Over the last few years I’ve had moments of doubt about the future of the economy in general and the health of the electronics and embedded systems design markets in particular. But for a number of reasons, when I sit down to prepare another Embedded.com newsletter most of those doubts disappear.
First, as this week’s design article activity shows, your interests run the gamut and reveal a seemingly bottomless well of creativity: frequency domain zero stuffing , programmable hot swap controllers , FPGA based remote radio heads , asymmetric network backhaul transport , and high efficiency SoC LEDs , to name a few.
Then there is the abundance of innovative hardware, software and device technology just now emerging from the labs. This week, for example: silicon nanolasers from U.C. Berkeley; molybdenite semi ICs that are 10,000 times lower in power than silicon; bilayer gate plastic transistors ; addressable plastic memory ; and solid state quantum memory .
The alacrity with which companies have applied research breakthroughs to mainstream products (such as the recent Analog Devices MEMS microphone ) makes me eager to see what you will do with this next crop of R&D innovations. For some down-to-earth examples of the ways new technology is put to work, check out the links below to some recent Under the Hood Teardowns:
What’s inside the iPad2
Inside the Verizon iPhone
New iPhone antenna has same “death grip”
Multiple cores power fifth generation OMAP
Finally, for a bit of fun, check out “Engineering practical jokes – video edition.” Good reading! (Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole,, 928-525-9087)
Design How Tos
The basics of embedded software testing: Part 1
This two part article covers the basics of testing and test case development and points out details unique to embedded systems work along the way. Part1: Basics of embedded software testing.
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.
Hot-swap controllers: A programmable approach
Here's how using a programmable approach can enable the next generation of reliable and programmable hot-swap controller systems to implement critical tasks. The result? Engineers are able to add more functionality and customize implementations to their applications.
Designing remote radio heads (RRHs) on high-performance FPGAs
Current and future generations of wireless cellular systems feature heavy use of Remote Radio Heads (RRHs) in the base stations. This article discusses using FPGAs to implement RRHs.
Evolving wireless standards bring test challenges
The evolution of wireless standards will accelerate an industry shift toward modular, software-defined instrumentation, writes National Instruments' David A. Hall.
Broadening backhaul capacity through asymmetric transport
An asymmetric transmssion strategy taps microwave networks to expand broadband backhaul capacity using existing spectrum and infrastructure.
Smartphone-vehicle integration: Making sense of the cacophony
Proposed infotainment system models abound for addressing the issues arising from the different lifecycles of vehicles and smartphones. This paper reviews the pros and cons of these various solutions.
LTE-Advanced is being specified initially as part of Release 10 of the 3GPP specifications, with a functional freeze targeted for March 2011. Read on for an introduction to what is expected and involved.
High-efficiency SoC LED drivers enable automotive front lighting
Implementing cost-effective, high-efficiency lamps containing high-brightness LEDs is dependent on ECUs utilizing equally efficient systems on chips that integrate all necessary front-lighting specific features, including diagnostics and connectivity.
Electronics and IP: Part V—Seeing Inside Very Small Components
Understand how intellectual property plays into the market for consumer medical-electronics devices
TenAsys INtime for Windows, eVM for Windows enhance real-time software for 64-bit Windows
64-bit Windows allows more of the lower 4GB memory (32-bit addressspace) to be accessed by INtime RTOS, or the guest RTOS in the case ofeVM, giving them access to substantially more memory.
ClearPad offers first capacitive multi-touch interfaces for mobiles
Synaptics Incorporated has launched the first line of capacitive multi-touch interface solutions for use with integrated displays, the ClearPad Series 3 and Series 4. With on-cell and in-cell integrated displays, Synaptics makes it possible to seamlessly enable capacitive multi-touch sensing in mobile devices. Both ClearPad Series 3 and Series 4 are on-cell and in-cell display ready.
NITROX DPI II CPUs offer 40Gbps deep packet inspection /recognition
Cavium Networks' next-generation NITROX DPI II family of L7 content processors is the industry's first stand-alone “bump-in-the-wire” single-chip, deep packet inspection processor family that can achieve up to 40 Gbps of application recognition and protocol analysis performance. The on-chip Hyper Finite Automata (HFA) engines and optimized TurboDPI software enable high performance and a rich feature set. NITROX DPI II speeds up time-to-market for OEMs building equipment for enterprise, data center, 3G and 4G wireless and service provider applications.
JamaicaVM 6 is now available for multicore systems
A new multiprocessor version of the JamaicaVM hard realtime Java runtime environment has been introduced by the aicas group, and will be demonstrated at the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg Germany from 1-3 March 2011. The new version is based on the JamaicaVM 6 product, which supports the J2SE Java 6 standard classes.
STMs' STA321MP boosts miniature mikes/speakers performance
STMicroelectronics has unveiled an audio processing chip that connects directly to the latest miniature microphones and provides a new way of boosting performance from small, low-cost, or even damaged speakers. The device will allow customers to deliver market-leading miniaturized audio products offering outstanding sound quality.
3E series BMR463 parallelable digital voltage regulator optimizes power
Ericsson Power Modules' 3E series BMR463 is a second-generation, digital point-of-load regulator that enables systems architects to fully monitor and dynamically control the energy that is delivered to processors, FPGAs, ASICs, and others down to a very low, highly economical level.
News & Analysis
Nanolasers grown on silicon
University of California at Berkeley researchers say they have developed a method for growing indium gallium arsenide nano-lasers directly on silicon substrates, potentially paving the way for chips with integrated optical photonics.
Imec and Coventor cooperate on MEMS R&D
Coventor, a supplier of design technology for micro-electromechanical systems, Belgium-based research powerhouse Imec have signed a strategic partnership for advanced design and manufacturing techniques for CMOS integrated MEMS.
New material for semis said to beat silicon
A new semiconductor material called molybdenite is claimed to be 100,000 times lower power than silicon, plus will allow the fabrication of much smaller transistors, according to researchers at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.
Bilayer gate solves plastic transistor woes
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers say they have developed a method for stacking two gate dielectric materials that cancel out the drawbacks of each, resulting in relatively fast, stable plastic transistors with high current carrying capabilities.
Thin Film designs addressable plastic memory
Thin Film Electronics ASA has announced it has designed a 128-bit thin film addressable memory in a printable plastic material in collaboration with the Palo Alto Research Center of Xerox (PARC).
MEMS microphones integrate interchip sound
The world's first digital microphone using standard integrated interchip sound interface will enable Analog Devices' 441 iMEMS microphone to tackle new embedded, industrial and non-handset consumer applications.