What's New on Embedded.com (12-22-11) - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com (12-22-11)

Embedded Newsletter for 12-22-2011

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December 22, 2011

New on Embedded.com


Mike McCauley, Cypress Semiconductor

Let your finger do the (optical) navigating

Tyler Gilbert, CoActionOS

Taking advantage of the Cortex-M3's pre-emptive context switches


Software liability laws – Part 1

Now that they have our attention!

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

There's a flood of product and technology news this week, underscoring again the ubiquity of embedded systems electronics in every aspect of our lives. Just a few:RFID reader MCU s , micro thermo-generators, multi-sensor MEMS, piezeoelectric MEMS, and 128 Gbit NAND flash.

Given its importance in our lives, says Jack Ganssle in “Software liability laws: Part 1 , ” it behooves engineers to learn everything they can about the legal and liability implications of their designs. In addition to Jack's column, other resources on legal issues include: “The lawyers are coming” and “Firmware forensics” by columnist Michael Barr, and a paper on “Legal issues for embedded systems developers.” To learn even more about software liability issues, here are a number of papers downloadable free in PDF form :

No more soft landings for software
Liability in software engineering
Two views on security software liability
Computer Risks and Insurability of Software
Assigning Liability for Faulty Software

Some of the Embedded.com design articles published this week include: optical finger navigation on mobiles, Cortex-M3 pre-emptive context switching , MEMS interrupt features, securing USB dongles, and measuring scale signals accurately. Also, there is a column by Rick DeMeis on the NTSB's recommended banning of cell phone use in vehicles while driving.

Design How Tos

Let your finger do the (optical) navigating

Here's a brief tutorial on optical finger navigation for use in smartphone user interfaces and how to take advantage of spatial detection algorithms for better image correlation, higher reliability, simpler assembly, and less power consumption.

Taking advantage of the Cortex-M3's pre-emptive context switches

In this article, Tyler Gilbert explains how programmers can make best use of the Arm Cortex-M3 (CM3) processor's hardware used for pre-emptive context switching as well as how to develop systems software routines that enable multi-tasking programs.

Applying the interrupt features of a MEMS accelerometer

Understand how to implement reliable and robust interrupt-based applications using MEMS-based accelerometers

Single event effects (SEEs) in FPGAs, ASICs, and processors, part I: impact and analysis

As dimensions shrink to below 90 nm, SEEs impact all electronics, including ASICs and FPGAs with faults ranging from logical errors to changes in data to latchups.

Weighing scale design—Measure signals accurately

Typically, weigh scale designs use a resistive load cell configured as a Wheatstone bridge. In the load cells, the signal levels are low and the effects of noise are prominent. Here's how to measure this signal accurately to meet the requirements of precision measurement for weighing scales.

How to design secure USB-based dongles

There are several ways to design a secure dongle that balances system cost with the level of security required for a particular application. This article describes helpful techniques.

Critical Area Analysis and Memory Redundancy

Whether you are fabless, fab-lite, or IDM, the goal of reducing a design's sensitivity to manufacturing issues should ideally be handled by the design teams…

Software forensics for embedded systems developers

In this chapter from his book “The Software IP Detective's Handbook,” Bob Zeidman describes some of the concepts behind the new field of software forensics, and how they can be used to safeguard the unique and proprietary Intellectual Property incorporated into your design.

Embedded Systems Bookshelf


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


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.

Product News

XIMEA introduces USB 3.0 5Gbps industrial camera

XIMEA GmbH claims to set a new benchmark for high-speed industrial cameras with the introduction of the MQ series USB 3.0 SuperSpeed industrial machine vision cameras.

LDRA tools integrate with LabVIEW DO-178 certification

The LDRA tool suite has been integrated with National Instruments LabVIEW Virtual Instruments to provide hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation, a technique used to develop and test the complex real-time embedded systems commonly found in military and aerospace designs.

Compact 1.5 W DC/DC converters target high-vibration applications

An enclosed BPA package houses the transformer, control circuitry, and power switches for interconnect reliability.

DSOs have 2.4 Mpts memory and LAN interface

The 2540B and 2542B oscilloscopes from B&K Precision offer bandwidths of 60 MHz and 100 MHz respectively with 1 GSa/s sampling rates.

Microsemi and INVIA deliver DPA-resistant cryptographic software on SmartFusion FPGAs

New solution from Microsemi and INVIA provides enhanced protection for security applications

Atmel launches industry's first single-package MCU with LF-RFID reader

The ATA5505 from Atmel Corporation is an AVR microcontroller (MCU) with an RFID reader block and 16kBytes of in-system self-programmable Flash.

ST's smallest MEMS modules packs 6 degrees of freedom in 16 mm3

The LSM330D iNEMO multi-sensor module from STMicroelectronics is a new inertial module that integrates three-axis sensing of linear and angular motion in a miniature 3 x 5.5 x 1mm package.

TI introduces industry's smallest power management ICs for solid state drives

The LM10504, LM10503 and LM10506 power management ICs (PMICs) from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) are a family of tiny, single-chip, power management integrated circuits (PMICs) for powering all the supply rails in solid state drives (SSDs), hybrid drives, and other Flash memory management applications.

Surface-mount micro thermo-generators challenge batteries

Micropelt has launched a compact thermo-generator package (TGP), which makes thermal energy harvesting ready for mass production.


IDT claims first piezoelectric MEMs

Integrated Device Technology said it has developed what it claims is the world's first piezoelectric micro-electro-mechanical system.

MEMS transistor integrated on CMOS

A MEMS transistor was announced by Semiconductor Research Corp. and Cornell University, giving SRC members access to on-chip timing solutions for their CMOS chips.

IEDM: UCB reports printed MEMS switches

A team of researchers from the University of California Berkeley has a paper at the International Electron Devices Meeting that describes how to use an inkjet printer to print microelectromechanical system switches and proposes their use for flexible display active-matrix backplanes.

Crystalline alloy boosts piezo MEMS operation

Researchers have successfully integrated a new, highly efficient piezoelectric material into a silicon microelectromechanical system.

Intel, Micron offer 128-Gbit NAND flash memory

Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. have announced the development of a 128-Gbit NAND flash memory made using a 20-nm manufacturing process technology.

Five announce flash memory security initiative

Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba have reached an agreement in principle to collaborate on a content protection technology for flash memory cards such as SD Cards and for other flash-based storage options.

Qualcomm announces two Snapdragon S4 chips

Qualcomm Inc. has announced two variants to its Snapdragon S4 class of processors – the MSM8625 and the MSM8225 chips.

Chip executives' confidence in decline, says KPMG

The Semiconductor Business Confidence Index, a metric based on survey data gathered by audit and consultancy company KPMG LLC, has fallen to 46 in 2011, compared with 60 in 2010 and 61 in 2009, the firm said.

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