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EETE FEBRUARY 2013

Reader O f f er Three robot building kits to win: make your own robots This month, Multiplo is giving away three Robot Building Kits, worth USD 239 each, for EETimes Europe’s readers to win. The ‘N8 Robot kit’ developed by Multiplo, is a low-cost, Arduino software and open hardware kit with plenty of documentation and all the pieces needed to design and prototype your own fully-functional robots. Beginners with no experience can follow the tutorials and examples while more experienced users can create their own designs. Users can program with Arduino software but unexperienced programmers can also try with Minibloq, a really intuitive graphical programming environment that is fully compatible with Arduino. Multiplo is based on a mathematical model that keeps each part compatible with the others. The basic principle is that all parts can be reproduced with simple tools. All C.A.D. files are available in a public repository for advanced users to design their own parts. All boards and sensors that come with the N8 Robot kit are simple to configure, their datasheets and blueprints can be downloaded and edited (under open source based license). Check the reader offer online at www.electronics-eetimes.com Sensor interface IC facilitates implementation of gesture recognition applications The MLX75030 from Melexis is a universal active light sensor interface designed to allow easy implementation of robust multichannel, close range optical sensing systems into difficult operational environments. The MLX75030 incorporates four independent simultaneously operating light measurement channels; two taking care of reflection and the other two for ambient light measurement. The Melexis chip features two active light reflection measurement channels with integrated ambient light suppression. The active light sensing section is complemented by two logarithmic current sensors which can measure the photocurrent signal from externally connected photodiodes for ambient light sensing. Internal control logic, configurable user registers and SPI communication enable simple, programmable operation. The optical light intensity of both active light channels can be used to detect proximity of an object close to the detectors, independent from the background light level. Human gestures (such as swipes or zooms) can then be determined by use of software algorithms. HMI response times of 30 frames/sec are supported. The MLX75030 is offered in a 4x4mm, 24-pin surface mount QFN package, or as a bare die. Versions supporting both standard 0°C to 70°C and extended - 40°C to 105°C operational temperature ranges are available. Melexis www.melexis.com Tire sensors detect vehicle weight Automotive supplier Continental will expand the scope of its tire pressure sensors. Continental is currently developing a generation of pressure sensors that are smart enough to determine the total weight of the vehicle. For the automatic load detection system, the engineers take advantage of the physical properties of vehicle tires. The contact patch of the tire increases as a result of the weight bearing down on the tire. With the future generation of sensors, which will be fitted directly underneath the tread of the tire, the tire pressure monitoring system can accurately detect the size of this contact area. With the revolutions of the wheel, the associated pressure sensor registers the rolling characteristics of the tire on the road. Based on the existing tire pressure and precise data about characteristics of the tires fitted, the system is able to inform the driver after just a few hundred meters if a change in tire pressure would be appropriate for the current payload. This kind of load detection also can be used as the basis for new assistance systems. Systems such as Electronic Stability Control, Emergency Steer Assist or Autonomous Emergency Braking Assistant can take the actual vehicle weight into account and thus achieve better results. Continental www.conti-online.com SmartFusion starter kit with breadboard and smartphone access Microsemi has launched a Starter Kit for its SmartFusion 2 FPGA, providing designers with a basic prototyping platform that includes a breadboard area for custom interfaces. Accessible via a smartphone, the Kit supports industry-standard interfaces including Ethernet, USB, SPI, I2C and UART and includes a comprehensive breadboard to support unique design requirements. The kit can be used with Microsemi’s Libero SoC v11.0 beta software, which includes a free Libero Gold license and comes preloaded with a uClinux demo. By using the included USB WiFi adapter, the kit has support for RaLink 5370 USB wireless radios, allowing uClinux to setup a wireless access point that serves DHCP WiFi connections. Users can start a HTTPD server and then access the SmartFusion2 device via a smart phone web browser or other wireless device. Emcraft Systems’ Linux-based development environment is also supported. The SmartFusion2 device is available on an Emcraft Systems miniature (34x59mm) mezzanine form factor system-on-module (M2S-SOM), which connects to the SOM-BSB-EXT baseboard. The kit is USB powered, includes FlashPro4 programming and features the SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA in the FG896 package (M2S050TFG896ES) with a USB based Wi-Fi module, 64MB of LPDDR system memory and 16MB of SPI flash memory. Microsemi www.microsemi.com 46 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEBRUARY 2013
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