All you need to know about frequency counters and building one

Andy Brown was working with embedded project where he needed to test oscillator accuracy. The first thought was to grab frequency counter on eBay and continue working. Bus somehow he ended up building his own counter with great characteristics and Android connectivity. He used FPGA to do the counting. FPGA is faster comparing to MCU. Its hardware like nature and parallel operations allow reacting to incoming signals much faster than MCU would do. He included STM32 microcontroller in his built to take care of logging and connectivity with external world. His frequency counter is able to precisely measure frequencies up …

Enter contest with your FPGA based POV

Pyroelectro announced that they started contest on building FPGA or CPLD based POV (Persistence Of Vision). There are plenty of microcontroller driven POV displays, clocks and 3D sculptures. FPGA’s can also be successfully used to build various types of POV’s. Give a try and win prize (Basys2 Spartan-3E FPGA board). Submit your entry to contests@pyroelectro.com with the subject line “PyroElectro POV Contest.” Your entry must contain two photos of the device – one of its components in a well-lit environment and one of it in action in a darkened environment – as well as a circuit diagram and the VHDL …

Cheaper FPGA boards are getting closer

Michael Dunn have done a research on FPGA boards available for less than $100. We all know that hobby market is always looking for low price hardware to do amazing projects. We already have almost free microcontroller boards including 8-bit and 32-bit ARM. FPGA always were was behind barrier. Not things seems to changing. Today you can get quit several FPGA boards for your projects that are under $100 limit. You can find boards from Altera, Cypress, Lattice, Microsemi, Xilink and even more that aren’t listed. The lowest price you can find is like $4 for PSoC 4 FPGA board …

Bus Pirate ported to FPGA

Original Bus Pirate is a great tool for hacking, testing and programming things. It’s an universal serial interface board developed by Dangerous Prototypes. It is based on PIC24 microcontroller, FT232RL for USB interface and other parts to make it flexible. Eventually there has been a port of Bus Pirate to FPGA made by enthusiast from ultra-embedded. Core functionality is running on soft AltOR32 OpenRISC CPU inside Xilinx XC6SLX9 running at 48MHz. It has 1.1 USB, SPI and basic GPIO functions available. Since most of work is done inside FPGA there are even fewer components on board. The board was designed …

Tetris in Real Life

All of you must have played a very famous game know as Tetris. This review is about ‘myTetris’ which is a giant (~6ft tall) physical version of Tetris developed by National Instruments. It features a grid of 10×20 RGb leds along with myRio. For those who don’t know myRio is an embedded hardware device designed specifically to help students design real, complex engineering systems more quickly and affordably than ever before. It has a dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 real-time processing and Xilinx FPGA customizable I/O all in a single board. The game can be played using any browser including those of …

Small autonomous quad drone does some powerful processing

Quad copters are available everywhere. You can get any entry level drone for cheap but still they are fun to play. Once you’re done with simple flying and observing you start to want more. This is where real fun begins. Some focus on adding more sensors and programming complex flight plans, other try to make a collaborative swarm of drones and even more. But most crazy ideas are born at universities. Check out an interesting project developed by Aeronoutics and Astronautics department student from Tokyo. Drone is equipped with all standard quad rotor equipment like 3 axis accelerometer, gyros, compass. …