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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Making an Open Source Hardware device and need a USB VID/PID but can’t afford $5K? Well now there is a new option for getting your own PID for free!
Now, someone has finally done the sensible thing and put an unused USB VID to work. pid.codes obtained the rights to a single VID – 0x1209 – and now they’re parceling off all the PIDs that remain to open source hardware projects.
Everyone’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.