ExpEYES: new open source learning initiative

From: Dangerous Prototypes

March 28, 2011 in AVRdev boardsdocumentation by the machinegeek | 9 comments

ExpEYES is an open source hardware/software learning initiative from the PHOENIX project of Inter-University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi, India. It is a framework for developing science experiments, demonstrations and projects and learning science and engineering by exploration.

The expEYES hardware is based on an Atmega32 clocked at 8 MHz which is interfaced to the PC by an FT232RL and powered by USB. The design is more involved than an Arduino, having several op amps and other components included on the dev board. There are 32 I/O terminals for control and measurement of signals in the standard 5V TTL range. It can function as a signal generator, frequency counter and low frequency oscilloscope. The user manual documents about 50 experiments. It is capable of doing real time measurements and analyzing the data in different ways, measuring analog voltages with 0.025% resolution and time intervals within one microsecond.

This project is based on free and open source software, mostly written in the Python programming language. The hardware schematic is also open. (Note: the schematic lists U2 as an Atmega16; however, the core MCU program, eyes.c, is set to run on the Atmega32.) The expEYES PC software is available as a Debian package for Ubuntu or Debian. On any other Linux system download expeyes.tgz, untar it and see the README.TXT. Don’t have a Linux box? ExpEYES is also included in the Phoenix Live CD distro.

While it’s not exactly the next Arduino, this project has potential in that it uses open source tools to teach students about programming and electronic principles, employing standard means such as C and Python programming.

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