light up. While powered from USB, do NOT connect anything else like motor, servo etc. except LED. Because the USB can only provide 500mA current which is certainly not enough for driving loads like motors.
  • Power from External Power Supply: Connect the ground wire from your supply to the screw terminal labeled “GND” on Romeo board, and then connect the positive wire from your supply to the screw terminal labeled “VIN”. The maximum acceptable input voltage is 23 volts. Do not exceed this value anyway.
Romeo BLE Board Pin Diagram
Romeo BLE Board Pin Diagram

Specifications:

  • Microcontroller: ATmega328P
  • Bootloader: Arduino UNO
  • Onboard BLE chip: TI CC2540
  • 14 Digital I/O ports
  • 6 PWM Outputs (Pin11, Pin10, Pin9, Pin6, Pin5, Pin3)
  • 8 10-bit analog input ports
  • 3 I2Cs
  • 5 Buttons
  • Power Supply Port: USB or DC2.1
  • External Power Supply Range: 5-23V
  • DC output: 5V/3.3V
  • Size: 94mm x 80mm

Features:

  • Auto sensing/switching external power input
  • Transmission range: 70m in free space
  • Support Bluetooth remote update the Arduino program
  • Support Bluetooth HID
  • Support iBeacons
  • Support AT command to config the BLE
  • Support Transparent communication through Serial
  • Support the master-slave machine switch
  • Support USB update BLE chip program
  • Support Male and Female Pin Header
  • Two-way H-bridge motor Driver with 2A maximum current
  • Integrated sockets for APC220 RF Module

You can program Romeo BLE using Arduino IDE version 1.8.1 or above. Select Arduino UNO from Tools –> Boards in the IDE. Go to arduino.en.cc to download the latest version of Arduino IDE. Read the Romeo BLE wiki to learn more.

Harvesting Sound Energy From Passing Cars

by Mechanical Attraction @ instructables.com:

There is energy everywhere around us and in many different forms. Many devices have been developed to harvest light, wind, waves, and more. One unusual place of energy harvesting is from passing cars. As cars pass by some of their energy is released in form of sound. Even though the overall energy maybe small it can be harvested. In this Instructable I will show how to apply the solution of Euler–Bernoulli beam theory to design a cantilever beam to oscillate at such a frequency to adsorb sound waves as well as converting its mechanical motion into electricity.

Harvesting Sound Energy From Passing Cars – [Link]

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?

by Markku Riihonen @ EDN Europe:

Does it make sense to design and build your own single-board computers? It used to be the sensible option for anyone concerned about matching features to production cost.
Traditionally, with your own board design, you have the freedom to add only the components that are absolutely vital to achieving the right level of functionality for the target application. But the relentless rise of the system-on-chip (SoC) device has changed that equation in a number of ways.

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?- [Link]

Edgefx Kits, Get Your DIY Project Kit Now!

Aiming to bridge the gap between the academics and industry in electronics, communication and electrical sectors, Edgefx Technologies was born at 2012 as an online store for project solutions.

Edgefx provides practical skill building solutions to the engineering students in the form of Do It Yourself (DIY) project kits. These kits support wide areas of electronics and communication, and also the latest trends like IoT, Android, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and many more.

Edgefx kits are easy to use and self-explanatory. They come with hardware and training material in the form of extensive audio-visuals and can be purchased online.

The company has grown to have a very strong focus on customer service, quality and morale of the staff and most of all, a passion for what we do. And although we’re a team of almost 30 right now, nothing about us is corporate. We don’t have multiple tiers of hierarchy. The vast majority of our employees work on the front lines, taking care of our customers or shipping items out of the Edgefx Fulfillment Centers.

The website contains more than 200 projects in about 15 different categories. Kits prices range from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 50000 (~ $23 to $750). In addition to the project kits, Edgefx also conducts practical workshops in colleges and schools.

School students, starting from 8 years old, can opt for school electronic projects that empowering them to innovate. It includes three basic level STEM kits and one intermediate level kit. All of these kits are edutainment and fun, with real time applications using latest technologies, and also can create multiple experiments.

Each basic kit has a three project inside, these projects are:

  • Security protection for museum items
  • Touch controlled fan
  • Touch me not LED warning
  • Bike theft alarm
  • Upside down  indicator for fragile item
  • Toll gate auto light LED
  • Security area protecting alarm
  • Auto door opening motor
  • Human detection under debries

The intermediate kit is an Arduino project kit. This project is designed for digital sensors solder-less Arduino projects on breadboard. It will light flasher of different color light on single LED each time on sensing finger swipe with the help of IR obstacle sensor. Also, the project makes different unique sounds on sensing each time.

Beginners Arduino Project Kit

So, if you are searching for some project kits you have to visit the Edgefx store, explore the kits to find the project you want to make and then order it. In the end, don’t forget to share with us your experience once you buy and use the kit!

New parts library for Mentor PADS & DX Designer accelerates PCB design

Designers can build circuit boards faster with millions of symbols & footprints on SnapEDA.

July 18, 2017 –  SAN FRANCISCO –  Mentor, a Siemens business, and SnapEDA, the Internet’s first parts library for circuit board design, are announcing new support for Mentor PADS® and DX Designer on SnapEDA.

Whether building satellites or medical devices, hardware designers spend days creating digital models for each component on their circuit boards, a painful and time-consuming process that hinders product development.

With today’s launch, Mentor PADS & DX Designer customers will gain access to SnapEDA’s extensive component library containing millions of symbols, footprints, and 3D models, further enhancing the vast resources available for Mentor PCB design software.

All parts are auto-verified with SnapEDA’s proprietary verification technology, helping to reduce risk and unneeded, costly prototype iterations. This technology answers common questions designers have about libraries, such as “what standards does this footprint conform to?”

As the world becomes more connected, electronic devices are proliferating and diversifying, and time-to-market is more crucial than ever for companies to stay competitive.

Slimline SMD Bamboo IN-14 Nixie Clock

@ instructables.com writes:

There are a lot of nixie clocks out there and a lot of them are based on the IN-14 tubes. I wanted to design my own for the sake of designing my own, but also had some specific requirements: Make it as small and thin as possible. A lot of the clocks out there have very bulky bases. CNC a nice case out of bamboo. Because I like bamboo and wanted to get some use out of my little desktop CNC machine. No RGB leds under the tubes. I hate those. Single spin of the PCB, no prototypes. I wanted this to be a relatively quick project. This meant using a microcontroller and RTC I have used before, heavily borrowing from proven designs and using a pre-made power supply to limit the risk of having to iterate the board.

Slimline SMD Bamboo IN-14 Nixie Clock – [Link]

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