Need to know - a quick update on industry announcements and events -

Need to know – a quick update on industry announcements and events


Here's a quick review of last week's industry announcements beyond those we featured in Embedded's news and products section this past week – and a  quick look at what's in store for this week.

But first, we hope you enjoyed the once-a-century pi instant this past Saturday: 3/14/15 9:26:53.58979323. Presumably you were chowing down on pi(e) while reading the 400-page FCC Open Internet Order released by that organization on March 12. This weekend also brought the 30-year anniversary of the first dot-com address. Yes, there were plenty of edu's and org's around, but was reportedly the first dot-com domain, created on 3/15/1985 by the then-preeminent Lisp developer. Apple, being the luddites that they were, didn't appear on this newfangled Internet thing until 1987.

Enough of nostalgia, now on to tool- and chip-related events from last week.

Silicon Labs announced a collaboration with ARM to define and deliver the first power management application programming interfaces (API) for ARM mbed platforms . A new feature exposed by the APIs on Silicon Labs’ EFM32 Gecko MCUs automatically determines and enables the optimal sleep mode based on the MCU peripherals in use, which can dramatically reduce system-level energy consumption. Low-energy optimization is achieved by enabling I/O operations to be executed in the background and by allowing those operations to continue even while the MCU core is in sleep mode or during other processing tasks. Silicon Labs says it plan to provide mbed-enabled EFM32 Gecko starter kits in April 2015. Silicon Labs’ initial platforms supporting mbed will include the Wonder Gecko, Leopard Gecko, Giant Gecko and Zero Gecko starter kits. Developers with existing EFM32 kits will be able to mbed-enable their hardware through a simple software update. 

IAR Systems has updated its IAR Embedded Workbench for Texas Instruments MSP430 MCUs to introduce stack usage analysis. IAR also updated its IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM to add support for ARM Cortex-M7 MCUs from STMicroelectronics and Atmel. Both updates now feature parallel build for shorter build times as well as an integration of IAR Systems’ new tool C-STAT for static code analysis. 

Texas Instruments announced its new Sitara AM437x Industrial Development Kit  (IDK). Designed to help developers differentiate and optimize motor control industrial system design, the AM437x IDK aids in the evaluation of the multi-protocol, industrial communication and feedback interface capabilities of the highly integrated Sitara AM4379 and AM4377 processors based on the ARM Cortex-A9 core. Key features of the Sitara AM437x IDK include:

  • A single-chip solution to bridge from motor control to higher level communications
  • The IDK combines feedback and industrial communication protocols on a single chip allowing for additional integration and a smaller footprint
  • The platform drives synchronization that aids in lower latency between communication and control
  • Support for certified multi-protocol industrial Ethernet through the programmable real-time unit (PRU)
  • Multi-protocol feedback interface for motor control though the PRU
  • Field-oriented Control (FOC) for variable-frequency drives

The AM437x IDK is available for $329 on the TI Store and TI authorized distributors. The AM437x Evaluation Module (EVM) for general purpose is also available on the TI Store and through distribution for $599 with mainline Linux software support.

QuickLogic announced the addition of several new algorithms to its SenseMe Sensor Algorithm Library . When coupled with QuickLogic’s sensor hub silicon platforms and reference designs, the SenseMe algorithms enable designers of smartphone and wearable devices to expand the capabilities and features of their devices, shortening design time while lowering risk, and improve battery life and data accuracy. QuickLogic’s SenseMe algorithm library now includes new algorithms for low latency context determination of when the user is in a car or on a bicycle, and fitness/wellness tracking capabilities for on-demand Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM), advanced pedometer functions, and sleep analysis. The advanced pedometer provides step counting for slow cadence, normal walking, and fast walking as well as running; while the sleep analysis algorithm furnishes information on light sleep, deep sleep, and awake modes. QuickLogic says that OEMs that have benchmarked QuickLogic’s pedometer against some of the leading products in the market today have deemed the pedometer to be consistently delivering 97%+ accuracy.

Cadence Design Systems announced its Innovus Implementation System , its next-generation physical implementation solution that enables system-on-chip (SoC) developers to deliver designs with best-in-class power, performance and area (PPA) while accelerating time to market. Cadence says the new system is driven by a massively parallel architecture with breakthrough optimization technologies, allowing it to achieve typically 10 to 20 percent better PPA and up to 10X full-flow speedup and capacity gain at advanced 16/14/10nm FinFET processes and established process nodes. 

  • The Innovus Implementation System was designed with several key capabilities to help physical design engineers achieve best-in-class performance while designing for a set power/area budget or realize maximum power/area savings while optimizing for a set target frequency. The key Innovus capabilities to achieve this objective include:
    New GigaPlace solver-based placement technology that is slack-driven and topology-/pin access-/color-aware, enabling optimal pipeline placement, wirelength, utilization and PPA, and providing the best starting point for optimization
  • Advanced timing- and power-driven optimization that is multi-threaded and layer aware, reducing dynamic and leakage power with optimal performance
    Unique concurrent clock and datapath optimization that includes automated hybrid H-tree generation, enhancing cross-corner variability and driving maximum performance with reduced power
  • Next-generation slack-driven routing with track-aware timing optimization that tackles signal integrity early on and improves post-route correlation
    Full-flow multi-objective technology enables concurrent electrical and physical optimization to avoid local optima, resulting in the most globally optimal PPA

Microsemi Corporation announced availability of its SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA dual-axis motor control kit with a modular motor control IP suite and reference design. The kit, which simplifies motor control designs using a single SoC FPGA, accelerates time to market and is scalable across multiple industries such as industrial, aerospace and defense. Typical applications include factory and process automation, robotics, transportation, avionics and defense motor control platforms. The SoC integration of system functions helps to lower total cost of ownership. The SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA dual-axis motor control kit comes ready to use out of the box with a compact evaluation board (hardware), access to Microsemi's encrypted motor control IP, and a Libero Gold Edition (software) license to jumpstart motor control designs. The kit uses a modular SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA daughter card that enables customers to easily partition their motor control solutions for hardware only or hardware/software implementation using the modular motor control IP suite and the ARM® Cortex™ M3 MCU in SmartFusion2. For a limited time, the kit will be priced at a promotional value of $599 and will be available through distribution partners.  

Texas Instruments announced the expansion of its near-infrared (NIR) chipset portfolio with the industry's first fully programmable micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) chipset that enables ultramobile analysis for a 700-2,500 nm wavelength range . The TI DLP NIRscan Nano evaluation module allows designers to easily prototype portable analyzers to accelerate the development of ultramobile spectrometers. The DLP chipset, consisting of the DLP2010NIR digital micromirror device (DMD), DLPA2005 integrated power management and DLPC150 controller, boasts low power consumption, programmable high-speed patterns and the latest high-tilt 5.4µm pixel size for use in compact optical designs. TI says the DLP2010NIR DMD is the smallest, most efficient DLP chip and is designed for a variety of handheld NIR sensing application areas, including spectrometers and chemical analyzers.2 Application areas include farming, food and drink, petrochemical, health, and skin care industries.

Key features and benefits of the DLP2010NIR chip include:

  • The two-dimensional micromirror array combined with a single point detector provides a lower cost and greater signal capture than linear array systems.
  • A wide NIR-window transmittance of 700-2,500 nm enables accurate spectral analysis and the measurement of a variety of materials.
  • Its small size and 17-degree pixel tilt allow for compact, side illuminated optical engine designs, suitable for handheld or embedded systems.
  • The chip's programmable high-speed 854 x 480 micromirror array allows advanced filtering for fast measurements in handheld applications.

The DLP2010NIR and DLPC150 will be available in April 2015 and the DLP NIRscan Nano EVM will be available in spring 2015 for purchase from the TI Store.

Trimble announced its ThingMagic Nano — the latest embedded UHF RFID module in its ThingMagic Mercury6e series, which includes the M6e, Micro and Micro-LTE. The Mercury6e series now offers reader modules in several configurations, allowing customers to develop a variety of applications ranging from high performance to small form factor, depending on their specific needs. In addition, customers who have already developed a solution using a module in the M6e series can take advantage of ThingMagic’s universal API when developing a new reader with the ThingMagic Nano. Development tools available with all ThingMagic RFID modules include: the ThingMagic Universal Reader Assistant utility used to initialize readers and perform common tasks such as selecting application specific performance settings; the Mercury API Software Development Kit (SDK) with sample applications and source code to help developers get started demonstrating and developing functionality; and a full hardware development kit for rapid prototyping. Also available is the Mercury xPRESS Sensor Hub, a flexible development platform designed to enable customers to rapidly create cost effective finished reader products. ThingMagic Nano is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2015.

STMicroelectronics announced automotive-qualified serial EEPROMs intended to offer the industry’s largest selection of densities in the tiny 2mm x 3mm WFDFPN8 package, giving engineers maximum flexibility when designing highly integrated body controllers and gateways, as well as radar and camera modules for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The WFDFPN8 package is specially developed for automotive environments with increased thickness and lead stand-off that also provide robust handling and excellent manufacturability. All devices are qualified AEC-Q100 Grade 1. ST’s newest Automotive EEPROM devices are available immediately in sample or production quantities.

e2v announced the release of a stacked-package 32Mb MRAM-based product , offering a high density MRAM in a decreased package footprint size. The EV5A16B is a stacked solution, with two 16Mb MRAM devices from Everspin Technologies and is offered in a 54 pins stacked-package TSOP. Available in commercial (0°C to 70°C) and Industrial (-40°C to 85°C) temperature ranges, the MRAM technology offers SRAM-compatible, 35-ns read/write timing with data retention and endurance and is used with microprocessors, DSP, storage systems, instruments, and FPGAs.

Finally, here's a quick rundown of this week's embedded-related industry events, which should yield many more relevant announcements:

  • The GPU Technology Conference takes place this week at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center . Joining Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, Google Senior Fellow Jeff Dean and Baidu Chief Scientist Andrew Ng offer keynotes. Among other exhibits, Renovo Motors will show off its high-performance all-electric Renovo Coupe (see image, left), chock full of Nvidia technology. 
  • The First Annual OpenPOWER Summit will take place at the San Jose Convention Center . Hosted within the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), the OpenPOWER Summit will have a lineup of OpenPOWER Foundation keynote speakers, technical workgroup updates and member presentations on March 18th. During the three-day event there will be an exhibitor pavilion for OpenPOWER Members to demonstrate their latest advancements. 
  • Automotive Megatrends USA is a one-day event at The Henry in Dearborn, MI on March 17, 2015, featuring the “Connected Car” and exhibitors such as Green Hills Software.
  • The Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) is being held at the Charlotte Convention Center , in Charlotte, North Carolina, from March 15 to 19 with a number of sessions on applications of interest to embedded engineers.
  • And last, but by no means least, the CeBIT 2015 runs this week at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds in Hannover, Germany, with featured speeches by Chancellor Merkel and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, among a list of 200 speakers. Along with the usual broad and deep list of 3000 exhibitors, the show is featuring 350 startups as well as over 600 Chinese companies.

Join over 2,000 technical professionals and embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware developers at ESC Boston May 6-7, 2015, and learn about the latest techniques and tips for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the development process.

Passes for the ESC Boston 2015 Technical Conference are available at the conference's official site, with discounted advance pricing until May 1, 2015. Make sure to follow updates about ESC Boston's other talks, programs, and announcements via the Destination ESC blog on and social media accounts Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

The Embedded Systems Conference, EE Times, and are owned by UBM Canon.

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