Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Asteroids Rediscovered

Well, I am very sure that all of you must have played the very popular game by Atari which was named as Asteroids. If you haven’t played one in an arcade you owe it to yourself to do it, because they look like nothing else. The phosphor artefacts are trippy and beautiful. The only problem with these was they used to get driven like a analog oscilloscope which deflects the electron gun to a certain spot on the screen at a very fast rate so that the output seems continuous. They used a Xilinx Spartan-3E FPGA on a Nexys2 dev board which was programmed to be the vector generator, and a DAC/Amplifier board was designed to sling the beam around at 20 MHz and 12-bit resolution. First thing they did was get a cube to display on the scope. After tweaking around they managed to wrote a rasterizer and to display patron saint of Bed Stuy on the screen. Continue reading

Controllerless Pong using an FPGA

Remember the ever-popular pong? I would say your childhood is totally boring if you haven’t tried one these ball paddling games. It came in various forms like handhelds and even  arcades with power ranger robots holding paddles – the running concept stayed the same through the years, if you can’t send the ball back then you lose. This project from Cornell is a bit different from the pongs that we have seen so far – it freakin detects hand movements and translates those hand movements into paddle movement – your like controlling the freakin paddle with you Jedi powers 🙂 gesture detection was attained though skin recognition which is processed in a Field Programmable Gate Array or FPGA from Altera. The project is built upon the idea that  skin-detection, centroid computation, ball control and sound generation processes are done in parallel so that efficiency is attained. The hand movements are captured through a HTC 231x CCD camera while the game itself is displayed on a VGA monitor – and everything is processed in a single FPGA! Continue reading

Altera DE2 Ball Game

People at the Cornell University have made a two-player based game on real time edge-detection. The game is played by controlling the switches and the keys on the development board used. Initially, Player 1 draw’s an arbitrary number of straight lines in any fashion.  The aim is to move the ball to its destination. For controlling the motion of the ball, a fixed impulse has to be applied at any arbitrary angle. The number of impulses a player take will be recorded and then displayed on a multiplexed seven segment display. The design was implemented on a CYCLONE II FPGA on an Altera DE2 development board. The concepts used are of embedded systems as well as SOC popularly known as system on chip. The system-on-programmable-chip (SOPC) has a video decoder to acquire video input from the camera. The Video Input and Gray scale module converts the input video to a gray scale image. The gray scale image is passed through the Edge Detection Accelerator in the SOPC to generate the game map. Continue reading

Nixie speedometer looks perfect on vintage truck

Luke Miller have purchased a vintage pickup truck and decided to add some electronics in to it. So he came up with idea of adding a Nixie tube based speedometer. Instead of using trucks cables and other sensors he used a GPS receiver for measuring speed. This way device came out to be universal that may be used in any car if you wish. Nixie display tubes require pretty high voltage to be driven. For this there is a DC voltage converter used. Tube segments are driven using K155ID1 drivers that are specially designed for this purpose. To access GPS signals, there is a PmodGPS receiver used. All that fun is controlled by Basys2 Spartan-3E FPGA board. GPS module sends data stream via USART that can be captured and decoded. The only one thing is needed is speed data. Via trial and error method the data was decoded (seems that documentation of GPS receiver is scarce). A simple look-up table helped to convert kph in to mph. Since truck doesn’t exceed the 99mph there are two Nixie tubes used. If… Continue reading

Real-time Upper Body Motion Tracking System on an Altera DE2

This project is from cornell.edu which makes use of skin detection on an Altera D2 development board to track upper body movements. Body movements is captured using a camera in a form of streams – the streams then gets filtered and averaged, after then will be stored on a down-sampled memory block – the down sampled memory block will minimize the space requirement of the original stream (a portion of the stream would be enough to detect motion). The Altera D2 has a Altera Cyclone® II 2C35 FPGA that uses the down sampled frames to compute for the position of the head, chest and arms. The computed information is then used to construct a 3D robot (ooh yes its a robot!) which is displayed on a VGA screen. The 3D robot is made out of many 3D boxes – head, body and arms. The projection also change depending on the users view of the capturing camera – this is to give the robot a more realistic feel. Continue reading

MiniSpartan6 – affordable FPGA board

MiniSpartan6 FPGA board

FPGA is specific device that packs lots of power when used properly. They aren’t meant for general purpose use, but rather to do more specialized high resource demanding tasks like image, signal processing. If you see real potential of FPGA then give it a try. If you look for small and affordable FPGA development board – miniSpartan6 might fit your starting needs. It is built using Spartan 6 FPGA chip from Xlink. Board comes with JTAG programmer which uses FT2232D chip for USB connection. Also you will find 32MB of RAM and 8MB of SPI flash memory. There are 36 programmable I/Os where already 8 LEDs and 4 DIP switches are connected for fast start. Continue reading