Engineers describe how they would use an STM32 MCU in the first phase of a new design challenge.
Phase One of the STM32 Design Challenge, which launched November 8, 2010, is off to a fast start with 50 engineers already submitting their conceptual designs based on the STMicroelectronics STM32 Discovery Kit. During the six-month contest, participants will build, test, and display their designs, based on the STMicroelectronics STM32 Discovery Kit, and interact with the electronics engineering community on the contest site.
You can view the submissions here on the contest site.They are quite impressive--I am really glad that I am not a judge as it's going to be exceedingly difficult to pick the winners from these really excellent entries.
The submissions cover a broad band of applications from medical to entertainment to several other application fields. All of the entries seem very useful, except perhaps for one titled “Not Quite Sure Yet.” (I am willing to bet that he or she will come up with a useful one!)
I spent a few minutes reading the attached descriptions on the entries. A couple had some personal interest for me. One was a bionic hand. As a Vietnam Veteran, I know that a number of guys lost the use of a hand due to wounds or other injury. I am sure this is also true today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, people have accidents in the US that result in the loss of a hand. A highly functional bionic hand is certainly a worthy project. I am certainly not a medical electro-mechanical designer, but I know that there are a lot of difficult challenges associated with this design. A human hand is indeed a complex piece of machinery. The opposable thumb separates us from other animals. I have a lot of respect for a designer taking on a challenge of this magnitude – and social value.
The other entry that caught my eye was the Scuba Inertial Guidance System. I may be one of the oldest Scuba divers yet submerging. (I will turn 70 in February.) Most Scuba divers are under 40 – many are well under 30. Several years ago, I signed up for a night manta ray dive in Kona. We boarded the boat at twilight at the Honokohau Harbor, where there were several other evening excursion boats also boarding. The captain saw my gray hair and balding head, and asked me if I had boarded in error. He advised me that the dinner cruise was boarding in the next slip. I was somewhat insulted, but I remained diplomatic.
From my perspective, a Scuba guidance system will be very useful. The diver will be able to track where he or she went, and be able to know where they are going much better than today’s “dead reckoning” system. All certified divers are taught to use their console-mounted magnetic compass (which does work underwater) and use whatever fixed points are visible to calculate their position. This frequently does not work very well. On several occasions I have ascended with my dive buddy much further from the dive boat than I thought I would be. If it is too far to swim easily (remember, I am by now tired, nearly 70 years old, and hauling 50 pounds of wet gear, lead weights, as well as a wetsuit), you need to attract attention to get picked up. Many divers carry a police whistle and an inflatable six foot orange “sausage” for this purpose. However, it would be better to know where you are before you ascend.
About ten years ago a diving couple was lost in Australia. They made a movie about that dive called “Open Water” – which happens to be the most common proficiency level imprinted on our Scuba certification cards.
The STM32 Design Challenge has many great entries that I found inspiring. The designers should be commended. I wish them all good luck, and I look forward to seeing the winners selected.
And it's still not too late for you to enter your conceptual design - Phase I of the competition is open until January 10th. So get those creative juices flowing! Enter your design here.