A dot matrix RGB LED graphic panel, managed by a FPGA-based controller board that may be separately used as a demoboard, so to evaluate the potential of the on-board Spartan 6. First installment.
A FPGA controlled RGB LED MATRIX for Incredible Effects – [Link]
CTRL the robot is a desktop-sized robot arm that can do a lot! It enables your computer to perform manipulation of real objects via software and gives you access to technology that has been locked away in large corporations factories.
Check this video to see the amazing features of CTRL.
CTRL was launched on a Kickstarter campaign that unfortunately didn’t reach its goal of AU$ 215,000. The early bird product was sold for AU$ 699 (~ $540) and you were able to get two robots for AU$ 1598 (~ $1230).This robot arm is a fraction of the price of similar robots you might see in factories. It was developed by Robotics Evolved to be an affordable robot arm.
Unveiled at CES 2017, this desktop-sized robot arm aims to make robotics more accessible to the masses. The device is open-source and can be run on the programming language of the user’s choosing. For those unfamiliar with code, CTRL can also learn to replicate movements when manipulated by hand.It ships with example applications with source code and ‘Motion CTRL Studio’ software to easily run diagnostics, visualise movements and script interactively.
CTRL is equipped with a gripping tool but the company plans to expand attachment offerings to include options like spray nozzles and engraving tools. Also in the box is a gripping tool, with a range of interchangeable arm tools to follow including suction pads, spray nozzles, laser engraving tools and more. The team has also made this technology open-source, themechanical, electronic and firmware source, so users can invent their own tools and 3D print them.
With a full range of movement through 6 axis articulation, CTRL the Robot can lift and carry with incredible precision. It uses specially designed brushless servo motors for smooth motion. Even though it roughly stands at the height of a piece of A4 paper, it can reach as far as a human arm and carry up to 1.7 pounds (750 grams). The team used a custom cycloid gearbox design with a pass-through encoder that was conceived, designed and prototyped. The gearbox is highly efficient and can be back driven. It has multiple contact points and offers zero backlash.
Robotics Evolved was seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign and maybe they should now find another way to bring this product to life again. You can sign up on their newsletter to keep updated with the next steps for CTRL!
circuitbasics.com has a tutorial on how to access Raspberry Pi with a remote desktop connection.
In the previous post, we learned how to set up a WiFi dongle and access the Raspbian command prompt via an SSH client called PuTTY. PuTTY is a great application for accessing the command line in Raspbian from another computer, but you can’t use it to access the Raspbian desktop (GUI). In order to access the Raspbian GUI from another computer, we need to configure it to work with a remote desktop application. This will allow us to access our Raspberry Pi desktop (or the command line) from anywhere in the world as long as we have a computer with an internet connection.
How to Access the Raspberry Pi GUI with a Remote Desktop Connection – [Link]
In this Arduino project video educ8s.tv is going to build an Arduino Game, a Tic Tac Toe game with a touchscreen.
In this video we are going to build an Arduino Tic Tac Toe game. As you can see, we are using a touch screen and we are playing against the computer. A simple game like Tic Tac Toe is is a great introduction to game programming and Artificial Intelligence. Even though we won’t be using any Artificial Intelligence Algorithms in this game, we will understand why Artificial Intelligence Algorithms are required in more complex games.
Tic Tac Toe Game with a touch screen and an Arduino Uno – [Link]
Using a mini spy camera module, Ruiz Brothers had built a tiny portable camera that is used to take time-lapse videos and for all sorts of photo based projects.
This project consists of these parts with an estimated cost of $39:
- Mini Spy Camera Module ($12.50)
- Adafruit Trinket (3V or 5V MicroUSB Version!) ($6.95)
- 100mAh lithium polymer battery ($5.95)
- Slide switch ($0.95)
- Trinket Lipo Backpack ($4.95)
- MicroSD memory card ($7.95)
The mini spy camera module has an integrated driver and is easy to use without an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. The camera sensor can take 1280×960 photos and captures video at 480p. The module uses a microSD card to store data and it has a maximum support of 32GB. For a higher image quality and adjustable settings, you can use other camera modules such as the Wearable Raspberry Pi Zero Camera.
To take a time-lapse, an intervalometer remote control is needed to trigger the camera for capturing a photo within a constant interval. The Adafruit Trinket microcontroller is used here, and you can also make your own following this guide.
The circuit will be powered by a 3.7V 100mAh Lithium Ion battery via JST connection. The battery plugs directly into the Trinket Backpack, which allows the recharging over the microUSB port on the Trinket.
The circuit is connected as shown in the diagram; the slide switch to Lipoly backpack, VCC from camera to 5V on Trinket, GND from camera to GND on Trinket, BAT from Lipo backpack to BAT on Trinket, G from Lipo backpack to GND on Trinket, and 5V from Lipo backpack to USB.
The code is very simple and can be uploaded to the controller using the Arduino IDE. The setup loop will initialize the pins, and the loop will turn on and off the trigger with a chosen delay.
The case in 3d printed, the design with a detailed description and the full making guide is available here. This video is showing how to make this tiny camera and how it works.
Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering the ALU of the 8008 microprocessor:
A computer’s arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) is the heart of the processor, performing arithmetic and logic operations on data. If you’ve studied digital logic, you’ve probably learned how to combine simple binary adder circuits to build an ALU. However, the 8008’s ALU uses clever logic circuits that can perform multiple operations efficiently. And unlike most 1970’s microprocessors, the 8008 uses a complex carry-lookahead circuit to increase its performance.
The 8008 was Intel’s first 8-bit microprocessor, introduced 45 years ago.1 While primitive by today’s standards, the 8008 is historically important because it essentially started the microprocessor revolution and is the ancestor of the x86 processor family that are probably using right now.2 I recently took some die photos of the 8008, which I described earlier. In this article, I reverse-engineer the 8008’s ALU circuits from these die photos and explain how the ALU functions.
Reverse-engineering the ALU of 8008 microprocessor – [Link]
Iolinker is a cheap 64 FPGA board with a MachXO FPGA that functions as a dynamically configurable IO matrix. Its main functionality, besides IO extension, is to dynamically set up a matrix of GPIO connections, that allow direct pass-through of high-frequency signals. Circuits can thereby be configured and programmed on the fly. There are UART / SPI / I2C connections that allow for easy integration of up to 127 chips connected in parallel.
Thanks to the open source library, Iolinker allows developers to create reconfigurable, easy to self test electronics within minutes. It can be used to be an IO extender and can output PWM signals. In addition, its revolutionary “IO linking” feature allows to dynamically pass through high-speed signals between IOs, better than any microprocessor ever could.
Check this teaser about the new board:
Iolinker has the following specifications:
- Reprogrammable FPGA board with Lattice LCMXO3L-4300E-5UWG81CTR50
- Preprogrammed and usable out of the box as your IO interface of choice.
- 49 GPIOs for PWM or IO extension usage, VCCIO is 3.3V.
- Connect directly to a Raspberry Pi, a 3.3V Arduino or a 3.3V USB FTDI adapter.
- Or use this Arduino shield / Level shift adapter if you need a different voltage.
- Boards can be connected in parallel, to create endless IO extension.
- IOs can be linked to each other, i.e. you tell the FPGA to connect them, and it forwards the input signal from one pin to another. (Read more about the iolinker chip function.)
- UART, SPI or I2C interfaces are available.
In order to make the ultimate IO interface for users, the team are accepting feature requests at the contact page.
In short, the Iolinker board is easy to use and can reconfigure schematics on the fly, what makes it ideal to reduce prototyping time and jumper cable mess, and to maximize the ability of using IO extensions.
More technical details about Iolinker and its price will be announced soon at the Kickstarter campaign at Feb 14. Some special offers are for everyone who register in the website’s newsletter, so register now and stay tuned!
runtimeprojects.com has a quick review of the Digispark board. It’s a really interesting mini board that can be used in small projects using Arduino IDE.
In today’s blog post we’ll analyze one of the smallest and most practical boards out there. The Digispark board. It’s size, including the USB port, is 25mm x 18mm (so tiny)!! This little board is powered by an ATTINY85 chip and clocked to 16.5Mhz. For conveniece, it has a built in USB port and can be plugged into a your computer without cables or adapters. Now that’s pretty awesome! It is powered by either the USB port, from the +5v pin with regulated 5v or from VIN pin if unregulated. The VIN pin supports from 7v to 35v although less than 12v is recommended by the manufecturer.
Introduction to Digispark – [Link]
The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is the most commonly used internet time protocol for synchronizing locally running clocks to a more accurate reference clock server. In United States, the official time is provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NIST servers listen to a NTP request, and respond by sending a 64-bit UDP/IP data packet containing the time in UTC seconds since January 1, 1900, with a very high time resolution of 200 picoseconds. Raj from Embedded Lab illustrates in his new tutorial how to make an ESP8266 based internet clock that is synchronized with the NIST time server for accurate timekeeping. An ILI9341-driven colorful TFT LCD is used to display time in both analog clock dial and digital formats. Raj used EasyESP-1 board for this tutorial and developed the firmware for his internet clock using Arduino IDE.