Embedded computing’s value is in providing real-time, no-delay, context-specific functionality that is very responsive to customer needs and changing environments. The ubiquitous broadband connection to the Internet and the cloud allow embedded developers to realize these values. Using a hybrid model takes the best of both worlds by doing the heavy lifting offline, while maintaining critical pieces of functionality in the device. The technique is in finding the appropriate balance point in how much logic/memory lives where and how fast developers can adapt to evolving customer needs.
Challenges arise in providing reliable touch performance in devices when the touch sensor is subjected to large amounts of noise from sources such as displays and chargers. This noise can corrupt reported touch data, degrading the performance and reliability of the device. Today’s touch-screen controllers use a variety of features to boost SNR and provide a seamless user experience amidst the noisy environment.
As customers demand increased performance, reduced size, longer battery life, and silent operation, embedded design teams are constantly battling system cooling issues. Covering the latest strategies, Mercury Systems' VP of Engineering Services, Darryl McKenney, answers questions on the thermal management techniques, trends, and materials for current embedded projects, and what changes we can expect in the future.
The ubiquity of connected cars is rapidly accelerating, in spite of the engineering challenges that remain to be conquered. The laundry list includes data security, interoperability with legacy communications systems, and, ironically, consumer expectations in the "instant on, instant everything" era. Spansion's Senior Director of Segment Marketing, Anthony Le, addresses these concerns, tells where NOR and NAND flash fit in, and describes a single IT fabric solution. Will it be a panacea? Time will tell.
Resurgence of the Do It Yourself (DIY) community has driven a range of open hardware platforms, giving aspiring technologists cheap and easy access to embedded development. Outside of hobbyist toys and educational devices, however, "hacker" boards are increasing performance and I/O flexibility, and have become viable options for professional product development.
Advances in technology are enabling a new generation of embedded systems products with features and capabilities previously not possible. A common theme is that these products need to be mobile, consume very little power, and provide a richer set of information to the consumer. However, this is posing a big challenge to the display industry as embedded designers are faced with having to deliver information in places and on surfaces commonly not thought possible and in environments that are very harsh for displays. This is so much so that the display can become the limiting factor in product design. But it doesn’t have to be. Electrophoretic Display (EPD) technology has caught up with the imagination of the embedded design community, and companies can now easily enable “smart” surfaces.
Thanks to the mind-boggling processing power available in the newest FPGAs and the organizational structure of 3U OpenVPX systems, a new generation of miniature ruggedized hardware designs is possible. Commercially available hardware combining these technologies allows engineers to quickly and easily build compact systems for the most demanding tasks.
The initial goal in creating the Raspberry Pi credit card sized, Linux-based Single Board Computer (SBC) – targeted primarily at education – was to develop a response to the decline of students engaging with computer science and related engineering disciplines. Our desire was to reverse the trend of children becoming consumers rather than creators. The following case study follows the hardware development process from an early failure, initial prototypes, and through to the finished production design.
Striving to cure telehealth challenges - including connected health equipment ease-of-deployment, integration of telehealth data into care providers' normal workflow, and meeting changing patient needs - is all in a day's work for the nonprofit Continua Health Alliance. A primary technical focal point for the organization is to enable personal connected health devices' interoperability/plug-and-play connectivity. And, as the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") takes hold, the need for personal connected health device connectivity will only increase, as mentioned by Alliance members Ian Hay (Orange), Barry Reinhold (Lamprey Networks), and Frank Wartena (Philips Research Europe) in the following interview.
Compact, rugged computing modules lay the framework for lifesaving advancements in today's ventilator technologies. Increased ventilator control is paving the way for optimum patient health as well as reduced hospital stays and associated costs.
The speed of innovation in automotive IVI is making a lot of heads turn. No question, Linux OS and Android are the engines for change.
The SFF-SIG is driving specs at the small end of the embedded spectrum that CoreExpress COMs, Pico-ITX SBCs, and XR-DIMM rugged memory.
The PC/104 Consortium continues evolving the stackable PC architecture, most notably with developments in their PCI Express specification, PCIe/104.
Many of today's embedded systems incorporate multiple analog sensors that make devices more intelligent, and provide users with an array of information resulting in improved efficiency or added convenience. The Analog Front End (AFE), allowing the connection of the sensor to the digital world of the MCU, is often an assumed "burden" in designing sensor interface circuits. However, the latest concept in a configurable AFE, integrated into a single package, is helping systems designers overcome sensor integration challenges associated with tuning and sensor drift, thereby reducing time to market. The following discussion examines how the versatility of such a technology allows the designer to tune and debug AFE characteristics on the fly, automate trimming and adjust for sensor drift, and add scalability to support multiple sensor types with a single platform.
The VITA Standards Organization (VSO) takes aim at small form factors with a series of developing specifications.
High-end electronics provide drivers and passengers with in-car navigation and entertainment and information delivered over a wireless network. In fact, many car buyers today care more about the infotainment technologies embedded in the dashboard than what's under the hood. This phenomenon is requiring additional storage space for rich multimedia data and advanced software and applications and is driving an explosive growth of both volatile and nonvolatile memories. Embedded multimedia cards are helping meet this demand in today's memory-hungry automotives.
Avnet Electronics Marketing is an operating group of Phoenix-based Avnet, Inc. that serves Electronic Original Equipment Manufacturers (EOEMs) and Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers in more than 70 countries, distributing electronic components from leading manufacturers and providing associated design-chain and supply-chain services. The group's website is located at www.em.avnet.com.
Android has its share of benefits and challenges when it comes to automotive infotainment systems. One such challenge is that of the emergence of mixed-criticality systems comprising both infotainment and safety-/security-critical systems, enabled by high-performance multicore processors. To face this challenge: Try virtualization.
The Linux Foundation is revving up deployment of its widely used operating system by launching the Automotive Grade Linux Work Group to advance automotive system development through collaboration between the Linux and open-source communities and the automotive industry. Rudolf explains how the project will fuel in-vehicle technology innovation by developing a reference platform that meets the automotive industry's needs for connectivity and long-term viability.
Certification ensures a smooth ride for in-vehicle audio/video streaming: Q&A with Rick Kreifeldt, President and Chairman, AVnu Alliance
With the increasing number and variety of infotainment applications being crammed into cars today, interoperability is becoming vitally important to guarantee that in-vehicle systems function reliably and deliver the anticipated user experience. Rick shares how the AVnu Alliance is helping ensure that all parts of the in-vehicle system work together consistently by maintaining a certification program for Audio Video Bridging (AVB) protocols and collaborating with the GENIVI Alliance on defining In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) specifications based on open-source technologies.
IT managers are under increasing pressure to boost network capacity and performance to cope with the data deluge. Networking systems are under a similar form of stress with their performance degrading as new capabilities are added in software. The solution to both needs is next-generation System-on-Chip (SoC) communications processors that combine multiple cores with multiple hardware acceleration engines.
A modern software platform for the era of multicore and cloud computing – Q&A with Mark Brewer, President and CEO, Typesafe
This Embedded Computing Design Q&A taps Mark Brewer, President and CEO of Typesafe, with questions on how the Scala programming middleware helps optimize multicore and cloud computing software.
Image processing is computationally intensive, requiring immense resources in CPU and memory throughput. Parallelism through multiple CPU cores helps, but even with today's dual-, quad-, and higher count core devices, multimedia tasks demand either a great deal of power or the addition of dedicated image processing hardware. Adding a pool of parallel processing elements as a programmable accelerator to the CPU creates a proper balance of general-purpose processing, high performance, and low power, as demonstrated in an example showing 2x-3x performance and performance-per-watt improvements.
As the economies of digital signage grow, embedded designers are tasked with making the costs shrink. To maintain ROI, developers of digital signage systems are turning to ARM-based SBCs and other small, low-power hardware solutions.
Single-layer technology is emerging to extend the size and environmental reach of touch screen human-machine interfaces.
The analog IP core selection roadmap leads to strategic objectives and significant value.
While manual methods of record keeping and code examination can provide a high-level view of third-party content in a code portfolio, increasingly automated solutions are deployed in various stages of a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Ideally, an approach that seamlessly overlays an automated open-source content management process on top of an organization’s existing SDLC would ensure that open-source software is adopted within that organization. As more and more development is moved into a cloud environment, appropriate software development tools and open-source license management solutions operating in the cloud are becoming an invaluable part of modern Agile development.
Several factors are propelling the explosive growth of M2M applications, enticing a new group of suppliers to enter the market. An ecosystem of software partners has evolved to meet the design challenges and simplify the complexity of the M2M value chain. Smart service developers can use production-ready, open standards-based platforms to streamline the design of M2M intelligent devices and infrastructure building blocks.
PICMG’s latest addition to the CompactPCI family of specifications uses high-speed interfaces to modernize this proven technology platform. As more CompactPCI Serial-based products are being introduced throughout the embedded computing industry, increased system flexibility and design options continue to grow.
Monitoring and maintaining 100,000 wireless devices in the field while keeping them secure from cyber threats are growing concerns for companies with M2M deployments. And because many of today’s most compelling M2M applications are also some of the largest, companies are interested in quickly implementing long-term, viable solutions. A new cloud-based application offers a way to test, install, and maintain cellular M2M applications such as these on any scale while maintaining security and keeping costs low.
Advances in spatial auditory displays are showing a reduction in driver cognitive load and an increase in both and safety and convenience.
The wireless explosion has resulted in a variety of technologies. As these new technologies allow for new in-vehicle applications, antenna sharing and Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) techniques are integrating these wireless communications on a single chip to save space, signal clarity, and functionality.
Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) equip small form factor embedded devices with big-time graphics capabilities, without costing in the size or power departments.
Configured with COTS gear and the proper battery, solar-powered systems for off-the-grid computing are finally 'soaking in' viability.
No batteries or line power, no problem: Energy harvesting technology empowers innovative wireless designs
Communication intervenes in the power problem - EnOcean and TCP/IP protocols enable wireless harvesting of ambient energy for powering building automation sensors and controls.
Configurable electronic motor management modules help plant managers cut the electric bill.
Getting into the grid-to-device market with the LonWorks platform – Q&A with Varun Nagaraj, Senior VP of Product Management, Echelon
In an exclusive Q&A with Embedded Computing Design, Varun Nagaraj of Echelon discusses interoperability in smart energy systems and the essential role it plays in maintaining the highest possible levels of energy efficiency.
Managing the power budget with current-measurement software can streamline the progress of a battery-powered design, balancing the scales of size, efficiency, and consumption.
With the proliferation of the smart grid, companies in the energy and utilities sectors will need strict cyber security measures enacted for software-based systems.
Isolating security configuration and code checking on a separate hardware and network platform from user development enables a secure environment and increases product integrity.
The passing of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs is generating concern that the current growth of the chip industry could falter.
Andy Gryc of QNX Software Systems and Paul Sykes of Freescale Semiconductor discuss how their companies' technological parternership has them dealing with the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) system designs of tomorrow.
In a Q&A session with Embedded Computing Design, Joel Andrew Hoffman of the GENIVI Alliance outlines how his organization's In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) middleware compliance program is introducing open source to the automotive marketplace.
Integration and education the keys to OEM product solutions – Interview with Chuck Kostalnick, Senior VP, Avnet Embedded
Wireless in telehealth: Critical considerations for technology adoption: Q&A with Mark D. Benson, Director of Software Strategy, Logic PD
Improvements in wireless telehealth: Advances in standards, reductions in power. Mark D. Benson, Director of Software Strategy, Logic PD, gives his perspective in a conversation with Embedded Computing Design.
The Open Services Gateway initiative looks to open up real-time embedded systems to Java.
Embedded virtualization combats the multicore complex: Global object networking allows real-time processor scalability.
Don't sacrifice accuracy for cost. Sensor calibration ensures inexpensive, FDA-compliant disposable medical devices.
Computers-On-Modules afford economic flexibility and future-proofing capability for medical devices.
Open, connected, and scalable hardware/software platforms should connect design and verification flows to offer higher performance and a more flexible modeling environment.