Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (1-03-12): Remembering the past and anticipating the future - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (1-03-12): Remembering the past and anticipating the future

Embedded Newsletter for 01-03-2012

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January 3, 2012

Tech Focus: Remembering the past & anticipating the future

HIGHLIGHTS

Microprocessors change the world

The microprocessor at 40–The birth of electronics

WSNs & the future of the deterministic Internet

View from 2028: Embedded is (still) as embedded does


Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor
Embedded.com

In January of every year, tradition dictates that we take a good look at our recent history and assess both our mistakes and our accomplishments to see what we can learn from them, and then look forward, anticipating new experiences and setting new goals. In keeping with that ancient tradition, this issue of the Embedded Tech Focus newsletter focuses on both the past and the future of embedded systems design, looking back 40 years and looking forward as much as 20 years.

Our guide to embedded system design's past is Jack Ganssle's recent four-part series on the microprocessor and its impact on embedded hardware and software design:

The microprocessor at 40
From light bulbs to computers
The semiconductor revolution
Microprocessors change the world

Our main guide to the future is a collection of articles – “2008 to 2028: Twenty more years of achievement in embedded systems” – that celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Embedded.com and Embedded Systems Design Magazine. In this series, in addition to an introductory article on “Embedded is (still) as embedded does, ” a variety of hardware engineers, software developers, and company executives look back from the year 2028 and chronicle the “future history” of embedded systems design. Of these, my Editor's Top Picks are:

Embedded systems: The marketplace in 2028
2028: Wireless is the new wired
Cores' law, swarm computing and people power

Reading Jack's four-part history lesson has been an eye-opening experience for me. All of us knew that the microprocessor and the embedded hardware and software technology it triggered were going to have a profound impact on how we live our lives. But his analysis of the compute power now inherent in an ordinary smartphone or tablet computer (the equivalent of a 1985 Cray supercomputer ) staggered me.

His vivid chronicle made me realize that as ambitious and far reaching as the contributions to our 2028 series of “future history” articles were, they might have been too cautious and too straight-line in their thinking about anticipated developments. Read the fascinating package of articles, white papers, webinars and news features collected here and give me your feedback about what you think we can expect.


Design How-Tos

View from 2028: Embedded is (still) as embedded does

Looking back from the perspective of 2028, it surprises me that embedded systems are still defined the same way they were when they first emerged in the 1970s, 50 years ago.

2028 – Software quality: economically important & standardized

In 2028, with a little regulation, embedded systems software gets its due.

2028: Clean energy rules, but customization is king

Ultra-high-density digital devices, ultra-low-power devices, ultra-Internet, ultra-low-power noise-cancellation–2028 is an ultra world.

2028: Cores' law, swarm computing, and people power

Here are four prominent accomplishments that enabled the significant advances embedded processing has brought to the world since 2008.

2028: Waiting for asteroid 35396

Here in the year 2028, waiting to glimpse asteroid 35396, we know the only dramatic explosion we'll see is innovation in embedded systems.

2028: Electronics virtualization restored innovation and profit to electronics

Electronics virtualization was the unifying factor between hardware and software engineers, creating a new wave of innovation and affordable products to change the world.

2028: Little green robots to the rescue

The four main market drivers–robotics, green engineering, full immersion, and healthcare–were possible through advances in IC technology (price, performance, power, integration, development environments).

2028: FPGA platforms made designing faster and cheaper

Remember when we thought that embedded engineers would be willing to learn these things called hardware description languages?

2028: Wireless is the new wired

One word leaps to mind when I think back twenty years to the embedded technology of 2008–wires.

2028: Open source is out, app-centric chips are in

Embedded systems have brought about and enabled the very necessary change that took place in one of the shortest technological transition periods in modern history.

2028: The end user is always right

In 2028, smart, green automobiles drive on intelligent highways, and savvy users demand quality.

2028: It's all about VME

What role has VME and its markets played in embedded systems since 2008? Here's how VME appeared in the news in the last 20 years.

In 2028, sensors are everywhere

From environmental sensing networks across the globe to personal processors in our clothes that detect nutrition and hydration deficiencies, the buzzword is no longer “embedded intelligence” but “embedded inter-operation.”

Eyes are still on power in 2028

Over the past 20 years, embedded systems designers' concerns have rotated between power, integration, price, and form factor.

Back to the future 2028

Programmable System-on-Chip transformed embedded system design into a system-level abstraction, synergistically combining several major trends.

Embedded systems: The marketplace in 2028

Most of the significant breakthroughs in coming years in embedded systems design will be driven by three key technologies that we already use in 2008: faster multicore processors, COTS software, and virtualization.

On the road to 2028: Embedded needs standard IPC

We won't reach the promise of 2028 without a standard, open-source, high-performance interprocess communication for both local and remote IPC.

2028–A glimpse into embedded devices' connected future

In 20 years, processors will be super fast, wireless devices will be everywhere, and configurations won't figure.


Embedded Systems Bookshelf

Excerpts

Embedded Books Reading Room
Bernard Cole's favorite links to book excerpts.

Reviews

Engineer's Bookshelf
Airport fiction blows. A look at books other engineers are reading and why you should read them, too. Recommend and write a review yourself. E-mail Brian Fuller.

Jack Ganssle's Bookshelf
A list of book reviews by Jack Ganssle, contributing technical editor of Embedded Systems Design and Embedded.com.

Max's Cool Beans
Clive “Max” Maxfield, the editor on Programmable Logic DesignLine, often writes about interesting books.


Products

Transceiver supports NFC capability in cars

Designed for automotive applications, the Melexis MLX90132 is a 13.56MHz, fully integrated, multi-protocol RFID/NFC transceiver IC that supports ISO/IEC protocols 18092, 14443A and B, 15693 as well as 18000-3

ASIX releases the world's first single-chip USB 3.0 to gigabit Ethernet controller

ASIX Electronics Corp. claims that the AX88179, the company's latest addition to ASIX's USB-to-LAN product portfolio, is the world's first USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet controller.

19-inch industrial computer based on the Intel QM57 chipset

DSM Computer has added three variants to its 19-inch Infinity computer family, based on DSM's new PICMG 1.3 industry slot CPU 96M4371o.

Silicon Labs claims lowest power wireless microcontroller

Silicon Labs is aiming to have the industry's most energy-efficient microcontroller and wireless MCU with several architectural and technology innovation in its C8051F96x

Intel i5 or i7 processor-based rail certified computers engineered with industrial grade components

Captec's RCC-Series of rail certified computers has been specifically engineered with industrial grade components to ensure high reliability and availability.

Toolset eases software porting to Tensilica-based multicore SOCs

PolyCore Software and Tensilica have announced a partnership to make it easier and faster for developers to port their software to, or design software for, integrated circuits with multiple Tensilica dataplane processors.


Commentary

The microprocessor at 40–The birth of electronics

The 4004 spawned the age of ubiquitous and cheap computing.

From light bulbs to computers

From Patent 307,031 to a computer laden with 100,000 vacuum tubes, these milestones in first 70 years of electronics made the MCU possible.

The semiconductor revolution

In part 3 of Jack's series honoring the 40th anniversary of the microprocessor, the minis create a new niche—the embedded system.

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