Hi, Jim. Cypress takes the plug-in approach with its PSoC products and Microchip offers PICtail plug-in modules for its dev boards. Other MCU and even uP vendors have similar modular approaches. Like you, I remember the days of the expensive boards. Companies with big budgets might not balk at costly dev kits, but entrepreneurs who have cool ideas can't afford them just to test a concept. --Jon
This is a nice step in the right direction; first, with respect to the modular approach for design flexibility, and second, the low, low prices! It wasn’t long a go (circa 2002) that evaluation boards for the popular OMAP processors from Texas Instruments ran into multiple thousands of dollars for only a single Eval-Kit. (OK, so, granted the OMAP is a uP, and we’re talking sensors here, but the cost difference is remarkable!) And the modular approach is a great help for development engineers also. Final product layout always risks last-minute revisions, due to performance degradation from shields and other variables not considered on the bench-boards. Kudos to Freescale for addressing these two points.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
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.