Sunday, May 24, 2009

dreams of arduinos

Its one of those local public holidays today. Cup day or something. The kind that make you sleep in, warm enough to organise firewood and mow the back lawn. Well whats left of the lawn from the water bans and hot summer, but then theres the go inside time. Cool down with a chilled beverage and surf the 'net time.

I've been following the SolderSmoke blog and podcast, Bill mentioned that he put in a submission to Hack A Day about QRSS. Hack A Day is one of those sites that just gets the juices in the brain a pumping and thinking about building various things.

The first thing I found this morning was pluggable modules on an arduino shield, like lego blocks to enable fast prototyping of hardware and software.

The second was a two servo, four legged robot powered by four AA batteries and an Arduino.

The third was a tiny parallel supercomputer; the non-von1-supercomputer. There was another project a while back implementing a basic stamp supercomputer.

From a link somewhere I found one of the things that I keep crossing paths with, a home made Arduino board project. I found one today that set my mind racing off down the path of pluggable modules; the cheapduino.

So while not specifically parallel, but pluggable architectures of embedded systems. It could simplify the design of the individual board if a backplane had all the power, clock and a MPI interface for each CPU.

Perhaps a single USB connected backplane with a serial interface for each pluggable daughter board, in a simple frame that lets each daughter board have an edge connected I/O space. Something like the cards in a QBUS VAX. Smaller obviously, about five centimeters or two inches a side.

On that you could build a service per CPU, say, temperature logging, writing to a SD card, inrfa red comms., two wheeled robot platform built with servos, xigbee Tx/Rx, bluetooth...

I'm sure that there are loads of other ideas in this space. Its all about context and filling a need, its just strange some days where ones mind wanders... parallel pluggable embedded systems, which I'm sure one call call a mini-frame. Hmmmm ... theres an LCA talk in that I'm sure.


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