Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!

Innovation


Self Driving Cars

Waymo, the Google spin out that is progressing their Self Driving Car technology, also know as the Autonomous Vehicle, has released a video showing how the current technology works and what being in a Self Driving Car looks like for a passenger.

Enjoy.


While this is still an emerging technology, it is also quite mature. And this is understandable given the consequences of failure. So far they have 5 million miles of self driving experience. So how is the safety progressing? To quote big think “Google’s self driving car is ridiculously safe” with the conversation moving in the direction where we might find manual driving outlawed. The feature some commentary from Brand Templeton which is well worth listening to.


So this is no longer an issue of if, but of when.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

 

 

Light L16 Wins CES Award

Yesterday I wrote an update on the Light L16 and how it was a good example of Disruptive Innovation in Photography

Light L16

Light L16

Today I learn that CES agrees and awarded it the CES 2018 Best of Innovation: Digital Imaging.

CES 2018 Best of Innovation

CES 2018 Best of Innovation

There are now several industry articles recognising the significance of the multi-camera technology. For additional details see:

The last link is a Wired review from mid 2017 and is a good reflection on both the promise and challenge of new technology as well as how much time it can take to overcome those challenges.

So congratulations again to the team at Light.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma showed us that the business drivers of our current customers blinds us to emerging but currently unsuitable technology that eventually takes over our market. This has led to a focus on Innovation that looks to be disruptive as its primary goal. And I have come to the conclusion that this has hampered our attempts at Innovation. We have set the bar too high. And this isn’t what Innovation was about. Just a way of looking at a specific type of Innovation.

OK, I wrote the above as part of my review of of Frank Connolly of Think Quick and his approach to Practical Innovation. So Google knows I’m plagiarising myself. But here is where the relevance kicks in.

Light - a new camera concept

Light – a new camera concept

In my article on Light Cameras I covered a new concept in camera’s developed by Dr Rajiv Laroia who co-founded Light. The Light L16 is a new camera concept using multiple lenses and cameras to fuse a composite image given focal ranges and exposure ranges not possible in conventional cameras. An excellent example of disrupting innovation. and also an excellent example of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Announced in 2016 and expected to be ready that year it was not shipping until mid 2017. Why? Because it is hard to do and the ASIC development was late and the core idea of doing the fusion inside the camera in real time is proving harder than expected and data transfers are too slow (they are transferring 16 cameras worth of data for 1 picture) and focus isn’t good enough and low light performance also isn’t good enough and did I mention it is hard!

I’m still impressed with the idea. But like all true disruptions it isn’t good enough when it first launches. Look at the modern DSLR. It shows you the picture you will take, it is seconds from taking the picture to being able to look at it. Focus is multi zone and you can decide how sharp or soft you want it and where. Auto exposure can handle high backlight shots and a wide range of light conditions. Fantastic. And decade in the making. The Light L16 isn’t surpassing it yet but you can see the trajectory and the camera of the future shows its potential now in what they are doing.

I’m also impressed with the open approach they are taking with customers. In a recent article Dr Rajiv Laroia explained why the Light L16 was delayed, how they were supporting their customers and what the plan for addressing the issues is. An excellent example of Collaboration with their customers rather than bunkering down defensively.

This still looks like it will be a success. It will just take longer than any of us expected.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

IEEE

IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, is the largest professional engineering body in the world and has a world wide focus. I am a Senior Member and have always found it worthwhile. In the days before the Internet was as useful as it is now, they were the best source of regular and up to date news about technology advances and what was happening in the world of technology.

IEEE - Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE – Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

A great example of this is the IEEE Collabratec platform. This fosters Collaboration over a very wide range of topics including ethics. I’m a regular contributor and was very pleased to see the figures for the its use in 2017. Check out the graphic below. Click on it to get a larger version that will be easier to read.

IEEE Collabratec 2017

IEEE Collabratec 2017

So a very good year for Collaboration.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

CES 2018

The annual Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up in Las Vegas and a lot of exciting announcements were made. IEEE Spectrum CES2018 has put together a summary. Here are some that I found particularly interesting.

IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum

5G

5G is expected to launch ahead of schedule with phone manufacturers supporting it toward the end of 2018 and carriers in 2019. It will need a lot more base stations so one of the challenges is how much equipment will be needed for field deployments, and where the workforce to do it will come from.

As an interim measure, Gigabit LTE is already coming online.

Read more at 5G News and Nuggets.

Safe Water from Air

This class of product has been speculated about for a while. So it was great to see a viable example on show. It includes a solar panel to create the energy needed to extract the water. I found it a little odd that the target market for this is the US. The greatest need is in the developing world.

Zero Mass - Clean Water From Air

Zero Mass – Clean Water From Air

The breakthrough idea is using materials that absorb water then heating them to get the water released. Electronic approaches up to now have used cooling which require a lot more energy.

The business model idea is to decentralise water. Like all new technologies, there are a lot of ecosystem issues to be worked through. The great thing is this can be an emergency response option when disasters create a clean water crisis.

Read more at Zero Mass Clean Water From Air.

Gadgets

CES is definitely gadget central. Some are obviously great ideas. And some look a bit crazy at first, until you think about it a bit:

  • HushMe stops your phone conversation being overheard by others
  • Somnox is a robot that helps you sleep better
  • Gemini PDA – should work commercially but it does
  • Fordward CX-1 luggage that follows you around (Discworld anyone)
  • Hip’Air air bags for you hips which inflate if you are falling
  • FoldiMate folds clothes for you
  • DroneHunter is a drone that hunts drones. Being pestered? Get a DroneHunter.
  • Percept and Me.mum work out when a woman is fertile
  • M1 Fetus Camera lets you take your own ultrasounds once you are pregnant
  • Puffco and Oblend target the emerging legal cannabis market
  • Prosthesis is a full sized exoskeleton

The complete rundown is at CES2018 Best and Craziest Gadgets.

Cars

You would think self-driving cars would get the biggest wrap, but it was the first remote controlled car on public roads that got the attention. Phantom demoed driving from 500km away. The biggest issue here is still latency so this one probably con’t go mainstream until 5G rolls out.

Phantom Remote Controlled Car

Phantom Remote Controlled Car

This and lots more news about transportation options including new electric vehicles can be found at CES2018 Remote Controlled Car.

Robots

Were everywhere. Including serving hotel guests and doing deliveries. Delivery Robots are Full Time.

Blockchain

I’m including this one because there is a lot of hype and the computing power to use it make it unusable for many applications. But like AI, the increasing power of hand held computing devices like mobile phones means that we are approaching the point where this can be done in devices, or done in the cloud. For the latter, we need high speed data and low latency. Then the phone can offload the most difficult or memory hungry operations to a cloud service and get the results back. This will open up a lot of new opportunities.

That’s it for now. You can check it out in detail at IEEE Spectrum CES2018.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Satellite Internet

There are many areas of the world where Internet services are not readily accessible. One of the ideas for providing poorly services areas with Internet was g

Google’s Project Loon which used high altitude balloons.

But there are also Satellite Internet contenders. Theses were nicely covered by recent blogs at CIS 471 and I’ve picked out some essential bits of information.

Boeing

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

The image above shows Boeing‘s plans to cover the earth with 2956 satellites. You can read more at Boeing’s satellite Internet project.

SpaceX

The next company is SpaceX who are also involved in rocket and satellite design. They are looking at 4425 satellites in low earth orbit.

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX believe that they can speed up Internet Back Haul by reducing the number of router hops required. The example above shows 5 space hops (including up and down) replacing 14 conventional hops. You can read more at SpaceX satellite Internet project status update.

OneWeb

And OneWeb are looking to provide Global Internet access, especially to the developing world.

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

They plan to use beam steerable techniques to allow frequency reuse and clean hand off as the satellites move overhead. And at seriously fast data rates. You can read more at OneWeb satellite Internet project status update.

What I found very encouraging is the degree to which BoeingSpaceX and OneWeb are collaborating and cooperating in order to make sure that they can coexist and all provide effective services. This included adjusting planned orbital heights and frequency usage.

So great to see another example of just how much Collaboration can enable opportunities, even when the collaborators look like competitors.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Doug Engelbart

There are lot’s of people who have done enormous service to the world through their inventiveness and willingness to share with other. A good example is Dennis Richie who I gave a tribute to in 2011 and who gave us the C Programming Language, one of the most used computing languages even today.

Doug Engelbart holding an early computer mouse

Doug Engelbart holding an early computer mouse

I recently came across Doug Engelbart who passed away 4 years ago and is responsible for inventing many of the ideas behind modern computing including:

  • Father of the mouse
  • Videoconferencing
  • Hyperlinks
  • WYSIWYG word processor
  • Multi-window user interface
  • Shared documents
  • Shared database
  • Documents with images & text embedded
  • Keyword search
  • Instant Messaging
  • Synchronous Collaboration
  • Asynchronous Collaboration
  • and much more

The Mother of all Demos

The Mother of all Demos was a 90 minute presentation he put together in 1968 to demonstrate, for the first time, some of the above inventions. Below is a video with selected highlights.

This was the beginning of Interactive Computing and a critical breakthrough on the way to the Graphical User Interface and eventually the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) Operating System concepts.

You can read more about his contributions at:

The First Mouse

And now for a look at the First Mouse. This one predated the 3 button version used in the Mother of all Demos.

Again I am very grateful for those who have gone before us and shared and collaborated so freely that we might all benefit together.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Tech Schools Project

In Schools of the Future I wrote about the Victorian Government Tech School initiative which is intended to augment existing High Schools with a High Technology facility that is a shards asset for the all the schools in the area. The intent is to improve Australia’s digital readiness, STEM adoption and aid schools to prepare students for Jobs of the Future or the Industries of Tomorrow (or even today in many cases).

The Casey Tech School is expected to open in 2018 with construction under way now. I am one of the industry directors and keen to see the project achieve its fairly ambitious targets.

One of the lines I like from The Dish is “This is science’s chance to be daring”. For me, the Tech School Project is “Education’s chance to be daring”. And certainly offer a huge opportunity for Innovation in Education.

The Yarra Ranges Tech School has been up and running for a while and a big help to the rest of the projects as we are all able to learn from their experience. They recently interviewed me on careers perspectives and have provided a copy of the edited video for our own use. So here it is.


Tomorrows jobs will be created by the workers, not companies“. Ray Keefe 2016.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Voltera V-One

The Voltera V-One is a PCB Prototyping system from voltera.io. And we just got one having put in a pre-order in April 2017. So we made the default “Hello World”project to make sure it works. And it did. Now the first serious assignment is making a single sided PCB with 8 channels of 3rd order active low pass filtering on it. Although it can do double sided PCBs there are extra steps so I started with single sided and we will run a few jumper wires to stitch the GND and VCC nets together. Everything else I was able to route fully through on the top layer. You can watch it in action below.

And this is the design it is printing. Below is the schematic for 2 of the low pass active filter channels.

Active Low Pass Filter Schematic

Active Low Pass Filter Schematic

The layout that was then converted to gerber plots (only needed the GTL top layer) and printed. You can easily see where I allowed for the jumper wires. The ones on the left are GND and on the right are VCC.

Active Low Pass Filter PCB

Active Low Pass Filter PCB

This technology is the equivalent of 3D printing for circuit boards. But wait, there is more. You can use any substrate so this can print on glass or a flexible medium such as Kapton. And it is worth noting that it is a printer and so can handle more than just conductive ink. You can also use it as a general purpose printer. It will even dispense paste on standard HASL finish production PCBs so you can do stencil free reflow of standard PCBs.

They are also working on a milling attachment and we plan on getting that as soon as it is available.

Voltera V-One Review

Here is a review put together by Andrew Walla, one of the staff here at Successful Endeavours. I’ve added a few comments of my own so here it is.

Voltera V-One Pros

  • Voltera have done an exceptional job with the software user interface and look and feel of the product. In much the same way that the Arduino platform makes embedded microcontroller technology accessible to the masses, I feel the V-One does the same for PCB prototyping.
  • The printer has everything you need to get started to print your own ‘Hello World’ project. Batteries are included.
  • The printer allows you to fabricate single layer PCBs in less than a day, even on unusual substrates such as glass or flexible polymers.
  • Double sided PCBs are supported. There are extra steps such as drilling the through holes after curing the first side then aligning the second side then print and cure. A simple double sided PCB could also be done the same day. You manually fill Via holes with paste so they plate through.
  • The printer accepts standard PCB file formats (GERBER) and doesn’t appear to have any difficulty reading them correctly.
  • The printer allows for aligning different designs over pre-existing prints or for double sided PCBs.
  • It also has a paste dispenser so you can lay down paste and then hand load components.
  • The heated bed, used for curing the conductive ink, will go hot enough to reflow the paste once you have parts loaded. You can even modify the temperature profile to behave in a custom manner.
  • If you have standard PCBs with HASL finish then they have a specific paste you can use with them and it will reflow those as well. We are likely to make a lot of use of that feature. And the machine is faster at this than printing because the ink curing time is an hour but paste is ready to go the moment it is dispensed.
  • The conductive ink seems to live up to its promised conductivity.
  • And the biggest Pro of all: if you need a PCB today, then you can have your PCB today, as long as it is within the process capabilities of the Voltera V-One.

So lots of positives there.

Voltera V-One Cons

  • Don’t expect this printer to make production quality PCBs for you.
  • It doesn’t support solder masks. Plus that would take up a lot of ink. So you will want to think about whether you want to coat the PCB after assembly with a varnish.
  • And there is a lot more work to getting a double sided board together.
  • You also won’t end up with as neat a result as you can get from production PCBs hand loaded. However the paste dispenser is definitely going to get a lot of use on HASL finish PCBs so we see that as a major win.
  • Because the PCB sits on top of the rails when it is being cured, you can’t run tracks out to the edge of the PCB.
  • We made some cardboard spacers to allow us to position the blank PCB in the center of the bed. Otherwise it can be awkward to get the printing aligned with the PCB. So this is an area that needs improving.
  • And while they do intend to release a milling accessory, it isn’t ready yet. That is also on our “to get” list.

Overall, I have been quite impressed and look forward to seeing what this printer will have to offer in future.

This post was jointly produced by Ray Keefe and Andrew Walla.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Agilent Award for Innovation in Analytical Science

We are pleased to announce that our client, The Active Reactor Company, are finalists in the Agilent Award for Innovation in Analytical Science 2017 this coming Tuesday 12 September 2017.

Agilent

Agilent

This is for the arcHUB Smart Cities device that measures multiple data types that are useful for the management of Smart Cities. The initial data set is:

  • wind speed (external anemometer attached)
  • sunlight level
  • night light level (street light monitoring etc)
  • temperature
  • PM2.5 particulate levels
  • PM10 particulate levels
  • Gases – CO, H2S, SO2, NO2, H2S
  • Humidity
  • People counting (PIR based anonymous counting)
  • Soil moisture levels (external probe)

It is also the HUB and coordinator of a Sensor Area Network that can include modules that can measure any of the above as well as:

  • vibration
  • shock
  • movement
  • water level
  • GPS location
  • USB charger current (for usage analysis)
  • counting any device or system that has a pulse output
  • analog voltage measurements (AC and DC)

arcHUB trial at Fitzroy Gardens

arcHUB trial at Fitzroy Gardens

The arcHUB is solar powered and includes a cellular modem to allow reporting back to a web service. It is designed to mount to a pole using straps but can easily be mounted to a wall or any other typical structure. A typical scenario is measurements every 15 minutes (except people or pulse counting which are continuous) and uploading to the web service every hour.

With the release of CAT-M1 services across Australia by Telstra, we are expecting migrate to this communications standard because it will reduce power consumption by at least a factor of 4 which will further improve battery life.

We are looking forward to the awards outcome on Tuesday night and wish The Active Reactor Company all the best.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Next Page »