ASEE 2014 Recap

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

Photo from @JDHarris on Twitter
Photo from @JDHarris on Twitter.

We paid particular attention to our demos this year. After all, Digilent is about enabling hands-on-learning inside and outside the classroom. Thus, we made the focus enabling student-centric learning! What students learn in the classroom is only a tiny portion of the learning process. So all of the demos we selected and promoted were examples of how students could get resources on their own.

Banner sign- What we believe in.
Banner sign designed by Norm.

 

Showing off Learn.DigilentInc.Com

Since we launched it at ECEDHA, the Learn Site has greatly evolved, enough that we could have a “test drive” part of our booth, where people could try out a learn project on their own.

ASEE Learn.DigilentInc Student learning on their own

 

 

Teaching and Learning Analog!

In another section of our booth we featured the Analog Discovery and the popular Analog parts kit. Our friends from Analog Devices (ADI)  have created an entire page of resources for students who wish to learn about analog.

ADI's Ian Danaher at our booth, working with professor to show him the visualization on the laptop of the circuit built with the Analog Parts Kit.
ADI’s Ian Danaher working with a professor to show him the visualization on the laptop of the circuit built with the Analog Parts Kit.

This repository includes 7 different ebooks, course material from analog circuits, mixed signal, and signal processing… and is all free! To further analog education, ADI University Program has sponsored a deal that allows students to purchase the Analog Parts Kit ($69.00) + the Analog Discovery ($99 for students) and get $20.00 off.

Xilinx SOC Zynq- Zybo Demo

Image processing in co-processing environment with Xilinx Zybo FPGA
Image processing in co-processing environment with Xilinx Zybo FPGA.

For the FPGA experts at the conference, we showed off the Zybo- image processing demo.
High-definition image captures from a GoPro camera were sent into the Zybo board, users operated different buttons to change the image filters on the video, and the video was outputted to the display screen. Full details about the demo can be found on this instructable.

Alex speaking to professor about upgrading lab to Zybo to give students exposure to ARM A9 core.
Alex speaking to a professor about upgrading lab to Zybo to give students exposure to ARM A9 core.

 

NI’s LabView on Digilent Products with LabView Hacker

Particularly exciting was that we got to showcase our activity with our friends at LabView Hacker. LabView is extremely popular with many of the engineering disciplines. Either by adding custom hardware to the LabView framework (National Instruments offers a lot of really good hardware for their software ecosystem; however, sometimes students have to design their own for an extremely specialized interface) or for designing beautiful user interfaces (for those who want to relate their electronics projects in a visual fashion). Getting LabView working on Digilent hardware will be an interesting trend.

This demo featured the LabView Lynx connection that allowed a user to control the chipKIT basic I/O shield (connected to a WF32)  from the tablet (also displayed on the monitor). Users could interact with the Basic I/O shield through  LabView (rotate the potentiometer, vary the PWM for color mixing of the RGB LED Strip on the table and alter the logo on the OLED display). LabView--> Lynx--> MPIDE--> chipKIT--> Basic I/O Shield --> RGB LEDs
This demo featured the LabView Lynx connection that allowed a user to control the chipKIT basic I/O shield (connected to a WF32) from the tablet (also displayed on the monitor). Users could interact with the Basic I/O shield through LabView (rotate the potentiometer, vary the PWM for color mixing of the RGB LED Strip on the table and alter the logo on the OLED display). This particular demo : LabView Interface–> Lynx Software (FREE) –> MPIDE (FREE)–> chipKIT–> Basic I/O Shield –> RGB LEDs.

The particular demo that got the most attention was the RGB LED strip.
IN a previous blog post on the Basic I/O shield, I covered controlling LED strips through code:

Basic I/O shield and RGB Analog

Although through MPIDE it is relatively simple, students still need to code and manually look up the RGB values of color mixing. Through this demo the user can use the VI (Virtual Instrument) Color Wheel and change the values simultaneously all without having to find the correct lines and change the code.

Engaging Student Creativity with chipKIT

The other part of our booth that got a lot of traction was our chipKIT section.

As our microcontoller line, chipKIT has a lot of products that are perfect for the student project. Educators can assign chipKIT projects either as homework or as projects.

A good example of this was “Susan,” our line-following robot. 

Alex explaining the chipKIT line while professor is looking over Susan the Line following robot
Alex explaining the chipKIT line while a professor is looks over Susan the line-following robot.

Susan the Pig was part of a course at WSU that required students to learn about the basics of microcontrollers. By having a competition at the end, students could compare their techniques with each other. Creativity, technical ability, and innovative use of the materials are all prizes that could win.

Internet of Things- WiFi Enabled LEDs

One of the client nodes at ASEE, the chipKIT WF32 running pattern 1
One of the client nodes at ASEE, the chipKIT WF32 running pattern 1.

As part of the chipKIT demo section we brought our Maker Faire Demo to ASEE, users could use the iPad and change the colors of the LEDs at different tables.

“Internet of Things” IOT  is a phrase the industry is throwing around regularly. We wanted to give professors a good way they could introduce the concepts to students in an engaging manner.

 Pmods, Pmods, and Pmods!

add on boards with functions and a standard interface!
Add-on boards with functions and a standard interface!

We had our Pmod board up for educators to plug and unplug Pmods into various boards to see fit and function.
Over 60 Pmods exist today, so that’s a lot of projects that can be made!

Pmods you can pull off and try out!
Pmods you can pull off and try out

 

Give-Aways

No tradeshow would be complete without having some give-aways and we made sure to have several options.

Giveaways for anyone who visited our booth
Giveaways for anyone who visited our booth.

 

Most interesting was the coupon code we offered to anyone who wanted to test out our Learn Site with the chipKIT Starter Kit. Over 300 components all in a single box + adding your own chipKIT board, and you have almost everything you need to get started with the Learn.DigilentInc website.

Erik chatting with educator about the use of Pmod boards with the upcoming Basys3.
Erik chatting with educator about the use of Pmod boards with the upcoming Basys3.

 

All in all, it was a wonderful conference and we were excited to see old friends, new professors, and students there. Thank you to anyone who came out to see us at ASEE!

 

 

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About Larissa Swanland

I'm a bit of an electronics-education evangelist. After all, Education is how we learn about the world. Electronics make the world better. Engineers change the world. So more engineers that know how to design and create electronics? That's the kind of world I want to help create.

View all posts by Larissa Swanland →

4 Comments on “ASEE 2014 Recap”

  1. QUE TAL BUENAS NOCHES, YO ESTUDIO LA CARRERA DE INGENIERÍA MECATRONICA Y USO UNA CHIPKIT PARA EL DESARROLLO DE MIS PEQUEÑOS PROYECTOS ME GUSTARIA SABER SI EN ALGUN MOMENTO TIENEN PENSADO VENIR A MEXICO A DAR UNA PEQUELA CONFERENCIA O EXPOSICION COMO ESTA, GRACIAS.

    1. Estamos muy felices que usted usa la chipKIT! Aunque no tenemos planes definitivos de ir a alguna conferencia, nuestro socio y vendedor de chipKIT va a estar en el Congreso Mecatronica (http://www.mecamex.net/congreso/). Si usted sigue leyendo el blog, le dejamos saber si vamos a estar en alguna otra conferencia o exposicion.

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