Hello there and welcome back! Faster code Fridays is our weekly series that doesn’t ever fall on a Friday, unless our laziness becomes so strong that it interferes with our disregard for naming conventions. We figure we’ll forgetfully publish one of these things on a Friday at some point. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, eh?
If you’re a first-time visitor, Faster code Fridays highlights code optimization techniques that are useful for embedded systems. Embedded applications often deal with time critical applications that require maximum performance and minimum execution time. In fact, good coding practice is often more apparent when working with microcontrollers, because you don’t have four 4GHz cores and 8Gb of RAM to get you out of trouble. We’ll use Arduino-compatible code for most of our examples, though these techniques are applicable to AVR, PIC, or any number of platforms.
In a previous post, we highlighted a DIY oscilloscope project that used an Arduino Pro Mini and an old Nokia cell phone LCD to create a quick and dirty oscilloscope. That build is great for a portable solution. However, what if you want a bit more power and polish?
Everyone seems to have a snazzy weekly feature these days, and we didn’t want to feel left out. Unfortunately, we could only think of a few catchy names for our series, and it’s not Friday today. Oh well. Consider it a preview publication.
Embedded systems often deal with time critical applications that require maximum performance and minimum execution time. Writing efficient code requires solid study of language and platform fundamentals, and there’s no substitute for concentrated practice. However, there are small tips and tricks to squeeze the last drop of performance out of your programs. Faster code Fridays highlights these techniques so you can implement them into your repertoire. We’ll use Arduino-compatible code for most of our examples, though these techniques will work on a number of platforms.
Filear.com posted a cool hack that can be done in an afternoon if you have the parts handy. The author built a DIY oscilloscope using an Arduino Pro Mini and the LCD from a Nokia 3310. The Arduino is wired up to sample from an ADC port and writes those values to the screen to create a waveform. Two potentiometers control the sampling speed and input voltage for approximate time and amplitude scaling just like the real thing.
Our friends over at Make magazine put together some awesome projects, and this is one of our favorites. Last year, hacker extraordinaire Matt Richardson released this Arduino project that will monitor your TV closed caption signal for a list of keywords and mute the television when it finds a match. From his description on Make’s site:
I don’t know about you, but I’m a little sick of hearing about the same people on TV over and over again. I came up with this Arduino-based solution to mute my TV so that I don’t have to hear about Donald Trump’s feud with whomever or Charlie Sheen’s most recent rant.