Tuesday, January 1, 2013

xser - A win and future plans

Last week, Wyolum has announced the winners of WIG 2012, and I'm very pleased to inform that xser has won the 250$ grant!

So first of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Wyolum for the generous grant.

Now it's time to move on and to make a product out of it. There are three development areas that have to be addressed:

  • Hardware - The hardware work includes the design of a schematic and a PCB. The final hardware unit should include the processor and the LCD, a DB-9 connector an RS-232 driver and I'm also considering the inclusion of a flexible voltage driver (for driving signals between 1.8V to 5V). All these goodies should fit in a 5cm x 5cm PCB, in order to take advantage of the cheap PCB prototype offering by ITEAD. Another target is the component price - I hope to fit everything I mentioned in a 10$ BOM - quite aggressive, but possible.
  • Firmware - The firmware is mostly done. It will have to be ported to a different processor (because the PIC18F2553 used by the UBW is too expensive); I also intend to add an on-board programmer (mistakenly called bootloader) in order to make firmware upgrade easy.
  • Host software - Generally, the host software already does what it should do quite well. There are some user experience work that should be done - converting it into a service, providing an installer etc. It should also be tested thoroughly.
I'll keep updating in this blog, for anyone who is interested. All the files will be publicly available through a GitHub repository. Please note that this is a new repository - the repository used to host the prototype files will not be updated anymore.

If you have any suggestion of feature or any other thought about the production unit - I'll love to hear it.

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