Despite being the shortest month of the year, February has been busier than usual with news and design tips for embedded systems designers. For example, news out of the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) this week that will have significant impact on a variety of future designs includes:
Algorithm paves path to better video
Headwinds hinder phase-change
China’s petaflop CPU and IBM’s mainframe SoC .
Panel debates keeping up with Gene’s Law
Toshiba rolls flip-flop
Samsung takes DRAM 512-pins wide
MIT, TI tip 28-nm app processor
In addition to ISSCC, there's industry news about ST-Ericsson’s “Rogue” graphics CPU , Freescale’s 1.5 billion IPO , and Intel’s parallel DSP move.
My recommendations for must-reads include “Security gets attention , ” by Jack Ganssle, and my Editor’s Top Picks of the dozen or so design articles this week on Embedded.com: using the Zoom FFT , smart device signal overload , wireless sensor power tradeoffs, and designing smart things with information shadows .
Good reading! (EET/Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole, , 928-525-9087)
Design How Tos
Using Zoom FFT for spectral analysis
If you are interested in blending down conversion, low pass filtering and sample rate change through decimation in a spectrum analysis application, you will be interested in what Richard Lyons has to say about the Zoom FFT.
CoreMark: A realistic way to benchmark CPU performance
The CoreMark CPU benchmark maximizes simplicity and efficacy.
Signaling overload due to smart devices
As one of the main drivers behind the mobile data explosion phenomenon, smart devices are also the reason why many wireless networks worldwide are now suffering, and not only because of the insatiable user demand for data.
Smart things: Information shadows – Part 2: Designing with information shadows
Part 2 of an excerpt from the book “Smart things: Ubiquitous computing user experience design” reviews several interesting design properties of information shadows.
Measure RF characteristics of LTE devices and systems
Ensuring product conformance according to 3GPP standards TS36.141 Base Station Conformance Test and TS36.521 UE Conformance Specification Radio Transmission and Reception is critical to any LTE device manufacturer.
Power efficiency trade-offs key to wireless sensing success
The trade-offs resulting from limited available power for autonomous wireless sensor nodes are coming into focus. The key is either to find more power or to be smarter about how to use it.
MEMS sensors: When GPS is not enough
Environmentally robust sensor developments are driving a surge in the adoption of MEMS inertial sensors within the industrial, instrumentation and medical markets.
Correlating to good effect
Correlators are a surprisingly common part of everyday life. They are used in RFEL's audio-visual recognition units as well as in wireless systems such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi, digital TV and remote controls, where a receiving device has to lock onto and interpret information that is being transmitted. They are also used to aid high-speed communication between devices even though physically they may only be a couple of centimetres apart.
A network security primer for embedded developers–Part I
Engineers writing code for use in routers and modems are not the only embedded systems developers who can utilize network security protocols. Now, products that have not traditionally been connected to networks, such as energy meters, can find network security protocols helpful; in the newest smart meters, these protocols are used to provide secure communication with utility companies.
Developing cost-effective USB-based battery chargers for automotive applications
This article explores using USB as a console-based charging technology. It covers the various types of USB connections, including how to design a Dedicated Charging Port (DCP) that reduces charging time and system cost while addressing compatibility issues.
ST's new HVLED805 combines high-voltage integration and ultra-efficient operation for LED-lighting control
The HVLED805 family of mains-operated LED lamp drivers from STMicroelectronics will enable designers to deliver more reliable and efficient LED retrofit lamps featuring primary-side current regulation.
IAR Systems offers development kit for NXP LPC1227 microcontroller
The IAR KickStart Kit for LPC1227 from IAR Systems includes a development board with an ARM Cortex-M0 based LPC1227 microcontroller, peripherals and connectors, an IAR J-Link Lite debug probe providing SWD debugging, software development tools and board support packages for various RTOSes.
GrammaTech CodeSonar and Lattix LDM integration enhances architecture management for complex C/C++ systems
GrammaTech, Inc. and Lattix Inc. have teamed to integrate GrammaTech CodeSonar and Lattix LDM. The new CodeSonar integration with Lattix provides precise and accurate architecture analysis to enable teams to review, refactor and maintain the architecture of complex C/C++ software systems.
Evatronix's HSIC compatible PHY IP saves power, reduces silicon area
Evatronix SA has introduced a High Speed Inter-Chip (HSIC) compatible PHY IP for significant power and area savings in USB 2.0 chip-to-chip connections. Implementation of the HSIC technology enables setting up a direct connection on a PCB board between a USB host chip and other on-board USB devices.
Vector Fabrics' vfEmbedded cloud-based tool eases heterogeneous multicore development
vfEmbedded from Vector Fabrics is a cloud-based tool that allows embedded engineers to partition and map software onto complex multicore platforms with ease. vfEmbedded supports specific multicore architectures that have different cores and can assign partitions to specific cores.
Fairchild's FAN6204 SR controller for flyback and forward topologies has multiple operating modes
Fairchild Semiconductor's FAN6204 is a secondary-side synchronous rectification (SR) controller designed to meet increased power efficiency demands and regulatory standards for desktop PCs, All-in-One (AIO) PCs and notebook adaptors. Using a proprietary, innovative linear prediction timing-control technique not limited to the RDS(ON) of the SR MOSFET, the FAN6204 is suitable for fixed frequency or quasi-resonant (QR) flyback converters and discontinuous or continuous conduction mode (DCM and CCM) operation.