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.


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Choosing Real-time Embedded System Products
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 ICs
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.

Device 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 simultaneously.

Sound Localization
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.

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.


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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 Attacks
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 flow.

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