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

206: Crushing Amounts of Snow

This week, we mix things up a bit. This joint show with the Don't Panic Geocast.  This episode explores what happens when electrical engineering meets geoscience in cold places. We’re joined by guest Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan of Penn State to talk about geopebbles, ice, climate, and more!

Fun Paper Friday: The Boring Company

205: Questions about Dumplings

This week we talked to Addie (@atdiy) and Whisker (@whixr), the Toymakers (@Tymkrs). They make electronics kits, videos, and conference badges.

Toymakers site (tymkrs.com) has a link to their IRC channel, videos, and Tindie store (including those amazing heart simulators, the easy to make Amplify Me, and Protosynth Midi).

Their reddit community is r/Tymkrs. It has a lot more information about the CypherCon 2017 badges. More about CypherCon at cyphercon.com.

Some of their ZombieTech podcast is available on YouTube (along with First Spin and Patch Bay, see the playlists to find grouped series). Note that Rabbithole is the name of their hackspace as well as the video series documenting project creation. Episode 200 has the violin we discussed.

We seem to have talked about a lot of other people on the show, especially shared friends and past Embedded.fm guests (some of whom were on ZombieTech).

Some fiction for you:

204: Abuse Electricity

Phoenix Perry (@phoenixperry) spoke with us about physical games. Phoenix is CTO of DoItKits (@DoItKits) and  

More about Phoenix:

Physical games are sometimes called Alt Ctrl such as at the Alt Ctrl Game Jam

Phoenix co-founded Code Liberation with Catt Small, Nina Freeman, and Jane Friedhoff. “Code Liberation catalyzes the creation of digital games and creative technologies by women, nonbinary, femme, and girl-identifying people to diversify STEAM fields.” There is an 8-part workshop in London in Summer 2017 (more info).

Some other interesting people:

How to Get What You Want wearables site

Yoga Pants

AutoDesk Fusion360

I know you only read the show notes because you wanted this link: Velastat LessEMF has the supplies for ghost hunting!

202: Flush and Your Inner Fish

Professor Alex Dean spoke with us about his ARM embedded systems books and @NCState courses.

Alex’s page in North Carolina State University’s department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

His book is Embedded Systems Fundamentals with Arm Cortex M Based Microcontrollers: A Practical Approach (ecopy available from the ARM Media site). It uses the FRDM-KL25Z as the example board throughout the text.

Alex also co-authored Embedded Systems, An Introduction Using the Renesas RX62N

His favorite RTOS is Keil RTX.  

We also mentioned about Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin and Flush by Carl Hiaasen

 

201: Accidentally Incredibly Dangerous

Shaun Meehan (@logiclow) joined us to talk about robot arms and stealth rocket companies. Shaun’s rocket startup is hiring; information about the job openings are below. 

Shaun’s robot arm is an ABB IRB-2000 (video of Fred). Elecia was reading How to Choose the Right Industrial Robot when Shaun emailed. He convinced her that the MeArm Pocket Size Robotic Arm is the likely best choice for her machine learning typer project (which needs a better name). 

All this led to a discussion of inverse kinematics, robot operating system (ROS), and OpenAI. SparkFun has a nice guide to selecting the right motor if the DC, servo, stepper section went by a bit fast. Elecia mentioned the TI Piccolo line as good motor controllers, assuming you aren't building an FPGA controller from scratch on your own.

Repair cafes are a thing.

Shaun was on The Amp Hour 220: Doctiloquent Dove Deployer where he talked a lot more about his robot pets. For more about Fred, the robot arm, check out LogicLow.com. Also, see Shaun's github repo, Fun with Flip-Dots (on hackaday.io), his intended page for big servos (Not Your Hobby Servo, also hackaday,io)  His personal site detailing new projects, motors, and fire-breathing dodo birds is ShaunAndKelly.com.  

Shaun recently enjoyed The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

Stealth Space Rocket Company Hiring Information

We are a small, highly entrepreneurial team of rocket engineers with deep technical expertise who love to build things and relish the idea of a grand challenge. 

Building on over a decade of technology development in rocket propulsion, structures, and avionics funded by NASA and DARPA, we are applying a fast-paced, hardware-focused, agile approach to space launch.

Are you an engineer, hacker, maker, or physicist who has always dreamed of building rockets? Come help us build the hardware and launch the services that will open the frontier of space to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The company is in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. If you want to apply, email Shaun: space at logiclow dot com.

200: Oops

Episode 200! Let’s have a party (and a survey)! Former guests joined us in a panel-style celebration of working in embedded systems: Alvaro Prieto, Andrei Chichak, Elizabeth Brenner, Chris Svec, and Chris Gammell.

Alvaro Prieto (@alvaroprieto) was a guest on 130: Criminal Training Camp.

Andrei Chichak writes Embedded Wednesdays and was on 99: You Can Say a Boat114: Wild While Loops and 139: Easy to Add Blood Splatter.

Elizabeth Brenner (@eabrenner) was a guest on 17: Facebook Status: Maybe Not Dead and 54: Oh, The Hugh Manatee,

Chris Svec (@christophersvec) writes Embedded Software Engineering 101 was on 78: Happy Cows and 139: Easy to Add Blood Splatter.

Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) was a guest on 35: All These Different Reasons Why You Might Want to Do Something as well as a co-host on the holiday Embedded/Amp Hour crossover episode 181: Work on It for Ten Years.

Fiction mentioned:

Episodes cited as favorites:

Tools discussed:

Notes: T-shirt sales are probably already over unless you hurry. March micro madness and Digilent Digital Discovery contests also end very soon.

 

 

199: Petri Dishes of Doom

Chris and Elecia answer listener questions about contracting (and consulting).

Reminders: T-shirts! Hat contest! Digilent contest announced in #197! It all ends around May 18th so get your entries in now!

The original discussion was on episode 4: Are We Not Lawyers?

Elecia's salary to rate conversion can be found as a Google spreadsheet

198: Unmanned Flying Thingy

Walter Stockwell spoke with us about the legalization of drones, UAVs, UASs, and UFOs.

Walter works at DJI which makes the Phantom. They have some jobs open.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Intel/Pepsi drone show at SuperBowl halftime

AOPA Facebook page

The amateur model aircraft organization discussed was the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). 

ASSURE UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report (also: press release)

Elecia mentioned the Madgwick Filter.

Embedded.fm t-shirts are available for a limited time! There are two distributors: one US based, one Europe based. Choose whichever is closest to you.

Elecia’s TV appearance on The Jennylyn Show is on YouTube.

Digilent Digital Discovery contest ends May 19.

 

197: Smell the Transistor

Chris and Elecia talk with each other about science fiction, advertising, ham radios, debugging tools, and programming languages.

You can buy Embedded.fm t-shirts (US, also in Europe!) until May 18, 2017. You can always buy Elecia’s book: Making Embedded Systems. And don’t forget we have a Patreon if you’d like to support the show directly.

Some science fiction we mentioned: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, Nightfall and Last Question by Isaac Asimov, and the All This Time video from Jonathan Coulton.

Digilent sent us goodies to review: one Analog Discovery 2 and two Digital Discovery units. So we did, though we didn't cover the high speed adapters and other nifty goodies. Check out Alvaro Prieto’s Troubleshooting tools HDDG talk for some additional information on the devices. For the giveaways, rules are in the show, hit the contact link to enter. Contest ends May 19th.

Chris has been doing low-power ham radio contacts (WSPR) using an Ultimate 3S kit from QRP Labs. We talked about WSPR some with Ron Sparks in episode 76: Entropy Is For Wimps

Make with Ada competition is back! It start May 15, 2017. We talked the 2016 competition with Fabien Chouteau in episode 158: Programming Is Too Difficult For Humans.

Elecia is still fighting with Ubuntu before she can build her robot typist with her NVidia Jetson TX2 board.

Philip Freidin sent in Stanford CS department’s reply to the lightning round question of “what language should you learn in the first college course?” Even better, he sent a link to a google spreadsheet showing how many schools answer the question.

Elecia was on the Jennylyn Show. (I’ll update with a link to the specific episode on YouTube when it is available.)

March Madness ended with PyBoard as the champion, more info on getting your winner’s hat soon.

196: Software Server Thingybob

Aditi Hilbert (@HilbertAditi) spoke with us about MyNewt, an Apache-licensed RTOS and bootloader.

MyNewt’s Apache page is mynewt.apache.org and the github repository is github.com/apache/incubator-mynewt-core. In the README.md, check out the section marked browsing which points to the file system, ble stack, and assorted other source code goodies you may want to read. The secure bootloader code is also in there but as it is also a cross-RTOS effort (with Linux’s Zephyr), you can find the MCUBoot repository at github.com/runtimeco/mcuboot

Aditi works for Runtime.io (@runtime_io), a primary contributor to MyNewt. They work with companies who want to use MyNewt on their products.

We talked about OIC (openconnectivity.org) and using UDP endpoints over BLE. Constrained http is actually called constrained application protocol: CoAP (coap.technology). We also mentioned MQTT, an older standard attempting to solve some of the same problems.

The Apache license is one of the most permissive of open source licenses: choosealicense.com/licenses

Assorted other links discussed in the show:

195: A Bunch of Sputniks

We discussed CubeSats with their co-inventor, Professor Jordi Puig-Suari, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at CalPoly SLO and co-founder of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.

The 2017 CubeSat conference is in San Luis Obispo, CA on April 26-28. More details at CubeSat.org.

Information about CubeSats at CalPoly SLO can be found at PolySat.org.

Tyvak is hiring for a number of different positions: tyvak.com/careers.

For more satellite goodness, we spoke with Patrick Yeon of Planet about their CubeSat-based platform and deployment mechanism in Embedded episode 153: Space Nerf Gun.

Stuart McAndrew's OzQube-1 is the listener whose PocketQube (not CubeSat!) we talked about: http://OzQu.be

Thank you to Embedded Patreon supporters for Jordi’s microphone! 

194: Something For Something

Shulie Tornel (@helixpea) joined us to talk about the 2017 Hackaday Prize (@hackaday and @hackadayio).

Hackaday World Create Day is April 22nd, let them know if you want do a meetup so they can add you to the calendar.

Elecia gave away all of her potential ideas, trying to figure out which one would work best for entry. It was probably Maxwell except for its lack of novelty (Embedded shows #17 and #54 and there is a SparkFun Tutorial).

Are you entering? The first phase (until May) is community driven (popularity contest). Post your entry here or tweet to us (@embeddedfm) and we'll like it. Also, it was Shantam Raj's Self-sustained Ultralow-power Node that we discussed in the show.

Neon Demons (trailer)

Embedded blog contributor Chris Svec was on the CodeNewbie podcast talking about robots and chip design. The following week Saron invited Elecia to record an episode about getting into hardware and embedded software.