The Astro Pi in Space

For experiments to run in space, an Astro Pi board fitted with sensors and gadgets is a great way to begin. For this, school pupils in UK are being challenged to write apps for the tiny, inexpensive, single board computer, the Raspberry Pi or the RBPi. As Tim Peake readies for his rendezvous with the International Space Station in November 2015, the British Astronaut will carry with him two RBPis, fortified with Astro Pis. He will have six months to complete the experiments in space. Analyzing Read more [...]

Start Learning to Program the Arduino

Often, project builders are not sure of what they would like to build with their development boards. This happens mostly for two reasons – one, the user has just been introduced to the board and two, the user is unaware of the methods of interfacing and programming sensors, switches and other components. The second category of users is mostly those new to the world of development and in need of some hand-holding. A Starter Shield For these newcomers, Matt Wirth has proposed a Starter Shield Read more [...]

Happy Gecko MCU Only Sips Power

The EMF32 micro-controller series from Silicon Labs, apart from featuring a smart interface, is also ultra-low power and USB enabled. Going by the name of Happy Gecko, this micro-controller is based on the ARM Cortex M0+ core. It uses autonomous peripherals and an advanced system for managing energy usage. That keeps the total energy usage in most applications so low that the controller can source power comfortably for a year from energy-harvesting arrangements or from a single battery.With the CPU Read more [...]

Efficient Control of Motors at Low Speeds

When a motor is operating at high electrical frequency or high mechanical speed, the back EMF signal generated by the rotating rotor presents an efficient feedback technique for a sensor less motor control. However, generation of the back EMF requires a minimum frequency and that makes it difficult to control motors running at low speeds. The process of continuously estimating the rotor flux angle at zero and very low speeds, together with stably moving between low-speed and high-speed estimators Read more [...]

High Efficiency Hybrid Solar Cells

Normally, a modern silicon solar cell exhibits a maximum theoretical efficiency of about 33.7 percent. A majority of the sunlight falling on the solar cell – more than 66 percent – is not converted to electricity and is simply wasted in heating up the cell. Now, a new type of solar cells may be able to boost this efficiency to 95 percent or more. The University of Cambridge Cavendish Laboratories is researching on a new type of high-efficiency hybrid solar cell. The UK researchers are using Read more [...]

What is a Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi or RBPi, the fully functioning, tiny, single board computer costing next to nothing, has been a runaway success. However, a perennial question doing the rounds is - why would anyone want one when there is such a glut of PCs, tablets and smartphones? This article discusses the answer while exploring the RBPi doing real things. Why is the RBPi Special? Being an ARM-based single board computer, the RBPi, though unexceptional, is not particularly powerful. However, it is amazingly cheap Read more [...]

Silver Nanowire Conductors Improve Touchscreen Products

The next generation of flexible wearable devices is getting help from an unexpected quarter – the silver nanowire, which is proving to be cost-effective for producing touchscreen products. As wearables grow in popularity, designers struggle with offering flexible products. So far, notebooks and tablets needed to have tough, flat surfaces that were able to survive frequent wear and tear. Although designers have been largely successful in mastering this technology, wearable products pose a different Read more [...]

Focus Stacking with the Raspberry Pi

If you are into photography, a flatbed scanner and the popular single board computer, the Raspberry Pi or RBPi, can help you to focus stacking images in macro photography. After re-purposing an old flatbed scanner, David Hunt is using it as a macro-rail controlled by the SBC, RBPi. Those who shoot macro photography are aware of the common issue of depth of focus limitation that shows up as the depth of field limitation in the photograph. Depending on the magnification you are trying to achieve Read more [...]

Different Types of Interface Pressure Measurement Techniques

Precise measurement of interface pressure and force between two surfaces is always a challenge to engineers. However, several specific technologies exist for sensors dealing with interface force and pressure. Parameters such as form factor, precision and environment influence the selection and capabilities of such sensors. A variety of applications requires measurement of pressure. These range from product development to medical research. Typically, pressure is the measurement of applied force Read more [...]

Different Types of Feedback Encoders

All closed loop systems use feedback to control speed and or position. This plays an important role in keeping equipment operating accurately and smoothly. When using feedback for the best benefits in an application, it is important to understand how feedback works, because a variety of devices as well as models is available for the purpose. The most popular among them are tachometers, Hall sensors, encoders and resolvers. Tachometers Tachometers are rotating electromagnetic devices. Typically, Read more [...]