Ok, first thing first, Happy Thanksgiving! For the Miller’s as I get older, it is new traditions as some old ones have passed on. Memories are great and new ones to make. So you know the great debate right?
These poor people working Thanksgiving to sell some tablet or smart phone to save a few bucks. Those that must work, my condolences to you and I promise I will not see you on Gray Thursday or Black Friday. May I make a recommendation for your gift giving list this year? Instead of getting the kids a box that plays video games, why not get them a box that allows them to design games and anything else they can imagine!
I know, it does not sound exciting nor exotic, and could even scare off a child with the aspect of an ‘educational’ gift. But if your child has any bent or inclination of things electrical or computer, a Xilinx FPGA and or Xilinx CPLD board would be a perfect gift. Now I also understand as a parent that you may not have the knowledge of even what an FPGA is or why a kid would want, or even how to use one. Let me explain a bit.
Remember the good old days, Radio Shack used to have those 101 Electronic Lab projects.
They had Lights, buzzers, solar cells, 7 Segment display, some radio circuitry and such. Now if you will, can you imagine literally 1000’s of these Radio Shack Labs into one circuit board. The possibilities are unlimited and will challenge even the smartest of children. I will give a list of recommended boards for kids at the end of this blog and you may find many used ones on Ebay for a fraction of the cost. Some things your child could learn all the yearlong?
· Digital Clock/Timer
· Sonar Range Finder
· Audio Recorder/Sound Effects
· Remote Control
· Internet Control
· Motion detection
· LCD/Video Display
· Alarm System
· Robots/Servo Control…
It will also create some real quality child parent time. It can be quite fun and funny, especially when electricity is involved. Once you get the Xilinx framework up and running it is a piece of cake to change in and out functions. You do not need to be a college graduate to play with Xilinx, all you need is some curiosity and a bit of gumption. Now I will not be getting my wife a Xilinx FPGA board, she’s an Altera woman. I know, we are supposed to be equally yoked! Can you imagine giving the wife an Altera FPGA, couch sleep is certain. So below is a list of a few affordable Christmas Xilinx boards to get your child into the best hobby and maybe career in the world. For the first board listed below, I made a GPS driven Nixie Tube Speedo for my 1953 Pickup Truck.
There are a ton of video’s, papers, code , groups and resources on the web… Your Child will Love a Xilinx Board for Christmas! What do I want for Christmas? I love neon signs, so dear Xilinx, would you please send me a real Xilinx neon sign? I’ve been good 😉