I have just reviewed the posted Cypress Design Challenge Phase I entries. As I expected, I found many creative and innovative ideas. Most entries included a block diagram of one sort or another, but others were text descriptions only. Personally, I find having a block diagram extremely useful in visualizing and understanding the design. Most block diagrams were adequate in describing the design. A few were quite well done, with excellent graphics in color. Others were schematics – which was fine with me – and one was hand-drawn by an entrant with pretty decent drawing skills.
All Cypress Community members are invited to review and vote for Phase I entries. Voting Community Members will be awarded six prizes of US$50 each, which will be selected at random. I ignored the votes cast to date, and perused the entries for the ones I felt were interesting or wanted to comment upon.
The UFC-4 High Power Rocketry Flight Controller is an ambitious and interesting entry. In addition to all the expected control functions, the design plans to acquire in-flight telemetry and report its GPS position, I assume in real-time.
Malamute plans on accomplishing this “half the cost and 40% of the size and weight” of current solutions. While this design is intended for amateur rocketry applications, this designer may have a future at NASA.
PSoC5 Super Spy Car with Bluetooth control and monitoring by mobile phone is a toy car application, but certainly a full-functioned one.
Electronix79 certainly produced one of the more attractive block diagrams as well. It gives the reader a good idea of how the design will work and go together. I thought it was extremely creative to control the toy car via the Bluetooth functionality on a mobile phone.
Touch-sensitive electronic Alto recorder with true analog sound synthesizer is a straight-forward unpretentious design that digitizes a musical instrument (an alto recorder). It would be mistake to consider this a simplistic entry. Mikes describes the complete digitization synthesizer and operation of his “eCorder”. This is a design that I would really like to hear when it is completed.
Engine monitor is an interesting entry from Andrei Volkov. The concept of this entry is that by just “listening” to the engine sounds, the system can analyze how the engine is functioning, and send an alert when it detects something is amiss. Volkov’s premise sounds very workable, but he will have to acquire the operation sounds of a well-functioning engine as a baseline for comparison. This could be challenging taking into account the large number of different engines and the many different operating conditions that would modify the engines sounds.
Feline Urinary-health Recording and Reporting System (FURRS) monitors the urinary health of your cat. (In the interest of full disclosure, please be advised that I have two dogs and no cats.) Eric Wertz’s design name yields an appropriate and cute acronym, which I am sure, is completely serendipitous. Wertz’s design intentionally avoids RFID tagging (which I do not understand) and uses an actual image to identify individual cats. His system then analyzes the identified cat’s urine for common feline illness. Wertz also advises that the cat is not included with the entry, and I assume will not be included going forward.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.