The September issue of Circuit Cellar is coming next week! What’s coming up in September Circuit Cellar? ICs for technology for robotics, rugged SBCs, specialized MCUs, drone design, COVID-19 devices, machine vision and more!!—this 84-page magazine comes off the assembly line with quality-built embedded technology articles for your reading pleasure.
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Here’s a sneak preview of September 2020 Circuit Cellar:
TECHNOLOGY FOR ROBOTICS AND DRONES
System Solutions for Robotics
By Jeff Child
System solutions for robotic systems continue to advance, as chip- and board-level solutions evolve to meet new demands. Real-time motion control, machine vision and artificial intelligence are all part of the mix. Here, Circuit Cellar’s Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Child, looks at both technology and products used in robotics as well as the development tools and kits available to smooth the design process.
Forearm-Controlled Robotic Hand
By Cassandra Scarpa and Caeli MacLennan
Setting out to create an inexpensive prosthetic, three students at Cornell University developed a robotic hand that a user can control with their forearm. The PIC32 MCU-based system uses flex sensors to measure the changes in forearm topography, which is then translated to finger movement.
Write an Object Tracking Drone Application
By Raul Alvarez-Torrico
In his August article, Raul described how to set up a development environment and install a basic toolchain including PX4 and MAVSDK software. Continuing that theme, in this article Raul discusses how to develop a basic autonomous object tracking quadrotor application in simulation, by integrating computer vision object detection with the MAVSDK MAVLink library for autonomous flight control.
RESOURCES FOR SYSTEM DESIGNS
Datasheet: Application-Specific MCUs
By Jeff Child
In contrast to microprocessors, microcontrollers tend to be used for specific applications. But even among MCUs, there’s distinct difference between general purpose MCUs and MCUs that are designed for very specific application segments, or even sub-segments. This Datasheet section updates readers on this technology trend and provides a product album of representative application-specific MCUs.
Frequency Independent Phase Shifter
By Nishant Mittal
Phase shifters are important to a variety of digital and analog communication applications. Traditional phase shifters are designed to operate only at a single frequency, requiring cumbersome techniques to maintain the phase for large range of frequency. In this article, Nishant presents implementation of frequency independent phase shifter. It’s able to reduce the effect of frequency on phase and make system independent of frequency in the range of 4KHz to 7 KHz.
Advances in Rugged SBCs
By Jeff Child
Single board computers are used in a broad sweep of applications—some that involve harsh environmental conditions. Rugged SBCs offer a variety of attributes to serve such needs, including extended temperature range, high shock and vibration resilience and even high humidity protection. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the technology and product trends happening in this class of SBCs.
Does Device Package Selection Affect Physical Security?
By Colin O’Flynn
Devices are available in many package types—you might choose between TQFP or BGA nowadays depending on the physical size your product needs. But some of the ultra-small packages such as Chip Scale Packaging (CSP) expose the backside of the IC die. In this article, Colin takes you through how this makes it easier to perform certain classes of attacks, and demonstrates how they can be done in practice.
PROJECT ARTICLES WITH ALL THE DETAILS
Customer Counter Uses ESP32 MCU
By Brian Millier
Because of COVID-19, many retailers need to keep count of customers entering and leaving their stores. A colleague of Brian’s suggested that design an electronic counter that small businesses could use instead of having staff members do manual counts. So, he built an ESP32 MCU-based system with Bluetooth capability that counts customers coming in/exiting using proximity sensors. It also displays both the in-store customer count as well as the stores maximum capacity.
Build a Music Composition Assistant
By Diane Sutyak, Tara van Nieuwstadt and Laasya Renganathan
Motivated by the tedious nature of the sheet music annotation process, these three Cornell students built a system designed as a music composition assistant for composers, arrangers and musicians at all levels. Called, this PIC32 MCU-based tool is an end-to-end tool that converts raw audio from playing an instrument directly into an editable sheet music score. In this article, they describe the design and components of the system.
Machine Vision Random Number Generator
By Devlin Gualtieri
There are a multitude of ways to generate random numbers. Computer seem good as this, but in truth are merely pseudorandom because computer programs are inherently deterministic. In this article, Dev presents a random number generator based on the Raspberry Pi that uses machine vision to harvest true randomness from a physical source.
Dusting Off the Vinyl: Wireless Connections
By Jeff Bachiochi
The technology of music recording has a long and interesting history—from cylinders to vinyl to CDs and beyond. In this article, Jeff discusses those historical steps. He then shares the details of a project that connects a record player to a modern Bluetooth music player. Jeff figures out how to provide both filtering and amplification of the turntable cartridge’s signal by designing a preamplifier with some filtering characteristics.