Educational and public participants will design a project or product for medical simulation (training) or a prototype medical device that performs a useful medical function and demonstrates technical abilities. The optional microMedic Application Idea Kit is an idea generator, and may be useful for creating the contest submittal. Parallax will host the microMedic discussion forum where participants may ask questions and share progress on their projects. Brought to you by U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, and Parallax Inc. Finished applications will be due July 31, 2013.
Now YOU have the opportunity to help others through your medical application invention! Using microcontrollers and sensors inventors and students will create medical applications and products for possible use in the healthcare industry, medical simulation training, and the battlefield.
Up to $25,000 in awards will be given away to winners of the contest. Students and the public are encouraged to participate. Free kits (100) will be given away to qualified participants on a first come first serve basis. Those who do not qualify for free kits will be able to purchase a kit online.
How to Participate
Steps to Participate:
Refer to the application and category suggestions for the contest to gather ideas.
Download the microMedic Contest Application Form, save it to your computer, and fill it out. Email a completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a contest number and request a free microMedic Application Idea Kit (limit one per person or team), if desired. Applications will be reviewed by a committee every two weeks, kits will ship to qualified applicants on the Wednesday following the review. The issuance of a Project Number represents a commitment on your behalf to submit a project in the contest. Participants under the age of 18 will also need to submit a Minor Liability Release Waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian.
Start creating your project.
Participate in the microMedic contest discussion forums hosted by Parallax, helping others and asking questions.
Send in completed project to email@example.com.
Attend optional awards ceremony if you are a winner in the contest.
Note: if you encounter difficulties using the Contest Application Form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Honorable mentions will be chosen in each of the following contest categories.
Most Creative Use of the microMedic Contest Kit
Best Integration of Fabrication (3D printing, CNC routing or machining, laser-cutting, shop tools)
Best Patient Application
Best Medical Tool or Device
Best Medical Training and Simulation Product
Best Wireless, Telemedicine or Robotic Application
This is not an exhaustive list. Please submit your application even if it falls outside this list of project suggestions. Judging will not occur per category. Each application will be judged relative to all other applications in its division.
Our good friends at Jameco just launched their Coaster Bot II: Robot Design Contest! You have to design a robot using a coaster (CD or DVD) as the development platform, or main body component. From there, anything goes. Design your CoasterBot with any function, shape or size. It may fly across the sky, swim under water or scale a mountain. It may shoot jelly beans, tie your shoes or peel potatoes. Your design will get awarded for creativity! Sounds like fun! Are you going to enter?
Judging Criteria: The coasterbot must include a coaster as the main body component and will be judged on the following criteria:
• 50% innovation and originality
• 50% ability to meet these three goals:
1. Navigate a space on its own
2. Avoid obstacles
3. Has at least one extra sensing system
How to Enter
No purchase necessary. To enter the contest, follow these two easy steps.
1.To register, simply send an email to email@example.com including your name, address, phone number and a brief description of your coaster bot by August 31, 2013.
2. Enter by submitting a photo and a video link (3 minute maximum) of your bot in action to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 31, 2013. The photo must be a close-up of your robot and the video must indicate the following:
• Where the coaster is located
• How the robot works
• How your entry meets the three goals: navigation, obstacle avoidance, extra sensing system
Jameco sells a basic CoasterBot Kit for $79.95, which may be used in the design, but you are encouraged to use any materials you see fit and add functionality and originality to your robot. Click here to view the kit and its parts.
• June 1 Contest begins. Designers may register and submit entries
• July 1 Registration ends at midnight
• Aug 31 Contest ends at midnight. No more entries accepted
• Oct 1 Winners notified by email and announced in the October Newsletter
• Oct 1 Prizes sent to winners
The bombings at the Boston Marathon were a human tragedy, with the deaths, hundreds physically injured, thousands psychologically affected, and an entire metropolitan area disrupted. They also served to illustrate the duality of technology.
For example, the suspects apparently used simple RF triggers to detonate the two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line. The circuit was apparently simple enough that any Nuts & Volts reader could assemble one in an afternoon with instruction from the Internet. That same communications technology has not only transformed how we interact and do business, but saves thousands of lives annually.
At least for the time being, the bombings have focused the public’s attention on the responsible use of technology. There are renewed discussions, for example, on policing the Internet. Should anyone be allowed to post the schematic of a remote detonator on the Internet? Should providers block such content, just as they do in other countries?
The Internet seems inherently different from a print publication, where censorship (editorship) is the norm. For example, within the past year, I rejected a manuscript from an overseas author that detailed how to use a cell phone for a remote trigger to an unspecified device. Sure, it could have been used to start a car, but I decided the potential for harm was too great. As print publications move online, does the role of editorship somehow change? Are there liability issues?
There is also a change in perception on the use of surveillance. A month before the bombings, the talk around Boston was of banning surveillance cameras from public places — whether fixed or on drones. Post bombing, the public sentiment seems to have shifted to allow drones and fixed cameras in all public areas for both deterrence and to assist in identifying suspects.
Digital imaging and Internet technologies were certainly instrumental in the eventual capture of the surviving suspect. There was the crowd-sourced effort to identify the two suspects based on a pool of uploaded images. There were also the amazing IR images of the suspect hiding in the boat that probably saved the arresting officers from injury.
Will every major city in the US move toward the approach exercised in London, where thousands of cameras cover every street in the city? Will we go even further and allow police drones free access to city streets and perhaps even outlying areas? It’s too soon to tell, but it’s certain that a technological response to the bombings is inevitable. At issue is how we — as a society — balance the duality of technology so that we both enjoy our freedom and have some degree of protection against those who might cause us harm. NV
In case you haven’t noticed, just about everything can be networked with embedded hardware. Take automobiles. Besides the obvious wireless connectivity for your cell phone and GPS, the brakes, headlights, wipers, radio, and transmission are all monitored, controlled, and connected by microcontrollers. At home, there’s a wireless monitor for humidity in my music room, with an alarm set to sound if humidity drops below 45%. There’s also a wireless network of smoke and CO detectors that sound at the first hint of a fire.
I’ve assumed for years the major cost of ubiquitous embedded system networks is low-level radiation from Wi-Fi hot spots and Bluetooth devices. That’s not the only cost, however. The problem with networked embedded systems — as they grow more powerful and more plentiful — is the potential for harm.
It’s one thing for a government to remotely destroy the equipment purportedly used to make nuclear weapons, and quite another for someone to change the setting on your IV drip while you’re in the hospital. Or, to cause your car’s anti-skid brake system to lock up as you accelerate to pass. Or, by someone who remotely shuts off the oxygen to your aircraft cabin. What if someone parked in a car outside your home or office could shut down your pacemaker?
The problem with malicious embedded system crashes is that they can result in physical crashes, as opposed to the soft crashes on a computer screen. Recognizing this, DARPA and other government agencies are funding research to develop means of automatically detecting and patching vulnerabilities in networked, embedded systems.
This is no small task. Think about the difficulty in handling malware on desktop computers. You have to first identify the malware with a program such as McAfee or Symantec. Then, you have to get rid of the malware and patch the corrupted software.
As you may have experienced first-hand, it’s rarely straightforward. I can recall having to format my hard drive and reinstall software at least once in the past few years because of malware I couldn’t remove by other means.
So, what are the practical implications of this reality? I suggest you consider the worst-case scenario. Let’s say everyone in your family has a tablet computer with GPS and video cameras. What could someone do with the location information and perhaps a few real time snapshots? Certainly, these would be an advantage to a would-be burglar.
What about that quadcopter you’ve been building, complete with waypoint software? What if, on your next flight, someone usurps your uplink, and they fly the quad into a moving car? Or, simply force it to land and take your investment with them?
For now, the operative term is vigilance. To my knowledge, there isn’t a standard ‘security ‘ library for the Arduino, Propeller chip, or other popular microcontroller capable of automatically identifying and eradicating malware. Of course, as with malware for the big iron, as soon as protection becomes standardized, the malware makers will adapt.
Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced it is accepting registrations for its 17th annual Worldwide MASTERs Conference at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, with the Main Conference taking place from August 21-24, and a Pre-Conference on August 19 and 20, 2013.
The MASTERs Conference is a valuable resource for designing with Microchip’s products that provides design engineers with an annual forum for sharing and exchanging technical information on the Company’s 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC® microcontrollers, high-performance analog and interface solutions, dsPIC® digital signal controllers, wireless and mTouch™ sensing solutions, memory products, and MPLAB® development systems—including the industry’s only singular IDE to support an entire 8-, 16- and 32-bit microcontroller portfolio.
MASTERs is an in-depth, bi-directional exchange of technical information between Microchip subject-matter experts and the Company’s technical partners, including customers, third parties, distributor FAEs and design partners.
There is a broad range of class offerings for 2013 to meet the growing needs of software and hardware design engineers and engineering managers, with more than 100 classes being offered—46 of which are new this year. In addition to lecture-based classes, there are 43 ‘hands-on’ classes that enable attendees to learn more about specific applications by using development tools and writing code in the classrooms. Classes are available for engineers with advanced experience or little knowledge in the concepts and basics of the technology being discussed.
Based on its overwhelming success at previous MASTERs, Microchip is again offering a two-day Pre-Conference for those who wish to attend as many classes as possible during the week. These classes are also designed for beginner through advanced attendees. For example, “Introduction to Embedded Programming Using C” is a two-day, 16-hour step-by-step crash course in C, with practical hands-on exercises.
MASTERs classes cover the gamut of electronic-engineering topics, including connectivity sessions on Ethernet, TCP/IP, USB, CAN and wireless (e.g., ZigBee® and Wi-Fi®), graphics and capacitive-touch interface development, intelligent power supplies, firmware development, motor control, selecting op-amps for sensor applications, using an RTOS, DSP and transmitting wireless audio using Bluetooth.
“Technical training courses specifically designed for embedded systems engineers are crucial to reducing development time,” said Ken Pye, Microchip’s vice president of worldwide applications. “It is critical that embedded engineers are trained in all aspects of the environments in which they work, and that they walk away with the valuable knowledge needed to solve today’s most challenging design issues. Our annual series of global MASTERs Conferences are offered with these goals in mind.”
Additional activities include networking sessions between third-party partners and attendees to discuss relevant design topics, meeting with third-party development tool experts and a simulated wafer fab plant tour. Extracurricular events include a robot race, the ‘build an electronic guitar’ event, a Texas Hold-em card tournament, a FIRST® robotics exhibition match, and sports-bar and video games that are suitable for the whole family.
Registration & Pricing Information
Entry to the MASTERs Conference courses, a USB Flash Drive with all class materials, round-trip airport transportation, and accommodations for three nights with meals, evening entertainment and more are included in the Conference cost of $1,695 USD. All payments are due within 30 days of registration. An Early-Bird discount of $170 off main pricing is available to those who register by May 10, 2013, and an Alumni discount of $339 off main pricing is available, along with many more discounts available at http://www.microchip.com/get/S02E. All potential attendees must register by August 5, 2013. Complete information regarding the MASTERs Conference can be found online at: http://www.microchip.com/get/S02E.
The Chipper Shield allows anyone with an Arduino or AVR programmer to easily program ATtiny chips. ATtiny chips are the core behind many projects that only need a few pins and cost a fraction of an Arduino ($1-4). With access to PWM and Analog pins ATtiny chips can take on any project in 8, 14 and 20 pin form factors.
Features of this shield include:
100% Arduino compatible
Program ATtiny 85/45/25/15/13 84/44/24 2313/4313 chips.
Debug your program with 2 LEDs and a broken out sensor port.
Compatible with either an Arduino board or AVR programmer
House sensors on the proto area of the board with access to broken out power and ground.
The RFduino runs Arduino code and can do everything an Arduino can, plus much more. Using the RFduino USB shield, simply plug the RFduino into a USB port of any computer and use the Arduino IDE to load your Arduino sketch, which automatically begins running on the RFduino. Then you can detach the RFduino USB shield and plug the RFduino directly into your project.
The RFduino has Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy built-in, which enables it to wirelessly talk to any smartphone that has Bluetooth 4.0.
Currently we have several open source apps built for the iPhone which were used in our demos. Open source Android apps are next.
The RFduino has a Nordic 32 bit ARM Cortex-M0 processor, so it has more power then the UNO, however it still runs the same, simple Arduino code the UNO runs, so there is no need to learn any new programming language or environment. Your standard Arduino sketches run on the RFduino.
The RFduino GPIO lines all support, Digital IO, Analog ADC, SPI, I2C, UART and PWM. There are 7 GPIO and fully software selectable and can be remapped as you wish.
The RFduino is similar to the Arduino UNO or DUE, except the RFduino is a fraction of the cost and size, in addition has wireless smartphone connectivity built-in!
Up to now, adding wireless to an Arduino required an additional wireless shield which adds cost and size. The RFduino has wireless built-in, so there is no need for an additional wireless shield.
The ultra small, finger-tip size board shown in video cover picture above has been put into an easy to use DIP form factor with 0.100" (2.54mm) pins, so it easily plugs directly into your solderless breadbords.
$5K goal met within the 1st day!
$10k stretch goal met within 2 days! (Added Backer chosen shield.)
$20k strech goal met within 4 days! (Added 2nd Backer chosen shield.)
Kickstart Your Project Okay. You’ve invented the perfect mouse control device. Let’s say it senses a rodent’s heat signature and sterilizes the critter — otherwise unharmed — with a blast of radiation from a cavity magnetron. Your prototype is based on a repurposed microwave oven, a PIR sensor, and an Arduino microcontroller which seems to do the job. If only you had, say, $50K for parts and printed circuit board (PCB) design and fabrication, you could produce a few hundred units and just maybe change the world.
Problem is, $50K is too little to interest a venture capitalist, too much to put on your credit cards, and too much to borrow from the bank. If you’re motivated, have a clear vision for your product, and have a good handle on production cost, then there’s another, relatively risk-free option: Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com).
Basically, it’s an eBay for DIY funding in which you pitch your product plan to the world. Anyone or any company can back your project. The cost is 5% of the funding, but only if the project is fully funded. Unlike a venture capitalist or silent partner, you get to keep all of the intellectual property.
I recently backed a Kickstarter project that transforms a smartphone into a realtime IR camera. Sure, I could just buy a more expensive stand-alone unit off the shelf and not worry about warranty, customer support, or wonder if the designer will be around in two years, but that isn’t the point. It’s fun to support someone’s dream and — at least vicariously — be part of the action.
Back to your dream. Let’s say you need that $50,000 to produce 100 mouse control units at $500 each. As on eBay, you set up an account so that you can get paid. You’ve got to describe your project (including a video or at least photos) and set up categories of backing. Support isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.
Typically, the first level of support is a thank you email for a pledge of $1. At, say, $25, a backer receives an official project t-shirt. At $100, you might offer a bare-bones PCB with full schematic and instructions.
At $250, you might offer an unassembled kit with all the parts. A pledge of $500 gets you the full product (shipping extra). A pledge of $750 gets one of 10 custom units, in dusty blue, signed by you.
At $1,200, you offer to hand deliver and install a unit at the customer’s site.
You can use Kickstart to fund just about any reasonable project. I’ve seen projects ranging from $1,500 to use drones to search for Sasquatch to $120,000 for a speaker system, to $7,000 for a ghost detector that plugs into an iPhone. I’ve seen projects funded at up to 1,500% over target. For their 5% cut, Kickstart hosts your product website and handles the financial transactions.
In addition to raising money to pay for your dreams, Kickstart is a great test marketing tool. Let’s say that after 30 days your rodent control device has only $3 in pledges. That’s great marketing feedback for a relatively small investment in time and effort.
Perhaps you can redesign the unit so that you can offer it at, say, $200. Or, perhaps you need to invest time in making a quality video that will attract more backers.
Even if you opt to bypass the funding and mortgage your home, the Kickstart site is worth visiting and studying. Take a look at what’s selling and what isn’t.
Most importantly, study the how-to guides on how to put together a killer video, how to put the best marketing spin on your DIY project, and how to plan for the details that tend to fall through the cracks — such as the hidden cost of bubble mailers.
Finally, be careful for what you wish for. If you find you project funded at 300%, then you’d better have time (and space) to build a few hundred of those mouse control units. NV
This simple circuit allows you to use your oscilloscope as a Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR). This is how it works. Send a pulse down a cable and watch for the reflection. Most people think a TDR is more complicated than this. Your oscilloscope is used to sample and view the reflected waveform. In this circuit we use the 74HC4040 counter to create the length of the pulse we will send down the cable. Build this inexpensive circuit and now you will have a TDR.
Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, and Digilent®, Inc., today announced the jointly developed chipKIT™ uC32™ open-source development platform, which is based on Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller, as well as the chipKIT Wi-Fi® Shield. Digilent’s chipKIT uC32 development board has the same form factor as their chipKIT Uno32™ board, with the addition of larger memory (512 KB Flash and up to 32 KB RAM).
The uC32 board provides a single, general-purpose development platform for users to create a wide range of 32-bit MCU-based applications using the free, Arduino™ compatible chipKIT IDE—called the Multi-Platform IDE, or “MPIDE.” Digilent’s chipKIT Wi-Fi Shield enables users to implement wireless projects with the chipKIT line of microcontroller boards, such as the new uC32, or existing Uno32 and Max32™ boards.
In honor of National Engineer’s Week, Newark is offering the uC32 in a discounted bundle with the chipKIT Basic I/O Shield and PICkit™ 3 In-Circuit Debugger for $84.85—a 30% savings. This “chipKIT Educational Starter Pack” bundle is available now through March 16 at http://www.microchip.com/get/CQGG.
IR sensors, batteries, electric fence indicators, datasheet errors, dial lamp modifications, garage door lights, intercom systems, DC-to-DC regulators, and high voltage regulators are discussed. Read More...