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Cypress' Maker of the Month: Airs Lin | Cypress Semiconductor

Cypress' Maker of the Month: Airs Lin

The Maker of the Month series recognizes unique projects created by the maker community. At Cypress, we are committed to helping our customers (international OEMs and makers alike) bring their innovations to life with our easy-to-use software tools and programmable solutions. For more information about Cypress’s maker community involvement, check out our blog post on our presence at the recent Maker Faire Bay Area and our efforts to empower up-and-coming engineers via the Cypress University Alliance (CUA).


Read the Q&A with Cypress’s Maker of the Month, Airs Lin. Airs is a lecturer at Cal State LA and has created the EagleSoC Development Board based on Cypress’s PSoC 5LP. 
 

EagleSoC Boards

Please provide some background about yourself and your work at California State University, Los Angeles.

I am a lecturer at the California State University of Los Angeles (Cal State LA) where I teach computer-related courses. I graduated from Cal State LA in 2012 with a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering specializing in C/C++ development, network communication and embedded systems. During my graduate tenure, I worked on multiple research projects in the SERENADES Laboratory and the NASA-sponsored SPACE University Research Center.

Tell us about the EagleSoC kits and what Cypress technology is being used in the kits.

There are three EagleSoC products available:

EagleSoC Development Board -- allows mixed-signal design, provides variable voltage levels, high-current support, LCD display connector, USB-to-UART device, SWD and TRACE port
 

DSCN3823
 

EagleSoC Mini Board -- an alternative solution with reduced physical size for projects that don’t require LCD connectors, high-current sensors, USB-to-UART devices or tracing ports
 

DSCN3830
 

EagleSoC Programmer -- a low-cost solution for programming and debugging PSoC 5LP boards
 

DSCN3835
 

We have used 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M3 CPU PSoC 5LP chips in the EagleSoC Development Board and EagleSoC Mini Board. The following technologies are used by both of these boards:

  • Mixed-Signal Design: Cypress’s PSoC 5LP separates power and ground pins for analog and digital blocks. EagleSoC Boards are built with separate voltage and ground planes for analog and digital blocks. These boards are best suited for mixed-signal application designs.
  • Multiple Power Domains: The PSoC 5LP's GPIOs are divided into four groups to provide a variety of voltage levels. EagleSoC Boards allow users to configure each group to a different voltage level. Sensors and devices of different voltage levels can be connected to the board and no level shifters are necessary.

What projects have you and your students built using the EagleSoC kits?

We have implemented several projects using EagleSoC Kits: a semi-autonomous mobile robot, virtual reality head-tracking for real-time observation and camera control, an implementation of a Kalman filter on a PSoC 5LP chip and an implementation of a direction cosine matrix on a PSoC 5LP chip.

For the educational part, the EagleSoC Kits are used in the Embedded Architectures class. Students that come to my classes usually have limited or no previous practical experience with embedded systems. In my lectures, I go over standard communication protocols and digital/analog interfaces such as UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, Op-amp and ADC. By the end of the quarter, students must complete the implementation of a multi-sensor design and demonstrate the results. The following components are commonly used in the beginner students’ EagleSoC projects: LEDs, LCD screens, temperature-humidity sensors, infrared sensors, gas sensors, motion detectors, CapSense interfaces and servo motors. In special topic courses, more experienced students utilize IMU, GPS and other sensors in their projects. Here are few example projects that my students have implemented: a smart fan control system, a fire and temperature protection system, an irrigation control system and a smart light controller.

How did Cypress’s technology help inspire and execute your project, and what are the benefits you have seen with using Cypress’s technology?

First of all, I would like to thank Patrick Kane from the Cypress University Alliance Program (CUA) for reaching out to Cal State LA in 2012. With his help, our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department received PSoC 5LP boards. Since then, we have implemented and completed several research projects and incorporated PSoC into our embedded system coursework.

The following features of Cypress’s chips inspired us: an industry-standard Arm Cortex-M3 processor, pin configuration, separate voltage banks and the universal digital blocks that support the expansion of PSoC’s functionality. Cypress’s powerful IDE, PSoC Creator, played a key role in attracting our attention to its component-rich libraries, debug capabilities and detailed component documentation.

We heard that you recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, any details you can provide?

Our Kickstarter launched on June 10, 2016.

Our Kickstarter Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robotsoc/eaglesoc-development-kit-f...  

We have the following reward breakdown available for our supporters:

  • $1 – Personal Acknowledgement on the website
  • $15 – T-shirt with a logo
  • $29 – EagleSoC Programmer
  • $55 – EagleSoC Mini Board
  • $79 – EagleSoC Mini Board + EagleSoC Programmer
  • $94 – EagleSoC Development Board
  • $119 – EagleSoC Development Board + EagleSoC Programmer

Are you working on any other projects that use Cypress’s technology?

We have another concurrent project called EZ-PSoC Library. Several years ago, I observed that it was initially challenging and time-consuming for many students to implement interface code for a variety of sensors. This gave me an idea to implement our own EZ-PSoC Library for PSoC 5LP. It has a layered structure and allows users to easily incorporate sensor components to their PSoC projects. By utilizing this library, users can fully focus on their system design instead of spending additional time on writing sensor interface code from scratch. More information on the library is available at http://www.ezpsoc.com.

I will continue working on the EZ-PSoC Library project to support more sensors and provide more useful application objects in the library for people who are developing PSoC projects. I am also planning to incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) resources by integrating Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, Power Line Communication (PLC) and USB technologies in my embedded system coursework.

For questions or more information, you can reach out to Airs Lin here and connect with him on LinkedIn

You can also learn more about the EagleSoC boards via the RobotSoC

Thanks again to Airs for participating in our Maker of the Month program. If you would like to be considered for our next Maker of the Month profile, please email us and share a brief description of what project(s) you have made using Cypress’s technology.

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