STMicroelectronics’ EVALSP820-XS motor-driver board brings ST’s industrial-control expertise to the RAMPS (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) open-source 3D-printer platform, enabling 3D printer makers to unleash the full potential of their machines for faster printing and smoother surface finish.
The RAMPS modular platform is making Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing accessible to makers, small businesses, and home users, for fast prototyping, making replacement parts, or education. The Arduino Mega 2560, or Arduino DUE, baseboard provides basic control, ready for users to plug-in their own choice of motor driver, extruder controller, and any other desired functions using Mega-compatible expansion shields. As a plug-and-play expansion board, ST’s EVALSP820-XS can drive RAMPS printers at an unprecedented speed for greatly increased throughput ensuring superior smoothness with microstepping resolution from ½-step to 1/256-step per microstep. Key to this giant leap in 3D-printing performance is ST’s STSPIN820 stepper-driver IC which embeds high-speed motor-control input circuitry and algorithms developed for industrial applications. The 4x4mm QFN package also integrates a 1.5Arms output stage.
The world has seen an exponential growth of the Internet of things, where things are becoming connected. Every physical object is giving the chance to be connected to the internet and emit some data about itself with just the addition of some chips, and some form of wireless interface. Your Electric kettle can basically tell you when it’s ready or even prepare itself down for you.
Researchers have estimated will we have billions of connected objects in the coming years which are already creating security and privacy concerns. Concerns like; what if my device gets hacked, infected with malware or my mission-critical device suddenly losses it’s power. What if we still could achieve this connectivity possibility without having to rely on much electronics? Researchers at the University of Washington have created a range of 3D-printed plastic objects that can communicate with a router even though they’re not connected to the internet and don’t contain any electronics.
The researchers at the University of Washington have found ways to create connected objects with only 3D printed parts and an antenna. They receive funding from the National Science Foundation and Google.
First; they design and 3D printed a combination of plastics like springs, switches, knobs, gears and copper filaments to serve as an antenna. Then, they leverage a technique called “Backscatter Techniques” to transmit the signal to Wi-Fi enabled device. Backscatter systems use an antenna to transmit data by reflecting radio signals emitted by a Wi-Fi transmitting device or a router. Information can be embedded in those reflected patterns and can be decoded by a Wi-Fi receiver. In this case; the antenna is used to reflect the radio signals back to a Wi-Fi receiving device which could by a smartphone and physical motion on the antenna, like a regular tapping cause some form harmonics on the transmitted signal, where this harmonic will serve as the embedded information.
For example – as you pour a fluid ( a liquid detergent, water or even fuel) out of its containing bottle, attached to it a 3D printed gear on the outlet. The speed the gears turns will tell how much fluid content is left and if connected to some form of a switch that can bounces on and off an antenna due to the movement of the gears will make the antenna transmit those changes out with the reflected Wi-Fi signal. The receiver can track how much fluid is left and when it dips below a certain amount, it could possible automatically send a message to your Amazon app to order more or an SMS to notify you of current status.
The team has printed several objects and tools that were able to sense and send information to other connected devices: a button, a wind-speed measuring device, a dial, and a movable gear. When they’ve moved – such as when the button is pressed, the dial is turned, the wind blows through the devices, and so on – the antenna will transmit this change to receiving unit and some actions can be taken. Those devices can then be used to interact with the internet – the button turned on a computer, the dial scrolled a web browser, and a slider controlled a digital slider.
This whole communication is unidirectional, means it can only transmit information and not receive back. The team’s work opens up the possibility of adding internet connectivity to everyday items. You can have a water flow measurement device that could, in theory, be incorporated into the design of any bottle, so if you’re running out of juice, detergent, or milk, the speed at which liquid is flowing over the sensor could alert the web to reorder that item for you.
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Strong electron interactions can drive metallic systems toward a variety of well-known symmetry-broken phases, but the instabilities of correlated metals with strong spin-orbit coupling have only recently begun to be explored.
“We have detected the existence of a fundamentally new state of matter that can be regarded as a quantum analog of a liquid crystal, There are numerous classes of such quantum liquid crystals that can, in principle, exist; therefore, our finding is likely the tip of an iceberg.” says Caltech assistant professor of physics David Hsieh, principal investigator on a new study describing the findings in the April 21 issue of Science.
Liquid crystals are materials that are between liquid and solid, they are consisted of molecules that flow around freely as if they were a liquid but are all oriented in the same direction, as in solid. An important feature of the liquid crystals that in addition to availability in the nature, they can be made artificially like those used in items that have display screens.
In 1999, the first quantum liquid crystal was discovered by Caltech’s Jim Eisenstein, the Frank J. Roshek Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. It was a two-dimensional which means that it was limited with a single plane inside the host material. In a quantum liquid crystal, electrons behave like the molecules in classical liquid crystals. They move around freely in a preferred direction of flow.
The behavior of the electrons in the newly discovered 3D-variant are possibly even stranger. The electrons do not only distinguish between x-, y- and z-axis, but they also have different magnetic characteristics depending along which axis they move back and forth.
According to the researchers, the 3D quantum liquid crystals could play a role in a field called spintronics, where the spin direction of electrons can be utilized to create more efficient computer chips. It may also help with some of the challenges of building a quantum computer, which seeks to take advantage of the quantum nature of particles to make even faster calculations.
“Rather than rely on serendipity to find topological superconductors, we may now have a route to rationally creating them using 3-D quantum liquid crystals” says Harter. “That is next on our agenda.”
A manufacturer and service provider for PCB prototyping, Beta LAYOUT has developed a 3D MID CAD program to speed up the prototyping and small-series manufacturing of 3D Mechatronic Interconnect Devices (MIDs). by Julien Happich @ edn-europe.com:
Circuit carriers of the three-dimensional circuit boards are produced at Beta LAYOUT using 3D printing. This eliminates the need for costly injection moulding dies, as commonly used in series production. After this, the MID components are processed on a special production line using laser direct structuring, and then assembled.
Layout software eases 3D prototype production – [Link]
Able to fit in the palm of your hand and provided with several changeable tips, the 3DSimo Mini allows you to 3D print using one of close to a dozen different materials as well as solder, burn, and cut foam.
“We created the 3DSimo Mini to be the ultimate creator’s tool,” says David Paskevic, CEO of 3DSimo. “It is more than a 3D printing pen. Immediate uses include extensions for burning, foam cutting, and soldering. In the future, we will incorporate additional functionality to the pen, such as drilling, making it a practical tool for creators of any skill set. The Mini is a tool that can be used for all creative projects.”
3D printing tool is all-in-one pen, precision solder, burner, and cutter – [Link]
M Rule @ crawlingrobotfortress.blogspot.com discuss about ways to optimize 3D rendering on ILI9341 LCD and Arduino:
Both optimizing ILI9341 LCD drivers and rendering basic wireframe meshes have been done before. XarkLabs provides an optimized fork of Adafruit’s library. Youtube user electrodacus has also implementd an optimize driver for the ILI9341 communicating over SPI.
Better 3D graphics on the Arduino – ILI9341 LCD – [Link]
kicad StepUp allows exporting kicad 3D board and comps in STEP AP214 .By easyw @ sourceforge.net:
kicad StepUp: a new approach to export kicad board and modules in STEP AP214 (with colors). With kicad StepUp, it is possible to work in kicad EDA with the same component model data available in the STEP AP214 3D format, and obtain a 3D STEP AP214 model of the pcb board and a complete board assembles with electronic modules, to be used for MCAD interchange. The accurate 3D visualization of components on board assembles in kicad 3dviewer, is maintained in the same accuracy and aspect in STEP AP214 format. The kicad StepUp script maintains the usual way to work with kicad, but improves the process to work in a collaborative way with mechanical designers bringing near ECAD and MCAD environments.