Digilent Inc.'sI/O Explorer board is a microcontroller-powered USB based input/output
expansion peripheral for PC computers. The I/O Explorer is useful for introductory
to intermediate programming classes to give students the ability to interact with
I/O devices outside of the PC.
USB Peripheral Devices
The I/O Explorer
provides RC servo connectors and a number of built-in I/O devices, such as switches,
push buttons, LEDs, rotary encoders and a speaker/buzzer. Also included are
Digilent Peripheral Module (PmodTM) connectors that allow access to and control
of devices external to the I/O Explorer. The board may be used either as a USB bus powered device or as a
self powered device. The board provides analog input channels and analog output
channels via on-board Analog to Digital (A/D) and Digital to Analog (D/A) converters.
There is also a Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART) interface
for asynchronous serial communications.
The I/O Explorer can also be used as a microcontroller development board. It
microcontrollers, one having USB device capability. All the user requires is a
programming cable or in-system debugger to load firmware into the microcontroller.
Digilent supplies the firmware images needed to restore the I/O Explorer to the
factory configuration as a USB peripheral device if it has been reprogrammed
with user defined firmware.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.