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Issu and
5G Telec
d s e t and ring
e H an u fa ctu
il n
Mob vice Ma ards
De er Bo tions
elop a
Dev ial Applic

June 2017
Vol. 06 | No. 02

Editor : ramesh Chopra

Green Mobility Focus
Editorial : Editorial Secretary
CorrESpondEnCE phone: 011-26810601; E-mail: Whats Happening Around
(technical queries: the World?

SubSCriptionS & : phone: 011-26810601 or 02 or 03

miSSing iSSuES E-mail:

baCk iSSuES, : kitsnSpares, new delhi Smart World GUIdES

bookS, Cds, phone: 011-26371661, 26371662
pCbs etc. E-mail: 92 BharatQR code: Not just for payments 26 E-PAYMENTS: Pitfalls in digital money
93 How about WhatsApp for marketing? 75 SOFTWARE: Open Source software you
nEwSStand : ph: 011-40596600
95 360-degree videos to lower costs can use for IoT development
diStribution E-mail:
97 How Big Data analytics yields 109 eStyle DIY: Turn your phone into a
advErtiSEmEntS walkie-talkie
nEw dElhi : ph: 011-26810601 or 02 or 03 big gains
(hEad offiCE) E-mail: 110 eStyle BUYERS GUIDE: Wireless
rESEarCH & dEVEloPmENt headphones cut the cord
mumbai : ph: 022-24950047, 24928520
E-mail: 18 BIOTECH: Neuron-Like electronics
bEngaluru : ph: 080-25260394, 25260023 30 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The
E-mail: superpower brain
punE : ph: 08800295610, 09870682995 34 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A focus
E-mail: on image processing with neural
gujarat: : ph: 079-61344948
E-mail: 40 TECH FOCUS: Artificial intelligence
getting real, local
China : power pioneer group inc.
49 DESIGN: EDA becoming interactive with 112 Auto-reversible DC motor with speed and
ph: (86 755) 83729797, (86) 13923802595
E-mail: 3D rendering and routing rotation control
84 INNOVATION: HBand: Where your hand 116 Ultra-low-power sensor hub using
japan : tandem inc., ph: 81-3-3541-4166
becomes the phone nRF24L01 modules
122 3W/6W audio amplifier using TDA2003
SingaporE : publicitas Singapore pte ltd
86 INNOVATION: Livescribe, Neil, ili,
LyfieEye, Kuri, U by Moen 123 Dual-channel active AC analogue probe
ph: +65-6836 2272
E-mail: 125 Electronic tone generator system
EVErYtHING YoU WaNtEd to 127 PC-based oscilloscope using Arduino
taiwan : j.k. media, ph: 886-2-87726780 ext. 10
E-mail: KNoW aBoUt 129 Image compression using discrete cosine
58 TEST & MEASUREMENT: Electronic transform technique
unitEd StatES : E & tech media
ph: +1 860 536 6677
diamond tester secrets and technology
E-mail: 64 AUTOMOTIVE: Self-driving cars NEWS
platform and their trends (Part 2 of 2) 12 Tech News
printed, published and owned by ramesh Chopra. printed at international 72 DATA INTERFACE: HSIC versus USB 98 Industry News
print-o-pack ltd, C-4 to C-11, hosiery Complex, phase-ii Extension, noida-201305,
gautam budh nagar, uttar pradesh, on the first day of each month and published 105 New Products
from d-87/1, okhla industrial area, phase-1, new delhi 110020. Copyright 2017.
all rights reserved throughout the world. reproduction of any material from INdUStrY 107 eStyle: First Look
this magazine in any manner without the written permission of the publisher is


prohibited. although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility 78 LED LIGHTING: LED-filament bulbs:
whatsoever is taken for any loss due to publishing errors. articles that cannot
be used are returned to the authors if accompanied by a self-addressed and
Growing your business with aesthetics
sufficiently stamped envelope. but no responsibility is taken for any loss or delay in Free tools to make your PCB smarter ................. 82
returning the material. EfY will not be responsible for any wrong claims made by 88 INTERVIEW: Rameshwar Thakur,
Balance the books with FreeCAD ........................ I
an advertiser. disputes, if any, will be settled in a new delhi court only. Chairman, TAL Manufacturing: Robots
made in India cost lower Pad2Pad: Manufacturer at your service................IV
Lock your design with ZenitPCB suite ................VII
Period Newstand Price You Pay Digital Overseas Robots: Collaborative robots help Regulars
Year (`) (`) (`) Digital Print
create jobs
two 2400 1800 750 uS$ 15 08 Feedback: Your suggestions
one 1200 960 280 uS$ 5 uS$ 120 101 MARKET SURVEY: Strategic Electronics
10 Q&A: Things you wanted to know
please send payments only in favour of EFY Enterprises Pvt Ltd Set for Revamp

4 June 2017 | electronics For You plus

Your suggestions

3-PhAse InductIon MotoR Otherwise, the circuit will not work

In Controlling 3-Phase Induction properly. You can also test the circuit
Motors Using VFD and PLC article by removing the relay section includ-
published in April issue, I tried to
Electronics Projects ing diode D1. Then put a voltmeter
Can we use Arduino Uno in Voice
control the speed of a stepper motor across pin 3 of IC2. Check the output
Controlled Home Automation System
with Omron PLC and VFD but in project published in October 2016 voltage before clapping and after clap-
vain. Please help. issue? ping. See if the output goes off after a
Akshay time delay.
Muhammad Saleem Ullah EFY. Yes, you can use Arduino Uno but
Through email make sure you connect R1 to digital pin Led As sensoR
6 of Arduino Uno, and pins TXD and In LED as Light Sensor DIY article
The author Joby Antony replies: RXD of HC-05 to RX0 and TX0 pins of published in December 2016 issue,
Arduino Uno, respectively.
The article talked about how 3-phase the role of capacitor C1 is not clear.
induction motors can be controlled The 0-50V Variable Power Supply When I removed C1 from the circuit,
using VFD and PLC. Stepper motors Using LM317 DIY project published in the output remained the same.
work altogether differently as these October 2016 issue is really very good.
are pulse-driven, whereas induction Ronaldo Pragya Rai
motors are AC-driven. Therefore this EFY. Thanks for the feedback! Through email
project cannot be used directly for
stepper motor control. However, since EFY. Here, capacitor C1 acts as an
any PLC uses relays, one must con- can be connected between point 1 energy storage device. With capacitor
nect each coil of the stepper motor and resistor R3. The modified circuit C1, white LED2 will glow for some
through a relay for controlling it. is shown here in the figure with the time even when the input is with-
position of voltmeter marked as V and drawn. Whenever pin 6 of IC1 goes
12V BAtteRy chARgeR ammeter as A. high, it starts charging and, at the
I liked the 12V Battery Charger Cum same time, white LED2 glows. When
Variable Power Supply DIY article sound-oPeRAted tIMeR pin 6 goes low, C1 starts discharging.
published in November 2016 very I assembled Sound-Operated Timer White LED2 glows until C1 discharges
much. Kindly add a voltmeter and DIY project published in January is- completely. The circuit will work
ampere meter to the circuit. It would sue. When I clap in front of the mic, it without C1 but that is not the main
be of great help. gives output at pin 3 of NE555 (IC2), goal of the design.
which doesnt switch to another state
Patrick Vaz as per the time delay set by timing MIcRoPython
Through email components (VR2 and C4). Output In An Introduction To MicroPython
remains on until the supply is turned article published in May issue, on
The author Fayaz Hassan replies: off. I tried varying VR2 but nothing page 45, under the subheading Load-
Voltmeter can be connected across happens. Please help. ing MicroPython on ESP8266 board,
point 1 and ground, and ammeter the first sentence ESP8266 is a cheap
Kunal Khosla Wi-Fi development board is incor-
Through email rect. ESP8266 is an IC, not a develop-
ment board.
EFY. First check potmeter VR2 and
capacitor C4 for proper connections in Shashank T.S.
the circuit. You may also try replac- Through email
ing capacitor C4 with any one of the
values between 1F and 10F. Then The author Ayan Pahwa replies:
observe the output after clapping in Depending on the ESP8266 board, it
Circuit of 12V battery charger with voltmeter front of the mic. If you are using 6V at could be a development board or a
and ammeter CON1, relay RL1 rating should be 6V. WLAN module.

8 June 2017 | electronics For You

Things You WanTed To KnoW!

Ques. What kinds of sensors utilise piezoresistive silicon tions technology with the first release
pressure sensors are MEMS technology. of Long Term Evolution (LTE) stan-
there in the market? 5. Aviation. In airplanes, pressure dard, is comparatively a new technol-
sensors maintain a balance be- ogy that is different from WCDMA.
pamarthi kanakaraja
tween the atmospheric pressure Therefore, theoretically, 4G SIM card
ans. Pressure sensor is also termed and control systems of the airplane. will not work in a 3G handset.
as pressure transducer or pressure These not only protect the various In order to use 4G SIM in a 3G
switch. Depending on the type of internal components of the airplane smartphone, you need to enable LTE
output interface, pressure sensors are but also give exact data about the option. You can find many tips and
classified as analogue and digital. A external environment. tricks on the Internet claiming that 4G
pressure sensor may also be called a SIMs can be used in 3G smartphones.
different name (such as load cell for It is also claimed that a 4G SIM card
a weighing machine) depending on in a 3G phone will give 3G speed
the application. only. However, some websites caution
Different kinds of pressure sensors users that the trick may cause serious
used in some popular applications are: Fig. 1: Absolute gas Fig. 2: Barometric damage to their device and also may
pressure sensor pressure sensor
1. Industrial. Gases and pressures not work for all the devices.
in industrial units, for example, 6. Marine. Pressure sensors are used You can use 4G network on your
in the chemical industry, are pre- in ships and submarines to estimate 3G phone by connecting it to a portable
cisely monitored and controlled the depth at which these are operat- Wi-Fi device running on 2.4GHz or
using pressure sensors. There are ing and for detailing the marine con- 5GHz frequency because the phone
also board-level pressure sensors, ditions so that the electronic systems is not directly accessing the service
normally mounted on PCBs, that stay safe. Oxygen requirements are provider network, rather its the router
are used to measure the pressure also regulated by pressure sensors.
of gases or liquids. 7. Meteorology. Absolute pressure
2. Computing. Many computers and sensors measure pressure rela-
smartphones have touchscreen tive to a vacuum. Designed with a
displays with pressure sensors. reference vacuum enclosed within
Whenever pressure is applied on the sensor itself, these can also
the touchscreen, the sensor deter- measure atmospheric pressure.
mines the point of application and An absolute gas pressure sensor
accordingly generates an electric is shown in Fig. 1 and barometric
signal that informs the processor pressure sensor in Fig. 2.
to take further actions.
3. Automotive. In automotive Q2. Why do 3G smartphones Fig. 3: 4G Wi-Fi router with 3G device
industry, pressure sensors moni- support 4G netWork
tor the oil and coolant pressure throuGh a Wi-fi router using the 4G network. The 3G of
and regulate the power. Pressure but not With a 4G sim card? the phone is irrelevant, so it doesnt
sensors constitute part of the even need a SIM card to access Wi-Fi
anti-lock braking system. Air bag network. However, the 4G portable Wi-
through e-mail
systems also use pressure sen- Fi device needs to use a 4G SIM card.
sors to activate the bags during a2. There are two different combina- The 3G phone, in turn, connects to the
crash, ensuring safety of the tions here: 3G phone with 4G SIM, 4G portable Wi-Fi device through Wi-Fi
vehicle occupants. and 3G phone with Wi-Fi router. 3G tethering or mobile hotspot (Fig. 3).
4. Medical. Pressure sensors are smartphones dont support 4G network
used in digital blood pressure Answers compiled by Sani Theo, senior assistant
because these work on wide-band editor (technical). Letters and questions for publication
monitors and ventilators to opti- code-division multiple access (WCDMA) may be addressed to Editor, Electronics For You,
mise these according to patients D-87/1, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase 1, New Delhi
technology. Whereas, 4G, the fourth 110020 (e-mail: and should include
health and requirements. These generation of mobile telecommunica- name and address of the sender

10 June 2017 | electronics For You

Tech News Technology UpdaTes

Bionic hand that responds automatically

A new generation of prosthetic limbs that allow the wearer assesses its shape and size, and triggers a series of move-
to reach for objects automatically, without thinkingjust ments in the hand.
like a real handare to be trialled for the first time. Led by Bypassing the usual processes which require the user to
biomedical engineers at Newcastle University and funded see the object, physically stimulate the muscles in the arm
by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and trigger a movement in the prosthetic limb, the hand
(EPSRC), the bionic hand is fitted with a camera which sees and reacts in one fluid movement.
instantaneously takes a picture of the object in front of it, A small number of amputees have already trialled the
new technology and now the Newcastle University
team is working with experts to offer the hands with
eyes to patients at Newcastles Freeman Hospital.
The findings of the study have been published in
the Journal of Neural Engineering.
Current prosthetic hands are controlled via
myoelectric signalsthat is electrical activity of
the muscles recorded from the skin surface of the
stump. Controlling them takes practice, concentration
and, crucially, timesays Dr Kianoush Nazarpour,
co-author on the study and a senior lecturer in
biomedical engineering at Newcastle University.
Using neural networksthe basis for artificial
intelligencelead author on the study Ghazal Ghazaei
showed the computer numerous object images and
taught it to recognise the grip needed for different
objects. This enables it to accurately assess and pick
Dr Kianoush Nazarpour demonstrates the bionic hand (Image courtesy: up an object which it has never seen beforea huge
Mike Urwin/Newcastle University) step forward in the development of bionic limbs.

Teaching robots to teach other robots

Robots can now be made to do new types of tasks that they
havent been able to learn before, like multistep assembly
using both of their armsthanks to C-LEARN approach
developed by MIT researchers.
Conventionally, most robots are programmed using one
of two methods: learning from demonstration, in which they
watch a task being done and then replicate it, or via motion-
planning techniques such as optimisation or sampling,
which require a programmer to explicitly specify a tasks
goals and constraints.
Both methods have drawbacks. Robots that learn from MIT doctoral candidate Claudia Prez-DArpino discusses her work teaching
the Optimus robot to perform various tasks, including picking up a bottle
demonstration cant easily transfer one skill theyve learned (Image courtesy: MIT CSAIL)
to another situation and remain accurate. On the other hand,
motion planning systems that use sampling or optimisation The new approach combines the intuitiveness of learning
can adapt to these changes but are time-consuming, since from demonstration with the precision of motion-planning
they usually have to be hand-coded by expert programmers. algorithms: It allows non-coders to teach robots a range

12 June 2017 | electronics For You

Tech News

of tasks simply by providing some information about how multifunctional printer has four nozzles to print the various
objects are typically manipulated and then showing the robot specialised inks that make up the layers of the devicea
a single demo of the task. Importantly, this enables users to base layer of silicone, top and bottom electrodes made
teach robots skills that can be automatically transferred to of a conducting ink, a coil-shaped pressure sensor, and a
other robots that have different ways of movinga key time- sacrificial layer that holds the top layer in place while it sets.
and cost-saving measure for companies that want a range of The supporting sacrificial layer is later washed away in the
robots to perform similar actions. final manufacturing process. Conventional 3D printing using
The team tested the system on Optimus, a new liquid plastic is too hot and too rigid to use on the skin,
two-armed robot designed for bomb disposal that they while these flexible 3D printed sensors can stretch up to
programmed to perform tasks such as opening doors, three times their original size.
transporting objects, and extracting objects from containers.
In simulations they showed that Optimus learned skills that
could be seamlessly transferred to Atlas, a humanoid robot.
IoT sensors that connect
via ambient radio waves
Researchers at Disney Researchs Wireless Systems group
3D printed skin to let robots feel have devised an ultra-low-power system of sensors that
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed transmit data to a central receiver by reflecting the ambient
a revolutionary process for 3D printing stretchable electronic radio waves from commercial broadcasting systems.
sensory devices that could give robots the ability to feel Our idea is to reuse all the radio signals that are around
their environment. us as a medium for transmitting data, much like sending
ripples across a pond, said Alanson Sample, associate lab
director and team leader.
This approach radically reduces the power requirements
of the sensor nodes because it is the generation of radio
waves that consumes most of their battery power. In a
demonstration in a Disney Research lab, the researchers were
able to meet the tiny bit of power demand that remained by
using solar cells optimised for low-light conditions.
Sample said the ultra-wide-band (UWB) approachwhich
backscatters all ambient sourcesoffers key advantages. Using
multiple backscatter channels boosts the signal-to-noise ratio,
3D printing stretchable electronic sensory devices that could give robots the substantially improving the sensitivity of the backscatter reader
ability to feel their environment (Image courtesy: and decreasing dead zones. That, in turn, enables the system
to operate on real-world ambient sources and substantially
This stretchable electronic fabric we developed has extends the range to 22 metres when using ambient signals
many practical uses, said Michael McAlpine, a University from broadcast towers and 50 metres when using ambient
of Minnesota mechanical engineering associate professor signals generated by mobile phone up-link traffic.
and lead researcher on the study. Putting this type of The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that
bionic skin on surgical robots would give surgeons the wireless sensors will be ubiquitous, allowing devices to sense
ability to actually feel during minimally invasive surgeries, their environments and talk to each other, said Markus
which would make surgery easier instead of just using Gross, vice president at Disney Research. As we move
cameras like they do now. These sensors could also make towards connecting the next billion wireless devices to the
it easier for other robots to walk and interact with their Internet, however, the use of batteries to power these devices
environment. This technology could eventually be used will become unworkable. UWB ambient backscatter systems,
for health monitoring or by soldiers in the field to detect which potentially could be deployed in any metropolitan area,
dangerous chemicals or explosives. hold great potential for solving this dilemma.
While we havent printed on human skin yet, we were
able to print on the curved surface of a model hand using
our technique, McAlpine said. We also interfaced a printed
Tiny chip extends battery life
device with the skin and were surprised that the device was of electronics
so sensitive that it could detect your pulse in real time. Engineers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)
McAlpine and his team made the sensing fabric with have developed a chip that can extend the battery life of low-
a one-of-a kind 3D printer they built in the lab. The power electronic gadgets like cellphones. The chip is about

14 June 2017 | electronics For You

Tech News

pentoxidea compound of tantalum (a metal) and oxygen and

aluminium oxide. Tantalum pentoxide is better at storing charge
carriers than the silicon oxide usually used, so it increases the
capacitors capacitance. In addition, the Fraunhofer researchers
used a highly electrically conductive silicon as well as
ruthenium, which is especially robust and heat-resistant.
IoT systems usually link networks of sensors via radio,
but radios demand battery power thus limiting usability.
Disney Research has determined that one solution may be
to get rid of the radios all together and communicate via the
The chip from University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) makes batteries ambient radio waves from TV, radio and cellphones.
smaller and low-power electronics work more efficiently (Image courtesy:

the size of a pins head, but has great potential in applications Search engine for 3D printable models
ranging from everyday electronics to medical devices. What Google does for searching information on the Internet,
The chip can keep a phone working at top functionality new search engine IFind3D will do for printable 3D models.
with much less power. Moreover, it facilitates the use of smaller Launched by 3D Ninja, the largest reseller of 3D printers in
batteries, since the object itself is so small. The chip also tackles The Netherlands, contains over 700,000
another common annoyance for electronics users: how hot designs. It combines online libraries for 3D printable models
devices get when theyre being used for several minutes. in one fast and responsive engine, making it easy for end us-
The heat is a result of a lot of power being used, said ers to find 3D printable models.
Ruyan Guo, team leader and professor of Electrical and Computer At the moment, almost 70 per cent of all online libraries
Engineering. With our device there is less power consumption, and repositories are connected. It is expected that before the
which means the heat will be much less of an issue. year-end around 90 per cent of all worldwide 3D printable
designs will be indexed in the search engine.
IFind3D uses state-of-the-art algorithms to make sure
Heat-resistant capacitors the best results are served at all time using almost 100
Fraunhofer researchers have developed a capacitor that different variables by integrating an AI service using IBMs
can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius. supercomputer Watson.
By comparison, conventional electronics can cope with
temperatures only up to 125 degrees.
Researchers did so by using an innovative mix of
Pivotal technologies for IoT applications
materialsand a special 3D trick. When manufacturing the ON Semiconductor has developed a variety of flexible,
conducting metal layers of the capacitor, the team etched energy-efficient, high-performance solutions for emerging
tiny holes in the surface to increase its area. This 3D trick Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
increases its capacity and simultaneously makes it possible The new AR0237 RGB-IR and AR0238 RGB-IR CMOS
to use a thicker dielectric. A thicker layer withstands higher image sensors can capture daytime colour and nighttime near-
temperatures better and can decrease uncontrolled leakage infra-red (nIR) image data on the same sensor without the
current in the capacitor. cost and complexities (like refocusing and maintenance) of a
The experts adopted a new mix of materials in the mechanical IR-cut filter mounted onto the imaging assembly.
production of the insulating dielectric too by using tantalum Their unique colour filter array (CFA) arrangement employs
a 4x4 kernel, which replaces some red and blue pixels with
nIR-sensitive pixels and rearranges the spatial density of
the remaining pixels. Thus, the devices can deal with the
most challenging of lighting conditions. These devices are
highly suited to home security and automated monitoring
applications where ambient light levels vary greatly over time.
From a connectivity perspective, the company has
developed the RSL10 multi-protocol Bluetooth 5 certified
radio system-on-chip. Claimed to offer the industrys lowest
power consumption in peak receiving and deep sleep mode,
Heat-resistant capacitor developed by Fraunhofer researchers can withstand the RSL10 is optimised for use in IoT edge-node devices, as
temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius (Image courtesy: well as for health and wellness applications.

16 June 2017 | electronics For You


NeuroN-Like Electronics

lectronics based human body and Memristors
brain activities are miraculous
and a great feat by the creator. Memristors are the fourth class of
It provides a lesson for the pioneers of electronic circuitry, alongside resis-
science and technology to learn and tors, capacitors and inductors. Only
mimic these activities by artificially cre- confirmed to exist in 2008, memristors
ating electronically-controlled devices. behave in a way similar to the synapses
The human brain is possibly the of neurons within the human brain. The
most complex entity in the Universe. It resistance to current within a memristor
Dr S.S. Verma
is a professor is absolutely remarkable and beautiful is a product of currents that have previ-
at Department to contemplate, and the things you are ously flowed through it, meaning that
of Physics, Sant
Longowal Institute capable of doing because of your brain the current flows easier as more current
of Engineering are outstanding. The human brain is lit- flows through.
and Technology,
Sangrur, Punjab tered with some 100 billion nerve cells, Due to these properties, memristors
together forming connections in tandem hold potential for non-volatile memo-
as each neuron is simultaneously en- ries, and can make computers better at
gaged with another 1000 or so. understanding speech, images and the
In total, some 20 million billion world around these.
calculations per second are performed In the past, it was very difficult to
by the brain. Inspired by the operation reproduce synapses because there are
and structure of the brain, engineers billions of neurons and thousands of
and scientists are now developing bio- synapses in the human brain, and the
inspired integrated circuit technology only way to get even remotely close to
that mimics the neuron structure and the power of a human brain using ordi-
operation of the human brain. nary electronics is to utilise a gigantic
Although processors have gotten amount of circuitry that would con-
smaller and faster over time, only a sume huge amounts of power. But then
few computers can compete with the researchers managed to bring to life the
speed and computing power of the hu- concept of a memristor (using titanium
man brain and none comes close to the oxide with two platinum electrodes),
organs energy efficiency. So some en- which means that conductivity in the
gineers want to develop electronics that memristor device changes depend-
mimic how the brain computes to build ing on the charge passing through it,
more powerful and efficient devices. and connectivity can be changed from
Scientists have developed a new high to low.
prototype for electronic synapses to This is similar to the way brain syn-
replicate the human brain, which apses work, and could make it possible
could one day make neural networks for much more energy-efficient com-
incredibly clever. At present, neural puter systems to be developed that have
networks built by research groups memories that retain information even
around the world consist of computers when the power is off. So in the future,
that are being trained using complex computers would not need to boot up
computer algorithms to solve complex and could be switched off and on like
problems and gain a deeper recogni- an electric light.
tion and understanding of art and the So now, researchers all over the
world around us. world are trying to use memristors

18 June 2017 | electronics For You

technology to develop electronic impulse of activity when a thresh- make these more compatible with
synapses that work just like the old is exceeded. A neuristor can current fabrication methods.
human brain, to power neural net- be thought of as a slightly-leaky This new study does not deny
works of the future, where comput- balloon that receives inputs in the long-standing efforts of the neu-
ers are capable of understanding form of puffs of air. The only major romorphic community to build
and processing the information as difference is that more complex analogue neurons into chips. It
well, and as quickly as a human neuristors can repeat the process is simply the next step towards
being can. again and again, as long as spikes getting people on board with
The brains neurons encode in- occur no faster than a certain re- neuristor hardware instead of
formation in the patterns and timing charge period known as the refrac- neuristor simulation.
of spikes of activity. That encoding tory period. In order to mimic the amazing
is hard to model using electronic A neuristor uses a relatively human brain, we need a chip and
hardware because most electron- simple electronic circuit to generate its constituting elements behaving
ics use binary (0 and 1) switches. spikes. Incoming signals charge a like the constituting elements of the
However, researchers have com- capacitor that is placed in paral- braintransistors for neurons. A
bined memristors and transistor in some ways
capacitors in a way that behaves like a synapse,
allows for the creation of acting as a signal gate.
spiking output patterns. When two neurons are in
Memristors are de- connection, electrochemi-
vices made of materials cal reactions through
that behave as insulators neurotransmitters relay
until these are heated, at specific signals. In a real
which point these act as synapse, calcium ions in-
conductors. Researchers duce chemical signaling.
paired a memristor and Transistors use oxygen
a capacitor in a paral- ions instead, engulfed in
lel circuit and applied a an 80-nanometre-thick
current. As the voltage layer of samarium-nicke-
heated it, the memris- late crystal, which is the
tor behaved as a resistor analogue to the synapse
until it reached a critical channel.
temperature; then it be- Neuristors are brain-like computer chips (Image courtesy: When a voltage is
came a conductor. That applied to the crystal,
switching allowed for full release lel with a memristor. When that oxygen ions slip through, chang-
of the energy stored in the capaci- happens, charge builds up on the ing the conductive properties of the
tor and, thus, mimicked the spiking capacitor by incoming spikes lattice and altering signal-relaying
behaviour of neurons. discharges, and we have a spiking capabilities. Strength of the con-
The system, which the research- neuron that comprises just two nection is based on the time delay
ers termed a neuristor, is a very sim- elementary circuit elements. in the electric signal fed into it. It
plified model of neuron behaviour Details of trying to build neuris- is the same way for real neurons
and produces a much more regular tors have been largely unglamor- that get stronger as these relay
spiking pattern than a real neuron. ous. In fact, most people trying more signals. Exploiting unusual
They believe that using a different to create artificial brains with properties in modern materials, the
memristor and a more complicated neuristor-like elements have been synaptic transistor could mark the
circuit could allow them to more content to do so by simulating beginning of a new kind of artificial
closely reproduce neuron behaviour these on regular old digital comput- intelligenceone embedded not in
on a computer chip. ers. A group has come up with an smart algorithms but in the very
improved method of fabricating a architecture of a computer.
Neuristors neuristor made from niobium-diox- Each time a neuron initiates an
A neuristor is the simplest possible ide (NbO2). For now, their proto- action and another neuron reacts,
device that can capture the essen- types are too inefficient to be used the synapse between these increas-
tial property of a neuron, that is, in large numbers on a single chip, es the strength of its connection;
the ability to generate a spike or but the group is developing ways to the faster the neurons spike each

20 June 2017 | electronics For You

time, the stronger is the synaptic
connection. Essentially, it memo-
rises the action between neurons.
So it does, in fact, run a bit like a
neuron, in the sense that it adapts,
strengthens and weakens connec-
tions according to external stimuli.
Also, opposed to traditional
transistors, the creation is not
restricted to the binary system
of 0s and 1s and, interestingly
enough, runs on non-volatile
memory, which means that, even
when power is interrupted, the
device remembers its state. Still, it
cannot form new connections like
a human neuron can. By exploit-
ing the extreme sensitivity of this
material, a very small excitation
allows to get a large signal, so the
input energy required to drive this
switching is potentially very small.
That could translate into a large
Electrical pulses convert a doped chalcogenide from an amorphous phase (pink) into a crystalline
boost for energy efficiency. It does one (blue). Once a certain amount has been converted, conductance of the material suddenly jumps,
have a significant advantage over mimicking the firing of a neuron (Image courtesy:
the human brainthese transis-
tors can run at high temperatures towards building electronic systems devices with directed attention
exceeding 160 degree Celsius. This that mimic the ability of the human to material systems that have
kind of heat typically boils the brain in performing energy-efficient been investigated for non-volatile
human brain. and fault-tolerant computation memory technologies.
in a compact space, and research Interconnection scheme of
Technological developments activities in this field have been phase-change memory (PCM) syn-
The idea of building bio-inspired growing rapidly. apses to reach ultra-high density
cognitive adaptive solid-state de- Various efforts in neuromorphic and compactness of brain is being
vices has been around for decades. engineeringa new interdiscipli- developed. In the crossbar array
It forms the basis for synaptic nary field that includes nanotech- architecture, PCM synapses lie
electronics, a field of research that nologiesare being carried out, between post-spike and pre-spike
aims to build artificial synaptic and the goal is to design artificial electrodes, inspired by biological
devices to emulate the computation neural systems with physical synapses formed between pre-syn-
performed by biological synapses. architectures similar to biological aptic and post-synaptic neurons. A
Synapses dominate the ar- nervous systems. In research find- broad spectrum of device systems
chitecture of the brain and are ings, scientists have developed a with programmable conductance
responsible for massive parallelism, carbon nanotube synapse with the inspired by already existing device
structural plasticity and robustness elementary dynamic logic, learning technologies, such as PCM, resis-
of the brain. These are also crucial and memory functions of a biologi- tive-change memory, conductive
for biological computations that are cal synapse. bridge-type memory, ferroelectric
needed for perception and learning. Research efforts on brain- switches, carbon nanotube devices
Therefore a compact nano-electron- inspired computing and synaptic and three terminal devices or field
ic device emulating the functions electronics can be understood effect transistors based devices,
and plasticity of biological syn- considering the inefficiency of have been explored.
apses will be the most important conventional computational sys- Using pectin. Memristors can
building block of brain-inspired tems in solving complex prob- provide a bridge for interfacing
computational systems. lems. Researchers are focusing on electronic circuits with nervous
Scientific interest has expanded developing synapse-like electronic systems, moving us closer to the

22 June 2017 | electronics For You

realisation of a double-layer percep- organic polymers and in a memris- which, in turn, changes its conduct-
tron, an element that can perform tive device. ance. At a certain level of phase
classification functions after an ap- The next steps are interfacing change, the materials conductance
propriate learning procedure. The the memristor network with other suddenly jumps, and the device fires
main difficulty the research team living beings, for example, plants like a neuron.
faced was in understanding the and, ultimately, the realisation
complex electrochemical interplay of hybrid systems that can learn Last words
that is the basis for memristive and perform logic/classification Different material systems or devices
behaviour, which would give them functions. have strengths in various character-
the means to control it. Using phase-change material. istics and required characteristics for
Researchers addressed this A nano-sized device made from a a synaptic device that will enable
challenge by using commercial chalcogenide performs neuron-like the development of brain-inspired
polymers and modifying their calculations. Electrical pulses con- systems technology that scales to
electrochemical properties at the vert a doped chalcogenide from an biological levels of device density,
macroscopic level. The most sur- amorphous phase into a crystalline parallelism and functionality. The
prising result was that it was pos- one. Once a certain amount has synaptic device is a simple two-
sible to check the electrochemical been converted, conductance of the terminal nano-scale device that
response of the device by changing material suddenly jumps, mimick- can reach brain-level parallelism
the formulation of gels acting as ing the firing of a neuron. and compactness.
polyelectrolytes, allowing for the A research team has reported Main characteristics are the ones
study of ionic exchanges related to that nano-sized devices made that are directly related to parallel-
the biological object, which acti- from phase-change materials can ism, energy efficiency and fault tol-
vates the electrochemical response mimic how neurons fire to perform erance. The synaptic device should
of the conductive polymer. These certain calculations. This report emulate plasticity by implementing
developments open the way to shows quite concretely that we can an analogue-like transition between
make compatible polyaniline based make simple but effective hardware different conductance states with
devices with an interface that mimics of neurons, which could very low energy consumption per
should be naturally-, biologically- be made really small and therefore synaptic event. Exact performance
and electrochemically-compatible have low operating powers. The metrics depend on the target
and functional. device imitates how an individual application and the scale of the
Pectin is a key ingredient for neuron integrates incoming signals system design.
making delicious jellies and jams, from other neurons to determine Although most of the work
not as a component for a complex when it should fire. These input sig- focuses on some specific applica-
hybrid device that links biological nals change the electrical potential tions for synaptic devices, the field
and electronic systems. But a team across the neurons membrane has the potential to be utilised in a
of scientists has built on previous some increase it, others decrease it. broad range of computing applica-
work in this field using pectin with Once that potential passes a certain tions, especially the ones at the
a high degree of methylation as the threshold, the neuron fires. intersection of sensing and compu-
medium to create a new archi- Previously, engineers have mim- tation, where real-time and paral-
tecture of a hybrid device with a icked this process using combina- lel processing of large-scale data
double-layered polyelectrolyte that tions of capacitors and silicon tran- is crucial.
alone drives memristive behaviour. sistors, which can be complex and There is an enormous oppor-
The team of researchers has difficult to scale down. The new tunity to completely rethink the
explained the creation of the hy- work demonstrates a potentially design of computational systems in
brid device. In this research, they simpler system that uses a phase- order to gain orders of magnitude
applied materials generally used change material to play the part of of improvement in computational
in the pharmaceutical and food in- a neurons membrane potential. efficiency through inspiration from
dustries in electrochemical devices. The doped chalcogenide the biological brain. More interac-
The idea of using the buffering Ge2Sb2Te5, which has been tested tions among different research
capability of these bio-compatible in conventional memory devices, disciplinesdevices, circuits, archi-
materials as solid polyelectrolyte is can exist in two phases: glassy tecture and computingcan further
completely innovative, and it is the amorphous and crystalline. Electri- cultivate the synaptic electronics
first time that these bio-polymers cal pulses slowly convert the mate- field and help define more targeted
have been used in devices based on rial from amorphous to crystalline, research paths for the future.

24 June 2017 | electronics For You


Pitfalls In Digital Money

ince the governments move to de- your PIN or save it on your mobile phone.
monetise old ` 500 and ` 1000 notes And, while entering your PIN at an ATM or
last year, usage of digital money has while paying for stuff at a shop/restaurant,
drastically increased in the country. As cover it using your hand or body so that
India takes the cashless route and emerges no one else can view it. Also, change your
as the biggest digital economy in the PIN regularly.
world, it also opens up many opportunities Use credit cards instead. For purchas-
for cyber criminals. es, use credit cards instead of debit cards,
According to Norton Cyber Security because the former offer greater protection.
Manu Prasad is M.Tech
in VLSI and embedded insight report 2016, those who were not You can also block credit cards at any time.
systems, and is careful have experienced negative conse- Stick to own bank ATM. It is prefer-
currently working as
assistant professor quences including identity theft, money able to use your own banks ATMs instead
at AWH Engineering stolen from bank accounts, credit cards of a different banks. This also saves you
College, Kerala. His
interests include VLSI, issued in their names and unauthorised from paying transactions fees that you
EDA tools, MATLAB apps installed on their devices. might have to pay after a certain number
and Latex
Data from Ministry of Finance in of transactions.
India shows that about 50 leading banks Avoid saving card data. Most online
in India have lost around ` 4.85 billion vendors offer card saving options for easier
between April 2013 and November 2016 and faster transactions in the future. Avoid
because of cyber frauds. Fifty six per cent doing so wherever you can.
of this money was lost due to net bank- Do not let anyone else use you card.
ing thefts and credit/debit card cloning. At shops or restaurants, always swipe your
Discussed in this article are some possible card yourself or have it swiped in front of
security threats and what you can do to your eyes. This is a good way for criminals
avoid these. to otherwise get access to all your details.

Debit/credit card fraud Digital wallets

A debit or credit card fraud occurs when a Online wallets are easy targets. Many a time
criminal gains access to your debit/credit these do not have very advanced security
card details and the PIN to make purchas- measurements. This makes these vulnerable
es or withdraw money from your account. to attack. Many wallets need only one-time
To safeguard your card, follow the steps login to carry out the transactions, and these
given below. keep you signed in. This helps hackers to
Sign up for banking alerts. Signing access your account easily.
up for banking alerts that are delivered as Wallets usually have a simple one-
SMSes to your registered mobile number click feature for easy operation. So if you
or email ID can help you keep track of lose your phone, anyone who lays hands
your account transactions. on it can control your mobile wallet. Let
Fig. 1: ATM security Safeguard your PIN. Never write down us see what you can do to protect your
measures digital wallet.
1. Install a basic antivirus and malware
scanner on you mobile phone.
2. Check for the rating and credibility of
the app before installing it.
3. Use a one-time password (OTP)
instead of a regular password.
4. Log out of the mobile wallet after the
transaction is complete.

26 June 2017 | electronics For You


(a) (b)

Fig. 2: (a) Original State bank website for Internet banking, and (b) mimic website example

5. Make sure the wallet provider of virus that gets embedded in an http:// in your browser address
has a customer support wing that email and when you open the email, while using Internet banking.
can help in case of fraud. it replicates your information and 6. Avoid using public computers
6. Do not use the same password distributes it. or Internet caf computers for ac-
for all accounts. A trojan can also be categorised cessing bank accounts. If you need
7. Avoid installing third-party as virus but it does not replicate to do so, use the onscreen keyboard
software shown on pop-up advertise- itself and does not need any par- for typing out the username and
ments while using apps. ticular program to attack. It is a password, check for unnecessary
8. Double-check the details while destructive program that acts as a background programs, clear his-
transferring money. Even if the wal- harmless application, such as as tory and cache after logging out,
let has a possibility of threat, it is helpful software claiming to get and hide the password while typing
still safer than using a credit/debit rid of unwanted software or virus. it out.
card for online transactions. Instead, it attacks your information 7. Do not click on unwanted ads
and makes it vulnerable. on emails or other websites.
Threats in Internet banking Key-loggers log all user activities
Even though banks provide a lot of on the computer by capturing every Mobile security
security measures, online banking keystroke. The sensitive information A lot of us use phone banking these
services (NEFT/RTGS) are not free is then captured and accessed by days, but most of us do not check
from the menace. Security threats in- fraudsters to attack users. the permissions we give while
clude phishing, spyware and adware, Some security measures that you installing apps on our mobiles. Our
viruses, trojans and key-loggers, can take while using Internet bank- mobile phones contain very sensi-
among others. ing are: tive information, and giving permis-
Phishing and spam emails look 1. Always access the registered sion to access these means making
like these have been sent from website of the bank. Do not follow it easier for criminals to hack our
the bank itself, and ask for per- any links sent in emails. systems. Always be careful while
sonal details such as usernames 2. Beware of phishing attacks. Do accessing bank or financial data
and passwords. not reply or disclose any sensitive through mobile phones.
Spyware and adware are a information like username and pass- 1. Do not use the same password
special type of software created by word in response to emails claiming for wallets and bank accounts.
hackers to collect sensitive infor- to be from your bank. Banks never 2. Use dynamic password-gen-
mation. These track your Internet ask for sensitive details. eration apps for creating passwords
habits and interests, and provide the 3. Protect your password, and do for bank accounts.
same to marketing companies. This not write it down. Always use strong 3. Check while granting permis-
is how you end up with spam in passwords that are difficult to hack. sions when installing apps.
your inboxes. Change your password regularlyat 4. Avoid third-party software that
A virus attaches itself to a least once a month. pop up while using other apps.
program by clubbing with another 4. Install a good antivirus on 5. Always log out after accessing
program in the computer by using your system for protection from virus your account.
different resources of the computer. and spyware. 6. Do not save usernames and
An email virus is a special type 5. Check for https:// instead of passwords on the app.

28 June 2017 | electronics For You

artificial intelligence

The Superpower Brain

ohn McCarthy explains artificial
intelligence (AI) as the science
Interesting facts about AI
and engineering of making intel- AI started in 1950. Let us discuss some AI facts
ligent machines, particularly intellectual that are crucial in todays era.
computer programs. AI can repair itself. A recently-developed robot
AI is a method to turn a computer can rebuild itself even after trailing two of its six
legs. The robot does not know what is broken,
into a computer-controlled robot or a
but it can notice the performance being dropped.
software-controlled machine that thinks Therefore using an algorithm, it can determine
wisely, in a manner similar to the way what is wrong and how to amend it.
Meghraj Singh
Beniwal is B.Tech intelligent human beings think. It is done AI can write. Data that is captured from
in electronics and by studying humanshow they think,
communication, seismographs is used by a computer to write an
currently working as study, choose and work while trying to article, which then turns it into figures and plugs
automation engineer resolve a problemand then by means those figures into a beautiful story. It takes the
at Infosys, Pune. He
is a freelance writer of the outcomes of this study, developing graphs and compiles these into well-written reports.
and an Android app appropriate software and systems.
AI combines the characteristics Intelligence. This means injecting
of computer science, physiology and intelligence into a machine so that it can
philosophy. It creates a machine that easily carry out the work that would oth-
is unnaturally bright by following such erwise need a human brain. The machine
programs and equipment that are able to can make its own decisions, according to
take decisions on their own. Researchers the situation.
are making systems that can emulate the
thoughts of human beings, identify their How AI originated
speech and interact with them. The growth of AI started with the desire
AI is made up of two words: artificial of introducing intelligence in machines
and intelligence. that was similar to the intelligence in
Artificial. It is something that is human beings. AI has the following two
not ordinary, but is made using human basic goals:
skills. It implies creating a replica or Creating expert systems. Systems that
simulation of a human brain. Though exhibit intelligent behaviour and can study,
you can make a machine unnaturally reveal, describe and advise its users.
Fig. 1: Evolution related to human beings, it lacks natural- Implementing human intelligence in
of artificial ness and spontaneity. machines. To make systems that compre-
hend, think, study and act like human
British mathematician Alan Mathison
Turing, known as the father of AI, pre-
dicted in the early 1950s that, going ahead
machines would perform human acts that
even human beings would fail to achieve.
He devised Turing Test to test a machines
ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour
equivalent to, or indistinguishable from,
that of a human being.

Real-life applications of AI
AI has an enormous effect on our daily
life, and its power is likely to rise in the

30 June 2017 | electronics For You

artificial intelligence
coming years. Let us explore some intelligent personal assistants that
examples of AI that we are using in use AI.
our day-to-day life. Business. Examples of AI tools
Transportation. AI has already used for businesses are:
been granted a licence for driving 1. Gluru helps systematise online
cars on the roads of California, USA. documents and emails, and uses AI to
Routine work. Robots can do get the latest actionable information.
mundane work like run household 2. lets AI synchronise sched-
errands, supervise routine account- ules and acts as a personal scheduler.
ing and reports compiling, manage 3. CrystalKnows incorporates AI
vehicles and so on. And, now these to help you understand the best way
are capable of creating art, too. to communicate with others.
Marketing. Rocket Fuel, a market- Developers. For developers, some
ing tool, uses analytical science for AI tools are:
1. Vicarious helps build the next
generation of AI algorithms.
2. has easy-to-em-
Computer ploy, open templates for a selection
Philosophy of advanced AI workloads.
Psychology 3. helps build smarter
AI applications that are rapid and
Artificial scalable.
Sociology Intelligence
Science Limitations of AI
The main disadvantage of AI is the
Maths Biology cost incurred in its protection and
repair. All programs have to be ef-
ficient enough to suit the changing
Fig. 2: Components of AI needs, and machines need to be
made smarter.
adapting and scaling marketing re- Some of us have concerns regard-
turn on investment by means of me- ing the application of AI, as they feel
dia and CRM channels. By consider- it is wrong to install AI into a ma-
ing diverse factors and data combina- chine so as to make it work for their
tions, the engine bids on the required benefit. Some of the reasons given
media and optimises campaigns. by them are:
If robots start to substitute hu-
AI tools man beings in every field, it will
Companies like Google, Facebook ultimately lead to unemployment.
and Amazon are investing a lot of With so much help from ma-
money in their R&D devisions, and chines, if human beings stop using
are buying startups that work in their thinking abilities, these abilities
areas like machine learning, natural will steadily decline. With AI, they
language and image processing. may turn out to be overly dependent
A research at Stanford Univer- on machines, thereby losing their
sity has concluded that gradually mental capabilities.
more useful applications of AI, with If control of the machines goes in
thoughtful, positive impacts on our wrong hands, it may cause a havoc.
culture and economy, are expected Apart from these, there is the fear
to come out soon. of robots overruling humans. Practi-
Let us take a look at some of the cally, we should be the masters of
well-known AI tools. machines. But if things turn the other
Personal. Apples Siri, Micro- way round, clever machines could
softs Cortana and Google Now are turn out to be smarter than us.

32 June 2017 | electronics For You

artificial intelligence

Machine Vision

A Focus On Image ProcessIng

With Neural Networks
ome time ago there were some very at how a computer recognises and pro-
interesting product releases from the cesses images.
likes of Google and Microsoft. While Image analysis ranges from finding
Google announced a new assistant in Google basic shapes, detecting edges, removing
Allo, which is quite friendly, Microsoft an- noise and counting objects, to finding
nounced a puck-like device for artists work- anomalies in the routine. Security and
ing on Surface Pro devices. Googles chat surveillance are incomplete without an
assistant on my phone read my personal intelligent system that can detect pedestri-
messages and gave suggestions in reply. ans and vehicles, and make a difference.
Saurabh Durgapal
is working as Is this just a matter of word association, So how does image analytics work? How
technology or an invasion of privacy? However, my was Googles new assistant able to analyse
journalist at EFY
intrigue began when a friend sent an image images and suggest possible replies as
of his presence at a club. Allo showed some soon as I received the image?
automatic reply options including, Have Uncanny Vision, a startup focused on
a good time! To me, it seemed like a fun image analysis, helps clarify how it hap-
and convenient way to reduce the hassle of pens. Their system identifies objects in
typing out a full message. images using an analytical system powered
by deep learning and smart algorithms.
Analysing images is a serious task The deep learning framework, Caffe, pow-
Photography is one area that employs im- ers this system. The framework managed
age analytics heavily. Dr Joseph Reger, chief by Berkeley Vision and Learning Center
technology officer, Fujitsu EMEIA, explains, (BVLC) is capable of processing more than
Modern cameras identify faces to make 60 million images in a single day using just
focusing easier, or these can identify smil- one NVIDIA K40 GPU. On an average, this
ing faces or faces of pre-selected people. amounts to about 695 images per second,
Image analysis starts by first identifying whereas we only need 17 to make a series
edges and moves on to full shapes. How- of images into a video, with HD video
ever, making changes in certain key areas going up to 60. Basically, this system can
in the images has successfully fooled such analyse about 11 HD videos at once.
systems. More on that later, first let us look Deep learning is affecting image
analytics. Deep learning is a branch of
machine learning based on a set of algo-
Artificial neural networks process information the way biological nervous systems
like the brain do, for optimal decision making. Certain characteristics of their rithms that attempt to model high-level
architecture and the way these process information makes these superior to abstractions in data by using a deep graph
conventional techniques on a certain class of optimisation problems. with multiple processing layers, linear and
Optimisation techniques are called into play every day for industrial planning, non-linear. It is a representational learning
allocation, scheduling and decision-making, among others. So how do you optimise approach ideally suited for image analysis
the network? challenges ranging from security and daily-
Select a network architecture, that is, number of hidden layers, number of purpose applications to medical problems.
neurons in each layer and activation function. Object detection is considered to be the
Initialise weights randomly (weights being the mathematical formula). most basic application of computer vision.
Use forward propagation to determine the output node. Enhancements on top of object detection
Find the error of the model using known labels.
result in other developments including
Back-propagate the error into the network and determine the error for each node.
Update the weights to minimise gradient. anomaly mapping and error detection in
real-time imaging. However, deep learning

34 June 2017 | electronics For You

artificial intelligence
is still an expanding topic. Dr a smaller tree, it means that the
Reger adds, It is still unclear model did not capture underly-
what the optimal depth of a ing trends properly, and the
deep learning net should be, or tree needs to be re-examined.
what the ideal component func- Divide and conquer to
tions in the targeted approxima- analyse. Cluster analysis, on
tion might be. the other hand, categorises
objects in test data into differ-
Upgrading neural ent groups or clusters. Test data
networks can be grouped into clusters
It is no doubt that neural net- based on any number of pa-
works can identify and recog- The Scream by Edvard Munch on the left, and the horrifying scream rameters, resulting in multiple
nise patterns and do a lot of after exaggeration of patterns on the right algorithms in cluster analysis.
other interesting stuff. However, Clusters are formed based on
when we talk about real-time image Chinese game of Go is a complex your algorithm, making it a multi-
analysis from multiple angles and board game requiring intuition, objective optimisation problem.
lack of content in the frame, going creative and strategic thinking. It Formation of clusters, however, is
beyond the capabilities of neural has been a major subject in artificial not successful with the current data
networks is required. One of the intelligence (AI) research. In March analysis needs. With the introduc-
most stated advancement in this 2016, Googles AlphaGo beat Lee tion of the Internet of Things (IoT),
regard has been convolutional neural Sedol, a South Korean professional data that needs to be analysed has
networks (CNNs). Self-driving cars, Go player of 9 dan rank by 4-1. reached much higher volume. Many
auto-tagging of friends in pictures, And here we thought recognising methods fail due to the curse of
facial-security features, gesture recog- and following a person in a crowd dimensionality, resulting in many pa-
nition and automatic number plate was amazing for a neural network. rameters being left out while optimis-
recognition are some of the areas ing the algorithm.
that benefit from CNNs. Lesser-known image analytics If you can remove some pa-
Broadly, a CNN consists of three Image analysis can also be done rameters in clustering, removing it
steps that can be divided into more using many other techniques. These altogether is not a stretch. Dimension
steps. Starting with convolution, we can be as simple as a binary tree reduction is the process of reducing
go back to our engineering days, with a simple true-false decision, or the number of random variables be-
when we convolved a filter with input as complex as structured prediction. ing considered. The set of principal
function to get some output. Padding Decision tree, for example, is used variables is then processed through
was then added to make this result by Microsoft Structured Query Lan- feature selection and extraction.
similar in size to the original image. guage (SQL) server. Never thought Data is classified by filters based on
You know the basics. we would be using analytics in SQL, the features to be added or removed
Pooling is done to reduce the size did we? But when you think about while building the model based on
of data, and this makes it easier to sift how data is fetched in SQL, it makes prediction errors.
through. Then, the networks use ful- a lot more sense. Feature extraction then trans-
ly-connected layers where each pixel Decision tree is a predictive mod- forms this high-dimensional data into
is considered as a separate neuron elling approach used in statistics, fewer dimensions through principal
similar to a regular neural network. data mining and machine learning. component analysis, among other
Batch normalisation was an- An analogy for easier understanding techniques. Application areas include
other step in the process, which has would be the binary tree. Some of neuroscience and searching on live
become outdated with use. Better the popular implementations are IBM video streams, among others, as re-
results over CNNs result in similar SPSS Modeler, RapidMiner, Microsoft moval of multi-collinearity improves
implementation as well. SQL Server, MATLAB and the pro- the learning system.
Where we have seen CNN before. gramming language R, among others. Odd man out algorithms. Used
Video analysis, image recognition In R, decision tree uses a com- mostly in data mining, anomaly detec-
and drug discovery are some of the plexity parameter to measure trade- tion is another interesting algorithm.
common uses of CNNs around us. offs between model complexity and Anomalies, also referred to as outliers,
However, the one that brought CNNs accuracy on training set. A smaller novelties, noise, deviations and excep-
to light would be AlphaGo pro- complexity parameter leads to a big- tions, can be a fancier version of the
gramme by Google DeepMind. The ger tree, and vice versa. If you have odd man out. Typical anomalies in-

36 June 2017 | electronics For You

artificial intelligence
clude bank during
frauds, astructural
routine cath-
defects, congestive
Yonatan heartreleasing
Zunger, failure and other
an apol-
medical procedure.
problems It requires
or errors in text. cardiac
ogy rectify the error,
and attempts
no leads
Image or implanted
analysis by Uncannybatteries,
Vision is Golden
resulting Gopher
in the removal Magnetic
of the tag
an sends data
Theto a secure
system Web the
analyses BiosensingThe
altogether. system. This portable,
explanation behind
images The sensor
through a CCTV is and
points low-cost
the error cameand easy-to-use
to light once device
it was
to improve
out thewith
anomalies, quality of life
basics and
going detects biomarkers
released for public. in human serum
down to aoutcomes, as well as lower
person falling. andTheurine, as well
problem with as heavy
Googlemetals AI was
costs for those who suffer from in lake water.
training using animal Knownimages. as Z-lab,Train-this
Proper hardware support highly-sensitive
ing an AI is a process sensor toisdetermine
now in a
is also necessary development
large for smaller,
set of parameters thatmorecali-port-
Neural networks have existed since able
brates models.
a function that maps image
the early 1990s, but initially success dataElectronic
to content.Aspirin. Results For maypeoplevary
was very limited due to the re- who suffer
based on thefrom images migraines,
used in clus- train-
stricted availability of hardware and ter headaches
ing. Some sample andimages
other causes
tested by of
inadequate learning methods. Last chronic, excruciating
enthusiasts gave somehead very or facial
decade has been a welcome change pain, the
results. take
Even two aspirins
a relatively simpleand call
in this regard, says Dr Reger. He me in network
neural the morning method is use-
over-interpreted an
adds, Advanced learning algorithms less. Doctors
image, resulting have long associated
in trippy images.
and massive 16-bit FP performance theEngineers
most severe, chronic research
at Googles forms of
Fig.modern hardware
5: Endotronix havemonitoring
wireless health turned headache
lab decidedwith to check sphenopalatine
on patternsgan-
neural networks into an effective glion
the (SPG),
system a facial nerve
recognised and set bundle,
technology for image analysis. abut havethat
system not tweaks
yet found theapatterns
Movidius Myriad 2, Eyeriss and that
to has a long-term
exaggerate the result. effect
An on im-SPG.
Microsoft HoloLens are some vi- Electronic
age passed throughAspirin is a patient-
enough times
sion microprocessors being used in poweredintool
resulted thefor imageblocking
changing SPG radi-
todays vision-processing systems. signals
cally, and at basically
the first sign of a some
tripping head-
These may include direct interfaces ache, and
classy involves the permanent
to take data from cameras with a implant of a small nerve-stimulating
greater emphasis on on-chip data- How
deviceitinlooksthe upper gum on the side
flow. These are different than regu- of the head normally affected
After logic programming with by
lar video-processing units as these
Fig. 6: Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosensing headache.
languages Lead
like tip
Prolog of the
and implant
are suited more to running machine
system connectsthe
systems, with the SPG
present phasebundle,
of ad-and
vision algorithms such as CNNs and when aneural
vanced patientnetworkssenses the onset
scale-invariant feature transform of athird
the headache,
wave of heAI,or she saysplaces
Dr Reger.
(SIFT). Some of the application a handheld
But we are still remote decades controller
away from on a
areas for vision processing include the cheek
system thatnearest
can gettoanywhere the implant. close
robotics, the IoT, digital cameras for Resulting
to a realistic signals
one. This stimulate SPG of
virtual reality and augmented real- nerves
our human and bodyblockispain-causing
the reason why
ity, and smartcameras. neurotransmitters.
researchers have been trying to
the enigmasmart of contact
computer lenses.
Fooling an AI
Fig. 7: Electronic Aspirin Google
by has created
analysing the visual smart contact of
Reports released last year suggested human beings lenses or made for people
other animals.
that changing some pixels in a Background who suffer clutter,from hidden diabetes
photo of an elephant could fool a of images, and those who
difference sim-
in illumina-
neural net into thinking it is a car. ply wear in
tion and variations glasses.
viewpoint The
AI systems have committed some are
Soft contact lens some technology
areas that is
focus in
disturbing tasks as well. Aprilencapsulates
Taylor electronics
development to take
before thewe tears
canin a
move from iTech Post has explainedSensor in andetects
persons eye and measure
in tearstowards developing Jarvis. Accord-
article how her dogs were catego- ing to Dr glucose
Reger, levels.networks
Neural For people in Chip and antenna
rised as horses. general andwho
receive power and image wear glasses,
analysis inthepar-
send information Twitter user, jackyalcine, has ticular willlens remain would some be ofengineered
the most
also reported some funny busi- interesting to andwhat the companies
important topics in ness with Google AI. This has lead cutting-edge sayinformation
is to restore the eyes
to Googles chief social architect,
Fig. 8: Googles smart contact lenses in years to natural
come. autofocus.

38 February
June 20172017 | electronics
| electronics For you
For You
tech focus

ArtificiAl intelligence
Getting Real, Local
rtificial intelligence (AI) is undoubt- The moment the word smart is used, it
edly one of the hottest verticals to means some amount of intelligence (obvi-
watch in 2017. An integral part of ously artificial) is involved. This intelli-
gaming and robotics, now it has also deeply gence is usually implemented using large
penetrated aspects of the real world that servers with built-in AI models based on
influence everybody. As the core driv- neural networks.
ing force of analytics, AI is at the heart of In general, the operation of neural
every vertical from industrial operations networks can be understood in two stages.
and banking to security and the network of The first stage involves training the AI
Gopalakrishnan devices. It has also become part and parcel system to perform a given task. The second
Vikram is a of consumer electronics, as was evident stage is the inference stage, which involves
freelance writer, from this years CES 2017, and an insepa- execution of AI models against live data.
editor and hands- rable part of social media as we can see The training stage involves crunch-
on mom based in
Chennai from the new features being launched by ing immensely large data sets, to help the
Facebook, Google and other Internet majors. system identify and learn from patterns in
The increased usage of AI technologies fuels the data. Data collected by the device flies
further growth in the spacenot just in the across the Internet to data centres packed
form of research but also new products such with servers, where this is done. On serv-
as chips for artificial intelligence. The arena ers, central processing units (CPUs) are
is also teeming with start-ups that are bring- usually supplemented with other types
ing fresh new ideas to life. of processors like graphical processing
Some see AI as a threat to their jobs, units (GPUs).
while others see it as an opportunity to do Nvidia is one of the most well-known
better. Either way, it is not something you GPU makers, who has been powering
can ignore. So, well, we try to give you a many data centres for years. Last year, it
glimpse of what is happening here... launched Tesla P100a GPU with an ar-
chitecture focused on accelerating AI and
AI shakes up the chip market deep learning. Apparently, Nvidia spent
The word smart has become like a com- more than $2 billion on R&D to produce
pulsory prefix for most object names, from the new chip, which has a total of 15 bil-
pens to phones and musical instruments. lion transistorsaround thrice as many as
the companys previous chips. According
Deep learningthe most obvious trend in AI today to a press release, an artificial neural net-
Deep learning is basically a nature-inspired technology that uses neural networks work powered by this chip can learn from
modelled after the human brain, to help a system learn by itself, just like a human incoming data twelve times faster than
child does. It is made of multi-layered deep neural networks that mimic the activity Nvidias previous best chip.
of the layers of neurons in the neocortex. Each layer tries to understand something To show that machine learning
more than the previous layer, thereby developing a deeper understanding of things. requires a special architecture, Google
The resulting system is self-learning, which means that it is not restricted by what
also developed its own processor called
it has been taught to do. It can react according to the situation and even make
decisions by itself. the tensor processing unit (TPU). On the
Deep learning usually requires large memory banks and runs on huge other hand, Microsoft went with field-pro-
servers powered by advanced graphics processing units. However, recent grammable gate arrays (FPGAs) for its AI
innovations have opened up the possibility of implementing deep learning at the needs. Not to be left out of the race, Intel
network edge. acquired Alteraa company that sells FP-
Find out more about deep learning: Deep Learning Makes Conventional GAs to Microsoft. Together with Nervana
Machine Learning Look Dumb (EFY Jan. 2017) Systems, a company it acquired last year,

40 June 2017 | electronics For You

tech focus
Intel is also building Lake Crest (or edge, all these issues are sorted out. be used in remote farms or even
Nervana Engine), a full-stack solu- We will see AI transferring to by children playing hide-and-seek!
tion for deep learning, optimised the edge, Talla said to the press, EnRoute, another drone maker, has
at every stage to make training ten with future intelligent applications used on-board AI to help its drones
times faster. using a combination of edge and navigate and fly faster, avoiding
The second stage, or the cloud processing. objects on their path.
inference, is undergoing a major This requirement to build intel- Cisco has developed a collabora-
shakeup. In the past, most of this ligence into the device is leading tion device that uses AI to recognise
work was also done on the cloud to a major bustle in the semicon- people in a room and automatically
using GPUs, TPUs and FPGAs. ductor industry, not to forget a lot pick a field-of-view (FOV) with
However, now smart device makers of hardware innovation. In last people in it instead of empty chairs.
are beginning to feel that this is not months story on smart robotics, The FOV is spontaneously adjusted
real-time enough. So, the trend is we read about a micromote (a chip as people walk in and out, or move
turning in favour of implementing measuring just one cubic millime- around. The system also zooms in
the inference or execution stage at tre) developed at the University of on people who are speaking.
the edge (that is, in the device Live Planets new
itself) instead of relying on 360-degree 3D camera for
the cloud. Since existing live streaming of video uses
devices dont have enough on-board AI to encode 3D
processing power, memory videos in real time. Live
size and bandwidth for this, Planets chief strategy office
the semiconductor industry Khayyam Wakil explains,
is facing a heavy demand for The camera produces a
high-performance, low-power stream of 65 gigabytes,
inference engines for deep which is too much data to
neural networks, which can transmit to a cloud server.
be built into devices. On-board processing has
made the live streaming
AI goes local possible.
In a press event held in San Sniffing the trend, Intel
Nvidia Jetson TX2 credit-card sized platform for intelligent edge
Fransisco in March this year, devices like robots, drones, cameras and portable medical devices
acquired Movidius in 2016.
Deepu Talla, vice president (Courtesy: Nvidia) Movidius produces special-
and general manager of ised low-power processor
Nvidias Tegra business unit, cited Michigan, which incorporates a chips for computer vision and deep
four reasons in favour of bringing deep-learning processor capable of learning. Their button-sized Myriad
AI technology to the edge (on- operating a neural network using 2 platform has many features that
board the device)bandwidth, just 288 microwatts. support implementation of deep
latency, privacy and availability. As Last year, Nvidia launched Drive learning at the network edge.
the number of devices communi- PX2a palm-sized platform to im- Myriads SHAVE processor engines
cating with the cloud rises by the plement auto cruise capabilities in achieve the hundreds of giga-flops
day, there will be a dire shortage automobiles. This open AI car plat- required in fundamental matrix mul-
of bandwidth in the near future. form features a unified architecture tiplication compute that is essential
Latency is also an issue in applica- that allows deep neural networks to for deep learning networks. The
tions like self-driving cars where be trained on a system in the data on-chip RAM keeps huge volumes of
a split seconds delay can have centre, and then deployed in the car. intermediate data on the chip itself
serious implications. Privacy, of This year, Nvidia launched Jetson to avoid bandwidth bottlenecks. The
course, has always been a serious TX2a credit-card sized, plug-in platform comes with native support
issue. So, when data is processed edge-processing platform designed for mixed precision and hardware
within the device itself, there is no for embedded computing. Teal flexibilityboth 16-bit and 32-bit
lingering doubt about misuse on Drones has used the Jetson module floating-point data types, as well as
the cloud. Availability of the cloud to develop a smart drone that can u8 and unorm8 types are supported.
is also questionable in rural areas understand and react to what its The company literature explains
where connectivity is unreliable. cameras are seeing. Since this drone that existing hardware accelerators
When AI is implemented at the does not rely on the cloud, it can can be easily repurposed to provide

42 June 2017 | electronics For You

tech focus

Excerpts from Chia-Chiunn Hos recollections of Larry Zitnicks AI class at Facebook

Researchers like Zitnick were building machine vision one tiny Convolutional neural networks is a method inspired by the brains
piece at time, applying very particular techniques to very particular visual cortex that groups neurons into receptive fields arranged
parts of the problem. But then academics like Geoff Hinton showed almost like overlapping tiles.
that a single piecea deep neural networkcould achieve far Long short-term memory networks (LSTMs) are neural networks
more. Rather than code a system by hand, Hinton and company that include their own short-term memorya way of retaining
built neural networks that could learn tasks largely on their own by one piece of information while examining what comes next. This is
analysing vast amounts of data. We saw this huge step change what helps identify the commands you speak into Android phones.
with deep learning, Zitnick says. Things started to work. In the end, all these methods are still just math. But to understand
A neural net mimics the web of neurons in the brain. It operates how they work, students must visualise how they operate across
by sending information between processing units, or nodes, that time (as data passes through the neural network) and space (as
stand in for neurons. But these nodes are really just linear algebra those tile-like receptive fields examine each section of a photo).
and calculus that can identify patterns in data. Applying these methods to real problems, as Zitnicks students do
Each layer makes a calculation and passes it to the next. Then, during the workshops, is a process of trial, error and intuition
using a technique called back propagation, the layers send kind of like manning the mixing console in a recording studio.
information back down the chain as a means of error correction. Youre not at a physical console. Youre at a laptop, sending
As the years went by and technology advanced, neural networks commands to machines in Facebook data centres across the
could train on much larger amounts of data using much larger Internet, where the neural networks do their training. But you
amounts of computing power. spend your time adjusting all sorts of virtual knobsthe size of
For the first time ever, we could take raw input data like audio and the dataset, the speed of the training, the relative influence of each
images and make sense of them, Zitnick told his class. nodeuntil you get the right mix.

the flexibility needed to achieve different implementations of that Carnegie Mellon University profes-
high performance for convolution machine that can be used in serv- sor of robotics Stephen Smith said
computation. Myriad also comes ers, cloud, or at the edge of the net- that traffic congestion costs the
with a development kit that in- work. That would be the ultimate U.S. economy $121 billion a year,
cludes dedicated software libraries thing to wish for! mostly due to lost productivity,
to support sustained performance and produces about 25 billion
on matrix multiplication and AI seems so real kilograms of carbon dioxide emis-
multidimensional convolution. At one time, the term AI was associ- sions. The AI-based smart traffic
Start-up Graphcore proposes to ated only with robots, but now it is management system piloted in the
handle deep learning with a so- everywherefrom security cameras city has reduced travel time by 25
called intelligent processing unit to cars and enterprise applications. per cent, idling time by over 40
(IPU)a graph processor that can In Pittsburg, USA, AI is helping per cent and emissions by 21 per
manage both training and inference solve traffic woes. Speaking at a cent. Unlike conventional traffic
on the same architecture, and even- White House Frontiers Conference, lights that have pre-programmed
tually across multiple form factors
(server and device) too. The chip is
expected to get ready for early usage
by year-end.
According to the company, This
same architecture can be designed
to suit both training and inference.
In some cases, you can design a
piece of hardware that can be used
for training, then segment that up
or virtualise it in a way to support
many different users for inference
or even different machine learning
model deployments. There will be
cases when everything is embedded,
for instance, and you need a slightly
different implementation, but its
the same hardware architecture.
Thats our thesisone architecture,
the IPU, for training, inference, and Surtrac is an intelligent approach to traffic management, implemented in Pittsburgh, USA

44 June 2017 | electronics For You

tech focus

When logic wins over machine learning

When we drive, we are faced with unexpected potential dangers
people crossing the road, dogs that dont obey their masters, children
riding cycles and more. However, from experience we learn to ignore
some and pay more attention to others. But most autonomous cars
try to handle each situation theoretically, which is too tiresome for the
car and its occupants!
nuTonomy, a company that has been testing its robo-taxis in
Singapores One-North technology business district, uses formal
logic to handle such complex situations. Formal logic is based on
a hierarchy of rules, with priorities. For example, the rule dont hit
pedestrians has a greater priority than dont hit other vehicles,
which is more important than dont hit objects. The car attempts
to apply all the rules, but in the given order of priority. It uses a
planning algorithm called RRT* to evaluate many potential paths
based on the data from cameras and other sensors. Decision-making nuTonomy relies on formal logic for their robo-taxis to make the right
software evaluates these paths and selects the one that fits in with decisions (Courtesy: nuTonomy)
the rule hierarchy.
The idea of formal logic is different from machine learning. they do. Formal logic, on the other hand, gives more control over the
In machine learning, you show the algorithm innumerable driving machine and guarantees that the car will obey rules in the order of
scenarios, from which it figures out the rules of good driving and importance and stay safe even in unprecedented situations. Its a
then applies them to real-life situations. nuTonomy uses machine rigorous algorithmic process thats translating specifications on how
learning to interpret sensor data but not for decision-making because the car should behave into verifiable software, explains nuTonomy
the company feels that machine learning is like a black box and it is CEO and cofounder Karl Iganemma, in a press report. Thats
difficult to figure out why machine-learning systems make the choices something thats really been lacking in the industry.

timings, the Surtrac system applies uses AI to spot and remove of- In April this year, Mark Zucker-
AI algorithms to data collected fensive content. It is also plan- berg unveiled a platform that trans-
by the radar sensors and cameras ning to integrate AI-based suicide forms users smartphone camera
of computerised traffic lights to prevention tools into Facebook into an engine for augmented reality
dynamically build a timing plan. Live and Messenger, in order to (AR). The solution relies on imple-
The system is decentralised and recognise and help people with menting AI on the network edge.
each signal makes its own timing suicidal tendencies. The platform lets users to layer digi-
decision. It also sends the data to tal effects atop images and videos
traffic intersections downstream so captured by the camera. One of the
they can plan ahead. fun demos showed digital sharks
There are 50 such smart swimming around a bowl of cereal.
intersections now, with plans for Facebook has more real-world
expansion citywide. Following that, plans for the future. For example,
Smiths group wants to improve the you can pin a virtual note on your
system to enable signals to talk to fridge and your roommates will be
cars! According to an IEEE news able to see it when they view the
report, they have already installed fridge through their cameras.
short-range radios at 24 intersec- Neural networks help to identify
tions. Such systems are expected people and track their movement
to begin being built into some cars and activities within the cameras
this year. Traffic signals can then FOV, in order to apply appropri-
let drivers know of upcoming traf- ate digital effects. Facebooks deep
fic conditions or change in lights, neural networks run on the phone
increasing safety and relieving itself because getting across the
congestion. The vehicle-to-infra- Internet and back will be too slow
structure communication system to effectively implement such
could also prioritise certain vehicles digital effects.
like public transport buses. While Facebook has optimised
AI is helpful on social me- Bosch-backed robot Kuri (Courtesy: Mayfield
its deep learning technology to
dia too. Facebook, for instance, Robotics) run on current-day mobile phones,

46 June 2017 | electronics For You

tech focus
they feel things are bound to get has become real now, and fiction more energy-efficient than racks of
difficult as digital effects get more today is being chiselled into reality conventional cybersecurity systems.
complex. But, Facebook expects at labs across the worldand by Lots of interesting AI research is
that the future hardware enhance- start-ups too. happening at MIT too. Last month,
ments will surely boost their So far, AI has been achieved MIT researchers presented a paper
machine learning models. mainly using complex algorithms. proposing a fast and inexpensive
CES 2017 was full of AI-powered Now, imagine a chip that by itself way to achieve speech recogni-
consumer products. Apart from the works like a synapse of the human tion. Current speech recognition
expected dominance of systems require a computer to
AI-enabled smartphones, analyse innumerable audio files and
wearable devices, home their transcriptions, to understand
appliances and cars, two which acoustic features correspond
interesting developments to which typed words. However,
relate to operating sys- providing these transcripts to the
tems and home assistants. machine learning system is a costly
According to industry and time-consuming affair.
experts, more than 40 This limits speech recogni-
million homes will have a tion to a small number
home assistant by 2021. In of languages. The new
November last year, Google approach proposed by the
launched Google Home for researchers does not rely
this segment. Amazons on transcripts. Instead,
Alexa is too well-known the system analyses the
to be introduced again. correlation between im-
Samsung has come up with ages and spoken descriptions
Otto, and Bosch is backing of those images, as captured in
Kuri. Facebook too demon- a large collection of audio record-
strated a personal assistant, ings. It eventually learns which
though there is no informa- Twenty Two Motors smart scooter for Indian roads
acoustic features of the recordings
tion about its availability (Courtesy: Twenty Two Motors) correlate with which image charac-
yet. Apple is also suppos- teristics. According to the scientists,
edly working on a Siri-powered brainwouldnt it make AI more this is more naturalmore like the
home assistant. real and human-like than ever be- way humans learn. Plus, it is less
With so many connected and fore? Researchers at CNRS, Thales, expensive and less time-consuming,
intelligent devices all around us, have managed to create directly on opening up the possibility of extend-
people are getting very worried a chip an artificial synapse that is ing speech recognition to a larger
about privacy and data safety. So, capable of learning. You can use number of languages.
companies like Google and Norton these chips to create intelligent Another research at MIT at-
have also come up with solutions to systems comprising a network of tempts to make machines predict
secure your devices. Google is offer- synapses, requiring much less time the future. For humans, it is easy to
ing Android Thingsan operating and energy. understand what will happen when
system that powers smart devices Another system developed at the a player bowls a ball or when a car
and the Internet of Things (IoT) in Sandia National Laboratories aims skids off the road. However, it is
a secure way. Norton Core is a mo- to improve the accuracy with which not so easy for machines. A team at
bile-enabled Wi-Fi router equipped cybersecurity threats (or bad apples) MIT is developing a deep-learning
with machine learning and Syman- are detected. The brain-inspired algorithm for this. From a still image
tecs threat intelligence techniques Neuromorphic Cyber Microscope of a scene, the system can create a
to defend your home network from designed by the lab can look for short video simulating the future
potential threats. complex patterns that indicate of that scene. Researchers feel that
specific bad apples, consuming such generative videos can be used
Lots more on the anvil less power than a standard 60-watt to add animation to still images,
Researchers all over the world are light bulb. This small processor was detect anomalies in security footage,
still exploring the possibilities of found to be more than a hundred compress data for storing and send-
AI. What was fiction a decade ago times faster and a thousand times ing longer videos, and so on. electronics For You | June 2017 47

tech focus
nuTonomy prefers formal logic to to fly a Boeing 777, subjecting it to For developers, it is as easy as
machine learning because the latter severe weather conditions, engine plug-and-play. No complex infra-
is a black box, with no way to find failures, fires and emergency land- structure or development is needed
out why the system made a particu- ings or turnarounds. to put AI to work.
lar decision. This is also one of the Closer home, AI-powered
reasons why many people in the scooters may hit the road by 2018. Building trust
medical profession shun computer- Haryana-based start-up Twenty Two AI is indeed at an inflection point.
ised decisions. Motors has developed a prototype What has made it so hot today?
MIT might have the answer in smart scooter that is powered by AI While some would credit the avail-
store. They have figured out a way and connected to the cloud. An app ability of powerful computers or ad-
of training neural networks so that allows the user to remotely control vances in statistical machine learn-
these not only provide predictions and access the scooter, while the ing and deep learning techniques,
and classifications but also the cloud system helps in automatic others say that AI has attained
rationale behind each decision. In troubleshooting. The scooter ap- this level of focus and investment
their research, the team divided plies AI to data collected by sensors mainly because of the sheer amount
the neural net into two modules. on the scooter, to understand the of data that the IoT is churning up.
The first module extracts segments riders behaviour. It also enables With sensors all around us, net-
of text from the training data, then decisions like the best route to take works are dizzy with data flying all
assigns scores to segments accord- depending on battery conditions, around. Somebody sitting on data
ing to their length and coherence. target location and topography obviously wants to make sense of
The shorter the segment, and the of the route (presence of bridges, it. So, there is a greater demand for
more of it drawn from strings of flyovers, etc). The start-up raised AI, and demand always drives sup-
consecutive words, the higher the ` 100 million in April this year and plythat is the underlying principle
segment score. The segments se- plans to launch the scooter at next of commerce.
lected by the first module are then years Auto Expo. Not a self-driving The industry is bustling to meet
passed on to the second module, scooter but definitely smart enough this demand and the air is rife with
which performs the prediction or to begin with! partnerships and acquisitions. Still,
classification task. The modules There is a lot of software-based there is one big challenge in the
are trained together, with the aim AI innovation happening too, like the way of deploying AI in real-world
to maximise both the score of the one by Mumbai-based, which scenarios: You need to win the trust
extracted segments and the ac- offers deep learning algorithms of people before they accept AI as a
curacy of prediction or classifica- for developers to build intelligent way of life. There is a lot of doubt
tion. The researchers have suc- systems that can learn, adapt and about security and privacy. The
cessfully validated this technique do things with minimal inputs from industry is coming together to solve
on many textual data sets such humans. The DL Studio platform can this bottleneck. Last year, Amazon,
as reviews on a website, free- be used to incorporate intelligence in DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM
form questions and answers, and e-commerce platforms, diagnostic as- and Microsoft announced the forma-
pathology reports. sistants, image processors for drones, tion of a non-profit organisation
As confidence in AI increases, security, device management and called Partnership on AI to improve
we find it being used in critical maintenance, and more. Deep neural public understanding of AI technolo-
applications tooaviation being an networks are also scalable. gies and formulate best practices for
example. A team of researchers at Another interesting trend is the development and deployment of AI.
the University College, London, is availability of different AI capabili- The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical
developing a new AI-based Intel- ties as services that can be quickly Considerations in Artificial Intel-
ligent Autopilot System that learns deployed in applications. Clari- ligence and Autonomous Systems is
how to manage emergencies by fais powerful visual recognition also an effort towards aligning the
watching how well-trained pilots do application programming inter- development of AI and autonomous
so, and then applying this learning face (API) is one example. It uses systems with the values of its users
to similar situations. The system is machine learning to automatically and society.
trained like professional pilots. Ac- tag, organise and search visual As long as such basic ethical
cording to a press release, the team content. Similarly, offers requirements are met and we are as-
uses a high-fidelity, professional conversational intelligence as a sured that intelligent devices will not
version of the desktop flight simu- service for virtual assistants, bots, overthrow us, artificial intelligence is
lator X-Plane to teach the autopilot devices and corporate applications. definitely hard to resist!

48 June 2017 | electronics For You


EDA Becoming IntErActIvE

With 3D rEnDErIng And routIng
lectronic design automation Cloud based tools. Imagine working
(EDA) is an indispensable tool for on a tablet; you do not have to carry your
optimised circuits. Most engineers heavy laptop everywhere. You do not have
have worked on one such tool or the to think about storage, appropriate graph-
other. Marco-Casale Rossi, product mar- ics and processor requirements. All you
keting manager, design group, Synopsys need is a browser and you are good to go.
Inc., explains the advances in EDA, Along with traditional circuit simula-
Today, we can floor-plan hundreds of tion features, Cloud based tools provide
millions of library instances, or we can ubiquitous access. This allows you to
Saurabh Durgapal
is working as place and route tens of millions of library travel light with only the concern for the
technology instances in less than 24 hours. Internet speed (which is nothing new).
journalist at EFY
We have moved from designing Using various advances in website design-
350nm to 10nm, says Ruchir Dixit, tech- ing, these are now accessible over a wide
nical director, Mentor Graphics. There variety of mobile platforms including
was a time when a four-layered board smartphones and tablets.
was among the most complex circuit de- Cloud based tools also feature quick
signs. This has become the basic now. help via dedicated forums, which provide
We also have changes in the type of com- access to the community of like-minded
ponents being used and signal speeds, individuals working on their own prob-
hence calling for efficient designs. lems. Sharing your project with the de-
veloper community and your co-workers
The ever increasing tools over the Cloud, without having to care
Since its emergence in the late 1970s, for compatibility of software, has also
EDA has quickly evolved into a dedicated come as an advantage with Cloud based
industry, and new players keep emerg- EDA tools.
ing at regular intervals. Today, we have Flip side to the Cloud. However,
advanced EDA tools like Altium Design- Cloud based tools are yet to establish
er, LabVIEW and Virtuoso, themselves for high-precision circuit de-
among others, that help sign. These are more in tune with hobby-
engineers come up with the ists working on their individual projects,
best blueprint for complex or students learning to work on EDA. But
circuits. for professional purposes, system based
Besides the industry-es- tools remain the better choice.
tablished tools, we also have An efficient tool should be in a
some Cloud based tools that system. This removes dependence on the
have revolutionised the way Internet while working, says Sreekanth
beginners and hobbyists take Tamanna, country manager for India,
up electronics. Cloud based Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,
EDA tools like EasyEDA and Altium Ltd.
MeowCAD allow them the Processing time in a Cloud based tool
ease and freedom to work has also increased. If you are working
with the latest libraries, in a closed network, you have to often
while providing updated confirm you have the latest version in
versions of the software, your designs. Improved performance,
without the hassle of updat- more complex designing, local storage and
ing user software. better working are some advantages with electronics for you | June 2017 49

on-system EDA tools.
This might sound like the best alternative, but let us
consider other alternatives before judging a tool.

Opening up the source

Open source E-CAD tools are becoming popular. With
latest releases like Ki-CAD version 4.2, these have
become more attractive than ever. With 3D render-
ing, Github library integration and support for mak-
ing SPICE simulation, these are attracting designers
big time.
Anuj Deshpande, founder, Makerville Solutions, says,
We can now make artistic circuits. He adds, We can
write scripts in Python and convert to a desirable format
using Ki-CAD. Such features certainly make open
source tools attractive. Let us look into some of these
features that have cropped up in recent years.
On the designers requirement, Neel Desai, product
marketing manager, Lynx, strategic alliances and GTS
marketing, Synopsys Inc., says, Design managers need
tools that can help them manage complex system-on-
chip (SoC) design projects, monitor their progress and
forecast their outcomes.
Cadence design team has come up with massively-
parallel architecture, physically-aware context genera-
tion, unified global routing and PPA optimisation in
their systems. This involves coordinating the design
efforts of multiple engineers and analysing massive
amounts of data, to achieve the fastest and most
predictable tape-out possible. Some recent features are
discussed next.
3D visualisation. Imagine making a circuit and be-
ing able to work on real-time problems, before having
to face those problems in real time. Now, stop imag-
ining and go for the latest tools and see for yourself.
This option to visualise the full module before possibly
destroying copper comes in very handy at times. Pa-
rameters like heat dissipation can be calculated in 3D
render itself, says Tamanna.
3D models also help in checking the final design of
the device. With a simple 3D render, the design can be
modified to suit various design requirements.
Power-distribution management. With the latest
tools we can measure functioning parameters. This helps
in checking if the design would work as expected or not.
If the board is getting heated in a particular area, then
it has to be designed again, says Tamanna. This can
also help in preventing disaster from striking at a later
stage on copper.
Higher precision. With the reducing size of elec-
tronics on a daily basis, requirement for higher preci-
sion is also a concern. Earlier people were not con-
cerned with a few millimetres. But today, designers
require very high precision, says Tamanna. Today, we

50 June 2017 | electronics for you


It is certifiably golden
A small sub-set of EDA tools, which stands a class apart, are
classified as golden. Also known as sign-off quality, these tools
are highly accurate and ease the end-to-end process from RTL
to GDS in case of ASIC development and timing closure for field-
programmable gate arrays. Several semiconductor foundries
provide pre-evaluated reference methodologies, also called RM
flows, consisting of suitable tools, versions and scripts in order
to automate the entire design process.
Ruchir Dixit, technical director, Mentor Graphics, explains
some of these golden features as, We have a more accurate
implementation, and we check for those implementations.
The tools provide an indication for problems, which can then
be handled. With added features, support for how to fix those
problems and how quickly can you fix it can be taken care of. He
adds, The system also supports systems with multiple PCBs
and provide a larger design environment.

have requirements for precision at about 0.1mm. The lat-

est EDA tools support this requirement in order to bring
about the best in design.
Digital electronics designs also require very high
precision. Current solutions are prepared to support
the best in design. Composite EM technology in ADS
platform maintains the same level of accuracy, and we
have increased the performance by a large margin, says
Deepak R.K., general manager, EEs of EDA, Keysight
Technologies India Pvt Ltd.
Special cases of board design. Wearables and other
special use cases have increased the demand for flexible
PCBs. Rigid-flex is a technology for designers working
on flexible PCBs, says Tamanna. With this new feature,
designers can verify parameters that might interfere with
different movements and shapes of the product.
Some parameters to be kept in mind while designing
flexible PCBs would be to not compromise on the physi-
cal and electrical integrity of the circuit. Beyond certain
parameters set while designing flexible PCBs, the board
loses its integrity, explains Dixit. Open source tools are
also adding such features since wearables often employ
flexible PCBs.
Working in groups. Dixit says, Designs have be-
come complex. Calibre provides provisions for breaking
the complex board into individual components. These
individual components can then be used by different
people. Today, tools offer live collaboration for multiple
people working in real time.
Open source tools are also updating to the latest
features with the group working feature being one. The
master-slave mode is for teams working on different
levels of the project, says Deshpande. This can also be
used to monitor the progress of the design.
Improving the finer points. Making the interface at-
tractive and easy to use certainly helps, and the industry electronics for you | June 2017 51


Major contributors to this report

Anuj Deshpande, Chris Allsup, Marco-Casale Neel Desai, Ruchir Dixit, Sreekanth Tom Ferry,
founder, Makerville technical marketing Rossi, product marketing technical director, Tamanna, vice president -
Solutions manager, senior staff, product marketing manager, Lynx, Mentor Graphics country manager marketing, silicon
RTL synthesis and manager, design group, strategic alliances for India, Pakistan, engineering group,
test automation, Synopsys Inc. and GTS marketing, Bangladesh and Sri Synopsys Inc.
Synopsys Inc. Synopsys Inc. Lanka, Altium Ltd

has been working in this direction as mask creation is for semiconductor intent description in IEEE 1801
well. Deepak says, In the last year, manufacturers to continue scaling UPF format, and logic synthesis
we have focused on making our tools at and below 16nm/14nm using has been upgraded to understand
more user-friendly. 193nm ArFi lithography equipment. power and ground, and to perform
With the large number of availa- Until next-generation lithography optimisations, taking into account
ble components and minute changes equipment is available for produc- increasingly-complex concepts such
from one component to the next, tion, manufacturers must find tech- as power/voltage/shutdown islands.
accurate documentation is a neces- niques to print smaller and smaller Database issues. Compatibility
sity. Hence, Efficient documenta- geometries with existing equip- among EDA tools is another param-
tion tools are becoming a necessity, ment, says Tom Ferry, vice presi- eter to be considered. While files
says Tamanna. Updated tools have dent - marketing, silicon engineering from one tool should be able to
automatic schematic and PCB gen- group, Synopsys Inc. work with other systems for design-
eration, which reduces errors due to He adds, Computational ers to have maximum ease of transi-
human intervention. techniques modify the design tion, the tools have to be lightweight
layout to create mask designs that in order to work efficiently. Rossi
Taking on the challenges enable lithography equipment to puts to rest the database debate
Certain challenges can occur dur- produce patterns on masks that with, There are no simple databas-
ing designing of the circuit, mask accurately represent the layout es in EDA, but rather efficient binary
preparation, testing the circuit and (designer intent). dumps on disks of in-memory data
so on. For circuit designing, Rossi Verification and synthesis. For representation/infrastructure of dif-
explains, Once the objective is many years, designers exclusively ferent classes of tools.
within reach, we hold placement relied on stuck-at automatic test pat-
and routing, and systematically tern generation to test ICs. Because Where the evolution is going
change the gatessame footprint, delay faults caused by opens and Today, there is no solution for con-
different timing, power, temperature shorts occur more frequently than tinuity between our logic synthesis
inversion point. stuck-at faults, they gradually began and our place-and-route tools,
Routing the circuits. Nowa- to employ transition delay automatic adds Rossi. Moving forward, the
days, it is practically impossible to test pattern generation to improve border between logic synthesis
do custom/manual routing and, defect coverage and lower defective and place-and-route will blur, and
hence, designers use EDA tools to parts per million. possibly disappear.
do auto-routing. According to Ca- According to Chris Allsup, Chip design is a constant battle
dence design team, routing can take technical marketing manager, senior against rising process and functional
anywhere from a few hours to days, staff, RTL synthesis and test auto- complexity on the one hand, and re-
depending on the complexity of the mation, Synopsys Inc., At advanced ducing time to market, on the other.
circuit. For such complex SoCs that nodes, process variations give rise to Additions like the 5G library for
have billions of transistors, extract- increasingly-subtle physical defects system design, according to Deepak,
ing resistance and capacitance is a that require additional patterns that helps innovation in technology, as
Herculean task. Commercially-avail- target more complex failure mecha- well. We can hopefully look for-
able field solvers do things automat- nisms such as partial shorts and ward to a design environment that
ically once placement and routing is partial opens. includes validation of IPs, libraries
done during design phase. The RTL netlist in Verilog format and foundry technology data at the
Masking. Primary challenge in is now accompanied by a power beginning of the process.

52 June 2017 | electronics for you

test & measurement

ElEctronic DiamonD tEstEr

Secrets And Technology
emstone identification can be an ar- one of the oldest tests for diamondtouch
duous problem, and getting it right is a diamond with your lip and it will feel
essential for the people in the trade. cold! Diamond testers working principle is
Recently, electronic gem testers have come based on the fact that different gemstones
in the market that promise to simplify this conduct heat differently. Heat will pass
problem. These are small, handheld devices through a diamond in a different way than
with a small probe that is placed against it would through a cubic zirconia or glass.
the gemstone. The diamond tester will detect the rate at
These devices first entered the market which heat moves through the stone and
T.K. Hareendran
is founder as diamond testers, and helped solve the tell whether it is a real diamond or not.
and promoter problem of distinguishing natural diamond As diamond is an exceptional thermal
of TechNode
Protolabz from cubic zirconia (a synthetic diamond conductor (and cubic zirconia is not), the
stimulant). An electronic diamond tester is, first diamond testers used a heated probe
in fact, a portable device that we can put in to detect heat dissipation. These were very
our pocket. The tester has a small, needle- effective at distinguishing natural diamond
like tip that needs to be placed firmly on the from cubic zirconia. But then another
stone under test. If the diamond is real, the diamond simulant called moissanite entered
device indicates that on its display, often the market, and diamond testers were not
with an aural alert. able to detect it (moissanite is also a very
good thermal conductor).
How it works Moissanite is a naturally-occurring
Diamond is an extremely good conductor of mineral that was first discovered more than
Fig. 1: Testing heat, and this property has been the basis of 100 years ago. At first glance, it looks very
a diamond
similar to diamond, and these two stones
also seem to have the same physical proper-
ties. Although many people think of it as a
substitute for diamond, moissanites chemi-
cal composition is quite differentdiamond
is made up of carbon, whereas moissanite
is a form of silicon carbide.
This recant called for improved test-
ers that use electrical conductivity to test
stones. Latest diamond testers on the
market include both thermal and electri-
cal conductivity test modes. The advan-
tage here is that you only need one device
instead of two, and it costs slightly less to
buy the two-in-one tester/multi-tester (heat
for diamond and electricity for moissanite)
rather than two separate testers.
Type II diamond tester. Moissanite test-
ers work by measuring electrical conduc-
tivity through the stone (diamond is not
electrically-conductive, and moissanite is).
However, there is a very rare type of dia-
mond (type II diamond) that has an unusu-

58 June 2017 | electronics For You

test & measurement
al chemical composition that makes can distinguish a diamond from a than a breakdown voltage, and
it electrically conductive. So it will non-diamond using UV light. measuring a minuscule current that
show as moissanite on a two-in-one UV light does, however, have flows through the gem.
tester/multi-tester. Fortunately, type some use for professional gemolo- Here, the first (probe) and
II diamond testers are now available gists because it can give an indica- second (clip) contacts of the circuit
but cost a few extra bucks. tion of probability when comparing couple the high voltage to the gem
a natural diamond with a synthetic under test, while a low-impedance
Role of UV light one. And, UV light makes a differ- detector circuit is used to flag when
Some diamond testers (Fig. 3) have ence when testing a moissanite us- the contacts are erroneously contact-
a built-in ultraviolet (UV) light ing a moissanite tester or two-in-one ing each other during measurement.
source, and this has led to the logi- tester/multi-tester. Moissanite test- The amount of current flowing
cal assumption that UV light can ers that do not work on some odd through the device is measured
be used for testing diamonds. Note moissanites work perfectly when using a high-impedance resistor
that, there is absolutely no way we the stone is exposed to UV light. referenced to ground. Voltage on
This is because, according to the the resistor is measured and com-
laws of Quantum Physics, UV light pared to a predetermined threshold
can make a noticeable difference to voltage. Measurements above the
electrical conductivity. threshold voltage indicate that the
gem is conductive, and that the gem
Gem tester electronics therefore is a synthetic diamond
Fig. 4 shows the reference sys- or moissanite.
tem diagram of a gem tester that Conversely, measurements below
Fig. 2: An electronic diamond tester uses high voltage to quickly test a a threshold voltage indicate that
gemstone for legitimacy. This basic practically no current flows through
concept is adaptable for determining the gem, and that the gem therefore
a gem type based on its electrical may be a diamondif other tests
conductivity. such as a thermal conductivity test
In principle, an electronic circuit show it to be as one.
(including the gem under test) as At the brain of the gem tester
part of a circuit path is used to is a microcontroller for processing
measure its electrical conductiv- a multitude of analogue inputs to
ity and, hence, the gem type. The produce a number of outputs for en-
procedure of determining whether suring whether a measurement for
a gem is moissanite or synthetic a gem under test is, in fact, within
diamond involves providing a high a specific range, signaling that it is
Fig. 3: Diamond tester with built-in UV light source voltage across a gem surface, greater moissanite or synthetic diamond.

Getting the feel

DC-DC Using a diamond tester/moissanite
Battery Switch Buck
Conv. tester/multi-tester is not compli-
cated. A good start is to read its
V Bat
user guide/instruction manual line
Monitor by line, and make sure you are not
DC-DC Visual
VCC Boost doing anything wrong. If your tester
HV Display
Conv. Monitor works consistently (gives the same
reading on the same stone every
time) and correctly (accurately iden-
tifies stones), then you do not need
DET Audio to know the principle on which it
Alert works. However, if you are having
Clip DET problems, then the following basic
tips will help solve most problems:
1. The probe of the tester must
Fig. 4: System diagram of a gem tester be clean, especially if it has not

60 June 2017 | electronics For You

test & measurement
been used for some time. Clean and again press hard. It only works
it by rubbing it at right angle in a if you put the probe in the centre of
circular motion on a piece of white the stone firmly once. As with all
bond paper. testers, this is not a problem if you
2. Clean the stone by wiping it can see what you are doing and you
with a clean cloth soaked in alco- have a steady hand.
hol. Alcohol works best because An electronic diamond tester
it evaporates quickly and leaves Fig. 5: Electronic diamond tester with with state-of-the-art technology as-
no residue. LED indicators sures quick, accurate readings to de-
3. Place the tester probe on the termine if a diamond is real or fake.
stone at right angle, and press firmly cator segments, and relatively-warm Most multi-testers utilise a combi-
to make good contact (hold the tip stones give a low and often sluggish nation of the proven thermal and
at right angle so as to not break it). reaction. (A very tiny diamond on a electrical conductivity principles.
You should get a result in about hot day may only move one or two The tester probes, together
three seconds. If not, remove the LED segments up.) with the electronics circuitries, are
probe, wait for a few seconds for the A multi-tester can show you if designed to pick up and segregate
stone to cool down and try again. the stone is a diamond or not. It car- data collected from the stones via a
4. Do not test the same stone ries out the diamond test and then, customised microcontroller. Within
repeatedly, until it becomes hot. Hot a fraction of a second later, it carries a split second, the test result is
stones do not register as diamond, out the moissanite test. Its micro- displayed on an electronic display.
even if these are. (Inconsistent read- controller combines both readings However, no tester can offer 100
ings miraculously become consistent and calculates a response. You will per cent guarantee of identifying
if you wait a minute or two for the not get correct readings if, in that all diamonds correctly. There are
stone to cool down.) first split second, you remove and always exceptions, and these apply
Further, relatively-cold stones replace the probe or slide it across to almost all brands of electronic
give a high reaction on the LED indi- the stone or press hard, then let go diamond testers.

62 June 2017 | electronics For You


Part 2 of 2

Self-Driving CarS
Platform And Their Trends
n the first part of this article we covered driverless connected vehicles to prepare
SENSORIS innovation platform, and the for changing conditions and hazards well
steps needed to make a self-driving car before the vehicle, be it a truck or car, can
possible. In this part we shall cover lidar see these. In addition to the various sensors
and the rest. such as lidar systems, cameras and ultra-
Lidar, which stands for light detection and sonics required in driverless vehicles, the
ranging, consists of a cone- or puck-shaped map is a virtual sensor that provides vital
device that projects lasers that bounce off information to the vehicle about the road
objects to create a high-resolution map of the and terrain ahead and what it is likely to
V.P. Sampath is a
senior member of environment in real time. In addition to help- encounter over the hill or around the corner
IEEE and a member ing driverless cars to see, lidar is used to cre- where the sensors cannot currently see.
of Institution of
Engineers India. He ate fast and accurate 3D scans of landscapes, But driverless vehicles need more than
is currently working buildings, cultural heritage sites and foliage. just these sensors to provide a smooth
as technical architect
at AdeptChips, It is also used to help create Radioheads and safe driving experience. These need to
Bengaluru. He is a House of Cards music video. communicate with all other vehicles on the
regular contributor to
national newspapers, When positioned on top of a vehicle, it road by sending, receiving, interpreting and
IEEE-MAS section, can scan up to 60 metres in all directions, responding to live route conditions in real
and has published
international papers generating precise 3D maps of the cars sur- time. Sharing of data can apply to all modes
on VLSI and networks roundings and ensuring the vehicle can avoid of transport including bikes, buses, trams
obstacles and collisions. It is expensive, but it and trains; and not just cars or trucks.
provides visibility where other sensors might To get this right, there is simply insuf-
fail. Lidar is the best of both the worldsit ficient information available from one car
sits between cameras and the radar, and can brand or model, and to enjoy the huge bene-
detect both distance and objects, and can fits of the new innovation and its reduction in
make out the shape of those objects. emissions and congestion, we have to think
Radars, on the other hand, are good at both on a new scale and collaboratively.
detecting objects and how far away these are, First of all, a lidar sensor is typically
but do not offer any information about the installed on self-driving vehicles that emit
shape or size of the object. The radar in Tesla eye-safe laser light as the sensor head
Model S likely did detect the truck it collided rotates. Unlike streetlight cameras, these
into, but the system is designed to tune out systems do not read licence plates, and laser
objects that might look like overhead road light scatters/reflects off the windshield and
signs to prevent it from events. surrounding objects.
The integration Richard Wallace of Tesla Mobile active and passive sensors. This
referred to is the algorithms and intelligence approach can place very inexpensive smart
that control the way different sensors work RF transceiver systems in millions of new
together. Lidar and vehicle-to-vehicle com- and existing cars that communicate with a
munication, where each car communicates stationary light-pole-mounted lidar system.
its location to others nearby, will both play a The easy-to-integrate embedded sensor
key role in building safer self-driving fleets. exchanges RF signals and display in-dash
Lidar units that Google uses in its self- and audible warnings to drivers, while the
driving cars cost up to US$ 70,000 per unit, lidar system maps the local area. Like radar
though there are now units that cost as little detectors, it could have a huge potential
as US$ 250. This could make it more acces- market and also allow for faster technology
sible for the mass market. disruption on a wider scale. It could also
SENSORIS data standard will enable help accumulate millions of hours of actual

64 June 2017 | electronics For You

use statistics nationwide in hundreds analysis of signals received from at
of cities and municipalities at a much least four constellations of over 60
faster pace. low-orbit satellites. A GPS system can
Widespread embedded safety alert provide location accuracy of the order
systems. This approach allows ad-hoc of one metre (actual number depends
technology disruptors and creative in- on many subtle issues), which is a
dividuals to embed these sensors more good start for the vehicle. Note that,
broadly in smaller and safer stationary for a driver, who hopes to hop in
use cases, creating smart networks of the car and get going, a GPS receiver
lidar and embedded sensors. takes between 30 and 60 seconds
A public safety system like this to establish initial position, so the
might provide a new kind of station- autonomous vehicle must delay its de-
ary collision-avoidance and weather parture until this first fix is computed.
systems for congested roads, toll GPS sub-systems are now avail-
ways, on-ramps/off-ramps, alerts able as sophisticated system-on-chip
for drivers about pedestrians, school (SoC) ICs or multi-chip chipsets that
crossings, bikes, narrowed lanes, ac- require only power and antenna, and
cident avoidance, construction and
wildlife. By sensing the automobile
behaviour, it could alert drivers of
roadway weather conditions (black
ice, ice on bridges, snow conditions,
slick roads, etc). All modes of traf-
fic and weather conditions could be
understood more deeply. In this case,
any new technology ideas in these
application areas would be better than Fig. 4: A complete GPS module
nonethe situation we have today.
These sensor systems are continu- include an embedded, application-
ing to get smaller and will be ideal specific compute engine to perform
for a number of embedded applica- intensive calculations. Although
tions. Instruments and techniques many of these ICs have an internal RF
such as the compass, sextant, LORAN preamp for the 1.5GHz GPS signal,
radiolocation and dead reckoning. many vehicles opt to put the antenna
These are among those that have on the roof with a co-located low-
been used with varying degrees of ac- noise amplifier (LNA) or RF pream-
curacy, consistency and availability. plifier, and locate the GPS circuitry in
For autonomous vehicles, the navi- a more convenient location within the
gation and guidance sub-system must vehicle. The antenna must have right-
always be active and keep checking hand circular polarisation characteris-
how the vehicles are doing versus the tics to match the polarisation of GPS
goal. For example, if the originally signals, and it can be a ceramic-chip
optimum route has unexpected diver- unit, a small wound stub design or
sions, the path must be re-computed have a different configuration.
in real time to avoid going in the An example of a GPS module
wrong direction. Since the vehicles is RXM-GPS-F4-T from Linx Tech-
are obviously constrained to road- nologies, shown in Fig. 4. This
ways, this takes much more compu- 18mm13mm2.2mm surface-
tational effort than simply drawing a mount unit requires a single 1.8V
straight line between A and B. supply at 33mA, and can acquire and
The primary sub-system used for track up to 48 satellites simultaneous-
navigation and guidance is based on lymore channels allow the GPS to
a GPS receiver, which computes the see and capture more data and, thus,
present position based on complex yield better results and fewer drop- electronics For You | June 2017 65

correctly and keeping these clean.
Second, heavy graphic processing
is needed to make sense of images.
Third, there is a need for depth
perception as well as basic imaging.
And finally, conditions of lighting,
shadows and other factors make it
very challenging to accurately decide
what the camera is seeing.
Instead, the primary vision unit
on the autonomous vehicle is a lidar
system. To enable the split-second de-
cision-making needed for self-driving
Fig. 5: MEMS devices have changed the implementation of IMU functions, such as gyroscopes and
cars, a lidar system provides accurate
accelerometers 3D information on the surrounding
environment. Using this data, the
outs. Its sensitive front-end requires a spinning-wheel gyroscope and a processor implements object identifi-
signal strength of -159.5dBm for opera- gimbaled platform, which has served cation, motion vector determination,
tion. After it computes locations based many applications quite well (missile collision prediction and avoidance
on GPS received signals, it provides guidance/Space missions), but it is strategies. Lidar unit is well-suited to
output data to the system processor simply too large, costly and power- big-picture imaging, and provides the
via the serial interface using industry- hungry for an autonomous vehicle. needed 360-degree view by using a
standard National Marine Electronics A representative MEMS device is rotating, scanning mirror assembly on
Association message format. A3G4250D IC from ST Microelectron- the top of the car.
While GPS is an essential func- ics, a low-power three-axis angular Lidar provides raw information
tion for autonomous vehicles, it is not rate sensor that provides a high using high-speed, high-power pulses
sufficient by itself. The GPS signal is degree of stability at zero rate level of laser light that are timed with the
blocked by canyons, tunnels, radio and with high sensitivity over tem- response of a detector to calculate the
interferences and other factors, and perature and time, shown in Fig. 5. distance to an object from the reflect-
these outages can last for many It provides 16-bit digitised sensor in- ed light. An array of detectors, or a
minutes. To supplement the GPS, formation to the users microproces- timed camera, can be used to increase
the autonomous vehicle uses inertial sor via a standard SPI or I2C digital the resolution of the 3D information.
guidance that requires no exter- interface, depending on the chosen The pulse is very short to enhance
nal signal of any type. The inertial version. With its tiny size of just depth resolution, and the resulting
measurement unit (IMU) consists of 4mm4mm, operation from a 1.8V light reflections are used to create a
a platform fixed to the vehicle, and supply, and stability and accuracy 3D point-like cloud that is analysed to
this platform has three gyroscopes specifications, it is well-suited for transform the data into volume identi-
and three accelerometers, one pair inertial automotive navigation when fication and vector information.
oriented each for orthogonal x, y and combined with a three-axis acceler- The transformed result is then
z axes. These sensors provide data ometer, for a complete six-axis IMU. used to calculate the vehicles posi-
on the rotational and linear motion of The autonomous car must be tion, speed and direction, relative to
the platform, which is then used to able to see and interpret what is these external objects, to determine
calculate the motion and position of in front when going forwards (and the probability of collision and in-
the vehicle, regardless of speed or any behind when in reverse, of course). struct appropriate action, if needed.
sort of signal obstruction. Note that, It is also necessary to see what is on For close-in control, such as when
an IMU cannot tell you where you are, either side. In other words, it needs parking, lane-changing or in bumper-
only the motion, so the initial location a 360-degree view. An array of video to-bumper traffic, lidar system is not
of the vehicle must be determined by cameras is the obvious choice, plus a as effective. Therefore it is supple-
the GPS or entered manually. camera to determine where the lane mented by radars built into the front
The in-vehicle IMU would not is and sense objects or markers on and rear bumpers, and sides of the
be practical without the develop- the road. vehicle. Operating frequency for this
ment of MEMS based gyroscopes But using cameras alone presents radar is usually 77GHz, which has
and accelerometers. The historical problems. First, there are mechanical been allocated for this use, has good
and fully-refined IMU is based on issues of setting up multiple cameras RF propagation characteristics and

66 June 2017 | electronics For You


Fig. 6 (a): Radar system overview of AD8283, a six-channel radar receive path AFE

Fig. 6 (b): Simplified block diagram of a single channel of AD8283

provides sufficient resolution. cally for this situation.

To fit the radar into the flat bump- Primary application for AD8283
er assembly and its limited space, is in high-speed ramp, frequency-
it is necessary to use a highly-inte- modulated, continuous-wave radar
grated design, including using part (HSR-FMCW radar). Performance
of the radar sub-system PC board as of each functional block is opti-
its antenna. Also required are active mised to meet the demands of this
components such as AD8283 from radar system with a careful balance
Analog Devices, which integrates among parameters such as LNA
six channels of LNA, a programma- noise, PGA gain range, AAF cutoff
ble gain amplifier (PGA) and an ant characteristics, and ADC sample rate
ialiasing filter (AAF) plus one direct- and resolution.
to-ADC channel, with a single 12-bit The AD8283 includes a multi-
analogue-to-digital converter [(Figs 6 plexer in front of the ADC, which
(a) and 6(b)]. automatically switches between
Automotive radar systems require each active channel after each
sophisticated, controllable analogue ADC sample has been taken. Each
front-end circuitry to handle reflected channel features a gain range of 16
pulse signals across multiple receiver to 34dB in 6dB increments and an
channels, and AD8283 from Analog ADC with a conversion rate of up to
Devices, which is designed specifi- 72MSPS (mega samples per second). electronics For You | June 2017 67

isolated sensing, for
safety and function-
ally, but isolation is
not needed on low-
voltage circuit boards.
Instead, the most com-
mon technique used to
determine current at a
source or load is with
a high-side, current-
sense, milli-ohm resis-
tor (called a shunt) in
Fig. 7: Simplified schematic of INA250 from Texas Instruments. conjunction with a dif-
Measuring current and, thus, power is a vital housekeeping
function needed in most circuits ferential amplifier that
measures the voltage
drop across it.
Although the am-
plifier is used with a
discrete sense resis-
tor, there is now an
alternative that saves
space, minimises er-
rors in readings that
are primarily due to
the thermal drift of
the sense resistor as it
self-heats and simpli-
Fig. 8: A distributed solution fies the bill of materi-
als by reducing the
The combined input-referred noise number of parts. INA250 from Texas
voltage of the entire channel at Instruments puts a sense resistor and
maximum gain is 3.5nV/Hz, which differential amplifier in a single pack-
is a critical threshold parameter for age, resulting in a far-smaller board-
effective performance. layout footprint, fewer circuit-layout
While components and sub- problems and lower system cost due
systems used for navigation and to simplified schematic (Fig. 7).
guidance, or for image-capture and The INA250 current-sense resistor
sensing, get the most attention due plus differential amplifier compo-
to their glamour aspects, a large nents ease the design and PC-board
portion of the design of an autono- layout tradeoffs while guaranteeing
mous vehicle involves mundane high precision and accuracy along
issues such as power management. with lower cost.
Several application-specific, unique
circuit boards and sub-systems are A distributed solution
added to a conventional vehicle to The complex distributed solution
provide the functions needed for included the architecture of a Web
autonomous operation. Much of based tool for manual and semi-auto-
the system-level operation in- mated ground-truth data validation.
volves measuring and managing This Web based tool included a server
the power requirements to control application, a pre-processing unit and
power, overall consumption and a graphical user interface that would
thermal dissipation. provide the main interface for human
Monitoring the current and volt- testers. In addition, Saguaro provided
age at the batteries often requires data inspection for, and delivery of,

68 June 2017 | electronics For You

validated ground-truth data. 7. HTML5
To achieve the results, recordings 8. CSS
were broken into individual images 9. JavaScript
and then software tools were applied 10. Model/View/View ModelJSON/
to present and edit the images very React (Bootstrap)/Backbone
rapidly and accurately. Some tech- 11. NodeJS
nologies and techniques used for this Although this particular solu-
solution were: tion is designed to meet the specific
1. Distributed software applications needs of advanced driver assistance
2. Distributed databases systems and ground-truth validation,
3. HADOOP clusters similar technologies, methodolo-
4. State-of-the-art JavaScript frame- gies and technical capabilities can
works for the user interface, using be used to develop other complex
three different backend approach- sensor based and machine learning
es: based on Windows and using applications. The most common ap-
C#, based on Linux and Java, and plications could include solutions for
based on Linux and Python the IoT.
The complex distributed solution Car manufacturers have made
comprised three main components: significant advances in the past dec-
a server backend, database and Web ade towards making self-driving cars
client application, all designed to allow a reality. However, there still remain
for interaction with human testers. a number of technological barriers
The server backend is responsible that manufacturers must overcome
for connecting and getting input data before self-driving vehicles are safe
from company servers. The server enough for road use.
application streams data from a com- GPS can be unreliable, computer
pany server, separates streamed data vision systems have limitations
into smaller pieces using the com- to understanding road scenes and
panys API, assigns frames to indi- variable weather conditions can ad-
vidual clients, serves more than 100 versely affect the ability of onboard
client applications with requested processors to adequately identify or
data, aggregates output results from track moving objects. Self-driving
Web clients and sends the results to vehicles are also yet to demonstrate
company servers. Client applications the same capabilities as human
can be configured to send data in drivers in understanding and navi-
pre-defined sequences such as time- gating unstructured environments
continuous or random. such as construction zones and
The database is used by the serv- accident areas.
er backend to store multiple types of These barriers, though, are not
data, including Big Data from numer- insurmountable. The amount of
ous environmental sensors. road and traffic data available to
The Web client application these vehicles is increasing, newer
enables the human tester to validate range sensors are capturing more
the target features identified in the data and algorithms for interpreting
current frame. road scenes are evolving. Transition
Putting together this solution from human-operated vehicles to
requires engineers to use and coordi- fully self-driving cars will be gradu-
nate multiple technologies including: al, with vehicles at first performing
1. C#/.Net 4.5 only a sub-set of driving tasks such
2. Entity Framework as parking and driving in stop-and-
3. Log4Net go traffic autonomously. As the
4. XML technology improves, more driving
5. MD5 encryption for DB credential tasks can be reliably outsourced to
6. Windows Server 2012 R2 the vehicle. electronics For You | June 2017 69

data interface


Andrew Rogers igh-speed inter-chip (HSIC) inter- CMOS levels. Maximum trace length is
is applications face is becoming more popular due 10cm. The protocol for data transactions
engineer at
Microchip Technology to its notable advantages over USB between host and device via HSIC is the
for hard-wired inter-chip applications. The same as USB, as shown in Fig. 1.
interface is a two-signal, source-synchro- The primary difference between the
nous interface that can provide USB high- two is that in HSIC all information is trans-
speed data at 480Mbps. Data transfers are mitted via a single data line, and a strobe
100 per cent host-driver compatible with signal communicates when to sample the
traditional USB topologies. Full-speed (FS) received data signal. HSIC uses double
and low-speed (LS) are not supported by data rate (DDR) signalling; data are sam-
the format. However, a hub with HSIC can pled at both the rising and falling edges
provide FS and LS support. of the strobe signal. The strobe signal
The interface differs from USB in the oscillates at a frequency of 240MHz, which
physical layer only. Significant features provides a total data rate of 480Mbps.
include no chirp protocol, source-syn-
chronous serial data transmission and no Advantages of HSIC over USB
hot removal or attach as the interface is HSIC has significant advantages over
always connected. USB. For a start, it is a fully-digital stand-
It has 1.2V signal levels designed for ard and, thus, no analogue frontend is
low-power applications at standard LV required. Lack of an analogue frontend
means die sizes can be reduced and, thus,
so can the cost. Additional die reduction
can also be made due to the decreased
amount of digital logic required by the
simplified connection protocol.
HSIC standard does not inherently re-
duce power consumption, but removal of
the analogue frontend can lead to lower-
power designs, especially since analogue
circuitry does not necessarily scale one-to-
one with digital circuits for reductions in
process feature size.
HSIC is especially low-power when
placed into the suspended state as there
is no current drawn on the strobe or data
lines. By comparison, standard USB draws
a minimum of 200A on D+ through a
1.5k pull-up resistor when suspended.
Because HSIC is only different from
USB at the physical layer, migrating from
USB to HSIC is not like changing to a com-
pletely new standard. This means existing
USB software stacks and USB protocol
knowledge bases can be quickly transi-
tioned to HSIC.

Data sampling
Fig. 1: Data packet With standard USB, every data packet
transferred from
host to device begins with a sync pattern to allow

72 June 2017 | electronics For You

data interface
the receiver clock to while probing at the
synchronise with the device side, the signal
phase of incoming data. becomes distorted.
The differential sign of This is likely due to
D+/D- signal is then the interference caused
sampled according to by the signal reflect-
the sync pattern. HSIC ing back on itself. The
uses a separate strobe middle of the trace can
line to tell the receiver also be probed, but
when to sample incom- results are typically not
ing data. HSIC data as clean as if probed
signal is sampled at the properly from one side.
rising and falling edges The ideal would be to
of the strobe signal. probe simultaneously
If the strobe and data from both ends. A se-
signals become skewed ries protocol analyser
for any reason, sampled Fig. 2: Equal HSIC trace lengths may be able to sample
data may become cor- the signals accurately
rupted. HSIC Electrical in both directions, but
Specification defines the 10cm trace length
the maximum allowable restriction makes this
skew as 15ps. option impractical.
To make sure the
skew does not become Making the
an issue, HSIC traces connection
must be kept as short HSIC interface is
as possible and must structured such that
not be longer than a host or peripheral
10cm. Data and strobe can be powered on in
traces must be the same any order. To ensure
length, and these should a false connection is
be routed to 50 single- not detected, the host,
ended impedance. hub and peripherals
To illustrate the must ensure that the
amount of skew possible Fig. 3: Strobe trace 10cm longer than data trace strobe or data lines do
in the real world, Fig. 2 not float to an undeter-
shows the beginning of a test packet deciphered by placing a differential mined value, commonly referred to
transmitted from a host to a device probe connected to an oscilloscope as tri-stated.
with equal lengths. at either the transmitter side or the Fig. 4 shows an oscilloscope
The same packet transmitted receiver side. HSIC signals are more capture of a connect sequence. This
from the same host with a strobe sensitive and, thus, transmission connect sequence is much simpler
trace that is about 10cm longer than line theory should be considered than the USB connect sequence
the data trace is shown in Fig. 3. when attempting to probe these. because there are no speeds to nego-
The resulting skew is about half of A good general guideline is to tiate. This sequence can be handled
a nanosecond. This is an extreme probe at the side opposite to the by a very simple state machine,
example, but results suggest that source of the signal that needs reducing die size requirements.
even a small amount of length to be observed. For instance, to With standard USB, the host can
mismatch may result in an HSIC observe the signals originating from determine if a downstream port has
specification violation. a device, place a probe at host-side been disconnected by monitoring
The single-ended nature and dif- terminals. To observe the signals the magnitudes of DP/DM signal
ferences in signal termination cause originating from a host, place the voltages. If the voltage exceeds the
some difficulties when attempting probes at device-side terminals. disconnect voltage threshold, the
to probe HSIC lines. Standard USB When attempting to probe host can conclude that the device
signals can be easily monitored and signals originating from a device has been disconnected. electronics For You | June 2017 73

data interface

Fig. 4: Connect sequence from idle and suspend to connecting and resuming signalling

HSIC does not support a discon- never cycle power or soft reset. If
nect protocol because it is intended this issue is encountered, it must be
to be a hard-wired, always-on dealt with in an application-specific
connection. However, it is still pos- manner at either the link or soft-
sible to have a situation where a ware-stack level. This can be done
downstream device may appear to by programming the software stack
have disconnected, and care must or designing the link in a way that
be taken to ensure the host does prevents the condition from occur-
not permanently lose its connection ring in the first place.
with the device. Alternatively, the system(s)-
This apparent disconnection on-chip (SoC) can attempt to deal
or standoff can occur because the with a downstream device after it
host always maintains an idle state disconnects by resetting HSIC hub.
while the bus is unused, and the The device discovery sequence will
idle state is identical to the suspend occur, and the connection will be
state from a signal perspective. re-established.
The host has no way of knowing On Microchips USB254x,
if or when a downstream device USB3613, USB3813, USB4604 and
has been powered down or discon- USB4624 devices, the SoC can use
nected. Since the suspend signalling VBUS_- DET pin to re-establish the
is identical to the idle signalling, it connection. Pulling the pin low
is possible to reach a state where a suspends the hub, while pulling the
downstream device believes it has pin high wakes it up.
been suspended while the upstream
host thinks there is no device down- Conclusion
stream and waits indefinitely for a HSIC standard has advantages over
connect signal to arrive. A similar USB in hard-wired applications
standoff condition could occur if as long as the correct connection
the upstream host disables the port and disconnection procedures are
while the device believes it has observed. These procedures are
been suspended. particularly important when trou-
This condition is not likely to oc- bleshooting some issues involving
cur between hosts and devices that HSIC connectivity.

74 June 2017 | electronics For You


Open SOurce SOftware

You Can Use For Iot DevelOpment
he Internet of Things (IoT) is spread tivity and more. This may be further divided
across various layers, with different into various sub-layers or components.
types of software being used across Let us examine some open source
these. This article presents a list of open choices for development in each layer.
source software packages that can be used
in each of the layers. Layer 1
You might have read Gartner and many Toolchains. GNU ARM embedded toolchain
other business forecasts on connected provides pre-built toolchains as well as
devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) source codes for Cortex-M and Cortex-R pro-
Rajesh Sola is a
faculty member of growth in the coming years. Billions of con- cessors, especially for bare metal code for
C-DACs Advanced nected devices around us, as well as open microcontrollers. It has consistent releases
Computing Training
School, and an hardware and software solutions, would in every quarter. The latest stable release is
evangelist in the play a key role in enabling a smarter life in 2017 Q1, which ships with gcc v6.3.1 and is
embedded systems
and IoT domains the near future. Before proceeding to the migrated to 64-bit Linux hosts, whereas the
list of open source software in this field, previous release of 2016 Q3 ships with gcc
let us take a look at a few layers of the IoT 5.4 and is available for 32-bit Linux.
architecture. The GNU ARM Eclipse project provides
Layer 1 consists of end devices talking Eclipse CDT extensions and support for
to the environment, which are also known popular targets like STM32 F series boards,
as sensor nodes, typically powered by mi- and FRDM Kinetis KL series boards with
crocontroller based targets, wearables and, C/C++ templates, using this toolchain as
sometimes, Linux boards. the backend. Most of these elements are
Layer 2 consists of gateway devices, licensed under GPL.
typically Linux-powered target boards URL:
or handheld gadgets, for interfacing end gnu-toolchain/gnu-rm, gnuarmeclipse.
devices with Cloud platforms and bridging
protocols with their middleware support. mbed OS. This is specifically designed
High-end microcontrollers with suitable for IoT needs with common C++ APIs for
frameworks can also be a choice here. Cortex-M architecture from various fami-
Layer 3 consists of servers, typically lies, and is licensed under Apache 2.0. It
deployed on Cloud platforms. These provide comes with an online IDE as well as offline
services like authentication, data collection, components for development with support
data processing, analysis, storage, visualisa- for various toolchains, IDEs (like Keil uVi-
tion, Web integration, mobile app connec- sion, Eclipse, ARM GCC and IAR) and rich
libraries. It accelerates IoT development
with good connectivity solutions for Ether-
net, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, Thread, 6Low-
PAN, LoRaWAN, Cellular, NFC and so on.
Zephyr OS. This Linux Foundation
Project is aimed at being a small, scal-
able, real-time operating system (OS)
for connected and resource-constrained
devices, licensed under Apache 2.0. The
recent release of version 1.7.0 comes with
a unified kernel, discarding the dual kernel electronics for you | June 2017 75

(micro, nano) approach from pre- Firmata protocol. Custom nodes URL:,
vious releases. It can be a perfect can be built with ease using Node.
choice for developers who are fond js backend and HTML frontend. It Iotivity. This Linux Foundation
of Linux with its programming model is a perfect choice for kickstarting project is initiated by Open Connectiv-
for drivers, device interfaces and IoT prototyping with zero or little ity Foundation (OCF), formerly known
highly-configurable services, all in a programming effort. as Open Interconenct Consortium
single address space. URL:, flows.nodered. (OIC), which comprises a group of
URL: org companies including Samsung and This next-generation Eclipse Kura. This is an OSGi Intel. OCF aims at seamless device
IDE, with an ecosystem for IoT de- based container providing various connectivity and standardisation of
velopment, is based on the popular gateway services addressing M2M communications for billions of devices.
Atom editor with a cross-platform and IoT needs, licensed under Eclipse A reference implementation of
build system and library manager, public licence 1.0. Kura components this standard is released with features
licensed under Apache 2.0. It wraps are highly configurable through a like powerful device management,
popular frameworks like CMSIS, Web console, which can be done resource management, services and
Arduino, mbed, Energia, ST Standard dynamically. Kura supports good security, as well as communication
Peripheral Library and WiringPi, and connectivity like CANbus, Serial Bus, based on CoAP, and has been re-
supports native applications on Linux Bluetooth LE, Cloud services via leased under Apache 2.0 licence. This
and Windows. MQTT, etc, and even for hardware project also provides a few modules
URL: access using OpenJDK Device I/O for building cloud services for inter-
Arduino IDE, forks and add-ons. library. It aims at reducing the barrier connecting Iotivity clients.
This open source physical computing between enterprise and embedded URL:
platform has a simple IDE and coding systems with a rich set of Java APIs. Contiki OS and RIOT OS. These
style. Its power is rapidly getting en- URL: operating systems are designed for
hanced by available add-ons for other This is a toolkit for devices with constrained network
families of boards, like ESP8266, building embedded applications for and memory resources. These come
ESP32 and NRF5x series. IoT on top of POCO C++ libraries with full IPv4- and IPv6-capable
TI Enregia, a fork of Arduino, is and V8 JavaScript engine, licensed stacks and support low-power wire-
available for popular TI launchpads under Apache 2.0. The core is less standards such as 6LowPAN and
like CC3200, MSP series and Tiva implemented in C++ for maximum RPL, and protocol connectivity like
series, with rich support for board efficiency and JavaScript is used for CoAP. Contiki is licensed under BSD
peripherals and IoT connectivity. application development with its 3-Clause and RIOT under GPL 2.1.
Most of these elements are licensed ease of programming. The founda- Cooja simulator provided by
under GPL 2. tion for is Open Service Contiki allows testing of applica-
URL:, Platform (OSP), which enables tion developments for large wireless
dynamically extensible, modular networks with emulation of various
Layer 2 applications based on the powerful hardware targets.
NodeRED. This is a visual tool for plug-in and services model similar to RIOT is a user-friendly OS similar
wiring hardware peripherals and on- OSGi in Java. to Contiki and comes with additional
line services, licensed under Apache URL: offerings like a minimal footprint, C++
2.0. It has a rich collection of nodes Eclipse SmartHome and Open- APIs, threading and real-time capabili-
for sensor interfacing, local connec- HAB. Eclipse SmartHome is an OSGi ties with minimal low overheads.
tivity (serial, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc), based framework for smart home so- URL:,
Cloud connectivity (HTTP, mqtt, etc) lutions. It provides a rich set of OSGi Note. Even though some level of
and social media services. It can run bundles for various services and a classification is done based on design
on any OS with Node.js runtime or in high degree of modularity. goals and primary usage, certain ele-
a Docker container. OpenHAB is a usable prod- ments are used across layers. For exam-
The latest Raspbian for Raspberry uct design based on SmartHome ple, Contiki and RIOT can also be used
Pi and Debian for BeagleBone Black framework. It is vendor neutral and in Layer1, and and Zephyr
ships with NodeRED, by default. It hardware/technology agnostic with OS can be used in Layer 2, and so on.
is also available from Cloud-hosted automation software for rapid de-
instances like IBM Bluemix and Sen- velopment of smart home solutions. Layer 3
setecnic FRED. It can even commu- Both are licensed under Eclipse Kaa IoT. Kaa is a multipurpose
nicate to Arduino-like targets using public licence 1.0. middleware platform for connected

76 June 2017 | electronics for you

things and enabling end-to-end tion policies. The Scandium sub-project imple-
IoT solutions. It can be deployed 3. Chronograf, a visualisation ments DTLS 1.2 for secure CoAP.
on Amazon Web Services or your tool for exploring data. It also provides a proxy library and
own server. A rich set of SDKs can 4. Kapacitor, which is used for reference app for CoAP-HTTP bridg-
be generated from a Kaa server data processing with alert manage- ing. These are dual licensed under
with APIs in different languages for ment and ETL jobs. EPL 1.0 and EDL 1.0.
seamless device connectivity. It can URL: URL:
integrate with many databases, data Mosquitto. This is an Eclipse IoT Bluez and bindings. This is an
processing elements like Mongodb, project implementing MQTT broker official Linux Bluetooth protocol
Apache Spark and Cassandra with with version 3.1.1 and 3.1 support stack that comes with a user space
support for structured and unstruc- for backward compatibility. It is library and tools. It supports vari-
tured data and messaging frame- licensed under Eclipse public licence ous classical protocols like L2CAP,
works like Apache Kafka. It enables 1.0 and EDL 1.0. It also provides RFCOMM and SDP, as well as LE
highly-available servers with cluster- client libraries and powerful refer- protocols and profiles like GATT and
ing support, thus reducing down- ence clients. Popular Cloud services GAP. It has Python bindings via Py-
time and precluding single points of like CloudMQTT are built on top Bluez and Node.js packages. Bleno
failure using Zookeeper support. of Mosquitto. and noble via npm are available for
URL: URL: BLE advertising in peripheral mode
SiteWhere. This is an open plat- CloudFoundry. This open source and discovery in central mode.
form for the IoT with good protocol PaaS platform is a Linux Foundation These node packages are built on
support and powerful device and collaborative project, and has been top of Bluez.
asset management services, and is released under Apache 2.0 licence. It URL:,
licensed under common public at- is available as a service from a few pybluez/,
tribution licence 1.0 (CPAL-1.0). It is commercial providers like Bluemix or CETIC 6LBR and Linux WPAN.
designed as a multi-tenant system to as an open source product to be de- 6LowPAN/RPL Border Router
host multiple applications in a single ployed on ones own servers. It sup- (6LBR) can interconnect end devices
instance of deployment. Popular ports the full life cycle of application running on 6LowPAN with the In-
open source solutions like Apache development in various languages ternet by bridging 802.15.4 network
Spark, OpenHAB and InfluDb/Grafa- for IoT needs, and comes with good with IPv6 on the gateway side. It
na can be integrated by SiteWhere. service support like data storage, supports various 15.4-capable tar-
It can be deployed on public Clouds messaging, application development gets like OpenMote, TI CC25xx/26xx
such as Azure and Amazon EC2, ser- and APIs for mobile apps. platforms and Linux hosts like
vice providers based on Ubuntu Juju URL: Raspberry Pi, and can run in Bridge
and Docker, or your own server. or Router modes. It is based on
URL: Connectivity Contiki project and licensed under
InfluxData TICK stack. Influx- Paho. This is an Eclipse IoT project similar terms.
Data provides TICK stack with four offering MQTT clients, licensed Linux WPAN enables 802.15.4
powerful components for time series under EPL 1.0 and EDL 1.0. It offers stack at the kernel level and user
data management. It is written in synchronous and asynchronous API space tools for 6LowPAN based
Go language and licensed under modes in various languages like development on Linux.
MIT terms. The components are: C, C++, Java, Python, Go, JavaS- URL:,
1. Telegraf, used for data collec- cript and .Net (C#). It also provides
tion and publishing metrics with a Android service for building mobile Wireshark filters. Wireshark,
rich set of input, output and service apps and reference apps, which can a well-known network protocol
plugins. be customised according to an ap- analyser and packet generator, is
2. InfluxDb, a time series data- plications needs. licensed under GNU GPL. It has rich
base with high availability and high URL: filter supports for Internet protocols
performance without any external Eclipse Californium. This is like MQTT, CoAP, HTTP and Web-
dependencies (unlike other open divided into a few sub-projects. The sockets. It can also analyse Blue-
source time series models like core comes with Java API model for tooth (classic, LE) packets and IEEE
OpenTSDB based on Hbase or Kai- CoAP client and server design, and 802.15.4 traffic.
rosDB based on Cassandra). It has a few reference apps. It can be built
good support for down-sampling as a Maven project and can be em- This is a reprint of the article published in February
high-precision data and data-reten- bedded in other Java applications. issue of Open Source For You magazine. electronics for you | June 2017 77

led lighting

LED FiLamEnt BuLBs Growing

Your Business with Aesthetics
jeweller recently replaced the glass substrate instead of the traditional
traditional incandescent lights metal substrate to mount unpackaged
of his store with LED filament LEDs, which helps the LED filament bulbs
bulbs. Ask him why he did it and pat to emit light uniformly without losses.
comes the reply: I wanted my dia- Once LED chip bonding is done, it is en-
monds to shine bright and look attrac- capsulated in a phosphor material, which
tive to the customers. affects the colour of the light emitted by
LED filament bulbs are taking the the bulb. Some manufacturers also use
market by storm. Enterprises in hospital- this phosphor for temperature control of
Vertica Asthana
is a technical ity, lifestyle and jewellery sectors have the product.
journalist at EFY been increasingly replacing their Edison Vinod Kumar, vice-president, R&D, at
bulbs (the regular incandescent bulbs Surya Roshni, shares that the circuit and
that were invented by Thomas Edison) driver technology has not changed so
with this new kind to enhance their far. Design engineers had to work really
ambience and get more customers. hard with the technology to make it an
electromagnetic-compatible product in the
What makes LED filament same form factor, which results in lower
technology special fluctuations, he adds.
The LED filament technology is quite The proportion of gases inside the
simple, using a chip-on-glass and a glass bulb decides the temperature of the
particular mixture of gases inside the product. This, in turn, directly affects
glass bulb. the longevity of the bulbs. LED majors,
The chip-on-glass technology uses a however, rely more on the high-voltage,

78 June 2017 | electronics For You

led lighting
low-current combination techniquea For instance, if a restaurant uses counterparts: The tungsten filament
major reason why temperature control traditional incandescent bulbs in its of incandescent bulbs is very fragile
is possible in LED filament bulbs. dining area, at least three to four and can break even with very little
such bulbs will be needed in just one mishandling of the bulb.
The current scenario part of the room in order to keep it
While the market for LED filament bright for customers. However, when The glitch: high initial cost
bulbs is still developing in India, these using LED filament bulbs, the restau- While LED filament bulbs use a
bulbs have a growing demand in rateur may have to fix only a single high-end technology and offer sev-
overseas markets such as Europe. LED bulb in that area as the efficacy of eral benefits to customers, unfortu-
filament bulbs come in various shapes LED filament bulbs is substantially nately, these are exorbitantly priced
(oval, globe and candelabra) and higher than traditional Edison bulbs. and can burn a hole in buyers
sizes. At present, these are available Create the right ambience. pockets. On an average, an LED fila-
in warm white and cool white colours. Ambience plays a pivotal role in ment bulb costs nearly 100 per cent
customer service oriented business- more than an incandescent bulb and
Making the switch: From es like hospitality and retail stores. at least 20 per cent more than the
Edison to LED Dimmers are crucial in such scenar- ordinary LED bulb.
LED filament bulbs offer a variety ios. Usually, lifestyle chains, hotels Justifying the high price of the
of benefits to the customers, making and restaurants have dimmers product, Kumar explains that since
them a good choice for replacement. installed in their stores to create the most lighting players do not have the
Cost-efficiency is their USP. right ambience for their customers. requisite infrastructure to manufac-
Eliminate frequent bulb replace- But since traditional incandescent ture the components required for LED
ment. One of the many concerns bulbs are often not compatible filament bulbs, they have to import
in running a business is keeping with these dimmers, they end up the components from abroad.
the operational costs low. And this fluctuating frequently, thus render- Initially this product is going to
includes the cost of the lighting sys- ing dimmers completely useless. be costly as we have signed agree-
tem installed in the store. The heat Nevertheless, lighting majors have ments with LED suppliers and took
issue and power output of light have addressed this issue in LED filament permission for patents regarding
always affected air-conditioning and bulbs, making them compatible the gas mixture to be used in glass
performance of the bulbs used. with most of the dimmers. bulb. Later, the price of the product
In an incandescent bulb, elec- To understand, consider the situ- will come down as the need for heat
tricity flowing through the filament ation in which a customer wants sinks for heat dissipation has been
generates heat, which turns the fila- to have a romantic dinner with his eliminated completely, resulting in
ment red. The entire process results partner at your restaurant but is put a lightweight lamp that costs less,
in decreasing the life-hours of the off by the 100-watt traditional incan- he shares.
bulb. This, in turn, forces the retailer descent lights everywhere. While you At present, LED light manufac-
to replace the bulbs more frequently, would want to serve this customer, turers source LED filaments mainly
thus incurring unnecessary costs. unfortunately, you do not have the from China.
However, LED filament bulbs right tools to fulfil this need. Ulti-
dont heat up much, which ensures mately, you end up losing a custom- Are LED filament bulbs
their longevity. In terms of life-hours, er because of your 100-watt Edison here to stay?
an LED filament bulb can light up bulbs. Now, imagine dimming the Industry experts suggest that the mar-
for a whopping 25,000 hours, while lights with LED filament bulbs to cre- ket for LED filament bulbs will grow
an incandescent bulb lights up for ate the right ambience. You have not rapidly as customers are increasingly
1000 hours only. only won a new customer but also looking at long-term benefits rather
Make it brighter. In an incandes- probably a returning customer and a than just the initial cost. According to
cent bulb, only one per cent of the great word-of-mouth promotion for a market report by Epistar, the LED
total energy dissipated is converted your restaurant. filament bulb market is expected to
into light energy, thus resulting in Longer durability. We explained reach up to 300 million bulbs by 2017
a lower output. In contrast, LED above how LED filament bulbs and double to 600 million bulbs by
filament bulbs give a higher lumens have a lower maintenance cost 2018. And if the numbers are too hard
output as nearly 40 per cent of the than typical incandescent bulbs. to believe, wait and watch your com-
energy dissipated by these bulbs is Another contributing factor is that petitors lap up rave reviews for their
converted into light while the loss of LED filament bulbs are far more sudden aestheticism while you strug-
energy is very negligible. durable than their incandescent gle to get a few more customers! electronics For You | June 2017 79

efy dvd

Free Tools To Make Your

PCB Smarter
Vertica asthana

Simutron mance of transistors and design

Whether you want to run your Some popular resources perfect schematics of common-
Arduino firmware or debug it, Speccy. Using this software you can base, common-emitter and
Simutron provides an inte- get details of every component in your common-collector amplifiers us-
grated development environ- computer, from the operating system of ing combinations of transistors?
ment to meet your needs. This your PC to audio support, peripherals This freeware tool does exactly
electronic circuit simulation or network. The software supplements that. It shows the values of other
freeware lets you design as well this information with temperatures of components required to get the
as simulate circuits. Internally, the components, so you can easily see desired results from a given
if theres a problem!
it uses a Simavr AVR proces- input data.
sor simulator. You can use FileZilla. It is a fast and reliable cross-
Simutron for 16MHz microcon- platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client. It
troller units. In particular, it can has an intuitive graphical user interface Gputils
with several important features.
be used in conjunction with its Microchips PIC microcontroller
CAM front-end to develop CNC IP Scanner. This open source freeware is used in various development
firmware without access to the helps the master computer user to boards. Gputils is a collection
real hardware. access other PCs in the network. One of tools used by PIC microcon-
just needs a free Radmin viewer to troller for serial programming
operate a remote machine. Thus, all
and reprogramming in flash
SimulIDE the systems in the network can be
memory. Moreover, it is com-
scanned for viruses using a friendly
SimulIDE is a real-time circuit user interface system. The user can patible with Microchips tools
simulator freeware that sup- also remotely turn systems off. This MPASM, MPLINK and MPLIB. It
ports microcontrollers such as software is designed for all levels of runs on Linux, Windows as well
PIC, AVR and even Arduino. expertise. as Mac OS platforms.
Whether it is a small circuit or Jaspersoft. You can create web-based
a circuit consisting of several reports using Jaspersoft tool. It picks
nodes, SimulIDE makes design information from various data sources
and simulation quick and and presents it in an easy-to-read, highly It is an open source, SPICE-
easy for users. It comes with interactive format for business users. compatible analogue circuit
a limited set of features as it simulator, capable of solving
is intended for hobbyists and extremely large circuit problems
students who simply want to design diagrams visually by plac- by supporting large-scale paral-
experiment with basic electron- ing components with the cursor. lel computing platforms. It also
ics projects. Component values can be modi- supports serial execution on
fied using the properties editor. all common desktop platforms,
and small-scale parallel runs
Circuit Diagram on Unix-like systems. It uses
Quite useful for starters and TransistorAmp a differential-algebraic equa-
students, this easy-to-use open Designers face issues in calculat- tion formulation. Being SPICE-
source program lets users make ing transistor parameters like compatible, it supports standard
electronic circuit diagrams gain, amplification and biasing. analysis methods.
and export them as images in What if they have a software that
SVG or PNG formats. They can lets them calculate the perfor- Vertica Asthana is a technical journalist at EFY

82 June 2017 | electronics For You

efy dvd

Balance The Books With FreeCAD

Vertica asthana

esigners struggle to find the frame is created, which is followed spreadsheet format, just like in CA-
right mechanical and elec- by simulation (Fig. 1). TIA. Called Expression Support, this
tronic design and simulation Consider the case when a design- helps designers to get the precise
software. Innumerable meetings and er is making metallic housing for an location of coordinates. FreeCAD
brainstorming over alternatives eat LED street-light. The designer needs works on the concept of workbench.
into their time and energy. Worse, to understand areas that would be Sketcher Solver upgrade. Sketch-
they end up buying the software, under more mechanical stress or er Solver was introduced in the previ-
paying a hefty amount for it. require more strength. He also needs ous version (0.15), but in the new
Thankfully, a saviour has to understand thermal management version (0.16) it makes sketch editing
emerged. FreeCAD is an open source in the housing. Also, there will be
mechanical CAD freeware that is calculations related to mechanical
as good as its paid counterparts. Its functions. The FreeCAD software
latest version, VER 0.16, is out in the comes handy here: It would first
market and ready to ease the work of work on the design workbench,
designers. then mesh for strengthening the
design, and finally simulation.
A no-cost, easy-to-use tool
FreeCAD is a user-friendly tool with How it helps
features of design, simulation and The latest version of FreeCAD, 0.16,
strength calculations for the product. has some additional features:
Users need no prior training to be Expression Support. FreeCAD Fig. 2: Sketcher Solver (Image courtesy:
able to use it. After design, a mesh helps make models using Excel

Fig. 1: 3D view in FreeCAD (Image courtesy: electronics for you Plus | June 2017 1i

efy dvd

Fig. 3: Aluminium capacitor and its mechanical view (Image courtesy:

even faster and more stable than the New tools for connect, embed Edit in real time. You can see
previous version (Fig. 2). and cutout have been introduced in the 3D view in real time. This helps
Touchscreen 3D navigation. the latest version. Tools for shapes you visualise the actual dimension
This makes it easy to navigate. The such as round, trunc, ceil and floor values of a shape. The new Finite
designer can move the design in have also been included; version 0.15 Element Method (FEM) workbench
any direction with a single finger featured shapes like parabola and hy- allows cleanups, while Path work-
drag. So FreeCAD can be used perbola. Besides, new features have bench adds editing and import. So
without a mouse on a convertible been introduced for toggle mode, you can change the values in real
laptop with touchscreen and pen, continuous creation mode, speed up, time too. Edits made are saved im-
away from a desk. duplication and mirroring (Fig. 3). mediately, helping you to conceptu-
New tools to reduce work stress. Rectangles, wires and lines can now alise in a better way.
Mechanical parts can have a regular be subdivided, allowing all kinds of
or a discrete shape. Older versions new shape combinations. FEM workbench GUI
of FreeCAD software did not take A new spreadsheet view tool al- FreeCAD workbench consists of
various shapes into consideration, lows users to place a range of cells pre-processing, solving and post-
making it a constraint for designers from a spreadsheet on a Drawing processing.
to work freely on any dimension. page (Fig. 4). Initially, geometry is modelled,


Open Source is now on the Web, too.
Follow us on Twitter@LinuxForYou

ii June 2017 | electronics for you Plus

efy dvd
he can use FEM to sort out
problems like heat transfer,
fluid flow or structural anal-
ysis. This is totally based on
algebraic calculations.
Once the designer is
sure of his designed prod-
uct, he can give finishing
touch to it. For example,
in the case of a mechani-
cal pulley system, once the
freeware finds the design
perfect as per calculations,
the designer can define the
places where the miscel-
laneous parts of pulley
like nuts and bolts can be
Note. To read manual,
please visit https://www.
Fig. 4: A new spreadsheet view tool allows users to place a range of cells from a spreadsheet on a Drawing page
(Image courtesy: Manual#Key_features. For
installation manual, refer
then an FEM mesh created out of Finally, the material is added. readme files.
the geometry model. Load and sup- The designer prepares a frame-
port fixes are added to the model. work or skeleton of the design. Then Vertica Asthana is a technical journalist at EFY electronics for you Plus | June 2017 iii

efy dvd

Pad2Pad: Manufacturer
At Your Service!
Vertica asthana

esigners portray ideas
as reality using a base.
Electronic design software
serves as the base, or the plat-
form. What if a free design and
simulation software gives access
to customised PCBs as well? The
outcome would be wonderful as
designers will have a smooth sail
from design to prototyping and
production. Thats exactly what
Pad2Pad freeware does.

The basics
Pad2Pad is a computer-aided
design (CAD) software that was
first released in 2007. It runs on
Windows 98, XP, 2000, ME, Vista
Home Premium, Vista Business
and Vista Home Basic versions.
You can either create in Pad2Pad,
or test your designs in SWPICE
program and import the net list
into Pad2Pad. What is really excit- Fig. 1: Footprints and component manager (Image courtesy:
ing about Pad2Pad is that you
can order even small quantities of wherein you can add or remove mechanical data export helps
boards and still get silk screen and components as desired. save designers precious time.
solder masking. Also, components Pad2Pad supports up to 16 lay- Above all, this freeware lets you
can be placed directly. ers. You can also build customised select the number of layers for
Pad2Pad freeware is updated footprints as per component sizes. your PCBs.
on a regular basis, and every new The tool supports both metric and Design and order together.
version comes with some added US customary units. After deciding on components
advantages. Mechanical data export. To and their pads, designers can set
explain, lets take the example an electrical net. This net helps
How it saves time and money of an LED light. It takes a driver realise connections between
A well-equipped freeware. Begin- PCB as well as mechanical hous- components, reducing the chances
ners and hobbyists prefer design ing, heat-sink, screws and wash- of errors.
software that are free of extra cost ers to make a complete lighting Pad2Pad developers suggest
and available without license, module. If a design engineer does customers to only place small or-
whereas professionals look out for not have the facility of electron- ders initially. Once the test trial is
comprehensive and well-arranged ics and mechanical data export successful, they can place a big-
design tools. Pad2Pad is a well- at once, there would be delay in ger order. This helps them avoid
structured freeware tool that each processadding costs while losses due to a defective design.
lets you access bill of materials, creating clutter. The feature of During the trial lot, the customer

iV June 2017 | electronics For You Plus

efy dvd
internet of things
can test the prototype for proper
The system solution to miti- andworking
mechanicalof both the mechanical
gating something like this is to Main SPI Serial Flash and electronic parts.
Various secure key-storage devic-
Controller Storing Device Othersystem
than regular in-built
implement secure boot for the FW es provide designers a host
main PLC CPU. This is a way of au- features, customers need
of features that range from packageto
thenticating the firmware and only specify
design inner layers of the
to external-sensor stack,
accepting software that has a valid materials temperature strength
and internal circuit architectures.
digital signature. Depending on Power- and requirements
These other such features to get the
were developed
Management MAXQ1050
the requirements, you could also IC by American military in therequire-
PCB customised to their form of
encrypt the firmware. ments.
FIPS This information
140 standard, and many helps
Security processing demands Fig. 6: Secure boot of the main PLC CPU avoid conflicts with customers,
vendors provide very comprehensive
can easily overwhelm the MIPS making Pad2Pad
tamper-proof a professional
capabilities that can be
of a traditional PLC CPU or even encryption key is of prime consid- and reliable
used in ICSes. platform. Pad2Pad
create latency issues. This is best eration in many applications, since prototype and production services
done by off-loading the security there is no security once the key Thealsofuture
followof the
IPC IoT security
standards for
functions to a low-cost, off-the- is compromised. safety requirements.
There may be other approaches to
shelf secure microprocessor that is To properly address physical security as well, and as you begin to
An all-in-one package
built for these functions, as shown security, several issues must be realise how important security is in
in Fig. 6. The system shown here considered. These include a physical You can design,
a connected fabricate
factories and
uses an external secure micropro- mechanism for generating random youeven
eventuallywith Pad2Pad.
coalesce around
cessor to validate the firmwares keys, a physical design that prevents Thisapproaches.
a few free simulation tool also
digital signature. covert electronic interception of a comes with
The IIoT incustomer support,
manufacturing is
All the above examples use key that is being communicated which is a special advantage
in high demand, and is a growing
keys to enable authentication, between authorised agents, and a to designers.
trend. Security will also eventually
but this raises the question of key secure method of storing a key that grow to cover vulnerabilities, but
Fig. 2: Pad2PadPhysical
protection. screen andsecurity
layout (Image courtesy:
of an protects against clandestine physical theVertica
needAsthana is a technical
is already here. journalist at EFY electronics For You Plus | June 2017 V

50 March 2017 | ElEctronics For You www.EFYMag.coM
efy dvd

Lock Your Design With

ZenitPCB Suite
Vertica asthana

here are a lot many PCB de-
sign and simulation software
available today. What if you
get a software to make schemat-
ics, layouts and Gerber files free of
cost? If the software is also easy to
use with an easy user interface, it
is definitely worth a try. Here we
present such a software for elec-
tronics design, called ZenitPCB.

Why ZenitPCB
ZenitPCB is a freeware compara-
ble with other electronic design
automation (EDA) software in
terms of professional-level accu-
racy of designs. Users can import
a mechanical drawing with a Fig. 1: PCB layout designed using ZenitPCB software (Image courtesy:
PCB and build their own board
outline, thereby saving time
while getting a concise layout.
This can be done using Import
DXF command.
Users find this software easy to
use even without any documenta-
tion. Still, for further assistance,
there is a help window F1.

Version 2.0 vs 1.8

Verification and security. From
copy-and-paste of terminology to
modifying the selected symbols
or parts, ZenitPCB is now eas-
ily accessible for commands and
functions. It takes just a double
click to zoom around the compo-
nent that is not verified. Coming Fig. 2: Snapshot of ZenitPCB window
to security part, users can lock
the project even when the win- rectly inside a grid, copy and paste, Auto open part or symbol. Users
dow is open. So accidentally or eliminating the tedious process of can directly open the part required
deliberately, no one can change single, manual inputs. They can for modification. The design output
the design. also change other attributes such form is also redesigned.
Pins attribute. In pins attribute, as electrical type and inside and Trace the current in track.
users can insert pin names di- outside edge. Current capacity helps to trace the electronics for you Plus | june 2017 Vii

efy dvd
either out of ignorance or haste,
the track of a high-current path
is not as per the PCB standard. If
the software is not able to point
out this error, the engineer would
face complex electrical issues
during the development stage.
Designing another PCB means
repeating the entire process,
causing a loss of time and money
loss as well. In such situa-
tions, current capacity feature
is a blessing.
Export IDF and footprint wiz-
ard. Using Export IDF, the design
created can be exported into an
Fig. 3: Function window of ZenitPCB ASCII file that contains all the 3D
information. Many professional-
current flowing through level CAD tools can import this
tracks. Calculations are file. So this feature is very helpful
based on an empirical for mechanical designers.
equation. Customising the components
Sometimes the is a time-taking process, demand-
designer is new and ing a high level of accuracy. The
unaware of the flow of footprint wizard helps create
current at each point. footprints automatically as per the
Fig. 4: Auto open part It may happen that design requirements.
Other features. Sometimes,
during the nomenclature of
bigger circuits, designers might
repeat names on components.
For example, three resistors can
have a single terminology R1,
which is both inaccurate and dif-
ficult to know, especially when
the circuit uses a large number of
components. ZenitPCB provides a
feature to find such net names.
Besides, there are some other
small upgrades in version 2.0,
which can be found in ZenitPCB
suite 2.0 manual on www.zenitpcb.

To sum up
ZenitPCB is an easy-to-use tool
that does not require any spe-
cial training for use. Moreover, it
works on Windows platform sup-
porting 3D modelling and CAD.
However, it still requires use of a
mouse to design a circuit.

Fig. 5: The design output form is also redesigned Vertica Asthana is a technical journalist at EFY

Viii june 2017 | electronics for you Plus


HBand: Where Your Hand

Becomes The Phone
ext time, when you see people talk-
ing with their hand on the ear with
Some HBand compatible
no phone but just a watch on the smartwatches
wrist, dont be bewildered, they must be Apple Watch, 42mm and 38mm models
using the HBand. You may ask, How can Pebble watches with 22mm band support
a band or watch replace a phone? But, LG Urbane
Moto 360-2
HBand, with its unique concept, makes it
Classic watches or any smartwatch with
possible to talk without a phone. 22mm or 24mm spring bar
HBand is a luxury leather watch strap
Ankita K.S. is audience
that is compatible with most of the smart-
development editor
at EFY, and secretary watches. It has a built-in Bluetooth audio
HBands audio features
of IEEE-YP. She is an
engineering graduate, fob, which compensates for the need of a Hand-to-ear private call
and writes articles phone during a call. This compact, ultra- Compact Bluetooth headset that docks on
on technology for watch strap slim Bluetooth headset is embedded in the Call and voice command support
watch strap but can be easily removed, Reads out notification and time (with an app
thereby making it both audio on the wrist for Android)
and headset on the wrist. High-fidelity music
Two-hour talk time, average two-day usage
Private calling/hands-on and Noise and echo cancellation
headset modes Water-resistant speaker and mic
Magnetic charger
HBand provides the convenience of phone
call in two modes: hands-on mode and
headset mode. The mechanism
HBand in
hands-on mode
Mobile phones have advanced to such Directional audio is fired from the bottom
an extent that call features are being of the wrist, at higher volume and pressures
provided in smartwatches. So there are no with sufficient back volume, towards the
issues like the phone getting lost. Surpris- palm of the user. When the palm is held
ingly, though, none of smartwatches pro- in cupped position to the ear, it acts like a
vides call handling in private mode. HBand parabolic reflector, redirecting the sound to
completes Apple or other smartwatches by the ear.
adding the private call feature that they Typically, the audio is omnidirectional.
lack, using the patented Hands-on-Talk Partial directivity can be given to the audio
technology. by firing at a close range with proper open-
You just have to flip open the fob ings. HBand uses normal micro speakers
and raise your hand to the ear to take with suitably designed back volume, front
the phone call. There is no need to volume and openings to provide partial
reach for your phone and rush to pick directivity. This method renders partial to
it up. This is called hands-on mode, full private sound.
and is the ideal solution for a
quick phone call. Bluetooth and the microphone
If you must take a longer HBand uses the same technology as that
call, you can pull out the fob of basic Bluetooth headsets. To achieve
from the watch strap, insert it the higher volumes required for hands-on
in your ear and use the device private calling, though, the amplification
like a normal Bluetooth headset. circuit of a basic headset is modified. A
This is called the headset mode. couple of hardware components are used

84 June 2017 | electronics For You

to make the concept possible, the though complex, was designed in
most important being a Bluetooth less than six months.
communication module to provide
two-way audio to the phone. A Essentials always on your wrist
directional speaker is used to fire Almost all smartwatches feature
audio to the users hand, while music, call display, weather infor-
an omnidirectional microphone mation and message notification.
placed beside the speaker reads HBand enhances these features with
the users speech. Noise-cancel- The working mechanism Ram Pattikonda, the man
its audio support and easy-to-use
lation algorithms are included to of HBand behind HBand mechanical structure. Its innova-
cancel out the wind and other am- tive combination of mechanical,
bient noises. The watch strap uses a HBand uses a new strap clasping electronic and acoustic features takes
quick-snap magnetic buckle, which concept that accommodates the slim ordinary smartwatches to another
provides docking for the Bluetooth fob on the wrist and makes fob-open level. The product has already been
audio fob. and pull-out functions easy, without launched in India and the US.
adding to the thickness on the wrist. In fact, there is more to come.
Shrinking circuits to fit the The electronics and the audio acous- The next version of HBand is be-
mechanical complexity tics are miniaturised, while main- ing designed with focus on better
The biggest challenge was to taining the style and multi-function product design and touch-button
shrink the circuits and achieve capability. The HBand product de- facilities. The team is also working
speaker back volumes in a slim form velopment took about one-and-a-half towards adding features like fitness
factor suitable for the wrist, shares years because of the delays in plastic and sleep tracker, high-resolution
Ram Pattikonda, chief technology tooling, packaging and integration OLED display and notification with
officer (CTO), iMetrix Technology due to the products mechanical scrolling text, while extending the
the company behind HBand. complexity. The electronics system, battery life to one week. electronics For You | June 2017 85

you can relate to

Janani Gopalakrishnan Vikram

Neil, the Little Explorer: Your childs

robot companion
Livescribe smartpen instantly digitises Working parents are often unable to spend enough time with their kids, and as a
handwritten stuff (Courtesy: Livescribe)
result they are unaware of their childrens real interests. In a simple but effective
way, Neil, the Little Explorer, can help such parents.
Livescribe: Smart Neil is a robotic toy that keeps your child company all day long. An associated

pen-paper combo that mobile app lets parents watch what their kids learn, and understand patterns
about their likes and dislikes. They get to know their childs curiosity towards a
saves notes digitally particular subject like new places, planets or biology. These patterns also help
Neil to share apt information related to the childs interests, so the interactions
Even in todays digital world, there are are more engaging.
many who prefer a pen and paper to jot Press a button at any time and it will
things down, whether it is a shopping share a factoid (wiki as they call it) in a
list or the minutes of a meeting. The very conversational way. Simple button
controls let Neil know if the child loved
Livescribe 3 smartpen ensures that
it or wants to move to the next one,
these hurriedly noted down texts do not
revisit the previous one or get a wiki
get lost. The Bluetooth Smart enabled
related to the current location. While the
pen digitises notes written on a special
conversation is in English by default,
dotted paper and saves these in your you can buy additional language pack-
mobile device with appropriate tags, ages if you wish.
using an associated app. Neil, the Little Explorer, chats with your kids Created by the Another Circus De-
At first look, the smartpen appears and shares factoids on various subjects
sign Agency, Neil levitates a bit once in
to be a stylish, premium ballpoint pen a while to remind the child of its presence. It has a pleasant LED light that lights
with a Swiss-made tungsten-carbide up the childs room at night. Charging is as simple as placing Neil on its planet
ballpoint ink cartridge. Inside however or base station.
is a whole lot of technologyfrom an Company: Another Circus Design Agency; Country: Greece; Website: http://www.
infrared camera and ARM processor,
to a Bluetooth Smart chipset, flash
memory and lithium-ion battery. An
integrated stylus cap conceals the ili: Wearable,
micro-USB port to charge the device.
The pen works with Livescribe+
instant translator
mobile app, which instantly syncs Not being understood in a foreign
everything users write on paper to land can be both fun and danger-
their mobile devices. The notes can ous, whichever way you see it! The
be viewed in either Page View or Feed problem only gets worse when you
View, where they are sorted into smaller travel to places where the locals do ili is a wearable translator that lets you
snippets. You can search, tag and not understand English, and you are communicate in English, Japanese and Chinese
convert them into text. The app also lets also unable to connect to the Internet instantly without Internet or Wi-Fi connection
you add audio to the notes. Reminders, to use an online translator. (Courtesy: Logbar)
appointments and lists that you have ili is a wearable translator that can
Likewise, replies are also translated, so the
jotted down by hand can be used to solve this problem for you. A compact
conversation is completely understand-
automatically set up calendar events device with an in-built processor and able to both parties. Currently, ili works in
and add new contacts. The content can memory, it can translate conversations English, Japanese and Chinese but there
also be converted into shareable PDF instantly without requiring an Internet are plans to include more languages, too.
files. So that wonderful start-up idea, connection. It translates using an What makes ili so innovative is that
sketched on a paper napkin at a coffee in-device database, and can do its job it is a standalone device that does not
shop, can be shared instantly with in just 0.2 seconds! ilis dynamic dual require a mobile app, Internet or Wi-Fi.
those who matter! microphone enables noise cancella- It is truly a hassle-free and easy-to-use
Company: Livescribe (part of the Ano- tion, and smart amplifiers and speaker translator!
to Group AB); Country: United States ensure clear sound output. The sound Company: Logbar; Country: Japan;
of America; Website: https://www. is captured clearly, translated and Website:, instantly output in the other language.
86 June 2017 | electronics For You

Kuri: A friendly home-assistant U by Moen: Wi-Fi

and security guard connected shower
For $699, you can now own a robot that does more than just keep an eye on controller
your house. Kuri is a 50cm tall robot that moves around your house like one of
the family. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, it is always in touch with Your morning shower can make or
you. Its eyes, with built-in high-definition cameras, can be your eyes when break your day! Sometimes the water is
you are away from the house. With facial recognition features, Kuri is actually extremely hot or cold if somebody else
capable of recognising people and in the family has changed the mixer
even judging their moods. It alerts settings, or the hot water takes too long
you when it spots unknown people to reach the faucet. This makes you up-
or something amiss in the house. A set, especially if you are in a hurry to get
4-microphone array helps Kuri react ready for the office. For such situations,
to voice commands and noises. Its U by Moen smart shower is definitely a
speakers can also entertain you product worth investing in.
with music, engage your kids with The kit includes a digital thermo-
stories, or help you catch up on static valve, a Wi-Fi enabled digital
news or podcasts. Kuri is also able to controller and a mobile app, which lets
learn general patterns of behaviour. you remotely set up your bath from
So it can wake you up if you are late anywhere in your home. The kit can be
for work!
With easily programmable tasks
Kuri is a cute robot that helps, inspires and and IF This Then That (IFTTT) au-
keeps an eye on your house (Courtesy:
Mayfield Robotics) tomation capabilities, Kuri connects
with your smarthome systems. It has
a long battery life, and even when it is out of sap, it just goes for a nap near its
charging pad and recharges automatically!
Above all else, Kuri can connect with the family emotionally. It reacts to
pats on the head, speaks to you in a very cute robot language, keeps your kids
company and even plays with your pets. So it is a security, helper and friend,
all in one!
Company: Mayfield Robotics; Country: United States of America; Website: Customise your bath with U by
Moen smart shower

used to control up to four water outlets,

LyfieEye: Capture 360-degree content depending on your existing shower
setup. The valve setup is supposedly
with your mobile phone do-it-yourself, but early adopters say
that it is a bit complicated and requires
There is nothing new about 360-de- a plumbers services.
gree cameras, but one that is tiny and Once you set up the system, you can
works with your Android smartphone customise elements of your bath such
is truly awesome! eCapture Technolo- as temperature, time and outlet selec-
gies claims that its LyfieEye is the tion using the controller or mobile app.
worlds smallest 360-degree video LyfieEye is a tiny 360-degree camera that You can configure up to twelve presets,
camera for Android phones. This af- plugs into your Android phone (Courtesy: so all your family members can get their
eCapture Technologies)
fordable device plugs directly into your bath the way they want it. When it is
phone and enables you to record, play fieEye can instantly flatten and stitch time for your bath, the system drains
and share life-like spherical 360-degree together images and videos captured the cold water remaining in the pipes,
videos and photos. The content can be by the two lenses and sensors. The re- heats the water to the required tempera-
shared instantly on Facebook 360 or cording is then transmitted in real time ture, pauses the water flow, and waits
YouTube 360. The camera can also be to your smartphone via the plug-in for you to step in and enjoy your bath.
synced to a virtual reality headset, so connector. Plug-in connection ensures For people with real need or love for
you can relive your special moments. that your 360-degree camera works luxury, the smart shower is a worthy
Inside the 18gm camera are two reliably without depending on Wi-Fi or investment. It can also be useful in
Super-FishEye lenses, each providing a Bluetooth connections. boutique hotels, which can save prefer-
180-degree field-of-view. Image sensors LyfieEye is available at an MRP of ences of their regular clients to boost
help to capture whatever the lenses are $149. customer satisfaction.
pointing at. The camera records videos Company: eCapture Technologies Inc.; Company: Moen; Country: United
at 30 frames per second. Country: United States of America; States of America; Website: http://
Thanks to its patented chip, Ly- Website: electronics For You | June 2017 87



Robots Made In India

Cost LoweR Than Their
Imported Counterparts
RameshwaR TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a TATA Enterprise and a wholly owned subsidiary
singh ThakuR of TATA Motors, is currently the only manufacturer of commercial robots in India.
chaiRman, TaL
manufacTuRing soLuTions It is also a notable producer of aerospace components. In a conversation with
Paromik Chakraborty from Electronics For You, TAL chairman Rameshwar Singh
Thakur talks about how robotics can benefit the manufacturing sector, the
misconception about automation, and TALs robot BRABO

Q. what are the benefits of using of them with two of our robots. The the most competitive country in
robotics in manufacturing? manufacturer achieved a 23 per the world. Hyundai came into the
A. The biggest intention of auto- cent increase in productivity after industry much later than other au-
mation is to use robots in the dull, the replacement. tomobile companies and today, it is
dirty and dangerous areas of work rubbing shoulders with all of them.
alongside multiplying the productiv- Q. isnt robotics an expensive The Europeans too have more than
ity and quality of yield. It is natural proposition? 300 robots per 10,000 workers. Peo-
for human concentration and effort A. Robots made in India cost ple may say that Korea and Europe
to fluctuate during strenuous, repeti- lower than their imported counter- have less population and shortage
tive and risky work. Moreover, for parts. For instance, our robots are 40 of labour. But China does not have
human labour, you have sickness, per cent cheaper than those pro- shortage of labour, and still it is
marriage and other kinds of leaves cured from overseas, as we manu- going tremendously strong with the
of absence that might affect your facture every component, except use of robots.
delivery deadline, quantity of yield the motor, domestically. Thus, our There is a mindset that robots
and quality of product. products can be serviced quickly, will take away jobs. The truth is that
It is important to understand that too. Today, our robots cost between if you are not competitive, you wont
robots are a better proposition to ` 400,000 and ` 700,000 and target be able to get a job anyhow. Robots
take up tasks that require continu- the SME sector. are making people competitive.
ous precision and consistency, espe-
cially in hazardous environments. Q. whats the impact of robotics Q. coming to your recently
The aim is to assign robots to rou- adoption on employment world- launched robot BRaBo, what all it
tine jobs while humans take up the wide? can do?
high-level work. Till now, we have A. Lets take the example of A. We have provided functions
60 robots in the industry and all of China. China has a large population of dispensing, pick-and-place, ma-
our customers have reported at least but they do not have the problem of chine tending, press tending, opti-
a 25 per cent jump in productivity unemployment. They use 49 robots cal inspection and so on in BRABO.
coupled with improved quality. for every 10,000 workers. Compared We are also able to integrate the
to that, India has a record of only product with anything. The things
Q. could you please explain with two robots for every 10,000 work- BRABO cant do right now are
some example? ers. Despite having more robots and painting and welding. While we
A. There is an auto components a large population, China has no have no plans of any upgrade in
manufacturer in Satara, Pune, which problem with jobs. BRABO as far as painting is con-
supplies parts to motorcycle manu- We can also look at countries cerned, it will be continually up-
facturers. Its plant had three foreign- like Korea, which uses 600 robots graded in other areas. The upgrades
made robots. We replaced all three for every 10,000 workers. Korea is will all be customer driven.

88 June 2017 | electronics For You


Industrial Automation

Collaborative robots
Help Create Jobs, Not Steal Them
At EFY Conferences in March this year, there was a talk about integration of a
new generation of robot workers in the labour workforce in order to increase
PradeeP david productivity and efficiency. Known as Cobots, short for Collaborative Robots,
general manager,
india & Sri lanka, these robots are a combination of industrial robotics and automation. Pradeep
UniverSal robotS David, general manager, India & Sri Lanka, Universal Robots, speaks to Dilin
Anand from EFY about the role of cobots in production floors and the impact on
human workforce

Q. Unmanned manufacturingdoes easy-to-use touchscreen tablet. The robots are meant to safely leave
it really make sense now that cobot arms come with an average the cage while doing tasks for
robots have arrived? payback time of 195 days. Thats humans. Collaborative robots, on
A. The idea is for humans and the fastest in the industryquite the other hand, are force limited
robots to be inter-dependent and simply because they are void of all robotstheir built-in technology
achieve what each of them does the added costs traditionally as- allows them to work safely along-
best, safely. There are a few things sociated with automation, such as side humans (subject to safety
requiring human ingenuity that external programming resources and assessments of the application).
are best done manually, whereas shielded work cells. So automation So these work more as a workers
accuracy, precision and repetitive can no longer be considered out of assistant in the form of a portable
mass production at higher efficiency reach now. tool, unlike traditional industrial
are best taken care of by robots. robots. Collaborative robots come
Cobots provide an added incen- Q. Which applications stand to in all sizes and shapes, and have
tive to the workforce as consistent benefit most? integrated sensors and soft and
quality production is possible with A. Production setups today rounded surface to ensure safety
human supervision. often need to be flexible and agile of human workforce and reduce
in order to meet changing market the risk of damage due to impact,
Q. What sets cobots apart? demands and stay competitive. The pinching and crushing.
A. Collaborative robots are lightweight cobot arms can be eas-
lightweight, cost-effective, safe and ily moved and re-deployed to new Q. there are fears that robots
easy to operate. The human-robot processes, enabling users to auto- will take away human jobs. With
collaboration is different from that mate virtually any manual task, the rise of cobots, what is the
between traditional robots. With including those with small batches future like?
cobots, the days of hiring an expen- or fast changeovers. They can work A. Instead of replacing human
sive external consulting team every right next to humans without any workforce and causing job losses,
time a robot has to be programmed safety guard, thus making robotics collaborative robots help compa-
are over. The new reality is that technology accessible to all levels nies expand operations, thereby
even operators with no program- of the industry. Cobots are ideally creating jobs and many more op-
ming experience can quickly suited for jobs that human opera- portunities at supervision level. A
program the cobot arms (using tors find repetitive and dull. human-machine study conducted by
intuitive, 3D visualisation). MIT researchers at a BMW factory
Q. What differentiates them has found that teams comprising
Q. How easy are they to operate? from conventional industrial and humans and robots collaborating
A. All the user has to do is move robotic arms? efficiently can be around 85 per cent
the robot arm to the desired way- A. Industrial robots are caged more productive than teams having
points or touch arrow keys on an to keep humans protected. Service either humans or robots alone.

90 June 2017 | electronics For You

smart world 1. BharatQR Code: 3. 360-Degree
Not Just For Videos To
Payments 92 Lower Costs 95

2. How About 4. How Big Data

WhatsApp For Analytics Yields
Your Business 93 Big Gains 97

BharatQR Code:
Not Just For Payments
BharatQR Code was launched
earlier this year (Image

BharatQR code is a transformative step towards easing and encouraging cashless payments
BharatQR is multi-purpose and can be applied in various facets of a business

nterprises in India are finally the near future that will make digital laid down, companies can generate
waking up to the QR code transactions even more intuitive, their code on BharatQR and display
technology. Taking a leaf from easy and accessible for every seg- it on their online store. When
other countries, the Indian govern- ment of Indian citizens. BharatQR customers visit their online sites
ment has launched a common QR code is a big step towards this direc- to see what is available in their
code, BharatQR, with the aim to tion, Biyani adds. stores, they can order and use the
reform the payment systems in While the government might have QR code to scan the payment. This
the country. wanted to only change the payment allows companies to sell the stocks
BharatQR code is a transforma- mechanisms in the country, this available in their brick-and-mortar
tive step towards easing and encour- revolutionary technology is actually stores, thus substantially increasing
aging cashless payments. It makes multi-purpose and can be applied in their sales.
digital payments far cheaper, and its various facets of a business. Back in 2011, Verizon achieved
key benefits like interoperability and a 200 per cent increase in its sales
seamless transactions make it ex- Increase sales using QR codes. The company
tremely attractive for both merchants No retailer can ignore the fact simply displayed QR codes in-
and customers, shares Kishore that most customers today first stores that enabled customers to
Biyani, CEO of Future Group. go online to do their research (for enter a competition. Customers
At Future Group, we are experi- reviews, best price and quality of were required to share the brands
menting with the technology with products) before buying a product. advertisements on social media,
the objective to roll it out in our And not all are willing to come to and if their friend bought a prod-
stores in the near future. However, the physical store to shop what uct, they would get a smartphone.
we believe there will be even more they want. With the infrastructure According to reports, the company
innovation in the payments area in for a common QR Code already clocked in an additional $35,000

92 June 2017 | electronics For You

smart world
in sales while the investment was tional campaign for ESPN College
just $1000. Football around the Bowl Champi-
Another way to increase sales onship Series in 2013. The brand
is to display the BharatQR code in managed to engage a substantial
print advertisements or billboards, number of customers by using QR
which takes customers directly to codes smartly.
the companys website once they
scan the code. The company can Seamless customer experience
then process customers orders and The waiting time for a customer is a
take the payment using the same key factor in determining the footfall
QR code, thus saving both time and of a retail store. The longer the
money in the process. queue, the more likely the customer
A Vancouver-based coffee is to avoid the store. So, retailers are
roaster, Ethical Bean, started using devising ways to reduce the waiting
QR codes to attract customers. The time at the queue in order to give
company displayed QR codes in its customers a more seamless experi-
train ads, which, when scanned, ence. BharatQR seems to address
took customers directly to the Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group this concern to some extent. With
cafes menu. This allowed custom- (Image courtesy: India Retail Forum) PoS machines, consumers have to
ers to place their orders on the go, swipe their cards, enter their PIN
thus eliminating the waiting time contribute significantly to the operat- and wait for the machine to gener-
while helping the cafe clock-in ing costs of a large retail chain, a ate receipts. While in the case of
higher sales. Lloyd Bernhardt of common QR code will definitely help BharatQR, all that customers need
Ethical Bean told Wall St Journal medium- and small-scale retailers to do is to scan the QR code before
that the technology helped them become more efficient. They just them and enter the PIN, to get the
double their business. need to get a printout and stick it payment done.
at the counter, says fintech expert Purba Das, senior business journalist, EFY
Cut unnecessary costs Abhishant Pant.
For any retailer, installing a point- Besides, the on-site maintenance
of-sale (PoS) machine is both a of PoS machines is high and is a run-
capital expenditure as well as ning cost throughout the lifespan of
operational expenditure. And
even though it makes up a little
less than 10 per cent of the total
the machine. For instance, the rental
for a PoS machine, depending on its
type, is anywhere between ` 400 and
How About
operating cost for a retailer, every
expenditure eats into the profit-pie
` 1500. Also, some PoS machines
have performance charges ranging
WhatsApp For
of the company.
A PoS machine has intangible
costs associated with it. It can cost
from ` 250 to ` 500.
However, using BharatQR, retail-
ers can eliminate this expense. The
Your Business
up to ` 15,000 and usually comes cost involved is negligible as it only
with a monthly maintenance charge, requires the retailer to display the Instant messenger
performance charge along with QR code on a piece of paper. The WhatsApp is a great way to
merchant discount charges (MDR). MDR is also lower. do business. Nearly no-cost,
The MDR for a retailer varies from Apart from this, retailers need not no-frill tool, if used smartly,
0.25 per cent to 0.50 per cent for pay any third-party fee to the pay- it can change the way
transactions up to ` 1000 and ` 2000, ment gateway as BharatQR code is a communication is done in
respectively. For transactions made common code that can accept pay- India and across the globe
from credit cards, there is no cap ments from all three payment gate-
and sometimes it can go up to 2 per waysVisa, MasterCard and RuPay.

cent of the transaction value. For ack in the 1950s, commu-
a transaction value above ` 2000, Effective marketing nication as a concept was
the MDR is one per cent of the total American fast-food restaurant Taco not much popular across
bill amount. Bell managed to garner over 200,000 the globe. The regular TV, radio
While PoS machines may not scans using QR codes in its promo- and print were probably the only electronics For You | June 2017 93

smart world
budget they could not have afforded Consumers expect to engage,
fancy campaigns. Hence, their enquire and request service when-
digital agency Dentsu WebChutney ever, wherever, and via whatever
came up with a quirky idea to use channel suits their fancy. But ad-
WhatsApp for its digital campaign. dressing this paradigm shift in a
The agency modified WhatsApps positive way that delivers consist-
API to change their status and pro- ent company-customer interactions
file pictures to a running ticker and across channels and throughout
GIFs. The agency then used all the every engagement is something
contentthe restaurants new logo, that has an impact across the entire
new menu and new offers among enterprise, says Jim Freeze, senior
otherson the ticker it had created. vice-president, Aspect Software, in
The brand and its agency then his blog WhatsAppIs It Whats
promoted the campaign on social Next in Customer Service? His
media sites such as Twitter and Face- company, Aspect Software, offers
book and asked the target audience customer interaction management,
to add their WhatsApp number to workforce optimisation and back-
check out the restaurants new menu office solutions to enterprises.
media. Cut to 2017, the world is and exciting offers. The result was Pune-based real estate devel-
literally running on communication. very impressive. The enquiries for oper VastuShodh partnered with
Be it a job application, a political the restaurant went up by a whop- advertising agency Setu to launch
campaign, a promotional campaign ping 117 per cent while the sales an integrated promotional cam-
or anything under the sun, com- surged by 28 per cent for the month. paign Homes for all for its new
munication is pivotal to their suc- Globally, only a few brands have projects. The company opted for
cess. And with a gamut of brands tried using WhatsApp for marketing. both traditional and new media
trying to communicate with their Back in 2012, Toyota Spain part- such as TV, print, out-of-home
consumers on a daily basis, per- nered with the interactive agency and social media among others to
sonalisation is imperative. So when Medialabs to develop an innovative advertise its projects. However, it
WhatsApp came into existence in online marketing campaign using used WhatsApp to connect with
2009, they took no time in explor- WhatsApp. The brand invited users customers for business enquir-
ing and exploiting its potential to to put Hibrizado (Hybridized) as ies. The real estate developer
make their businesses more efficient their WhatsApp status, after regis- provided a WhatsApp number in
and yielding. tering themselves on the brands its advertisements, so that poten-
website for a week. Once done, tial home buyers could enquire
Sales and marketing users could enter a competition to about the projects. It claims to
There is no business in this world win iPhones in a lucky draw. Toyota have received over 800 business
that does not involve sales and mar- Spain had aimed at highlighting enquiries from WhatsApp alone
keting. And definitely, no company the benefit of their range of models while creating a strong database of
that is not looking for effective ways with hybrid technology. Through the genuine customers.
to either up their sales or create a campaign, the brand clocked nearly Similarly, Rishi Gangoly of a
lasting brand recall in the minds of 35,000 visits and over 6500 regis- firm called Webdudes conducts
their consumers. WhatsApp offers tered users in just one month. WhatsAppinar (WhatsApp ver-
this opportunity. Brands are rapidly sions of Webinars) for its products
using this application to connect Customer services and services. Webdudes provides
with their consumers better. Customer support services play a end-to-end solutions for designs and
For instance, when Delhis crucial role in the success story of communications to enterprises.
Cafe TC (formerly known as an enterprise. A shoddy customer We can have 50 people partici-
Turquoise Cottage) was revamped, support desk can tarnish the brands pate in the WhatsAppinar and get
the owners wanted to promote its image, which, in turn, can have an information about our products/
new look, new menu and happy adverse impact on the sales in the services for virtually no cost. These
hours amongst young target audi- long run. Besides, customers these are interactive, so participants can
ence. However, they did not want days prefer a one-on-one chat with engage. People who get busy during
run-of-the-mill advertising for their a brand. WhatsApp offers exactly a WhatsAppinar can take calls with-
restaurant, and in their shoestring thata direct personal chat. out disturbing the peace and then

94 June 2017 | electronics For You

smart world
get back on to the WhatsAppinar For us, it looked like the that help them connect with their
and catch up on existing questions perfect tool to keep everyone in customers better.
and answers that other participants the loop and help managers reach Thats exactly what the creative
on the group may have enquired their team members at any moment agency behind Flipkarts Treasure
about, informs Gangoly. of their workday. It is also a good Hunt campaign had on its mind. To
The company invites prospec- way to maintain these employees promote Flipkarts annual Big Bil-
tive clients to the WhatsAppinar by engagement to their company by lion Day sale, Dentsu Webchutney,
email. Once registered, users get a offering them the same informa- the creative agency that executed
link to join the WhatsAppinar tion as the ones who can access the campaign, used a 360-degree
24 hours prior to the WhatsAppinar, the corporate website or intranet, technology to give customers a
following which the sessions begin. says Alexandra Guimaraes, an tour of Flipkarts head office in
Once the sessions are over, users HR expert in her blog Should Bengaluru where customers had to
can post their queries or sugges- you use WhatsApp for your hunt and earn their treasures, to
tions. internal communications?. get discounts on the products listed
Freeze of Aspect Software, how- It is interesting to note that on the website.
ever, notes that for brands to use while WhatsApp is great tool for For us, engaging with our users
WhatsApp effectively, they need to companies to do their business with a compelling story is as impor-
integrate it efficiently with their efficiently, unfortunately it has not tant as sales. We constantly like to
other channels. Adding a ser- yet been explored much by India push the frontiersbe it with our
vice channel that consumers use Inc. However, once they realise the service, technology or consumer
and trust makes sense to increase value of this simple instant messen- engagements, Shoumyan Biswas,
engagement and provide service on ger, WhatsApp could be the next vice president-marketing at Flipkart,
the terms of your customers. But if big thing in the communication had said some time back.
that channel is not fully integrated space in the country. This is just one example where
with access to customer data, Purba Das 360-degree cameras have been used
reporting resources and the exper- to get some exceptional response.
tise of the contact centre, it will We explore here other benefits from
hardly deliver an optimal experi- using this technology.
ence. By applying contact centre
best practices to mobile customer Lower your surveillance cost
engagements, organisations can
realise better value from the chan- 360-Degree The most important application
of 360-degree cameras is security
nel at a lower cost, without sacri- and surveillance. Nowadays, most
ficing the disciplines and service
levels that are making the contact
Videos To companies install surveillance
cameras to ensure safety and secu-
centre the de facto centre of the
customer experience. Lower Costs rity of their assets. And the need
for upping the security will only
grow more.
Internal communication Small-scale enterprises need
Considering the privacy that What-
Use of 360-degree videos to spend at least ` 100,000, while
sApp offers, most enterprises often for corporate training is medium-scale or large enterprises
use it for internal communications. best suited to large-scale spend ` 1 million to ` 1.5 million
Be it discussing a project to im- enterprises that often on the entire surveillance solution
plementing employee engagement organise training sessions for their office premises. Usually,
initiative, WhatsApp serves as a for their employees across cameras installed are the tradi-
perfect platform to communicate. For the country or overseas tional pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) type
instance, companies such as insur- that have a narrow field of view
ance web aggregator Policy Bazaar and require additional components

use WhatsApp for internal commu- nterprises are often scouting to monitor an entire area, which
nications. The company has separate for the next best technology makes them more susceptible to
WhatsApp groups of each business for their businesses. After all, mechanical failures. Also, these
unit as well as the management, managers want their companies to cameras have a higher chance of
wherein important information and become profitablebe it by cost- missing out a critical activity as
updates are shared with everyone. cutting or implementing systems they cannot capture an all-round electronics For You | June 2017 95

smart world
view of a particular area at the interactive as they break the mo- set up a full-fledged infrastructure
same time. notony of flat, plain-vanilla videos. that includes building and staff
With 360-degree surveillance Besides, 360-degree videos offer among others. Their trained doc-
cameras, that is not the case. a real-time experience to trainees, tors can do the job through 360-
360-degree cameras use a fish-eye giving them a better understanding degree videos.
lens to capture an all-round view of of the subject under discussion.
the field under surveillance. Thus These videos are also considered to Enhance brand value
these cameras can substantially be cost-efficient as they eliminate Lets go back to Facebooks
bring down the expense incurred the need for an in-person trainer. Treasure Hunt campaign that used
on surveillance, as enterprises Use of 360-degree videos for 360-degree videos to engage with
would require fewer number of corporate training is best suited to customers for their annual Big
cameras to be installed over an large-scale enterprises that often Billion Day sales. The campaign
area. For instance, if an area within organise training sessions for their managed to increase the retailers
the office premises required two employees across the country Instagram user base by a whop-
PTZ cameras to get a full view of or overseas. ping 350 per cent while it garnered
nearly 750,000 views and over
21,000 comments within the first
two days itself. Other brands too
have tried the immersive video
technology and achieved success in
their initiatives.

Better customer connect

Companies can use 360-degree
videos for their products on display
online, giving customers a virtual
touch-and-feel experience. This
helps not only give customers a
better understanding of the product
but also win their trust. This is
especially true in the case of high-
value items such as diamonds
and smartphones.
A 360-degree camera being used for surveillance (Image courtesy: YouTube) Similarly, companies that need
to invest in large distributor net-
the area, it would now require only Reduce cost of investment works for their products can use
one panoramic camera for monitor- this technology to help customers
ing the entire area. For healthcare sector, 360-degree select the best option. For instance,
These cameras are especially videos are a definite boon. In a auto companies are increasingly
useful for logistics, retail, entertain- country such as India where people suggesting their dealer networks to
ment and other such enterprises cannot avail even the basic medical install 360-degree cameras in their
that see movements of a large care, 360-degree videos can help stores in order to ensure that best
number of goods and people. healthcare providers save many facilities and services are offered to
lives as services become cost- their customers.
Corporate training efficient. For instance, in a tier 2
While use of 360-degree videos or tier 3 city, a hospital chain need Is 360 degree the way ahead?
or immersive videos is not new, not set up an entire hospital but Definitely. Any technology that
corporates are exploiting their rather partner with a local hospital, helps enterprises enhance their
potential in other applications too. provide it with the requisite equip- business is here to stay. So if you
One such application is corporate ment and train as well as super- belong to the old school of tried-
training. vise local doctors to diagnose and and-tested ideology, you may just
According to experts, corporate even carry out surgeries. Thus, for be missing out on a great opportu-
trainings imparted using immer- hospital chains, 360-degree videos nity to scale up your revenues.
sive videos turn out to be far more completely eliminate the need to Purba Das

96 June 2017 | electronics For You

smart world
from and then using existing resourc- analyse historical data gathered from
es with optimal efficiency to ensure pre-release chips in order to cut down
that you cater to that demand right the time spent on quality checks of its
How Big Data on time. In fact, a few companies
have started using big data analytics
chips. Instead of running every chip
through 19,000 tests, the company

Analytics to do exactly that.

For instance, hospitality giant
Starwood Hotels and Resorts managed
selects certain chips for those tests to
ensure the quality of its chips. If re-
ports are to be believed, the company
Yields Big to increase its revenues-per-room by
nearly 5 per cent by using big data
saved $3 million in 2012.
Similarly, retail giant Tesco used

Gains in 2015. They used this technology

to predict the demand as well as
recalibrate room fares in order to get
big data analytics to find out the exact
temperature required for storage in
its refrigerators. The company found
Data collected from surveys, a higher footfall. The company claims out that most of its stores in Ireland
that its demand forecasting has im- were running refrigerators at a much
feedback forms, reports and
proved by 20 per cent since 2015. lower temperature than needed. Thus,
social media can be analysed Starwood used predictive analytics by understanding the fault and taking
using big data analytics to understand its customers from their corrective step, the company was able
to understand the specific transactional data (number of book- to successfully reduce its refrigeration
needs of the consumers ings made, cancellations and others) cooling costs by 20 per cent. It is only a
and combined it with external semi- matter of time before big data analytics

ed Roof Inn, a budget hotel structured data such as weather reports becomes imperative to run a business.
chain in the U.S., could have for each of its locations. Since then,
never imagined that it would the company has been using analytical Enhanced customer
be able to clock in a 10 per cent software to optimise its efficiency. engagement
increase in its business when it used Similarly, another hotel major Companies have to constantly inno-
big data analytics to attract its poten- Marriott uses big data to enhance vate in order to expand their consum-
tial customers in the winters of 2014. yield management of its rooms, thus er base. And this can only happen
The hotel chain realised that most of maximising revenues. The company when they have a clear understanding
its customers in bad-weather-affected uses predictive analytics to predict of their consumers needs.
locations would be using mobile de- the demand and accordingly make Industries such as banking and
vices to search for hotels. Hence the pricing decisions. tourism can also turn to big data ana-
brand created targeted campaigns for Experts project that predictive lytics to deliver customised products
such customers, which resulted in a analytics could really be a game to their customers.
surge in its footfall. changer if used wisely. Implementing
The key for any company that big data analytics while using exist- Way forward
wants to successfully use big data ing resources is a smart way to up The biggest challenge that continues
is gaining the right information that your revenues without much hassle. to haunt companies when it comes
delivers knowledge and gives busi- to big data analytics is the quantum
nesses the power to gain a competi- Reduced operational costs of investment required to implement
tive edge. And this can only be done Every business strives to be efficient the technology. And while it is true
by identifying and selecting from when it comes to operational costs. that this technology is pricier than
different types of big data analytics, And companies in the West have traditional ways of data analysis,
says Naveen Joshi, director at Allerin been adopting big data analytics the benefits of implementing it far
Tech, in his LinkedIn post. for this purpose. They implement outweigh the cost. To summarise, big
Big data analytics offers much big data analytics in their internal data analyticsbe it descriptive, pre-
more than just target marketing. If processes to gather data about their dictive or prescriptiveis inevitable
implemented wisely, it can help a operational costs and use this data to for a business. The sooner India Inc
business grow by leaps and bounds. downsize unnecessary expenses. understands it, the better!
For instance, since 2012, Intel Purba Das
Revenues maximised has been using big data to launch its
using existing resources chips in the market faster. According If you want to share with EFY readers case
studies of technology being applied to reduce
Imagine knowing where the demand to reports, the company uses pre- costs, increase revenue, go green, please
for your product or service is coming dictive analytics to understand and contact us at electronics For You | June 2017 97

Industry News Make in india

AI could replace doctors and lawyers On The Move

in five years Schneider Electric appoints
By 2022, smart machines and robots a metered service that the enterprise Swaminathan as VP
may replace highly trained profession- pays for, like electricity. Schneider Electric has appointed
als in tasks within medicine, law and The effects of AI on an enterprise Venkatraman Swaminathan as the
will depend on its industry, busi- vice-president, IT Division - India
ITforecasts leading research and
Zone. Swaminathan takes over from
advisory company Gartner. ness, organisation and customers.
Nikhil Pathak, who has moved to a
The economics of artificial intel- Law and financial services are among new role as the vice president-strategy
ligence (AI) and machine learning the industries where jobs could be deployment and operations, ROW-
will lead to many tasks performed by automated. However, while AI will IT Business at Schneider Electric. In
professionals today becoming low-cost hit employment in some industries, his new role, Swaminathan will be
utilities, says Stephen Prentice, vice many others will benefit as automa- responsible for driving the growth of
president and Gartner Fellow. AIs tion of routine and repetitive tasks the overall IT business in India. With
over 26 years of experience in the field
effects on different industries will force will leave more time for the existing
of sales, service and marketing, he
enterprises to adjust their business workforce to improve service levels,
brings a wealth of experience in the
strategy. Many competitive, high-mar- handle more challenging aspects of field, having evolved business-critical
gin industries will become more like the role and even ease stress levels in solutions for spaces like data centre
utilities as AI turns complex work into some high-pressure environments. switch rooms and test laboratories.

OTT to surpass broadcast TV cast delivery, said Tim Siglin,

contributing editor for Streaming
Within the next five years, live- es from almost 500 media indus- Media magazine and principal
linear streaming over-the-top try professionals. report author.
(OTT) video viewership will The maturation of OTT video The report finds that the OTT
surpass traditional broadcast TV delivery reflects key changes in industry is booming. About half of
viewership, according to close to the industry, including fewer respondents anticipate OTT reve-
70 per cent of respondents in the bandwidth constraints and the nues to grow 30 to 50 per cent from
2017 OTT Video Services Study important role live-event and 2016 to 2017. Over the next three
by Level 3 Communications, live-linear OTT distribution will years, OTT-related services will
Streaming Media and Unisphere play as we transition from VOD- account for more than a quarter of
Research. This annual survey on only services to those that more their overall business, according to
OTT trends was based on respons- closely mimick traditional broad- nearly two-thirds of respondents.

New technologies drive double-digit growth in connected homes

The connected homes market will study by Frost & Sullivan. and supply chain. The clouds full
grow beyond $150 billion, with Smart thermostats, Internet potential in energy management will
revenues growing at 14.9 per cent in protocol cameras, smart door be realised by developing a central-
2017. Technologies such as Internet of locks, IoT-enabled LED lighting and ised data repository for customers to
Things (IoT), Big Data, data analytics personalised mobile health ser- access their buildings energy data,
and the cloud are propelling double- vices will see strong growth. Data while connected HVAC systems in
digit growth and market expansion in analytics will penetrate beyond the commercial segment will aug-
connected homes and light-emitting energy management, to equipment ment predictive maintenance and
diode (LED) lighting sectorsfinds a management, people management remote diagnostics capabilities.

98 June 2017 | electronics For You

Industry news

Calendar of Forthcoming Electronics Smart home device sales to

Fairs/Exhibitions/Seminars/Events double in four years
Name, Date and Venue Topics Contact address for details In four years, annual growth of smart-
E3 2017 Annual video game conference and show Entertainment Software Association phones sold will reduce from 30 per
June 13-15, 2017 Website:
Los Angeles, California, USA
cent in 2014 to a mere four per cent,
TechXLR8 Festival of technology for a journey between TechXLR8
according to a new study by research
June 13-15, 2017 networks, tech and consumer services Website: and consulting firm Ovum. Mean-
ExCeL, London, UK
Internet of Things World Europe Platform to discuss adoption of Internet of Things KNect365
while, the number of connected smart
June 13-15, 2017 (IoT) across consumer verticals Website: devices in use will nearly double from
ExCel, London iot-world-europe/
eight billion last year to 15 billion
Cyber Security Summit 2017 It will bring together 120+ IT security leaders and
June 15, 2017 policy makers from across industries in 2021. This will lead smartphone
Hyatt Regency, Mumbai
majors like Apple and Samsung to
SES 2017 8th edition of strategic electronics summit with ELCINA
July 6-7, 2017 focus on military, aerospace, homeland security seek new sources of growth in virtual
Bangalore International
Exhibition Centre
and naval systems reality, smart home and other remerg-
KE Show 2017 Event on intelligent automation and robotics Taiwan Electrical and Electronic
ing segments.
July 11-14, 2017 Manufacturers Association (TEEMA) Interactive audio speakers offer a
Huaqiao International Expo Website:
Centre, Kunshan, Jiangsu more natural way than smartphones
Province, China
or tablets to control smart home
IFA 2017 Meeting place for key retailers, buyers, and The German Association for
September 1-6, 2017 experts from the consumer electronics industry Entertainment and Communications devices. For example, Amazons
Berlin, Germany and the media Electronics and Messe Berlin
Alexa already has more than 10,000
World Robot Olympiad India Robotics competition in India for students India STEM Foundation, and National
skills that allow it to interact with a
National Championship 2017 between the age group of 9 to 25 years Council of Science and Museum. very large number of apps. However,
September 9-10, 2017 Website: https://indiastemfoundation.
org/wroindia/ smartphones will still be a critical
AI World 2017 Artificial intelligence (AI) world conference AI World 2017 component of driving smart homes,
September 18-20, 2017 and expo Website:
Boston, USA and by 2021 these will cement their
TechXLR8 Asia Festival of technology that brings together TechXLR8 Asia position as the most popular consum-
October 2-4, 2017 Asias telco and tech ecosystem to discover Website:
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore technologies that are enabling and shaping our techxlr8-asia/
er device of all time, with more than
connected future five billion in use.
Taitronics Taipei International trade fair for electronics and Taiwan External Trade Development Council
October 11-14, 2017
Taipei, Taiwan
electronic components Website:
Tech majors racing to invest
Open Source India Asias annual convention to celebrate open Open Source India
in AI startups
October 13-14, 2017 source computing Website:
NIMHANS Convention Center, osidays/ According to a report by CB Insights,
Bengaluru, India
leading technology firms are invest-
Assocham Green Energy Summit World expo and conference on renewable energy ASSOCHAM India
November 9-12, 2017
ing in AI in order to capitalise on the
Bangalore International shifting digital market. Prominent
Exhibition Centre
Big Data London The UKS largest data and analytics event Big Data London
among them are Alphabet, Intel,
November 15-16, 2017 Website: Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.
Olympia, London, UK
In the last five years, Alphabet,
CeBIT INDIA 2017 Digital innovation show Hannover Milano Fairs India Pvt Ltd
November 30-December 2, 2017 Website: the parent company of Google, has
White Orchid Convention Centre,
Hebbal, Bengaluru
acquired as many as eleven compa-
ELEXCON 2017 Annual expo for the electronics industry based ELEXCON 2017 nies closely associated with artificial
December 21-23, 2017
Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition
in Shenzhen Website: intelligence. Google already uses
Center, China RankBrainan algorithm learn-
CES 2018 Worlds gathering place for those who thrive Consumer Technology Association ing artificial intelligence system
January 9-12, 2018 on the business of consumer technologies and Website:
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA where next-generation innovations are introduced used in Google Searchfor under-
to the marketplace
standing queries and processing
NEPCON Japan Asias leading exhibition for electronics design, Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd
January 17-19, 2018 R&D and manufacturing technology Website: suitable responses.
Tokyo Big Sight, Japan In 2016, Intel acquired Itseez,
Electronics West North Americas largest annual design and Electronics West Nervana Systems and Movidius,
February 6-8, 2018 manufacturing event Website: http://electronicswest.
Anaheim Convention Center, on par with Apples acquisitions. It
California, USA
plans to develop semiconductors for
Embedded World 2018 Trade fair for IT security for electronic systems NrnbergMesse
February 27-March 1, 2018 Website: AI apps.
Exhibition Centre, Nuremberg,
Germany Microsoft has been investing in AI
Continued on next page... technology for about 25 years now. electronics For You | June 2017 99

Industry news
Snippets its peers in 2015, IBM has invested
billions of dollars in developing the
Watson cognitive technology that
Telit unveils new IoT University analyses and interprets data including
Telit, a global enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT), has launched Telit IoT University unstructured text, images and videos.
for IoT developers and integrators. Telit IoT University, part of the companys IoT Know
How suite of consultative services, teaches customers and partners how to succeed
In March this year, IBM and Sales-
in launching IoT solutions that deliver measurable business outcomes. Located at Telit force announced that the two firms
IoT Platforms division in Boca Raton, Florida, Telit IoT Universitys curriculum includes will be integrating their independent
courses and hands-on labs co-developed by Telit and Florida Atlantic Universitys AI platforms.
Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE). Amazon has already created buzz
Government initiatives, falling prices driving Indias LED lighting market with Alexa voice-enabled assistant
Market intelligence firm 6Wresearch expects Indias LED lighting market to grow that recognises and responds to voice
annually at 26.6 per cent during 2017-23, owing to government initiatives such as requests instantly. Last year, it had
UJALA, Housing for All and Deendayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojna. Missions such launched a video that presented a
as Smart Cities would also drive the LED lighting market in the coming years. At the
utopian high-tech grocery store with-
same time, LED prices have declined tremendously in last few years, leading to surge
in penetration across the country. out cashiers.

Tata Power, Dell build Indias largest vertical solar farm Solar park costs on the rise
Tata Power Solar, Indias largest integrated solar company, and Dell International in India
Services India, have together built Indias largest vertical solar farm of 120kW
Solar parks in India are aimed at
capacity. The 45-metre-long structure built at Dells Bengaluru campus provides
dual benefits of producing sustainable green energy and insulation of the building reducing the hurdles and providing
by blocking the south sun, thus helping to reduce power consumption. The solar a level-playing field to developers,
farm, envisaged by Dell, produces enough energy to light-up its entire cafeteria and whether domestic or foreign. While
basement parking. these parks have spurred record low
Hartek Group separates rooftop solar business tariffs in the recent times, market
The Hartek Group, a power sector player, has set up Hartek Solar as a separate intelligence firm Mercom has found
rooftop business vertical with industry veteran Ravinder Shan at its helm as chief that solar park costs are actually
executive officer (CEO). Having commissioned 13.75MW rooftop solar plants across increasing. Incomplete solar park
the country, the Hartek Group rooftop solar business division has a two per cent infrastructure, exorbitant upfront fees
market share. Shan revealed that the immediate focus of Hartek Solar would be on
and not-so-transparent yearly charges
commercial spaces and industries.
are all adding to project costs, with
Anritsu LTE-Advanced RF conformance test system wins GCF certification some developers calling for auctions
Anritsus LTE-Advanced RF conformance test system ME7873LA has won the first outside of solar parks as they think it
GCF certification for the Cat-M1 RF conformance test as part of the Internet of Things could be cheaper in some instances.
(IoT) communications technology. Large domestic and international communications
carriers are planning the 2017 introduction of Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technologies for
Even though all solar parks come
use by mobile networks, supporting the growth of the so-called IoT Society. With under the same policy, each solar
GCF certification, the ME7873LA has more than 70 test cases for frequency bands in park has a different fee structure,
Japan, N. America and Europe. which is leading to variation in tariffs
and project costs. In fact, two solar
Continued from previous page... parks in the same state can have dif-
ferent fees. According to Mercoms
Calendar of Forthcoming Electronics data, the solar park fee in India varies
Fairs/Exhibitions/Seminars/Events from ` 3.73 million per megawatt
Name, Date and Venue Topics Contact address for details
ELCERAMA Flagship showcase of the Indian electrical IEEMA
in Karnataka to ` 10.58 million per
March 10-14, 2018 industry ecosystem and the largest congregation Website:, megawatt in Gujarat.
India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, of power sector ecosystem in the geography;
Uttar Pradesh brings together the complete spectrum of Land application fees (non-refund-
solutions that powers the planet
able one-time), upfront development
Hong Kong Electronics Fair Worlds leading electronics marketplace Hong Kong Trade Development Council
(Autumn Edition) Website: charges (one-time), annual leases of
October 13-16, 2017
Hong Kong Convention and
land, and annual operation and main-
Exhibition Centre tenance charges are the most com-
Since this information is subject to change, all those interested are advised mon park fees or charges. However,
to ascertain the details from the organisers before making any commitment.
developers are faced with differing
In December, it launched an AI sive growth and positive impact stamp duties in each state and service
fund to focus solely on investing on society. taxes on all components. Hidden
in AI companies focused on inclu- With the most AI patents among charges end up inflating project costs.

100 June 2017 | electronics For You

make in india

Market Survey

Strategic electronicS
Set For Revamp
arge-scale modernisation of the Indian in the next decade, as the country rapidly
defence forces is on the anvil, making modernises its military by embracing new
strategic electronics (mainly comprising technologies. Electronics acquired as part of
aerospace and defence electronics) a vibrant platforms (at Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels) will be
industry. India needs to modernise its aero- worth $53-54 billion. Demand for electronics
space and defence capital equipment base by worth $17-18 billion is expected from projects
addressing obsolescence as well as building that are traditionally called system-of-systems
additional capabilities through new capital ac- (non-platform based) applications.
quisition. The new Defence Procurement Policy Another growth opportunity is the potential
Sudeshna Das is
senior executive (DPP) and offset policies announced by the to integrate into global value chains of original
editor at EFY Indian government are a big step in that direc- equipment manufacturers (initially leveraging
tion. The government has also made budgetary the offset route and subsequently based on
allocations for paramilitary and state police product quality, service delivery advantages
force requirements. All these developments and cost arbitrage).
have made India quite attractive for aerospace
and defence electronics manufacturers. Market demand
In spite of huge opportunities, there is a de-
Market opportunities mand-supply gap for indigenous components,
As many as 80 per cent (Fig. 1) of the survey products and solutions, most of which are still
participants feel that the industry will see a imported. Indian companies are not able to ca-
slow but steady growth in the coming decade. ter to requirements that involve low volumes,
There will be an exponential growth in both high technology and high investments.
standalone systems (as part of platforms) as Areas that require electronic products and
well as other systems at sub-system level. solutions in large volumes include:
According to a report by consultancy firm 1. Electronics manufacturing services, build
Roland Berger, in partnership with the National to print (which, in the context of defence
Association of Software & Services Compa- production, includes firmware updates, test-jig
nies (NASSCOM) and India Electronics and development, manufacturing software devel-
Semiconductor Association (IESA), Indias opment, component procurement, systems
aerospace and defence industry is expected integration, software upgrades/enhancement,
to consume electronics worth $70-72 billion verification and validation, system deployment,
hardware qualification, environmental stress
screening, maintenance support, etc), line re-
placeable units for Indian programmes like Light
This report is based on inputs from 24 senior professionals involved in the Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Light Combat Heli-
strategic electronics ecosystem. Responses were taken either directly or from their copter (LCH), drones, Kamov helicopters, etc
speeches at Defcon conference conducted by the Electronic Industries Association
of India (ELCINA) in April this year. This sample group is a microcosmic 2. Rugged displays, PDAs and laptops for
representation of Indias strategic electronics ecosystem. battlefield management system project
Survey participants shared their insights on: 3. Electronic components, products and
1. Growth of the Indian defence electronics industry solutions used in vehicles for projects like the
2. Demand-generating applications Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle and self-
3. Possibility of public-private partnership (PPP) or industry-academia partnership propelled guns
4. Impact of policy amendments Most of the recent upgrades in military
5. Challenges systems have a huge scope for electronics, as
A trend analysis was done on the basis of inputs. Results of the analysis are in the case of Jaguar, Ilyushin aircrafts, MIG
presented here.
29 and T-90 tanks. In addition, new ventures electronics for you | June 2017 101

make in india
like the LCA Tejas, HAL Advanced R&D and manufacturing. As many as
Medium Combat Aircraft, EADS CASA eighty per cent (Fig. 3) respondents
C-295 twin-turboprop tactical military opined that this is the right time to
Slow but
transport aircraft production jointly 80% steady growth explore Make in India opportunities
by Airbus Defence and Space and 20% Fast growth by designing in India for the coun-
Tata Advanced Systems, single-engine trys defence electronics needs.
aircraft production by SAAB (Gripen) Last year, the defence sector got a
with a yet-to-be-chosen Indian OEM, policy boost through amendment of
FICV project, missile development Fig. 1: Growth forecast for the Indian strategic DPP 2016 to include a special catego-
programme, new aircraft carriers, sub- electronics sector ry called Buy (Indian-Indigenously
marines and Marine Counter Measure Designed, Developed and Manufac-
Vessels all point to an increased focus tured) or Buy (Indian-IDDM). This
on electronics. Critical avionics, night- category will get the highest priority
vision devices, missile electronics, Offsets will in the defence procurement process,
30% play a key role
electronic warfare (ground-based and 70% followed by Buy and Make (Indian),
Not sure
airborne) systems, software-defined ra- Buy and Make and Buy (Global)
dios, robotics, radars (of all kinds), UAV in that order. Inclusion of this new
electronic navigation systems, weapon procurement category will provide a
sensors and air defence systems are the greater thrust to the Make in India
much publicised favourites. Fig. 2: Offsets-related opportunities initiative in defence electronics
According to experts, major de- production, focusing on products and
mand-generating applications will be solutions designed in India.
weapon control systems, avionics and This would promote in-house
digitalisation of displays. In addition, Need of
design capabilities and higher locali-
there is a demand for single-board 80% the hour sation, strengthening the domestic
20% Not of immediate
computers, advanced PCB design importance industry, especially private sector,
technology, cables and harnesses to in defence electronics production.
meet aerospace standards; a holistic However, the responsibility to prove
security network and indigenously a design as indigenous rests with the
developed security devices; and in- Fig. 3: Exploring design in India to achieve
manufacturer, while the final approv-
novative maintenance, repair and Make in India goals al would come from the government.
operational solutions to sustain and This, in turn, offers unique opportu-
upgrade existing systems. nities to companies that are operating
or would like to enter the defence
Offsets to play a key role industry specifically in the areas of
Seventy per cent of survey partici- 80% electronic system design and original
pants (Fig. 2) feel that offsets will be Maybe design manufacturing.
on the rise. However, emphasis will The government has already
be mainly on embedded intelligence. launched some programmes and
So offsets will have to be defined in schemes to facilitate R&D activities
terms of service offerings rather than Fig. 4: Is public-private partnership a success? in this field. The Technology Devel-
hardware, quite quickly. opment Fund (TDF) and the Army
The remaining 30 per cent of where fewer import contracts will be Design Bureau (ADB) are worth
respondents raised concerns about the eligible for offsets. This, in turn, will mentioning here.
increase in threshold limit for offsets, impact the domestic industry, particu-
under DPP 2016, to ` 20 billion (around larly parts and components manufac- Partnering for success
$305 million) from the earlier limit of turers who got the existing offset policy According to survey participants,
` 3 billion. This is in contrast to global boost to enhance their capabilities. collaboration is the key to achieving
trends in defence offset thresholds, self-reliance in the strategic electronics
which hover around $5-$15 million in Focus on design in India sector. There is a need for high stand-
many countries (including Israel, Ma- Survey participants feel that the In- ards in this industry, which can be ful-
laysia, Turkey and UAE). dian strategic electronics sector is still filled if the Indian industries comple-
There are fears that this increased far from achieving self-reliance due ment each other rather than compete.
threshold limit may lead to a situation to the absence of integration between The TDF and the ADB can play an

102 June 2017 | electronics for you

make in india
important role to ensure success. foray into defence manufacturing, 2. Global OEMs partner with In-
According to survey participants, and the public sector, which has a dian companies with actual manufac-
it will be prudent on the part of the strong grip on defence procurements. turing capabilities, rather than those
government to work on the PPP The Armed Forces have also with just financial might, to make the
model, where the technology, man- been engaging with academia to concept of Make in India doable.
power and infrastructure available solve various technical challenges. 3. The government gives more im-
with the public-sector units (PSUs) For instance, IIT Bombay was portance to the Ministry of Defences
can be leveraged in partnership with involved in a project to reduce the 23 key Make in India projects de-
private enterprises to optimise and cost of the artillery shell guidance signed by the Indian PSUs and DRDO
streamline defence projects towards system. There are many more such rather than allowing foreign OEMs to
quick completion. examples. Around 65 per cent of manufacture their material in India.
The PPP model will introduce respondents (Fig. 5) were optimistic 4. The policy gets simplified and
ordinance factories to a more com- about this kind of partnership. a penalty is imposed on the defence
petitive corporate culturea mindset Moreover, the right kind of col- procurement agencies for delays and
that is required to pitch for contracts laboration can also help to resolve cancellations.
with the private industry. Ordinance supply chain related issues. Sixty-five per cent survey par-
factories have vast infrastructure but ticipants believe that removal of the
they lack efficiency. Therefore, in the Policies: The good, and the bad 49 per cent FDI limit in the defence
PPP model, the required levels of effi- As many as 75 per cent survey par- sector has opened up avenues for
ciency can be assured through proper ticipants find DPP 2016 to be effec- significant investments, and given
assimilation of technology from the tive enough, plugging all the loop- the much required impetus for many
private sector and efficient utilisation holes of the previous policy (Fig. 6). SMEs to get access to finance and
of the huge infrastructure available The remaining 25 per cent feel that technology (Fig. 7). The liberalised
with ordinance factories. This could it can be effective only when: FDI regime permits up to 100 per
lead to a win-win situation for both 1. Tangible benefits are realised cent foreign equity in the defence
the private sector, which is looking to by Indian SMEs and MSMEs. sector. Of this, up to 49 per cent is electronics for you | June 2017 103

make in india

Major contributors to this report

1. Atul D. Rane, scientist-G, Technology Development Fund, DRDO
35% 2. Lt Gen. A.R. Prasad, VSM, ADC, signal officer-in-chief and senior colonel commandant
Not effective
enough 3. Lt Gen. K.K. Aggarwal, SM, VSM, Comdt, MCEME
4. K. Rambabu, scientist-H, Space System & Tech, RCI
5. Air Commodore Krishna Iyengar Ravi, AVSM, VSM (Retd), and VP (strategic business),
Kaynes Technology
6. Col (Retd) K.V. Kuber
Fig. 5: Industry-academia partnerships 7. Lakshmi Tiwari, scientist-F, DLRL
8. M.M. Sreeram, ED, Samuha Aerospace
9. Maheshkumar P. Jagtap, scientist-G, ANURAG (Advanced NUmerical Research and
Analysis Group), a lab under DRDO
10. Nikhil Kumar Jain, Addl GM (AFS), BEL-Hyderabad
11. N. Ramachandran, MD, Mel Systems
Not effective
12. Wg Cdr (Retd) P.R.L. Prakash, GM, Avantel
75% 25%
enough 13. P. Sudhakar, OSD to DAE, and ex-CMD, ECIL
14. Ramesh Avala, manager (design), Strategic Electronic Research Design Centre (SLRDC),
HAL, Hyderabad
15. Ravindra Kumar, scientist-F, DLRL
16. Rudra Kumar Jadeja, CEO, Bharat Forge Limited (Hyd)
Fig. 6: DPP 2016 17. Dr S. Guruprasad, DG - PC & SI, DRDO HQs
18. Sanjoy Sarma, head-products and solutions, Tata Power SED
19. Sreeram Srinivasan, CEO, Syrma Technologies
20. Subhash Goyal, MD, Digital Circuits
21. T.V. Prakash Rao, ex-director-ECS, DRDO
It will bring 22. Utpal Sen, head-strategic electronics division, ECIL
35% significant
investments 23. V.S.N. Murthy, scientist-G, project director, Brahmos Aerospace
65% 24. V.V.R. Sastry, ex-CMD, BEL, and ex-ED, C-DOT
It may not be

will not be promoted through joint 6. No self-reliance in critical tech-

ventures with higher FDI. nologies
Fig. 7: Revamped FDI policy 7. Absence of indigenous product
What to expect development capabilities
allowed through the automatic route Survey participants feel that follow- The above issues can be success-
and beyond that through the Foreign ing factors could derail growth of fully resolved by the Transfer of Tech-
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). the strategic electronics industry: nology (ToT) route for niche equip-
The remaining 35 per cent feel: 1. Complex buying process ment, proper understanding of offset
1. The FDI policy cannot become 2. Delay in completing the tender obligations and a methodology to
the only instrument to attract invest- process handle the same, and understanding
ment. 3. Inadequate government fund- and execution of international col-
2. The FDI policy will be success- ing for R&D projects laboration and joint venture models
ful only if foreign OEMs can derive 4. Inadequate provision for tech- with emphasis on IPRs and patents.
the necessary confidence in the local nical superiority to score over the In addition, proper screening and
ecosystem from an operational point lowest bidder approval systems need to be put in
of view. 5. Absence of a level-playing place as components used in stra-
3. Foreign OEMs are less likely to field for the Indian private-sector tegic electronics systems require a
create intellectual property in India. players, especially SMEs, with re- high degree of reliability in extreme
Therefore design in India concept spect to PSUs and overseas vendors working environments. Realising this
need, ELCINA is setting up a high-tech
Key provisions of DPP 2016 test centre for the defence electronics
1. Inclusion of the Buy (Indian-IDDM) procurement category sector with the objective of providing
2. Rules for higher (though flexible) indigenous content requirements easy and cost-effective test facilities to
3. Revamped procedures for Make projects MSMEs and SMEs. The facility will be
4. Institutionalisation of the RFP (Request for Proposal) process open to all defence electronics manu-
5. Introduction of the L1-T1 (selection process based on both the lowest bid (L1) and the best facturers and the excess capacity will
technical solution (T1)) methodology for selecting the final bidder be offered to manufacturers in other
6. Increase in threshold limit for offsets sectors of the electronics industry.

104 June 2017 | electronics for you

New Products Make in india

test & measurement These feature VCO phase noise of

-113dBc/Hz at 100kHz offset at 5GHz,
Thermal imaging camera age output (converted from the PWM with integrated rms jitter of just 97 fsec
FLIR Systems, Inc. has introduced the output signal). (1kHz to 20MHz).
ETS320 thermal imaging solution for
Toshniwal Sensing Devices Pvt Ltd Analog Devices, Inc.
electronics testing in engineer-
ing benchtop environments. This
product combines a high-
sensitivity thermal camera WLAN test software Silicon-carbide diodes
with an adjustable, National Instruments (NI) has intro- STMicroelectronics has introduced a full
hands-free table stand duced WLAN Test Toolkit 17.0 with range of 2A-40A 1200V silicon-carbide
to provide consistent, support for Draft 1.1 of the IEEE (SiC) JBS (Junction Barrier Schottky)
non-contact thermal 802.11ax stand- diodes. Using SiC technology, the new
testing. By offering more than 76,000 ard. Combined diodes are said to offer high switching
points of temperature measurement, with NIs sec- efficiency, fast recovery and consistent
it offers the ability to monitor power ond-generation temperature characteristics.
consumption, detect hot spots, and vector signal transceiver, the toolkit Featuring a lower forward
identify potential points of failure dur- supports 802.11ax waveform genera- voltage, these are suited for
ing product development. tion and analysis for characterisation, cost-conscious applications
This rechargeable, battery-powered validation and production test of prod- including solar inverters,
unit can be connected to a PC running ucts such as RF front-end components, industrial motor drives, home
FLIR Tools software for detailed data wireless modules and user devices. appliances and power adaptors.
analysis, recording and reporting. The toolkit helps users solve new At the same time, performance-oriented
access point test cases by generating applications can use these for superior
FLIR Systems, Inc.
signals that simulate multiuser environ- efficiency, low weight, small size or best
ments, including per-user impairments. thermal properties. The higher efficien-
cy provided by lower forward voltage
National Instruments
Gas sensor drop delivers important benefits for
Toshniwal Sensing Devices has automotive equipment such as on-board
introduced CO2 gas sensor module battery chargers and charging stations
CDM7160 from FIGARO, Japan. This Components for plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles
sensor can be used in as well.
indoor air-quality RF synthesisers STMicroelectronics
control systems, Analog Devices 13.6GHz ADF5356
including variable- wide-band synthesiser with integrated
air volume systems and demand- voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) is
controlled ventilation systems. It uses suited for applications like wireless Radar sensor chips
a compact NDIR CO2 sensor, provid- infrastructure, microwave Texas Instruments (TI) claims to have
ing high accuracy at low power. Two point-to-point links, unveiled the smallest millimetre-wave
detector elements inside the module electronic test and radar sensor chips that can measure
make absolute measurement possible. measurement, and distances smaller than the width of hu-
The module comes with both a satellite terminals. The man hair. Utilising CMOS process, the
UART and I2C digital interface. Evalu- ADF4356 is a com- new chips integrate both analogue and
ation module EM7160 is also avail- plimentary synthesiser product that digital functions. These find applica-
able for easy testing of the CDM7160. operates to 6.8GHz and is comparable tions in autonomous driving, industrial
It provides CO2 measurement data in performance. robotics, medical devices, and factory
output in serial data format via a USB The new synthesisers generate RF and building automation.
connector, pulse-width modulated outputs from 53.125MHz to 13.6GHz The sensors include five solutions
(PWM) output and continuous volt- without gaps in frequency coverage. across two families of 76 to 81GHz electronics for you | June 2017 105

New Products
sensors with a complete end-to-end from Microchip Technol- monic distortion less than 20 per cent.
development platform. ogy Inc. The single-chip
MCP19122/3 accepts a Binay Opto Electronics Pvt Ltd
Texas Instruments high-voltage input (up to
42V) while simultaneously regulating a
wide output voltage range (0.3V to 16V) misCeLLaneous
Intelligent power module without external components or drivers.
Infineon has developed a highly- The internal PIC microcontroller UPS
integrated intelligent power module to in the MCP19122/3 can dynamically Vertiv, formerly known as
control induction motors and perma- adjust the operating frequency, over- Emerson Network Power,
nent magnet synchronous motors with and under-voltage lockout thresholds, has introduced Liebert
single-phase power factor correction current limits, soft-start, voltage or eXM uninterruptable power
(PFC) in variable-speed drives. The current output set points and maximum supply (UPS) for IT spaces
new module, CIPOS Mini, combines duty cycle. and light industrial applica-
the PFC stage with a 3-phase inverter tions with medium power
Microchip Technology
in one package. This helps to reduce requirements.
system size and the bill of material. The three-phase Liebert UPS is avail-
The additional PCB space gives room able in fixed capacities of 80kVA/kW,
for further components. Lighting 100kVA/kW, 120kVA/kW, 160kVA/kW
The power module is available in and 200kVA/kW, with an optional built-
inverter current ratings of 4A, 6A, 10A Smart LED light in isolation transformer.
and 15A. Opple has unveiled the LED T5 plastic It delivers high efficiency levels for
batten. This smart and cost-effective light mid-size data centres, with operating
Infineon Technologies
is Opples latest addition to its range of efficiencies as high as 97 per cent in
professional and home luminaries. double-conversion mode and 99 per cent
in energy-saving Eco mode.
DC-DC converters Vertiv
The DCM VIA family from Vicor LED T5 comes in a plastic unibody
Corporation are ruggedised modular design with an inbuilt integrated con-
DC-DC converters in a thermally adept, nector, so it can be installed anywhere
low-profile (9.3mm) VIA and at any place. Variable length makes New system-on-modules and
package. These offer it convenient for smaller spaces as well. microserver evaluation platform
enhanced functional- Priced at ` 395 onwards, this Toradex has partnered with Christmann
ity and performance, product is available in power capacities Informationstechnik + Medien GmbH,
including EMI filter- ranging from 5W to 20W. Germany, which now offers
ing, transient protection, RECS|Box Atlas Quad
Opple Lighting
inrush current limiting, as Apalis evalua-
well as a secondary-referenced control tion platform, and
interface for trim, enable and remote- RECS|Box Antares and
sensing. Security search light Arneb 1RU server enclosures that can
Two new MIL-COTS (M-Grade) ver- BINAY has developed a long-range, run 24 and 72 Apalis systems-on-mod-
sions are available, with 270V nominal solidstate security search light. This ules (SoMs), respectively, in a cluster
input voltage (160-420V input voltage product has a narrow beam for en- configuration. Apalis ARM-based SoMs
range) and nominal output voltages of hanced long-range are available in different configurations
24V and 28V with up to 500 watts of visibility (of one km such as NVIDIA TK1 SoC using a 2.1GHz
output power. approx.) According to quad-core Cortex-A15 and a GPU with
the company, it is not 192 CUDA cores.
Vicor Corporation
a standard 500W prod- The Atlas kit supports four Apalis
uct, but has specialised optics for a very SoMs in an evaluation setting on the
narrow beam. Consuming 500W max., users desk. The same baseboard can
Power analogue buck controller the light features colour temperature of also be used in bigger installations with
A new Digitally Enhanced Power Analog 5000-6500K, colour rendering index of even more modules.
(DEPA) buck controller for DC-DC 75-80, intensity greater than 1,000,000cd Toradex
power conversion is now available with power factor of 0.95 and total har-

106 June 2017 | electronics for you

First Look estyle
` 17,499

iBall introduces Daiwa launches

Tablet PC with Remix OS Toughened Glass Price
Suited for productivity and multi-tasking LED TV ` 12,999

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G runs Android based Perfect for both gaming and home theatre
operating system Remix OS from Jide Technol-
Daiwa has launched its newest LED TV81cm (32-inch)
ogy, offering you a fusion of mobile and desktop
D32C3GL with toughened glass protection while maintaining
experience. Unlike Android OS devices, which
clear and vivid quality of high-definition TV. The TV sports
are optimised for consuming content rather than
HRDP technology for fine details and consistent colour, and
creating/editing it, the new tablet PC supports
A+ grade Samsung display panel for a wide viewing angle of
multi-tasking, working on multiple windows,
178/178 degrees. The advanced Cinema Zoom mode pre-in-
taskbar functionalities that let you do a lot more,
stalled in the TV lets you enjoy a movie exactly how the maker
keyboard and mouse optimisation, and advanced
wanted it to be. The TV can also play fast-moving games by
file management.
achieving a low input lag time of just 6.5ms.
iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G comes with a 25.6cm
The TV sports Bluetooth connectivity and powerful
(10.1-inch) screen with flexible kickstand. Powered
audio (10W+10W speakers) are paired with a powerful
by a 1.3GHz octa-core processor, it packs 2GB RAM
remote. The remote supports not just the TV but also media
and 16GB internal storage that can be expanded up
players and wireless headphones connected to your home
to 64GB via a microSD card. It sports an 8MP rear
entertainment system.
camera and a 5MP front shooter for selfies. The
The TV comes with two USB and three HDMI ports, along
tablet PC is powered by a 7800mAh battery.
with the convenient on-screen browser and USB ports for easy
data transfer from one USB to another. An in-built energy
saving function supports ultra-low power consumption of less
Zopo Speed X than 38 watts.
A dual-camera smartphone with LED light
on the front Alcatel launches Entry-Level Phablet
Chinese smartphone brand ZOPO is expanding its
Speed product line-up with the launch of a high- A 15.2cm (6-inch) phablet with
4G VoLTE connectivity
end smartphone, the Speed X. The new smart-
phone comes with a 13MP primary camera, which Alcatel has launched a 15.2cm (6-inch)
works with a 2MP secondary camera that allows phablet with a comprehensive user experi-
you to take stunning ence in audio and camera. The new PIXI 4
Price pictures with bokeh ef- offers clear, sharp shots for selfies, along with
announced fect, face beauty mode, Polaroid filters, a powerful music experience
time lapse mode, and with sound backed by Arkamys, and a super
much more. The soft slim design.
light LED flash on the Continuing its 12.7cm (5-inch) PIXI 4
13MP front camera can legacy that had features like Android 5.0
be always on to keep Marshmallow, Quad Core 1.0GHz pro-
you in the spotlight. Its cessor, G sensors and proximity sensor,
like holding a lamp on the new phablet promises to deliver an
the front, giving your even better smartphone experience at an
face a soft radiant com- affordable price through its technologi-
plexion. So good-look- cal brilliance. Just 8.3mm thick, it is said
ing selfies can be taken to be among the slimmest models in
anytime anywhere. entry-level segment. ` 9100
The stylish Speed X The phablet comes in metallic silver and
weighs only 131gm. metallic gold colours. electronics for you | June 2017 107

first look
` 87,999
Acer Gaming Notebook
Play your best with powerful audio,
video and speed
The Acer Aspire VX 15 is powered by the latest 7th Gen Intel Core i7 proces- GizMo ByTes
sor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. It has an aggressive gaming
design with iron red backlit keyboard. Dual fans boost up the thermal system for Facebook Messenger rolls
smooth gameplay, which enhances the experience in every intense battle along out Instant Games
with Dolby Audio premium and Acer TrueHarmony. Now gaming fans need not wait for a game
to download from apps store. Facebook has
The notebook comes with 1TB hard drive storage and 128GB M.2 SSD, al- rolled out no-download Instant Games on
lowing users to store more multimedia files and enjoy faster speed. All essential Facebook Messenger. Whats more, Instant
ports are available and designed to keep connected cables out of way. The input/ Games now support turn-by-turn games
output ports are placed well on the both sides. instead of just single-player games with score
leaderboards. Facebook is also planning to
add features like game bots that communicate
with players about new levels or rewards, and
Ambrane HyperX Launches a dedicated Games tab in Messenger with a
Bluetooth speaker Gaming Headset curated selection of top games.

A lightweight and compact Dolby surround sound at the push Google AutoDraw turns
speaker with playback for of a button scribbles to art
up to seven hours Googles AutoDraw web-based tool pairs
HyperX, a division of Kingston Technolo-
machine learning with drawings created by
Ambrane India has introduced gy Company, has introduced its most ad- talented artists to help you draw. Pretty
a compact Bluetooth speaker, vanced gaming headset to date, the Cloud similar to what a handwriting recognition
BT 8000. The speaker combines Revolver S with plug-and-play Dolby 7.1 software does, AutoDraw can identify what
high-quality sound with an inte- you wish to draw from a simple scribble and
surround sound. The Dolby Headphone
place an appropriate drawing on the screen.
technology added into the USB dongle It also asks whether you meant something
delivers high-end immersive audio at different, similar to what an autocorrect
the touch of a button. HyperX signature algorithm does on a smartphone keyboard.
` 3199 memory foam and a new wide headband
design enhance comfort for endless hours
Piano by Gismart adjudged the
of game play. The headset also features
best music app
Piano by Gismart, a music app that lets
multi-platform support, 50mm drivers
grated, music-synced light show, music lovers play their favourite songs on
and a noise-cancelling microphone de- piano without having any musical skills,
bringing the energy and fun of signed for use by professional gamers and has won MediaPosts 2017 Appy Award
club experience to anyone on the eSports teams globally. in the Best Music App category. The app
go. With conventional speakers, allows users to play popular songs on piano
The Cloud Revolver S sound stage
and create music in a fun way. The gaming
stereo sound can be heard in only features unique design driver technology aspect makes learning fun. To mix things up,
a few sweet spots. However, that allows gamers to visualise sounds Piano allows users to make the piano sound
the BT 8000 speaker includes placed around them at different angles like an electric guitar or organ, among
precisely positioned drivers to other musical instruments.
and distances. With three preset
provide a large, consistent sound equaliser settings that
field for outdoor listening. Microsoft announces new features
separate boost, flat
Oval shaped, the speaker is for OneDrive mobile apps
and vocals, they can
claimed to provide the power and Microsoft has added offline folders to
choose their favou- OneDrive mobile apps, so users can save
sound fidelity of speakers three rite setting. folders to their mobile device and open
to five times its size. Powered by them when they dont have an Internet
a 3600mAh rechargeable battery, connection. Changes made by other
Price users to the files while youre offline will
it lets users play music for as
` 12,999 automatically be updated when you have
long as seven hours straight. The an Internet connection again, wrote Jeff
inbuilt amplifier delivers minimal Teper, corporate vice president for the
distortion with low frequencies. Office, OneDrive and SharePoint teams, in
a blog post. The company has also unveiled
The speaker sports wireless
an iMessage app that lets users easily share
and Bluetooth connectivity. documents saved on OneDrive.

The prices, features and specifications are based on information provided to us, or as available on various websites and portals. EFY cannot vouch for their accuracy.

108 June 2017 | electronics for you

do-it-yourself estyle

Turn Your Phone Into A Walkie Talkie

Jagmeet singh

t India Electronics Week 2017 integration to let you
held recently, we ended up comparison of different walkie-talkie apps connect with your
using walkie-talkies a lot. features Voxer Zello Heytell tttalk Bluetooth friends or colleagues
Managing two handheld devicesmo- on Facebook and
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes No
bile phone and walkie-talkieproved Twitter. An optional
to be quite a challenge. Mobile data (2G, 3G Yes Yes Yes Yes No support for voice
or 4G)
Can we get rid of walkie-talkies changer takes the
Bluetooth No No No No Yes
and use our mobile phones to do the voice messaging ex-
Easy access No No No No Yes
same things?, asked a colleague. I perience way beyond
without any signup
volunteered to find an answer to that usual PTT apps.
Android Yes Yes Yes Yes No
question, and came up with a couple
of possibilities. There are apps that
iOS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TTtalk
can make your mobile phone act like This free app for
a walkie-talkie. Many of them are free. It supports channels that can have up Android and iOS provides you with
I reviewed many such (free) apps and to 2500 members. instant messaging alongside PTT
here are the best five I found Similar to other modern walkie- functionality. You can use emoticons,
talkie apps, Zello provides you with stickers and audiocons to chat with
Voxer voice history and real-time call alerts. your team. The app also lets you
Voxer is a renowned walkie-talkie app The app uses Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and 4G play any of the previously received
for Android and iOS devices that lets to enable wireless connectivity. voice messages.
you communicate through text, photos The Zello app even enhances the Unlike HeyTell, the TTtalk app
and videos alongside live voice support. experience by supporting Android requires a genuine phone number
It is touted to be the only walkie-talkie Wear-based smartwatches and with data connectivity, but it has
messenger with end-to-end encryption. watchOS-powered Apple Watch. been optimised for low-bandwidth
The app provides you an option to even However, the additional assistance is networks.
choose between the handsets earpiece limited to push notifications.
and loudspeaker. Bluetooth Walkie-Talkie
You can start communicating using HeyTell Opt for Bluetooth Walkie-Talkie if
the Voxer app after enabling an active HeyTell is among the most popular you do not want to spend your entire
3G, 4G or Wi-Fi connection. You can walkie-talkie apps with over a billion data pack on conversations. The
listen and respond to Voxer messages users. The app has cross-platform app works the moment you pair two
even from a Web browser. Likewise, support for Android, iOS and Windows devices using Bluetooth. Once paired,
you can broadcast your messages to phone and is designed to offer instant you just need to press the on-screen
up to 500 people at once. A private talk at the press of a single button. Push to Talk button to record your
chat option exchanges messages just The HeyTell app uses an active message. Releasing this button trans-
between the intended parties. Internet connectivity on your smart- mits the message to the other party.
phone to enable two-way communica- The main drawback of the
Zello tion. It also uses geolocation services Bluetooth Walkie-Talkie app is that
If you want to create your own pri- to offer international coverage without its only available on iOS running
vate channel to talk with your group using traditional PTT technologies iPhone and iPad devices. However,
privately or join a public channel to such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. it is the best suited and the easiest
spread your word, you can pick Zello. You need to register with a user- walkie-talkie alternative if you own
The app uses a proprietary low- name and password on the HeyTell Apple hardware.
latency, push-to-talk (PTT) protocol to app to begin your walkie-talkie op-
enable conversations while on the go. erations. There is also social network Jagmeet Singh is assistant editor at EFY electronics for you | June 2017 109

Buyers Guide estyle

Wireless HeadpHones Cut The Cord

e have already deep-dived into the bigger speakers, consequently giving strong-
age of compact and hands-free, er audio output. However, the output quality
where less is the new more. Even directly depends on driver components. On
headphones manufacturers have found a way an average, driver diameter is 8 to 12mm for
to brilliantly improve their products to fit the earphones and 20 to 50mm for headphones.
desires of customers. Sound quality can be judged from fac-
Apples bold step to exclude the conven- tors like sensitivity and sound pressure
tional 3.5mm headphone jack from its latest level (SPL), impedance and total harmonic
iPhone 7 smartphone series for the purpose distortion (THD). SPL decides the loudness
Chakraborty is a of space utility maximisation and water-resist- range of a headphone. On an average, most
technical journalist ance is a case in point. New players too are not headphones have an SPL in the range of
at EFY
far behind. For instance, Seattle-based Human 85 to 120dB SPL/mW. Scale of impedance
Inc. is coming up with a new product called (the resistance to the current that creates
Sound that gestates touch-based earphone the sound) decides the life of the device.
control along with language translation and Impedance of basic-level headphones tends
multiple audience connect. Such developments to be lower (around 32 ohms), requiring less
give reasons enough to believe that the future current to work. But this may create back-
of wireless headphones is now. ground noise. High-end headphones have
a higher impedance (up to 330 ohms) and
How Bluetooth headphones work require internal amplifiers for operation, but
Wireless headphones or earphones work on this also prevents early headphone dam-
digitally transmitted wavesvia infrared (IR), age. THD level indicates distortion of sound
radio-frequency (RF) waves or Bluetoothfrom under high volume. Lower THD is always
source. While each device has its own benefits desirable, and on an average, headphones
and drawbacks, in this article we will restrict have less than 1% THD.
ourselves to Bluetooth-based headphones as Design. Select the headphone design as
these are portable, flexible and in demand. per your intended application, comfort and
Bluetooth-driven wireless headphones personal preferences. Headphones come in
consist of a receiver that receives the signal in-ear, on-ear and over-ear designs. In-ear
transmitted from the Bluetooth device, a small (canal) design sits in the ear canal directly,
amplifier to strengthen the signal and a bat- providing more impactful sound and better
tery pack to run the system. The device with exclusion of external noise. In on-ear (supra-
Bluetooth (smartphone, tablet, laptop among aural) design, pieces rest on top of the ear,
others) has a small computer chip inside that preventing trapping of heat on the ears. This
contains the Bluetooth radio module and design is, however, less effective in noise
software that enable the two devices to pair. blocking. Over-ear (circumaural) design
Bluetooth digitally transmits the audio through covers ears completely, ensuring better qual-
a low-power radio signal, which is received by ity and range of sound. The huge size of
the receiver of the headphone. the design accommodates a bigger engine,
amplifying the sound output (especially the
The checklist bass experience) by multi-fold.
Sound quality. Composed of magnet, voice Battery life. Wireless headphones may
Wireless headphone coils and a diaphragm, the driver unit of a come with a built-in rechargeable or dispos-
designsin-ear, on-ear headphone converts electrical energy into able battery, the former being more common
and over-ear (from top
to bottom) sound pressure. Larger-diameter drivers mean in popular brands. On an average, they use

110 June 2017 | electronics For You

buyers guide
a 300mAh lithium-ion polymer bat- Indian market: Latest offerings
tery that provides playback for up to The Indian market has a substan-
ten hours. High-end products pack tial range of wireless headphones
battery capacity of around 600mAh, for buyers to select from. Wireless
allowing a run-time of 20 hours or headphones cost more than their
more. The built-in battery can be wired counterparts, but provide
charged by a standard mini or micro- unparalleled sound experience.
USB cable. It takes three to four hours High-end products. The latest
to fully replenish the battery. offering from the stable of Bose,
aptX support. aptX is an up- QuietComfort 35, costs around
graded codec, presently owned by ` 30,000. Featuring the companys
Qualcomm, which enhances the innovative noise-cancellation tech-
audio quality via a bitrate efficiency nology and 20 hours of battery life,
algorithmproviding enhanced these headphones are wrapped in a
sound quality through Bluetooth. The polyester-based sophisticated cover-
prerequisite is that both the source ing material, corrosion-resistant
device and the audio equipment must stainless steel, glass-filled nylon and
have aptX to utilise the feature. impact-resistant materials.
Presently, most of the popular Momentum Wireless Over-Ear by
audio equipment and Android smart- Sennheiser costs around ` 35,000. It
phones and devices support and have features NFC and Bluetooth con-
aptX built into them. Android devices nectivity with aptX support, Noise-
without aptX can also be upgraded. Guard active noise-cancellation
MAC and Windows equipment may technology and hands-free Voice
also be aptX-compatible, depending Max microphone, making it very
on their hardware. A higher upgrade, easy to use.
called aptX HD, is also out there, Mid-range products. In the
which provides even better audio medium price range, Plantronics has
quality than CD-scale. However, the introduced models like BackBeat
number of devices supporting aptX Pro 2, BackBeat Go 3 and BackBeat
HD is limited presently. Fit to suit diverse application areas
Noise cancellation. Headphones like sports, work and travel. These
with noise-cancellation capability have headphones cost between ` 6000
built-in microphones and electronic and ` 11,000.
chips that record the ambient noise Another player, Jaybird, Logitech-
and create anti-phase sound waves owned sports headphone specialist,
(same amplitude but completely in- has come up with the Jaybird X3 that
verse phase) accordingly, which cancel features passive noise-isolation tech-
out the original noise. This is very nology, sweat-proof built with X-Fit
effective against low-frequency noise. System, and in-line remote. It costs
High-frequency noise, however, is not between ` 13,000 and ` 19,000.
controlled much by this technique. Low-end products. Wireless
Usually, noise-cancellation capa- headphones in this segment are
bility varies within products based on priced between ` 1000 and ` 5000.
the quality of components. If tested Companies like Zebronics, Philips,
separately, it can be measured by the Skullcandy and Sportszee are
amount of decibels that is decreased producing and delivering qual-
for a given frequency of sound. The ity wireless headphones keeping
performance completely depends on the consumers price limitations
the value of the sound frequency. For in mind. You can also find an
example, a headphone that claims to array of base-range headphones
drop 30dB sound may be doing so at from other players, like LG Tone+
60Hz but might cancel only 10dB at HBS 730, Nokia BH 505 and Jabra
480Hz, and so on. Halo Smart. electronics For You | June 2017 111

S.C eDi Do-it-yourself
w iv
D &
i Th

Auto ReveRsible DC MotoR

With Speed And Rotation Control
Ashutosh M. BhAtt

C motors are tions. Speed control is
widely used in dif- also required for slow or
ferent machines, fast operation, accord-
mechanisms and motion ingly.
controls in manufacturing There are many more
and processing industries. examples and applica-
In these machines, it is tions where it is required
often required to control to control speed, direc-
speed, direction and the tion and rotations of a
number of rotations of DC motor.
the motor. Some ap- This project is a dem-
plications require only onstration of controlling
speed control, some only all three parameters. It
rotation control and some is an auto-reversible DC
only direction control. motor that automatically
Many applications require reverses when it com-
control of two or all three pletes the desired num-
parameters. Some exam- Fig. 1: Authors prototype with motor-sensor arrangement ber of rotations. It is an
ples are: example of a closed-loop
1. To release the thread (or Parts List control system that utilises feedback
wire) of desired length from a Semiconductors:
loop. It counts the actual number of
bobbin, it is required to rotate the IC1 - MOC7811 opto-interrupter motor rotations and gives feedback
bobbin for a specific number of IC2 - ATmega16 microcontroller to the system. The system compares
IC3 - L293D motor driver
rotations. Also, there is a need for T1 - 2N2222 npn transistor
a set of rotations with actual motor
controlling the speed at which the LED1, LED2 - 5mm LED rotations, and when these match, it
thread is released. Resistors (all 1/4-watt, 5% carbon): reverses the motor.
R1 - 330-ohm
2. In a coil-winding machine, R2, R4-R6 - 1-kilo-ohm
It can repeat this operation in
it is required to make a specific R3 - 470-ohm a continuous loop if repeat mode
number of coil turns. This is done R7-R11 - 10-kilo-ohm is selected. It also controls the
R12 - 100-ohm
by rotating the motor for a spe- VR1 - 1-kilo-ohm preset speed of motor from 10 to 100 per
cific number of rotations. Also, it is Capacitors: cent. The motor starts with 10 per
required to vary the motor speed to C1 - 10F, 16V electrolytic cent speed and gradually attains
speed up/down the operation. Miscellaneous: the selected speed as it completes
CON1, CON2 - 2-pin terminal connector
3. In a conveyor belt applica- LCD1 - 162 LCD module three to six rotations. Also, when
tion, to move the object to an exact M1 - 12V DC motor the motor reaches the last six to
S1-S4, S6 - Tactile switch
distance, it is required to rotate S5 - SPDT switch
ten revolutions, the speed gradu-
the motor for a desired number - 5V DC and 12V DC ally decreases, and for the last two
of rotations. regulated power supply rotations it becomes 10 per cent.
- 40-pin IC base
4. In an automatic storage and - Metal strip for attaching on
This speed control is used to pre-
retrieval system, it is required to motor shaft cisely stop the motor at the desired
rotate the motor clockwise and anti- number of rotations point and for
clockwise to move up and down, or 5. In a robotic arm, to pick and smooth operation.
left and right. Also, the motor has to place an item, it is required to rotate The project utilises an ATmega16
be rotated for a desired number of the motor clockwise and anticlock- microcontroller to control the DC
rotations to reach a specific position. wise for a desired number of rota- motor, an LCD display to show

112 June 2017 | electronics For You

various parameters and an opto- The author's prototype, including Circuit and working
interrupter sensor to count motor motor-sensor arrangement, is shown Circuit diagram of the auto-reversible
rotations and provide feedback. in Fig. 1. DC motor control is shown in Fig. 2. It
is built around opto-interrupter module
MOC7811(IC1), ATmega16 microcon-

troller (IC2), 162 LCD (LCD1), motor


driver L293D (IC3), 12V DC motor

(M1) and a few other components.

Four push-to-on button/tactile


switches (S1 through S4) are con-



VCC1 nected to port C pins PC0, PC1, PC6





and PC7 of IC2, so that when a but-


ton is pressed, it gives a high logic (1)


input to the corresponding pin. These



switches are used for various settings



to control the motor, including up,


down, enter and rotation.


LCD1 is connected to port A and


port D of IC2. Its data pins are con-


nected to port A, and the control pins


EN and RS are connected to PD0 and


PD1, respectively. LCD1 displays the

16x2 LCD




number of rotations and speed of the



DC motor.

R7 R10 = 10K

Port D pin PD7 and port B pin PB3





of IC2 drive the DC motor through


motor driver chip L293D. These pins


are connected to input pins 2 and 7 of



the L293D, and output pins 3 and 6 of



the L293D are connected to the motor

(M1) terminals.

PB3 and PD7 are PWM output


pins. PWM output on these pins

will vary the speed of motor. Also,


when PB3 generates PWM, PD7 is


off and the motor rotates in forward



(clockwise) direction, and when PD7



generates PWM, PB3 is off and mo-


Fig. 2: Circuit diagram of the auto-reversible DC motor control

tor rotates in reverse (anticlockwise)







Opto-interrupter sensor MOC7811


consists of an IR LED and a pho-







totransistor. The internal IR LED is

forward-biased to keep it continu-
ously on. A current-limiting resistor






(R1) of 330-ohm is used to limit the


current flowing through it. Output of



the phototransistor is given as input

330E 1K


to the base of transistor T1 that is




connected in switch mode. Final out-


put of the sensor circuit is taken from


collector of T1. This output is given



to external interrupt 0 input pin PD2

of ATmega16. electronics For You | June 2017 113

to xx message. After two seconds,
you will be prompted to enter the
required speed, when the LCD dis-
plays Set motor speed message.
You can set the speed from 10 to
100 per cent in steps of 10 by press-
ing up or down arrow keys. Once
the desired speed is set, press Enter.
The display now shows Speed is
set to xx% message.
Now, you will be prompted
to start motor M1 through Press
rotate message on LCD1. When
you press the rotate button (S4),
microcontroller IC2 starts applying
PWM on PD7, as per the selected
Fig. 3: Actual size PCB layout of the auto-reversible DC motor control speed, and the motor starts rotat-
ing anticlockwise.
LED1 turns on to indicate that
the motor is rotating in anticlock-
wise direction. PWM width is in-
creased to the desired speed in two
or three steps, so that the motor
speed increases step by step.
As the motor rotates one
revolution, a light thin metal strip
attached to the shaft of the motor
passes through the gap of the opto-
interrupter sensor module. This
interrupts IR light falling on the
phototransistor for a fraction of a
second. The phototransistor gives a
very short-duration positive pulse,
which is inverted by transistor
Fig. 4: Components layout of the PCB T1, and it gives a short-duration
negative pulse to pin PD2 of IC2.
SPDT switch S5 is connected to These two switches work as up and This negative pulse is registered as
port B pin PB0, so that when it is down arrow keys for the number of one count by IC2. In this way, IC2
connected to +5V it gives logic 1 in- rotations and speed, respectively. counts the number of interrupts as
put, and when connected to ground S1 is used to increase the num- the number of rotations of the motor
it gives logic 0 input to pin PB0. S6 ber of rotations by five, and S2 is and displays it on LCD1.
is used as the reset switch for IC2. used to decrease the number of rota- As the motor reaches the last six to
LED1 and LED2 are connected to tions by five. The minimum number ten rotations, PWM width is reduced
pins PB6 and PB7 of IC2 for anti- of rotations is ten. to decrease the speed. For the last two
clockwise and clockwise indications, Once the desired number of rota- to four rotations of the motor, its speed
respectively. tions is selected, press Enter (S3). The is reduced to 10 per cent to further
LCD display will show Rotations set slow down the motor.
Circuit operation As the motor completes the rota-
The motor is initially in stop posi- tions in anticlockwise direction, PWM
tion. When power is connected to efy Note is generated from PB3 pin. The motor
the circuit, Set rotations message The source code of starts rotating in clockwise direction.
is displayed on LCD1. Here, you this project is LED2 turns on. Again, motor speed
need to enter the required number of included in this is increased in steps to full speed and
motor rotations by pressing S1 or S2. months EFY DVD and then decreased in steps to the mini-
is also available for free
download at source.
114 June 2017 | electronics For You
mum as it completes the desired number of rotations.
At this time, if S5 is at position 1 (repeat) and input is
high at PB3 pin, the motor will continue to rotate in clock-
wise and anticlockwise directions at selected speeds. But
if S5 is at position 2 (single) and input is low, the motor
will stop after one rotation. After two seconds, you will be
prompted to enter the desired number of rotations for the
next operation, and the cycle will continue.

ATmega16 is the main building block of this project
because it performs the following tasks:
1. Takes user input from pushbutton switches to set
speed, rotations, run motor and so on.
2. Rotates the motor at the desired speed using
PWM technique.
3. Displays motor speed, rotations and various mes-
sages on the LCD.
4. Counts actual motor rotations.
5. Automatically reverses the motor when it com-
pletes the desired number of rotations.
6. Rotates the motor clockwise or anticlockwise in
repeat mode.
To implement all the above functionalities, the soft-
ware program is loaded into the internal ROM (flash) of
the microcontroller. The program (DCMotor_speed.c) is
written in C language and is compiled using AVR Simu-
lator 2 available with AVR Studio IDE software. The hex
code generated is used to burn into ATmega16 using a
suitable programmer. (ProgISP programmer was used at
EFY Lab for programming the hex code.)

Construction and testing

An actual-size, single-side PCB layout for the auto-
reversible DC motor control is shown in Fig. 3 and
its components layout in Fig. 4. After assembling the
circuit, enclose it in a suitable box.
Fix CON1 at the back side of the cabinet and S1
through S5 at the top side of the cabinet. Fix S6 on the
front side of the cabinet for resetting the circuit. Attach
a light thin metal strip to the shaft of motor in such a
way that when shaft rotates the metal strip should pass
through the slot (cut) of the MOC7811.
After assembling the circuit on the PCB, cross-
check for any wrong connections. Burn the program
(DCMotor_speed.hex) into the microcontroller using a
suitable programmer.
It is recommended to use a 40-pin IC base for AT-
mega16. Use a 5V DC power supply for the circuit and a
12V DC power supply for the DC motor.

Ashutosh M. Bhatt is M.Tech in embedded systems.

Currently, he is a lecturer of electronics and radio
engineering at Government Polytechnic, Jamnagar, Gujarat electronics For You | June 2017 115

Nid ria

Ultra-low-Power SenSor HUb

Using nRF24L01 Modules
Somnath Bera

resented here is an ATmega328P the receiver unit is a 2.4GHz trans- module are unused. A 470F capaci-
microcontroller-based ultra- ceiver suitable for ultra-low-power tor acts as the stabiliser, while the
low-power sensor hub using wireless applications. It is designed sensor (radio) module draws power
nRF24L01+ radio frequency (RF) for operation in ISM band (indus- on burst.
transceiver modules having transmit- trial, scientific and medical radio Parameters for radios in both the
ter and receiver units. band) of 2.400-2.4835GHz. transmitter and receiver modules are
The transmitter sends humidity The nRF24L01+PA and LNA set as follows:
and temperature values of a place to module used in the transmitter unit Data Rate = 250kBps
the receiver kept at a remote location is similar to nRF24L01+ but has RF_CH = 0x6c [108]
for display on an OLED module. built-in power amplifier (PA) and Model = nRF24L01+
The nRF24L01+ module used in low-noise amplifier (LNA) circuits, CRC Length = 16 bits
which help transmit the signal to a PA Power = PA_MAX
longer distance and achieve more RF_CH = 0x6c is the 108th
stable performance for industry- channel. Normally, the 2.4GHz band
standard applications. is divided into a variety of channels
The search for a low-power as shown in the table.
system started when some EFY The 108th channel is at around
readers questioned a DIY of mine, 2.508GHz, which is well above
saying that ATmega328P processor Wi-Fi LAN frequency and legal
would not sustain 3.3/5 volts. But it to use. You can set the module to
Fig. 1: nRF24L01+PA LNA module worked well because of the extreme operate on 250kBps data rate and
low power capability of at different channels. Chances of
Different Channels for 2.4Ghz BanD the ATmega processor. dissemination are fairly high at
More detail is provided 250kBps data rate. Interestingly,
Channel frequency (Mhz) Description
under extreme low almost all microwave ovens operate
0 to 82 2400 to 2482 Legal but noisy (conflicts with
power sub-head of at 2.4GHz. Therefore channels 0-82
Wi-Fi LAN, Bluetooth, etc)
this article. are very noisy. The script for this
83 to 99 2483 to 2499 Not legal
project is designed such that first all
100 2500 Licensed channel Circuit and working the radio details are printed on the
101 to 119 2501 to 2519 Legal, clear and above the Wi-Fi
The heart of the sensor serial terminal and then the data
hub is the low-power starts appearing.
120 to 125 2520 to 2525 Used in defense
ATmega328P, which Principle of operation. The AT-
runs at internal 4MHz mega328P processor is a low-power
ATmega328P: Active Supply Current vs Frequency (1-20MHz) speed. A DHT22 sen- version of ATmega328 chip. Its sup-
sor is used to pick up ply current vs frequency graph, as
14 5.5V
the relative humidity per the datasheet, is shown in Fig.
12 5.0V
and temperature of the 2. As can be seen, the processor is
area. Low-power radio quite tolerant from 1.8 volts up to
ICC (mA)

4.0V transceiver module 5.5 volts at 1MHz, 1.8V, 25C.

3.3V nRF24L01+PA LNA The processor works in active
2.7V (Fig. 1) transmitter mode at 0.2A, power-down mode
1.8V transmits the signal. at 0.1A and power-save mode at
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 You can add more 0.75A (including 32kHz RTC).
Frequency (MHz) sensors as lots of GPIO Getting a 0.2A current for deep-
Fig. 2: Supply current vs frequency pins of the transceiver sleep power-down mode, however,

116 June 2017 | electronics For You

of 1A, but it will not wake up on
FOR NRF24L01+ PA LNA S2 its ownunless you give it a shock
through interrupter (0) from pin 4 of
SCK Vcc AVcc
PC6/RESET AVREF 21 ATmega328P, momentarily making
it ground.
3 27
CON2 4
However, in this project we want
R2 5
it to send signals periodically (once
C1 10u,16V 10K 6 24 every 42 minutes). Therefore we
470u S1 9 23
PB6/XTAL1 PC0 dont set the WDT off. The sleep

GND 10 19
11 18
current will be more than 30A but
PD6 PB3/MOSI 17 the operation will be periodic on
GND C3 13 PB2 16 its own. The WDT clock is not very
R1 PD7
470u 14 15
10K 16V
precise as compared to other meth-
3V 3.7V
ods of time keeping. However, at
low power, the WDT clock does not
differ much from real-time clocks.
Fig. 3: Transmitter circuit The entire operation is accom-
plished with the help of a library file
CON3 called lowpower.h, which can be
FOR NRF24L01+ S4 downloaded from the following link:
Vcc AVcc 20
CSN CE 1 21
PC6/RESET AVREF blog/2011/07/04/lightweight-low-
2 PC5/SCL 28
3 PD1/TXD PC4/SDA 27 power-arduino-library/
Transmitter unit
4 PD2 PC3 26
C5 5
10u,16V R3 PD3 ATMEGA328P PC2 25
C4 6 24
10K PD4 PC1
Fig. 3 shows the transmitter cir-
470u S3 9 23
10 PB7/XTAL2 PB5/SCK 19 cuit. It can be powered by a 3.7V
D2 SCL 11
PD5 PB4/MISO 18 Li-ion cell or two 1.5V pencil cells.
1N4007 12 17
SDA PD6 PB3/MOSI Theoretically, the devices used here
GND 13
PD7 PB2 16
14 15
are capable of running at up to 1.8
BATT.2 8 GND AGND 22 volts, but at less than 2 volts the
3V 3.7V nRF24L01+PA&LNA radio stops
working and at less than 2.8 volts
the DHT22 sensor will not function.
Fig. 4: Receiver circuit Small capacitors are added to the
supply bus of the DHT22 and the
is tricky. At the same time, getting tion, we divide the 8MHz frequency nRF24L01 for stability. Vcc supply for
around 1A in deep-sleep mode internally by commands. At 3.3V the DHT22 is taken from port PD4
is easy, with the help of the chips operation, power consumption goes (pin 6) of ATmega328P, whereas the
watchdog timer (WDT) and brown- down as follows: nRF24L01+ is directly connected
out detection fuse. clock_div_1-3.1 mA clock_div_2 - 1.8 mA with 3.7V supply. To reduce power
First, turn off the brown-out clock_div_4-1.1 mA clock_div_8 - 750 A consumption by the radio in idle
detection fuse so that low-voltage clock_div_16-550 A cock_div_32 - 393 A state, we use powerDown( ) com-
operation becomes possible without clock_div_64-351 A clock_div_128 - 296 A mand of the radio in the code.
resetting. As the voltage goes down, clock_div_256 - 288 A Before burning the code
so does the current (refer the graph To reduce the frequency of (nrf24l01_tx6.ino) into a fresh AT-
in Fig. 2). operation, heres a very simple com- mega328P chip, burn the bootloader
Interestingly, as the frequency mand to use inside setup( ): code for the inbuilt internal 8MHz
goes down, so does the power // slow clock to divide by 256 clock. For details, see under AVR
consumption. That means if the clock_prescale_set (clock_div_256); programmer sub-head.
chip is designed to work on a lower As per Fig. 2, at 4MHz, the chip
resonating frequency, the power will continue to work off 1.8V supply. Receiver unit
consumption will further reduce. If the WDT is turned off, the chip Fig. 4 shows the receiver circuit.
To reduce the frequency of opera- will get sleep current to the tune The nRF24L01+ radio is designed

118 June 2017 | electronics For You

to operate between 1.9-3.6 volts one yourself as described under The receiver draws 32mA current
only. Connecting the module to 5 Arduino as AVR Programmer at for ten seconds and then sleeps for
volts may damage it permanently; it 32 seconds on 8mA current.
overheats in case of reverse con- electronics-projects/arduino-avr- Heres the calculation:
nection or high-voltage connection. programmer Current consumption (transmitt
Connect a small capacitor (say, This small setup requires an er)=(27)+(400.030)=15.2mA
10F) between Vcc and GND leads Arduino board, a ZIF (zero-insertion seconds in 42 seconds
of nRF24L01+ radio. Pin details of force) socket, a blank ATmega328P Therefore, in 1 second = 15.2/
nRF24L01+ (shown in Fig. 5) and and a few passive components. 42 mA seconds=0.3619mA seconds
nRF24L01+PA and LNA modules With these, you can create as much In 1 minute = 0.361960
are the same. Arduino as you want on the fly. In 1 hour = 0.36196060 mA
The nRF24L01+ module is First, burn the bootloader for seconds
connected to an I2C 64x128 OLED the internal 8MHz oscillator of In 24 hours=0.36196060
through an ATmega328P. The the ATmega328P chip. To do this, 24 mA seconds
humidity and temperature data in any latest Arduino IDE, select =(0.3619606024)/3600
received by the module is displayed ToolsBoardsArduino LilyPad and mA hours
on the OLED. You can also see then burn the Arduino bootloader =8.68571mAh
this data on the serial monitor of onto the ATmega328P chip. LilyPad On a 3.7-volt, 150mAh battery it
Arduino IDE. All the nRF24L01+ is the simplest Arduino board on
Parts List
radios are capable of transmitting internal 8MHz clock. In case the
six channels simultaneously. Unique chip is already burnt as Arduino IC1, IC2 - ATmega328P microcontroller
pipe addresses or IDs selected here Uno (16MHz clock), it will not burn - nRF24L01+PA LNA 2.4GHz
transceiver module
for both the transmitter and receiver the 8MHz internal clock bootloader, - nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz
modules are 0xE8E8F0F0E1LL. unless the 16MHz quartz is con- transceiver module
- DHT22/AM2302 temperature
nected to it. Once the internal 8MHz
AVR programmer clock bootloader is burnt, remove the
and relative humidity sensor
To make this project work, you need 16MHz quartz and proceed to burn - 4-pin 2.44cm I2C OLED
an AVR programmer. You can make the main sketch. D1, D2 - 1N4007 rectifier diode
Resistors (all 1/4-watt, 5% carbon):
Extreme low power R1-R3 - 10-kilo-ohm
VCC CSN Capacitors:
A small lithium-ion button cell is C1, C3, C4 - 470F, 16V electrolytic
good enough to run the small sensor C2, C5 - 10F, 16V electrolytic
GND hub and transmit signals up to 500 CON1, CON3 - 8-pin berg strip female
CE metres away for more than 25 days connector
non-stop. On a 3.7V cell, the trans- CON2, CON4 - 4-pin berg strip female
MISO mitter takes just 6-7mA current for S1, S3 - On/off toggle switch
MOSI two seconds and then sleeps for 40 S2, S4 - Tactile switch
IRQ BATT.1, BATT.2 - 3V-3.7V Li-ion battery
seconds drawing 30A current. The - 28-pin IC socket
Fig. 5: Pin details of nRF24L01+ module battery runs for weeks together.

Fig. 6: Actual-size PCB layout of the transmitter Fig. 7: Components layout for the PCB in Fig. 6

120 June 2017 | electronics For You

the voltage drops
by 0.7 volt and
the radios start
working again.

and testing
An actual-size
PCB layout for
the transmitter
circuit is shown
in Fig. 6 and
its components
Fig. 8: Actual-size PCB layout of the receiver layout in Fig.
7. PCB layout
for the receiver
circuit is shown
in Fig. 8 and
its components
layout in Fig. 9.
After assembling
the circuits on
respective PCBs,
enclose these in
suitable cabinets
and place them
some distance
Fig. 9: Components layout for the PCB in Fig. 8 Connect the
battery to the
will last for 150/8.68571 = 17 days transmitter unit and measure the
Current consumption (receiver) current. The current withdrawn is
is {(1032)+(328.0)}/42 = 6-7 mA while transmitting for two
13.714mA seconds seconds and 30A for the remaining
=(13.714606024)/3600 40 seconds. For periodicity, we used
=329.143mAh the WDT of the MCU, which is not
On a 3.7-volt, 150mAh button very precise. It provides five incre-
cell, it will last for about 150/329= mental steps of 250ms, 500ms, 2, 4
27 minutes. and 8 seconds. That means, it will
Display consumes more current. transmit once every 58+2=42
Note that nRF24L01 radios seconds. The DHT22 sensor requires
operate off at maximum 3.6 volts. a minimum of 2.8 volts to operate.
Sometimes, when the Li-ion battery Therefore put a fairly big capacitor
is fully charged, the voltage may go (100-470F) across its Vcc and GND
as high as 4.01 volts, so the radio pins. Else, you will get temperature
may not work. Put a diode in series and relative humidity values as
with the battery connection so that zero. The sensor takes two seconds
between readings.

efy Note Somnath Bera is an avid user

of open source software.
The source code of Professionally, he is a thermal
this project is power expert and works as
included in this additional general manager
at NTPC Ltd
months EFY DVD and
is also available for free
download at source. electronics For You | June 2017 121
S.C Di
iv e

3W/6W Audio Amplifier

Using TDA2003
Raj K. GoRKhali

his is a simple audio-frequency 6V battery or a
(AF) amplifier using the 2.2u,16V
S1 6V DC adaptor.
popular audio amplifier IC 0.1u 5 Use of a suitable
TDA2003. The IC comes in a 5-pin 1
IC1 470u,16V
BATT.1 heatsink is recom-
TO-220B package. 10K TDA2003
4 6V
mended for IC1.
Circuit and working CONTROL
220E 0.1u Construction
Fig. 1 shows the circuit diagram
and testing
C3 R4 6W
of the 3W/6W AF amplifier built AUDIO 220u R3 An actual-size,
around IC TDA2003 (IC1), an 8-ohm, 16V single-side PCB
6-watt speaker (LS1) and a few for 3W/6W audio
other components. amplifier us-
The amplifier IC delivers 3W out- Fig. 1: Circuit diagram of 3W to 6W audio amplifier using TDA2003 ing TDA2003 is
put power using a 6V, 500mA power shown in Fig. 2
supply, and 6W output power using and its components layout in
a 12V, 500mA power supply, with an Fig. 3. After assembling the
8-ohm, 6-watt speaker. circuit on the PCB, enclose it
Pin 1 of TDA2003 is the input in a suitable box.
terminal, which is connected to Solder TDA2003 and other
ground through a 100-kilo-ohm resis- components using a 25W
tor. The audio frequency (or audio soldering iron. Use a 2-pin
signal) is fed to pin 1 of IC1 through connector for input and out-
the combination of a 10-kilo-ohm put connectors, to make your
potmeter (VR1) and capacitors C1 and Fig. 2: Actual-size PCB layout of 3W to 6W audio
prototype safe and clean.
C2. Potmeter VR1 is used as volume amplifier using TDA2003 For testing the circuit,
control. Pin 3 of IC1 is connected to connect a 6V battery to the
ground. Pin 4 is the output terminal, circuit. Also, connect an
8-ohm, 6-watt speaker to LS1.
Parts List
If a 12V DC supply is
IC1 - TDA2003 audio amplifier used, voltage ratings of C1,
Resistors (all 1/4-watt, 5% carbon): C3 and C5 should be 25V or
R1 - 100-kilo-ohm
R2 - 220-ohm
R3 - 2.2-ohm Take a metal screwdriver
R4 - 1-ohm
VR1 - 10-kilo-ohm potmeter
and gently touch at input
Capacitors: pin 1 of IC1. If your circuit is
C1 - 2.2F, 16V electrolytic wired properly, you will hear
C2, C4 - 0.1F ceramic disk
C3 - 220F, 16V electrolytic
Fig. 3: Components layout for the PCB a humming sound from the
C5 - 470F, 16V electrolytic speaker. Else, vary potmeter
Miscellaneous: which is connected to one terminal VR1 to increase the volume until hum-
CON1 - 2-pin connector
LS1 - 8-ohm, 6-watt loudspeaker of the speaker through a 470F, 16V ming sound is heard from the speaker.
S1 - On/off switch capacitor (C5). It is also connected Now your circuit is ready to use.
Batt.1 - 6V battery
- 2-pin terminal connector for to ground through a 0.1F capacitor
battery (C4) and a 1-ohm resistor (R4). Raj K. Gorkhali is a regular
- Heat-sink for TDA2003
- Audio signal source
Pin 5 of IC1 is connected to +6V contributor to EFY and has
a keen interest in designing
- 6V/12V, 500mA DC power power supply via switch S1. Power electronic circuits
supply (optional)
supply can be provided through a

122 June 2017 | electronics For You

Dw .C.

Active Ac AnAlogue Probe
Petre tzv Petrov

resented here is a low-cost,
dual-channel, active AC ana- VR1
C3 R5 C6
logue probe. It is suitable for 100u
10K 10K C4 C5 220u
oscilloscopes, multimeters and other 25V VR2 0.1u 0.33u
analogue measurement equipment. 10K

When experimenting with AM D

receivers for long, medium and R10
J1 R3 G G
short waves, users need a high- J2 10M T1
impedance analogue probe with PN4393
S PN4393 S R11 CON3
input capacitance below 20pF. The R4
10M 1M FOR
required input impedance from the OUTPUT1
R1 1K
probe at low frequency is usually R12
C7 220E
one mega-ohm or above. CON1
C1 0.1u
Most of the low-cost passive FOR 0.33u
INPUT1 0.1u
C8 R8
probes for oscilloscopes have input 470E
0.33u 470E
R2 1K
capacitance well above 100pF. If C10
you include the input capacitance C2
0.33u R13
CON2 0.33u R7 FOR
of the oscilloscope, the total ca- FOR
J3 470E J4 R9
pacitance becomes even higher. INPUT2

The bandwidths of these low-cost

passive probes are usually limited Fig. 1: Circuit diagram of dual-channel, active AC analogue probe
to 1-2MHz. These cannot be con-
nected in parallel with L-C networks pacitance of the probe. With careful
Parts List
in AM receivers because that will implementation and use of appro-
change the parameters of these priate JFETs, you can obtain input
T1, T2 - PN4393 JFET
networks significantly. capacitance below 20pF. Resistors (all 1/4-watt, 5% carbon):
Transistors T1 and T2 should R1, R2 - 1-kilo-ohm
Circuit and working have low noise level and low input R3, R4 - 10-mega-ohm
R5 - 10-kilo-ohm
Fig. 1 shows the circuit diagram of capacitance. So you can choose from R6-R9 - 470-ohm
the dual-channel, active AC ana- transistors like PN4391, PN4392 and R10, R12 - 220-ohm
logue probe. It is built around two PN4393 as these have input capaci- R11, R13 - 1-mega-ohm
VR1, VR2 - 10-kilo-ohm preset
n-channel PN4393 JFET transistors tance of typically 14pF. You can also Capacitors:
(T1 and T2) and a few resistors use transistors J201, J202, J203, C1, C2, C5, C8,
and capacitors. 2N5457, 2N5458 and BF245 (with C10 - 0.33F ceramic disk
C3 - 100F, 25V electrolytic
Most of the oscilloscopes come 1.5dB noise figure). High-frequency C4, C7, C9 - 0.1F ceramic disk
with two channels, so you need JFETs in small cases are preferred C6 - 220F, 25V electrolytic
a dual-channel active probe with but these are costly. Miscellaneous:
CON1-CON4 - 2-pin connector
common ground and common The voltage between the drain
CON5 - 2-pin terminal connector
power supply. and the source of T1 and T2 is J1-J4 - Shorting jumper
At low frequency, the input adjusted to around half of the power - 9V DC power supply/
9V battery
resistance of the probe, determined supply, using resistors R6 through
mainly by resistors R3 and R4, R9 and jumpers J3 and J4. The cir-
is around 10-mega-ohm. At high cuitry using resistor R5, presets VR1 to the gates of the JFETs. These
frequency, the input impedance is and VR2, and capacitor C3 is used components are not mandatory. If
determined by the total input ca- to adjust the offset voltage applied you choose not to use these, close electronics for you | June 2017 123

jumpers J1 and J2, and The probe can be implemented
connect resistors R3 and R4 on a small PCB. During testing and
to ground. adjustment, the inputs of the probe
The gain of each of the can be connected or soldered to L-C
channels is slightly below networks using very short (3-4cm
unity, but that is not impor- long) conductors.
tant in most of the cases. Power the circuit using a dry
Most oscilloscopes produce battery or rechargeable battery. The
a square wave reference circuit does not require any special
signal, which can be used adjustment, so you can start using it
for measurement of the gain straightaway after assembly. If you
Fig. 2: Actual-size PCB layout of dual-channel active and evaluation of the probe. use jumpers J3 and J4, adjust VR1
AC analogue probe and VR2 for the best performance of
Construction and testing the probe.
An actual-size PCB layout After proper implementation, the
for dual-channel active AC probe can have bandwidths above
analogue probe is shown in 10MHz with a signal generator hav-
Fig. 2 and its components ing low output impedance.
layout in Fig. 3. After as-
sembling the circuit on the
PCB, enclose it in a suitable Petre Tzv Petrov was a researcher
and assistant professor in
cabinet with connectors Technical University of Sofia
CON1 and CON2 affixed on (Bulgaria) and expert-lecturer in
OFPPT(Casablance), Kingdom of
the front side and connec- Morocco. Now he is working as
tors CON3 and CON4 on the an electronics engineer in the
private sector in Bulgaria
Fig. 3: Components layout for the PCB rear side of the cabinet.

124 June 2017 | electronics for you

Do-it-yourself Dw .C.

Electronic Tone GeneraTor SySTem

Pamarthi KanaKraja

t would be cool to build an tiple tones with the help of Arduino Tone key switches (S1 through S7)
electronic tone generator system software programming. are connected using a resistor lad-
yourself. Described here is a You can see how the device works, der. The resistors (R1 through R6) are
small tone generator based on pulse- including the menu of preset musical placed in a sequential order, connecting
width modulation (PWM) concept in tones, in the authors prototype shown each switch to 5V power supply. Resis-
which a piezo buzzer generates mul- in Fig. 1. There are five musical tones tor values (in ohms) used are 100k,
already programmed in this project. 10k, 4.7k, 1k, 470-ohm and 220-ohm.
Technically, tones four and five in this S1 is directly connected to 5V power
project are the same, which are left to supply. One terminal of switch S2 is
readers to create better ones. connected to 5V supply through R1 and
Writing a musical code was not the other terminal to pin A0 of Board1.
the goal of the project. Basic coding Switches S3 through S7 are also con-
for main loops and individual tone nected to analogue pin A0 of Arduino
loops is easy to adapt to your own Uno board in a similar manner.
ideas, so feel free to change the code The Arduino program (tone_
as per your requirement. generator.ino) defines the musical
notes and frequencies associated with
Circuit and working each tone key. Change the frequency
Circuit diagram of the electronic tone values or add additional switches to
generator is shown in Fig. 2. It is based fully customise your project.
on Arduino Uno board (BOARD1), LCD screen. Connect the LCD1
liquid crystal display (LCD1), transistor pins according to the circuit diagram
BC547 (T1), a buzzer (PZ1) and a few shown in Fig. 2. Resistor R11 con-
Fig. 1: Authors prototype other components. nected at pin 3 of LCD1 is used as the
contrast control of the screen. Pin 15
of LCD1 is connected to 5V power sup-
ply and pin 16 is connected to ground
for backlight on the LCD screen. LCD1
BUZZER VDD A/VEE is configured in 4-bit mode. Its pins
2 15
D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1 D0 EN R/W RS
D4, D5, D6 and D7, register select (RS)
14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4
R10 and enable (EN) are connected to pins
9V S8 10K
T1 5, 4, 3, 2, 12 and 11, respectively, of
BC547 10K the Arduino Uno R3 board. Read/write
S1 R8
(R/W) pin is connected to ground.
100E Connect one terminal of menu
R1 220E
switch S8 to 5V and the other termi-

TX 1
RX 0

R2 470E S3 ARDUINO DIGITAL nal to ground through R10. Also, con-

nect it to pin 7 of the Arduino.

R3 1K S4 Glowing of LED1 indicates that you
are in Menu mode and the tone keys





R4 4.7K


have been disabled. LED1 turns on

R5 10K S6
BOARD1 once S8 is pressed. Connect the anode
ARDUINO UNO (positive) of LED1 to pin 6 of Arduino
R6 100K S7
Uno and cathode to ground through R8.
10K To integrate the piezo buzzer
(PZ1) through transistor T1, connect
GND the base of the transistor to Arduinos
Fig. 2: Circuit diagram of the tone generator system pin 8 through R7. Connect piezo electronics for you | June 2017 125

efy Note
The source code of
Do-it-yourself this project is
included in this
Parts List months EFY DVD and
Semiconductors: is also available for free
BOARD1 - Arduino Uno R3 download at source.
T1 - BC547 npn transistor
LED1 - 5mm LED
Resistors (all 1/4-watt, 5% carbon):
R1 - 220-ohm
R2 - 470-ohm sical tones: Super Mario Bros Theme
R3, R11 - 1-kilo-ohm song, Super Mario Bros Underworld
R4 - 4.7-kilo-ohm
R5, R7, R9, R10 - 10-kilo-ohm song, Jeopardy Theme song, and
R6 - 100-kilo-ohm the fourth and fifth are same modi-
R8 - 100-ohm
fied version of Jeopardy Theme song
CON1 - 2-pin terminal connector generated for you to modify.
PZ1 - Piezo buzzer
S1-S8 - Tactile switch
To return to tone keys, cycle
LCD1 - 162 LCD module through the remaining tones in the
- 9V battery
- 9V DC adaptor
menu. Once LCD1 screen is blank and
LED1 is off, press each key (S1 to S7)
buzzers negative terminal to the col- to generate unique beep tones.
lector of T1 and positive terminal to
9V battery. Construction and testing
An actual-size, single-side PCB for the
Software Fig. 3: Actual-size PCB layout of tone generator
system electronic tone generator is shown in
Circuit operation is done using the Fig. 3 and its components layout in
software program (tone_generator. Fig. 4. After assembling the circuit,
ino) loaded into the internal memory enclose it in a suitable box.
of Arduino Uno R3. The program Fix CON1, LED1 and S1 through
implements all required functionali- S8 on the front panel of the box.
ties including handling user inputs Connect the 9V using a 9V adaptor
with the help of switching interface. to Arduino Uno board and 9V battery
The program is written in Arduino for PZ1.
programming language. Arduino IDE
1.6.4 is used to compile and upload Testing procedure
the program (called sketch). After assembling the circuit, upload
The sketch begins by import- the program into Arduino Uno board.
ing LiquidCrystal.h and MyTones.h Connect 9V adaptor to Arduino Uno.
libraries, so you can reference various LCD1 is blank and LED1 remains off.
items from these later on in the code. Tone switches produce individual
Next, the code starts by defining tones when each switch is pressed
a name for S8, inputs versus outputs, momentarily. Press S8 momentarily
and setting the frequency values for and tone switches will get disabled.
each of the seven pushbutton keys When you press S8 again, LCD1
(switches S1 through S7). Fig. 4: Components layout of the PCB shows the message: Which song
A new tab is created for each indi- would you like to play? When you
vidual tone in an effort to keep the code button to cycle through the pre- press any tone key, the first tone
organised and easier to understand. If sent tones, and press any key (S1 starts playing.
you wish to delete or add more tones, through S7) to start playing the tone On further pressing S8, the next
make sure to change the code in the displayed on the LCD1 screen. tone will be displayed on the LCD1.
main program/sketch as well. The LCD1 screen will show the When you press any tone key again,
Main loop. The program begins tone that is currently playing and the second tone starts playing. There-
with the LED1 turned off, and all then return to the same point in the after, repeat the same process till the
tone keys (S1-S7) active. Once the menu once the tone has finished last tone is played. Press S8 again and
loop detects that S8 has been pressed, playing. From there, you can either the LCD1 will be blank.
it disables S1 through S7, and turns replay or continue to play next tone
the LED1 on to indicate that you are available in the list. Double-click S8 Pamarthi Kanakaraja is assistant
professor at Usha Rama College
in Menu mode. to restart the menu from the begin- of Engineering and Technology,
Accessing the menu. Press Menu ning. Here, we have created five mu- Andhra Pradesh

126 June 2017 | electronics for you

Do-it-yourself Sa
Th ni

PC-Based OsCillOsCOPe
Using Arduino
Ramalingam Balaji

scilloscopes are an essential
tool for electronics hobbyists
and professionals to verify


TX 1
RX 0
that their designs would work as ex- ARDUINO DIGITAL

pected. PC-based oscilloscopes score


over standalone oscilloscopes due to TO USB



their compact size, low cost and abil-



ity to do offline analysis.
Here we describe how you can BOARD1
make your own oscilloscope at a LAPTOP
very low cost using your PC and an D2
Arduino board as the hardware for 1N4148 R1 1N4148
signal acquisition. You can use this
oscilloscope to capture frequency sig- CON1
nals up to 5kHz. The Arduino board, INPUT

the heart of the oscilloscope, reads Fig. 1: Circuit of the PC-based oscilloscope using Arduino
the values from its inbuilt analogue-
to-digital converter (ADC) and
pushes these to the PC via USB port.
We have provided here an Arduino
sketch, which you can compile and
load directly to the Arduino. You also
need to install an executable file or
application in your Windows PC. This
application works as the front-end to
plot input signals as waveforms on
your computer screen.
The Arduino board consists of
Atmels AVR microcontroller, which
can be 8-, 16- or 32-bit based on the
type of the board. For this project you
can use any variant of the Arduino as
hardware. The AVR microcontroller Fig. 2: Message on the screen when the PC-based scope is run for the first time
has an inbuilt ADC. In the project we
use pin A0 to capture the input signal. loscope is limited by the baud rate Fig. 1. The Arduino board connects
The captured input signal is fed to of the UART. The Arduino sketch is to your laptop or PC via the USB
UART via UART-USB converter in the coded to read the ADC using ISR, cable. Any external power supply
Arduino to the PC. A virtual COM and the UART baud rate is config- for the board is not required as the
port is created by Windows whenever ured at 115200, which sends data at board is powered by the USB only.
the Arduino connects to the PC. A 85s intervals. This gives an effec- Connect switching diodes (D1 and
Windows-based application developed tive sampling rate of 12kSa/s. D2) as input protection circuit to
using NI LabWindows opens up the pin A0 of the Arduinos ADC. You
virtual COM port and starts plotting Construction need Arduino sketch (pcscope.ino)
signals visually using Graph libraries. The PC scope set-up is quite simple and PC software or executable file
The sampling speed of the oscil- and straightforward as shown in (PCScope.exe) in order to use this electronics for you | June 2017 127

circuit. Install PCScope. which is much faster
exe program (developed than the UART data trans-
by author) in your Win- fer rate.
dows PC and open the PC software. As
application. Next, open stated earlier, the front-
the Arduino sketch from end PC software for
Arduino IDE and compile signal acquisition and
the sketch. Connect the processing is developed
Arduino board to the PC using NI LabWindows.
and flash the sketch into The serial port data is
the microcontroller on captured through Arduino
the Arduino board. at regular time intervals
The ADC of Arduino Fig. 3: Message after the hardware successfully connects to the PC and plotted as a graph
can measure voltages up on the screen using the
to 5V. So it is advisable Plot function library. The
to add a small protection display points along X-
circuit to limit the input axis are calculated based
voltage to 5V and clamp on the user-defined time
the negative voltage. A scale. The Y-axis range
low-power, fast-switching is set using the voltage
diode like 1N4148 can be selection control.
used to protect the input
pin. Connect a 10-kilo- Testing
ohm resistor in series After installing the PC
with the input. It will scope application, click
work as a current limiter Connect button on your
in case the input goes PC screen to connect to
beyond 5V. Additional Fig. 4: Test signal of 525Hz square waveform captured on the screen the Arduino board (Fig.
voltage dividers can be 2). When the board gets
used in case you need to connected to your PC, you
measure voltages higher will get a confirmation
than 5V. message for three seconds
as shown in Fig. 3.
Software Feed any squarewave
Arduino sketch. The input of up to 5kHz at
sampling rate of this PC CON1. The software must
scope application is lim- plot its output waveform
ited by the rate at which on your PC. Square and
the data is sent to the PC. triangular output wave-
Baud rate of 115000 gives forms of 525Hz and
time interval of around 530Hz captured on the
85 s. It is important to screen during testing are
get the ADC signals much Fig. 5: Test signal of 530Hz triangular waveform captured on the screen shown in Figs 4 and 5,
before this time to get re- respectively. Similarly,
liable data plotting. The sketch reads the prescaler to 16. With this, you you can feed rectangular or pulse
pin A0 of Board1 and sends to UART get ADC conversion every 20s, inputs (but not sine waves) to get
at 115200 baud rate. At this speed, output waveforms.
bytes of the input are pushed at time
intervals of around 85s.
By default, the ADC configuration efy Note The author is a program
The source code of manager at Robert Bosch,
of the Arduino gives samples every Bengaluru. He has filed several
this project is patents in automotive electronics
116s. So here the ADC is configured included in this and published papers in SAE
with additional lines of code to get months EFY DVD and conferences and several
international magazines
samples faster than 85s by setting is also available for free
download at source.
128 June 2017 | electronics for you
Do-it-yourself Sa
Th ni

Image CompressIon Using

Discrete Cosine Transform Technique
Dr AhlAD KumAr

resented here is a MATLAB- to take place. The software performs are zero with very few non-zero co-
based program for image com- this process automatically as you efficients. Typically used techniques
pression using discrete cosine send the file to one of your friends. for transforming the spatial domain
transform technique. It works for However, this process is visible only to sparse domain include wavelet,
both coloured and grayscale images. when the file to be transmitted is curvelet, singular value decompo-
Over the last few years, messaging large in size, such as the 5MB video sition (SVD) and discrete cosine
apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Skype in this example.
have become increasingly popular. Image compression is the task of
These applications let users send and representing an image with mini-
receive text messages and videos. mum number of coefficients so that
All of us make extensive use of these the total memory occupied by the
applications without knowing what compressed image is much less than
actually goes behind the scene in the original image. With this reduc-
transmitting high-quality images and tion of memory requirement for high-
text. This article dwells on the image/ definition image, the transmission
video compression concept that is of these images onto the transmit-
being used by nearly all the Internet- ting medium is much easier than
based messaging applications. without compression.
Fig. 1 shows screenshots of the In order to achieve the task of
authors mobile as it compresses the image compression, it has to be rep-
video using WhatsApp software. The resented in a domain where high-def-
application performs compression in inition images/videos are sparse. The
two steps: (a) preparing mode and two existing domains widely used in
(b) sending mode. The sending mode digital signal processing are spatial
basically deals with transmission of domain and frequency domain.
data stream onto the communica- The third domain widely used
tion channel. So here we will restrict nowadays in the field of image
ourselves to discussing the typical processing is sparse domain. In this
image/video compression algorithm domain, mostly the coefficients are
that runs behind the preparing mode. sparse in nature, i.e., most of them
The main job of the (b)
image/video compres-
sion algorithm is to
reduce the size of the
file to be transmitted.
For example, in the case
of a 5MB video file, the
image/video compres-
sion software running
behind the preparing
mode in WhatsApp
software makes the video
smaller by up to 1MB, (c)
thus saving the memory Fig. 1: Compression process in mobile using WhatsApp software: Fig. 2: (a) Original image, (b) Spatial domain
space for transmission (a) Application in preparing mode, (b) Application in sending mode (histogram) and (c) Sparse representation electronics for you | June 2017 129

Here, the compression ratios for
the images shown in Figs 4(b)-(d)
are given as 5, 6 and 7, respectively.
It can be seen, as the compression
ratio increases from left to right, the
blocking artifacts tend to appear in
(a) (b) (c) (d) an image. This can be clearly seen
Fig. 3: (a) Original image and (b)-(d) compressed versions using DCT from Fig. 4(d).

Testing procedure
The program (code.m) can be used
for colour and grayscale images both.
Tulip.jpeg colour image and camera-
man.jpeg grayscale images were used
during the testing of this program.
You need to select one image (either
(a) (b) (c) (d)
colour or grayscale) at a time.
Fig. 4: (a) Original image and (b)-(d) compressed images 1. Install MATLAB R2013a or later
version in your system. Open the
transform (DCT). ing concept behind the operation dis- code.m file
The concept of sparse domain is cussed in Fig. 1. Figure 3(a) shows a 2. If colour image is to be com-
illustrated in Fig. 2 in a simple way. flower image that occupies 2.3MB of pressed, line number 11 of the
Fig. 2(a) shows a high-definition storage space. Using the DCT-based code.m file has to be uncommented.
original image that occupies 2.3MB image compression algorithm, we It is already uncommented for the
of space. obtained compressed images of sizes given program
In spatial domain, this image is 392kB, 274kB and 223kB as shown 3. If grayscale image is to be
represented as a matrix of numbers, in Figs 3(b)-(d), respectively. It can compressed, line number 14 of the
which are basically image-intensity be seen, as the size of an image is code.m file has to be uncommented.
levels. The plot of intensity levels, compressed, artifacts tend to occur 4. Once you have selected either
known as histogram of the image, near the edges of the image. This step 2 or step 3, select Run command
is shown in Fig. 2(b). It can be is clearly visible in Fig. 3(d) where button. Then the program prompts
observed from Fig. 2(b) that these significant artifacts are visible. you to enter the threshold value.
intensity levels vary across a large The compression ratio is defined After entering this value followed by
range from 0 to 255. However, if as: pressing Enter key, you need to wait
you transform the same image using K=Uncompressed size of an im- for some time till the compressed im-
wavelet, curvelet, DCT or SVD do- age/Compressed size of an image age pops up on the screen.
main, you get the plot of respective For the images in Figs. 3(b)-(d), 5. For a coloured image, choose
coefficients as shown in Fig. 2(c). the value of K is obtained as 5, 8 and any one threshold value (e.g., 5, 50
It can be observed that the same 10, respectively. or 500) for generating images shown
image can be represented using It can be observed from Fig. 3 in Figs 3(b)-(d), respectively.
fewer coefficients as most of the that the images obtained after com- 6. For grayscale images, choose
coefficients in these domains are pression occupied less space and yet one threshold value (e.g., 10, 60 or
nearly zero. Hence, discarding these were good enough for visual inspec- 100) for generating images shown in
nearly-zero coefficients and retaining tion. Similar analysis is performed on Figs 4(b)-(d), respectively.
only non-zero coefficients reduces grayscale image of a cameraman and
the memory space required to store the results are shown in Fig. 4.
these coefficients, which, in turn, Dr Ahlad Kumar is currently doing research
helps in compressing the image. in Concordia University, Montreal Canada in
the field of image processing.
Here, we use DCT for image com- His area of interest is in the
pression. Please note, it is not known efy Note field of image restoration. He
The source code of received his PhD degree from
what algorithm WhatsApp software University of Malaya, Malaysia
is utilising for compressing its im- this project is in 2016. He is gold medalist
ages and videos. Our intention in included in this for his M.Tech from ABV-IIITM
months EFY DVD and in 2007
this article is to present the underly-
is also available for free
download at source.
130 June 2017 | electronics for you
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144 June 2017 | electronics For You

EFY Magazine Attractions During 2017
Month tEchnologY Focus ElEctronics DEsign MArkEt survEYs

January Computer Vision Lowering Power Consumption Electronic Component Manufacturing

February Smart Fabrics Improving Wireless Signal Performance Electronics Manufacturing Services

March Exciting Technologies Powering Building More Reliable Printed Circuit Boards Industry Outlook for 2017-18
the IoT

April Virtual and Augmented Reality Developer Boards: DIY and Hobbyist Applications Printed Circuit Boards

May Smart Robotics Fight of the Processors: Ultra-Low-Voltage Computing The Internet of Things
(Mobile and Portable Devices)

June Artificial Intelligence How to Get the Best Design for Manufacturing Strategic Electronics

July 5G and Beyond Developer Boards: Industrial Applications Mobile Handset and Telecom Device Manufacturing

August 3D Printing Improving Thermal Dissipation LED Lighting

September Industrial IoT Which Input Technologies Should You Use Solar

October The Brains of Mobile Devices Ruggedising Hardware Electronics Manufacturing Equipment
(Both SMT and Non-SMT Categories)

November Security of the IoT Fight of the Processors: High-Performance Computing Test and Measurement

December Implantable and Edible Electronics Which Output Technologies Should You Use Materials and Chemicals electronics for you | June 2017 145