Tag Archives: IoT Design

Make a WeMos ESP8266 dev board blink via Wi-Fi

In my last article, I went over how I was able to program the WeMos D1 Mini ESP8266 development board via the Arduino IDE. Though there a few hoops to jump through — including making sure your cable works — once it is set up, it’s pretty easy to get it to do Arduino-ish tasks, like blink its built-in LED or reply back to your computer via serial output.

On the other hand, you could simply do these functions with an actual Arduino. Though the ESP8266 has impressive specs, such as an 80 MHz clock speed, the real killer app of these modules is their inherent Wi-Fi capabilities. Getting something like this to work over your network may seem intimidating, but as I found out after some experimentation, it’s actually quite simple.

As with my first post, I turned to an instructional video from YouTuber Innovative Tom. Although his video is about using a relay to control a fan or something similar, I wanted to see if I could simply blink the LED over my network. To prove things out, I made a few slight changes in his code, the new version which can be found here under the WeMosWiFi_Blink.ino file. This code now blinks an LED (which comes on when the pin is low), along with switching a nonexistent relay, allowing you to test this functionality with only the WeMos board itself.

In order to do this test, open (or copy/paste) the WeMosWiFi_Blink.ino file in the Arduino IDE, then edit the area outlined in yellow to get it to communicate on your own network. You can poke around in your OS to find the configuration info, but on Windows, the easiest way to get it is to go to the command line or PowerShell and enter “ipconfig.” Your computer will obediently spit out the needed network data. You’ll also need your network name and password, which hopefully you have handy.

Once this is done, pull up your serial port monitor in the Arduino IDE and download the program into the WeMos module. If everything is successful, you should see an IP address pop up on the serial monitor. Copy this into your browser of choice running on the same network, and you’ll see an extremely simple webpage inviting you to turn the relay on or off. Click on one of the links it presents and you’ll see the light blink accordingly.

You can also log onto the same site from a different device, such as a smartphone, and flip the “switch.” This makes it an ideal candidate for home automation, since you don’t have to worry about any sort of extra app to build or install. There are, of course, all kinds of ways you can expand on this module’s wireless capability, such as building a better webpage, switching an actual relay, or remote sensing. Once you’re through this first step, hopefully other great projects will be just a matter of adding on to this foundation!

Jeremy S. Cook is a freelance tech journalist and engineering consultant with over 10 years of factory automation experience. An avid maker and experimenter, you can see some of his exploits on the Jeremy S. Cook YouTube Channel.

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How to Design Industrial IoT Systems with LabVIEW 2017′s Interoperable Data Communication Support

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) incorporates devices and applications developed by many suppliers and running on many platforms. To ensure that these complex systems of systems are easier to integrate – as well as less expensive and more efficient to build – it is critical to take advantage of standard interfaces and protocols.

Presented by: RTI

<p><i>Speaker(s): David Barnett (VP of Products and Markets, RTI); Carlos Pazos (Senior Product Marketing Manager, National Instruments)

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Lely selects PrismTech’s Vortex for Milking Robot System

PrismTech logo

PrismTech logo

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK – July 3, 2017 – PrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems, today announced that its Vortex™ intelligent data sharing platform has been selected by Lely to ensure real-time data connectivity for the company’s automated robotic milking machines, the Lely Astronaut.

Dutch based agricultural technology company, Lely, supplies a complete portfolio of products and services ranging from automated feeding systems to barn cleaners and automatic milking robots.

The Lely Astronaut is an automated milking system that milks, feeds, and monitors the health of cows. The milking system also examines the quantity and quality of the milk received from the cows, and if necessary, it separates milk that is contaminated or is not to the correct standard. A transmitter on each cow enables the system to identify the cow via a unique number, and a management system maintains specific records for each cow. The Lely Astronaut uses these records to manage the milking and feeding of a cow when it enters the milking robot.

PrismTech’s Vortex enables real-time data connectivity for devices and machines based on the Object Management Group®’s (OMG®) Data-Distribution Service™ (DDS™) standard. Vortex includes DDS implementations that can be used to support a range of device technologies, operating systems and programming languages required by a project. It is a key enabler for systems that have to reliably and securely deliver high volumes of real-time data with stringent end-to-end qualities-of-service.

Vortex provides Lely with a wide set of capabilities for its control monitoring systems such as automatic discovery, shared memory architecture, configurable QoS framework, and platform portability which, together enable system-wide scalability and save valuable development time.

“Because of our constant drive to innovate we have been able to introduce a range of ground-breaking products to the market which really changed the lives of farmers,” said Nico Berkhoudt, Product Development Manager, Lely. “After an extensive evaluation, PrismTech was our clear partner of choice. Vortex will provide our systems with efficient, secure and interoperable real-time data sharing.”

“We are very pleased to add Lely to our growing list of customers who are using Vortex in their agricultural systems,” said Hans van’t Hag, Vortex Product Manager, PrismTech. “This is another example of the proliferation of Vortex into new and exciting Internet of Things markets.”

Further information about Vortex is available from PrismTech’s website at http://ift.tt/1BzjGyL.

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About PrismTech

PrismTech’s customers deliver systems for the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet and advanced wireless communications. PrismTech supplies the data connectivity solutions, tools and professional services they need to build systems with the required: platform coverage, performance, scalability, efficiency, flexibility and robustness. PrismTech’s customers service many market sectors, including: industrial automation, energy, healthcare, transportation, smart cities, financial services, aerospace and defense. For additional information about PrismTech, visit the web site at www.prismtech.com.

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efabless Launches Open Source Hardware Development Framework for IC Designs

efabless corporation, an online design platform and marketplace for community-developed intellectual property (IP) and integrated circuits (ICs), today introduced Chiplicity, an open source framework for community members to create, share, make derivatives of and commercialize mixed-signal ICs.

“Chiplicity is a first of its kind and extends the efabless electronics community engineering concept from IP to ICs,” affirms Mohamed Kassem, efabless’ co-founder and chief technology officer. “We make chip design and productizing chips simple and broadly accessible. That’s why we call it Chip-licity.”

efabless developed Chiplicity as a development kit for integrated circuits, similar to hardware or software design kits known as HDKs or SDKs. Chiplicity includes all the tools needed for a full design cycle to design, verify, validate and prototype mixed-signal products, from idea to completed manufacturable GDSII files. It offers the efabless global community of IC designers a set of related library components –– an open source chip called Hydra, analog IP ready to wire, a standardized pad frame and a serial interface (SPI). A soft variant of the PicoRV32 RISC-V CPU core, developed by open source active contributor Clifford Wolf, is part of the efabless digital library located in the beta version of CloudV.

Community members clone marketplace components into their personal workspace on the efabless MyLib repository and create new designs. Final designs can be promoted to the marketplace for sharing with others and community members can manufacture their designs as prototypes through efabless on shuttles at X-FAB. To date, the Chiplicity platform has been used internally to tapeout two ICs.

Over time, community members will be able to create and verify increasingly complex mixed-signal ASICs. Chiplicity will offer a flexible pad frame generator and additional analog and digital IP, including a variety of microprocessor cores, additional open source IP and community-developed analog IP blocks. efabless also will offer open source test boards as library components to validate custom analog circuit designs.

Community members will be able to share designs under proprietary or open source licenses. efabless currently supports X-FAB’s XH035, 350 nm nanometer (nm) mixed-signal process. Its technology roadmap includes support for additional foundry processes, such as 180nm and 130nm nodes.

“Chiplicity is an essential piece of the overall ‘smart’ hardware, open innovation ecosystem,” remarks Mike Wishart, efabless’ co-founder and chief executive officer. “By combining community, open source and an innovative marketplace, we connect ideas with resources and apply a risk/reward sharing financial model that is unique to the IC industry. IC entrepreneurs can create new mixed-signal designs on limited budgets and ‘smart’ product inventors can find customized IC solutions to make their ideas commercially attractive.”

To learn more about Chiplicity, visit: https://chiplicity.io/

About efabless

efabless.com is the world’s first semiconductor community engineering platform, connecting a global community of mixed signal architects, designers and engineers with IC, foundry and OEM customers. It provides community members with everything required to define, develop and monetize their IP and IC designs. efabless applies the principles of open innovation –– community and open source – to make customized, on-demand mixed signal electronics affordable, accessible and creative. The efabless community spans approximately 1,300 members from more than 30 countries around the world. For information visit: www.efabless.com

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Effective Requirements Definition and Management for the IoT Enterprise

IoT systems are a mash-up of many technologies that require embedded, network, and enterprise expertise coupled with industry domain insight. Within this challenging environment, it’s never been more important to have an effective set of tools and techniques for creation of the right requirements for a successful project and managing them in a way that promotes collaboration and increased cross-functional communication.

Presented by: IBM

<p><i>Speaker(s): Edmund Mayer (Technical Sales Lead Watson Internet of Things Continuous Engineering Solutions, IBM); Rick Learn (Senior Technical Sales Specialist Watson Internet of Things Continuous Engineering Solutions, IBM)

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Cyber Security: It Starts with the Embedded System

Some of the most famous information breaches over the past few years have been a result of entry through embedded and IoT system environments. Often these breaches are a result of unexpected system architecture and service connectivity on the network that allows the hacker to enter through an embedded device and make their way to the financial or corporate servers. Join us as experts in embedded security discuss key security issues for embedded systems and how to address them.

Presented by: LDRA, Rogue Wave Software

<p><i>Speaker(s): TBD (TBD, TBD)</p>

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Plain and simple: Maximize your battery life

When you’re evaluating portable consumer electronics, you probably weigh a bunch of factors before opening your wallet. Lifestyle fit, product features, and battery life could be on your list. That’s why companies designing these products continually face the same power-management challenges—they need to safely extend runtime while optimizing battery performance.

The need for robust power management will continue to grow in the face of vast investment in artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) technologies coupled with voracious consumer demand. Therefore, system design must revolve around efficiently utilizing the power available from ever smaller batteries to support more advanced features.

From a design point of view, system engineers must know the basics, such as when the battery is full and should be disconnected from the charger and when the battery voltage is discharged and should be connected to the charger. Optimizing charging and managing battery temperature tolerances to achieve better power management performance further complicates the system design challenge.

Most systems use a microcontroller (MCU) to monitor and control the battery supply and indicate low-battery or full-charge states. Dedicated battery-management solutions also provide a superb method for optimizing battery performance.

In all cases, battery monitoring and management circuits will control one or more of these key factors that affect the battery’s lifespan:

  1. How much current the battery can provide for a specified output voltage range over a particular time period
  2. How much current the battery can take in (during charging)
  3. The voltage level to which it can be charged (or maximum safety voltage)
  4. The voltage level to which it can be used (or minimum safety voltage)
  5. Temperature-range tolerance levels

Maximum safety operating voltage indicates that the battery is fully charged and ready for use. Minimum cut-off or disconnect voltage denotes when the cell has drained. Attempting to charge above the maximum safety operating voltage is possible, but comes with the risk of reduced lifespan and other potentially catastrophic consequences. The same risks apply when going below the discharge voltage level.

All of the above affects the battery’s inherent thermal stability and lifespan. Hence, voltage and temperature monitoring are critical.

A comparator with a window function is a cost-effective solution for monitoring battery voltage. This solution removes the need for additional software and reduces power consumption by allowing the system MCU to monitor battery voltage in sleep mode, while simply responding to flags from the comparator. Furthermore, the comparator circuit is small, ideal for applications with board space constraints.

The examples shown use the hysteresis of the comparator of desired voltage to monitor the battery voltage. VTRIP_HIGH would be the charged voltage and VTRIP_LOW would be the discharged voltage. When the output goes low, signaling an interrupt for the controller, it can be either a low- or high-charged voltage—the controller must ascertain which it is.

Maxim’s MAX40000, MAX40001, and MAX40002-MAX40005 series of comparators deliver low power in a small footprint with an internal reference that’s under 1 µA quiescent current. These specs make suit them for power monitoring with stringent power-dissipation requirements. The comparators’ lower quiescent current is comparable to the current typical self-discharge rate of the battery cells, making them useful for applications that involve long sleep times or low duty cycles coupled with a long battery life requirement.

For further reading, good sources of information can be found at batteryuniversity.com and Batteryspace.com.

Ashwin Badri Narayanan is an applications engineer supporting standard analog and signal chain products at Maxim Integrated.

Nhu Nguyen is a business manager specializing in business development and product marketing in the Core Products Group at Maxim Integrated. She has 10 years of semiconductor experience.

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