My head is currently buzzing with ideas for the "prop" I'm going to use for the Danger Will Robinson! How Radiation Can Affect Your Embedded Systems talk I will be giving at the forthcoming Design West Conference and Exhibition.
As you may recall from my earlier column, Dynamic pricing just tried to bite me on the bottom, I'm going to be talking about the effects of both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. As part of this, I've decided to employ a "prop" in the form of a small suitcase that contains an "electronic device of nefarious nature." I'm going to use this to demonstrate how even something as simple as someone calling you on your smartphone can generate enough radiation to affect the system in the suitcase.
This really is going to be a "Cool Beans" presentation (or “Frigus Fabam” in Latin, according to Translate.Google.com). When it comes to powering-up the device, I'm going to have three switches mounted somewhere on the case. Why three? In order to build the suspense, of course!
You wouldn't believe the sort of stuff you can find in the Pleasure Dome (my office) if you are prepared to root around a little. I've got all sorts of different switches, but I must admit that I'm leaning toward using three old telephone switches as shown below because these have a "substantial" look and feel to them.
Truth to tell, the event that triggered this column (the one you are currently reading) was a parcel that just arrived on my desk. Sent by my chum Rick Curl, this contained a bunch of interesting light covers (about 1-inch in diameter), three of which are shown below:
From left-to-right we have Red, Amber, and Green, although the colors aren’t very distinct in this photo that I just took using my iPhone. These are really rather "tasty" – when you look closely you see that they are nicely faceted, which will make them look jolly interesting when they are illuminated.
Now, I don’t want to get into the inner machinations of my device, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the power-up sequence. You know when you see a LED on a computer that cycles around gradually brightening up and then fading away (this happens on my notepad when I close the lid) – well, this is referred to as "Breathing". So, one possible power-up sequence might be as follows:
I activate Switch #1 – The Amber light breathes three times and then remains full on (the audience gulps).
I activate Switch #2 – The Amber light remains full on; the Green Light breathes three times then remains full on (the audience gasps).
I activate Switch #3 – The Amber light goes out and the Green light starts breathing full time (the members of the audience grip their seats in dread anticipation of what is to come – someone squeals in a high-pitched girlish tone [but it's only me, so that's alright]).
This is only one possibility, of course; there are lots of ways in which we could do this. What do you think?
Meanwhile, while you are ruminating on this issue, this would be a GREAT time to bounce over to the Design West Registration Page
to get the Early Bird Specials
while the getting is good. Even if you can't persuade your company to spring for the full-up technical conference, the FREE Exhibit Pass
gains you access to three days of Expo (Tuesday - Thursday), which includes access to 250+ exhibitors, sponsored sessions, show floor theater events, keynotes, industry addresses, giveaways and more. And then there's the Expo Plus Pass
, which – in addition to everything on the FREE Exhibit Pass – gains you access to DESIGN On Demand that houses DESIGN proceedings and video AND THREE FREE ONE CLASS PASSES
(which means you could attend my "Danger Will Robinson!
" presentation, for example).
If you found this article to be interest, visit Microcontroller / MCU Designline
where – in addition to my Max's Cool Beans
blogs on all sorts of "stuff" – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to all aspects of designing and using microcontrollers.
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Last but certainly not least, make sure you check out all of the discussions and other information resources at All Programmable Planet
. For example, in addition to blogs by yours truly, microcontroller expert Duane Benson is learning how to use FPGAs to augment (sometimes replace) the MCUs in his robot (and other) projects.