Tech Ideas Page

Some technical/scientific ideas relevant enough to share, some of which I might quite well implement as soon as I have some things, including but certainly not limited to funding arranged. I guess I have the copyright on them anyway, and you'll need serious skills to implement them yourself, so I see no big problem putting on the net, if you're interested drop me an email or sign the guestbook.

Where to get those up to date digital/electronics parts?

Want to start a new company? Try (re)selling electronical parts, either by mail or as a store. Some of the one's I could find that actually have some of the hottest latest DSP/memory/cpld/fpga/pc materials have a profit margin of roughly 800% (my own personal guess...), and than they still don't have all the parts you might want as a serious freetime or professional engineer. Also, a lot of magazines, even interesting one's (I'm talking with a fairly large dutch bias here) seem to remain stuck at designs with materials that could be called obsolete or at least not very innovative if taken for what they are, such as (small) pic's and microcontrollers that make even a straightforward Z80 card look interesting in comparison.
I recently found out that both the Siemens 80c535 and the familiar 80(c)51 uc's are based on the 8080 processor, and I just can't resist to utter my dismay over this. You can buy cmos Z80 chips (even the peripherials) that run at ca. 40MHz (tried it myself!) for about $3 a piece, and there are loads of compilers and interpreters for it around. So it looks nice all these microcontrollers and their fancy PC based programmers, but technologywise and price-wise it compares unfavorably with a fairly simple Z80 card.
Agreed, you don't get a fancy package with many IO pins, you'll have to buy your own 74AC573 buffers for each 8 bits, but at least they'll run at 180Mhz, and cost less together than a uc chip... Throw in a nice cmos memory ($4 for 64 K ?) with a simple batery backup, and maybe a fast cache memory (20nS, 32kx8, 1.5mA rest current, for lets say another $4) and we're back in the 80's but this time fast and cheap. would be nice to throw in a few fast multipliers, some good alu's, or is that asking too much? Another simple idea is to take a 68c000 costing about $12 add some of the same cheap peripherals, use an 'old' atari 1024 or so with turbo C as a devkit, and suddenly you can have serious programs on a fairly small and cheap card for very little money also.
I guess the point is that real innovations are not so much found here. Its nice to have clock rates from 0 to 30 MHz in 0nS, and that everything is nicely low power, and a lot faster, but seriously innovative new digital designs are not to be found this way. An that pretty much holds the same for 'building' your own PC, the range of possible motherboards, processors and memory chips does not show that much real variation. Come to think of it, what's wrong with breadboarding a pentium (except for te still relatively high price, the cheapest I could find was a $50 90MHz pentium)? I did breadboard designs that were quite more complex then the roughly 500 connections needed to connect up one (say 6 or 7 640 pin boards with half the holes filled), not even counting the superfluence of a lot of the pins for simple ideas. Sure beats a pic or a lot of random logic, and a microcontroller. Just have a pentium, a simple startup program in either battery backed sram or (e)eprom, a cristal or RC net, some IO buffers (or if you must a pio or something),and you can program your own microcontroller in wathever language you choose from your PC (I would have to check if a relocating linker is needed, but fundamentally I see no problem). Seems worth a relatively cheap printed circuit board design to me, and I don't think a lot of glue is needed to even fit on a small completely cheap set of dynamic rams to give it some more workspace at the expense of more supply power.

Some small, not too ambitious design ideas

When checking for readily available digital computing parts, checking everthing from ttl adder ladders, and mos multiplyers to the latest logic families, my main observations are (more later) that the 'ttl' type series, including the 74 HC(T)'s are not extended with interesting logic blocks for doing alu operations. One may take the latest Cisc, risc and dsp CPU's as their followers, which in itself makes sense, but there is no standard do it yourself way of dealing with them that I am aware of, and many of these products have heavy price tags.
For instance the TMS320C80 is targeted to cost $50 in 2000 at reasonable quantities, but if you try and order one now you'll have to draw roughly $1400 from your credit card or checkbook. Not nice to try the maximum solder time on, but if you want 2Gflops it could be worth it.
On the low end, I recently found that the TMS320c32, a tiny memory, multiply and ALU op per 2 clock cycles (20-60MHz) dsp with some of the now standard DSP facils like 2 dual ported on chip DMA controlers, internal parallellism up to 6 parts, 32+8 bit operations, support for zero overhead short loops and control, on board cache, and supposedly not to hard to glue into a system (will check data-sheets soon), is 'handed out' by TI in single item quantities for $10,= ... That indeed renders a lot of random logic designs obsolete, or too expensive.
It seems to be a bit of exception, because another component out of their dsp series (I think I checked the fixed point 320c50) costs $50 from some web post-based company, and these parts are not to be obtained from the handful residential electronic part resellers I tried. I peeked at the Sharc prices in the same way, and found out that the $29 in couple of ten quantity advertised by Analog Devices is not excactly matched by the current resellers practice, it cost several hundred dollars, in fact even more than their devkit which includes a codec on a pc-connectable board for $179.
Try to buy your own (Xilinx) cpld's or fpga. It did find various manufacturers (incuding Philips) that make them, and luckily put datasheets on the web, but prices on the market are 10 times the advertised prices or so.

A mechanical tinted idea: the breadboarding robot

A breadboard implementation of a digital or electronic design has a lot of advantages. First: it can be built fairly fast, second: it is very much correctable, third: it has good visual feedback on some of HF properties, fourth: it is easily extenable and testable.

A differential geometry ameanable computer design

bezier subdiv in fpga, preferable with someprocessing nodes such as pentium II's or alpha's, few ti asics for communication struct,set of sharcs or 320c32 (or 80'sif you have the money), use some AC buffers if needed and some 12nS static mems (64 wide)
This is just general, the special props could be: