FemtoUSB Board (Atmel ARM Cortex M0+)

Arduino compatible, Atmel SAM D21 chip, open source!

This is one of the smallest ARM powered boards in the world. If you are ready to transition away from AVR 8-bit hardware to the very powerful ARM 32-bit stuff, this is the way to learn! The board design, schematic, and parts lists are completely open-source.

FemtoUSB Board (Atmel ARM Cortex M0+) – [Link]

Dremel Introduces The First-Ever Dremel Digilab Laser Cutter

The Dremel Laser Cutter backed by 85 years of the Dremel brand legacy, will provide a higher level of safety, ease, reliability and quality to users. (PRNewsfoto/Dremel)

The Dremel DigiLab Laser Cutter enables Makers to expand portfolio and business capabilitie.

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., Sept. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — At World Maker Faire New York, Dremel introduces the first-of-its-kind Dremel DigiLab Laser Cutter. Dremel designed this machine to provide Makers of all levels and practices with an outlet for innovation. As the brand’s latest addition to its lineup of digital fabrication tools, it has the ability to customize a variety of materials quicker and easier than ever before.

The Dremel Laser Cutter backed by 85 years of the Dremel brand legacy, will provide a higher level of safety, ease, reliability and quality to users. This tool can cleanly slice through tougher materials like wood, acrylic, leather and paper as well as neatly engrave tougher surfaces such as glass and anodized metal. Dremel President John Kavanagh shared how the new Dremel Laser Cutter will enhance the productivity of Makers and industrial professionals across a broad spectrum of applications.

The new Dremel Laser Cutter allows a level of precision you just can’t get by hand because it is so detailed,” Kavanagh said. “It is truly designed and built for business owners to personalize any project and improve efficiency. With a higher level of reliability and ease of use, the Dremel DigiLab Laser Cutter eliminates many of the repetitive, laborious steps and allows Makers to create new projects they couldn’t necessarily do before.

iEAT – A Powerful Keychain Detector To Detect Food Allergens

For kids and adults with food allergies, having meals from restaurants or hotels can sometimes be very risky. Even when ultimate care is taken, freshly prepared meals can accidentally become cross-contaminated with an offending food and trigger an allergic reaction. Every year many people end up in the emergency room due to food allergies. Researchers of the Harvard Medical School developed an affordable device called iEAT for detecting allergens, which can reduce the anxiety of the people prone to allergies.

iEAT - A Portable allergen-detection system
iEAT – A Portable allergen-detection system

Conventional methods to detect the hidden allergens require massive laboratory equipment. They are slow and also do not work on a low concentration of allergens. Ralph Weissleder, Hakho Lee, and their colleagues at the Harvard Medical School wanted to make a more practical, consumer-friendly alternative. They reported in the journal ACS Nano the development of a new portable allergen-detection system that features a keychain analyzer for detecting allergens in food anywhere, anytime.

The portable allergen-detection system called integrated exogenous antigen testing or iEAT is small enough to fit in your pocket and it costs $40 only. The iEAT consists of a handheld device to extract allergens from food and an electronic keychain reader for sensing allergens. Then, the result is wirelessly sent to a smartphone. The prototype is able to detect five allergens within 10 minutes, one each from wheat, peanuts, hazelnuts, milk, and egg whites, even if they are in very low concentration.

The main device uses a disposable sample collector which is inserted into the small-sized main unit. The device is so sensitive that the scientists were able to detect gluten in foods advertised as being “gluten-free”. For example, the device detected gluten in salad and an egg protein in beer. Although the prototype was primarily designed to sense five allergens only, the researchers say the device could be expanded to test for many additional compounds, including other allergens and non-food contaminants such as pesticides.

3A Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC) Driver

3A TEC Driver Module is a complete power stage solution to drive Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC). The required DC voltage input controls the output current. It consists of the Texas instruments DRV593 power driver IC, along with a few discrete passive components required for operation. It also includes jumpers for configuring the features of the device, LEDs for fault monitoring, and an output filter. The 4 Pin header connector  for the inputs, 4 pin header connector for  output, and 4 Pin header connector for power supply, provide ease of connection to any system, from an existing design to a bread-boarded prototype. Connect a dc control voltage to CN1 Pin 3 (IN+), ranging from ground to VCC. The Pin 7 of the IC is held to VCC/2 with a resistor voltage divider, as shown in the schematic. Therefore, a dc control voltage of VCC/2 provides 0-V output from PWM to H/C. Input DC voltage range is 1.2V to 3.8V when supply voltage is 5V and 1.2V to 2.1V when supply voltage is 3.3V.

Features

  • 3A Maximum Output Current
  • Low Supply Voltage 2.8V To 5.5V
  • Frequency 500 KHz (Refer to Note To change Frequency)
  • High Efficiency Generates Less Heat
  • Over Current and Thermal Protection
  • Fault LED for Over Current, Thermal & Under Voltage Conditions
  • When J3-Jumper is closed, the board is configured for 500-kHz operation.

3A Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC) Driver – [Link]

Tyre pressure monitoring system using Bluetooth Low Energy

A tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) aims to monitor air pressure on various automotive systems. The most common TPMS sensors mainly use sub-GHz radio standards to transfer information to the vehicle’s computer. There are two different types: direct (dTPMS) and indirect (iTPMS). The use of bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity makes it possible offering a high performance. All information will be displayed in real-time by simple user interface with low power consumption. With low power consumption, applications can run on a small battery for many years. As result, it’s actually extremely positive when talking about M2M communication and automotive systems.

TPMS helps to avoid the tyre wear and improves road safety.  Due to the advantages of a longer battery life and connectivity, DA14585 is suitable for IoT applications in various industries. The figure 1 show a typical block diagram for a TPMS system.

block diagram of TMPS general system
Figure 1: block diagram of a TPMS. The block of transmission (transmit data) can implement the bluetooth low energy protocol.

Bluetooth low energy for automotive industry

Connectivity, Intelligence and energy saving are the main features for the new generation of IoT devices. Luckily, SmartBond can achieve all these features. Especially relevant is one of the series, DA14585 SoC. It offers all benefits, such as, full support of all bluetooth standards, including version 5. Moreover, it is suitable  for many applications, as remote controls, proximity tags, headlights, connected medical devices, smart home and smart automotive (Figure 2). The figure 2 shown the block diagram of DA14585, where is visualized the ARM M0 core and other peripherals.

block diagramm of DA14585 for bluetooth low energy applications
Figure 2: block diagramm of DA14585

With 96 kB of RAM and retention capability, DA14585 offers a wider memory than its predecessor in order to fully utilize standard features. Moreover, it also includes an integrated microphone interface for low-cost voice support. DA1485 supports a wide range of power supply voltages from 0.9 to 3.6 V. This range offers a wider choice of energy sources with a great design performance.

As a result, DA14585 represents the ideal solution to add bluetooth low energy technology to various applications. It supports Data Packet Length Extension, Link Layer Privacy v1.2, Secure Connections, Bluetooth Low Power Mesh and Efficient Connectable Advertising. Dialog Semiconductor has started contacting with the automotive industry for the construction of first TPMS devices with BLE. The goal is to manage the entire measurement process with the addition of sensors for measuring temperature and pressure. All powered by a simple battery.

The initial adoption of BLE technology for TPMS is a great opportunity for the automotive market and for new TPMS devices. As a result, the advent of BLE connectivity in automotive systems will open many connectivity scenarios for the smart automotive market.

LT8362 – Low IQ Boost/SEPIC/Inverting Converter with 2A, 60V Switch

The LT8362 is a current mode, 2MHz step-up DC/DC converter with an internal 2A, 60V switch. It operates from an input voltage range of 2.8V to 60V, suitable for applications with input sources ranging from a single-cell Li-Ion battery to automotive and industrial inputs. The LT8362 can be configured as either a boost, SEPIC or an inverting converter. Its switching frequency can be programmed between 300kHz and 2MHz, enabling designers to minimize external component sizes and avoid critical frequency bands, such as AM radio. Furthermore, it offers over 90% efficiency while switching at 2MHz. Burst Mode operation reduces quiescent current to only 9μA while keeping output ripple below 15mVP-P. The combination of a 3mm x 3mm DFN or high voltage MSOP-16E package and tiny externals ensures a highly compact footprint while minimizing solution cost.

LT8362 – Low IQ Boost/SEPIC/Inverting Converter with 2A, 60V Switch – [Link]

OSD335x-SM & OSD3358-SM-RED Dev Board

Austin, Texas (September 19, 2017) – Octavo Systems LLC (Octavo) announced the production release and immediate availability of its highly anticipated OSD335x-SM System-In-Package (SiP) device.  The OSD335x-SM, like the entire OSD335x family, integrates the Texas Instruments (TI) Sitara™ AM335x processor with an ARM® Cortex®-A8 core running at 1GHz, DDR3 memory, a TPS65217C power management IC (PMIC), a TL5209 low-dropout (LDO) regulator, and passive components into a single wide pitch (1.27mm) BGA package.  The OSD335x-SM enhances this integration by adding EEPROM as well and reducing the package size by 40%.

The OSD335x-SM comes in a 21mm x 21mm (0.83in x 0.83in) 256 Ball wide pitch (1.27mm) BGA. Occupying 441 square millimeters, the OSD335x-SM uses 60% less space than the equivalent system designed with discrete components.  It is the smallest AM335x processor-based module on the market today that still allows complete access to all the AM335x device I/Os including the PRUs.

“The OSD335x-SM was built to allow system designers to quickly create the smallest possible ARM Cortex®-A8 system and then easily transition into production,” says Bill Heye, President of Octavo Systems.  “By removing the need for DDR routing, power sequencing, complex supply chains and larger PCBs, the OSD335x-SM provides value across the entire life cycle of a design.  We are excited to finally release it to the market and we can’t wait to see the innovative ways people leverage this technology.”

The first 21mm device in the family, the OSD3358-512M-BSM, can be purchased today through Octavo’s distribution partners, Digi-Key Electronics and Mouser Electronics.

The OSD3358-SM-RED Platform

Terahertz Electronics – Way To Bridge The largely-untapped Region Between 100GHz and 10THz

The terahertz (THz) region, which is based on 1THz frequency, separates electronics from photonics and has been difficult to access for ages. Semiconductor electronics cannot handle frequencies equal to or greater than 100GHz due to various transport-time related limitations. In other hand, photonics devices fail to work below 10THz as photon’s energy significantly drops to thermal energy. Terahertz Electronics (TE) is a new technology that extends the range of electronics into the THz-frequency region.

The Terahertz Gap
The Terahertz Gap

The main goal of Terahertz Electronics is to build a bridge between low-frequency “Electronics” and high-frequency “Photonics”. Since these devices use photon-electron particle interactions, as photon energy “hv” decreases below thermal energy “kT”, the device ceases to operate efficiently unless it is cooled down. At the low-frequency end, electronics cannot operate above 100GHz as transport time is dependent on drift and diffusion speeds of electrons/holes. As a result, a large region between 100GHz and 10THz remained inaccessible. Terahertz Electronics solves this problem efficiently by cleverly incorporating electronics with photonics.

Terahertz electronics technology offers practical applications in high-speed data transfer, THz imaging, and highly-integrated radar and communication systems. Surprisingly enough, It does not use semiconductors. Instead, it is based on metal-insulator tunneling structures to form diodes for detectors and ultra-high-speed transistors for oscillator based transmitters.

One drawback of the Terahertz Electronics is, it requires high-frequency radiation sources. Lack of a small, low-cost, moderate-power THz source is one of the main reasons that THz applications have not fully materialized yet. Scientists are trying to find a solution to this problem. They created a compact device that can lead to portable, battery-operated sources of THz radiation. This new solid-state T-ray source uses high-temperature superconducting crystals that contain stacks of Josephson junctions. So, even a small voltage, around two millivolts per junction, can induce frequencies in the THz range.

Mercury arc lamps generate light in terahertz
Mercury arc lamps generate light in terahertz

TE devices are extremely fast and they are made entirely of thin-film materials—metals and insulator. Hence, it is possible to fabricate Terahertz Electronics devices on top of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuitry—a technology for creating integrated-circuits circuitry or on an extensive variety of substrate materials. In TE devices, charge transport through the junction occurs via electron tunneling. Further research and development will make Terahertz Electronics a reality in not-so-distant future.

Digi-Key Releases New Addition of Symbols & Footprints for Vishay Products

New models, available via SnapEDA, streamline the design-in of Vishay optoelectronics parts.

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minnesota, SANTA CLARA, California, and SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA – Digi-Key Electronics, a global electronic components distributor, today announced the addition of symbols, footprints, and 3D models for Vishay’s catalog of optoelectronics products.

The models, made available via online parts library SnapEDA, can be downloaded for free for most major PCB design tools.

Designers spend days creating digital models for each component in their circuit board designs. With this new collaboration, designers can simply drag-and-drop high-quality, auto-verified models into their designs, saving them days of time.

“Each day, thousands of designers use Digi-Key to find components for their designs,” said Natasha Baker, CEO & Founder of SnapEDA. “By adding SnapEDA’s high-quality, ready-to-use digital models to the content solutions available, we’re helping them move from idea to production faster than ever with Vishay products.”

Products supported with this release include a wide variety of Vishay’s optical sensors, optocouplers, solid-state relays, and MOSFET drivers.

LimeSDR Mini – Software-defined-radio card

An open, full-duplex, USB stick radio for femtocells and more.

The LimeSDR and LimeSDR Mini are members of the same family of software-defined radios. One does not replace the other. Rather, they are complementary.

Simply put, the LimeSDR Mini is a smaller, less expensive version of the original LimeSDR. However, it still packs a punch – at its core, the LimeSDR Mini uses the same LMS7002M radio transceiver as its big sibling. The Mini has two channels instead of four, and, by popular demand, SMA connectors instead of micro U.FL connectors. Check out the comparison table below for more details.

LimeSDR Mini – Software-defined-radio card – [Link]