SAKC board

Bas Wijnen wijnen at
Sun Jan 17 13:19:03 EST 2010


On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 10:06:58PM -0500, Carlos Camargo wrote:
> And I want to use SAKC board with Nano for make a device like [1],

While I like such devices technically, and I might actually want to use
them myself, I don't really want them in the classroom.  I want a very
clear separation between the computer and the sensor.  A sensor should
measure exactly one sort of thing (and not, for example, either current
or voltage depending on a small switch).  It should be obvious to the
viewer what sort of information is aquired by sticking the sensor into
the setup.

That's why I prefer to need a NanoNote for the human interface (which is
what you're saying as well).  It looks like a real computer, so pupils
will likely treat it as such.  The device you linked to looks like a
creepy measurement device, and it's not particularly clear what it
measures.  Of course if you understand the device, it's real cool.  But
I don't want my pupils to need to learn that first.

This is not a reason to make the board any less powerful.  I really like
a powerful board which may be able to do standalone things.  What I'm
saying is that for high school use, it's important that it is possible
to use it with a simple interface, where the board looks like it's just
some wires (and if you think about it, ADCs and maybe DACs).  They don't
need to know that the board can think for itself. ;-)  Even if for good
measurements it's required that the board does the work (fast feedback
in a clamping measurement for example), that's no problem.  As long as
it looks like the computer does it.  So the interface for setting up the
measurement should not (without going to advanced mode) show that some
code is actually uploaded into the device instead of run locally.  This
mostly implies that I don't want a screen on it.  For the screen, I
should connect the NanoNote.  A few buttons and LEDs is acceptable,
though, but not required either.  It's not like the NanoNote is too
bulky to carry around or anything. ;-)

> of course we will provide current sensor, and analog inputs, The main
> goal of this project is build an analog interface for Nano.

And thereby to full-size computers, if only through the NanoNote. :-)
Do you plan to support plugging in current USB sensors as well?  In that
case, a USB host controller would be required, which may be troublesome.
On the other hand, it does add USB host support to the NanoNote. :-)

Looking at the wiki, it seems you want to connect to the NanoNote via
its USB host port.  That's going to be a problem for the Ben. ;-)  Will
an SDIO interface be supported as well?

> > The point here is that while most physics teachers like technical stuff,
> > many are not programmers.  Using the things should not require much
> > learning for non-programmers.  The learning part should be about what is
> > observed, not how to get the measurement running. ;-)
> I agree, because of that I like turtle-art [2] I want to use a similar
> interface for this board, so any people can use this platform, Is very
> important have a good Hardware abstraction layer, and provide many examples


> > Anyway, as I write below, I think it makes sense to combine it with a
> > NanoNote.  To keep the combination cheap enough may be slightly harder.
> Another advantage of our solution is the flexibility, many commercial
> products require special (and expensive) hardware, with our platform
> you can use your own hardware.

For schools, this is not only good from a cost-perspective.  It's
valuable for education as well to allow pupils to build their own
sensors and actuators.

That does pose a problem, though: to make it student-safe, it should
allow short-circuiting of any external pins on the board (or at least
the ones which may be used for self-built devices).  This is a good idea
in any case, but especially the analog outputs may lose accuracy, I
suppose.  Perhaps they can be read back and controlled in a clamp.

> Bas can you add all of your recommendations on wiki? Your comments are
> very valuables for us.

I did.  Wolfgang, thanks for starting that. :-)  Is there intentionally
no link to the SAKC on the main page (or anywhere, for that matter)?

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