Programming Atmega328p Microcontroller with Arduino IDE


Over the past few tutorials, we have mentioned several scenarios where using any of the Arduino board in a project may be an overkill due to the cost, size, and more technical reasons such as high power consumption. In the last tutorial, we discussed an alternative way of using Arduino, i.e. using the Atmega328p microcontroller alone which removes all the downsides of using the Arduino board, while retaining one of the biggest benefits of the Arduino platform; the ease of programming.

Programming Atmega328p Microcontroller with Arduino IDE – [Link]

Microsoft Develops Blood Pressure Monitoring Glasses

Medical conditions, specifically hypertension and heart problems require at-home blood pressure monitoring devices, and if you have frequent high blood pressure, you may need to monitor your blood pressure constantly. The use of devices like blood pressure inflatable cuffs can be inconvenient and strenuous, but this could change. With the new Microsoft Glabella project glasses you can continuously monitor your blood pressure, without the need for inflatable cuffs and blood pressure monitoring will become less cumbersome for the user.

The Glabella project glasses looks like a conventional eyeglass, though designed with a thick frame. The thick frame houses some components like the processor and a 3-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit). Those components are used in conjunction with the optical and pulse sensors to indirectly check the users blood pressure. Prototype of this glasses have been tested, with the optical sensor located on the bridge of the nose and the pulse sensor located on the side of the head. They continually measure pulse waves at three different locations on the users face, and then calculate blood pressure. The glasses also collect data on physical activity, so can function as a 24/7 activity tracker. It is worthy to note that the sensors have only been shown to be accurate for taking systolic pressure when the heart is pushing the blood around the body.

Microsoft smart glass with blood pressure monitoring

While it is generally considered to be more important than diastolic pressure, both readings have their use. Systolic pressure is better for determining your risk of having a stroke or heart attack. A high diastolic pressure, on the other hand is bad for the heart because it shows the heart is not relaxing enough, which can lead to other cardiovascular problems. The results of the tests are compelling because during testing, the subjects wearing the glasses achieved the goal of frequent blood pressure checks. Since the glasses don’t require the use of the cumbersome inflatable cuff, the subjects were much more likely to use the glasses consistently.

Even though there was a positive result from the testing which is promising, there is an issue which concerns the performance of the glasses. The issue is the need of the glasses for calibration, but don’t worry, Microsoft is working on a new version that improves this. They are also working on making the glasses slimmer and more efficient, and the plan on carrying out a clinical evaluation is coming soon. Whether we will see a commercial version of this product is not entirely clear. There have been cases of manufacturers who go ahead to patent a technology, and that technology never progress past the planning stage, or are ever released, and this makes it hard for others to develop the technology. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Accelerate Development Times, Increase Reliability with Low-Profile Mini-ITX Systems

AAEON, a major developer of innovative industrial systems, releases the ACS-1U01 Series, a range of turnkey solutions that capitalize on the strength of three of its bestselling SBCs. By enclosing the boards inside a tough 1U chassis, AAEON is giving customers a ready-to-go system for use in a variety of applications including industrial automation, POS, medical equipment, digital signage, and transportation.

The three models – the ACS-1U01-BT4, ACS-1U01-H110B, and ACS-1U01-H81B – feature a tough, 44.45mm-high chassis with a wallmount kit and 2.5” HDD tray. The low-profile, low-power-consumption systems have full Windows and Linux support, they can be expanded via full- and half-size Mini-Card slots, and heatsinks give them operating temperature ranges of 0oC~50oC.

The ACS-1U01-BT4 houses AAEON’s EMB-BT4 motherboard, which can be fitted with either an Intel® Atom™ J1900 or N2807 processor. The J1900 can be used with a pair of DDR3L SODIMM sockets for up to 8GB dual-channel memory, while the N2807 can be used with a single DDR3L SODIMM socket. The board’s extensive I/O interface provides the system with a GbE LAN port, dual independent HDMI and VGA displays, a USB3.0 port, up to seven USB2.0, and up to six COM ports.

The ACS-1U01-H110B contains AAEON’s EMB-H110B, which is built to accommodate up to 65W 6th/7th Generation Intel Core™ i Series socket-type processors and supports up to 32GB dual-channel memory via a pair of DDR4 SODIMM sockets. Dual independent display is possible through two HDMI ports, or the option of DP connections. The system also features a GbE LAN port, four USB3.0 ports, four USB2.0 ports, and a COM port.

The ACS-1U01-H81B is built around AAEON’s EMB-H81B, which is designed for 4th Generation Intel Core i Series socket-type processors with TDPs of up to 65W. Two SODIMM sockets allow for up to 16GB dual-channel DDR3 memory, and HDMI, DP, and optional VGA ports enable dual independent display. The system has two GbE LAN ports, two USB3.0 ports, and six USB2.0 ports.

By developing a versatile chassis for some of our bestselling Mini-ITX motherboards, we’re making it easier for customers to develop effective applications,” said Lauren Luo, AAEON product manager. “Short lead times and full product testing mean that customers can maximize ROI and enjoy an increased level of reliability.

Extending I2C communication distance with the DS28E17

App note from Maxim integrated about alternative method to extend I2C bus.

Systems are increasingly requiring greater distances for I2C buses. This article explains how the DS28E17 can be used to extend the distance of I2C devices while decreasing cost.

Extending I2C communication distance with the DS28E17 – [Link]

Low-cost USB dongle for wireless designs

Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 USB Dongle is a small wireless hardware device with nRF connect for the desktop based on the nRF52840 System-on-Chip (SoC). The nRF52840 dongle provides support for programming the device and communication through USB. This dongle incorporates user programmable RGB LED, user programmable button, and 15 General Purpose Input / Output (GPIO) accessible from castellated solder points along the edge. The nRF52840 dongle is updatable through USB Device Firmware Update (DFU). This dongle is suitable for Bluetooth® low energy (BLE), Bluetooth mesh, Thread, ZigBee, ANT, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using nRF52840.


  • Small and low-cost USB dongle
  • Supports BLE, Thread, ZigBee, 802.15.4, ANT, and 2.4GHz
  • 15 GPIO and interfaces available on castellated edge soldering points
  • 1 programmable RGB LED
  • 1 programmable green LED
  • 1 programmable button
  • Updatable through USB DFU


A secure AI and Edge IoT platform at Mouser

Distributor Mouser Electronics is now shipping the QueSSence Intelligent Connected Platform from Redpine Signals. The ultra-low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence (AI) application development platform consists of hardware, software and secure cloud technologies. [via]

Based on a low-power Arm Cortex-M4 processor with a floating point unit (FPU) and an AI accelerator, the platform features large computation capacity required by AI algorithms. The QueSSence platform’s 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope enables engineers to easily integrate sensor data, and with 400 Kbytes of RAM and up to 4 Mbytes of dedicated flash memory, the platform can store up to 25,000 sensor values. Support for voice activity detection (VAD) and up to eight capacitive touch sensor inputs enable AI applications that incorporate voice and touch interfaces. QueSSence can serve a wide range of IoT applications through certified support for multiple wireless protocols, including 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual-mode Bluetooth 5, 802.15.4 (capable of running Thread or Zigbee), and 802.11ah. The platform offers multiple levels of security, including physically unclonable function (PUF), crypto hardware accelerators, and secure bootloader to create a highly secure system.

Mouser Electronics –

The TIN Audio T2 In-Ear Earphone & The KZ ZSA Hybrid In-Ear Earphones

No matter where you are in the world, music is the language we all understand and needs no interpretation. There is no such thing as bad music and it all depends on our perception, mood and the form the music that was passed out. It is a generally accepted fact that earphones tend to give one the full immersion of music. It is easy to feel every bit of the music being played and sometimes connects to the mind of the artist or vocalist and most importantly allows us to take our music outside without getting disturbed by the environment.

Earphones are great and are getting better day by day. The earphones of 3 years ago are different from the ones we have today. Introducing the Tin T2 Audio HiFi Double Dynamic Driver In-Ear Earphones and the KZ ZSA Dynamic and Balanced Armature Hybrid HiFi In-Ear Earphones that both offer a powerful music experience at a fraction of the cost.

TIN T2 Audio In-Ear Earphone

The Tin T2 In-Ear Earphone fully called the TIN Audio T2 HiFi Double Dynamic Drive In-Ear Earphone are $49.90 earphones that features a dual dynamic driver configuration, one dynamic 10-millimeter woofer and one 6-millimeter tweeter per ear. The earphones offer a crisp sound quality, and they are able to provide a powerful balance of high and low frequency. Comes in an attractive design to provide some class, although it doesn’t have any noise cancellation technology built in, but the canal design is made in a way to shut out noise quite well. 

Tin T2 Double Dynamic In-Ear Earphones

Most earbuds you will find around comes with just one dynamic driver, which tends to make them cheaper. While a single driver can produce sound between 20Hz and 20kHz, it does have its limitations. And that is where multiple drivers enter into the equation, and the TIN earphones come with a double dynamic driver build in, giving one a better sound experience.

One strong point of the earphones is in its detachable design concept. The earphone has a detachable MMCX cable that you can easily plug and unplug from the main body. Of course, it will have been nicer if, after detachment, the main body can be used as a wireless earphone.

It comes in beautifully crafted metal housing ending red and blue plastic rings that differentiate the right earpiece from the left and comes with a 3.9-foot braided silver cable equipped with an MMCX connector out of the box

Tin T2 in-ear earphones

Below are some of the device specifications:

  • Drive unit: Dynamic 10MM woofer + 6MM Tweeter (2DD drive unit).
  • Earphone type: In-ear.
  • Impedance: 16Ω.
  • Earphone sensitivity: 102dB/mW.
  • Frequency range: 12-40000Hz.
  • Plug interface: 3.5mm Gilded.
  • Plug Type: Line type.
  • Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm.
  • Color: Gray.
  • Cable conductor: 1.25 5N oxygen-free copper plating silver.
  • Earphone interface: MMCX interface
  • Microphone Availability: No, microphones available.

The earphones are available for purchase on Amazon and Aliexpress for only $49.90

KZ ZSA In-Ear Earphones

The KZ ZSA is also In-Ear earphones just like the TIN T2 Earphones but features a different driver configuration. The KZ ZSA is a Hybrid HiFi In-Ear Earphones costs around $18.90 – 19.80 and features a mix of driver configurations. 

KZ ZSA Balanced Armature and Dynamic HiFi In-Ear Earphones
KZ ZSA Balanced Armature and Dynamic HiFi In-Ear Earphones

The KZ ZSA is built around a balanced armature driver for better sound experience and a supporting dynamic driver which I believe is to compensate the lack of bass response generally found on balanced armature drivers making it a full hybrid configuration. It is manufactured with an 8mm dynamic unit that offers excellent low-frequency output characteristics.

The earphones are built around a nicely high-end CNC crafted metal housing for the cavity ear shell. At a fraction of the cost, you get a feel of premium earphones with its aluminum alloy metal based earphone shell. Just like the TIN earphones, it comes in a detachable design for its cables. So you easily detach the wires from the main earphone body.

The below are some of the earphone specifications:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Application: Apple iOS and Android, Portable Media Player
  • Audio Jack: Standard 3.5mm jack
  • Detachable Pin Type: 0.75mm
  • Cable Length (m): about 1.2m
  • Frequency response: 7-40000Hz
  • Impedance: 18ohms
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
  • Microphone: Optional
  • Color: Grey/Black

The earphones are available for purchase on Aliexpress between $18.90 – 19.80. The KZ ZSA without microphones goes for $18.90, and the KZ ZSA with microphones goes for $19.80

There is a saying that crappy earbuds are killing music and the good earbuds, like speakers, aren’t cheap but the likes of TIN and KZ ZSA makes you enjoy good music without spending a fortune.

New Allwinner V5 Linux based SBC comes with Detection Capability

Lindenis Tech. Ltd, a Chinese startup has released a new 130 x 85mm single board computer called Lindenis Allwinner V5 which runs on Linux and comes packed with a new quad-core cortex A7 1.5GHz processor which is built for 4k 30fps (Linux) cameras, a custom VPU, a dual ISP, and an AIE intelligent analytic acceleration engine handling motion detection, perimeter defense, video diagnosis, face detection, flow statistics and binocular depth maps.

Compared to other Allwinner H3 boards and other various NanoPi and Orange Pi models, the price is quite high and thinking of the modest features such as 1GB RAM, and a lack of standard wireless or eMMC, it seems the high price comes from its camera and vision analytics capability.

The AIE feature comes with two vision Engines – the Embedded Vision Engine and Computer Vision Engine.

The Embedded Vision Engine comes with a 360p detection resolution, has a minimum single-image detection of 64 x 64 pixel and a maximum 4K resolution input and internal scaling which supports region detection.It is also designed for rigid target detection like the human face, head, shoulders.

While the Computer Vision Engine is designed to detect moving targets such as cars, pedestrians, animals and supports a minimum 8 x 8 pixel for small object detection and a maximum image of 720p and has a D1 rate of up to 10fps. The Perimeter Intruder detection supports maximum warning region numbers of 32 and combining calibration algorithm and it can classify people and cars. It also provides support for warning line single/dual direction detection.  

Lindenis Allwinner V5
Lindenis Allwinner V5

The board runs Linux 4.4 as well as Linbian OS based on Debian 9 stack which supports its AIE engine with compute library, Tensorflow, OpenCV and GStreamer with hardware acceleration. It also supports various applications such as panoramic, 3D/VR, as well as other smart cameras such as the smart IPC, VLPR, car DVR and various facial recognition applications.

The Lindenis V5 SBC comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port and optional Wi-Fi/Bluetooth for communications, microSD card and optional eMMC. It also has an audio jack, dual mic inputs, an MIPI-DSI interface for an optional 5-inch LCD – dual MIPI-CSI connectors for an optional 4K ready, 8- megapixel camera module with Sony IMX317 sensor and an HDMI 1.4 port which enables 4K 30fps video output.

The Lindenis V5 also has an RPi compatible 40-pin header and comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports, onboard headers for ADC and 12S, a micro USB port for power input (5V) and a 3.7V li-lion battery connector which makes it quite larger than the Raspberry Pi.

Lindenis V5 wiki, Lindenis V5 shopping page, Lindenis community site and Lindenis Tech. website provides further information.

The SBC is available for $73 in China.

Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress Modules help develop and run IoT applications in one day

Silicon Labs' Wireless Xpress helps developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary.
Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress helps developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary.

Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) offers a new Wireless Xpress solution to help developers get IoT applications connected and running in a day, with no software development necessary. Silicon Labs’ Wireless Xpress provides a configuration-based development experience with everything developers need including certified Bluetooth® 5 Low Energy (LE) and Wi-Fi® modules, integrated protocol stacks and easy-to-use tools.

“By using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Wireless Xpress, developers can move from product concept to prototyping in a matter of hours instead of weeks,” said Matt Johnson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs. “Wireless Xpress greatly reduces the design learning curve without compromising sophisticated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi functionality. Developers will spend less time learning how to add wireless connectivity to their IoT devices and more time designing innovative, distinctive products and getting them to market ahead of the competition.”

With on-board wireless stacks controlled through a high-level Xpress Command API for setup and control, Wireless Xpress devices require only modest resources from a host processor, enabling developers to add wireless connectivity to any microcontroller (MCU).

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi IoT products based on Wireless Xpress can be remotely managed and updated over the air (OTA) using native device management features. With Silicon Labs’ Zentri device management service (DMS), end users can easily install and update firmware, view real-time device health metrics and adjust product settings through mobile apps.

To ease the complexity of adding Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile applications, Wireless Xpress includes a mobile app SDK for Android and iOS. The mobile app framework comprises examples and libraries and offers simple communications and OTA APIs to accelerate app development and simplify wireless design for mobile platforms.

Wireless Xpress takes advantage of Silicon Labs’ Gecko OS, an intuitive, simple-to-use IoT operating system that accelerates the development of market-ready connected products. Silicon Labs plans to offer additional Gecko OS-based products and solutions in the future.

MAX1726x – Maxim Integrated fuel-gauge IC family

Maxim Integrated has developed an algorithm to accurately estimate the battery state of charge and safely handle most batteries.

Designers of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered mobile devices such as wearables, electric bicycles, power tools and internet of things (IoT) products can improve the end-user experience by extending run-time and delivering accurate battery state-of-charge (SOC) data with the MAX1726x fuel-gauge IC family from Maxim Integrated. The low power fuel gauge ICs implement Maxim ModelGauge™ m5 EZ algorithm. The ModelGauge m5 EZ algorithm makes fuel gauge implementation easy by eliminating battery characterization requirements and simplifying host software interaction.

Key advantages

  • High Accuracy: The ICs provide accurate time-to-empty (1%) and time-to-full SOC data across a wide range of load conditions and temperatures, using the proven ModelGauge m5 algorithm
  • Fast Time to Market: The ModelGauge m5 EZ algorithm eliminates the time-consuming battery-characterization and calibration process
  • Extended Run-Time: Quiescent current of just 5.1µA for MAX17260/1; 5.2µA for the MAX17262 and 8.2µA for MAX17263 extends run-time
  • Integration: The MAX17262 includes the Rsense current resistor (voltage and coulomb counting hybrid) which reduces overall footprint and BOM cost, eases board layout
  • Small size: At 1.5mm × 1.5mm IC size, the MAX17262 implementation is 30 percent smaller in size compared to using a discrete sense resistor with an alternate fuel gauge; at 3mm × 3mm, MAX17263 is the smallest in its class for lithium-ion-powered devices
  • LED Support: The single-/multi-cell MAX17263 also drives LEDs to indicate battery status on a pushbutton press or system status on system microcontroller commands

ModelGauge m5 EZ algorithm

The ModelGauge m5 EZ algorithm makes fuel gauge implementation easy by eliminating battery characterization requirements and simplifying host software interaction. The algorithm provides tolerance against battery diversity for most lithium batteries and applications. The algorithm combines the short-term accuracy and linearity of a coulomb counter with the long-term stability of a voltagebased fuel gauge, along with temperature compensation to provide industry-leading fuel gauge accuracy.

The IC automatically compensates for cell-aging, temperature, discharge rate, and provides accurate state-of-charge (SOC) in percentage (%) and remaining capacity in milliampere-hours (mAh) over a wide range of operating conditions. As the battery approaches the critical region near empty, the algorithm invokes a special correction mechanism that eliminates any error. The IC provides accurate estimation of time-to-empty and time-to-full and provides three methods for reporting the age of the battery: reduction in capacity, increase in battery resistance, and cycle odometer.

Download Design Solution