OSHWA is looking for 4 new faces to join the board of directors for the Open Source Hardware Association. The nominee form is, as always, for self-nominations only. Please fill out the nominee form (deactivated 11:59PM ET on Oct. 12) to become a nominee or forward the link to someone you want to nominate. Do not fill out the form for someone else. The purpose of this form is to tell voting members why you want to serve on the OSHWA board. We will be publish the nominees and their answers on Oct 14th. Board members hold a 2-year position. Once board members have been chosen by the membership, the board will appoint a President, VP, and Secretary. Board responsibilities include fundraising, promoting OSHWA, advising on goals and direction, and carry out compliance with the organizations purposes and bylaws. Board members must follow our Code of Conduct. See the board member agreement to get a sense of the responsibilities. Board members are expected to adhere to the board attendance policy and come prepared having read the board packet. Board members are expected to spend 5-10 hours of time per month on OSHWA. Nominees can submit questions to email@example.com. Nominations will be open until Oct. 12th.
Every now and again we get a product in our expansive SparkFun catalog that really gets us excited to use and show off. When Nathan brought the new Otii Arc in house from our friends at Qoitech, we all had to gather around to see what the little instrument had to offer. Today we're going to take a closer look to see what it is and how it works!
The Otii Arc is a truly versatile power supply and analyzer. Coupled with powerful but easy-to-use software, it is an ideal tool to help study the power draw of your IoT project or device. It can record and display real-time currents, voltages and/or UART logs. It provides nanoamp resolution current measurements with a sample rate of up to 4000 samples per second!
Otii (rhymes with body) is handy in all sorts of troubleshooting situations. The Otii truly shines with any device that needs to be designed to sleep for low power and has to run 'a long time' on a battery. The Otii Arc can measure current very accurately over eight orders of magnitude from tens of nanoamps up to 5 Amps. This means you can measure the sleep current of a board and the peak current draw all in one continuous measurement. Leave the system logging for hours then read the minimum, maximum and average current and power use straight from the oscilloscope-like recording. By linking the Otii Arc to a UART (Serial) pin and/or a GPIO pin, you can immediately see what the current draw was while the code was performing a specific task.
It is pretty impressive how robust the Otii Arc is, too. Measuring in at 4.29 in x 5.66 in x 1.73 in (WxLxH) and weighing in at just under a pound (450 grams to be exact), the instrument is incredibly portable. It is designed for the office, the lab, and usage at home, as well as field measurements. Also, the innovative mechanical design allows for efficient heat dissipation, so no fan is needed and therefore emits no noise.
From being able to connect a battery to the Otii Arc and discharging it while recording the voltage and current profile (and being able to emulate that same battery), to being able to connect an external power supply (7.5 - 9 V) with the ability to deliver up to 5.0 V at 2.5 A continuous at a 5 A peak, the Otii Arc has an impressive feature set.
And to those of you who might be a bit hesitant about having something at this price point without much knowledge on how to use it: Qoitech has put together an extensive hub of guides for you to use! These guides include your basic "Step One" quick start documents for each of the Otii Arc's main features, how to set up battery life simulators, graphs, recordings, etc, as well as advanced guides for more experienced users. It's all there!
So, what do you think? We hope that you find the Otii Arc as impressive as we do. Let us know what you'd like to see more of and if you have any questions about the instrument and we'll do our best to showcase the product based on what you'd like to see!
So far in our series of community stories, we’ve collaborated with young people from the UK, India, and Romania who are getting creative with technology to change the world around them.
Our next community story comes from a highly regarded community member who has been connecting young people with opportunities to learn and create with technology throughout her career. A US-based educator with over twenty years of experience, Yolanda Payne shares our mission to put computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.
“The biggest reason I’m so invested in technology is because people invested in me.”
Yolanda Payne is an educator you might recognise from our online courses. Based in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, she’s passionate about making technology accessible to all and helping young people become technology creators.
Yolanda says, “The biggest reason I’m so invested in technology is because people invested in me. They saw something that I was good at, showed me opportunities, and so in turn, that was my philosophy in teaching.”
Yolanda got her first computer at a young age and was hooked instantly: it opened up many new opportunities and led her to choosing a career in education. She says, “The computer gives me the tools to be an artist, it gives me the tools to create things, and if it does that for me, then just imagine what it will do for kids!”
“If you give a teacher a Raspberry Pi and show them these resources, they’re going to be hooked.”
Yolanda has spent her entire professional life dedicated to education. She gained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi University for Women; a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Mississippi State University; and Educational Specialist degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Georgia in Curriculum and Instruction, and in Language and Literacy.
Throughout her twenty-one years as a classroom teacher and her time running Code Clubs, Yolanda found joy in supporting students who have multiple challenges or complex needs, and in seeing them thrive in the subject of computer science. Yolanda points out, “I worked with both students that were considered to be in special education and students that were gifted. And one of the biggest things that I saw that I don’t think people realise, especially about students in special education: they are used to solving problems. […] You’d be very surprised at how real-life problem-solving skills flow very easily into computer science.”
Yolanda now works as a Research Associate at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We are tremendously thankful for her contributions as an educator and an advocate for technology and young people.
Modern television remote controls have a massive number of buttons compared to their more primitive predecessors, and because of this, seniors can struggle with knowing which button to press and when as well as having difficulties seeing the small text. This problem inspired Instructables user omerrv to create a device that he calls the Sababox, which contains just a few large, easily-pressable buttons for simple use.
The Sababox is equipped with an Arduino Nano at its core, which is connected to a grid of 14 momentary pushbutton switches. A separate circuit was also made from a Nano and IR receiver module that can read incoming infrared pulses from a remote and record them for later use. For instance, a volume up command contains a series of values which are then placed into the code for the Sababox’s Nano. When a user goes to press the larger “VOL +” button, that same command is relayed to the target device. One other nice feature of the Sababox is that it can be used to control more than one device, and omerrv currently has TV, radio, and air conditioner commands for his.
After the electronic circuit and programming had been completed, the whole assembly was placed into a large 3D-printed enclosure along with the necessary buttons and labels.
After the electronic circuit and programming had been completed, the whole assembly was placed into a large 3D-printed enclosure along with the necessary buttons and labels. To read more about how the Sababox was built, you can view its write-up here on Instructables.
The Sky Vane provides the soundtrack to an immersive sky-driven experience. Just lie down on the grass, gaze up at the sky, and listen to the changing soundscape through the day.
A Raspberry Pi powers the arresting structure in the middle of the circle of comfy skygazing mats in the photo above, and is connected to an array of atmospheric sensors. These sensors detect changes in light, temperature, pressure, and humidity. Then they send real-time data to the Raspberry Pi computer in order to create a dynamic soundtrack.
The Sky Vane’s creators produced a carefully written soundtrack for the experience. Raspberry Pi triggers changes to the number of musical layers, sequences, audio effects processing, and so on, based on the information the sensors read. That’s the “dynamic” bit. A huge gust of wind, for example, leads to a different musical change than the setting sun.
A portable Minirig sound system generates a seriously high-fidelity audio experience that can be heard clearly within a 25-metre radius of The Sky Vane.
Everything hides underneath the dome-shaped “shroom pod”, which in turn sits beneath the big sculpture
Inspiration behind the installation
The Sky Vane is the latest installation from pyka, a collective of experienced designers who create digital artefacts that enable you to explore the world of sound. Commissioned by Tin Shed Theatre Company and Our Living Levels, The Sky Vane’s big debut was at the Big Skies 2021 event in south Wales.
When they were planning this installation, the creators at pyka weren’t sure how it would go down in a post-pandemic world. They’re used to building things that bring people together, but they were mindful of people’s anxiety around shared public activities. This led to a design that promotes quiet contemplation and mindfulness whilst enjoying the freedom of the outdoors. We think it’s lovely.
Inductive spike on voltage rails causes eFuse to shutdown, here’s an app note from ON Semiconductors on how they solve this problem from happening. Link here (PDF)
ON Semiconductor produces a wide variety of silicon based protection products including current limiting devices such as Electronic Fuses (eFuses). During an over−current stress, eFuses can limit the current applied to a load as well as remove power from the load entirely. This fundamental feature of the eFuse makes it an easy choice to protect against inrush currents which can be seen on power lines of hard−disk drive (HDD) and enterprise−server systems during hot−plug operation or load−fault conditions. During the eFuse current limiting operation, the threat exists of an inductive spike on the power line (VCC) at the point of device turn−off due to thermal shutdown. This Application Note will discuss the failure mechanism this threat exposes the eFuse to, and will explain how to combat it by adding compensation capacitors onto the power line when using the auto−retry (MN2) version of the eFuse.