Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PSoC 5 Design Challenge

Here is yet another design contest:

Cypress Semiconductor announced the ARM Cortex-M3/ PSoC 5 Design Challenge, a contest to find the most innovative and useful designs from the millions of possibilities available to designers using the Cypress PSoC 5 architecture powered by the ARM Cortex-M3 processor. The contest is presented in conjunction with EE Times and ARM with the Grand Prize to be awarded in May, 2011. A total of over $10,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded throughout the contest, including the $2,500 Grand Prize. More information, including how to enter the contest and how to become a judge, as well as lively interaction from participants and the engineering community is available here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sceptre library update

The December issue of Elektor (now on sale) includes a 32-page supplement dedicated to microcontroller projects. In this supplement you will find two articles related to the Sceptre.

First of all there is a 4-page article about Oberon-07, a high-level PASCAL-like programming language, but object oriented. If you know MODULA-2 you will quickly find your marks, if you don't, well then it is pretty straightforward too. Oberon-07 has special features for microcontroller programming. It is f.i. very simple to manipulate bits and registers. Oberon-07 compiles very quickly in very efficient code. The Astrobe IDE makes things even easier thanks to its many libraries and comfy editing options. Serial comms, I2C, math & strings, and much more, it is all ready for you. Go check it out.

The second Sceptre article presents an extension card with a Nokia 6100 mobile phone color LCD, a Blackberry trackball and a 16 Mbit flash memory chip on it. All is controlled over an SPI bus, so the card doesn't use a lot of the Sceptre's I/O. Thanks to a nice open-source driver it is easily possible to display images at a framerate of more than 10 per second!

The fun thing of this card is that it doubles as a universal Arduino shield adapter for the Sceptre. A 16-bit I/O expander from Microchip together with some more Sceptre GPIO make the Sceptre compatible with an Arduino. You can now simply plug an Arduino shield on the Sceptre and use it. As there are many shields available, this unlocks a huge playground for Sceptre enthusiasts.

CAD (Eagle) files and software for this project are freely available together with a library update for the Sceptre. New functions (f.i. RFID), new examples (including a real MIDI file player!) and improved modules (better Bluetooth) make new applications easier. Go get your download here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Renesas RX Design Contest

The Design Contest seems to be the new weapon of choice for microcontroller manufacturers to get attention for their products. NXP is currently running the mbed Design Challenge and two weeks ago Renesas announced their RX Design Contest. Over $110,000 worth of prizes will be distributed amongst the participants.

The Design Contest is also a good way for electronics enthusiasts to get a nice piece of hardware for free. NXP is handing out LPC1768 Cortex-M3 mbed modules for free and the first 1,000 participants of the Renesas contest get a complimentary RX62NRDK development board.

This board supports most flavors of USB, has a color graphics display, LEDs, buttons, SD-card connector and whatever you may need in a project. Random particpants will also get a full licence for Micrium uC/Probe together with the book uC/OS-III RTOS for the Renesas RX.

The contest finalists will be announced on March 13, 2011. The final judging will be at the ESC in San Jose, California on May 3, 2011.

(See also here and here for other contests.)