January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

Happy New Year! The January issue of Circuit Cellar comes out next week! Drone design solutions, air quality monitor project, designing with Smart LEDs, COM Express boards roundup, battery management and more— this 84-page magazine cooks up a tasty feast of embedded electronics articles for your reading pleasure.

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Here’s a sneak preview of January 2020 Circuit Cellar:


System Solutions for Drone Development
By Jeff Child
Consumer and commercial drones pose a number of tricky design challenges. Technology vendors have made things somewhat easier over the past year, offering a variety of system-oriented platforms and tools even including complete development kits. This article by Circuit Cellar’s Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child looks at these technology and product trends that are advancing the capabilities of today’s drones.

Datasheet (NEW!): COM Express Boards
By Jeff Child
Circuit Cellar’s former Product Focus section has been renamed
Datasheet, and is now enhanced with links in the web version to the datasheets
of the products covered in the article. COM Express boards provide a complete
computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the
application-specific I/O on the baseboard. This Datasheet section updates
readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative COM
Express products.

Choosing Real-time Embedded System

By Rodger Hosking
Real-time embedded systems require a specialized class of electronic components
from vendors that can support the special needs of systems integrators. Not
only must the hardware products operate across a wide range of operating modes
and environments, they must also deliver performance levels meeting critical
objectives for specific applications. In this article, Pentek’s Rodger Hosking
steps through 10 key tips that can help you significantly avoid risks and
reduce development efforts.

Innovations in Battery Management

By Jeff Child
Managing battery power is a critical function for all sorts of battery-power
systems, including power tools, wearable electronics, IoT edge devices and
more. Innovations in power management ICs, fuel-gauge ICs and battery
monitoring ICs are helping to provide improved power management features for
diverse applications. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores
the latest technology trends and product developments in these areas.


Motion Controlled Speakers
By Jidenna Nwosu, Benjamin Francis, Ayomi Sanni
Controlling electronic devices with hand gestures may seem like the stuff of
science fiction. But the technology is easily available today even for MCU-level
embedded systems. Learn how these three Cornell students built a motion
gesture-controlled speaker using sensors, a computer and a Microchip Technology
PIC32. With hand gestures, system lets you control the volume, play/pause and
change songs by skipping forward and backward.

Relaxation Generator Reloaded
By Brian Millier
Some years ago, Brian wrote an article for Circuit Cellar article about
his project that generates relaxing sounds—ocean waves, rainfall and such—and
inculpating a digital clock to shut of the sounds. At the time he built it with
only Atmel 8-bit AVR MCUs and support chips. In this article, Brian describes
his more modern version of the project, this time built with an Espressif ESP32
MCU to provide Internet connectivity.

Measures Indoor Air Quality

By Carlo Tauraso
Unhealthy air in indoor environments has been linked to diseases such as
allergies, lung infections and more. That’s driven the demand for sophisticated
indoor air quality (IAQ) measurement systems, but many have serious
limitations. In this project article, Carlo shares the details of his design of
IAQnet project. The Bluetooth-based system creates a network of IAQ monitoring
tags that allows evaluating the healthiness of multiple environments


By JinJie Chen and Alvin Pan
It’s amazing to see what level of sound processing can be done using a 32-bit
MCU. Learn how these two Cornell students built a sound localization device.
The Microchip PIC32 MCU-based device is a triangular arrangement of microphones
used to localize the direction an arbitrary sound is coming from. By recording
input from three microphones, they were able to identify the time delay between
the audio recordings. These time delays provide a means to compute the
direction of the sound.


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System Controller Manufacturing Test (Part 1)
By Nishant Mittal and Manoj Khandelwal
In his November article, Xilinx’s Nishant Mittal discussed ways of various ways of testing a board. In this two-part series, Nishant and Manoj expand on that topic, this time discussing the design of an FPGA-based system controller built for testing and managing complex platforms. Part 1 focuses on the hardware aspect of the system, including the hardware design, building blocks, algorithm and so on.


Shedding Light on Smart LED Design
(Part 1)

By Jeff Bachiochi
Creating a smart LED design is both challenging and fun. In this article, Jeff
first looks at the history and technology of LEDs, and then shares the details
of his smart LED project based on RGB LEDs. He introduces a circuit that
programs a string of NeoPixel LED strips to specific colors, and is controlled
by push buttons.

Building Against Fault Injection

By Colin O’Flynn
Fault injection are powerful attacks for bypassing security mechanisms. Rather
than work on just showing the attacks, in this article Colin demonstrates how
you can start to protect against them with some modest changes to your code

Semiconductor Fundamentals (Part 5)
By George Novacek
George continues his series delving into the fundamentals of semiconductors. In
Part 5, he expands his discussion of field effect transistors or FETs. He
examines different types of JFETs and MOSFETs, looking at aspects including
gate architecture and drain-source I-V characteristics.

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January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

by Circuit Cellar Staff time to read: 4 min