Tuesday, March 24, 2009

XGameStation - AVR 8-bit Development board - Create your own console game!

XGamestation sent me a link about their new AVR 8-bit Developement kit, XGS AVR 8-Bit Development System. After reading the details, I am impressed. The DIY video console game is nice, and showed me how the AVR 8-bit processor can be optimized to do complicated image processing(So far, I only use AVR for small project!). Let's take a look on the video demo first:

The kit includes:
1) XGS AVR 8-bit development board (VGA output, NTSC/PAL output, game controller(NES) port, PS/2 port, SD card slot, power regulator, serial port, audio output etc.)
2) AVR USB MKII ISP programmer
3) one NES clone gamepad
4) 1G MicroSD
5) DVD (includes all the codes, manuals to kick start)

One thing want to emphasis is the Ebook "Inside the XGS AVR 8-Bit" come with the kit, it is a comprehensive guide of programming AVR and also game console programming. If you are very interested on how the game console works, it is a good book for you too.

See? It is a complete kit for game console programming, it costs $139.95, you can buy it here: http://www.xgamestation.com/view_product.php?id=46&mid_img_index=0

Let me know if you make some cool games! I am pretty busy recently, otherwise, I really want to have a try! and write you an in-depth review on it!

Any cool site or kit to suggest to me? Just fill out the form here: Suggest to me I would be happy to take a look!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Atmel USB development board - Teensy.

Teensy USB development board is a low cost AVR USB developement board featuring 2 Atmel processor: AT90USB162 and AT90USB646.

The AT90USB162 model is only $19 each.

One of the highlights of this development board is its pre-loaded Teensy Loader, which can make programming your code to the board much easier. It comes with Linux, Windows and Mac OS X support too. The demo codes included USB keyboard, mouse and usb2serial, so help you making usb peripherals much faster! I would like to have them to add USB mass storage demo code:)

I didn't use any AT90USB series, but after reading the Teensy, it is quite similar to AVR 8-bit MCU in software perspective . It also supports the Arduino software development tools (Sketches).

Teensy USB development board

Saturday, March 21, 2009

64 (8x8) Led Matrix with ATtiny2313V

Tinkerlog presents a 64 LED matrix howto, controlled by Tiny2313 and powered by only 2 AA batteries. Check out the following demo video:

64pixels from tinkerlog on Vimeo.

I really love the simplicity of this project. The ATtiny2313 is a good fit on the back of the 8x8 Led matrix, though not placing resistors in between the LED and IO are a bit risky. But using 2 AA batteries, roughly 3V input and 20mA max output from 2313 should not burn the LED out:)

The source code is also ready on the tinkerblog website, so follow the steps there and build it in the weekend! Have fun!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Digital Compass with AVR (Arduino)

Digital compass is a magnetic sensor which gives you the heading direction, which may be useful for your robotic projects. I have tried it with my HTC G1, which has the digital compass built-in, and working very well with Google map.

One common digital compass sensor available on the market is Honeywell's HMC6352 which is a fully integrated sensor, it is very easy to use. You can use I2C to connect to your microprocessor, by sending a simple character 'A' to the sensor, it will return you the heading information. Near Future Laboratory has an example on using arduino and HMC6352, source codes are also available. Please check it out on the links below!

Honeywell's HMC6352 2-Axis
Near Future Laboratory - Finding The Way - HMC6352 Digital Compass

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sharp GP2D12 Analog Distance Sensor

It is an Infrared distance made by Sharp, you can see this sensor used in many hobbist projects. I got one in my electronic bag, but still not yet have a test. Robotroom website got a quite good measurement on the GP2D12 analog voltage against the distance, it may be a good reference if you are going to work on GP2D12. Another good reference is from uCHobby, they connect a GP2D12 with servo and visualize the measuring in radar like pattern with "Processing", source codes are provided as well:)

RobotRoom:GP2D12 Distance Measurement Detector
Visualizing Sensor Data with Arduino and Processing

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Android Development is fun.

Hi Readers (If any), may be you found out that I didn't update very often recently. It is because I am busy with my new HTC G1, it is a pretty cool phone! I joined android market and published two free android apps so far.

1) LunarCal
it is a Chinese calendar, so may only useful for Chinese.

2) WallCal
It draws a little calendar showing month, weekdays, date on your wallpaper, it is only a workaround solution to place a widget-like thing on the android phone desktop. So once google released the API to let developers to develop desktop widget, it will be EOL:)

If you are chinese, and also have an android phone, join me @ http://forum.androidhk.com/

Hope I can get back to hardware developments very soon:)

New AVRtiny43U (Ultra low-voltage), can even run @0.7V

Atmel is working hard on low voltage MCU, and the latest one is ATtiny43U, it is designed for application running battery. The key feature is the built-in integrated boost convertor to geneate stable 3.0V from voltage source as low as 0.7V. For more informaton: please check out the product web site: AVRtiny43U,

Also, be sure to check out the AVR TV demostration on ATtiny43U:

"Ultra low-voltage AVR with Internal Boost Regulator"