Weekly Roundup – Top Links for the 2nd Week of November 2017

From the Editor

I hope all are doing well.  Here in the US, next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  I am very happy as I get to take a bit of time off to play with some projects around the house.  As I go through the week, I may be able to share a few of them with you the reader here as well.  There is always one project or another going on in this house.  For those that are celebrating, I hope that you have a happy Thanksgiving.  Now onto this week’s links…


The Amazing $1 Microcontroller by Jay Carlson

I have yet to see a review as well thought out as this review is.  Jay takes a look at 21 different microcontrollers.  The only rule for this effort is that they had to be less than $1.  This review covers everything from the humble 8051 (ok, actually a few variants of this popular architecture) through other 8, 16, and 32bit architectures.  While there were no clear winners, there were a few that were less than desireable.  This is a very, very thorough benchmarking.  Well worth the read and a reread or two.



NXP releases the LPC8N04 Cortex M0+ Microcontroller with Integrated NFC

NXP is the co-inventor of NFC (near field communication).  This wireless communication method is growing in popularity.  It is showing up in things like wireless payment, digital keys, name badges and many other applications.  To help this grow, NXP has integrated this into a small QFN24 device that not only contains all the hardware to drive an NFC antenna, but also includes an ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller clocked up to 8MHz.



XTRX – A high-performance SDR in a mini PCIe form factor

Coming soon to Crowd Supply, this software defined radio comes in a PCIe form factor, though can also connect via USB with a small adaptor board.  This device carries the popular Lime Microsystems LMS7002 field programmable RF chip.  With this chip, the XTRX is capable of covering 30MHz – 3.8GHz with 2 x 2 MIMO.  There is further capability on the low frequency side but with degraded performance.  Most likely this has to do with getting a wideband front end to cover the full range.



ST Microelectronics Releases the STM32L4+ Microcontroller

This is the latest release of ST Micro’s low power ARM Cortex M4 devices.  This particular family of microcontrollers is targeted towards devices that have a display interface.  It brings with it the ST Chrom ART hardware accelerator to offload graphics processing from the main microcontroller.  This device really is rounding out the L4 family of devices to bring some of the other features that were found in the F4 family of parts into ST’s low power variants.  There is already a Nucleo Board available with the STM32L4+ part as well as a more feature rich Discovery board.



Open Source Underwater Glider

For those that do not know, I have a particular fondness for underwater vehicles.  This entry to the 2017 Hackaday Prize not only got me interested, it ended up winning the grand prize.  This is a unique, low cost device that aims to make underwater exploration open to a much wider audience than is currently available using simple, off the shelf components combined with 3D printing.  I am really tempted to make one of these myself.


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