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

How engineers play strategic games

If you are a fan of strategic games you know that there are lots of things you can do with hot keys. Using them allows doing things quicker and be ahead other players. Andreas started playing StarCraft 2 and found out that using hotkeys on regular keyboard isn’t very convenient. Instead of struggling he came out with his own version of gaming keyboard. First of all he picked a bunch of keys from old computer keyboard and then designed a PCB for new layout. Then he squeezed needed keys into 3D printed case. Once mechanic part was done, then came electronics. As AVR fan Andreas picked a nAtmega8U2 microcontroller which is supported by LUFA USB framework. All he had to do is to edit a little Keyboard Demo program to map the right keys. Building this keyboard was quite fun and so playing using it. Continue reading

Simply print firmware in to microcontroller

flash AVR by printing

This sounds crazy at first glance, but when you start looking at this, it sounds obvious and logical way. Dean Camera, who is creator of famous LUFA project decided to refresh his enthusiasm to developing by making bootloader based on printing. The idea of this is to flash AVR microcontroller by simply printing hex file like you would print it on paper. The trick was to write a bootloader which would be seen as USB printer device. So PC using standard drivers would accept it. Luckily windows already comes with “generic Text-Only” printer driver which deals nicely with text files. All is left is to print hex file to device. Bootloader runs Intel HEX parser which takes data to be written to flash memory. From one side this seems to be funny approach, but in other hand it can be really practical way. Drivers are all there and no special hardware is needed. Why not? Continue reading