The big news this week is that Qualcomm is planning a quad-core Snapdragon CPU for mobiles, no doubt pushed by Apple’s muscular efforts in mobile smart phones and tablets; Nvidia has launched its quad core Tegra for tablets; and DesignArt Networks plans an 18 core SoC for mobile wireless base stations. In addition to these and other news and product stories, there are three must-read articles and columns this week:
First must-read is “Social networking for engineers,” from Embedded.com columnist Michael Barr, who offers concrete, down-to-earth advice on how embedded systems developers take advantage of social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Delicious without letting them distract your attention from the work you really need to get done. I found his advice enormously useful.
Second must-read is “Determinism and predictably reliable systems,” in which columnist Jack Ganssle offers good advice on how to guarantee your design will not fail when stressed.
Finally, there is “Making the transition from C to C++,” by Embedded.com regular contributor Colin Walls. His advice on making this shift is worth paying attention to for three reasons: First, C++ or some variant is at the heart of many multicore parallel programming alternatives; second, C++ is at the heart of many circuit hardware design languages such as SystemC; and third, while most deeply-embedded single processor MCU applications are still done in C, many more complex designs involving millions of lines of code are turning to C++. Good reading!! (Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole, 928-525-9087, firstname.lastname@example.org )
Design How Tos
Making the transition from C to C++
Although it has taken almost a decade, the transition from C to C++ is now gaining momentum in many complex software projects, in parallel programming for multicore apps and in hardware generation environments. Here's a three step strategy for making the transition and migrating code from C to C++.
Building a low cost deterministic industrial Ethernet system
In this Product How-To design article, Freescale engineers describe how to use the company's new MPC8309 and MPC8306/S processors to implement low cost deterministic Ethernet designs with IEEE 1588.
Mixed-Signal = Analog + Digital, or is there more to it?
Facing the new challenges to mixed-signal design, particularly in the areas of analog-digital co-design, functional verification, test, abstraction and behavioral modeling, noise analysis, chip integration, signoff, IC-package co-design and design data management.
Touchless gesturing brings innovation to product designs
Understand how and why multi-axis infrared proximity sensing will drive the next generation of user interfaces
Using copper pillars to increase analog IC power dissipation
Already used in some packaging, copper pillar interconnects can benefit analog devices which are handling higher power levels
Smart things: Information shadows – Part 1: Introduction
Part 1 of an excerpt from the book “Smart things: Ubiquitous computing user experience design” looks at information shadows – the digitally accessible information about an object – and systems.
Beating signal degradation in wireless networks
For wireless operators, using passive intermodulation distortion (PIM) equipment correctly requires greater care than standard voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) site sweeps or distance-to-fault transmission line testing.
Does EMC stand for exasperating, magic, or confusing?—Part 1
While it is merely a nuisance to experience radio interference, it is definitely a serious matter if an ABS, stability control, or airbag suffers a malfunction because a vehicle passes a TV tower too closely. Thus, mastering EMC is a basic requirement for automotive electronics designers. Part one of this article explains basic strategies and provides useful hints.
Don't be an easy catch: test your products before deployment
Bugs are more than a nuisance; they are a hole in your security through which crackers can access your systems. The number one security threat is not a malicious attacker, but poorly managed development processes. Technologies are increasingly complex, and at the same time release cycles are not only faster, but also more complicated, involving outsourcing. The later testing is carried out, the more difficult it is find the problem. And, the later you test, the more expensive and less thorough the fixes are. So, to test effectively, test proactively.
Time-domain interpolation using the Fast Fourier Transform
Richard Lyons, author of “Understanding digital signal processing,” describes how to use frequency domain zero stuffing to interpolate time-domain signals.
Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, and cognitive 3D-ICs add muscle to telehealth
Technical and regulatory roadblocks have prevented the telehealth market from reaching its full potential. However, this situation could change with the introduction of a modular, reconfigurable and cognitive 3D-IC approach.
Tool upgrade enables unit testing with hardware
The latest version of the Tessy tool for automated module/unit/integration testing of embedded software, now enables to incorporate hardware in unit and integration testing.
Audience eS310 SoC offers wideband HD voice for mobile devices
Audience, Inc. has announced the eS310, the company's latest generation earSmart voice processor that delivers wideband high-definition (HD) voice quality, while suppressing background noise for clearer communications and the best calling experience in any environment.
PrismX GUI toolkit eases development for STM32 Platform
Express Logic, Inc. and Blue Water Embedded have announced the availability of the PrismX graphics toolkit for the STMicroelectronics STM32 processor family. PrismX, a complete GUI software development solution for resource-constrained devices such as STMicroelectronics Cortex-M3-based STM32, delivers the graphical capabilities and time-to-market edge needed for medical, industrial, office automation and consumer markets, where user interfaces play an essential role in device design.
Bourns LSP-Series of shunt protectors protect series LEDs
Bourns, Inc. has announced a new line of open LED shunt protection devices designed specifically for LED lighting applications. Designated the Bourns LSP-Series, the new shunt protector family enables LED lighting applications configured in strings to be more robust and reliable.
Texas Instruments' TMS320TCI6618 wireless base station SoC doubles LTE performance
Texas Instruments Incorporated has unveiled a new multistandard wireless base station System-on-Chip (SoC) that delivers double the LTE performance and a 2x power/performance improvement over existing 40-nm process technology macro and compact base station SoC solutions. Based on TI's new TMS320C66x digital signal processor (DSP) generation, the TMS320TCI6618 utilizes a strategic design approach that accelerates the well-defined standard aspects of LTE.
Ramtron's F-RAM W-Family offers wide operating voltage, low active current
The W-Family of F-RAM memory devices from Ramtron International Corporation is available in serial I2C, SPI and parallel interfaces, and offer wide operating voltage range from 2.7V to 5.5V. The W-Family offers performance enhancements including a 25% to 50% reduction in active current requirements and serial devices with up to 20 times faster First Access Start (power up initialization).
OK Labs closes security gaps with SecureIT Mobile Enterprise
Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) has introduced SecureIT Mobile Enterprise, a software and services solution based on the company's OKL4 Microvisor. SecureIT Mobile Enterprise enables mobile/wireless device manufacturers (OEMs), mobile network operators (MNOs), integrators and enterprise IT to build, acquire, and deploy wireless communications devices based on Android and other open operating systems (OSes) to support enterprise mobility. SecureIT Mobile Enterprise not only closes gaps in mobile security, it does so without compromising user privacy, limiting user choice, or impacting the user experience.