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.
1 week ago
The real world is analogue! So why is every machine or instrument around us in the home or at work increasingly described as 'Digital'? To answer this question, we had better establish what we mean by the word: 'Analogue'.
2 weeks ago
Permanent Magnet DC Motors are cheap, have linear characteristics and are very easy to control using the PWM units built-in to most modern microcontrollers. Interfaces can be as simple as a single transistor depending on the application.
1 month ago
The first interplanetary CubeSats MarCO-A and MarCO-B (AKA WALL-E and EVE) have just completed their mission to relay telemetry to Earth from NASA’s InSight probe as it lands on Mars. How do you make such low-budget spacecraft reliable enough?
Many low-cost CubeSat satellites have been built by teams of school and college students since 2003. But Space is a harsh environment and half of them failed to function as intended. What can be done at the design stage to improve the success rate?
After magnetic cores came chip memories: Static RAM (SRAM), Dynamic RAM (DRAM) and then Flash. Here come the latest technologies: MRAM, FRAM and more. How do they compare with established technologies?
3 months ago
The film ‘First Man’ celebrates the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. But what about that unsung hero, the vehicle that took him there: that engineering marvel, the Saturn V rocket?
3 months ago
The UK government has a manifesto commitment for all cars and vans on the roads to have zero emissions by 2050. So, unless ‘wireless power’ can be developed quickly, cars will need electric motors with batteries or fuel cells for energy storage.
4 months ago
Wheeled robots take many forms: 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- or 8-wheels, with and without suspension. The type of terrain the robot will move over largely determines the choice: a nice, smooth warehouse floor or a rough, unpredictable Martian surface?
5 months ago
In November 2015 I suggested in a DesignSpark article that ‘Your Car will soon be Driving You to Work’. After nearly three years of frantic activity by engineers and marketing people, are autonomous cars any nearer becoming a reality?
5 months ago
Part 1 covered the theory behind PID control. Part 2 discussed the practical issues of odometry and using PID for precise mobile robot navigation. Now let’s look at some more code and other features of practical rover design.
An AI-equipped ‘astronaut companion’ called CIMON is on its way to the International Space Station. With fictional androids starring in TV shows Westworld and Humans, just how close are we to creating a socially-acceptable companion robot?
Part 1 covered the theory behind PID control – a widely used method of ensuring that the mechanical output of an actuator (speed, position, etc) matches the value demanded by its controlling program. Now let’s look at practical aspects in detail.