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May Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

A new issue of Circuit Cellar is coming next week! Here’s a sneak look at what’s coming up in May Circuit Cellar. Communications and control tech for drones, smart mailbox project, 32-bit MCUs, Smart Agriculture innovations, LED backlight technology, JTAG in 2021, ESP-NOW protocol and more! This 84-page issue serves up a tasty meal of embedded technology articles for your reading enjoyment!

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Here’s a sneak preview of May 2021 Circuit Cellar:


Control and Communications for Drones
By Jeff Child
The pace of commercial drone innovation continues to accelerate. Helping system developers keep up, technology vendors provide a wide range of communications and control products to improve the capabilities of both drone designs and the infrastructure supporting drones. Circuit Cellar’s Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Child, looks at the key technology and product trends associated with these embedded designs.

Intelligent Mailbox Uses Arduino: The SmartPostBox Project
By Andrei Florian
Wouldn’t it be fun to get an email notification when your mail arrives in your post box? In this article, Andrei steps you through the details of building his ArduinoSmartPostBox project. This system is a smart post box implementation that uses a laser, a photoresistor and IoT technology to turn a regular post box into an intelligent post box that notifies you via email whenever you get mail.

Smart Agriculture Innovations
By Jeff Child
In today’s Smart Agriculture industry, it’s clear that all the major challenges in that space lead to Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions. Advances in communication and sensing technologies are being married with advanced data analytics to ensure agricultural production that’s both sustainable and resource-efficient. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines how today’s MCU, sensor and wireless technologies are feeding today’s Smart Agriculture needs.


Datasheet: 32-bit Microcontrollers
By Jeff Child
32-bit microcontrollers continue to be the workhorse device for today’s embedded applications. To keep pace, MCU vendors are evolving their product lines with robust security, rich I/O functionality and support for all the popular wireless protocols. This Datasheet section updates readers on this technology and provides a sampling of representative 32-bit MCU products.

A Guide to Using Transistors: As a Switch and More
By Jeff Bachiochi
There’s a lot you can do with electronics these days without any EE-level of knowledge. But there are certain concepts that can be tricky—like selecting a transistor for a high current or high-voltage design. In this article, Jeff steps through the history the transistor as a device. He then guides you on how to select and use a transistor as a switch or for other functions.

LED Backlight Technology: A Complete Overview
By Bill Cheung, Orient Display
An LCD display can’t emit light by itself. It needs a light source, and LED backlights are now dominating the market. In this article, Orient Display’s Bill Cheung provides a complete overview of LED backlight technology, discussing different types, driver technologies, color deviation, brightness options and more.

Bringing JTAG Boundary Scan into 2021
By Colin O’Flynn
For more than 30 years, JTAG has been a method of interacting with the digital I/O pins on devices that’s been baked into most MCUs and FPGAs you use. JTAG is classically used for testing production boards, but it also presents a powerful reverse engineering tool. In this article, Colin discusses how to drive a JTAG boundary scan chain from Python, using open-source tools.


Using ESP-NOW Protocol (Part 2)
By Brian Millier
In Part 1 of this series, Brian discussed the benefits of the ESP-NOW protocol, and shared how it improved battery life in his ESP-based leak detector modules. In Part 2, Brian describes the circuitry and programming of the various modules making up his ESP-NOW home control system.

Intro to Robot Operating System (ROS) (Part 3)
By Raul Alvarez-Torrico
In this Part 3, the last of this article series, Raul discusses how to test the hardware and software of the robotic car he built in Part 2. He’ll cover how to how to test the robotic car and how to remotely run the robotic car, headless, from the Ubuntu PC he set up in Part 1.

Understanding the AMBA AXI-4 Spec
By Nishant Mittal
AMBA is an open standard for the connection and management of functional blocks in an SoC. In this article, Nishant reviews the history of AMBA, and then focuses in on one of AMBA’s protocol specs, AXI-4, and how it improves performance and bandwidth.

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May Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

by Circuit Cellar Staff time to read: 3 min