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Byte Craft sponsorships usually contribute a Code Development System to an academic project focused on embedded systems. For more information, click Academic Research Support.

Byte Craft Limited supports academic projects involving embedded systems in different ways, often with the donation of a Code Development System product.

Below are some stories about projects in which we've played a part.

...with good sportsmanship, no doubt. Students at the University of Adelaide and their supervisor Frank Wornle, are building a ping-pong playing robot, and using eTPU_C to program the eTPU-based motor controller. They need the high-performance controller and software because of the reaction times needed.

More information, pictures and videos are found at Design of a
robotic ping-pong player

Frank Wornle is also involved in another project, a drive-by-wire Go-Kart, that uses the eTPU and eTPU_C. More on that to come...

Jochen Lindenmaier, a faculty member, and students S. Rohr, M. Stiegeler and H. Kabza, at the Universität Ulm in Ulm, Germany, are using Byte Craft Limited's eTPU_C Code Development System and a Freescale MPC 5554 to manage a "mild hybrid" engine testbed. The testbed puts a diesel engine in line with an induction machine, which acts both as a motor and a generator. A separate system simulates the load of the rest of the drivetrain, the wheels and the roadway.

The arrangement, if it were used in a car, permits for cold-weather starting of the diesel engine, and support for acceleration (permitting a smaller diesel engine to be used). As well, the setup allows the diesel engine to be stopped when the car is idle.

Jochen and the ULM students are using eTPU_C to program the MC5554 eTPU units for engine control (the PowerPC core does energy management).

The mild hybrid test bed, with engine control using eTPU_C

Jens Altenberg's design for a fantastic semi-autonomous airplane uses software generated by the SXC Code Development System. He has won third place in Parallax's SX Design Contest.

SAM, powered by Parallax' Ubicom SX and SXC

The swept-forward wing design makes for a futuristic look, but the software is even more amazing. Jens has the SX chip communicating with an operator via standard serial servo radio signals, operating the ailerons and motor, and measuring the horizon (very neat!) and windspeed.

We've been given permission to distribute his project report and software. Take a look at the software: several state machines organize the chip's operation in the virtual peripheral interrupt and main-line code.

Design Group #12 at Dalhousie is using Byte Craft Limited's MPC to implement an improved solar domestic hot water system. Because solar thermal systems (water through a solar array) won't work when ambient temperatures are low, this design backs up the solar thermal component with a photovoltaic system.

The group has their controller doing such tasks as measuring voltage and current, and switching heating elements. More on the project: dal.ca

The Intelligent Systems and Robotics Group (link) at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (link) are using the SXC Code Development System for a couple of interesting projects. The ultimate goal is to fight fires (if only in competition).

ISRG's camera and laser

This assembly shows a camera and laser. The camera is the Ubicom SX-based CMUcam, with image-recognition software written in C. Initially, ISRG researchers intend to have the system follow a line emitted by a laser. Eventually, the group plans to use this unit in a robot, and enter the Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) Fire Fighting Robot

The contest is exhausitve: robots must navigate a maze, put out a candle (the firefighting part), and in one class, leave a marker beside a doll (morbidly called "Burnie"). The contest is sponsored by IEEE, INEER, and a host of others (including our friends Circuit Cellar and Parallax).

Good luck to ISRG in your research and in the competition.

A day's sunlight satisfies the energy needs of humanity for 27 years, or it would if we collected it. Solar energy takes small steps forward every year (and every energy crisis), and Shrikrishna Shankar Kulkarni of Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore is using the MPC Code Development
to test solar energy systems.

Companies developing solar electric equipment (e.g., integrated system controllers which control battery charging) need to test their systems like any other equipment. They can actually connect their system to a solar cell array, but this has disadvantages: testing relies on the weather, the expensive solar array could be damaged by test operations, and multiple configurations of solar arrays are too expensive.

The solution, then, is to simulate solar cell response using a PIC-controlled power supply: the simulator can create reliable test inputs, at will, in the lab. A PC drives the simulator controller, which controls a high-power supply (from 450 watts to a kilowatt).

Solar cell simulation system

The project uses MPC to write software for the digital interface to the power supply: to accept power settings and report measurements from the power supply.

Arial Robotics Group Helicopter

The Arial Robotics Group at Simon Fraser University is using the Byte Craft Limited SXC Code Development System to develop an emergency override system for an autonomous radio-controlled helicopter. The SX will switch between computer control and manual control in an emergency.

Unitec, the robotics club at UTBM (University of Technology of Belfort Montbéliard), is planning a COP8™-based robot for the French and European Robotics Cup, and Byte Craft Limited will supply the COP8C Code Development System to develop the embedded software.

Unitec has over 40 student members with specialties in Data Processing, Electronics, Mechanics, and Communications. Their challenge is to design and build a robot that can autonomously recognize and manipulate bicolour pucks, turning the pucks so the correct colour is facing up. Their robot will incorporate digital signal processing for vision, fuzzy logic for AI, and use a COP8™ for automation control.

Eto Otitigbe, Bert Schiettecatte, and Luigi Castelli are researchers at Stanford University (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics). They are working on an electronic version of the classical harp, using laser beams instead of strings. They are using a Ubicom SX and the SXC Code Development System to enable it. Bert says:

"The objective of our project is to build an electronic version of the classical harp, exploring various new interaction paradigms. The long term goal is to use this instrument as a research tool and maybe eventually we will commercialize it."

Here is a picture of the harp technology in action:

If you want to contact the creators of the harp, write them at info@reachthecrowd.com.