Summer Meeting Schedule
IEEE-Madison ECN: The only planned meeting this summer is the ECN Meeting in August. In that meeting, Tom Kaminksi will lead a discussion on the “System on a Chip” devices like the RaspberryPi or the BeagleBoneBlack. These inexpensive devices are packed with resources and computing power and support various flavors of Linux. Increasingly often, these devices are being used to implement sophisticated products. Join in on the discussion if you have used one of these systems.
IEEE-Madison On-Line Collabratec™ Community: Charles Gervasi petitioned for and created an On-Line Community for the Madison area. Collabratec™ is the IEEE’s latest innovation for members. It is an integrated online community where technology professionals can network, collaborate, and create – all in one central hub. The IEEE Collabratec™ online community offers a suite of productivity tools and is available to technology professionals around the world with exclusive features for IEEE members. Plus sign up is free to everyone. IEEE Collabratec™ can help you:
- Connect with global technology professionals by location, technical interests, or career pursuits
- Access research and collaborative authoring tools
- Establish a professional identity to showcase key accomplishments
One of the goals of Collabratec™is to allow an interdisciplinary team to conduct private research. If you are not an IEEE member, you can sign up for Collabratec™and join in many of the discussions, etc. You do not have access to all of the tools that IEEE Members have, but you can participate. Interested trying it out? You just need to log in with your IEEE account (typically your email address) and password and access Collabratec™ through this link. Once you are logged in, join the Madison Community.
Review of June’s Events
ECN Meeting at Sector67: Chris Meyer gave a very informative presentation on rapid prototyping and showcased many of the available tools at Sector67 that can be used for the process. Chris used a simple circuit example (a 555 timer with LEDs that blink on an off) to demonstrate the process. All of the tools he demonstrated were Open-Source, starting with the KiCad schematic capture and layout tools. Chris then took us through preparing a CNC routing file generation procss that produced the routing information to have a single-sided PC board routed on a CNC Mill. The final step was to drill holes in the PC board — Chris demonstrated a home-made PC drill that was quite accurate. Drilling accuracy was improved by having the CNC process start a small pilot hole. One of the neat aspects of Rapid Protyping is to have the board layout dimension transferred to 3D design software for a case/box to house the device. Chris showed two ways to make a box: 3D printing (very slow) and laser cut “stackable” pieces. The laser cutting process was much faster. End result: A professional looking product prototype for concept evaluation.
June IEEE-MSN Section Meeting: Our June Section meeting featured a talk by Madison Section Member-at-Large Clark Johnson on long-term data storage. People think of “cloud” data storage as forever, but modern data storage media are not that long-lived. Most of the data resides on disk drives that run and consume energy all the time. The amount of data being saved to remote services (i.e. the “cloud”) is staggering. Storage accounts for 6% of electricity use, and the rate of increase is 60%.
For true long-term storage, you should be able to put the media in a drawer at room temperature and leave it forever with out maintenance or energy. The reading and writing process should be simple enough that it doesn’t require saving and maintaining the reading equipment. Johnson’s storage system stores data using colors printed on gorilla glass, the thin, tough glass used in iPhones. There are 12 colors and 5 levels of amplitude, for an alphabet size of 60. The encoding is similar to I/Q QAM, except the axes are color and amplitude.
Ideally we would shine white light on the plates and receive monochromatic light. In practice, the system detects the light with an RGB sensor. The amplitudes of R, G, and B are different enough from color to color to provide a high SNR at the 60 symbol “constellation diagram”. One immediate use for this is a plate with the data from a mobile phone’s BIOS or other critical files. A phone is capable of reading the slides with its camera. It can compare the data on the slide with the a critical file. A hacker may have changed a file in software, but the users can trust the slide did not get changed without their knowledge.
Life Member Affinity Group Meeting: There is no July meeting because of the conflict with July 4th. A September meeting is planned. eLearning: No July event is planned. ECN: The August meeting has been announced above. If you are interested in learning about inexensive “System on a Chip” boards, please attend. If you are a developer and would lke to share your experiences with SoC’s you are especially welcome. IEEE-Madison Section: The next Section Meeting will be in September with a talk by Tony Kapela of 5Nines at the Downtown Madison Public Library and a tour of 5Nines’ data/communications center at 222 West Washington Ave. Pizza and Beverage are free, but remember to sign up.