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Bill Marshall

United Kingdom

Engineer | WGM Consulting

Engineer, PhD, lecturer, freelance technical writer, blogger & tweeter interested in robots, AI, planetary explorers and all things electronic. STEM ambassador. Designed, built and programmed my first microcomputer in 1976. Still learning, still building, still coding today.

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78 Articles published
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

3 days ago

Catching a Bus: Basic Serial Communication Part 2, SPI

Most modern peripheral device chips, such as sensors and motor drivers, communicate with a controller via a serial data bus. Microcontrollers usually support one or more of three basic types: UART, SPI and I2C. How do they work and which to choose?

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

4 weeks ago

Catching a Bus: Basic Serial Communication Part 1, the UART

Most modern peripheral device chips, such as sensors and motor drivers, communicate with a controller via a serial data bus. Microcontrollers usually support one or more of three basic types: UART, SPI and I2C. How do they work and which to choose?

11 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

1 month ago

On Whiskers and Dendrites

Many early electronic components had a short lifetime. The cause was identified and fixed, but then the ‘fix’ was banned for health and safety reasons. What happened to the forecast electronic apocalypse?

1 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

2 months ago

Getting into Digital Signal Processing Part 4: The DSP

The first three parts of this series on digital signal processing examined the processes involved in converting analogue signals to digital and back again. Now let’s look at the digital hardware in the middle.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Robotics

3 months ago

Build a ‘real’ Mars rover

Most ‘hobby’ mobile robots on the market are usually of the 2-, 4-, or 6-wheeled variety with no suspension or steering systems. Changes in direction are achieved by varying wheel-speeds – so-called skid or tank steering. Not this one.

4 comments
article
Bill Marshall

How big is your Electronic Tech’s Carbon Footprint?

Everyone knows that gaseous emissions from fossil-fuel burning to bovine flatulence are the cause of global warming, right? Indeed they are, but less obvious causes of a high carbon footprint are becoming apparent. And your ‘Tech’ may be involved.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Microcontrollers

5 months ago

Clicker 2, FORTHdsPIC and more Bare-Metal

The porting of my FORTHdsPIC code to the fast version of the Microchip dsPIC33 digital signal controller has demonstrated – once again – that bare-metal coding is not for the easily frustrated!

4 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

6 months ago

The World of FPGAs and ASICs: Part 2

Programmable Logic devices can replace boards full of simple logic chips and have been at the heart of high-end product development for years. Now they can revolutionise hardware design for artificial intelligence and fault-tolerant applications.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Electronics Design

5 months ago

The World of FPGAs and ASICs: Part 1

In Part 1 of this two-part post, I’ll be looking at the origins of programmable hardware which has reduced the chip-count of many PCB designs.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Innovation

7 months ago

Rocket’s Return: The UK Space Launch Industry Then and Now

In 1971 the UK joined a very select group of countries by sending an artificial satellite into Earth orbit using a UK-built rocket. Then it gave up. Until now. Are we on the brink of starting again, this time launching from home soil?

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Robotics

8 months ago

The Intelligence of a Swarm

The behaviour of swarms of insects and birds has always fascinated scientists because it appears to demonstrate collective intelligence way beyond that of an individual member. Engineers are now trying to exploit this phenomenon using robots.

0 comments
article
Bill Marshall

Innovation

9 months ago

Ready for Blast-Off!

The Open University students' Rocket-1 is in New Mexico being prepared for the Spaceport America Cup competition this week.

0 comments