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.
We are going to continue with our Pmod series and talk about how you get the Pmod (peripheral module) to do what you want it to do. After all, it is not the best plan (especially in electronics) to just plug something in to a random spot and hope the device works correctly. The vast majority of the peripheral modules in the Pmod line collect or receive data (or both) and need to communicate this data with the host board. A GPS module that doesn’t send its coordinates to the host or an audio amplifier that does not receive data from the host are not terribly useful. Successful communication is key in any relationship, electronic or otherwise.
In December 2013, Digilent received a cold call from Imagination Technologies. They loved our WiFi-enabled WF32 — but what if it had the latest PIC32 MZ-architecture processor instead of the MX processor that other chipKIT products have? After all, the MZ not only show-cased Imagination’s IP core (the way the processor is put together), but it was the ideal processor to run FlowCloud, their internet of things (IoT) solution. So, they asked, “Would it be possible to have 1000 of the retooled product by March?” It was with this seemingly out-of-the-blue call that the development of the chipKIT Wi-FIRE began!
As you learned from James’ post, Digilent offers 63 Pmods! Each of those products has its own story of its conception and evolution. One of those products that had a very interesting beginning is the PmodLS1.
A few weeks ago while chatting with James (another intern) and Gene (our co-founder) we were discussing how the company began and how the board design process works. In this discussion we discovered that the Pmod LS1 has a beginning in education at Washington State University.
Have you ever had trouble separating your shields and boards? So did we, but not anymore! Use this shield separator tool to pry between your chipKIT or Arduino board and a shield to easily separate the two and avoid bending the pins on your shield. It also has a hole so you can keep it on your key ring and have it wherever you go. I designed the tool in Autodesk Inventor and printed it with our Makerbot Replicator, and it turned out great!
We have made a few posts showing off our 3D printers and some of the classes on 3D printing that we have done here at Digilent. Garrett Mace from macetech.com showed us some of the basics on how to use various 3D modeling software like AutoDesk Inventor, Autodesk 123D Design, OpenSCAD, MeshMixer, and SketchUp. Today, I’m going to introduce some of the basic modeling tools available in the free but robust Blender.
We are excited to announce the launch of our newest category on our website!
We’ve been making NI Academic Hardware for years and even sold a few on our website (although we had them stashed in multiple categories). We decided that NI week would be perfect timing–it’s an amazing event around the LabVIEW community, close to the start of the new Academic calendar and most importantly, our product development team had just released 4 brand new products targeted for NI Academic Hardware. We decided it was high time to create a special category for our parent company.