223: Gregorian Chants and Things

Christopher (@stoneymonster) and Elecia (@logicalelegance) chat about listener questions and things they’ve been up to.

A listener turned Chris on to Ray Wilson and his Music From Outer Space website on DIY analog synths and book Make: Analog Synthesizers. After collecting parts for a total DIY, he found and built a neat kit: Kastle Synth (as heard on the show) and has connected it to his Roland SE-02 Analog Synthesizer (on Amazon). BTW, his ham radio WSPR kit is the Ultimate 3 in case you are behind on hobbies. You can hear more about it in 197: Smell the Transistor.

Elecia has been working through Udacity’s Self-Driving Engineer nanodegree. She completed term 1 with its computer vision and machine learning and is on to term 2 with sensor fusion, localization, and control. She blissfully is unaware of the cost because she got to be an industry expert for the Intro to Self-Driving Cars course.

Listener Simon asked about non-fiction books. Elecia gets many of hers by looking at what is on discount at BookBub’s science section which lead to two books she highly recommends Spirals in Time (snail facts) and Tristan Gooley’s How to Read Water (beach explainer).

Chris has been reading Scott Wolley’s The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age and How Music Works by David Byrne.

Some show-related recommendations include Gretchen Bakke’s The Grid (hear Gretchen on episode 213: Electricity Doesn’t Behave Like an Apple) and Jimmy Soni’s Mind at Play (hear Jimmy on episode 221: Hiding in Plain Sight). She’s reading Tim O’Reilly’s WTF book about the future in anticipation of an upcoming episode. That's a good reminder: we, of course, also recommend Making Embedded Systems.

Zach asked about Michael Barr’s Embedded Software Training in a Box. Apologies if we weren’t specific enough, it would likely make a better blog post.

Also: $1 Microcontrollers! Joby Aviation! And Embedded.fm Patreon!

IMG_0050.JPG

 

 

222: Virtual Bunnie

Jonathan Beri (@beriberikix) spoke with us about his double life: Particle.io product manager by day, maker by night (and weekends).

Jonathan wrote a chapter about piDuino5 Mobile Robot Platform in JavaScript Robotics.

Product manager resources from product.careers and Ken Norton's Newsletter. For an alternate take, there is good cartoon about effective product management from Henrik Kniberg.

For getting into open source lines, see the guide from Github. Also, there is a newi-sh consortium, the TODO group, with guides and resources about running open source projects.

There is also the often useful Google's developer documentation style guide.

NerdRage’s video on the chemistry of etching

The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen by Bunnie Huang

Speaking of Robot Operating System (we did, briefly), IEEE Spectrum had a nice history of ROS.

221: Hiding in Plain Sight

Author Jimmy Soni (@jimmyasoni) spoke with us about his biography of Claude Shannon,  founder of information theory and digital circuit theory.

A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman. For an introduction to the book, read their post 10,000 Hours With Claude Shannon: How A Genius Thinks, Works, and Lives.

Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner

Mark Levinson’s Particle Fever is a documentary film about the Large Hadron Collider. He is also directing a film about Claude Shannon

Scientific Aspects of Juggling by Claude Shannon

220: Cascading Waterfall of Lights

Ben Hencke (@im889) spoke with us about OHWS, Tindie, and blinking lights.

Ben sells his Pixelblaze WiFi LED controller on his ElectroMage store on Tindie. It is based on the ESP8266 and uses the DotStar (APA102) lights.

To hear John Leeman’s trip report on the Open Hardware Summit (OHWS), listen to Don’t Panic Geocast, Episode 140 – “Juicero of Tractors”

Ben’s websites are bhencke.com and electromage.com. Go there if you want to see some of Ben’s projects, including Synthia. You can also find Ben on Hackaday, Github, and YouTube.

We talked with Charles Lohr about ESP8266 WiFi controlled lights and ColorChord on Embedded.fm episode 102: The Deadly Fluffy Bunny (With WiFi).

Laser cut mandalas

OSHPark

Small Batch Assembly

More about the 4-bit Radio Shack computer (and an Arduino-based emulator for it!)

Santa Cruz Idea Fab Lab

Talia's nightlight

Talia's nightlight

62: Costs a Penny to Go to the Bathroom (Repeat)

Josh Bleecher Snyder (@offbymany) joined us to talk about PayPal's Beacon, being acquired, the Go programming language, BTLE, computer vision, and working at a large company after founding small ones.

Bluetooth Low Energy: A Developer's Handbook by Robin Heydon

TI CC2540 BTLE module

Learning OpenCV: Computer Vision by Gary Bradski and Adrian Kaehler

Gatt is a Go package for building Bluetooth Low Energy peripherals (video description by Josh from GopherCon 2014)

Card.io

Machine learning's Theano

Eigen Library for matrix math

219: Not Obviously Negligent

Kelly Shortridge (@swagitda_) spoke with us about the intersection of security and behavioral economics. Kelly’s writing and talks are linked from her personal site swagitda.com. Kelly is currently a Product Manager at SecurityScorecard.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

What Works by Iris Bohnet

Risky Business, a podcast about security

Teen Vogue’s How to Keep Your Internet Browser History Private

Surveillance Self-Defense from EFF, including security for journalists as mentioned in the show

Bloomberg’s Matt Levine

Twitter suggestion @SwiftOnSecurity@thegrugq, and @sawgitda_.

218: Neutron Star of Dev Boards

Dirk Akeman of SEGGER (@SEGGERMicro) joined us to talk about debugger specifics.

We recently did two other shows on debugging: a general intro with Alvaro Prieto and one with a focus on the development-system’s debugger software interface with Pierre-Marie de Rodat.

Herd immunity and find a flu shot

And, yes, we did bleep Dirk's answer for favorite processor because he later reconsidered the idea that he only had one favorite.

217: 10000 Pounds of Pressure

Bob Skala of Interactive Instruments spoke with us about very large servo motors, wind tunnels, and staying current in tech. 

Hydraulic Press YouTube channel (and our favorite video)

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Other good tech podcasts included The Amp Hour and HamRadio 360 WorkBench

Chris talked about getting into WSPR in 197: Smell the Transistor but we first talked about it in 76: Entropy is For Wimps. The new WSPR mode he mentioned is called FT8 (google it).

And a note from Bob:

Below is a link to a type of servo system that tries to simplify the interface to be more like a stepper.  It integrates the driver and motor into a single package so you can treat it like a stepper with digital step and direction or serial commands.  You get the smoothness, speed, accuracy and low power (when idle) of a servo but the servo motor, driver, and cabling are integrated into one magic box.  You add a DC supply and simple control signals and you are all set.  They came out with this to replace stepper motors.  I haven’t used one yet but I hope to at some point.

https://www.teknic.com/products/clearpath-brushless-dc-servo-motors/

 

216: Bavarian Folk Metal

Carmen Parisi (@FakeEEQuips) joined us to talk about electronics and podcasts.

Carmen works on switching regulators. If you want to know more, he sent along some very basic application notes: How to Apply DC-DC Step Down Regulators (Analog Devices) and Switching Regulator Fundamentals (TI). The digital communication method with these switchers is the I2C-like PMBus. If all those make sense, dive a little deeper with chapter 9 of the online and free Linear Circuit Design Handbook. Carmen says the whole book is excellent for analog information. Also, the free chapter of the Art of Electronics is on power. If all that still makes sense, you may be Carmen if you can also write an app note like this one: Multiphase Buck Design From Start to Finish (Part 1).

Carmen is a host on The Engineering Commons (@TEC_Podcast). Some episodes you might enjoy are 93: Capacitors with James Lewis of KEMET (aka BaldEngineer) and 77: Remote Host Toast with Elecia White.

Some suggested books from Carmen:

Elecia mentioned How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic by Michael Jay Geier and promised a PID image from her book Making Embedded Systems

215: Heisenbugs

Alvaro Prieto (@alvaroprieto) joined us to talk about the basics of debugging, from software to hardware.

Some of the programmer devices we talked about: SEGGER JLink and Black Magic Probe.

Chris mentioned a visual frontend for gdb called "Vulcan" but which is actually called Voltron. (He's got graphics on the brain).

How did we forget to mention the six stages of debugging?

Alvaro Prieto and Jen Costillo's new podcast on reverse engineering! And on Twitter as @unnamed_show.

Alvaro's Cheese Cave: making cheese and cheese-lapse photography of Brie aging.

Image uploaded from iOS (1).jpg

214: Tiny Sensor Problems

Kristen Dorsey explained MEMS sensors: how do they work, how they are made, and what new ones we expect to see in the future.

Kristen’s website is kristendorsey.com. She is a professor of engineering at Smith College and runs the MicroSmithie.

MEMS stands for microelectromechanical systems (Wiki). Used in some sensors, Galistan is a room-temp liquid with interesting properties (Wiki).

A few interesting MEMS applications:

One of Kristen's stretchy strain sensor, not MEMS (so you can see it)

One of Kristen's stretchy strain sensor, not MEMS (so you can see it)

212: You Are in Seaworld

Kwabena Agyeman joined us to talk about making OpenMV (@OpenMVCam), an easy-to-use camera and control module with built-in machine vision functions, all interfaced via MicroPython.

To learn more about computer vision, Kwabena suggested looking at PyImageSearch or reading the April tags code as it is a good introduction to image manipulation and matrix operations.

Some other interesting links:

211: 4 weeks, 3 days

Dennis Jackson spoke with us about making the career shift from software to embedded.

Dennis buys James Grenning’s Test Driven Development in Embedded C for his new hires and often recommends Elecia’s Making Embedded Systems. His tip that everyone should know was “Learn make!” and he has a reference for that: Why Use Make.

He suggested Joel Spolsky’s reading lists from Joel On Software, even the ones that don’t obviously apply.

Additional suggested-reading articles:

In his previous appearance on Embedded (#94: Don’t Be Clever), we talked about code complexity and measuring cyclomatic complexity. At that time he wanted a tool to monitor the code’s status. He has since found one: pmccabe.

Dennis currently works at Element Science.

 

209: Debuggerception

Pierre-Marie de Rodat (@pmderodat) joined us to talk about how debugger software works (and what compilers tell the debugger).

Pierre-Marie works for AdaCore on GNATcoverage (among other things). His github repo is pmderodat.

Note that the AdaCore sponsored Make with Ada competition is running right now but you still have time to enter! Last year’s winner, Stephane Carrez with EtherScope, made an Ethernet monitor for an STM32 board (github).

GDB supports Python scripting!?!!! 

DWARF is the most standard debugging data format. Before that it was stabs. To see this information in a Linux or Mac system, use objdump. (It is really interesting!)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

208: What If You Had a Machine Do It

Elecia gave a talk about machine learning and robotics at the Hackaday July Meetup at SupplyFrame DesignLab (video!) and LA CrashSpace. She gives it again in the podcast while Chris narrates the demos. 

Embedded Patreon


Embedded show #187: Self Driving Arm is the interview with Professor Patrick Pilarski about machine learning and robotics applied to prosthetic limbs.

I have also written more about my machine learning + robot arm on this blog. My code is in github (TyPEpyt).

My machine learning board is Nvidia’s Jetson TX2. The Two Days to a Demo is a good starting point. However, if you are new to machine learning, a better and more thorough introduction is the Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course on Coursera. To try out machine learning, look at Weka Data Mining Software in Java for getting to know your data and OpenIA Gym for understanding reinforcement learning algorithms

I use the MeArm for my robot arm. For July 2017, the MeArm kit is on sale at the Hackaday store with the 30% off coupon given at the meetup (or in Embedded #207).

Inverse kinematics is a common robotics problem, it took both Wiki and this blog post to give me some understanding.

I wasn't sure about the Law of Cosines before starting to play with this so I made a drawing to imprint it into my brain.

Robot Operating System (ROS) is the publisher-subscriber architecture and simulation system. (I wrote about ROS on this blog.) To learn about ROS, I read O’Reilly’s Programming Robots with ROS and spent a fair about of time looking at the robots on the ROS wiki page.

I am using OpenCV in Python to track the laser. Their official tutorials are an excellent starting point. I recommend Adafruit’s PCA9685 I2C PWM/Servo controller for interfacing the Jetson (or RPi) to the MeArm.

Finally, my talk notes and the Hackaday Poster!

111: Potty Train Your Tamagotchi (Repeat)

Natalie Silvanovich (@natashenka) discussed reverse engineering hardware, working on security software, and the fantastic world of Tamagotchis.

Natalie's site and blog

Hardware Excuse Generator

Original CCC 2012 talk: Many Tamagotchis Were Harmed in the Making of this Presentation

CCC 2013 talk: Even More Tamagotchis Were Harmed in the Making of this Presentation 

Natalie's upcoming BlackHat talk: Attacking ECMAScript Engines with Redefinition 

Flash exploit article for Project Zero: One Perfect Bug: Exploiting Type Confusion in Flash

Tamagotchis are still available as are the works of Shel Silverstein (Snowball is in Falling Up). 

Natalie's Tamagotchi board

Natalie's Tamagotchi board

 

 

78: Happy Cows (Repeat)

Chris Svec (@christophersvec) has an idea about adding empathy to software development. It is a good idea.

His blog is Said Svec. He works for iRobot and they are hiring. (Chris' email is given toward the end of the show but if you hit the contact link here, we'll pass along info to him.) 

Obligatory cat video

Embedded has an episode devoted to impostor syndrome

O'Reilly's Head First book series is pretty awesome.

Elecia is still talking about Thinking, Fast and Slow as a great way to understand brains. Chris Svec also recommends Make It Stick.

The Richard Hamming quote came from his address to the Naval Postgraduate School. The whole lecture is available on YouTube.

207: I Love My Robot Monkey Head

Professor Ayanna Howard of Georgia Tech joins us to talk about robotics including how androids interact with humans.  Some of her favorite robot include the Darwin, the Nao, and, for home-hacking, the Darwin Mini.

Ayanna has a profile on EngineerGirl.org, a site that lets young women ask questions of women in the engineering profession.

Elecia has been working on a typing robot named Ty, documented on the Embedded.fm blog. It uses a MeArm, on sale in July 2017 at Hackaday.com, with coupon noted in show. (don't use PayPal to check out or you can't apply the coupon). 

Other robots for trying out robots: Lego Mindstorms (lots of books, project ideas, and incredible online tutorials!), Cozmobot, Dash and Dot. Some robotics competition leagues include Vex, Botball, and FIRST