What's New on Embedded.com (4-15-11 to 4-21-11) - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com (4-15-11 to 4-21-11)


Embedded Newsletter for 04-21-2011

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April 21, 2011

New on Embedded.com


Erlendur Kristjansson

Easing design migration between 32-bit MCU platforms

Barbara Schmitz, MEN Mikro Elektronik GmbH

Teaching old dogs new serial I/O tricks on CompactPCI

Issue Highlights

The perils of GPS

Multicore: coming to a screen near you?

Why you should run for office (seriously)

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

The mood in the embedded systems market is up-beat, despite disruptions to the semiconductor supply chain due to the multiple disasters in Japan: silicon integration is driving smartphone growth, big growth is expected for smart system CPUs, China’s Leadcore is signing up for ARM, SDKs are rolling out for Microsoft’s Kinect and Intel’s Thunderbolt, and support for computer vision as the killer nextgen smartphone app.

Challenges still to be faced are the topics of some of the design articles we published this week: adding high speed serial I/O to CompactPCI, easing the migration between 32-bit MCU platforms, dealing with flip-chip cracks, suppressing transient voltages, and controlling power in 3G mobile terminals.

For more help in meeting those challenges, register for the 2011 Spring ESC, May 2-5 in San Jose, where Colin Holland says the informal theme is “When the going gets tough, the tough get trained.” Over four days, there are over 225 classes organized into 25 special interest tracks. A number of other conference venues worth checking out include:

The Beer and Boards gatherings, where you get some hands on experience with a number of developer kits;
The TI Technology Day, packed with technical design sessions and exhibits organized into eight special interest tracks; and
ESC Hands-On Lab, organized into six meetings over two days on the show floor where you get hands-on training courses with hot technologies.

Design How Tos

Teaching old dogs new serial I/O tricks on CompactPCI

Here is how to take advantage of the just approved PICMG 2.30 specification for the CompactPCI PlusIO standard which enhances existing CompactPCI installations with the addition of high-speed serial communications.

Easing design migration between 32-bit MCU platforms

If you're planning standardization on a single core platform to simplify the migration from one MCU vendor to another take care to consider the role the system peripheral functions will have in making this easier or harder.

Dealing with the minutiae of fingerprint analysis

Fingerprint analysis involves using fingerprint sensors and sophisticated DSP-based image-processing algorithms. Here's a description of the minutiae-based system for fingerprint analysis.

Keeping the cracks out of flip-chips

In this case study, AMD uses Dassault Systèmes' Abaqus FEA software to improve the reliability of chip packaging.

Architecting the smart grid for security

Security against the sophisticated smart grid attack threats cannot be effectively retrofitted. In this article, Green Hills Software Inc. outlines the need to design the smart grid for high robustness from the start.

Multiplying energy sources to power demanding smartphones

In the recent years the semiconductor industry has made amazing progresses in delivering higher performance at lower power consumption. However, the gap between the energy need and availability not only persists, but is continuously widening. One way to address this dilemma is to design bigger or denser batteries for the phones, impacting cost or weight or both, but this is not enough to effectively close the energy gap. A smarter way is to multiply the sources of available energy and recharge the battery continuously.

Power Line Communication integrates EVs with the Smart Grid

A compatible charging infrastructure and communication between an EV and any potential “charging spot” is required for easy and practical use. The established Power Line Communication (PLC) standard in the Smart Power Grid offers a robust and long term available setup—and the prospect of grid stabilization (charging back to the grid).

Component selection and layout strategies for avoiding thermal EMF

Understand how thermal effects can impact precision resistor circuits and what do to minimize them

Tech Tutorial: Transient voltage suppressors

A major challenge in automotive design is protecting electronics against damaging surges, voltage transients, ESD, and noise that are present on the power line.

Virtualization ready to fly

Virtualization, a concept of the mainframe computing and business IT world, is no longer a technology restricted to large computing centers and business computing environments. Increasingly confronted with the requirement to communicate with business IT and to integrate complex processing environments, programmers and developers of embedded systems increasingly rely on virtualization techniques.

Wirelaid technology enables high-current, fine-pitch SMDs

A rounded or rectangular cross-sectional area wire is integrated into the stackup design directly beneath the outer PCB layer.

Power control in 3G terminals

This article examines how to tame the three conflicting design goals facing the power control system of a modern mobile device.

It's less than a month now until ESC Silicon Valley 2011 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California and we are
getting fired up about all the great hands-on educational opportunities.
We are especially excited about the just-announced Beer and Boards training available for All Access pass holders!
Pick one of the development kits to take home:
•   Texas Instruments CC2540DK-MINI Development Kit
•   XL_STAR complete MCU development environment
•   Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard

Info on each board is here:

Then attend a gathering and meet with the board's designers, where you will learn about the kit and share a few beers.
Development kit supplies are only available to All Access Pass Holders – so make sure you register now, quanitites are limited.

Register Online: https://esc.embedded.com/sv/2011?cid=EET_BNBPV

Here are some additional the other hands-on training courses at this years conference:
•   Hands-on TCP/IP Half-Day Tutorial – http://schedule.esc-sv09.techinsightsevents.com/session/88?cid=EET_BNBPV
•   Capacitive Touch Workshop  – http://schedule.esc-sv09.techinsightsevents.com/session/17?cid=EET_BNBPV
•   Hands-on with USB/I2C/SPI Protocol – http://schedule.esc-sv09.techinsightsevents.com/session/26?cid=EET_BNBPV
•   Check out the full program – http://esc.eetimes.com/siliconvalley/conference
•     You can also interact with industry experts like Jack Ganssle at Shop Talks .

Use Promo Code: “Beer&Boards” for and additional 20% discount* and be entered to win a free seat
at Embedded Software Boot Camp or one of twenty copies of the Embedded C Coding Standard book.
Register Online:  https://esc.embedded.com/sv/2011?cid=EET_BNBPV

Product News

ST's new LSM303DLM geo-magnetic module extends battery life, boosts accuracy in mobile compassing apps

The LSM303DLM geo-magnetic module from STMicroelectronics is an ultra-low-power device that provides advanced navigation and location-based services in portable consumer applications by integrating high-resolution three-axis sensing of linear and magnetic motion in a 5x5x1 mm package.

ALMComplete 9.6 offers major enhancements to application lifecycle management tools

ALMComplete 9.6 is the latest release of SmartBear Software's application lifecycle management tool. It includes DevComplete and QAComplete, and adds additional features that improve visibility and efficiency through online task boards, and enables customer collaboration through customizable support management micro-sites.

TI offers world's lowest power capacitive touch for MSP430 MCUs

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has launched the ultra-low-power MSP430 16-bit microcontroller capacitive touch portfolio. The company claims the MSP430 devices offered in this portfolio feature the world's lowest-power touch sense capabilities.

Amplicon rolls low power, short depth 1U system

The new Impact-R 1000LP 1U rackmount PC from Amplicon utilizes the low-powered Intel Atom. The new system is less than half the depth of the existing 1U but still packs in many winning features.

PLS's UDE 3.0.7 tests and debugs LPC4300 dual-core SoCs under single user interface

The Universal Debug Engine 3.0.7 (UDE) from PLS is equipped with optimized test and debug functions for NXP's LPC4300 highly integrated dual-core system-on-chip (SoC) family and offers unlimited dual-core debugging under a single user interface.

Microchip launches consumer-band power-line soft modem dev kit

Microchip Technology Inc., a Power-Line Modem (PLM) PICtail Plus Daughter Board Development Kit (part # AC164142) that enables customers to easily incorporate power-line communication into their products.

Debug x86 systems anywhere, anytime


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