Digilent and WSU Senior Design Recap

Another Digilent intern and I are both in our senior year at Washington State University. For our senior design course, Digilent put together a project that we have been working on with four other WSU students since September of last year. We will continue working on the project until we all graduate in May.


Digilent tasked our senior design group with creating an offering of products that will enable users of Digilent’s chipKIT product line to create advanced projects. Everything will be brought together in a final “Inventor’s Kit” to be sold with a chipKIT Board. The Inventor’s Kit will contain several Digilent Pmods and all the components (resistors, capacitors, etc.) needed to create a wide variety of projects. Our senior design group will also design a customize-able prototyping shield and a Pmod that uses infrared light to measure temperature, both will be included in the final kit.


After one semester of a lot of hard work, we have some awesome prototypes. First, we put together our temperature-sensing circuit on a breadboard. Interfacing the circuit and sensor with the chipKIT Pro MX7, we were able to precisely read the temperature of the object the sensor was facing. This is truly amazing technology, being able to measure temperature without physical contact.


As mentioned, the temperature-sensing circuit will eventually be created in the existing Pmod form factor, so our next step was to lay out the board that would hold the sensor and connect directly to a chipKIT board. Below you can see the layout of the Pmod we will be creating.

Layout of Temperature-Sensing Pmod
Layout of the temperature-sensing Pmod, designed in EAGLE.

The other product I mentioned was a customize-able prototyping shield. This is essentially a breadboard, but in PCB form. This will allow the user to assemble any circuit on the prototyping shield and permanently solder it together, resulting in a shield specific for the user’s needs. You can see the layout of our prototyping shield below.

Layout of chipKIT Prototypin Shield, designed in EAGLE
Layout of chipKIT Prototyping Shield, designed in EAGLE.

Our goal is to have these products finished and put together in the Inventor’s Kit by May. The final kit will also include documentation for each new product and instructions for various projects that can be completed with the Inventor’s Kit. When everything is complete, our group will present it to the engineers at Digilent and it will hopefully be included in Digilent’s already impressive product line. Through the upcoming semester, we will continue posting updates on our progress. Keep checking back!

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