Teaching people efficiently isn’t limited to transmitting material from one head to another — it’s also about conveying the principles that got us there. [Mara Bos] shows us a toolkit (Twitter,
nitter link) that you can arm your students with, creating a small playground where, given a set of constraints, they can invent and figure communication protocols out on their own.
This tool is aimed to teach digital communication protocols from a different direction. We all know that UART, I2C, SPI and such have different use cases, but why? Why are baud rates important? When are clock or chip select lines useful? What’s the deal with the start bit? We kinda sorta figure out the answers to these on our own by mental reverse-engineering, but these things can be taught better, and [Mara] shows us how.
Gently guided by your observations and insights, your students will go through defining new and old communication standards from the ground up, rediscovering concepts like acknowledge bits, bus contention, or even DDR. And, as you point out that the tricks they just discovered have real-world counterparts, you will see the light bulb go on in their head — realizing that they, too, could be part of the next generation of engineers that design the technologies of tomorrow.
Continue reading “Boards For Playful Exploration Of Digital Protocols”
This is no ordinary heart-shaped PCB pendant project! To us, it’s also symbol representing the striking amount of love that [SaltyPaws] has put into its design and documentation. He tells us that he designed it for the two daughters he is raising, as an electronics and general STEAM introduction – with outstanding educational and aesthetic qualities, giving insights into a wide range of topics while looking . The PCB is mostly through-hole, making for easy soldering and quick return on the effort investment. The project is thought-out beyond the PCB, however – this pendant is designed to be wearable day-to-day, which is why it’s accompanied by a 3D-printed frame, protecting its wearer from sharp PCB edges and through-hole lead ends!
Open-sourcing things is a gift, and today, we are also the recipients. [SaltyPaws] has open-sourced everything involved – PCB files, 3D cover files, firmware, BOM, everything you would need to build your own version. All of this is in a GitHub repository, with detailed sourcing and assembly instructions in the README.md – we couldn’t ask for more! If you have loved ones that would take delight in putting such a pretty pendant together, you have about a week to order the PCBs – after that, Chinese New Year will likely thwart your plans!
Looking for more accessories that double as electronics projects? We’ve covered a wide variety, even when it comes to pendants alone – check out this edge-lit fluorescent acrylic educational Maker Faire accessory, or this circuit sculpture BEAM-inspired bird-imitating one, or this tiny SAMD21-powered pendant with an IPS LCD!