The Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) being held later this month is now in its 20th year (April 14 to 18 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA). For those of you who have been around the block a few times, you're probably well aware that 20 years in the conference/tradeshow business is a long, long time. Very few shows can boast such longevity.
The reason ESC has not only maintained, but also prospered over the years is the continual influx of new ideas, as well as the constant evolution of existing technologies. In other words, the conference has done a great job of covering all the tried and true technologies that are essential for any developer. At the same time, new programs have been installed to make sure that developers aren't blindsided by new technologies.
To that end, I've discovered yet another new entry into the ESC arsenal, one that will instantly become a great tool for any embedded systems developer. Taking “hands on” to a completely new level, the conference's organizers have built a program called Build Your Own Embedded System, or BYOES for short.
BYOES puts a complete development kit in the hands of conference attendees registering with an All Access Pass. The kit, designed by Via, packs a high-end microprocessor, 512 Mbytes of RAM, a 20-Gbyte hard drive, a 60-W power supply, four USB ports, and an Ethernet port–basically, all the functionality you need to get started on your embedded design.
When attendees pick up their registration materials at the show, they'll be handed the kit. They then take that kit from class to class in the BYOES track (www.cmpegevents.com/web/esv/byoes). There, they'll learn to configure the kit for their specific application.
The list of classes includes things like customizing your BIOS; how to work with Windows CE; embedding a Web server; ultra-low power wireless sensing; capacitive sensing; running a secondary operating system your embedded system; embedded USB; and a bunch more.
Note that lots of conferences give you a development platform to work on while you're at the event. But the real key here is that attendees get to keep their newly configured kit. When they get back to their own lab, they'll be well down the path toward their embedded design.
Richard Nass is editor in chief of Embedded Systems Design magazine. He can be reached at .