'PolyMoniCon' Wireless Network Wins Top Honor in ZiLOG(R)/Circuit Cellar eZ80Acclaim!(TM) Design Contest
$US 10,000 Grand Prize Goes to Australian IC Design Engineer Lionel Theunissen SAN JOSE, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ZiLOG(R), Inc. (Nasdaq: ZILG), a leading provider of integrated 8-bit microcontroller solutions, and Circuit Cellar, the renowned computer applications publication, today announced the winners of the ZiLOG 2004 "Flash Nets Cash" Design Contest. The $10,000 Grand Prize was awarded to Australian gaming company design engineer Lionel Theunissen for his sophisticated wireless network application, dubbed "PolyMoniCon." PolyMoniCon, which, according to Brisbane-based Theunissen, means "many, monitoring and control," is a multiple machine monitor and controller with an easy-to-use web browser user interface. It was designed around a ZiLOG eZ8F6401 Z8Encore!(R) microcontroller and an eZ80Acclaim!(TM) microcontroller module. PolyMoniCon wirelessly monitors a number of machines in an amusement arcade. It assesses the throughput of coins for each machine and makes this information available to the user using a PC with a standard Internet browser. The eZ8F6401 Z8Encore! microcontroller provides an interface with the arcade machine, monitors activity and reports back to the eZ80Acclaim! microcontroller master, which in turn provides the web interface to provide information to the user. An RF data transceiver fitted to the eZ80Acclaim! microcontroller master and each eZ8F6401 Z8Encore! allows communication between all the devices. Using PolyMoniCon, up to 127 devices, not necessarily arcade machines, can be monitored by the master. The judges felt that the versatility of Theunissen's project makes it well-suited for numerous applications, including home automation, process monitoring, and alarm control and had no hesitation in declaring it the victor in this highly competitive contest. Commenting on his success, Lionel Theunissen said: "It was a great thrill to win the eZ80Acclaim! microcontroller 'Flash Nets Cash' contest. My reaction to receiving the news was 'woo-hoo' and the Homer Simpson victory dance, if you can picture that! I have been using ZiLOG chips now for nearly two decades, starting with the humble Z80(R) microcontroller. ZiLOG has a reputation for producing great value development tools and I think they have outdone themselves with the eZ80Acclaim! development kit and software libraries. The ZiLOG ZTP library makes the task embedding a web interface into a design almost trivial. In addition, ZiLOG's documentation, as always, is top notch." Talking about the thinking behind his PolyMoniCon design, Theunissen said: "Network remote control is becoming commonplace for all kinds of devices these days. Routers, alarm systems, even refrigerators are being equipped with browser-based interfaces for control, configuration and monitoring. ZiLOG obviously had those kinds of applications in mind for its new generation of eZ80Acclaim! microcontrollers, which possess an impressive range of features for adding network functionality to new and existing designs." Theunissen, who has been a professional engineer for 15 years, is not sure yet what he will be spending his $US 10,000 grand prize money on just yet, but is hoping to travel to the U.S. at some stage to attend one of the electronics conventions held there. The top four prize winners and 10 honorable mention awards were selected among a record number of entries received from around the world. The $4,000 first prize went to Ron Battles, Scott Shumate and Patrick Jackson, who all work for Cisco in Austin, Texas, for their "Network GPIB Controller" project. This uses the eZ80Acclaim! to integrate a number of critical functions into a single device to produce a low-cost yet feature-rich solution for controlling devices using General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB) protocol over an Ethernet connection. "As you might imagine we were very happy about taking first prize in an international contest of this size," said Ron Battles. "We did put in quite a bit of work but we also learned a lot along the way, as none of us had previous exposure to ZiLOG or GPIB prior to this contest. We had an idea and thought we had a good shot at it. Each of us was in the market for an oscilloscope and we are hoping to supplement our purchases with our share of the prize money." Talking about his team's first exposure to ZiLOG products, Battles said: "We were impressed with the ZiLOG tools. A free IDE and C Compiler were provided as well as a TCP/IP stack which put us on the network immediately. The fact that the ZPAK debug tool itself is network-enabled was great. Pat and Scott were able to load, debug, and test code on the hardware at my house without ever leaving theirs! We also liked the EZ80F91. It is a nice part which has ample Flash and GPIO capacity and a dedicated address/data bus for connecting external memory and peripherals." A $2,500 second prize was granted to Eric Gagnon with his project titled "Low-Cost Four Channel Network Video Server." This application provides a low cost option for networking home or office security cameras. Gagnon's project takes the analog NTSC signal of a conventional CCTV camera, digitizes it, and then serves it out over an Ethernet interface. This provides a cost-effective alternative to networking more expensive surveillance cameras. Gagnon runs Digital Creation Labs Incorporated, a consulting and product design firm, in Ontario, Canada. He plans to re-invest his contest winnings to develop some new products for the company. Commenting on his win, he was "absolutely delighted to learn that I won the second prize in the ZiLOG contest. I developed an interest in ZiLOG microcontrollers with the introduction of their Ethernet-enabled eZ80F91. I decided to design it in to a high-volume mobile digital video surveillance product with good success. The eZ80Acclaim! is a high performance part in its own right with its external memory bus and fast DMA transfer capabilities. ZiLOG's tools provide excellent value for the money, and are constantly being refined and its web-based tech support also ensures that no questions go unanswered." Three Chinese American designers, Huifang Ni, Jingxi Zhang, and Yang Zhang, shared the third prize and $1,000 for their joint project, "VoIP by eZ80." This project uses the eZ80Acclaim! to build a basic, practical, low- cost VoIP system. A voice band PCM (Pulse Coded Modulation) codec is connected to the eZ80F91 through SPI and I2C interfaces. Through the PCM codec, a variety of audio devices, including a normal telephone, a telephone handset, or a headset, can be easily connected to the VoIP system. A speaker is also included in the system for delivering a ring tone to notify the recipient when an incoming call arrives. Commenting on the standard of entries to the Design Contest, Steve Ciarcia, editor-in-chief of Circuit Cellar, said: "The international design community held nothing back when it came to creating eZ80Acclaim! based designs for the ZiLOG 2004 Flash Nets Cash Design Contest. The submissions were very diverse, from an I/O simulator to an arbitrary waveform generator, and a programmable infrared controller. The high number of top-notch designs made the judges' jobs especially challenging." "We found the standard and variety of entries extremely impressive and congratulate all of the winners," said Ramesh Ramchandani, executive vice president of sales and marketing at ZiLOG. "The projects submitted really showcase the flexibility of the eZ80Acclaim! family, particularly its networking capabilities. What is equally impressive is that so many people developed such a variety of working prototypes. These weren't just 'paper ideas' but tried and tested solutions. The creativity the project generated was exciting and fresh and the quality of submissions impeccable." About the eZ80Acclaim! And Z8Encore! families ZiLOG MCUs are embedded in over a billion end-use devices worldwide in applications as diverse as consumer electronics and appliances, building control, factory automation, financial transaction processing, computer peripherals and the automotive after-market. The eZ80Acclaim! Flash MCUs share the same CPU core as the popular eZ80 microprocessors, yet also offer on-chip integrated memories (up to 256KB Flash and 16KB SRAM), core speeds up to 50MHz and an on-chip Ethernet MAC (eZ80F91 only). The Z8Encore! family of Flash MCUs offers up to 64KB of Flash memory with performance further enhanced by ZiLOG's register-to-register architecture, featuring a 20MHz CPU core, up to 4KB of RAM, and a 3-channel DMA controller. For a complete list of winners and entries, please visit: http://www.zilog.com/acclaimcontest To find out more about ZiLOG's microcontroller families, log onto http://www.zilog.com/products About ZiLOG, Inc. ZiLOG, Inc. founded in 1974, won international acclaim for designing one of the first architectures in the microprocessors and microcontrollers industry. Today, ZiLOG is a leading global supplier of 8-bit micro-logic devices. ZiLOG designs and markets a broad portfolio of devices for embedded control and communication applications used in consumer electronics, home appliances, security systems, point of sales terminals, personal computer peripherals, as well as industrial and automotive applications. ZiLOG is headquartered in San Jose, California, and employs approximately 520 people worldwide with sales offices and design centers throughout Asia, Europe and North America. For more information about ZiLOG and its products, visit the Company's website at: http://www.ZiLOG.com. ZiLOG, Z8Encore!, Z80 and eZ80Acclaim! are trademarks or registered trademarks of ZiLOG, Inc. in the United States and in other countries. Other product and or service names mentioned herein may be trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.
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