Get hands-on experience with embedded technology -

Get hands-on experience with embedded technology

For any engineer or software designer, the information and education resources the Internet and World Wide Web make possible are a resource beyond measure.

But, as useful as online access to a wide range of webinars, videos, lectures, demonstrations and documentation is, nothing beats face-to-face interactions with teachers and fellow technologists and hands-on experience with the hardware and software.

That is why when I have the time and resources, I make it a habit of taking part in any of a number of traveling technology “road-shows” that hardware and software companies continually host at various geographic locations.

Obviously, the companies that take part in such events are doing so to educate the engineers and developers about the advantages of their products, technology, and solutions. But, they also provide a good window into the technology trends and are a direct means of getting educated in a much more hands-on and direct way.

One of the more all-encompassing examples of this trend is the current DevCon Extension 2014 tour sponsored by Renesas Electronics America in association with Bug Labs, Cymbet, Express Logic, Exosite, GainSpan, IAR Systems, Micrium, and Serious Integrated.

Free to developers who register to attend, DevCon Extension started in February and will be continuing at various locations in North and South America (Figure 1 below ) through the end of the year. It will offer training in such topics as RTOS and middleware, Human Machine Interface, low power design, Internet of Things and sensors.

I take advantage of such local hands-on engineering and software development training opportunities not only by trying to attend those near where I live and work, but also while I am traveling.

While visiting a company or attending a technology conference in my job as a technology editor, I make note of the locations of any such technology roadshows and try to attend. And, as shown in Figure 1 below , no matter where you live or where you are traveling, the DevCon Extension 2014 is sure to have an event nearby.

Click on image to enlarge.

Figure 1. Devcon Extension 2014 Course Tracks and locations .

Being held through May and June, the HMI seminar track spotlights hardware and software for designing and implementing cost-effective, engaging, user-friendly interfaces. This is an increasingly important system design requirement because end users’ expectations are rising due to their experiences with tablet computers and smart phones. The lectures and labs in this track explain how to design a modern Graphical User Interface for an embedded system—one that’s both functional and attractive. You will learn how to build and control a GUI and interface it to the system’s LCD panel.

The HMI seminar schedule is as follows: Philadelphia, PA – May 8, San Jose, CA – May 15, Chicago, IL – June 3, Milwaukee, WI – June 5, Boston, MA – June 12,  São Paulo, Brazil – July 29, Porto Alegre, Brazil – July 31, Curitiba, Brazil – August 5, and Joinville, Brazil – August 7.

Scheduled for June through September, the Low Power seminar track provides an in-depth look into proven methods for creating True Low Power designs. Discussion sessions and laboratory assignments address critical design issues. Application engineers will explain and demonstrate techniques, tools and implementation strategies for achieving eco-friendly, battery-saving performance and functionality that embedded systems must have. Examples of alternative or energy harvesting solutions that can be used to advantage to enhance new embedded system designs are also presented.

During August through November, the Internet of Things track will highlight the latest developments in smart, sensor-enabled physical objects. Technology experts will describe how networks, servers and services can interact with such objects to expand system feature sets and deliver new levels of automated performance. Attendees will learn how embedded microprocessors and wired or wireless networks can enable network-connected objects to sense their environments autonomously, communicate with other objects, and interact with Internet-based services and cloud-based applications.

The Sensors seminar track begining in October and extending through December will offer attendees the opportunity to experiment with the important types of physical sensors destined to be critical elements in future networked embedded system applications. Expert presenters will demonstrate how recent MCU enhancements make it easier to apply digital-filtering and signal-processing techniques to the data that sensors generate. Additional topics covered in this track include “front-end” and interface issues, as well as a method for ensuring that an embedded system achieves the full specification of a microcomputer’s on-chip ADC.

For the latest information on courses, locations and dates, go to and register to attend.

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