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    Back to Analog

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    In the comments below: Tell us how you would keep it real and natural with your analog project ideas!


    The theme this month is Back to Analog and it comes from kk99 who suggested a competition around devices based on analog electronics.  You can create any project that involves analog technology such as an amplifier or you can work on a project that takes you back to the days of analog, such as a simple electronic repair of a piece of analog equipment.

    Many technological innovations started out with an analog effort to recreate some type of content or house information. The transition to the digital world we live in now began to stir in the late 70s when people began owning digital watches, and started to taking off in earnest in the 80s.   The decade of the 80s witnessed the first cell phone, the first digital camera, the first compact disc, and the personal computer invaded our homes. Perhaps the most visible sign, the switch from analog to digital was on, came when digital wrist watches, such as the Casio CA53-W1 Calculator Watch from Back to the Future, became a fashionable accessory.  The wristwatch is also a good way to understand the difference between analog and digital.  As the seconds hand goes around the dial of an analog clock you can physically see time changing as it happens.  Whereas, on a digital clock, time can only be represented a finite number of times (such as every tenth of a second).


    Analog is closer to the natural world around us, it is represented in waves, whereas digital is represented in discrete signals representing 0s and 1s. Many people still prefer to listen to their music in analog format for this very reason.  While you would have to go back to 1985 to see anyone rocking out to a cassette tape on a walkman, vinyl records refuse to die and have seen a resurgence in popularity over the last decade. For some, vinyl records never died, and record stores have had enough loyal customers to stay open for a very long time despite challenges.  The reason people prefer the analog signals is because it provides infinite detail and infinite resolution.  When you take an analog recording and convert it from analog to digital, you distill that infinite detail into a finite number of values.  You throw information away when you digitize analog sounds.  While most people may not recognize the difference, the most discerning music listener, aka the audiophile, will notice the difference.



    The digital vs analog divide can also be seen in photography where there is a renewed interest from photographers in film formats of the past.  The Impossible Project, who have helped to keep the old Polaroid format alive since 2008, is the most glaring example.   Whether you're talking about sound reproduction, or video, there is always going to be a tradeoff when you attempt to represent the natural world of analog, into the discrete world of digital.  Analog design for electronics is more involved than digital and the variables used in analog design are much more interdependent. Whereas digital design involves manipulating  discrete inputs and outputs; signals are either on or off, analog design deals with inputs and outputs that are continuous.  Analog design is characterized by values between the lowest potential (Vss) and highest potential (Vdd).  Digital design is focuses on fewer design specifications such as speed, power, and area of a design in an integrated circuit. In analog design you also need to account for speed, power, and area, but you'll also have to consider things like gain, bandwidth, power supply sensitivity, signal distortion, and several noise sensitivities such as noise figure and phase noise.



    Your Monthly Theme


    The Monthly Theme You Voted For: Back to Analog
    1970's Sears 8 Track Repair Repair of tone control circuit in old transistor radio


    Your Chance to Win


    Be Original
    Stick to the Theme
    • You could come up with a clever name that make's your project memorable!
      • This project is your baby! Part of the fun of bringing something new into the world is coming up with a name.
    • Your project could introduce something new or that is not commercially available or affordable!
    • If you have an idea for a project that doesn't fit the current theme then submit your idea in the comments section of the monthly poll.
    List the Steps
    Submit Video Proof
    • Provide the steps you took to complete your project (text, video, or images).
      • This could be a step by step how-to-guide, vlog, schematics, coding, napkin drawings, voice narration, or whatever you think will be useful!
    • If it doesn't work that's fine, this is more about the journey than the end product.
    • A short video is all that is required but you can shoot as much video as you like.
    • You are encouraged to be creative and have as much fun as possible!



    First Place Winners



    Your Project, Your Ideas!



    About Project14

    Every month you'll have a new poll where you'll get to decide an upcoming project competition, based on your interests, that will take place a couple of months in advance. Themes are broad in scope so that everyone can participate regardless of skill set.


    What are Monthly Themes?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) a new theme will be posted on Project14.
    • Submit your ideas (proposals) for your projects to get feedback from the rest of the community.
    • Submit a project entry in the Theme space once you start working on it.


    What are Monthly Theme Polls?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) there is a project theme poll.
    • Vote on which project competition you want to see for the following upcoming theme.
      • The themes voted on during the previous poll decided the upcoming theme.
      • If you submit an idea for a theme that is not used then it can still be used in a future poll.
    • Themes comments and ideas from the comments section of the project theme poll.

    Step 1: Log in or register on element14, it's easy and free.

    Step 2: Post in the comments section below to begin a discussion on your idea. Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.

    Step 3: Submit a blog post of your progress on your project by the end of the month.  You are free to submit as many blog entries as you like until the beginning of the next theme.


    Be sure to include video proof of your project!


    Visit:  Back to Analog




    You have until December 14th End of Day to submit your completed project!


    A jury consisting of your peers will judge project submissions!

    In the comments below: Tell us how you would keep it real and natural with your analog project ideas!