Cypress’ Maker of the Month: Jobin Thomas
The Maker of the Month series recognizes unique projects created by the maker community. At Cypress, we are committed to helping our customers (international OEMs and makers alike) bring their innovations to life with our easy-to-use software tools and programmable solutions. For more information about Cypress’ maker community involvement, check out the rest of our Maker of the Month series and our efforts to empower up-and-coming engineers via the Cypress University Alliance (CUA).
Read the Q&A with Cypress’ Maker of the Month for January 2017, Jobin Thomas.
Tell us about yourself and your work with Cypress.
I graduated from a well-known institute in India, NIT Calicut, with Gold Medal in electronics design and technology. As a part of my post graduate program, I worked at Intel as an intern. After college, I joined Cypress as an applications engineer. For the last two years I have worked on many PSoC based applications, including PSoC 4, PSoC 4 BLE, PSoC 5 LP, PSoC 3 and more.
Can you tell us about your involvement in the Cypress quadcopter project?
Building the Cypress quadcopter has been one of the biggest and most challenging projects I have been a part of at Cypress. Our goal was to develop a low-cost quadcopter with an ARM Cortex-M0 48MHz processor. The quadcopter features a single MCU with a 48 MHz processor running a flight control algorithm and radio/communications.
How did you help bring the project to life?
The quadcopter development team consists of many experienced colleagues and friends. My part, in simple terms, was to make the quadcopter fly.
For complete flight control, we needed to develop it from scratch. The proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) tuning took a lot of testing time with the quadcopter to get it right. With the help of Cypress’ bridge control panel and wireless debugging setup, we have been able to progress quickly.
You also have a GLCD Interface project on Hackster, can you tell us about that project and what Cypress technology is being used?
Cypress developed a SEEGER EmWin graphics component for PSoC 5 LP and PSoC 3. The corresponding project on Hackster shows how to enable it to work with PSoC 4.
How did Cypress’ technology help execute your projects?
PSoC Creator offers something different with features that can’t be found in any other integrated development environments (IDEs). Getting started with PSoC is as easy as drawing a rough circuit on a board; basically PSoC’s TopDesign is doing the same the same thing for you automatically. For example, if you’d like to do a blink LED project all you need to do is:
- Drag a PWM, set Period, compare value and provide a clock
- Connect an output pin
- Start the PWM [PWM_Start() API] in the main.c file
In just a few steps, your blinking LED is ready.
Since PSoC Creator does all the hard work of initializing components, it has enabled our group working on the quadcopter to spend our time developing the flight control algorithm. We didn’t have to worry about configuring PWMs, timers, BLE, etc. because all required APIs are auto-generated and the configuration of components is done by user-friendly component graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
Another benefit of PSoC Creator is the ease of debugging and the availability of useful tools. The development of our flight algorithm and tuning PID required that we do the debugging while the quadcopter is flying. With the help of wireless debugging and the bridge control panel, we were able to plot orientation and PWM values. That helped resolve critical issues in the flight algorithm and showed how the PID tuning would affect the real system.
What is your favorite part about working at Cypress?
"I always have liked making electronic hardware products and seeing them work, which gives me great satisfaction. I am really happy that my job requires me to do what I like, developing products from scratch, debugging and fixing broken products from customers and coming up with solutions to enable customer requirements."
Are you working on any other projects that use Cypress’ technology?
We’re currently upgrading our quadcopter project to be BLDC motor based—motor control with a FOC algorithm, bringing the ESC for each motor to the central micro controller. The single microcontroller will now be handling the PID algorithm for flight and four independent PI controls for controlling each BLDC motor.
For questions or more information, you can reach out to Jobin Thomas at the following platforms:
Thanks again to Jobin Thomas for participating in our Maker of the Month program. If you would like to be considered for our next Maker of the Month profile, please email us and share a brief description of what project(s) you have made using Cypress’ technology.