A New Material For Unbreakable Smart Devices

Most of smartphones parts are made of silicons and other compounds, which are expensive and easily-breakable. This problem is making all of smart devices manufacturers looking for stronger and cheaper solutions.

By combining a set of materials, a group of researchers have successfully discovered a new material which could finally finish the disaster of cracked smartphone and tablet screens. The research group is led by a Queen’s University’s School of Mathematics and Physics researchers, with scientists from Stanford University, University of California, California State University and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan.

Alongside conducting electricity at novel speeds, the new material is light, durable, and can be easily produced in large conventional semiconductor plants. It is a combination of  C60 fullerenes with layered materials such as graphene and h-BN (boron nitride), which presents a unique material with special properties that will be particularly relevant for use in smart device manufacturing.

This material composition has properties that are not naturally found in other materials. The hBN provides stability, electronic compatibility and isolation charge to graphene, while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity. The combining process is known as “der Waals solids” that allows compounds to be brought together and assembled in a pre-defined way.

The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks. This cutting-edge research is timely and a hot-topic involving key players in the field, which opens a clear international pathway to put Queen’s on the road-map of further outstanding investigations.
~ Dr Elton Santos, leader of the research group

The research shows that the material has the same properties as silicon, but higher chemical stability, lower weight and greater flexibility. These features would make the screens made of this material more difficult to break.

There is still one problem needs a solution. The graphene and the new material architecture is lacking a ‘band gap’, which is an important property to make active semiconductor devices. The team is planning to solve this using transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) which are chemically highly stable and have bandgaps like silicon.

According to the research group, this findings will pave the way for further exploration of new materials in the future. You can find more details about this by reviewing the research paper, which was published in the scientific journal ACS Nano, and by reading the official announcement.

Digitool – DIY 4 channel logic analyzer with LCD

Juan Antonio Rubia Mena tipped us with his DIY logic analyzer based on PIC18F2525 @ 32 Mhz. He writes:

One of the most useful tools for micro-controller design is the logic analyzer. You can find one for every budget or performance, but lately those based in USB connection to PC have gained popularity (not not mention the chinese copies). The main drawback of USB based logic analyzer is the need of using a computer, which uses to be a bit difficult when doing field testing. Digitool isn’t intended to replace a logic analyzer; it’s main purpose is being a quick test tool for microcontroller based development.

Digitool – DIY 4 channel logic analyzer with LCD – [Link]

Raspberry Pi ATX Power Board

Control 16 Relays with your Pi, supplying 12V to 16 DC jacks. All powered from and ATX Power Supply, with sensor support on board. You can find more details on the author’s website. by Rodney Balent @ kickstarter.com:

I started out with the simple goal of wanting to automate a few things around the home starting with my vertical garden using a Raspberry Pi.

With that goal in mind I decided to make a 16 bay relay board so I could control as many devices as possible from a single point. It was then I found how much space this would take up, and how long it would take to wire up and it became impractical.

So the next logical step was to look into making my own PCB. I noticed that virtually all the devices I wanted to control ran on 12V, I also noticed how many spare ATX power supplies I had lying around and the gears in my head started turning.

1.7K Voters Choose From about 100 SBC’s — The Results of Linuxgizmos 2017 Survey

Each year, Linuxgizmos does a survey about Single Board Computers (SBC) to find out how many of hackers and makers are using each of which . The results this year show apparently, the domination of Raspberry Pi 3 over the other 97 boards by a proportion of 4-to-1. Raspberry Pi 3 was launched in the first quarter of 2016 and brought some enhancements to RPi2 especially in the CPU side which was 300 MHz faster than the RPi2 one, and an updated ARM architecture: Cortex-A53.

The scores for each SBC was calculated using a Borda scores format: (3 x first choices) + (2 x 2nd choices) + (1 x 3rd choices).

 

Survey Results. Image courtesy of Linuxgizmos

Raspberry Pi didn’t win the first place only, but also the second and the third places went to Raspberry Pi models — the new Raspberry Pi Zero W and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B a Cortex-A53 version of the Raspberry Pi 2.

Dozens of RPi-like clones where on the 98 list of SBCs. Only one has a good result; The Odroid-C2 was in the top 10.

Chinese cheap SBCs like Orange Pi and NanoPi Neo, the 8$ SBC,  which are among the leaders in price and performance on paper had poor results — Orange Pi Zero was in the 28th place and the 31st was for NanoPi Neo.

Even that the most used CPU architecture in the hobbyists’ SBCs is ARM architecture (83 of the 98 boards in Linuxgizmos catalog are ARM based), the list also has eight x86-based boards and seven MIPS-based boards. However, Udoo x86 came in the sixth place, and Aaeon’s Intel Atom based UP Squared came in the 13th.

Last year, the highest ranked from x86-based boards was Intel’s MinnowBoard Turbot Dual.

Talking about the most important features that makers look for in the SBC; Open source software and community support were the most important factors. The other important features are purely about technical specs, except for the price in 5th place and the open source hardware info in the 4th place.

Image courtesy of Linuxgizmos

 

Last but not least, the results of this survey seem to be North America- and Europe-centered as shown in the following diagram. The centric results have some logical explanation. The folks behind linuxgizmos said that SurveyMonkey is blocked in China,the biggest Asian country. Only eight respondents came from China.

To see the full report, please refer to linuxgizmos website, and you can see the linuxgizmos list of 98 SBCs with specs. A table of all SBC scores is available also.

Cinque, Combining RISC-V With Arduino

After announcing “HiFive1” at the end of 2016, SiFive is introducing its second RISC-V based development board “The Arduino Cinque“. It is the first Arduino board that is featuring RISC-V instruction set architecture.

Arduino Cinque is running SiFive’s Freedom E310, one of the fastest and powerful microcontrollers in the hardware market. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities by using the efficient, low-power Espressif ESP32 chip. During the Maker Faire Bay Area on May 20th, only some prototypes of Arduino Cinque were available for demonstration.

The FE310 SoC features the E31 CPU Coreplex (32-bit RV32IMAC Core) with 16KB L1 instruction cache and 16KB data SRAM scratchpad. It runs at 320 MHz operating speed and it also has a debugging module, one-time programmable non-volatile memory (OTP), and on-chip oscillators and PLLS. FE310 also supports UART, QSPI, PWM, and timer peripherals and low-power standby mode.

The availability of the Arduino Cinque provides the many dreamers, tinkerers, professional makers and aspiring entrepreneurs access to state-of-the-art silicon on one of the world’s most popular development architectures. Using an open-source chip built on top of RISC-V is the natural evolution of open-source hardware, and the Arduino Cinque has the ability to put powerful SiFive silicon into the hands of makers around the world.
~ Dale Dougherty, founder and executive chairman of Maker Media

Details and other specifications of the Cinque are still poor, but we can expect its strength from the chips and SoCs it uses. It uses STM32F103, that has Cortex-M3 core with a maximum CPU speed of 72 MHz, to provide the board with USB to UART translation. ESP32 is also used as for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Espressif ESP32 Specifications

  • 240 MHz dual core Tensilica LX6 micrcontroller
  • 520KB SRAM
  • 802.11 BGN HT40 Wi-Fi transceiver, baseband, stack, and LWIP
  • Classic and BLE integrated dual mode Bluetooth
  • 16 MB flash memory
  • On-board PCB antenna
  • IPEX connector for use with external antenna
  • Ultra-low noise analog amplifier
  • Hall sensor
  • 32 KHz crystal oscillator
  • GPIOs for UART, SPI, I2S, I2C, DAC, and PWM
A first look at the RISC-V-based Arduino Cinque, a SiFive R&D project.
A first look at the RISC-V-based Arduino Cinque, a SiFive R&D project.

The RISC-V Foundation is working to spread the idea and the benefits of the open-source ISA. Its efforts include hosting workshops, participating in conferences, and collaborating with academia and industry. The foundation had also worked with researchers from Princeton University to identify flaws with the ISA design. They presented their findings at the 22nd ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems.

rDUINOScope – Arduino Telescope Control

Dessislav Gouzgounov @ hackaday.io build an Arduino Due based, open source, goto telescope controller.

The initial idea was to create cheap and easy to build alternative of commercially available GOTO hand controllers, but in a better, feature rich way. In the heart of the system is the rDUINOScope Software, some 2500 rows, controlling all HW components and handling communication with external devices (Stellarium, SkySafari and others) .

rDUINOScope – Arduino Telescope Control – [Link]

Using the OpenScope MZ in LabVIEW

This project will show how to use your OpenScope MZ in LabVIEW. by Austin Stanton @ hackster.io:

In this tutorial, we will go over how to connect an OpenScope MZ to LabVIEW. To do so, I will be walking you through some example VIs that I made. These examples allow you to access the oscilloscope and Wavegen/DC power supply functions of the OpenScope as well as the GPIO pins and the Logical Analyzer.

Using the OpenScope MZ in LabVIEW – [Link]

Arduino Analog Thermometer With DS18b20 Module

source: educ8s.tv

Sometimes, it is necessary to add a temperature indicator into your projects. Therefore, in this tutorial you will learn how to hack your analog Voltmeter and convert into an analog Thermometer using Arduino and a DS18B20 temperature sensor.

Arduino Analog Thermometer With DS18b20 Module – [Link]

Open IoT Certification Mark – A New Certification For IoT Products

So it’s the time to witness the birth of a new certification for IoT industry. As security and data privacy in IoT platforms and products are two of the main concerns for developers and end-users, the new certificate discuss these concerns and even more. IoT is yet to have such certificate, as best of my knowledge, to pave the road to standardize the rules of openness and privacy in IoT. Although the term of IoT certification is already there, and some companies can do security test for your IoT products and certificate it, but nothing seems to analogy to certificate like open source hardware certificate, where anyone meets the principals, can use the OSH mark on his product.

Image courtesy of IoT.do

The new certification IoTMark was the output of a meetup hosted on June 16th 2017 in UK. This meetup gathered over 60 participants from UK and Europe. Specifically, a 22-page-long document was the output from this meetup. This document contains the principles of the certificate:

  • Privacy
  • Interoperability
  • Ownership, Permissions, Entitlement
  • Cost/biz models/pricing transparency
  • Security
  • Lifecycle, provenance, sustainability & future-proofing

To mention a few of these principles:

Privacy


The supplier of this product or service MUST be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.

This product SHALL NOT disclose data to third parties without my knowledge.

I SHOULD get full access to all the data collected about me.

….

Interoperability

  1. Have an open platform API [MUST]
  2. Provide comprehensive platform API documentation [MUST]

The preparation for the certificate didn’t finish yet, where The folks behind this certification will finalize it and register the mark by December 2017.

Don’t forget to have a look at the full document here. Who knows; You could use it in your next product. It’s really worth to give it a bid!

Source: Adafruit Blog

STM32 Arduino compatible board

@ instructables.com build an alternative board to Arduino using STM 32 series of mcus.

We love the Arduino board and it’s prototyping platform . It makes the complete prototyping process smooth and enjoying with the help of it’s add on such as Arduino IDE and a huge community support.But sooner or later you will find that the specifications provided by the arduino boards is not enough . And then the problem arises about which board should we use so that our desires are fulfilled.Also How easy is to use a non arduino board . After a good research I found that the STM 32 is perfect fit.

STM32 Arduino compatible board – [Link]