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31 Mar 2020, 11:04

Develop electronics and embedded systems remotely

Telework from home has been used for years by some engineers especially for private contractors. The quarantines are forcing an increasing number of engineers and tech employees to work from home (WFH). In the past, it was costly and difficult to set up an experimental laboratory at home. Most of engineers had to figure out the remote access to development tools, simulation, debugging tools and testing equipment. Fortunately, electronics and computer engineers can now continue the hardware and software development from home with the use of development boards. They can even turn the PC into electronics testbench. Many manufacturers offer cost-optimized, customizable and flexible solutions.

Digilent Inc, A National Instruments Company, is set apart by the unique expertise in FPGA-based systems, test instrumentation, and even in software. Digilent's boards are feature-rich, ready-to-use development platforms. Engineers all over the world use Digilent USB test and measurement devices to decrease their design cycle time and increase their impact by always having an oscilloscope, logic analyzer, waveform generator and more within reach. All Digilent's solutions come with a robust and extensive library of documentation, reference guides, tutorials, and other rich content available for free to anyone who needs it.

Turn your PC into a powerful electronics test bench

Digilent Analog Discovery 2 (134-6480) is a USB multi-function instrument that allows users to measure, visualize, generate, record, and control mixed-signal circuits of all kinds. The Analog Discovery 2 is small enough to fit in your pocket but powerful enough to replace a stack of lab equipment. It comes with the FREE multi-instrument software application, WaveForms. The Waveforms seamlessly connects to Analog Discovery 2 with full Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Raspberry Pi 4 support (see article "Analzye the Measurement Data on Cloud using Raspberry Pi 4 and Analog Discovery 2"). Driven by WaveForms software, Analog Discovery 2 can be configured to work as any one of several traditional instruments including an Oscilloscope, Waveform Generator, Power Supply, Voltmeter, Data Logger, Logic Analyzer, Pattern Generator, Static I/O, Spectrum Analyzer, Network Analyzer, Impedance Analyzer, and Protocol Analyzer.

Test MEMS Microphones with Analog Discovery 2

MEMS microphones are a new class of acoustic sensors. When building a product that includes MEMS microphones, it is important to test the microphone to ensure they work and are sealed. Digilent provides free example project to demonstrate how to use Oscilloscope, Logic Analyzer and Pattern Generator in Analog Discovery 2 to test an MEMS microphone. The testing program is written in JavaScript. Analog Discovery 2 streams live audio data from the MEMS microphone and displays it through the WaveForms oscilloscope. The data is presented as a waveform in the time domain and as an FFT. The project details and files are available at Digilent Wiki. In a situation where a custom sensor is being prototyped, you would also be able to scope the analog data itself, and compare the results of the conversions to the real waveform.

Accelerate embedded vision design with Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)

Designers, developers and engineers start to implement the computer vision design on reconfigurable device especially field programmable gate array (FPGA) to optimize the real-time performance and reduce the power consumption. FPGA also offers a reprogrammable solution for hardware acceleration. This can greatly reduce the design cycle.

Xilinx, the leading FPGA manufacturer, provides embedded vision developers with a suite of technologies that support both hardware and software design. Incidentally, Xilinx’s Zynq integrates the software programmability of a processor (ARM Cortex A9) with the hardware programmability of an FPGA, providing developers with unrivaled levels of system performance, flexibility, and scalability. Many embedded vision applications are built around Xilinx Zynq

Digilent's Embedded Vision Bundle based on Xilinx Zynq 7020 This is a valuable tool for anyone aiming for developing their own embedded vision products and applications, or to learn more about embedded vision concepts. The kit includes Digilent (164-3487) Zybo Z7-20 Zynq-7000 ARM/FPGA SoC development board, the (174-1555) Pcam 5C 5 megapixel colour camera module, and the 15-pin flat-flexible cable (FFC).

Digilent provides a demo project to get users started with the bundle. The demo passes video data from the image sensor out through the (164-3487) Zybo Z7 HDMI port to a display. All IP used in the demo is free and open-source, including a D-PHY receiver, CSI-2 decoder, Bayer to RGB converter and gamma correction.

Learn more at the previous article.

Handwritten Digit Recognition Using Artificial Intelligence Using Embedded Vision Bundle

Digilent implemented a textbook-version of the digit recognition through artificial intelligence as a proof-of-concept using Embedded Vision Bundle (175-2109) and its Pmod MTDS multi-touch display system as user interface and to display the result of the recognition process.

This textbook-implementation of handwritten digit recognition using a low-cost FPGA-board demonstrated that is it possible to implement such an artificial neural network with deep learning on such a system. Once trained, the recognition rate of the trained artificial neural network on the MNIST test images reached 95.2%.

You can find the details at the previous post

Build an embedded measurement system at home

With Digilent Eclypse Z7 (195-3771) , Zmod ADC 1410 (195-3772) and Zmod DAC 1411 (195-3773) , engineers can create embedded measurement systems dedicating to the acquisition, processing, and measurement of signals associated with the world around us. They are applied to a diverse array of applications such as industrial and scientific monitoring and control and are increasingly part of networked systems at “the edge”, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.

Eclypse’s software framework provides the FPGA IP and a common hardware abstraction layer that exposes a straightforward API to the user - think of how a software driver for a printer works. This gives engineers that aren’t fluent in hardware languages the ability to efficiently navigate them with software languages, and ultimately harness the incredible
power and flexibility of an FPGA!

Develop the SMART system at home

Xilinx’s Ultrascale+ MPSoC devices provide 64-bit processor scalability while combining real-time control with soft and hard engines for graphics, video, waveform, and packet processing. Engineers can make use of the device to create unlimited possibilities for applications such as Wireless, next generation ADAS, and Industrial Internet-of-Things.

Digilent's Genesys ZU-3EG (200-3904) a powerful Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC development board loaded with peripherals and a wide hardware ecosystem of add-on modules. The Genesys ZU is designed with optimized specs, powerful multimedia and network connectivity interfaces, with a robust documentation library to quickly get you started on AI, research, cloud computing, and embedded vision applications.

Engineers can purchase all Digilent tools in RS components website and receive them in front of their doors. WFH is no longer a reason for a project delay. These development boards and USB test and measurement devices enable research and design teams to develop embedded and computer systems at different locations.

Love learn engineering in hands-on approach. Interested in new technology. Work in Digilent as International Sales and Distribution Manager.

31 Mar 2020, 11:04