The next issue of Circuit Cellar is coming next week! Here’s a sneak look at what’s coming up in December Circuit Cellar. ICs and software for machine learning, voltage-level translation, new FreeRTOS series, air quality monitor project, DC-DC converters, Ultra96 board analysis, TV antenna position project, test and measurement and more!! This 84-page magazine fires off a spectacular display of embedded technology articles for your reading consumption.
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Here’s a sneak preview of December 2020 Circuit Cellar:
EMBEDDED TECH FOR SMARTER SYSTEMS
ICs for Machine Learning
By Jeff Child
At one time, machine learning was a process that required big, rack-based supercomputers. Today, embedded processors, MCUs, FPGAs and GPUs are able to perform machine learning kinds of operations, enabling new types of local decision making in embedded systems. In this article, Circuit Cellar’s Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Child, looks at these technologies and trends driving IC-level machine learning.
Device Monitors Home Air-Quality and CO2
By Andrei Florian
Indoor air can be filled with high amounts of carbon dioxide as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), both harmful to our health. With that in mind, Andrei built a smart air purifier made using IoT technologies that cleans the air automatically whenever excessive impurities are detected and controls a fan when CO2 levels are high.
Breathalyzer Links to Car’s Ignition System
By Julia Paglia
To truly prevent people from driving under the influence, it helps if their car only starts if their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. In this article, learn how this York University student made a breathalyzer that’s built into a car’s ignition system. The system uses an NXP LPC802 MCU.
Free RTOS (Part 1): Intro to Real Time Operating Systems
By Bob Japenga
To lay the groundwork for his new article series about the open-source FreeRTOS, Bob provides a history of early multi-tasking real time operating systems (RTOS) that allowed several tasks to run “simultaneously.” He explains how a multi-tasking RTOS works and the basic components of an RTOS, using FreeRTOS as an example.
POWER, PROTOTYPING AND TEST
Datasheet: DC-DC Converters
By Jeff Child
DC-DC converters must juggle a lot of masters to push the limits in power density, voltage range and advanced filtering. Issues like the need to accommodate multi-voltage electronics, operate at wide temperature ranges and serve distributed system requirements all add up to some daunting design challenges. This Datasheet section updates readers on these technology trends and provides a product gallery of representative DC-DC converters.
Understanding the Ultra96 Board (Part 1)
By Nishant Mittal
Prototyping boards are an important tool for the creative system design process. Nishant is a particular fan of the Ultra96-V2, an Arm-based, Xilinx Zynq UltraScale and MPSoC development board based on the 96Boards open specification. In this two-part article series, Nishant takes a deep dive into the Ultra96 board and how to get started using it for development. Part 1 explores the hardware aspects of the board.
Test and Measurement
By Jeff Child
The form vs. function trade-off has always been a key concern when choosing test and measurement equipment. Products such as oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, signal generators and others are important tools for embedded systems developers. At today’s state of electronics technology, it’s quite feasible to have an all-in-one test system. But there’s still a desire by many to have a stand-alone box to serve as their oscilloscope, for example. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the latest technology and product trends in test and measurement.
Voltage-Level Translation Techniques
By Robert Lacoste
Gone are the days when all digital ICs ran off the same 5V power rail. As CMOS technology overshadowed 5V TTL, we moved into an age of multiple voltages—3.3V, 2.5V, 1.8V, 1.2V or even 0.8V. Chances are your next design will need to interconnect two chips using different supply voltages. In this article, Robert explains the problems you may encounter doing this voltage translation and describes the usual solutions.
PROJECT ARTICLES WITH ALL THE DETAILS
True Random Number Generation Using Comparators
By Wolfgang Matthes
The top requirement of true random numbers is that they should be products of pure chance—impossible to predict or reconstruct. Without countermeasures, a typical comparator will oscillate in unpredictable ways. In this project article, Wolfgang shares how he employed these oscillations to generate random numbers. The article describes the principles of operation together with its subtleties and “gotchas.”
Automated TV Antenna Positioning System
By Jeff Bachiochi
Jeff is a master when it comes to putting household electronics into historical context, and then applying modern embedded technologies to them. Here, he discusses the history and science of television from analog black & white TV to today’s HDTV. He then shares the details of his project that automates the antenna positioning for your over-the-air broadcast TV antenna, controlled from your phone over your home Wi-Fi network.
Build a Line Follower Robot: With Arduino and PID Control
By Alexandru Dumitrache
Today’s robots play important roles in many fields of activity. In this project article, Alexandru shares his Arduino Line Follower design—a simple robot which can follow a line. The robot uses PID control as a feedback control system in order to optimize both the robot’s speed and its accuracy following a line.