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Electronics

This blog described electronic components that can be used to support or interface to nanodevices.

Drone development kit

morreale Friday 26 of August, 2016
Intel is working on the Aero Platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It contains a quad core Atom processor, storage, IO, communications, flight controller, AirMap, and Intel's RealSense technology in package of about 2.5 × 3.5 inches (64 × 89 mm). The Aero platform is expected to cost $400, the vision accessory is $150, and the enclosure is $70, approximately. Yumeec is offering the Typhoon H drone for aerial photography incorporating the Aero platform and the RealSense vision system.

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High density 2 kW inverter webinar.

morreale Friday 27 of May, 2016
Professor Robert Pilawa-Podgurski from the University of Illinois gave a very good webinar on Tackling the Little Box Challenge - New circuit architectures to achieve a 216 W/in^3 power density 2 kW inverter.

The Little Box Challenge was a contest sponsored by Google and the IEEE to build an 2 kW 400 VDC to 240 VAC single phase inverter with at least a 50 W per cubic inch power density. The contest had a $1,000,000 prize. Over a hundred teams entered and eighteen teams were selected to submit their design for testing at NREL. Three teams passed the test. The webinar describes his teams efforts to build a inverter for the challenge.

Fundamentals of PCB Design

morreale Tuesday 17 of May, 2016
The Fundamentals of PCB Design webinar is given by Dr. Howard Johnson and is a wonderful overview of PCB design process. Dr. Johnson is the author of the very good book "High-Speed Digital Design: a Handbook of Black Magic".

2015 IEEE Proceedings

morreale Tuesday 09 of February, 2016
The 26th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology was held Match 16-18, 2015 in Cambridge MA. The proceeding of the symposium are available online. Session topics included:
  • System for Space Applications
  • Hot Electron Bolometers
  • Receivers
  • Bolometer Spectrometers
  • Sources
  • Instruments for CMB Observations
  • History & Current Developments
  • Detection Theory and Techniques
  • Direct Detectors
  • Posters

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Getting started with AWS IoT webinar

morreale Tuesday 09 of February, 2016
In case you missed it, the Getting started wit AWS IoT webinar is now available as an archive on YouTube as are the sildes. The webinar provide an overview of how to setup up and connect a device to the AWS cloud services. The webinar also demonstrate how to connect a pool pump to the cloud and have the cloud send SNS messages to a phone with the status of the pump.

It was pretty neat. The AWS IoT system uses certificates for authentication and authorization, and creates a shadow of the device in the cloud. All applications interact with the device shadow. When the device is in communications with the cloud via the MQTT had HTTP protocols using encrypted links with TLS 1.2, then it's state is synchronized with the shadow. There are SDK for devices running RTOS, and embedded Linux. The embedded Linux SDK is based on Node JS and supports Raspberry Pi, Adruino Yun, BeagleBone Green, Qualcomm Snapdragon DragonBoard, and other single board computer kits and devices.

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MD&M 2015 Philadelphia

morreale Monday 14 of September, 2015
The MD&M 2015 Philadelphia Conference and Expo is October 7-8, 2015 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. I've been to the MD&M Expo at the Jacob Javits convention center in NYC. It was incredible for its size and scope. If the Philly Expo is anything like the NYC expo, then anyone thinking of building a product now or in the near future should attend at least one day. The NYC Expo is so large it took me 3 days of walking and talk to people to cover every isle in 2014. It was highly illuminating. This year it only took 2 days. Also, participating in the speed networking sessions was a lot fun too.

Electricity reliability trends

morreale Monday 14 of September, 2015
Berkeley Labs has released a report on electricity reliability on the United States. This study looked at reliability data collected by electricity distribution companies, and created two metrics.
  • System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) which indicates the amount of time a customer is without power over the course of a year on average.
  • System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) which is the average total number of times a customer experiences a power interruption over the course of a year.
The study looked at power disruptions from storms like Hurricane Sandy, and without major events like this to determine power reliability. When major storms are included then the study finds that hotter days, higher wind speeds, and higher annual precipitation results in an increase in SADI (see the report for all the details).

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Energy Harvesting Power Conversion

morreale Monday 14 of September, 2015
Analog Devices has a new power management chip designed for energy harvesting power applications. It can convert power from a solar cell and store the energy is a super capacitor, and supply power from a supplementary power source like a battery. The chip, ADP5090, has a 320 nA quiescent current, can operate from 80 mV to 3.3 at the input, and supply 2.2 to 5.2 V to a load.

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Open Health Hardware

morreale Friday 26 of June, 2015
Open Hardware Healthcare has posted a nice Review of Open-Source Healthcare Platforms & Sensors. These platforms support quite a few sensors including pulse sensor, oxygen in blood sensor, airflow sensor, body temperature sensor, ECG sensor, galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor, glucometer, accelerometer, blood pressure sensor, and EMG sensor, for example.


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Art of Electronics 3rd Edition

morreale Friday 19 of June, 2015
The Art of Electronics 2nd Edition and the Students Manual for the Art of Electronics are both really wonderful references for building practical electronic circuits. Now, Horowitz and Hill have rewritten The Art of Electronics in a 3rd edition. The contents include:
  • ONE: Foundations
  • TWO: Bipolar Transistors
  • THREE: Field-Effect Transistors
  • FOUR: Operational Amplifiers
  • FIVE: Precision Circuits
  • SIX: Filters
  • SEVEN: Oscillators and Timers
  • EIGHT: Low-Noise Techniques
  • NINE: Voltage Regulation and Power Conversion
  • TEN: Digital Logic
  • ELEVEN: Programmable Logic Devices
  • TWELVE: Logic Interfacing
  • THIRTEEN: Digital meets Analog
  • FOURTEEN: Computers, Controllers, and Data Links
  • FIFTEEN: Microcontrollers
  • 16 appendixes
Much of the content is new. A second volume with more advanced material is planned. The students manual has been revised to be more useful for practicing engineers and this version is titled: Learning the Art of Electronics — A Hands-on Approach, and is due out late this year.

element14 has an nice interview with the authors at element14 interviews "The Art of Electronics" authors Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill. Also, Adafruit has a Youtube interview with Paul Horwitz.

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Interview with Bob Dokin

morreale Saturday 07 of March, 2015
The Computer History Museum interviewed Linear Technology's CTO Bob Dokin. In the interview, Bob describes
  • the unique aspects of analog design compared to digital design,
  • the early days of Linear as a startup
  • product strategy
  • a short mention of Jim Williams
  • the low low turnover rate at the company
  • new engineers work with more experienced engineers for years to develop the analog knack
The first half hour was pretty interesting, but then it dragged a bit for me. The interviewer did not seem to know much about the subject matter.

DIY Spectrometer

morreale Monday 15 of December, 2014
Public Works has posted plans for building a DIY Spectrometer to allow people to detect toxins and pollutants in their environment. The spectrometer is based on fluorescence spectrometry. There are three versions
  • USB desktop spectrometer kit
  • Smartphone spectrometer kit
  • Foldable mini-spectrometer kit.
Kits are for sale too ranging from $10 to $50. These spectrometers all work with Spectral Workbench which is open source software available on GitHub. The Spectral Workbench community also operates an open database of spectra to help identify compounds.

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Electromagnetic train

morreale Monday 15 of December, 2014
The Kid Should See This website has posted this neat electromagnetic train that is easily built. Neodymium magnets are attached to each end of an AA batter, and fed into a coil of bare copper wire. The magnets are conductive and cause current to flow in the copper wire which creates a magnetic field around the magnet battery assembly. A force develops between the fixed magnets and the field produced in the copper wire by the battery, and propels the battery magnet assembly through the coil of copper wire.