What's New on Embedded.com (3-09-12 to 3-15-12) - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com (3-09-12 to 3-15-12)

Embedded Newsletter for 03-15-2012

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March 15, 2012

New on Embedded.com


C. Siva Ram Murthy and B.S. Manoj

Building wireless M2M & IoT sensor networks: issues and challenges

Donald Schneider, Microchip Technology Inc.

Taking advantage of new low-power modes on advanced microcontrollers


Selling yourself

Boston conferences seek educational papers

Combining C's volatile and const keywords

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

It is less than two weeks until ESC DESIGN West (March 26-29) and news is starting to trickle in about hot new products to be introduced there. Two stories this week that caught my eye were “Arm Cortex-M0+ targets Internet of Things” by Colin Holland, and another on Gainspan's WiFi-based IoT SDK-Builder . For more on these topics read the four-part series on Embedded.com titled “Building wireless M2M and IoT sensor networks” and “Basics of embedded firewalls about IoT security protections.

Other breaking embedded design news and product stories this week include: Freescale's Cortex M0+ Kenetis devices , which will be on display at ESC DESIGN West, an Android open source benchmarking tool , Atmel's Studio 6 for MCU design , a USB 3.0 graphical design tool from Cypress, Microchip's new family of 8-bit PIC MCUs , dSpace's production code generator, and two embedded database products from Ittia and Raima.

In addition to my Editor's Top Picks – “Taking advantage of new low power modes on advanced MCUs,” and “Understanding MCU sleep modes and energy savings ,” other design article topics include: using resistive RAMs for nonvolatile storage, USB battery charging, antitheft alert alarms, and intelligent lighting controls.

The increased pace of design and product activity in the weeks leading up to ESC DESIGN West is a good indicator that high tech job prospects may be improving. Maybe it is time to update your resume so it's ready for any job opportunities that might arise. For some help, be sure to read “Selling yourself” by Jack Ganssle.

Design How Tos

Build wireless M2M and IoT sensor networks: High quality and low power design

In the conclusion of a four part series, the authors of “Ad hoc wireless networks,” look at the remaining challenges in wireless sensor network design relating energy efficient hardware design, synchronization, transport layer protocols and real time communications.

Building wireless M2M & IoT sensor networks: issues and challenges

In the first of a four part series on implementation of wireless sensor networks, the authors of “Ad hoc wireless networks,” lay out the issues and challenges involved in the design of two different types of network architectures, layered and clustered.

Build wireless M2M and IoT sensor networks: Data dissemination

In the second in a four part series on implementation of wireless sensor networks. the authors of “Ad hoc wireless networks,” discuss the various protocols required for reliable and fast data dissemination.

Build wireless M2M & IoT sensor networks: Data gathering & location detection

In the third of a four part series on implementation of wireless sensor networks, the authors of “Ad hoc wireless networks,” go into detail about the techniques needed in the sensor nodes to discover their location and the specialized MAC protocols that need to be developed or modified.

Taking advantage of new low-power modes on advanced microcontrollers

The author describes several common low power operating profiles and how they can be used to optimize a MCU's operation to meet specific system requirements. He also explains the tradeoffs involved with each, using a special battery life estimator.

Understanding MCU sleep modes and energy savings

Anders Guldahl of Energy Micro describes the energy cost of implementing functions in software and how changes in the distribution of responsibilities between hardware and software reduce that cost. As there is a wide range of sensing interfaces on the market, dedicated sensing logic units that are geared to a particular sensor may not be useful. The author explains how more generic needs can be catered for by making it possible to extract relatively complex processing from software and embed it in hardware designed for low energy consumption.

Case study: Remotely controlled wind tunnel experiments with NI LabVIEW and CompactRIO

The challenge consists in developing a system to remotely access research-quality wind tunnels to conduct real-time, hands-on experiments with tight, closed-loop control.

Resistive RAM for next-generation nonvolatile memory

Hafnium-oxide-based RRAM offers a low-voltage, high-efficiency, fab-friendly option for future generation nonvolatile memory.

USB battery charging: it's harder than it looks

Understand the subtleties and traps in this “simple” charging situation

Transmitter/receiver pair serves as antitheft alarm

Simple circuit consists of a transmitter/receiver pair that functions as an automobile antitheft alert system. When the vehicle leaves the area, this circuit sounds an alarm because the distance between the transmitter and receiver increases and the received power level falls below a predetermined threshold.

Intelligent lighting controller measures ambient light and tracks time

With modern semiconductor technology, it is not difficult to design a controller that measures the ambient light level and controls lighting in a preset way.

Oscilloscope memory depth: when bigger is not always better

What is oscilloscope memory, why is it important, and what are the trade-offs of memory in different oscilloscope architectures?

Evaluating a DC/DC converter in the lab

How to check performance of a switch-mode power supply circuit at the bench

Basics of embedded firewalls – Part 2: True security for the Internet of Things

When implementing a firewall, engineers must consider the services provided by the device to determine the appropriate type of filtering, as well as choose among commercial, open-source, or custom firewall solutions. Regardless of the approach selected, it is critical to include a firewall to protect the devices making up The Internet of Things.

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

dSPACE TargetLink 3.3 supports AUTOSAR 4.0 and 3.2

TargetLink 3.3 is the new version of dSPACE's production code generator, providing expanded features for AUTOSAR-compliant development of electronic control units and supporting the latest AUTOSAR standards 4.0 and 3.2.

Raima re-bundles their Raima Database Manager packages to align with market trends

Raima has changed how they bundle their Raima Database Manager (RDM) system software, starting with the upcoming release of RDM 11.

ITTIA DB SQL data distribution bridges QNX with SQL Server

ITTIA has added new features to its ITTIA DB SQL data distribution features for the QNX Neutrino Realtime Operating System (RTOS).

Microchip introduces general-purpose 8-bit PIC MCUs with next-gen digital and analog peripherals

Microchip Technology Inc. has launched a new family of 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) featuring next-generation analog and digital peripherals, which the company is touting as ideal for general-purpose applications, as well as battery charging, LED lighting, ballast-control, power-conversion and system-control applications.

Cypress graphical software tool for EZ-USB FX3 USB 3.0 controller speeds up apps

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has launched its GPIF II Designer Software for EZ-USB FX3 Controllers for SuperSpeed USB 3.0.

Atmel launches Studio 6 for MCU design, 40 new SAM3 ARM Cortex-M3 MCUs

Atmel Corporation has introduced Atmel Studio 6, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE) that now supports both Atmel 32-bit ARM Cortex-M series processor-based and Atmel 8/32-bit AVR-based microcontrollers (MCUs).

Silicon Image offers GameChanger 60 GHz WirelessHD Reference Designs for Mobile Products

Silicon Image has announced GameChanger 60 GHz WirelessHD low-power reference designs for notebooks PCs, tablet computers, and smartphone accessories.

Blue Pearl Software supports Synopsys Synplify Pro FPGA design flow

See Blue Pearl at DATE March 13-15, 2012, Dresden, Germany; also demos at SNUG, March 26, 2012, Santa Clara, California.

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