Posts Tagged ‘electronics’

Silicon ReSEMblance

Every year, the UIUC chapter of ACM has an student-run conference called Reflections|Projections . One (rather excellent) speaker at the 2013 conference was the well-spoken (and wickedly-smart) Todd Fernandez , who spoke about the state of the semiconductor integrated circuit industry. As a nice bonus for those brave souls who asked, or answered, a question during his talk, he was giving out junked silicon wafers. Not being much of a brave soul myself, but realizing that the wafer would make for an awesome sample in our now-functioning Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), I answered a question about Moore’s Law and scored a wafer.

img_0007

Here’s a picture of a similar wafer we had on hand (Not the one we put in the SEM. We shattered that one.)

Saving you a trip to Wikipedia: the wafers are slices of an impressively large and pure single crystal of silicon (known as a boule) on which semiconductor devices (such as transistors) are fabricated. These devices are usually incredibly tiny and incredibly numerous.

What happens after that is that the SEM rasters a beam of electrons across the surface of the wafer sample and, in this particular case, utilizes its ability to detect secondary electrons kicked off the wafer by the beam. Because the surface is the important part and because the SEM’s resolution is so amazing, before we mounted the sample, we had to sterilize it in an acetone bath suspended in the space’s ultrasonic cleaner.

 

Now the cool part. Because, if you look at the picture below, you can easily see leads on the wafer that are 4 microns in width (and resolve gaps between the leads that are 2 microns wide). For reference’s sake, the diameter of a human hair is given as 100 microns on average. And that is awesome.

sem003

Many thanks to the exceptional Ryan Pierce, who helped me with this every step of the way.

 

-Jerry Lebedowych

22

11 2013

NERP Tonight: Big Blinkies

Tonight at NERP, Yours Truly will show a couple of ways to interface from low level logic to 120VAC to control lights, motors, etc.

It’s well understood that small microprocessors have very little power available on their output pins. A load controlled by the processor can be AC or DC, and low or high voltage. The interface circuit has to amplify the logic level signal to the appropriate power for the load.  An unusual method (Ok, it’s a hack) for controlling 120VAC light dimmers involves adding a photocell to a commercial wall dimmer, and coupling the photocell to the processor via a PWM’ed LED. (This method of interfacing involves working with dangerous voltages and currents. It is presented for demonstration purposes, only. Don’t try this at home. Or do. It’s your choice.) A simpler method of interfacing to 120VAC uses solid state relays for on-off control. We’ll see SSR’s  used for making a big blinky for large lamps.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Nov. 18, 2013 NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14

18

11 2013

NERP Tonight: Ste on the Launchpad

Tonight at NERP, Ste Kulov will introduce the MSP430 line of microcontrollers from Texas Instruments. His talk will focus on using the MSP-EXP430G2 Launchpad kit.

The MSP product line from Texas Instruments contains an extensive variety of microcontrollers varying in size, peripherals, etc. MSP microcontrollers are know for being 16-bit, very low power, feature-rich, and low-priced. The development boards are called Launchpads. Open source software for developing on Launchpads has been scarce and not condoned by TI. This is changing however as TI has joined the msp-gcc project in collaboration with Redhat. One outcome to date is the energia development tools, which are a fork of the Arduino tools.

http://energia.nu/Guide_MSP430LaunchPad.html (see the pix of Launchpads)

Here’s what Ste says he’s likely to cover. (It’s a lot, so we may run a little over time).

1.) Talk about the MSP-EXP430G2 Launchpad kit and what comes with it.

2.) Very brief overview of Energia, which is software that turns your Launchpad into an Arduino.

3.) Introduce Code Composer Studio, which is the official software used for most Texas Instruments software development.

4.) Basic Boolean algebra review.

5.) Go over simple tasks such as setting, clearing, and toggling bits.

6.) Run a simple “Hello World” LED blink program.

7.) Run through the project I had to create for my job.  It uses Timers, Interrupts, and the Low Power modes.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm Nov. 4, 2013 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14

04

11 2013

NERP: Implementing MIL-STD-1553 with 3 Beagles

Tonight Trefor Delve will present a distributed simulation development making use of three Beagle Bone Blacks as part of the network. The simulation is used as a proof of concept for a general purpose, configurable simulation platform making using of public domain software.

Mil1553_timingMIL Standard 1553 bus timing [wikipedia]

The presentation will introduce the principles of the MIL Standard 1553 data bus, show a simulation with simulated hardware and demonstrate the same software running on distributed Beagle computers making use of the Beagle’s ADC, PWM and SPI interfaces.

The presentation will also demonstrate the use of the QT widget set to allow remote virtual hardware to interact with the Beagle simulation.

The presentation will demonstrate the setup of the ADC, PWM and SPI interfaces using the system capabilities.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm Oct., 7, 201313 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14

07

10 2013

NERP tonight — 5400 seconds of Fame!

It’s Open Mic Night at NERP! Bring your comments, suggestions, questions, works in progress, etc. to NERP (not exclusively Raspberry Pi), the small and embedded computer interest group at Pumping Station:One. Tell us what you’re working on, show a demo, or get feedback, or maybe even ideas!

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm 9-23-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14

 

23

09 2013

Giant Coil Sculpture at Hyde Park Art Center

 

Coil-in-Shop

You may have seen me (with amazing help from Madeleine Klichowski, Dan Locks, Matt Triano, and Pipefitter Dave) hard at work on some very curious looking objects (like a giant coil) in the shop and electronics lab. Well, finally, we’re done– it’s new kinetic sculpture and it’s now installed at the Hyde Park Art Center, for a group show opening Saturday, Aug 10, with a reception from 3-5pm.

2013-08-06 11.02.25 Red Ball Install

 

The show will also feature a 10 foot wide version of Red Rubber Bands (pictured below in smaller form). The new version looks AWESOME (and I’ll be sharing photos as soon as I get them).

RRB 1697 opp

Even more fun, Maker Camp interviewed me about the sculptures this week. (Also participating, circuit bender Patrick McCarthy.)

YouTube Preview Image

So, if you’re around Hyde Park tomorrow, please stop by the reception from 3-5pm. Or come check it out any time during normal gallery hours til September 21, when we’ll close the show with a public critique.

(If you’d like more info on my sculpture, check out my website.)

Cheers!

Jesse Seay

 

09

08 2013

NERP Tonight: QT and Steppers

NERP Tonight: QT and Steppers

 

Tonight at NERP, we’ll have a show and tell about the PS:1 entry in the Element14 hackerspace challenge.(http://www.element14.com/community/community/knode/single-board_computers/next-gen_beaglebone/blog/2013/06/12/beaglebone-black–the-2013-hackerspace-challenge/)We’ll highlight use of the QT framework and gui tools on the Beagle Bone Black to run the stepper motors on the pick and place machine. There are always challenges in getting a new platform up. One challenge has been resolving version problems with the QT3 to QT4 transition on ARM. We’ll find out how that’s going. Also we’ll also have a tour of the system’s Z- and θ- axes mechanism and find out what the test results were on using some very small stepper motors to drive the head. As a bit of improvisational comedy, some of the tests will be done live during NERP! Yow!

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

 

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm 7-15-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

 

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14

 

 

15

07 2013

NERP: Retro DOS Gaming on the Raspberry Pi, and a Hackerspace Challenge Update

Tonight at NERP,  Jay Hopkins will show us some how to set up an MSDOS emulator and use it to run 8-bit games. Bleep.

Ed will talk about the status of PS:1’s project for the Element14 Hackerspace challenge. While amusing, entertaining, and informative, the update will also be a pitch for anyone who is interested in the technologies to help PS:1 compete for the big prize.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.
Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm 7-1-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

01

07 2013

Programming in Erlang -plus- Making an Xbox Media Center on the Raspberry Pi

Tonight at NERP, we’ll have two presentations.

Brian Chamberlan will tell us about using Erlang to program/control the RaspberryPI/BeagleBone. Erlang is a functional, general-purpose concurrent, programming language and runtime system. Erlang provides language-level features for creating and managing processes with the aim of simplifying concurrent programming. Processes communicate using message passing instead of shared variables, which removes the need for locks. [paraphrased from wikipedia]

Michael Beck will show us how to set up Xbox Media Center, XBMC on the Raspberry Pi. Pretty much every possible mode of interacting with a digital media stream is supported by XBMC. The Raspberry Pi’s excellent (but proprietary) video rendering hardware makes it an ideal platform for building a home media center.

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group atPumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets at 7pm 6-17-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

17

06 2013

Raspberry Pi Video Camera, BoneScript on the Beagle

Raspberry Pi Video Camera, BoneScript on the Beagle
NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group atPumping Station:One in Chicago.

We’ve been wondering what it’s like to work with the new Raspberry Pi camera module. Tonight we’re in luck. Craig LeMoyne has a Raspberry Pi project he’ll show us tonight. In his words:

“I have an RPi Model A in my basement running Apache2 and taking pictures
using the new Camera Module every few seconds of a wet area that I *hopefully* managed to patch. It is good fun, and I can also do timelapse video from the pictures. The Pi will even compile the timelapse for me!”

Drew Fustini will introduce us to programming the Beagle Bone Black in BoneScript.
I’ve been saying for years that Javascript would be the next hot language for microcontrollers – maybe it’s true. From beagleboard.org/Support/BoneScript

“BoneScript is a node.js-based language specifically optimized for the Beagle family and featuring familiar Arduino function calls, exported to the browser. Get started exploring the BoneScript Library to discover the great simplicity that is made possible by utilizing Linux in BoneScript.”

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com…
and http://pumpingstation…

NERP meets at 7pm 6-3-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics . com

03

06 2013