Blue LEDs vs. White LEDs (and Red, Green and Yellow!)

Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs) are perhaps one of the most overlooked technologies in a prototyping project, pun oh-so-definitely intended. Their functionality is so simple, yet so vital for basic interaction with a board. For today’s iteration of the deltas blog, I’ve grabbed a spec of each available color, and have decided to compare and contrast whatever there is to compare and contrast. Let’s get into it.

A bunch of diodes

A bunch of LEDs

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9-DOF Inertial Sensors: Prediction vs. Reality (or where we stand 2 years after ITRS’s 2011 MEMS report)

Every 2 years, the big guns in the technology world get together and predict what the building blocks of the future shall be. This workgroup is known as the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, and not only do they predict the number of transistors that you’ll be able to ~ahem~ count in a die, they also foresee the challenges to get there. Today, I’d like to take a look at the ITRS’s accelerometer and gyro predictions made in 2011, and compare them against state-of-the-art products.

The power of hindsight

The power of hindsight - were 2011 predictions with regards to accelerometer and gyro integration correct?

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Raspberry-Pi Model B Vs. BeagleBone Black

This past Monday, TI-friendly BeagleBoard announced the newest member to its family of quick prototyping boards, the Beagleboard Black. The deltas blog had already comparedthe BeagleBone against what seems to be the originator of the DIY-computing industry. It only seems fair to update this head-to-head comparison. Shall we?

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FRAM vs. MRAM

Once upon a time, information systems’ architects divided memory into temporary storage and permanent storage. Temporary storage allowed for quick access to variables, but suffered from being erased when the power was cut; permanent storage would still be present after power-cycling, but access to data would be slow. The former we know today as RAM; the latter as ROM (or EEPROM, FLASH, or just simply as a hard drive). Well, guess what? The hard line between temporary and permanent storage is quickly becoming thinner.

Border between Poland and Germany

Just like the border between Poland and Germany, differences between permanent and temporary storage are fading away. Image courtesy of Mateusz War

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Raspberry Pi vs. APC Rock

Not three years ago, when thinking of a new electronics project, you had to plan for some breadboard configuration time where you were going to figure out how to hook-up the microcontroller of your choice to whatever signals were coming in. Personally, I always thought of this stage of a bit of a pain: “High” frequency signals would pollute other signals, devices would need to be either on daughter cards or have the right package to be hooked-up correctly… Arduino development boards changed that forever. The Raspberry Pi made it official. And now, others are jumping into the bandwagon. Today: APC’s Rock vs. what has become the baseline of low-power, low-cost, semi-custom computing, the Raspberry-Pi.

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ARM Cortex-M0+ vs. MSP430 (or are M0+-based devices really 16-bit MCU replacements?)

The writing is on the wall. NXP and Freescale have both ARM Cortex-M0+ that are advertised as the future for low-end microcontrollers. NXP’s LPC800 family’s web-page boldly states that the family is suited for “8/16-bit applications.” How true is it? Why not compare one of these next-gen low-cost MCUs against a well known contender in the arena, namely the MSP430?

TI's MSP430 is one of the best selling 16-bit MCU out there. Image courtesy of Travis Goodspeed

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Epson S1C60N16 vs. Atmel ATAM893-D (or “a 4-bit microcontroller showdown!”)

Without question, the ARM architecture is the market tendency for microcontrollers. More and more, we find companies that own microcontroller architecture IP licensing ARM cores and developing their own solutions around them. The push is clearly towards 32-bit based solutions, and we can observe a tendency to leave 8- and 16-bit solutions¬†behind. For today’s entry, the deltas blog will go completely counter-culture, and get rid of as many bits as possible. Today, we compare 4-bit MCUs!

Even the original NES had an 8-bit architecture!

Even the original NES had an 8-bit architecture! (Image courtesy of David Arango)

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Computing a CRC: Hardware vs. Software (or why different implementations render different performance)

No matter how much music lovers might want to fight it, we live in a digital world. Data integrity is becoming more and more important everyday. In almost any application, the system (whatever that may be) needs to be able to at least detect if there has been some kind of bit corruption. Enter Cyclic Redundancy Check. When seen as a black box, all CRC’s are equal in the sense that they must return the same result. However, not all implementations are the same.

The LP is one of the last vestigial objects of an analog culture. Image by Felipe Micaroni Lalli

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