Open House at Advanced Assembly on Oct. 25th

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If you’re in the Denver area, come meet our new assembly partner: Advanced Assembly!

They’re having an open house:

Join us for pizza, beer and tours of our newly remodeled, high-tech facility as we celebrate 14 years in business. Bring your co-workers too!

Please RSVP

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Open House at Advanced Assembly on Oct. 25th

Cool Tools: Deus Ex Autorouter

The first thing you probably asked yourself when learning how to lay out PCBs was “can’t the computer do this?” which inevitably led to the phrase “never trust the autorouter!”. Even if it hooks up a few traces the result will probably be strange to human eyes; not a design you’d want to use.

But what if the autorouter was better? What if it was so far removed from the autorouter you know that it was something else? That’s the technology that JITX provides. JITX is a company that has developed new tools that can translate a coarse textual specification of a board to KiCAD outputs autonomously.

How do you use JITX? At this point the company provides a front end to their tools; you use their website contact form to talk to a human (we assume) about what you want to make and how. But watching their demo videos (see the bottom of this post) gives a hint about how the tooling actually works. In brief; it takes a specification in a domain specific language that describes the components to use, then compiles (synthesizes?) that into KiCAD files that can be sent to fab.

via Cool Tools: Deus Ex Autorouter — Hackaday

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The Incredible Judges Of The Hackaday Prize

The last challenge of The Hackaday Prize has ended. Over the past few months, we’ve gotten a sneak peek at over a thousand amazing projects, from Open Hardware to Human Computer Interfaces. This is a contest, though, and to decide the winner, we’re tapping some of the greats in the hardware world to judge these astonishing projects.

Below are just a preview of the judges in this year’s Hackaday Prize. In the next few weeks, we’ll be sending the judging sheets out to them, tallying the results, and in just under a month we’ll be announcing the winners of the Hackaday Prize at the Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena. This is not an event to be missed — not only are we going to hear some fantastic technical talks from the hardware greats, but we’re also going to see who will walk away with the Grand Prize of $50,000.

via The Incredible Judges Of The Hackaday Prize — Hackaday

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Creating a DIP ATtiny85 Watch with the DS3231

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Creating a DIP ATtiny85 Watch with the DS3231

As Douglas Adams explained in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, digital watches are “pretty neat” to us primitive life forms. Something about the marriage of practicality, and sheer nerdiness gets me oddly excited. Somewhere in my fascination I asked myself, “can I make a digital watch entirely of my design?” I did! And it taught me a lot about pcb fabrication, low power programming, and shift registers.

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Probably the most important function of a watch is that it keeps time. While you could use your microcontroller to count the seconds and save on parts, there are some major downsides to this. For one, the microcontroller is much worse at keeping time than a dedicated RTC (Real Time Clock) IC, the time would drift significantly with temperature and battery voltage. Another serious problem is that it would require the microcontroller to always be on, keeping track of the time. This would consume much more current than an RTC IC, draining the battery significantly faster. Thus we employ a DS3231 to casually sit in the background, consuming microamps from it’s own back-up battery (which, at the rate of 200µA, would take 12.56 years to drain).

Creating a DIP ATtiny85 Watch with the DS3231

Maker Faire Denver this weekend (Oct. 13-14)

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Maker Faire Denver is this weekend, October 13th and 14th:

Maker Faire Denver is entering its second year as the only Feature Maker Faire in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding states! It features awe-inspiring maker creations, hands-on activities for makers of all ages, presentations and competitions. We are also dedicating ourselves to growing our engagement with social impact makers.

 

Look for our Drew Fustini (@pdp7) in purple!

Maker Faire Denver this weekend (Oct. 13-14)