Simon's Projects 1998
Hardware Oriented Projects:
Electronic ornaments
Dataflow DSP
Geomentric HDL
Self-timed processor simulator
Animated Strong ARM
Animated circuits

Electronic Ornaments

hardware:software ration = 50:50


I can't decide whether this is a tacky idea, a best seller, or both(!). You decide.

People often like to give loved ones gifts to remember them by, particularly when they are going way. Ornaments usually stimulate visually and sometimes with scent (e.g. some wooden objects). I had wondered if it would be desirable to be able to leave a message too. This could be achieved using low cost electronics - a speaker which could double as a microphone, an 8-bit DAC + comparator (for ADC), a microcontroller and a small amount of flash memory. To ensure half way decent sound quality it may well be necessary to perform some digital signal processing using the microcontroller (which is where the research aspect comes in). This could probably be performed off-line.

Low power and low cost and small size are key issues here. Cambridge Consultants have kindly donated one of their XAP microcontroller prototype systems and ORL a PC to run the development environment. This processor only uses around 3000 gates so it can easily be embedded in a small, cheap, mixed analog/digital chip. Thus a one or two chip solution could be manufactured.


Construct a scale mockup.


None that I know of.

Special resources

XAP development system. I can provide this for one student.

Possible supervisors

I'm willing to supervise this project.