Showing posts from January, 2019

Using Pynq with your Zynq

I recently attended a one-day tutorial about Pynq by Xilinx. While it was on planet Earth I was not familiar with some of these names that sounded alien to me. But I was decided to get some update about the new FPGA offerings by Xilinx company.

I am glad I did as I discovered a wide range of technologies I know nothing about that I reckon can be pretty useful. Unfortunately, becoming an expert on any of them will most likely require many hours of training.

But I can share with you some of what I learned: Pynq is an open-source project by Xilinx to make it easier to use the programmable logic included in some of their SoCs. And that brings us to the second name I have never heard about: Zynq-7000 is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) by Xilinx that bundles an ARM microcontroller with a large FPGA.  In a nutshell, Pynq is a small Linux distribution that runs on a Zynq SoC with access to all the power of the embedded FPGA.

But I guess the question here is what this can be useful for. Right now the…

How to shutdown your interactive Art

If you build a piece of interactive Art with an Arduino, there is not much harm you can cause it by
just powering it down anytime. But when you use a computer, either a PC or a Raspberry Pi, bad things may happen if you just switch off the mains power unannounced.

A common occurrence is that you are asked by the museum or exhibit managers for instructions on how to properly switch off your interactive Art installation. Experience shows us that the more difficult it is, the more likely one day will be done improperly. And I really hate when a piece that took a lot of effort to create goes to waste because of a problem triggered by a "rough" shutdown. 
So one idea that has worked for us is to set up our system as a wireless access point. The person in charge of shutting the system down will use her phone to connect to our wireless network using a password we provided. Once connected just visiting a specific address and port number will cause the shutdown (first time they will…

RPi3+ blues

I have been working a few days improving an existing project based on a Raspberry Pi. It is a art piece with a vertical plotter that draws lines on with a pen. Software and data were already developed and I was just adding some finishing touches.

I was given a new RPi3+ board to upgrade the system but when I connected the new board with the existing SD card the system did not boot up. As our system did not include an HDMI display but an embedded one, we did not have display unless the system could successfully boot. My first thought that then new board could be more power hungry than the existing one and therefore the existing power supply was not enough to keep up with the demand. I had to put back the older board and left the one for further testing.

Once I managed to get an HDMI display connected to the board, I could see the image above. Not sure whether it was some Harry Potter add on the upper left corner or, maybe, someone trying to tell me there was something wrong with the po…