nScope | a lab for every laptop

nscope

nScope is a USB-powered oscilloscope, function generator, and power supply that turns any laptop into an electronics workbench.

nScope is a usb-powered device that plugs into an electronics prototyping breadboard. nScope’s main function is an oscilloscope. Much like a multimeter, an oscilloscope measures voltages in a circuit. But unlike a multimeter, it stores voltages over time and displays them in a graph. This makes nScope much more useful for observing sensor signals and dynamic circuits. nScope’s software interface maximizes the graph space, and provides controls for setting the measurement speed and range.

nScope | a lab for every laptop – [Link]

EEVblog #742 – Why Electrolytic Capacitors Are Connected In Parallel

Dave explains why some designs have electrolytic capacitors connected in parallel. The answer is more in-depth than you might think.
9 reasons are given and explained, and then some thermal camera fun on the bench.

EEVblog #742 – Why Electrolytic Capacitors Are Connected In Parallel – [Link]

Smartphone Becomes DNA diagnostic tool

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by Martin Cooke @ elektor.com:

A team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have designed a relatively low-cost smartphone add-on device that turns it into a mobile DNA imaging tool. Techniques using optical microscopy have found numerous applications in biology, chemistry and physics but they require relatively expensive, bulky and complicated instruments that cannot be easily transported outside the lab environment

The team have developed a compact, lightweight and cost-effective fluorescence microscope which clips onto a mobile phone and makes use of its built-in camera. Using the device they have demonstrated imaging and length quantification of single molecule DNA strands.

Smartphone Becomes DNA diagnostic tool – [Link]

PCB future is lightweight, low-cost, and flexible: Product how-to

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by Dave Gladwin @ edn.com:

In the last ten years, the technology for manufacturing lightweight, flexible PCBs has made huge progress. Lightweight flex circuits are usually associated with materials like Kapton. The use of those materials is typically limited to high-value applications due to price. Fast forward to 2015, and the landscape has changed dramatically.

Printed electronics makes the news on a regular basis. We hear about breakthroughs in printing semi-conductors, organic photocells, or triboelectric fabric. What often goes unnoticed is that the underlying circuits – manufactured on low-cost flexible substrates with copper traces – have quietly moved from the lab to the production floor. Printed copper flexible circuits are now routinely manufactured by the kilometre in a reel-to-reel process. As production volumes go up, costs come down.

PCB future is lightweight, low-cost, and flexible: Product how-to – [Link]

WIFI based appliance module using the ESP8266 and a latching relay

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Steve writes:

This is an WIFI-based appliance module using the ESP8266 (ESP12) and a latching relay. The appliance module is powered from the AC line using an inexpensive 5V 1AMP universal input power supply which is attached to the board. There are provisions for local control using a pushbutton switch, and there is an option for a WIFI status LED. The firmware is written in C and the appliance module is controlled using MQTT and JSON.

WIFI based appliance module using the ESP8266 and a latching relay – [Link]

DIY soldering robot

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Here’s Brian Dorey’s completed project the DIY soldering robot project:

The DIY soldering robot which we have been building in our spare time over the past few months is now working and we have been able to solder some test Raspberry Pi expansion board headers with the machine.

DIY soldering robot – [Link]

64×16 RED LED Marquee

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by Tustin High T-Tech @ instructables.com:

The purpose of this small scale LED marquee is to display messages to our classroom in a more modern and centralized way. In the classroom, this construction would save white board space and is convenient because it can store a large amount of information. It is also fairly simple to program and has a mount, making it easy to place anywhere within the classroom setting.

64×16 RED LED Marquee – [Link]

Dog Repellent Ultrasonic Circuit 2

 

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When we hear the word “Ultrasonic” we often refer it to bats and dolphins communication. Technically, “Ultrasonic” applies to sound that is anything above the frequencies of audible sound, and includes anything over 20kHz. Frequencies used for medical diagnostic ultrasound scans extend to 10 MHz and beyond. This dog repellent ultrasonic circuit will chase away angry dogs. It comprises of a 555 timer IC, a speaker/piezoelectric and a little ferrite transformer.

The main part of this circuit is a 555 timer IC. A 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. Derivatives provide up to four timing circuits in one package. You can use the 555 effectively without understanding the function of each pin in detail. Frequently, the 555 is used in astable mode to generate a continuous series of pulses, but you can also use the 555 to make a one-shot or monostable circuit. The 555 can source or sink 200 mA of output current, and is capable of driving wide range of output devices.

To use this circuit adjust 4k7Ω Resistor at resonance frequency of the piezo transducer for maximum amplitude of the repeller ultrasonic sound. At 11 KHz to 22kHz this can reach a value of 10Vpp and the buzzer is a passive one (without generator).

Note: Ultrasonic frequency must be set with a dog nearby.

Component:

4k7Ω Resistor
10uF Capacitor
10nF Capacitor
1k2Ω Resistor
4k7Ω Potentiometer
Piezo
NC Push Button

Dog Repellent Ultrasonic Circuit 2 – [Link]

PROPEL Program Seeks Startups with Innovations in Distributed Sensing & Intervention

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Fraunhofer TechBridge, Greentown Labs launch program to accelerate energy innovations’ path to market

Boston, MA – April 16, 2015 – Access to external feedback early in the development process is critical for building successful innovative products. For large companies, such access is easily obtained; for startup companies, however, industry feedback is hard to come by. To assist entrepreneurs in that effort, Fraunhofer TechBridge (a program of Fraunhofer CSE) and Greentown Labs have teamed up to launch PROPEL, a six-month program for startups to refine their prototypes, obtain customer feedback, and develop their businesses for success in the market.

With the vision of a smarter, interconnected world, PROPEL is seeking complementary innovations in self-powered Wireless Sensor-Actuator Networks that can radically change how we interact with our surroundings. The program, sponsored by Shell GameChanger, is seeking startups that are:

  • Creating technologies for distributed sensing and actuation networks;
  • Developing prototypes and/or integrated systems for customer validation;
  • Looking to develop strategic partnerships with industry as a potential go-to-market strategy;
  • Interested and able to relocate to Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA for the duration of the program.

(more…)