Stellaris launchpad driven audible chirp sonar

Sonar based detection is commonly used in many areas. Starting with animals – bats and dolphins use sonar for navigation and hunting. People also use this technology in many areas like in car parking systems (parktronics), in robot navigation. High frequency ultrasound is used in medicine for visualization and anomaly detection. Ultrasound has very wide practical use as it is non-destructive way of seeing things that naked human eye can’t.

Today practically everyone can do simple experiments with ultrasonic modules that cost pennies. You can get modules that work in air that can be used for measuring distances and even for robot navigation that detect obstacles.

Jason, wanted to move things from air to water. As we know ware sonars are also intensively used in many areas like naval navigation or fishing. For his experiments he’s chosen Stellaris Launchpad microcontroller board which sends and listens to audio signals reflected for various obstacles and surfaces in water. He decided to construct chirp signals that were sent from piezoelectric buzzer. Signals were detected with mic and audio amplifier module. The rest work is done by algorithm which detect and visualizes the reflected image. He was able to reach up to 9 feet of effective range. Initial work gave confidence to push things further where he intends to build submersible transducer, increase transmitter power and work on algorithms.

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Feature rich Atmega328p scorpion board

When starting new microcontroller based project you start looking for suitable platform to start with. Many times in small projects Arduino takes over because it is popular, simple and have great ecosystem with tons of libraries and project examples. It is hard to beat this, but possible…

Pieter have sent us an update on their development board which runs on Atmega328p microcontroller. It doesn’t follow Arduinoe standards, but rather focus on other things that make easier development and testing. Their scorpion development board have all necessary elements like efficient power regulator, USB-USART bridge, buzzer, 512K dataflash, LED, push button, ADC scale and filtering. The rest of connection interfaces and GPIO are positioned on the side of PCB.

piconomic_scorpion_board

But this is not a board what makes it great. They’ve done great work on building software framework to develop embedded programs clean and efficiently. Firmware library has been developed to be portable between 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit systems. Framework focuses on good developing practices that evolved during years of coding. Several great project examples will get you started in no time and in time you will start appreciate the hard work they’ve put in.

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Measuring water level with ultrasound rangefinder

In many applications where water is involved we need to measure water level. There are many ways of measuring water including floaters, capacitance, resistance based meters. More advanced are optical, pressure based methods. Some of them depend on properties of liquid while other are quite universal. If you want reliable method for most cases, the you should stick with non contact methods that doesn’t involve touching devices to liquid. One of great methods involve ultrasound. A simple and cheap rangefinder can do the trick pretty well. PeterHaban have constructed simple water level mater based on well known HC-SR04 Ultrasonic rangefinder module that is attached to Arduino Uno.

ultrasound_water_level_sensor

Ultrasonic module simply measures sound wave propagation time that consists of froward and reflected parts. By knowing time and sound speed in the air it is possible to measure the distance to the object – in this particular case to surface of water. Measurement resolution can reach below centimeter which is really great for most cases. Peter used this level meter on his rainwater harvesting tank. He added this sensor to wireless sensor node where he collects temperature, light level and now water level. All data is then sent to MySQL database for convenient storage and graphing.

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The Benefits of IT Outsourcing for Startups

The latest researches show that about 95% of world’s most successful companies use offshore services and implement outsourcing strategies. Outsourcing helps save money necessary for business development. Since outsourcing allows making smaller business investments, it is especially advantageous for startup companies, having a limited profit and lots of expenditures.

Finding quality outsourcing services, nowadays is extremely easy, as virtually any project can be outsourced to an offshore company. This business management approach, allows not only lessen expenses, but is also proven to be very effective when it comes to finding qualified labour. A great level of flexibility that outsourcing gives, is one more reason to try out this particular approach.

Many companies nowadays are interested in IT outsourcing services, since running a successful and competitive business without having various computer systems and programs is pretty difficult. Lots of companies offer IT outsourcing services these days, however many businesses prefer hiring Ukrainian IT specialists. Indeed, Ukraine is in the list of the world’s most popular IT outsourcing destinations. Continue reading

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