If you have an application idea that incorporates analog components,
would strongly recommend that you consider entering the Cypress Design
Challenge. It's a new, six-month multiphase design competition that challenges engineers to come up with a design
based on the Cypress Cortex-M3 PSoC 5.
First, go to the Cypress website to learn more. The PSoC (Programmable System on a Chip) concept is not entirely new,
but Cypress has done a really thorough job with this device. The video description is pretty glossy, but it is worth five minutes of your time.
This chip allows a lot of ADC, DAC and other analog programming.
Hopefully, this capability will give you an idea for a really cool
Next, take a look at your development kit options. The first
development kit I did any work on was the Motorola 6800D2 Kit in early
1977. Back then, (I was an applications engineer for Motorola) we spent
a lot of time on the phone explaining how the kit worked. Also, since
the early kits were shipped unassembled, we also had to deal with a lot
of customer soldering error problems.
This was a great kit for its day,
but it had severe limitations by today’s standards. Most users
programmed the kit by entering information manually via the 24-key pad.
Information was read on six seven-segment LED displays. A Dutch educational website has a nice page on the Motorola 6800D2 Kit. (The
plywood box was added by the customer.):
The Motorola 6800 D2 could communicate via a modem and telephone line
at the blazing speed of 1200 bps! Development kits have come a long way
in 33 years. The Cypress PSoC ® Development Kit is one of the most
capable, complete and functional that I have seen. Please spend a few
minutes and watch the development kit video on the Cypress website.
I was struck with the similarity of the positioning of the readout
manual input areas of the 33-year- old 6800 D2 kit and the
state-of-the-art Cypress PSoC ® Development Kit. Same things do not
change. The Narrator Aaron Podbelski is obviously a real working
development engineer, and not just a guy with a good speaking voice
hired from central casting. Podbelski does an excellent job giving the
viewer a brief tutorial on the operation and programming of the Cypress
PSoC ® Development Kit.
Having reviewed the PSoC device and the development kit, please go
the Cypress Design Challenge website and review the rules, rewards and
deadlines. And then flex get those gray cells flexing: You must submit your conceptual design by January 17, 2011, for a chance to win cool prizes, including $2500 to the grand prize winner, and learn some new skills to boot.