Creative Engineering Students Quickly Prototype with Development Boards

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Have you ever seen a Christmas tree that tracks your pulse, lighting up in sync with your heart rhythm? How about a system that converts hand gestures into text or voice commands? Or a device that allows an iPhone to read your blood-oxygen and heart rate?

These are all examples of designs that creative engineering students have made using Maxim development platforms. Because development platforms are equipped with key components needed to create a specific type of design, they’re great for fast prototyping to test out your concepts. Whether you’re a student, a hobbyist, or a seasoned engineer.

Pulse that Christmas Tree

The design team behind the pulsating Christmas treeturned its idea into reality using the ProtoCentral Pulse+ Pulse Oximeter and Heart Rate Sensor, which is based on Maxim’s MAX30102 high-sensitivity pulse oximeter and heart-rate biosensor, and an Adafruit FLORA wearable electronics platform. As the team has explained, the sensor senses a pulse and optically derives the heart beat. The heart rate sensor provides a digital signal stream of a photoplethysmogram (PPG).

To create the HandTalk smart handglove interpreter, the design team used the ProtoCentral Pulse Oximeter and Heart Rate Sensor based on Maxim’s MAX30100 integrated pulse oximetry and heart-rate monitor sensor solution, an Arduino Nano R3, and Adafruit standard LCD display. The HandTalk glove senses movements through flex sensors, which detect different motion patterns. The glove can convert the variation of the movements into beeps, voice, or text.

As for the iPhone that reads oxygen and heart rate, this team also used the ProtoCentral sensor based on the MAX30100, along with Maxim’s MAX32625NEXPAQ, a rapid development platform for accelerating the implementation of Nexpaq modules with the MAX32625 ARM® Cortex®-M4F microcontroller. This platform can be used for small form factor designs such as fitness monitors, portable medical devices, sensor hubs, sports watches, and wearable medical patches. Created during a two-day Aggie Invent competition held late last year at the Texas A&M College of Engineering and sponsored by Maxim and Nexpaq, the prototype provides a modular, durable design that fits into the phone’s case.

Development Boards, Engineering blog

A scene from Texas A&M University’s Engineering Innovation Center, the site of the Aggies Invent 48-hour intensive design experience.

Faster Design Process

These are just a few examples of what ingenuous engineering students have created with the help of development boards. These boards can certainly pave a faster, easier path for design prototyping.


– By Christine Young, Blogger, Maxim Integrated

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