I couldn't agree more - development kits are a great way to gain familiarity with a specific product or product family. I have utilized microchip kits in the past and using their online tools and their MPLab IDE for some design work and it really gave me a great jumpstart since I was not familiar with their specific microcontrollers at that time. This promises to be a great series!
I agree with you Nancy, develop kits are a great way to become familiar with specific technology. I have a couple and really enjoy them. Several designers I know would use them as their somewhat prototype before selecting the final microprocessor or FPGA.
You make an excellent point, gsmith120 - they are a great way to narrow down your design choices and make a final selection! Much better than blindly picking one according to spec sheets without having any real world experience. Thanks for pointing that out!
Thanks Richard for this blog I would love to attend the live online class but due to a schedule conflict I will have to get it as an archive. It comes at a good time because I'm in the process of selecting a development kit for one of my new designs.
Kind of off subject but maybe someone will blog about Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs). I read about them many years ago when I worked for a major corporation but couldn't get much interest from my co-workers. Maybe because most were digital designers however I like and do design both analog and digital circuits so I was/am very interested in this technology. Now that I'm working for myself and developing new products I've decided to incorporate one in my new design idea and maybe as a part of the research I will do to get my PhD.
I use them all the time, they're cheap and most times have enough breadboard area to get a circuit into to. Sometimes I don't even reuse them, just wire them up for a prototype and leave them in the cabinet if the design ever needs to be revisited.
I teach a Microprocessor class at ITT Tech and have explained to my class the benefit behind these Development kits for rapid prototyping new product concepts and features. I continued to use them in my engineerng design projects to prove technical feasibility and to demonstrate the lastest in microcontroller and semiconductor technologies to Product Managers.
The development-kit seminars in the Digi-Key Continuing Education program remain archived for anyone to view any time. You can download the PowerPoint slides and listen to the audio. Many interesting questions and answers for each session, too.
Hi Jon, thanks for the link. This continued education series helps busy engineers maintain existing skills and learn new ones. Tech students, inventors, and entrepreneurs will benefit from these classes as well.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.