What's New on Embedded.com: March 25 - 31, 2011 - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com: March 25 – 31, 2011


Embedded Newsletter for 03-31-11

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March 31, 2011

New on Embedded.com


Rutul Dave, Coverity

Is it time for another look at how we build safety-critical embedded systems?

Richard G. Lyons

A simple way to add AGC to your communications receiver design

Issue Highlights

Digital edition: 'The day the lights went out in Japan'

Supply chain hit by 'hoard' mentality

Five predictions following Japan quake

Microchip aims to take up MCU slack

Reports: Renesas mulls foundry for MCUs

Bernard Cole

Editor's Note
Bernard Cole
Site Editor, Embedded.com

Japan and the rest of the world are slowly and unevenly recovering from the impact of the earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear hazards, as detailed in a special EETimes Digital Edition, “The day the lights went out in Japan”. However, the electronics industry is experiencing supply chain hoarding, companies such as Renesas are looking for alternative MCU foundries, and companies such asMicrochip are trying to compensate for MCU shortages.

IC Insights president Bill Mcclean is predicting that the disaster will reduce Japan’s gross domestic productby as much as 3 percent and the world’s by as much as 4 percent. Despite that he does not think that IC Insights’ original projection of a 10 percent growth in IC sales in 2011 over last year will have to be changed.

Working hard to make to make such projections a reality, electronics companies are priming the pump with new products and technologies, including: a 64-bit MIPS core, Altera’s chip-level FPGA optical interconnect, Tensilica’s 128 bit VLIW DSP, Freescale’s 8-bit MCU development environment, and Xelerated’s new low power NPU.

While there has been slowdown in the flow of articles to Embedded.com, contributions are continuing to trickle in on such topics as self-adaptive energy harvesting MEMS, mobilebattery recharge techniques, and IEEE 1588 time stamping for mobile networks.  

For an update on the state of the embedded systems design market, be sure to sign up for an April 8 webinar on the 2011 Embedded Market Study in which survey results from over 1,800 developers will be discussed by EDN, ESD, and DesignLine Editorial Director Ron Wilson and Dave Blaza, UBM Electronics Vice President.

Design How Tos

Self-adaptive MEMS vibration energy harvester targets low frequencies

CEA-Leti researchers are developing an innovative energy-harvesting technology that collects vibrations from the environment and converts them into electricity to power a variety of sensors

Platform design for testing vibration to electrical power generators

Recently, the use of sensor networks has expanded into all sorts of applications to collect ambient or industrial data such as temperature, humidity, acceleration, pressure and any other relevant process information. Thanks to a new breed of microcontrollers that rely on partial circuitry activation or watchdogs to achieve power consumptions of only a few microamperes, battery size can be reduced or their operational life can be extended for a given size.

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.

Modern automotive voice control offers HMI convenience with safety

When dense and hectic traffic situations do not permit any distraction to drivers, voice control is a useful complement to conventional HMIs. It can even give drivers control of an indispensable device for many–the smart phone–without compromising safety.

A look at 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet in mobile backhaul networks

A public demonstration of 1588v2 performance validation was featured at Mobile World Congress while Ixia test equipment was used to benchmark the performance of Alcatel-Lucent's 7705 Service Aggregation Router, verify its ability to maintain clock synchronization, and traffic forwarding under traffic load and highly scaled network conditions.

Understanding user interface design rules – Part 2: System vocabulary and risk

Part 2 of an excerpt from the book “Designing with the mind in mind: A simple guide to understanding user interface design rules” discusses vocabulary – what concepts are called – and environment “risk” in interactive systems.

Static analysis vs. dynamic testing – No competition!

In software development, static analysis and dynamic testing are two different ways of detecting defects. Unfortunately they are too often thought of as competition for one another, and developers are sometimes encouraged to favor one to the exclusion of the other

EMC Basics #3: Voltage regulators as critical circuits

Understand how this small but vital part of your system can cause electromagnetic compatibility problems

Speech recognition in the car

In times when dense and hectic traffic situations do not permit any distraction to drivers, voice control is a useful complement to conventional HMIs. It even gives drivers back the control to an indispensable piece of equipment for many users: The smart phone. Without compromising safety.

ESC Silicon Valley May 2–5 2011

Spring is here and ESC Silicon Valley 2011 opens just five weeks from today, on Monday, May 2, 2011, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. This year's event promises to be both entertaining and educational, with a keynote by Apple co-founder (and self-proclaimed embedded systems designer) Steve Wozniak as well as technical training from these popular speakers:

Jack Ganssle on Managing Firmware Projects and Mars Ate My Spacecraft

William Gatliff jumpstarts Android and Embedded Linux

James Grenning demonstrats Agile and Test Driven Development

Dan Saks Debunks C++ Myths and shows how to Refactor C into C++

Check out the full program.

This year ESC is also co-located with the Multicore Expo and TI Technology Day.

The early registration discount has been extended until Friday, April 1st for 4 day and all Access passes.
We are rolling back the Early Bird registration discount plus your 20% Alumni discount for one week only until Friday, April 1st for 4 day and all Access passes—up to $1,039 savings*.

Use Promo Code: Savings to get access to Early Bird pricing on 4 Day and All Access passes plus save an additional 20% 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 here.

Invite your colleagues! Group discounts are available.

*$1,039 savings off the on-site price for an All Access Pass. Includes 20% Promo and Early Bird pricing discount if registration is complete by April 1st, 2011.

Product News

Cambridge Consultants' Salix uses DECT to slash costs of audio distribution systems

Cambridge Consultants has launched Salix, a new wireless audio distribution system for the provision of hearing assistance or simultaneous translation within auditoria and conference centers.

Lauterbach integrates support for SYSGO's PikeOS into TRACE32 debug

The newest version of SYSGO's real-time operating system PikeOS is now integrated with Lauterbach's TRACE32 Debugger tools. PikeOS awareness is included in all new releases of the TRACE32 software for PowerPC; other architectures will follow soon.

Partnership eases design with Freescale 8-bit MCUs

The XL_STAR development environment for 8-bit microcontroller designs is the result of a strategic partnership between element14 and Freescale Semiconductor.

ST launches market's smallest 3-axis analog gyroscope

The L3G462A from STMicroelectronics (ST) is a motion-sensor with what the company claims is the market's smallest 3-axis analog-output gyroscope. Housed inside an ultra-small 4mm x 4mm x 1mm package, ST's newest gyroscope combines superior performance and reliability with smart power management and design flexibility. The new sensor is designed for high-precision gesture control and intuitive user interfaces, and is targeted for mobile phones, tablets, game controllers and other consumer devices.

Xelerated's HX336 NPU reduces power consumption by 50%, rapid transition to 100GE

The HX336 from Xelerated is a wirespeed single-chip network processor (NPU) with advanced traffic management and deep packet buffering for 100GE/OTU4 systems, the latest addition to Xelerated's HX family of network processors. The HX336 reduces power consumption by approximately 50 percent compared to competing multi-chip packet processing and traffic management solutions.

ITTIA and Express Logic partner to offer ITTIA DB SQL for ThreadX

ITTIA DB SQL, a relational embedded database for special-purpose systems that require self-contained data management software, is now available for ThreadX, an advanced lightweight real-time operating system (RTOS) from Express Logic, Inc.

News & Analysis

MIPS plans 64-bit multithreaded cores

Hoping to get a jump on archrival ARM, MIPS will launch this fall 64-bit synthesizable cores that support multithreading and issue multiple instructions per clock cycle.

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