3D Printed eyeglasses, VR lenses

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Google Glass, Oculus Rift, head mounted displays are becoming a reality and the number of their users is on the rise. But have you ever heard of lenses made with a 3D printer? Well, all that was required is: a  CAD model, a 3D printer, and silicone mold material! Are they operational? Yes sir! An iPhone can even be attached to a homemade head mounted display (once again) to view 3D videos and images!

Via hackaday.com

Altium’s CircuitMaker saves the day for Max & Duane at ESC Minneapolis

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In a very interesting column on embedded.com, Max Maxfield explains the features of Altium’s circuit maker. Making several changes to one of his previous designs, he showcases the capabilities of the CircuitMaker. Those of you who are familiar with CircuitMaker will be happy to learn about the latest news related to the software. Altium proposes the latest and best version of its software for free. Provided that users make their designs open source. More information on Max’s take can be found in the link below.

Via embedded.com

Vintage BBC computer gets FPGA buddies

We still have some retro for the old-school enthusiasts. Many of you knew about the BBC Microcomputer System. It was an innovative machine created during the 1980s. It is possible to link the BBC Micro to an FPGA board, following specific designs, via a tube interface. You can find out more about the BBC Micro in the video, and find the detailed designs on the link below.

Via Hackaday

MYSTERY FPGA CIRCUIT FEELS THE PRESSURE

In order to interact with an FPGA board, a user usually presses a button. Is that the only way to interact? Not so sure. A video from Clifford Wolf shows us otherwise. It’s quite intriguing! The Verilog implements a simple ring oscillator (basically an inverter with its output tied to its input).

Via Hackaday

Learning Verilog for FPGAs: Flip Flops

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Creating an adder on Verilog and putting it into an FPGA board can be done in various ways: With or without clocks.  A very detailed and thorough tutorial explains how to use clocked elements to verify whether the adder has ever generated a carry as well as a few counters.

Using clocks avoids getting glitches and wrong outputs. The tutorial also shows how to build flip flops.

Via hackaday.com

Open source FPGA toolchain builds CPU

Ever wondered if you could run a J1a CPU on an FPGA using only open source hardware? This is possible using these three open source tools:

  • an Open Source Forth kernel, SwapForth
  • running on an Open Source CPU, the J1a
  • built using an entirely Open Source FPGA toolchain, IceStorm

When you develop software, you need some kind of toolchain. For example, to develop for an ARM processor, you need a suitable C compiler, a linker, a library, and a programmer. FPGAs use a similar set of tools. However, instead of converting source code to machine language, these tools map the intent of your source code into configuration of FPGA elements and the connections between them.

Via hackaday.com

ESP8266: Full Arduino support now! Use it like it’s an Arduino!

The ESP8266 microcontroller with onboard WiFiEveryone’s favorite WiFi chip now has Arduino IDE support. This means that you can connect an ESP8266 via a serial port and choose it as a board type in the Arduino IDE now. Make a sketch, click upload and you are in business with a less then $5 IoT device. Pretty nifty!

What’s supported by the build? The short answer is quite a lot — basic functions like pinMode, digitalRead and digitalWrite work as you’d expect. As do interrupts, and the millis and micros functions, and sensible things done to delay to take account of the background activity of WiFi and TCP tasks, and there is a Ticker library for calling functions with a certain cadence.