Monthly Archives: March, 2015
If you have visited the Digilent Blog before, you have likely seen a mention or two of Fritzing. Fritzing is an open-source software tool that allows users to create professional images of electronics projects. We frequently use Fritzing to generate many of the images we use in our documentation here at Digilent. About a year ago, Digilent started working on creating our own parts for use within Fritzing. Check out this blog post for a quick tutorial of Fritzing and a link to some of the Digilent parts that have been created for Fritzing so far. Coming soon, we will have an exciting new addition to the library of Digilent parts in Fritzing– the Electronics Explorer Board!
Originally, this blog post was going to be about how Linux works with its kernel and everything. That turned out to be extremely dry, and it was a jumbled mess to try to fit everything into a blog post. Just check out the Linux wiki page for all that stuff. Instead this post is going to be more about parts of Linux that people should know about. Linux is used widely for developing software and embedded systems. One example is the Zybot, partially developed by Kaitlyn and me!
Since our release of the NetFPGA-SUME at the beginning of this year, this board has gotten a lot of attention. It’s easy to see why, after all, it’s powered by the Xilinx Virtex-7 690T FPGA, a behemoth of a chip with over half a million logic cells and is perfect for applications like cyber security, imaging, and high-throughput data (as a point of reference, the next closest competitor to this processor available for purchase is the Altera Stratix V.) And now it’s on sale!
Today is Tolkien Reading Day! For me — and many others, I’m sure — reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was one of the first works of art that led me to question how the world works. This was the beginning of a slippery slope to all kinds of nerdiness, including working for an engineering company!
Did you ever play the game Battleship as a child? I remember finding it incredibly fun. This weekend, I found a new take on it! The version on Instructables uses a breadboard, wires, and other electrical components. It’s designed to teach children the basics of breadboarding — and to have fun, of course!
Now that we have Linux booted up on our computer, we can get programming. What happens if we want to create web pages? Well, we need to set-up our LAMP server. LAMP stands for Linux Apache MySQL PHP. This blog post goes in conjunction with a relevant Instructable about setting up our LAMP server, so just like the previous blog post about dual-booting Ubuntu, this is going to go over more of why we’re doing this. What the LAMP server will allow us to do it create a local host that will let us communicate with the Internet.
In a previous post, I talked about how plasma can be used to build high-fidelity speakers. Plasma isn’t limited to only producing sound– it can also be used to record it. Being made up of physical particles, plasma can be affected by vibrations through the air. This means it is possible to build a plasma arc microphone using the proper circuit. This application is far less common than using a plasma arc for a speaker, but research has still been done on the subject.
I know it’s around spring break for many of our readers in academia, but here at Digilent, we just can’t get enough of Richard Wall’s work — whether he’s vacationing or not! Last week, we learned about methods of creating software time delays to pace processor operations. That project also demonstrates used time delays for signal conditioning. This laid the groundwork for us to talk about stepper motors and finite state machines this week.
If you have a computer, you may have heard of Linux. Linux is a free ad open-source operating system, where the “base” code can be used and modified by anyone. Some of Digilent’s boards (like the ZYBO) use Linux. Linux is great for programming and development, but isn’t as user-friendly as other operating systems.