prabhakar_deosthali

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Technical Director

I am an Electrical Engineer by qualification and an Embedded Software professional and IT manager. Having about 38 years of experience in various industries such as Atomic Energy, Telecom, Digital Tv, Automotive Electronics, Appliance control, Robotics and Electric Vehicles I am from India and am currently a free lance professional

prabhakar_deosthali

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    • A very god article explaining the trade-offs between hardware.software performance. I have worked on embedded software development for both domains - customised solutions where the hardware cost was not an issue and could deploy high performance hardware so that the software design could be kept simple Vs High volume low cost consumer products where I had to use all kind of tricks to keep the code size minimal, keep real time budjet of the critical code tight to minimise interrupt latency, and have all kind of tricks with stack manipulation to avoid stack overflow. Coding a small embedded product such as a ignition control unit for a scooter with a 1Mhz micro controller having just 256 bytes of memory and is a real challenge for real time software engineer.

    • I am also a firm believer that , though it may seem to be a lot of unnecessary things , the basic RTOS is the fool proof answer for any Embedded system developer - Preemptive scheduling being one of the essential features. Any shortcuts in this can prove to be a headache later on when the design specs expand.

    • A good article that reassures the Embedded system developer that he is not alone left with problems to solve. As longas he/she is open to disclosing the problems , the help is available - through on line forums, manufacturer's support sites and so on. The earlier the problem is disclosed , lesser will be the time to solve it.

    • With todays multi-core soc environment we require a robust language like ADA.

    • Whether good or bad we all have to agree that the world is now dependent fully on software and the world is now running on software. The software in some of the systems is so huge and so complex that it is not possible to make it 100% fool-proof. But it is possible to make the software fault tolerant so that it continues to run . Most of today's money transactions are being handled by software. Even airplanes are being flown by software The days are not far away when the software will be written to correct itself of the error situations.

    • This is a great news for Java lovers who want to use Java in small embedded applications. The implementation of Java where the virtual machine concept is removed and Pure Java is used will make it look like any other language implementation and the overheads associated with the VM - memory and real time latencies can also be minimized. I am eager to use such Java implementation in my embedded applications.

    • One of the security measures that can be deployed for an embedded device is to reduce the time for which it remains connected to the internet, to minimum required. That can reduce the time a hacker or attacker gets to get into that device and break open its security

    • Yes of course! Networking micro controllers using serial links was a common practice at that time. Using serial multiplexor cards we had built a networked system for Hotel Management application sometime in 1985

    • The basic concepts in any programming language are 1) data Types 2) arithmetic operations 3) logic operations ( Boolean) 4) Program control - branching, looping, procedure calling Once you know these basic by learning a programming language it is easy to switch from one language to another by learning the syntactical differences. The algorithms to solve a problem generally remain the same.

    • On freeways and express highways such self driven cars will definitely be a boon which will save us from those long hours of sitting with steering wheel in hand. More time to spend with kids on the backseat!

    • David, reading your article , i felt like reliving my career in the Embedded systems. I started my career in the hardcore Embedded systems sometime in 1979 and have traveled through all those transitions in the micro controllers, OS the RTOS and the development tools. Those were the days! doing away with the print media is an inevitable thing of today as everybody is more at ease with the online content.

    • A very informative tutorial for a person looking at this topic for the first time and is also good for the person who has cursory information on the topic. It would be nice to include some real life implementations showing the energy requirements of a given circuit and how those requirements have been met by the applicable energy harvesting technique.

    • The braking function seems to be not working effectively or fast enough and hence on sharp turns the vehicle is going out of control. It is a nice challenge to designers.

    • In a typical control application we could successfully use a 6 core SOC where each core was dedicated to a specific function - Sensor input and signal processing, keypad and display handling, Actuators output control ( analog and digital) and the main control algorithm. So an asymmetric multi core solution is always preferable .

    • The focus of the article should be on the kind of solar panels used , the energy conversion efficiency obtained and how it kept the batteries charged and how much mileage was obtained between stops . The motor control and battery management functions have now become rudimentary and I do not think STM 32 has some USP in it specifically for solar cars

    • I am just wondering , in all this jungle of powerful micro controllers and the OS and RTOS where do those DSPs stand - Has anybody tried to have an OS working on a DSP?

    • In today's generation of programmers ( Sorry! the software engineers ) it has become a habit not to comment the code. Not commenting your code should be a cardinal sin! Just because you can easily debug your code using the tools does not mean you don't document your code properly.

    • Apart from knowing the prize winners of these awards, it will also be interesting to know the top contenders or nominations. This will also show the other leading edge technologies/products worth looking at.

    • This reminds me of the BBC Accorn home computer which became popular and promoted to schools in India sometime in 1985. This initiative is very good for students even at engineering levels to build their projects.

    • A very detailed and informative presentation on RTOS. May be if some slides are added to give tips on how to simulate various sensors by creating sensor threads instead of connecting to real sensors while debuuging the code , will add some more value. The advantage of writing sensor threads is that you can create all kind of sensor situations ( sensor range, sensor faults etc) which many times is difficult to achieve with the real sensors

    • Suddenly the two founder members and icons of today's information technology industry pass away in aquick succession. The marks they have left on Programming ( Ritchie) and consumer electronics ( Steve) remain there forever like the carvings on a granite

    • The course material appears to preliminary for somebody an engineer looking for key information. Does the author plan to have a sequel to this ? First of all for a measurement from a sensor signal it is important to know what you are measuring - The frequency, amplitude, area under the curve or what? this is the key to what interface and data acquisition software you will use. In my opinion this basic point is missing in this presentation. Or am I missing something?

    • A very good article on software reuse in the embedded domain. The fact has to be also remembered that while designing the new modules for any project care must be taken to identify those modules ( being developed first time) which may have a potential for reuse and to make them as generic and documented as possible for the reuse by the future projects.

    • When something enters a legal fight,it is very easy to prove a case either way and it is only the lawyer from one side who wins and everybody else loses. This is universal whether it is a case of murder or robbery or copying somebody's source code. The legal system does not help here much. What we need to build is mutual trust and employee integrity.

    • A very informative article on I2C serial bus. With so many serial bus standards in vogue today - USB, CAN field bus and also I2C, I was wondering if anybody offers a universal converter which convert one serial interface input to another desired serial interface output.

    • A very informative article comparing the GPOS with RTOS. In my opinion in most of the embedded control applications there will be very few dynamic tasks created and destroyed on the fly. Most of tasks ( or threads) are created on system boot-up and stay alive all the time. In such cases the priorities are also statically assigned. In such cases even a GPOS should be able to handle such applications if we have sufficient CPU speed

    • This a very useful paper giving guidelines on both hardware and software considerations aiming to reduce the power consumption of an embedded device. Running the device at lower possible frequencies and at lower voltages are the two obvious ways to reduce power consumption. In Software using the processor sleep modes whenever there is no activity is also a must for software design. One important thing in software, in my opinion, is not to have continuous software loops scanning for sensor or timer activities but to make most of the activities interrupt driven. This allows the software to make use of the snooze/sleep modes of the processor.

    • I remember to have made a coding mistake while programming a robot and the Robot instantly broke one of the vital part attached to its arm when I executed the program. In another instance a timing mistake in bus arbitration software used to burn the driver transistors of the bus circuit in our Digital TV circuit.

    • Many thanks for sharing your discoveries of gold at ESC. I got a good insight into ESC sitting here in India. One pleasant surprise for me was to read the names of languages like FORTRAN and Ada being still very alive for web based applications

    • As has been mentioned in the article it is not just the state machine but something like artificial intelligence, applying the interpolation and extrapolation techniques , similar to what is being applied in Robotics. This is OK for the robot to do this kind judgments based upon the surrounding situation but in an automobile situation such inferior duplication of what a common driver's human mind can do in a split second is something which is unnecessary addition to already overcrowded electronics in the automotive.

    • A very point-to-point description of the Embedded application development process on an SoC. As the paper describes correctly the key to a good embedded application design is to pick up as many things common and generic to other applications as possible, bring those modules to use to develop your unique application by just developing that unique UI and related application code. The I/O management, Remote data management, communications , all of these if handled using tested components from third party software developers your job gets simplified, your time to market is reduced and the testing time reduces by a geometric proportion.

    • Oh! so many ideas! But won't that make things more complex to manage. with so many intelligent systems on board a vehicle its complexity will be more than a Aero-plane cockpit. One simple thing can eliminate the need for all - sensible driving by the person behind the wheel. Of course some of the intelligence is very useful e.g. advance information on the road and traffic condition, advance warning on incipient problems in the Engine, Tyres or such critical systems. But don't make it overkill. Let the driver be capable of making his best judgment !

    • Today's embedded systems are almost emulating the yesteryear's mid range computers. With their multi-core architecture the processors are presenting the newer and newer challenges to the software community to develop matching development tools, simulation and testing tools , language support and so on. So we are actually working on those old big PDP-11s with RSX-11M like operating systems but in a physically much miniaturized form.

    • I worked as a programmer for almost 10 years before moving to software project management. Since I started with programming in machine language ( in binary form) in the initial phase, working later on assembly language itself was a luxury for me when later I worked on software development for 8080 based EPABX and ACD development. We were working in India for a project assignment from USA company. We did not have the computer to run the 8080 cross assembler/linker/loader in India. So we used to write code manually on paper , verify it with code walk through with our peers and used to send the code to usa by courier . A team in USA would then get this code entered onto the development system, cross assemble, link the same and test it on the target hardware and report any bugs to us by TELEX. we used to fix the bugs by rechecking the code manually. Such development environment forced a lot of programming discipline into our team of programmers and we were able to write zero-defect code by the manual process. We could optimize the code for real time and memory again manually. In contrast to this , I envy the current day c programmers who cannot get a single statement syntactically right because the development systems are doing that work for them, they do not have to worry much about memory constraints because abundant processor memory is now available. They do not have to worry much about the real time budget because the processor speeds have increased many fold. With these state of art fast micro processors and micro controllers with development systems and simulation systems the real art of programming has vanished.

    • A good article explaining the tightrope situation in which today's control systems have to work. Apart from the right kind of RTOS which will minimize the interrupt latency, it is also important to keep any on-the-fly calculations or interpolations to the minimum while controlling a tool position or tool path.

    • This a very concise and precise introduction to the motor control and gives comparative view of various control strategies for AC and DC motors. In the slide showing applications , I found the mention of EV missing. The BLDC motors are increasingly being used in Electric Vehicles because of their compact nature, in-wheel construction and simple control algorithm using hall sensors. I believe this is worth adding to the possible application areas. Or is the cost of Fujitsu micro-controller a constraint here?

    • This appears to be something more rugged than those fragile touch screens being used in the smart phones and other similar devices. Low current consumption is another plus for this new material. But I could not understand what advantages it has in a 3D product over the existing touch screens

    • In my opinion, for safety critical systems what we need to do is have a different set of development tools rather than using the off the shelf compilers, emulators or any such tools. Some of the facilities like dynamic memory allocation, where there is a possibility of exceptions at run time making the system crash, can be disabled in such compilers. Even the testing methodology and the associated tools have to be more stringent. I do not know whether , languages like ADA still exist. We need such languages which will enforce all type declarations and not do automatic typecasting. No default initialization of variables to be allowed.

    • For such seriousness to happen there has to be some pinch in hard cash to the software distributor. Currently the bug fixing cost, though very high ,is hidden . because it is a manpower cost and not wasted components. If like in hardware the software goes into OTP chips ( one time programmable chips), then millions of such OTPS will become scrap with every bug detected and cost of fixing software bugs will become more apparent in the hard cash count to the top management.

    • Dipal, I do agree on this point that the young programmers are forced to take up the project lead positions for which they may not have the adequate skills. I myself was an avid programmer and not really interested in taking up the management position. What is wrong with remaining a skilled programmer all your life ? But as Dipal says, you are then branded as not ambitious enough ! There are many examples of good programmers becoming bad managers and ruing their and may be many a programmers' and the associated company's prospects.

    • There seems to be too much focus on finding the bug in the software and thus ignoring the other components of the control circuit - The sensors, sensor interface, actuator interface circuits etc. There may be some runaway problem in any of these components. These also need to be thoroughly analyzed by the competent experts. We have to accept that there is problem somewhere and not just keep on insisting that there could be a bug in the software but we are unable to find it.

    • To be able to develop a bug free software , a very strict methodology has to be adopted right from the requirement specifications . In most of the projects the real problem is that the requirement specifications are never frozen and the people modifying them at any stage of development , think that it is just a minor change and since it is software anything can be changed even at the last minute. The specifications keep on getting modified, twisted and the project schedule remains the same and the poor programmer finally loses control over his code and then fixing one bug creates another!

    • As a RTOS designer myself , I find this short course very informative and concise. Some more details on memory management would add value to the content. In my design i had found the bit map driven memory pool management very efficient and requiring less amount of code. Also some more explanation on importance of re entrant code and critical code section of the kernel may be included.

    • This course gives a concise picture of the product building process and is very useful and important for the Embedded system designers. The debugging of embedded systems becomes more and more difficult as you process towards hardware & software integration. The prototyping helps to build a controlled environment where the developer an concentrate and debug on area of functionality at a time. Prototyping also allows non-real time testing and introduction of additional hardware and software blocks to trace the intermediate stages of program execution. For a successful and bug free product one must invest in prototyping and tools like those provided by NI give a ready made platform to build your prototypes.

    • Since any medical device developed by any company undergoes rigorous tests for functionality, performance, reliability, durability by the health authorities before it is permitted to be used on patients, the designer do not have to worry much how their device will fare in the life critical applications. But better design methodology will certainly help in reducing the development time and jitters during the qualification process.

    • I am just shocked to see that the Americans save only about 1%( or even less ) of their earnings. The salaried class in India saves at least 10% of their earnings as an insurance for the future. Even govt policies encourage savings to the tune of almost 30% of the earnings , by proving tax reliefs on savings. I just can't imagine how Americans can have a sound nights sleep with so less saved for their future!

    • Apart from the cost, it is the flexibility of the plastic material that will make the solar panel being used in many more places- like car bodies could be layered with such material to produce electricity to charge the car batteries. You could just hang such solar panels on a rope in your backyard when there is sunshine and get electricity.

    • One good thing about these Robotic machines performing all kind of policing and utility functions will be that these machines cannot be bribed. They will do their duty as programmed without any deviation, leniency or favor to any body. In a country like India we need such machines to replace those corrupt people in all departments where public is harassed for nothing just for the money under the table. As far as defense against enemy is concerned such lifeless armies will be preferred by any nation . Such robots will not have family attachments, no leaves required and no enemy will take them hostage!

    • I like this grounds up approach to build an EV and Electric Hybrid by Tesla CTO. So far, the EV and hybrid car designs have been only add-ons on the current car engineering and do not take the full advantage of the Battery, motor combination and the appropriate drive train. I will be very tracking the development by Tesla in year 2011 and wish him success.

    • In my opinion, in the coming years the new technologies like electron spin memories and what not, the face of our industry is going to change all together and Moore's law ( or whatever you want to call it ) will be replaced by some other yardsticks ( or nano sticks should I say?). Like one of the readers has commented we have to cross may be million times on either side of the geometry we are today to really match what nature has produced. So we need new laws (of physic or business) which can predict advancement of the technologies in geometric proportions and not in linear proportions.

    • I found the article on Nuclear reactor renaissance from IEEE Spectrum very informative and it reminded me of my days as engineer in Dept of Atomic energy of India where I had an opportunity to study reactor engineering and work at the Rector related research labs and the actual reactor sites. India being a rich source of Thorium which can be converted to useful Plutonium by the breeder reactors , It was at that time assumed that the next generation nuclear reactors in India would be Fast Breeder reactors. Since then I am now out of touch with what is happening latest. This article gave some glimpse of what is happening today.

    • This is a very useful link to a treasure of information. I found the article of my interest "Specifying components for space application" very informative and complementing to the message board I have created on EEtimes where I have put a poser "are there specific standards for components used in Avionics ?". The link to Defense Tech briefs will be very useful in this context

    • This article reminds me of a venture capital funded project in which I worked 5 years back, we had successfully developed a multiprocessor configurable system on chip (SOC) where each of the I/O pin was configurable as either a digital input, digital output, analog input or analog output. We could also further configure the digital outputs as pulse output , level output etc. a built in ADC interface would automatically get attached to the pins configured as analog inputs. For analog outputs DACs were also built in . As per the configuration and by programming various control bits the whole I/O processing of all the I/o connected to the chip could be achieved by just setting/resetting some control bits offline. The chip would remember this I/O configuration once programmed. We had developed a utility in visual basic where you could just fill in some forms to configure the whole chip for your application. So no code was required to perform any I/O processing. We could then only have to write the application logic. We had successfully demonstrated the use of this chip for Appliance controllers and temperature controllers in HVAC application.

    • Food Fascination apart I would see such technology has many more applications which can make life easier for the physically challenged. For example if the room furniture is equipped with such communicating capability it can tell a blind person about its presence as soon as the person is near it. A person who has paralyzed legs could operate the lawn mower , a washing machine or a dishwasher while sitting on his wheel chair in the drawing room. Instead of making the healthier people coach-potatoes such technology may better be used to make the life better for these physically challenged people

    • I welcome this move by TI. This will help some cutting edge technology research to happen in India and Indians will be able to take real pride in contributing to the same. May be TI can also add research in Solar Energy related research in this lab

    • I just hit upon this three year old news article which promises some breakthrough in the dye sensitized material for solar cell. Has anything further happened in this area? If anybody knows please post it.

    • I am just wondering whether this technology can be applied to refrigerators. In that case the heat exchanger design will be radically changed and the heat taken out from the fridge compartment could be recycled back to run the fridge itself or may be used to charge the mobile batteries or run some other appliances in the kitchen

    • Yes! Timing analysis at the time of design is very critical otherwise subtle bugs can get introduced in the system which are difficult to trace. I remember one such project back in 80's when we were working on a micro computer based networking system. While the software integration was in progress, we used to find that the system used to be stable in the morning but as the day progressed the system behaviour used to become irratic. Our software team used to feel that it was because of their patches, until one fine day we discovered that the memory section of the hardware had a mix of memory chips of two different speeds ( 15ns and 22ns if I remember correctly ) with system heating up their timing difference used to put garbled data onto the data bus! We must have spent at least 15 days to finally detect and correct this problem whcih appeared to be a silly component selection mistake.

    • This is good tool targeted at development of software for multicore processors. But what industry really needs is a grounds up approach to the software development environment ( language compilers, simulation tools etc) to suuport parallel processing in a multicore system

    • A nice paper that concisely describes the implementation approach for noise cancellation in a hands free speaker phone systems. I wonder whether similar solution can be applied to filter noise emanating from the road traffic in a road side house. If this can be achieved in a low cost manner ( without shutting the windows off-course) it can create a tremendous market opportunity

    • The Automatic Radar for cheaper cars technology in my opinion will be very important and can help in saving millions of lives all over the world if it can virtually take control out of those reckless drivers zooming at fastest possible speeds and flouting all traffic rules .

    • There may be many opinions whether such technology is really worthwhile for military applications or not. But I foresee a revolution in the Paints manufacturing industry. Soon you may see the paints available in the market that automatically matches your furniture or curtains for example. The day you change your curtains the walls will automatically change their color to match them. No nee to repaint the house !

    • I feel putting RFID stickers on mobile phones does not make much sense. All that functionality of con tactless transactions can be added to mobile phones without the need of such stickers

    • In the Zilog days the Z80 microprocessor was made compatible to run Intel8080 code without any recompilation. Will the new generation processor be having similar compatibility?

    • Since the govt of India is converting almost all central and state govt tax transactions on line and making it mandatory for all agencies to go online, it is natural that the govt should provide the necessary broadband infrastructure for the same. Internet is no more a fun matter for youngsters anymore. It has now become the backbone of all financial/commercial and statutory transactions. The metros already have broadband connectivity by govt as well as private service providers . But who will go the small towns and villages? Only govt ! So it is a necessary move. I only urge the govt authirities to implement it rigorously.

    • A sample photograph of the module mounted on the motor will give a better idea of the mounting arrangement. The direct mounting on the motor may make the controller susceptible to vibrations from the drive chain. How is it taken care of?

    • I think more energy can be saved by building Environment friendly buildings that use more natural light and ventilation than those Air conditioning plants and artificial lighting. More energy can be saved by reducing those night sports activities where millions of units are consumed for those flood-lit football, rugby and cricket stadiums, more energy can be saved by reducing the working hours of those heavily lit shopping malls . Compared to all these energy-guzzlers I think all that energy consumed that electronics will be a minuscule part of the world's energy consumption.

    • This kind of muffler had been developed a couple of decades ago as per the information I found on the net. With the advancement in the electronics it is now easier to design such devices. This kind of active sound cancellation has another applications. The people residing alongside busy roads face have to bear with the traffic noise almost 24 hours a day. especially in India where honking is part and parcel of driving, such noise is sometimes unbearable. One cannot block all this noise by just shutting the windows. If an active noise cancellation device is developed for this application it will be great boon for these harassed people. The techniques will be same. and some kind of adaptive control system will be able to memorize the noise pattern in a given time slot and effectively cancel it by producing anti-noise. I am hoping for some entrepreneur to take up this challenge

    • Like yesteryear's calculators which had small solar panels and did not need batteries, I think soon gadgets like e-readers will come with similar solar panels and hence will work without batteries and without any hassles of recharging.

    • How will this processor made of plastic be powered? Will be it from some kind of organic battery? in that case it will make an interesting case. May be tomorrows newspapers will have an embedded fold-able built in processor inside which will download the latest news and articles from some www site. Fold-able processors and fold-able displays will make a strong case for such newspaper applications.

    • Electric Planes would be definitely viable for short haul routes like connecting metro cities with the satellite towns. For the long haul flights may be new generation solar panels will help in reducing the on board battery capacity needed .For planes which fly at an altitude of 10000 meters plus abundant sunlight is available for the day time flights. In another 10 years or so such technology will be commercially available

    • It may be more beneficial for the car community and betterment of the road safety if such Wi-Fi systems are used as automated traffic controllers . Using a GPS tracking system and an automated IVR based control system each and every car on the road can be monitored ( just like each and every plane in the sky is monitored) whether it is driving at proper speed, driver's condition, Car's health and so on. Such Automated system would even force the car to automatically stop at the next available curb area if something wrong is found with the car or the driver, simultaneously alerting the nearest emergency service vehicle.

    • This article is pretty old ( 2007) and much water must have flown under the bridge between then and now. A couple of years back I visited Milan and was shown a complete design of an Electric Sports bike. Newer battery technologies (FePO4 based ) were being explored. I think what we need to discuss here is what is the state of art today as far e-bikes are concerned. Regarding the battery replacement cost - a way is being explored where batteries need not be owned by the bike owners . Like gasoline stations there could be battery exchange stations where a discharged battery could be swapped for a recharged battery in a matter of minutes. The e-bike owner will pay per usage . This will reduce both the up-front cost of the vehicle and the cost of battery replacement a couple of years down the line. As the e-bike population grows such options will become commercially viable

    • The Ethernet speeds are increasing in geometric proportions. Why not grow these speeds horizontally also by having byte communications ?( over 8 wires instead of one) . Ethernet physical link layer protocols may be able to easily accommodate such byte level transfers. In today's times such byte transfer cables will not be as bulky as the parallel interface cables ( Centronics) of the printers of yesteryear's. Just trying to think laterally!

    • All said and done it is up to us engineers ( especially in the senior level) to keeps these 8-bitters alive. Don't bow to the management pressure from the top and don't have the fear of being ridiculed by the younger recruits who may have done their college projects with the latest 32 bitters just to get good grade.

    • I think the solution for zero-time booting should be very simple. Most of these devices do a lot of initialization , recognition of peripherals and loading their drivers into the working ram and so on. A simple technique would be have a battery backup for this working ram so that when you shut down your laptop/PC or whatever it is , it is just in a snooze mode. You press a button and up starts the computer in an instant. The penalty will be the battery power that will be consumed. Another way could be to cut a CD of the working copy of the OS ( after initial installation and configuration). If this CD is present in your CD drive, it just loads it into the working ram and starts. Any time you have changed the peripherals or done something new, you do a normal boot up from the hard disk.

    • I totally agree with selinz that in computing power more is always better. making super computers play chess like games against the world chess champions is just the fun part of it. But seriously thinking, we have hardly scratched the surface when it comes to understanding this gigantic universe. It still takes us a year to reach Mars by a space craft and the universe is millions of light years in size. Todays supercomputers have to increase their performance many million times so that those brilliant minds working on their theories can simulate, model the universe of such a gigantic in size and finally get some clues about what is this universe in which we , the solar system is nothing but a tiny spec.

    • Such devices have a potential of using them to change the criminal's mind-set. So instead of punishing a criminal by putting him in jail and hoping that during his jail term he will improve, what we can do is implant a device in his brain which will diminish the urge to commit a crime ( such as rape, stealing, fraud, murder etc). because such devices will have the capability to change the behavior of a person, the psychologists can take tremendous advantage of this new technology. Of course if used in good sense!

    • Looks like a lot of integration and support for various serial bus interfaces required in Consumer as well as industrial applications has been provided in this design. Some information about the internal architecture of the Atom processor - its instruction set etc will be beneficial to the software and firmware developers

    • It is good to see that the Embedded chip suppliers are now moving from the raw micro controllers from providing just some rudimentary analog and digital I/O and some rudimentary serial interfaces to such smart SOCs having ready made interfaces and data capture capabilities from MEMS sensors. If these SOCs come bundled with smart BIOS which provides ready-made callable software interfaces to the applications then the creative programmers can concentrate on developing innovative applications , rather than putting their efforts into sensor interfacing, data capture and filtering techniques. If INTEL is doing something in smart Embedded SOC then definitely it will be a smart solution!

    • This e-call system of emergency alert looks fine but its activation leaves some doubt in my mind. What if the air-bags have not opened? what if the occupants of the car could not activate e-call manually? What if the GPS and the e-call unit itself gets smashed in the accident? why not have a system which works otherwise- the e-call equipped vehicles will be scanned continuously for the OK signal. Anytime the signal is missing the car can be assumed to have a mishap and the emergency assistance system be activated. This should same like a Plane is continuously monitored on a Radar and as as it goes missing an emergency is declared for that plane.

    • It is the re-use of the water which should be made mandatory and technologies should be developed to make used water re-usable cheaply. I recently read somewhere that the astronauts who stayed on the space shuttle drank their own sweat ( created when they did their daily exercise routine) which was recycled and converted to drinking water. We need to have newly designed draingae systems where water used for bathing /washing hands is separated from the water used for flushing toilets . Even the sewage can be separated at the source as water from urinals and water from W.C. This will make recycling easier.

    • This e-paper technology is certainly promising and appealing. Someday it will surely replace the paper if this e-paper is made flexible and fold-able like an ordinary newspaper. If not physically then the MEMS support can be used to design e-paper where pages can be turned back and forth by the users thumb action

    • It also came into my reading that the new breakthrough in materials like Graphene has made it possible to build PV cells by just a thin layer of Graphane on the window glass( retaining the trasnperancy of the glass. ) may be some light can be shed on this new development

    • This course is a good overview of Solar power systems basics. Inclusion of some more details on the suitable battery technology and the charging techniques will be appropriate.

    • VERY WELL SAID Silicon_Smith ! -- 'the Indian brain has achieved much more than India as a nation has. To add to this I would say that all those bright Indian Brains are contributing to the US economy and US knowledge-base more than what they contribute to the Indian economy and most of them have become US citizens and part and parcel of the US culture also. And what is USA anyway ? It is a nation of migrants from all over the world and just about 2 centuries old !

    • I see that the majority of the comments have come in negative tone from those Americans who seem to have got frustrated by the way their own people have outsourced their jobs to the Asians. But as an Indian Engineer who has worked in Indian Industry for 35 years and also having worked part of career in US, Europe and having exposure to China , will still say that as far as core R & D ( Basic and applied) is concerned US and other developed countries like Germany or Japan are way ahead of India. Even in IT industry where Indians are supposed to have taken a large chunk of jobs from the Americans, it has mainly been the implementation, support and service. Even with likes of INFOSYS and TATAs , hardly any new software product idea has originated from India. All those social networking sites have been the brain children of Americans. And to the core of all this original ideas in science and technology has been 1) the US defense 2) US space programs 3) Abundance of venture capitalists who understand the emerging technologies and provide funding for them. So as long as America is spending on defense and Space the engineering innovations, technology breakthrough's will continue to happen and the next generation real engineers will find satisfaction in their jobs not from the money the get but from the new things they create. This is of-course my perspective sitting here in India.

    • Before we can understand this fourth semaphore and its importance in the multi-core systems, the readers will be interested to know how an RTOS , which is mainly designed for a single core multi-tasking operation, is extended to support the multi-core architecture. Since the multi-core architecture is a distributed architecture, how is resource management done? Is it done by running a copy of RTOS in each core and they in turn competing for common resources such as shared memory, I/O etc through the use of semaphores. Can some expert elaborate on this?

    • The saturation may have happened because at the application level , equally powerful multiprocessor operating systems and matching application software is becoming a tougher & tougher challenge. Also verification of such multi-core designs and ensuring the optimum utilization of such mammoth processors by the applications could be another challenges.

    • As of today I do not know any other Electricity storage technology than the batteries. So I am not clear what this new IEEE standard will address. Will be address different battery technologies? are there any other Electricity storage technologies in commercial use? Why not preserve the resources ( such as coal, water, oil) which are used to generate electricity? Why not find ways to generate these resources quickly ( apart from the Natural ways) from other waste material ? Can someone enlighten me on this?

    • My advice to the next generation will be , if you want to become an engineer then dream of building your companies based upon sound and original technical innovations. Don't dream of getting recruited in your final year by some IBM or Oracle . But dream of building your own Microsoft or Infosys where YOU will be creating employment for your next generation engineers. If this idea of becoming an entrepreneur is instilled into the youth ,they can do wonders. Last few months I was doing a groom search on an online match-making site, for one of my relative's daughter. I was looking for real engineers having done post graduation in engineering and pursuing real engineering career. To my surprise and dismay I discovered that all those bright minds having done their Engineering in world reputed universities were working in finance. The question not whether the finance as a career is good or bad. But the resources that have consumed to become an engineer have just been wasted. In India government subsidies are provided to the top ranking Engineering institutes so the talented engineers can afford the education. And all they do migrate to USA do some MS degree and join some companies as Business Analyst. An aspiring engineer must always has in his mind " I am here to create something new - a product, a process, a technology, an application that will be path breaking' Then an then only the Engineering profession will survive!

    • Electric and Hybrid cars may be a new thing but Electric trains ( especially metros) have been running with crowded capacities all over the world for almost half a century now. Thes metros run on High voltages carried by the overhead wires. The passenger safety models and signal isolation techniques applied in these areas can be taken as a model for these newer generation Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. Only problem will be cost , since these new generation vehicles or personal use vehicles.

    • Mixed signal SOCs have been around for quite some time now. It is a good move by Renesas to offer mixed signal micro-controllers. I beileve Analog blocks put some constraint on the geometry . IN what geometry Renesas plans to offer these micro-controllers?

    • Thank you for showing the glimpses ( on youtube) of the next generation products especially in the 3D TV world from the Korea Electronic Show. I like the concept of the Holographic 3D TV . Creation of 3D live motion images in the air is something which is more closer to the reality than the 3D LED TVs. It is like watching an event live and may be participate in the same, mingle with the characters and interact with them.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed this article as it represents an era where the Embedded software developers could really write the code bit by bit and know each and every bit in the EPROM or EEPROM they programmed. They could even patch the code by just modifying a few bits in the EPROM programmer memory and reprogramming the EPROM. Today with advanced tool sets and higher language support available the Software engineer has moved away from those bits and nibbles. In 1974 when India did not have a free access to the latest technology I remember to have worked on a 12 bit computer which had piano switches along with LEDS on its front panel. The Program had to be first coded in 12 bit binary machine language and had to be fed into the computer memory using thse piano switches. Once in the memory you had the luxury of getting it punched onto a paper tape. The debugging was done using a single stepping switch and watching the LEDS for the correct binary output.

    • Just imitating west cannot bring out the real innovations from Indian minds. For centuries the Indian mind set has been following west be it a new technology, literature, art, theater or movies. Even in IT where Indian manpower has now spread across the world, it is only helping those American, German or Japanese companies in developing their innovative ideas into products. So the India IT industry has become service-centric and not product centric. All those design houses in Bangalore and hyderabad and Pune are also helping those giants like Oracle, Microsoft, TI, Intel to convert their original ideas into products. The day will written with golden letters when Indians will develop original products out of their own innovative ideas which could be in a radically different application domain, not just a cheap PC but may be a radically different medicines to fight all these new viral diseases. not just a super computer doing the same binary arithmetic faster but may be a new mathematical model .For these Indian minds need to go deep into their own age old knowledge base hidden in Vedas and such other literature and use their innovative minds to marry the old with the technology available from west

    • With all the ifs and buts, the concept nonetheless is worth taking it further. As has been already mentioned the cases such as patients with burns or new born babies where the conventional monitoring cannot be done, this could prove to be a useful alternative and with adaptive techniques the system can be suited to various skin colors and other variants.

    • Porting of existing applications onto the new multicore processor architectures is not an efficient way of using this powerful hardware. A grounds-up approach is required to provide an integrated development environment for such hardware platforms. To use the software already developed for older architectures the best approach would be to build a generic software layer over and above the OS and below the target applications to take care of those endian and other architecture specific problems. Such emulator software should solve the porting problems

    • I am quite sure that giants like Sony will wake up someday and bring in those innovative Japanese mobile products into the International market which will be class apart from those from Nokia or Apple.

    • The timing analysis tool in a real time OS is something which is a must and it it good that Autosar OS has provided this facility. I wonder how come for so many years no other RTOS has provided such built in facility. I have seen many simulators providing such timing analysis. Would'n that be sufficient for the software designer to catch their time constraint related problems?

    • I agree with you. But like every medicine has side effects, any technology though developed for some good cause has bad side effects because of misuse or over-use. These cannot be totally ignored !

    • Glad to read that the CYPRESS chip has got entry into IPOD. Over the years CYPRESS has been promoting its CAPSENSE technology and looks like it has borne fruit. CYPRESS's effort in configurable SOCs is also commendable.

    • Web Vs Apps ! What about eyeballs and clicks? All these smart phones and their apps are going to make the next generation permanently blessed with sore eyes by continuously watching those tiny screens, and deformed fingers by operating those minuscule QWERTYs. The popularity of an app will then be measured by no of sore fingers and red eyes! While in Television we are moving to bigger LCD and LED screen with less eye strain ,less radiation hazard and here with these mobile apps we are spoiling the young kids who keep twiddling their fingers to send some stupid SMSs !

    • Such huge multi-core SOCs need to be supported by equally powerful Software development tools . The simulation of an application using such an SOC will need very powerful workstations or a cluster of workstations with the same network topology and speeds as in the target SOC. Is the company providing such tool sets?

    • The in-wheel motor technology for EV is good as it can reduce the transmission losses. But it has not been mentioned what battery technology will be used in this mass produced EV. The battery capacity, recharge time and battery life are the factors which are crucial for the commercial success of EV

    • If we count the number of Govt offices, premises , buildings, apartments, towers, highways in any country , it can turn out to be a sizable consumer of Electric and Thermal power. If the governments decide to use 100% solar energy , this itself will become a huge opportunity for the Solar industry to bring their products to economies of scale. No subsidies are required then. The private consumers will then automatically be lured to use this technology.

    • This is something good that Volvo has aimed at. But making things automatic sometimes makes the man behind the machine more careless and shifting the blame on the system rather than himself when something wrong happens. the Auto pilot system of the airplanes has been found to have been misused by the pilots to doze off while the planes veered to no-mans land.

    • This innovation using expensive gadget like IPHONE is of no use to the backward areas and remote areas like Africa and remote areas of India or Banbla Desh. Wi-Fi internet availability in such areas is next to impossible. Such tool may be useful for doctors to netwrok among themselves to share the information and new cases they come across. For me this looks like just an Innovation for Innovation sake.

    • In my days as an engineer it was the limitation of the hardware ( CPU speed , bus width and the memory size) which used to put constraints on what software could do. Now the hardware performance seems to have surpassed the imagination of software designers so much that the currently available operating system designs are unable to utilize that processing power offered by the multi-core processors. The microprocessor operating systems have to now adapt the operating systems of yesteryear's super-computers . One of the super computers designed in India lately used hundreds of Sun-Sparc computers to achieve the super-computer performance.

    • I foresee one big application area for home appliances. Internet can be used to control all the home appliances in a given home by the person's mobile phone. The control software in each and every appliance can be totally eliminated and the drive electronics ( say the motor movement in a washing machine) can be driven by the mobile phone acting as the UI and the control logic in a internet server of the manufacturer ( say for example Samsung) interpreting the UI commands coming from a specific washing machine to send the specific drive commands thru' the internet medium. With the gigabit internet all this will happen so transparently that user has a feeling of controlling his appliance from his mobile . This way a lot of local control electronics in each appliance can be eliminated resulting in huge cost reductions for the manufacturers

    • In this e-car scenario I would like know whether Ultra capacitors have any role to play. I would also like know what is current situation in Ultra capacitors. Aren't these going to replace the conventional batteries someday for EV and Hybrid vehicle applications?

    • This is a very useful paper which gives enough information for the first-timers in BLDC motor application field to give it a try. BLDC sensor based control is much simple as it only requires a small look up table to control the direction and spped of BLDC motor. The sensor less control however simplied it has been shown in this paper is software intensive solution. The first timers in BLDC should first try to build the sensor based controller and then venture for sensorless controller

    • IF we go by this trend of research of emulating the nature, no wonder one fine day we may find the Solar panel farms in the real agricultural sense ,where, the farmers will grow plants not for harvesting the crops but for generating energy! By our advanced technological research we are truly moving close to the nature! Finally the God Nature has the most advanced technology!

    • I also agree to the idea of leasing out batteries. In one of the other EETimes articles on EV, I had made this comment. Leasing out batteries has two advantages -1)It reduces the initial cost of EV and makes it competitive to the conventional vehicle 2) it removes the hassle and time involved in recharging the batteries

    • I believe, as the availability of web based applications increases on the TV, the best thing will be to simply the remote to a pointing device like the PC mouse. Just point and click or double click on the function you want from the menu. Isn't it that simple?

    • I am waiting for the day when I can skype my daughter abroad and we both can be virtually present in 3-D form in each others room thousands of miles of apart. We can talk, touch and smell all virtually! I am waiting for the day when I can send virtual copy of myself to attend ESC conferences, present papers virtually and enjoy cocktails in the sponsored dinner parties I am waiting for the day when I can send virtual copy of myself to visit the doctor , without having to wait physically in his waiting room. Looks like with this 3-D technology such scenarios are not far away!

    • Z80 was one of the most used micro-processors in the 80's. Agreed. But is it available today and if so in what form factor? What packaging ?. I think using any of the latest available micro ( or a FPGA for that matter )one can easily build an EMULATOR for Z80 with all the required software tools .

    • If we can convert more efficiently that 1KW per square meter of Solar Energy , falling on our earth ,into direct Electricity, to charge those batteries while the vehicle is running on gasoline during the day time, and drive the vehicle on batteries during the sun-down time then that will be a true Hybrid vehicle which will use the free energy coming from the Cosmos.

    • In my opinion such journalism is also encouraged by a breed of researchers who are eager to get some quick publicity on some hasty conclusions based upon some statistics they collect. One research group finds that drinking TEA is good for health and another finds that drinking TEA is damaging to the health. Both findings are supported by the statistics collected using sample groups. Many of these research work does not go beyond the academics. Don't you think that most of the movie reviews by the film journalists are all biased to bring you to the theater to watch those many times stupid and boring movies? Finally as an engineer we have to apply our own QA to these news/reports to separate facts from the fiction. Editors want to print something exciting, journalists want to earn their bread, we engineers have to go by hard facts though the wild imagination of some of these reports can click some news ideas into the minds of some innovators

    • No doubt that 3-D Tv can bring real life like experience in the drawing room for the couch potatoes who do not want to venture out to try those adventures, nature walks, sea-surfing , wild-life, car racing racing etc. In a few years from now, this technology will be available at an affordable price.The real issue will be the hazards of bringing such real life experiences right into your drawing room, which may be harmful for small kids, minors and mentally weak people. Imagine a real lion roaring in your drawing room with kids watching or a car accident happening in 3D in front of your very eyes or the bloodshed in a battlefield ! I am horrified by just imagining such scenarios happening in my drawing room

    • I think to make Electric cars as popular as the petrol cars is to have charge refilling instead of recharging. Instead of building quick-charge stations all across if we provide Battery replacement stations it will be more convenient for the car owners. The time taken for a battery replacement can be as small as the one required to fill the petrol tank at a petrol pump. ( of course it needs a portable battery arrangement in the cars) The electric car owner need not buy the battery set at the time of purchasing the vehicle. he just rents a fully charged battery pack at a fraction of the total cost and keeps on replacing it with another one when the pack needs recharging. he does not waste time in recharging, does not have to worry about the warranty period, battery life etc. This can also reduce the initial cost of Electric Car which is currently much higher than the cost of a similar capacity Petrol or Diesel car.

    • Thanks for this article. This article on PID control basics was like a refresher course for me . I developed PID control algorithms for motion control applications involving control of servo motors back in 90's . What I learnt then was that in Position Control using servo motors a simple position control loop with PID does not always work. To have the smooth motion of the robotic actuator we need to have velocity control loop ( with its PID parameters) along with the interpolation algorithm where the set point command is constantly moved along with the desired path and desired trajectory ( linear/circular) to reach the final position.

    • What I would do instead of proving the hopping capability is to add may be a balloon ( like an air-bag) which gets filled with appropriate gas to lift the robot in air ( or whatever media moon or mars have) take it away from the spot where it got stuck and lower it back to the ground by again flattening the balloons. Any takers MIT?

    • In my opinion the popularity of cloud computing in the coming years and the availability of faster networks may make local HD storage a thing of past, paving way for massive storage capacity requirements in the Cloud servers. This will require a totally new way thinking by the HD manufacturers. Thus though the total capacity requiremnt may increase many fold the type of storage devices used may see a sea-change

    • In 1960s when the astronauts traveled in space I used to wonder as a kid to read that there heart beat, Bp and vital parameters were being continuously monitored by NASA at the Space center. Now this MEMS enabled smart phone technology has brought such conveniences in our day-to-day life. It is now only up to the imagination of those innovative entrepreneurs as to what applications to churn out of this technological boon. A simple application comes to my naive mind - A Patient makes a call to the doctor and tells him his/her symptoms and the doctor while talking to the patient automatically gets his/her body temperature, BP and pulse rate data on his mobile. may be a small needle pops out of the mobile and the mobile send the blood sugar information of the patient to the doctor's phone. The doctor sends the prescription to the patient's mobile with his digital signature so that the chemist can issue the necessary medicines to the patient ( and of course the patient pays the doctor using the payment gateway!)

    • In all probability this new non-Von-Newman, non parallel processing and non-distributed processing approach of computing will yield a different line of computers which are not just number crunchers but thinking machines!

    • (Some typos in the above comment have been corrected ) All said and done, on a long term perspective SOLAR does have a huge potential of becoming a big industry. With new breakthroughs coming out of labs, the conversion efficiency is going to go up while production costs are set to come down. In a few years time I am sure this technology will become a commodity.

    • All said and done, on a long term perspective SOLAR does have a huge potential of becoming a big industry. With new breakthroughs coming out of labs the convergence efficiency is going to go up while production costs are set to come down. In a few years time I am sure this technolgy will become a commodity.

    • This is a good news for the Car owners as they can rest assured that their Car's security system cannot be compromised by hackers. I as an owner of a Maruti_Suzuki Van had a horrifying experience once when in a public parking lot,I saw somebody opening may van door by his keys and then finding out that it was not his vehicle. Luckily I was around and then I tried my keys on his van and it also did open. The episode ended happily with both of us laughing at the car company's goof-up. When the key system is electronic it is all the more prone to hacking without any destructive means. I am sure that this new Asymmetric encryption method brings a hacker-proof solution to Car security.

    • It is really a big boost to EV movement where slow and sluggish has been an accepted criterion in the name of savings on gas and eliminating exhaust gases. This could be the vehicle of the young generation!

    • This is a very good and not so futuristic concept in the personal transportation. As a part of EV design team , we had tried a similar compact 2 seater EV in our lab and it gave quite interesting results. The fold-able and stack-able concept is something really innovative and makes such vehicle very attractive as Public Transportation in the downtown areas of metropolis. The stack-able concept is mainly useful in vehicles for hire where the car on the top of the stack can be hired. Such technology needs to be commercialized very fast

    • This paper looks to be a very concise introduction to MIxed signal SOC design. I have a query to the author. I heard a couple of years back that Analog FPGAs are now available. Does this make the in-circuit-emulation of Analog, or for that matter the mixed signal SoCs in real time ( by combining Analog and Digital FPGAs to simulate the complete mixed signal SOC) Socs in real time, possible ? Does Cadence provide tools to trasfer the mixed signal design into Analog and Digital FPGAs?

    • This sounds like a very good innovation especially for gadgets like TV remote. It will at least ensure some calories burnt for the couch potatoes apart from saving the hassle of replacing those AA and AAA batteries every now and then. The days of automatic wrist watches which worked on movement of wrist are back! the spring is getting replaced by a capacitor.

    • I also had another thought. In countries like Africa where Sunlight is available in abundance efforts have been made to make solar based distillation process to convert dirty pond water into drinking water. That sounds to me to be a much cheaper option and such systems are affordable too. This technology is available today!

    • Such a technology will be a real boon for countries like India where so much water goes down the drain during the season of Abundance ( monsoon season) and then in summer people have to walk miles to fetch a bucket of water to drink. This technology will enable people to harvest their own sewage to convert it back to potable water

    • This technology looks to be promising enough in reducing effective carbon emission and green house gases , by elimination of CFCs and by reduction in Electricity consumption. Early commercialization of such technologies is the need of the hour.

    • I would like to know whether this methodology also encompasses the DESIGN OPTIMIZATION (Real time, memory, circuit space) which is very essential for Embedded Systems Projects.

    • This information is interesting. Looking at the numbers for revenues from Embedded Software Services it looks like there is still a huge scope for India to increase its market share in this domain.

    • This is truly a very exciting breakthrough in the Solar Panels. The unobtrusive way in which such solar panels can be mounted as window panes is really something exciting and will tremendously boost use of such panels in common homes if found cost-effective. may be the days of the current PV cells are numbered!

    • Such a reduction in the charging time will be a great boost in promoting EVs, as the battery recharge time will become comparable to time spent in filling gas. Currently the long battery charging time is the most deterring factor in EVs becoimg popular with a normal consumer

    • I think such a product was long overdue. And what with the new Internet addressing protocols ( with enhanced address space) this could be a boon to the chip designers as they could easily swithc over to the upgrades.

    • Instead of thinking of replacing PC by the mobile, why not think of Mobile working as a remote as well as the program feed for the house TV and the home theater. Do away with the DTH!

    • This paper is a very cursory attempt to give insight into the BLDC motor control technique for e-bike application. The application notes by controller manufacturers such as micro-chip explain it more succinctly. Even the truth table for the motor direction control is missing. I expected a much detailed discussion on the control techniques especially sensor less control of BLDC motor

    • It will now be appreciated if Apple acknowledges the problem, takes its customers into confidence and takes them alon with the solution path it has planned to solve this problem. A feeback/replay to all of us by Aplle spokesperson is in order.

    • This paper by Mentor Graphics is a short and simple overview of USB. Came USB and all those engineers who struggled with those 9 pin and 25 pin RS-232 interfaces and using serial multiplexers to attach multiple serial peripherals , heaved a sigh of relief. The best visibility of USB was seen when those sleek Pen drives appeared in the market and the marketing executives no more required to carry their heavy laptops and bunch of CDs to give presentations to their customers. Just carry a Pen drive like a key chain , hook it to your customers Lap-top and there you go. This standard has definitely a much longer life. No wonder tomorrows home appliances may have a USB port and you could download Micowave recipes , washing machine programs using a pen-drive.

    • IPAD has been found to be an expensive gadget for student communities in college and university campuses. With innovative software applications this platform will surely also get entry into the corporate world

    • With the consumer(even in Asia) becoming more and more knowledgeable and also aware of the global brands and their product offerings, I don't think that the car manufacturers in Asia can overlook the safety and reliability aspects to offer cheaper models. The consumer and the government regulations will ensure this.

    • It may be worthwhile for Apple not to cover up the problem but go to the root cause. If the users are experiencing the poor signal reception then it may not be just the wrong display problem. Prabhakar Deosthali