New Small Form Factor PCs from Asus- CES 2018

CES is one the largest gathering places for people in the technology industry for introducing their new products and understanding the new technology trends. Asus is one of the biggest hardware, and robotics companies to be attending. This company will be displaying their small form factor solutions: PB40, PN40 mini PCs, Chromebox 3, and thinker board S. The main goal of this products is to offer a small and versatile product without compromising quality and performance.

The first one, PB40 mini PC gives its users the possibility to have the power of a computer with a portable size. It can support up to an 8th generation Intel Pentium processors, it has 6 USB 3.1 type-C ports, and support for VGA, COM, HDMI, and display. It comes in two variants N5000 quad core with burst frequency up to 2,7 GHz or J5005 quad core with burst frequency up to 2,8 GHz. It is also offered without a fan for silent operation.

Asus PB40

Just as the PB40, the PN40 is powerful, and small (not as powerful as the PB40). It’s ideal for home and business usage weighting 1.54 lbs. and measuring 114 x 114 x 49 mm. Also, it has a wide range of connectivity options including USB 3.1 for fast data transmission.

Asus PN40

The third one, the Chromebox 3 is the new successor of Chromebox 2 (released in 2016). It can support up to an 8th generation intel core processor and a DDR4 2400 memory. This new version has graphics and power improvements. Memory will be available in 4, 16, 32 and 128 GB, and wireless connectivity is dual band 802.11 ac WIFI and Bluetooth. Additionally, an audio jack, card reader and USB 3.1 connector will be included.

Chromebox 3

The last one, Tinker Board S maintains the same size and component placement as it´s previous version, but offers greater durability, stability, and improved user experience. It has on board 16GB eMMC storage, a microSD slot, HDMI-CEC-ready (allows users to control tv and Tinker Board with the same remote control), on board power on pin, audio jack, and enhanced I2S pin.

Tinker Board S

The PB40, the PN40 and the Chromebox 3 are expected to be on the market in the second half of 2018 with a price yet to be announced. The Tinker Board will be launched on the first quarter of 2018 at a starting price of $79.99. Comparing to previous versions, connectivity issues have been improved, but the memory could be better. These devices offer a lot of power in a small size which is an advantage for consumers, industries, and makers.

SimScale is Teaching Electronics Engineers How to Test Designs with Cloud-based CFD

Munich, January 9, 2018 — SimScale is announcing a free webinar on 24th of January to teach electronics engineers how conjugate heat transfer simulation in the cloud can help better investigate the thermal response of electronic packaging.

According to the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturing Market Briefing 2017 report from The Business Research Company (TBRC), the global electrical and electronics manufacturing market is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020.

In such an innovation-driven and competitive industry, engineers deal with increasingly stringent thermal requirements due to the rapid increase in high-power density electronics. Thermal integrity is one of the most important considerations for electronics packaging or enclosures that affect the product lifecycle. The thermal impact on the electronic packaging is a key factor in material selection, cooling and form-related decisions that eventually determine the weight, size, and cost of the final design. It is vital for designers to determine the heat signatures of their system. (more…)

Arduino Milliohm Meter

danielrp @ instructables.com writes:

This is an accurate milliohm meter with a maximum resolution of 0.1mOhm. The design is very simple, the whole assembly can be built in a couple of hours once all the parts are gathered. It is based on a precision current sink and a high-resolution ADC controlled by an Arduino Nano V3. It uses a Kelvin connection with the resistor under test to exclude the resistance of test leads from the measurements. It can be very useful for measuring small resistors and the resistance of PCB traces, motor coils, inductance coils, transformer coils, or calculate the length of wires.

Arduino Milliohm Meter – [Link]

Overclocking Raspberry Pi

How to overclock the Raspberry Pi device? Don’t matter if you are looking for the way to overclock the Raspberry Pi 3 or overclock the Raspberry Pi 2 – the algorithm stays the same.

The only thing should be taken into consideration is that the Raspberry Pi 3 has significantly improved processor performance compared to previous models. Through various techniques such as overclocking and overvoltage, we can get even more power out of the Raspberry Pi 3. While Raspberry Pi 2 device will always be a little bit behind on performance due to basic technical peculiarities.

Overclocking, basically, is the way to boost Raspberry Pi hardware performance by tuning up several device parameters. For that, additional hardware and special skills are required. Also, you’ll need to implement several tests to make sure of changes to take effect as well as keep your device from damage.

As you have already understood, the overclocking of your Raspberry Pi 3 exercises some risks. What are they and how to avoid them, read in this article on the link.

Alexa On Every Device with the Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development Kit

Amazon’s Alexa is an intelligent voice-controlled personal assistant launched in 2014 and has been on an increasing demand ever since. First integrated into the Echo, the Alexa platform has been an exponential growth in the consumer industry.

Amazon’s Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development kit is a kit released by Amazon that will allow manufacturers to add high-quality Alexa voice experiences into their products, allowing Amazon to integrate Alexa into hundreds to thousands of products without necessarily building the products themselves.

This kit provides support for 360o tabletop far-field voice activation applications, as well ass applications that require voice-activation from one direction. It incorporates Amazon’s proprietary software and algorithm technology for “Alexa” wake word recognition, beam forming, noise reduction, and acoustic echo cancellation, and accurate far-field voice recognition in noisy environments and from long distances.

The development kit includes:

  • Two microphone array boards
  • A digital signal processor board
  • A Raspberry Pi 3 with the Amazon Voice Service (AVS) Device SDK
The 8-microphone board (left) and 7-microphone board (right)

The microphone board comprises of a 7 and 8 microphone arrays optimized for premium far-field audio performance, and the Raspberry PI 3 board can be replaced by any Linux embedded platform for production ready.

The Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development kit is primed for applications that include smart speakers, smart home, IoT devices, router and gateway devices, sound bars, and set-top boxes.

Major Device Technical Specifications:

  • Microphone Array Configurations –
    • 7 mic circular, 72.76mm diameter
    • 8 mic rectangular, 67.50mm x 22.50mm
  • Digital Signal Processor –
    • Intel’s dual DSP with inference engine
  • System Processor Support –
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
    • Compatible with processors capable of running the AVS Device SDK
  • Power Supply –
    • 15 DC Volt Input
  • OS Support –
    • Raspbian Stretch
    • AVS Device SDK and supports most embedded Linux platforms

With the introduction of the kit, Amazon is lowering the barrier for any company to add Alexa to their products and hopes to make Alexa work everywhere and make it the most important and intimate computer in your life.

Researchers Develop Transparent Flexible Terahertz Sensors With Graphene

The researchers of the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology have developed a new design of terahertz sensor using Graphene. This flexible sensor can be integrated into wearable materials. Most importantly, it can be manufactured very cheaply and also it is practically transparent. This new type of sensor could be a major breakthrough by opening doors of many new applications.

Flexible Graphene sensor by Chalmers University
Flexible Graphene sensor by Chalmers University

The terahertz frequency band ranges from 100 to 10,000 GHz. Terahertz radiation is able to penetrate materials that block visible and mid-infrared light. This technology opened up a range of potential applications in medical diagnostics, process control, and even intelligent vehicles. Jan Stake, the head of the Terahertz and Millimetre Wave Laboratory at Chalmers, said,

Terahertz graphene-based FET detectors have been demonstrated on rigid substrates such as SiO2/Silicon, and flexible devices such as graphene and other concepts have been demonstrated at RF/microwave frequencies.

This band is also used by the so-called “nude-scanners” used at airport check-in desks to look for illegal items carried by passengers. THz waves penetrate normal clothing hence it can detect weapons made of plastic. As Non-metallic weapons cannot be detected by ordinary metal detectors used at the entry gates and by hand-held scanners. Thus these new inexpensive sensors can enhance security for everyone.

Terahertz transmissions have enormous bandwidth available. THz signals can be used as carriers for high-speed information links over short distances allowing data speeds up to 100 Gb/s. On the other hand, THz waves allow uninterrupted visibility in fog or rain for motorized vehicles.

There are many medical applications of the technology using sensors that are cheap to produce and are physically small. One important example is in the field of dermatology. Skin regions affected by cancer have a different reflective index to THz waves which makes the sensor a useful diagnostic tool.

Although being under development for a long time, conventional THz sensors were always large and expensive. With this new design, the Swedish research team has enabled the tech world with mass production of the sensors. New sensors will be small, flexible and cost-effective. Development of the sensors was funded by the European Union under the Graphene Flagship Initiative.

What the Chalmers team has done to combine flexibility and terahertz detection could also make it possible to build an Internet of Things connected via high-bandwidth 5G technologies.

MetCal Connection Validation – The Next Generation of Soldering

Making solid connections between electrical components on a board is an important part of many hardware projects. A good solder joint forms an alloy at the surface of the PCB and the component lead. During soldering, a solder connection on a circuit board can quickly turn into a real nightmare if not caught immediately, ending up with a too thin or too thick solder joint.

Connection Validation is MetCal’s latest innovation in hand soldering. It allows you to precisely apply the solder to your components. MetCal Connection Validation is to complement or even replace the standard visual inspection during soldering, where now the soldering iron will do it instead.

MetCal Connection Validation (CV) evaluates the quality of the solder joint by calculating the intermetallic compound formation immediately after the soldering iron’s tip is placed on the joint to solder, and it provides closed loop feedback to the operator visually. Connection Validation provides feedback to the operator via the LED light ring integrated into the hand-piece. The Soldering Iron will light up green when the correct intermetallic thickness has formed, and a red light comes on if an error has occurred.

The following are some of the features and benefits of Connection Validation Soldering Station:

  • SmartHeat Power on Demand Technology
  • Patented Connection Validation IMC Formation Technology
  • 2.8” color touchscreen with bold graphics
  • Communications Port for process traceability data and firmware graphics
  • Precise tip temperature display
  • Integrated Net Power Meter and power graph
  • Patented Chip-in-Cartridge technology
  • Closed loop bi-directional communication
  • Stores and records cartridge attributes
  • Provides traceability information
  • Protects power supply from non-conforming cartridges
  • Backwards compatible with MX series power supplies
  • Password protection

Introduced at IPC APEX 2017, MetCal’s exciting patent technology was met enthusiastically by contract manufacturers and electronics assembly leaders worldwide.

Arduino Real Time Clock with DS1302 and Nokia 5110 LCD Display

Hi guys, in one of our previous tutorials, we made a real time clock, using the DS3231 RTC Module and the 1602 LCD display module. For this tutorial, we will be building something similar using the DS1302 RTC module and the Nokia 5110 display module. Unlike the 1602 LCD module which was used in the previous tutorial, the Nokia 5110 LCD module has the ability of displaying customized graphics which will help us display our data with better UX.

Arduino Real Time Clock with DS1302 and Nokia 5110 LCD Display – [Link]

Sensirion presents CO2 and RH/T Sensor Module

At this year’s AHR Expo 2018 trade show in Chicago (January 22 – 24, 2018), Sensirion, the expert in environmental and flow sensor solutions, is introducing the SCD30 – a humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide concentration sensor.

CMOSens® Technology for IR detection enables highly accurate carbon dioxide measurement at a competitive price. Along with the NDIR measurement technology for CO2 detection, a best-in-class Sensirion humidity and temperature sensor is also integrated on the same sensor module. Ambient humidity and temperature can be outputted by Sensirion’s algorithm expertise through modeling and compensating of external heat sources without the requirement for any additional components. Thanks to the dual-channel principle for the measurement of carbon dioxide concentration, the sensor compensates for long-term drifts automatically by design. The very small module height allows easy integration into different applications.

Carbon dioxide is a key indicator of indoor air quality. Thanks to new energy standards and better insulation, houses have become increasingly energy efficient, but the air quality can deteriorate rapidly. Active ventilation is needed to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, and to improve the well-being and productivity of the inhabitants. Sensirion’s SCD30 offers accurate and stable CO2, temperature and humidity monitoring. This enables customers to develop new solutions that increase energy efficiency and simultaneously support well-being. With the new SCD30, Sensirion has expanded its portfolio to include environmental sensor for air quality measurement.

Visit Sensirion at AHR Expo 2018 (Booth 3858) and learn more about the SCD30, Sensirion’s new humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide sensor module.

Discover more about relevant environmental parameters and Sensirion’s other innovative environmental sensors at www.sensirion.com/environmental-sensing

Printed circuit board manufacturer – JLCPCB Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to test the printed circuit boards (PCB) offered by JLCPCB. These tests were made in two different boards of the brand and here I’ll report my impressions about them.

Due to the spread of the maker culture and the do-it-yourself (DIY) and easy access to components and a huge amount of technical information available on Internet, it has become much simpler to develop a solution to a problem or just have fun soldering some components.

However, taking the design out of a breadboard (or universal board) and turning it into a PCB stills a big challenge, mainly due to the costs involved.

And  exactly at this point the services offered by JLCPCB make the difference, offering a high level service of PCB manufacturing with an  extremely competitive cost.

Requesting the production of PCBs is quite simple and there are two basic ways to do it. If you are developing within EasyEDA just click on “Gerber Output” and your gerber file will be generated and transferred directly to the JLCPCB system.

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