Miscellaneous category

Dual Channel SiC MOSFET Gate Driver Reference Design

This reference design is an automotive qualified isolated gate driver solution for driving Silicon Carbide (SiC) MOSFETs in half bridge configuration. The design includes two push pull bias supplies for the dual channel isolated gate driver respectively and each supply provides +15V and -4V output voltage and 1W output power. The gate driver is capable of delivering 4A source and 6A sink peak current. It implements reinforced isolation and can withstand 8kV Peak and 5.7kV RMS isolation voltage and >100V/ns common mode transient immunity (CMTI). The reference design contains the two-level turn-off circuit which protects the MOSFET from voltage overshoot during the short circuit scenario. The DESAT detection threshold and the delay time for second stage turn-off are configurable. The ISO7721-Q1 digital isolator is implemented for interfacing the signals of fault and reset. All designed on a two layer PCB board with a compact form factor of 40mm × 40mm.

[source: http://www.ti.com]

Wavecatcher – Acoustic cryptanalysis

Anfractuosity published a new project:

“Acoustic cryptanalysis is a type of side channel attack that exploits sounds emitted by computers or other devices”

Wavecatcher is a simple PCB that makes use of a MEMS ultrasound microphone, in order to capture audio to around 80kHz, with the goal
of finding interesting ultrasound sources and playing with exfiltrating data from SMPSs etc. via ultrasound.

Wavecatcher – Acoustic cryptanalysis – [Link]

Taking Advantage of Embedded FPGA (eFPGA)

By Geoff Tate, CEO of Flex Logix, Inc.

Whether you are designing an SoC, MCU or other chip, the one common heartache is “freezing RTL.” Up until that point, it’s no problem making a change or update, but once it’s frozen, the chip design is “locked in.” A change after that point could require a new spin that is not only costly, but can also significantly delay the chip development schedule.

Now imagine what it would be like to have no deadline to freeze RTL. What chip designer would not want that? The good news is this is now possible using embedded FPGA (eFPGA). With eFPGA, designers have the flexibility to make changes at any point in the chip development process, even in the customers’ systems. While this is beneficial to any chip design team, it is especially beneficial for applications such as data centers, networking, deep learning, artificial intelligence, aerospace and defense.

What is eFPA?

Many people think that eFPGA is the same as traditional FPGA such as those offered by Xilinx and Altera. This is not the case at all. While the technology is similar, eFPGA requires no SERDES and PHYs because on-chip signaling is very fast. Density is also very similar, although some eFPGA platforms are much better than others so designers need to do their homework and shop around for the best platform. The real difference is the users. FPGA chips are used primarily by systems companies, with some in high volume. eFPGAs are used primarily by chip companies who need to integrate a small amount of FPGA-like flexibility into their chips.

An FPGA combines an array of programmable/reconfigurable logic blocks in a programmable interconnect fabric. In an FPGA chip, the outer rim of the chip consists of a combination of GPIO, SERDES and specialized PHYs such as DDR3/4. In advanced FPGAs, the I/O ring is roughly 1/4 of the chip and the “fabric” is roughly 3/4 of the chip. The “fabric” itself is mostly interconnect in today’s FPGA chips where 20-25% of the fabric area is programmable logic and 75-80% is programmable interconnect.

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Embedded World Free Ticket from OEMsecrets

Join OemSecrets.com at Embedded World 2018

Next Tuesday 27th February – Thursday 1st March, meet OEMsecrets at the world’s leading embedded systems conference in Nuremberg, Embedded World. Get your free ticket and meet us for a Tucher or two on stand 4A-612 to rehydrate!

We’ll showcase our latest site developments, including new API capabilities and future site features such as our parametric search. As part of our badge scan promotion and in partnership with Avnet Silica, we’ll also be handing out high-value giveaways. We all look forward to welcoming you on to our booth. See you next week, prost!

XTRX – Easily embeddable software-defined radio

The first ever truly embedded SDR is live on crowdsupply.com

XTRX is the smallest, easily embeddable software-defined radio (SDR). It is both affordable and high-performance. Its professional-grade, drop-in technology is designed to enable the next generation of wireless solutions, from prototype to production.

While LTE modems and GPS receivers are commodity parts easily bought from your favorite electronic components store and added to your project, in order to embed an SDR you would have to spend precious time and money on a custom design – until now. With XTRX, you can easily embed an SDR and stay focused on what your customers really need.

Features & Specifications

  • RF Chipset: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M FPRF
  • FPGA Chipset: Xilinx Artix 7 35T
  • Channels: 2 × 2 MIMO
  • Sample Rate: ~0.2 MSPS to 120 MSPS
  • Tuning Range: 30 MHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Rx/Tx Range:
    • 10 MHz – 3.7 GHz
    • 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz with signal level degradation
  • PCIe Bandwidth:
    • PCIe x2 Gen 2.0: 8 Gbit/s
    • PCIe x1 Gen 2.0: 4 Gbit/s
    • PCIe x1 Gen 1.0: 2 Gbit/s
  • Reference Clock:
    • Frequency: 26 MHz
    • Stability: <10 ppb stability after GPS/GNSS lock, 500 ppb at start up
  • Form Factor: full-size Mini PCIe (30 × 51 mm)
  • Bus Latency: <10 µs, stable over time
  • Synchronization: synchronize multiple XTRX boards for massive MIMO
  • GPIO:
    • FPC Edge Connector: four lines (usable as two diff-pairs)
    • Mini PCIe Reserved Pins: eight lines (including two diff-pairs, 1pps input, 1pps output, TDD switch control, and three LEDs)
  • Accessories:
    • Antennas + Cables
    • USB 3 Adapter with Aluminium Enclosure
    • PCIe x2 + Front End Adapter
    • PCIe Octopack

Universal OpAmp Evaluation Board Using LMV321

The Universal Op-Amp Development board is a general purpose blank circuit board that simplify prototyping circuits for a variety of Op-Amp circuits. The evaluation module board design allows many different circuits to be constructed easily and quickly. This board supports single SOT23-5 package. Universal single Operational Amplifier (Op-Amp) board is designed to aid in the evaluation and testing of the low voltage/low power and some precision operational amplifiers.

Universal OpAmp Evaluation Board Using LMV321 – [Link]

Windows PC Lock/Unlock Using RFID

by kksjunior @ instructables.com:

How often have you felt tired of typing in the password to unlock your PC/laptop every time it got locked? I’m used to locking it down quite a number of times, everyday, and nothing is more annoying than typing the password/pin over and over again, every-time I want to unlock it. When the need for something becomes essential, you are forced to find ways of getting it. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”, the lazy mind in me started to think of an easy and a cheap way to unlock my personal Computer/Laptop every time I had to lock it. As I went through my stuff I found a RC522 RFID module. That’s when I decided to make an RFID system

Windows PC Lock/Unlock Using RFID – [Link]

VO2 Based Mott - MEMS Mirror Actuator

Researchers Developed VO2 Based MEMS Mirror Actuator That Requires Very Low Power

A joint research by the US Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate and Michigan State University have developed micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) actuator based on smart materials, specifically vanadium dioxide (VO2). In the room temperature, Vanadium dioxide exhibits the Mott transition. It is a not-well-understood phenomenon known to occur in transition metal chalcogenides and transition metal oxides.

VO2 Based Mott - MEMS Mirror Actuator
VO2 Based Mott – MEMS Mirror Actuator

The research team was able to use VO2 thin films for making complex mirror support structures to create a programmable tilting mirror. Transition-metal oxides like VO2 require little energy to drive the transition and less than more conventional actuation technologies. This enables implementation of transition-metal oxide based MEMS in battery powered and mobile devices.

When an input voltage of 1.1V is applied, the mirror platform achieves the maximum vertical displacement of 75 microns. The average power consumption per mirror actuator is 6.5mW and the total power consumption is 26.1mW for the entire device. The Mott-MEMS actuator mirror showed vertical movements and tilt angles of 75 micrometers and 5.5 degrees, respectively.

While testing, vanadium dioxide (VO2) displayed hysteric behavior or memory effect. That means the current response to externally applied electrical force is dependent on the previous response. Such behavior will let the researchers predict its response nature for certain electrical signals and they can program the actuators to generate different types of responses.

Nelson Sepulveda, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University, said in a statement issued by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,

The actuation of such devices using smart phase-change materials represents a new operating principle that enables their programming and reduces power consumption.

The study opened a new door in the development of MEMS mirror actuation technology, which could incorporate the use of the hysteresis of smart materials like VO2 for programming tilt angles and vertical displacements in MEMS mirrors. The researchers are focusing on developing programmable MEMs mirrors and improving the design to achieve more precise control and larger movements.

FPGAs For MCU Guys

by Max Maxfield @ eeweb.com:

A little while ago, it struck me that I was getting tired of explaining what FPGAs are and how they work their magic to those of my chums who — thus far — have worked only with microcontrollers (MCUs), so I decided to write a three-part mini-series of articles to offer as an introduction.

FPGAs For MCU Guys – [Link]

Call for Makers: Hackaday Prize for Social Impact Projects

In patnership with Digi-Key, Supply Frame and Microship, Hackaday is calling for the curious, the creative, and the determined who are working to create social change in order to transform the world using their hardware and programming knowledge in addition to scientific, design, and mechanical abilities. This contest by Hackaday will encourage people innovate projects that can impact in people lives.

All you have to do is designing an impactful project that suits you, or collaborate with a team to do it. You can create things like reliable utensils for the disabled, a way for denizens to find clean drinking water in rural villages, refreshable braille displays for image text and a smart home to build a sustainable community. Or go beyond that and create something that has never been seen before. The purpose of the contest is to encourage participants to develop solutions to address technology issues facing humanity today.

With the global collaboration behind this contest, the total prizes will reach $250,000 and they will be divided as following: $120,000 goes to top 120 finalists ($1,000 each), $50,000 Grand Prize, $30,000 Best Product Prize, $20,000 2nd Place, $15,000 3rd Place, $10,000 4th Place and finally a$5,000 5th Place.

The first stage of the Contest will consist of five (5) Challenge Rounds. Participants may enter the Contest during any of the Challenge Rounds. Up to twenty (20) entries from each Challenge Round will be chosen to advance to the final round. Participants must complete the requirements for at least one (1) Challenge Round to be eligible for the final round. An entry may be submitted to any or all of the Challenge Rounds as long as it meets the requirements for each Challenge Round in which it is submitted. All submissions must be in English and must comply with any specified requirements.

Challenge Round 1: (Get Started: Design Your Concept.)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on March 20, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on May 1, 2017. This round is for showcasing your idea, hacks and logs and presenting the problem and how will your project solve it.

Challenge Round 2: (Internet of Useful Things :: IuT ! IoT)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on May 1, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on June 12, 2017.
Let’s take Internet of Things and make it practical for everyday life. Internet of Useful Things projects showcase a way to build a better tomorrow with the data you track and analyzeChallenge

Round 3: (Wheels, Wings and Walkers)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on June 12, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on July 24, 2017. This round is for building things that move, so the objective of the project is movement and support for things that help move humanity forward.

Challenge Round 4: (Assistive Technology)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on July 24, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on September 4, 2017.  Assistive technology projects ensure a better quality of life for the disabled and enhance learning, working, and daily living.

Challenge Round 5: (Anything Goes)

Entry period begins 7:01 a.m. P.D.T on September 4, 2017 and closes 7:00 a.m. P.D.T on October 16, 2017. No reservation, no theme, no topic. it is up to you to build on your idea that resonates with you and encompasses the spirit of making. Build whatever you think would benefit humans and the world we live in.

Best Product

To be eligible for Best Product the product must not have received more than $2,000,000 in funding within the life of the product. The sum of the product’s dimensions (width + height + depth) must total 36 inches (91.44 centimeters) or less. Best Product Final Round. By 1:50 p.m. P.D.T. on October 21, 2017

It’s time to leverage your talent and find solutions to address a problem facing humanity today. With a new technical design challenge every 6 weeks, you are expanding the frontiers of knowledge and engineering.

In order to bootstrap your project before completing your final application of this contest, Hackaday now gives you the chance to participate in a public voting and win up to $200. Just start your entry to get access to this.
Check the rules of the contest to make sure that your country is eligible to apply. Also check this page to know more details about the contest.