Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LENA - Now featuring dose measurement

The DOSE feature discussed in the previous post is now done. Taking into account the GM tube characteristics, a realistic measure of radiation dose in uSv/hour is now being calculated, based on the single event rate. From the information obtained on the internet regarding the SI-39G tube, the value of 0.00049 uSv per pulse was taken into account for the calculation of the dose.

Additionally, another mode usually found in most Geiger counters and dosimeters is the CPM (Counts Per Minute) mode. It provides a relative measure (that is of course GM tube dependent) of the radiation exposure, based on the ammount of particles detected by the tube. In this case these can be either Beta particles with more penetrating energy, and Gamma photons. Alpha particles cannot be detected by this particular tube (the SI-39G).

Friday, December 16, 2011

LENA - The Geiger Counter that was finally made portable!

With the Geiger Muller tube module having been posted in a previous post, namely here, another important development was missing. While fully functional at that time as a sensor device which could readily be interfaced with via I2C, or having the pulses be directly picked up via a dedicated TTL signal, by itself the device could not be carried on the field and be expected to operate without additional hardware.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Me and my employer in the Elektor magazine!

In late september (the 29th to be more exact) PDMFC's online store Microsensus was officially launched. This event gathered a lot of people from the portuguese microelectronics community. And is needless to say it was a success. It was an opportunity to expose our work to many relevant people, from universities to SME's and large companies. The event also captured the media attention, in particular the portuguese version of the Elektor magazine. I had the chance to talk about the products and what motivated PDMFC to enroll in the hardware business.

As it was published, it felt good to see my face and the rest of the team printed in the pages of a magazine that for me and many people in the electronics world is legendary for its articles and its role at stimulating young minds towards creativity through the use of technological artifacts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I2C Geiger Counter

With nuke plants operating under questionable technical safety, natural events threatening humans and their dangerous energy production artifacts, and other humans disseminating fear through nuclear sovereignty upon the rest of the world, we came a long way from the happy ignorance of distant decades.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby monitor

While preparing to be a father for the first time, I have found most baby products to be more expensive than would otherwise be desirable, given its ephemeral usefulness. Considering the full blown economical crisis that we face today, spending copious ammounts of money in things that soon become useless, seems a little too light headed and perhaps irresponsible.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

AMIRO - more enhancements.

After a few months of posting abstinence here are some fresh new things to show this summer. The android application has been dramatically improved with new features and better visual layout. Additionally a portable video screen have been build, in this case sporting a 4.3" tft panel, a 1.2 GHz analog video receiver (originally used in a fixed manner), a LiPo battery, and a custom made battery voltage warning circuit (yes, LiPo batteries are particularly susceptible to damage under deep discharge situations).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Controlling Amiro (the name I have baptized the car) from an Android phone (HTC Desire)

While the Java PC application is useful for testing and controlling the robotic car while sitting in a chair, for on the field fun a more practical solution had to adopted. So using a popular platform that Android is, I decided to port the (Java Swing) application I already had, to run on any Android phone with a accelerometers and a Wifi connection. As the car behaves like an access point, all it is necessary is to associate the phone to it, and run the application.

Just about as fun as it is to drive it, coding the client in Android was quick an fun experience.
The interface had to contain just the essential elements. While the target hardware has abundant resolution (480x800), like in any mobile platform, screen real estate is always a concern. As such I had to economize on the components to be displayed. The result was a relatively simple UI: