Five of the Best at Electronica 2014

Once more we are assembling in Munich to experience the enormity that is Electronica. And once again we have put together a line-up of innovative technologies that include rapid-prototyping tools such as 3D printers, the latest and greatest open-source development platforms, plus the newest versions of our free and award-winning DesignSpark PCB and DesignSpark Mechanical design tools. Plus we have a top-notch roster of industry-leading experts who will be speaking on the RS stand. So, to whet the appetite, here are a few tasty morsels to look out for on the RS Components stand this year; in what we call ‘five of the best’.


  1. First up, there is little doubt that one of the most important trends in our industry is the availability of technology to enable engineers to quickly create product prototypes. In conjunction with our free DesignSpark Mechanical design tool, naturally, a hugely important enabling technology is 3D printing Highly affordable machines are now making rapid prototyping of mechanical designs available to all engineers. One of the most important introductions in this field over the past few years or so has been the RepRap range of open-source self-replicating 3D printers. And on the stand will be the latest of these: the second-generation RepRapPro Ormerod 2 3D printer . Offering extensive versatility and functionality in an easy-to-assemble kit of parts, the machine enables electronic and mechanical engineers to quickly build design concepts and potentially save months in the product design cycle. And what is more, we will also have Adrian Bowyer, Director of RepRapPro and the man that invented the RepRap printer, presenting on the RS stand on Tuesday 11th November at 11:00 and 15:00.


             2. Another major highlight will be the Raspberry Pi; and more specifically the brand new Raspberry Pi Model A+. The new module combines enhanced value and ease of use with its smaller size and lower power consumption for a multitude of applications including industrial control, remote monitoring and multimedia devices. The module’s smaller board dimensions (65mm x 56mm), when compared to the Model B+, means the device is even better suited to mobile or battery-powered applications, as well as employing the power architecture from the Model B+ to achieve lower power consumption than the earlier Model A. The module also includes the 40-pin GPIO connector, which was introduced on the Model B+, allowing users to add extra functions quickly and easily. And to complement the launch of this important new Raspberry Pi product, we also have Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and creator of the popular board, presenting at the RS stand on Wednesday 12th November at 11:00 and 15:00.



               3. Our third jewel in the crown on show is the Adapteva Parallella board, which is one of the world’s most energy-efficient open-source computing platforms available today. Not only can the credit-card-sized device be used as a development platform or embedded engine, it is also ideal as a teaching platform or research tool. The open-source single board computer includes the Epiphany III 16 core co-processor on the board alongside the Xilinx Zynq Z7000 dual-core ARM processor. And if this is not enough processing power, then a major beauty of this innovative platform is that it is also highly scalable: the board can be clustered to create a mini-supercomputer for advanced parallel computing applications. Our third guest expert is Andreas Olofsson, founder of Adapteva, who has been instrumental in creating the Parallella ‘supercomputer’ enabling low-cost entry to the world of parallel computing. Andreas will be presenting on the stand on Thursday 13th November at 11:00 and 15:00.



                 4. Next up on our list is a demonstration of the highly innovative Electric Paint from Bare Conductive, which is an electrically conductive product that is non-toxic, solvent-free and water-soluble, and can be used as a liquid wire, as a cold-soldering medium, or even as a conductive adhesive. Suitable for use with low-voltage DC power supplies, it can be used as a potentiometer and is ideal for prototyping, repairing PCBs, and painting circuits and sensors on any surface. Also on demo will be the company’s Arduino-based Touch Board microcontroller board, which integrates, among other things, a capacitive touch chip, MP3 player and 12 electrodes. These electrodes can be connected directly to conductors such as Electric Paint pads to trigger sounds via the MP3 player for example or many other functions using an Arduino expansion shield. Our fourth expert, Matt Johnson from Bare Conductive, will at the stand on Thursday at 13:00 to talk about the innovation of conductive paint.


                5. Last and certainly not least will be a demonstration of the Red Pitaya open-source programmable test and measurement instrument, which is totally exclusive to RS Components. In a nutshell, the Red Pitaya platform has the ability to turn a smartphone, tablet or PC into many test instruments. Based on a single-board Xilinx Zynq-based test and measurement solution, the Red Pitaya ecosystem offers access to an online repository of open-source test and measurement applications via a community open access library. Our final expert, Rok Mesar, co-founder of the Red Pitaya open-source programmable test and measurement instrument, will be on the stand on Friday at 11:00 and 13:00 to talk more about the capabilities and versatility of the platform.


As a reminder, here’s the speaker session schedule again (also available here, along with further details of some of the specific demos on the stand):


  • Adrian Bowyer, RepRapPro – Tuesday at 11:00 and 15:00
  • Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Foundation – Wednesday at 11:00 and 15:00
  • Andreas Olofsson, Adapteva – Thursday at 11:00 and 15:00
  • Matt Johnson, Bare Conductive – Thursday at 13:00
  • Rok Mesar, Red Pitaya – Friday at 11:00 and 13:00


So, please come and see us in Hall A4, Stand 246.