What's New on Embedded.com (2-25-11 - 3-3-11) - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com (2-25-11 – 3-3-11)

Embedded Newsletter for 03-03-2011

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March 3, 2011

 Issue Highlights

Think static analysis cures all ills? Think again.

Watchdogs redux

Unintended acceleration

Can you give me an estimate?


Editor's Note

In the ESD Magazine cover story this month, “Think static analysis cures all ills? Think again ,” author Mark Pitchford reviews all of the newest techniques for code analysis and delineates the key attributes needed in a set of tools, warning that: “Despite their lofty claims, no single vendor touts an offering that embraces all of these attributes ,” advising that developers need to proceed with care.

His advice and cautions are timely, especially in the context of the release of the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration’s report on Toyota car safety, the focus of Ron Wilson’s #include column on “Unintended Acceleration . ” He reports that after a using a variety of analysis tools – static source code, formal logic model checking and algorithm analysis through simulation – the team’s experience was “there is no single analysis technique today that can reliably intercept all vulnerabilities, but that it is strongly recommended to deploy a range of different leading tools .”

For other good advice, check out “Watchdogs redux,” wherein columnist Jack Ganssle writes about the new generation of watchdog timers. His conclusion: “Many vendors are putting more thought into their WDT designs; some are doing a pretty good job. But we have a long way to go, and the wise developer will apply sound engineering practices to this often-neglected part of the system .

The other must-read column this week is “Can you give me an estimate ” by Jack Crenshaw, in which he describes – without using statistics – how to calculate an estimate of the unknown coefficients using the least squares fitting on a Kalman filter. (Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole,


Design How Tos

Think static analysis cures all ills? Think again.

Here's how to choose the right code-analysis tools for your project.

Plan strategies for adopting Model-Based Design in embedded apps

When transitioning to Model-Based Design for embedded systems development, it is essential to consider an overall plan spanning people, development processes, and tools.

Themechanics of capacitive touch sensor interfaces

Atmel’s Steve Berry describes the basics of capacitive sensing technologies and how to use the company’s Qtouch Studio 4.3 to build GUIs with the equivalent of mechanical buttons, sliders and wheels.

Reduce EMI in digital systems with spread spectrum clocks

Understand how this technique can manage and suppress EMI,but also the tradeoffs it brings

Smart things:  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.

Expedite processor verification with testbench infrastructure reuse

Functional verification of microprocessors is a familiar problem. Its challenges are well known. Powerful algorithms and procedures, dealing with all common obstacles, are tried, tested and generally available. But the sheer complexity and dynamics of industrial projects remain daunting, and verification crises, such as delayed signoff or even dead silicon, are common.

A network security primer for embedded developers

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.

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.


Product News

LynxSecure 5.0 features increased performance and virtualization

LynxSecure 5.0 from Lynux Works, Inc., is a new release of theLynxSecure separation kernel and hypervisor that adds significant performanceincreases for fully virtualized guest operating systems (OSes) by utilizingnew hardware technologies. The new release also offers 64-bit and SymmetricMulti-processing (SMP) guest OS virtualization support.

Energy Micro extends ultra-low-power Gecko MCU family

Energy Micro is extending its ultra low power EFM32 Gecko microcontroller (MCU) family with the introduction of an ARM Cortex-M0 based product line. The company has also improved the low power performance of its forthcoming Cortex-M3 based Tiny Gecko devices. The new introductions will boost the company'sEnergy Friendly Microcontroller portfolio to more than 100 products.

GrammaTech streamlines ISO 26262 compliance for auto safety

GrammaTech, Inc. has announced the release of supplementary documentation to its CodeSonar static-analysis tool that details how static analysis can be used to support an organization's ISO 26262 initiatives. 

Fujitsu's MB86R11 Emerald-L brings wrap-around view for autos

Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe has developed a driver's visual assistance technology that features an advanced wrap-around view, implemented in their MB86R11 Emerald-L chip. The video images from four cameras are combined and projected onto a virtual 3D curved surface. The images on that surface can be seen from any desired point-of-view using 3D virtual projection.

conga-ca6COM Express module touts low power consumption

The conga-CA6 COM Express module from congatec is based on thenew Intel Atom E6xx processor series and the Intel Platform Controller HubEG20 for COM Express Type 2. All components of this embedded design are specified for the industrial temperature range of -40 to +85°C, making the conga-CA6 an ideal solution for extreme applications.

ST boosts bipolar power transistor current by 50 Percent

The 3STR1630 NPN transistor from STMicroelectronics is the first member in a new family of high-performance bipolar power transistors manufactured using a new low-voltage planar technology.


Commentary

Watchdogs redux

Vendors and researchers are trying some new tricks with watchdog timers. Here are some notable attempts to improve the old dog.

Unintended acceleration

A window into software Q/A in the automotive industry.

Can you give me an estimate?

On the road to the Kalman filter: The job of the leastsquares fit is to give an estimate of the unknown coefficients of the mentalmodel.

Embedding C or C++: Is that really the question?

In a recent blog, a new embedded systems developer asked for advice about when to use C and when to use C++. This question captures the dilemma that even the most experienced programmers face at some point.

Disposable sensors just the tip of the iceberg

A grant of around $1.4 million by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been awarded to create a wireless network of sensorsthat will reveal the flow of glaciers at the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Your chance to be a video star (and win a scope!)

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