I made my first electronic circuits as a student at the KULeuven University and quickly realized I had found my passion. I love the combination of intellectually challenging work and fine craftsmanship. I also have some experience in software engineering, but I definitely get most excited when building electronic circuitry.
Through the years I learned to use several types of microcontrollers. I started with a 16-bit PIC-microcontroller and moved on to the newest 32-bit ARM microcontrollers. My first microcontroller programs were so-called “bare metal”: no operating system is running behind the scenes. It’s challenging, because you’re controlling the hardware directly. Right now I am using real-time operating systems for new projects. But I’m thankful I got the opportunity to work without, such that I know how the hardware works.
My favourite circuits are those that combine a microcontroller and analog circuitry. My fondness for analog electronics has never died. I have worked more than one year on a project involving “capacitive sensors”. This type of sensor emits an electric field and detects any object that disturbs the field. It is the technology used in by your smartphone to detect your fingertips on the display. But the technology can do much more than this. Also for this project I cannot (yet) disclose the details.
Since July this year I run my own electronics design company Dronegrid. I’m building a smart and safe battery charger system for their automatic drones. Dronegrid was on national TV a few days ago: Beeldtechnologie VITO stuwt groei van start-up Dronegrid
- PIC microcontrollers
- ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers
- C and C++ for embedded design (experienced in C, beginner in C++).
- Python and PyQt framework to build computer programs, mainly to collect and visualize the data from the microcontroller
- Java (but I prefer Python to be honest)
- Analog electronics
- PCB manufacturing, soldering, circuit testing, …
A fully automatic pick-and-place machine is not intended for prototyping. You’ve got to buy your electronic components in large quantities (tapes and reels), and you need to reprogram the machine for each new design. That’s why I recently bought a manual pick-and-place machine. It is the perfect compromise between prototype-flexibility and speed.
I’ve also got a manual stencil printer and a professional reflow oven to bake the
cookies circuits. The oven can even be connected to nitrogen gas bottles for getting very good solder joints.