Editor's Letter Insights

A New Feature for a New Year

Written by Sam Wallace
January 2023 – Issue #390

Happy New Year! I hope 2023 will bring you exciting projects, successful designs, and nary a single bug in your code.

To mark this season of making—and promptly forgetting—resolutions, we have made a few small changes to Circuit Cellar as well. Namely, we are excited to introduce a new monthly section of our magazine entitled “Technology Feature.” Helmed by industry insider Michael Lynes, Tech Feature will shine a light on the emerging trends and technologies most critical to developing microcontroller- and embedded processor-based systems and design topics that are driving today’s embedded electronics industry. Check out his article this month on smart buildings and smart cities, and what it takes to transition your business to a smart building today.

Remember to check out David Tweed’s section “Test Your EQ” in the back of each issue. In it, he poses questions that challenge your embedded systems knowledge, with answers published the following month.

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are an essential technology that can offer more power and flexibility than a typical microcontroller, although they can be more difficult to work with. Thus, Nishant Mittal provides a primer on FPGA basics. He covers topics ranging from their architecture to some aspects of FPGA-based design. Read his piece “An Introduction to FPGAs” on page 14.

Alex Pozhitkov and Brian Millier both write up their experiences in building tools for research, this month. Alex wrote a piece focusing on a component of a gas conditioner used for fuel cell research that his company built. They needed to repurpose a liquid level probe designed for conductive liquids to work with non-conductive liquids. Read more in “Level Switch for Non-Conductive Liquids” on page 23. Brian, meanwhile, discusses the design details of building a potentiostat for electrochemical experiments, something he was tasked with in his time as an instrumentation engineer in the Department of Chemistry at Dalhousie University. His piece, part of his Picking Up Mixed Signals column, can be found on page 36.

Faiz Rahman and Jeff Bachiochi both revisit the past, albeit in different ways. Faiz goes in depth in covering the development of flatscreen TV technology, in “The Evolution of Flat Panel TV Technology” on page 18. As a follow-up to his last piece, Jeff builds a second radar speed monitor, now using a different MCU—the popular Raspberry Pi Pico. Check it out in his column From the Bench, on page 52.

And Colin O’Flynn writes about SRAM read-back attacks in his Embedded System Essentials column. These can occur because many debug lock or security features in microcontrollers allow read-back of SRAM. He demonstrates the attacks themselves, as well as some possible countermeasures. It’s an insightful piece.

I, for one, am excited to see what new technologies the new year will bring, and what’s on the horizon for embedded systems. Thanks for joining me on the path of discovery. I hope 2023 brings you success in all your embedded systems endeavors.

Issue Table of Contents can be found here,
as articles are made available online they will be linked.


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Editor-in-Chief at KCK Media Corp. | + posts

Sam Wallace - became Circuit Cellar's  Editor-In-Chief in August 2022.
His experience in writing, editing, and teaching will provide a great perspective on the selection, presentation, and clarity of editorial content. The Circuit Cellar audience will benefit from his strong academic background encompassing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with honors. His passion for learning and teaching is a great fit for Circuit Cellar's continuing mission of Inspiring the Evolution of Embedded Design.

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A New Feature for a New Year

by Sam Wallace time to read: 2 min