Monthly Archives: June, 2014

STEM Culture
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With the somewhat tempestuous history of women in STEM, it’s important to support those who are making a difference, making the world a better and more equal place. One of those groups intent on helping girls nurture an interest in engineering and building is the company GoldieBlox. GoldieBlox’s CEO, Debbie Sterling, was one of the few women in her engineering program at Stanford and wanted to encourage more girls to act on their love of STEM. So she started GoldieBlox, which is intent on providing young girls with projects they will enjoy and can engineer and make by themselves.

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STEM Culture
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It goes without saying that the internet has drastically altered the ways in which we as people gather and spread information. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also a fantastic resource for misinformation. We are bombarded with articles, videos, blogs, images, and status updates, but how do we know they’re accurate, and how often do we question their credibility? Everyone has that friend on one social media site or another perpetuating questionable forms of media, not giving a second thought as to the origin (my favorite are the reposts and reactions towards articles from The Onion–a satirical news source) . But why does this happen so frequently when the truth resides in the same vein as the fabrication, and digging deeper to discover the facts is often only a few clicks away?

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Learn.Digilent
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Howdy! I’m the latest addition to the Digilent family, and I’m happy to make your acquaintance! As the newest member, my first task was to act as a guinea pig to test out our new Learn.Digilentinc webpage. After all, I was new to chipKIT, but I’m no fresh-faced newb (well… not much of a newb), I know my way around a microcontroller and this is hardly my first time blinking an LED, but I’m not a hardcore programmer or electrical engineer either, which was exactly what the Learn.Digilentinc website was created for. So I was asked to go through Digilent’s Learn site to familiarize myself with their hardware, and provide a little outside perspective on the tutorials. The following is a review of my experience with our Learn site, tutorials, and what sort of difficulties folks new to microcontrollers might have while learning the ropes on our hardware.

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FPGA
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Check out my Embedded Linux Hands-On Tutorial for the Zybo Board. An official copy hasn’t been released on our website yet, but we didn’t want you to have to wait, so we created a fully functional draft via Instructables.

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ASEE
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Here’s to another wonderful ASEE! Last week several of us went to Indianapolis to exhibit at the American Society for Engineering Education conference.

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STEM Culture
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One of the biggest social issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is underrepresentation of minorities. Within STEM, this includes women. While women have been involved in STEM since the advent of the engineering profession (think Ada Lovelace!), their participation was restricted for a long time. While there are no longer formal constraints, women are still disproportionately uninvolved in STEM professions and education.

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ASEE
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One of the best parts of traveling to a conference like ASEE is getting to participate in hands on workshops. I love getting to go to these, because many times, these are teaching experiences that I’ve only heard about that use Digilent products, so it was a welcome change to be able to see one in action.

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Microcontrollers
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Today I’d like to showcase one of the star members of our office and Washington State University Electrical Engineering classrooms, Susan the Robot Pig. She was made using the Line-Following Motor Robot Kit.

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STEM Culture
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I’m excited to begin our new Women in STEM series! It will be a weekly feature throughout the summer, with new posts every Thursday or Friday. In this first installment, I will discuss how women have been involved with or kept from STEM fields throughout history. A historical perspective is necessary to understand a lot of the challenges women in science and engineering face today.

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About
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Digilent recently attended the pre-conference workshop session at the American Control Conference (ACC) at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon. We were there to provide support for the Analog Discovery, which was being showcased in the pre-conference workshop “Ubiquitous Hands-On Learning: The Future of Engineering Education”. Workshop speakers included Bonnie Ferri, Al Ferri, and Deborah Warner. In addition to the presenters, 9 attendees were there. After discussing student involvement in engineering education, participants were able to play with various test and measurement devices.

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STEM Culture
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I am happy to announce a new blog series I’ll be doing for the next couple of months, Women in STEM. From historical perspectives to issues confronting women in male-dominated fields today, we will be discussing a variety of issues. At Digilent, we support equality regardless of sex or gender. That being the case, I’d like to provide an in-depth look at women in STEM, especially in engineering. Operating in a field that is mostly male, it is important to highlight female participation and issues.

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ASEE
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The travel bags are packed again for Digilent as we gear up to head to Indianapolis for ASEE, or the American Society of Engineering Education.

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