Robots with feelings

Circuit Break Podcast #9

Robots with Feelings

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Tour MacroFab's ITAR-Compliant Facility

April 1, 2016, Episode #9

Stephen does a full on simulation of analog section of the SSPS in MultiSim and Parker is working on a ESP8266 devboard.
  • Parker and Stephen are continuing to work on the Super Simple Power Supply. There is a full-on simulation of the analog section on MultiSim.
  • Stephen found a better way to control the analog end with two separate 16bit DACs. One controls the negative end and the other one controls the positive end of the opamp. 16 x 2 Blast Bit Processing!
  • Parker is working on an ESP8266 development board for the Parallax Propeller called the Bit Flicker. We will use blynk.cc. This will enable the SSPS to be IoT-enabled!
  • SAIM Servos arrived. Chassis should be finished by Monday. They are past the built in servo “test” routine. See Figure 1.
  • Transistor Wars: The Vacuum Tube Strikes Back. Vacuum channel transistor that switches as fast as 460GHz. No substrate for the gate and has a helium vacuum.
  • What is truly a robot? The article states that people talk about robots in a broad fashion. Where “robot” is just used as a metaphor to describe the vast array of automation in the material world. Possible accepted definition of “robot” in academic circles has been: “Sense, think, act.” Who is in control of the action? Is it a pick and place a robot? See Figure 2.
  • Gallium Oxide substrate for Power Devices. Has a huge electron-volt band gap of 5eV compared to gallium nitrite which is 3.4eV. Gallium nitrite was what the transistors in the LittleBox challenge where made of. The higher eV of gallium oxide allows for a thinner substrate which will lower the resistance on of mosfets.
Figure 1: Servos for the SAIM

Figure 1: Servos for the SAIM

Figure 2: MacroFabs’ My200 Pick and Place. Is this a robot or just a automation machine?

Figure 2: MacroFabs’ My200 Pick and Place. Is this a robot or just a automation machine?

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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