I’m very proud to say that my For Cheap Robots project is still going strong! As some of you may recall, at the beginning of last month, I announced the beginning of my For Cheap Robots series here on the Digilent blog. Since then, I’ve added several more tutorials to the list and gotten a huge amount of positive feedback. I want to thank any and all of you who here who follow the Digilent Blog and decided to pop over to Instructables to check it out!
Monthly Archives: September, 2014
I recently found another exciting example of Digilent boards in an academic textbook! The Zynq Book is a handy tool for a deeper understanding of “sophisticated” devices and as the first look at the Zynq System on Chip (SoC). In fact this is Digilent’s mission: to bring engineering to every interested person through affordable materials.
As we continue on with our Pmod series featuring one of Digilent’s largest product lines, we find ourselves needing to see what’s going on inside of our microcontrollers and FPGAs as they race through their code at 80,000,000 times a second (or even faster!). Once again, Digilent has a variety of solutions to solve our dilemma. Our visual Pmods range from simple LEDs and a seven-segment display (SSD) to complex OLED and LCD screens.
I just got back from Birmingham, and I’m eager to share some of the experiences we had at SEFI 2014 Conference. It took place from September 16-18, bringing Digilent in front of the pan-European university representatives. The event was organized in conjunction with our distributor from Germany, Trenz Electronic.
As Digilent has been expanding its MakerSpace, we felt that the area that the Marketing team was working in was not terribly conducive towards promoting and growing the MakerSpace. In reality, cubicles don’t tend to be conducive towards anything classy, but that’s beside the point. The point today is that the new Marketing area has become classy in a “MakerSpace” fashion and that we’re super excited about it.
Before I conducted the joint CoreEL workshop in September, I went to Taiwan to show educators how to teach electronics using the Digilent Analog Discovery and chipKIT. This was a joint effort with E-elements Technology, Digilent’s distributor and Xilinx’s academic training partner in Taiwan. Field application engineers from E-elements showcased the Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable Systems on Chip (SoC) with the Digilent ZEDboard.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I designed the proximity-sensing LED circuit to eventually move it on to a printed circuit board, or PCB. This was my first experience with PCB layout, and thankfully it was successful! The board I designed is in the picture below. We ordered 6 “prints” and soldered them in our MakerSpace. I also included extra vias (electrical connections between the layers of the board) so that we could connect multiple boards together.
I am happy to work with distributors around the world to introduce Digilent educational kits and bring the latest technology to worldwide colleges. This summer, CoreEL Technlogies and Digilent organized five half-day workshops for educators and graduate teaching assistant at five different cities in India — New Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai. I am honored to be invited by CoreEL Technologies to conduct the workshop.
Who doesn’t love interactive LEDs? This project started because I wanted to make a simple circuit that I could later move on to a printed circuit board (PCB) that I designed myself. (The original goal was to learn PCB design and layout.) This idea was given to me by my manager, Larissa, and was inspired by Evil Mad Science’s Octolively. Being an analog enthusiast, I came up with my own design that doesn’t use any ICs.
After 15 years, we’re still hard at work building better tools for engineering education. We’re working more closely than ever with leading companies like Xilinx, Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, and Linear Technology, and our shared mission is the same — to create tools and technologies that give students access to the most relevant technologies. And I can honestly say that we’re all still loving our jobs! Since joining with National Instruments almost two years ago, we’ve gained access to a larger group of world-class engineers and improved our manufacturing processes, but we’ve maintained our laser-focus on producing the best, lowest-cost teaching and learning kits for engineers.
Digilent is happy to announce that we will be at SEFI from September 15-19. The SEFI Conference is being held at University of Birmingham, UK. Digilent will have a workshop called “Hands-on Learning with All-in-One Portable Sab” on September 16. Dr. Mircea Dabacan from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca will demonstrate how active learning modules using the Digilent Analog Discovery can be integrated into undergraduate circuits and electronics courses for majors and non-majors, as well as into outreach programs for high school students. Digilent will also have a joint booth with Trenz, Digilent’s EU Partner, in the exhibit hall.
You may recall a post we had a few days back on the Pmods that offered a DAC. As I mentioned then, DACs are used for a wide variety of applications but one of the most common ways that you see a DAC being used is in audio applications. Digilent’s Pmod line offers several audio peripheral modules that do just that.
Previously, we had the chance to take a look at the LS1, which is a great Pmod to use with line-following robots such as Susan. Today, we’ll take a look at five of the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) Pmods. Four of them are conveniently named DA1, DA2, DA3, and DA4, and the last one is a R-2R circuit.
A while ago, I introduced Susan the line-following pig in this blog post. Since then, Susan has garnered a lot of interest from her appearances at ASEE and in various other blog posts. A couple of weeks ago, we held a hardware MakerSpace featuring Susan. We had employees from sales and engineering together putting together the kits. Susan is built off of the MRK + Line Robot Kit that you can view or purchase here, if you’re interested in making a line-following robot of your own.
A few months ago, we did a paper circuit activity for our first MakerSpace. It was a lot of fun, and it got the ball rolling for creating our physical MakerSpace. Thus, we were thrilled to be doing paper circuits again — this time with the community! August 22 and 23, we were at Lentil Festival. A lot of visitors were excited to learn how to make paper circuits, and some of the younger children were happy to just color our Digilent MakerSpace robot mascot.