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Articles & Papers

March Issue of Embedded Developer Magazine

Read the Articles

Renesas Ecosystem: Interview with Rob Dautel

The Renesas Ecosystem is an all-encompassing online resource for embedded engineers. The Ecosystem has hundreds of Alliance partners and specialized programs that enable designers to achieve a faster time to market. The idea for the Ecosystem spawned from the need to establish forums and community support to be able to collaborate and share ideas among the engineering community.

Using ARM Cortex-A9 Modules for applications with multiple displays

Through the use of several display interfaces, the TQMa6x with i.MX6 by Freescale provides the very highest degree of flexibility for applications in which several user displays with different display forms are required.

Neutralizing Some Inherent Dangers of C

We take a look at the issues involved in using C in the development of systems with safety-critical functionality. Despite the fact that the language is full of undefined behavior, hardware dependencies and other pitfalls, it is still widely used in safety-critical development. With some planning you can turn a potential problem into an advantage.

Buy vs. Build

Embedded Modules also referred to as Computer-on-Modules (COM). or System-on-Modules (SOMs) are the building blocks of the embedded world. Using modules alleviates many of the challenges facing engineers and project managers when designing complex applications such as, certification, design and development time and production costs can be overcome by using an off-the-shelf embedded module.

Achieve Seamless Voltage-level Translation with the Best Possible Noise Margin

As microprocessors have matured voltage technology has improved from 5 volts in the 1970s down to 1 volt now and this has led to device innovation, especially in mobile markets. Unfortunately, if you design an architecture using parts that require different voltages those parts cannot connect directly and if the problem is not resolved the mobile device will not function. The answer: Bus buffers.

IAR Embedded Workbench Empowers Developers with Functional Safety Certification

Functional safety is one of the most important features in many embedded systems today. As developers encounter increasing product complexity they are looking for ways to ease the development process including the time it takes to achieve product industry certification. IAR Embedded Workbench comes with relevant industry certification which in turn helps the developer achieve product certification.

The Raspberry Pi Primer Part 4: Setting Up a Simple Server

At this point in the series, you’ve set up Arch Linux ARM on your Raspberry Pi and you are ready to turn it into something. In this article, you’ll set up a Raspberry Pi as a simple local network server that can serve up web pages and act as an FTP server. This article will only explore setting up the server for use on local networks, not through the internet

Designing a Cost-Effective System Management Controller for Industrial PCs

This white paper explores the design of a platform-based system management controller for x86-based industrial PCs. These systems have stringent design requirements that exceed those of consumer and commercial PCs, including the need to support various industrial interfaces and the ability to operate in extreme environmental conditions

Welcome to the Wizard of OS, a bi-weekly blog where we will pull back the curtain to share insights from a leading wizard in the embedded industry. The next 8 episodes will feature Bill Lamie of Express Logic in:

Multitasking Mysteries Revealed

Episode 2

Back in the “old days,” around the time of the UNIVAC and CDC mainframes, embedded systems were emerging, mainly for military applications that required real-time operating systems (RTOS) or “executives.” These systems could respond to real-time events and handle other tasks in the background while waiting for the next event. These early RTOSes employed foreground/background architectures, where the background was controlled by a “Big Loop” type of sequential scheduler and the foreground was a glorified ISR.

The Big Loop Scheduler became a problem. As memory expanded and applications grew, the loop expanded and responsiveness declined. Multitasking offered a mixed mode of adjusted background scheduling, where real-time events could influence the scheduling of background tasks.

Multitasking proved to be a lot more efficient than the Big Loop, and became the backbone of all modern RTOS architecture and even multithreading hardware schedulers like those found in MIPS and Intel processors.

What does this have to do with today’s embedded systems?  Check back in two weeks for some thoughts on that!. But, if you can’t wait, here is a link to the entire article. (PDF)

Energy Harvesting for Ultra-Low-Power MCUs

Portable designs have long been hampered by the laws of supply and demand—an insufficient supply of energy and an excess of demand for it. Battery technology hasn’t progressed much since the advent of Li-Ion cells, and unless you’re comfortable with a thorium-based energy source there isn’t a lot of room for improvement.

On the demand side semiconductor engineers have made great strides over the last 10 years or so reducing power consumption. Moore’s Law has helped a great deal, but so have a host of other clever innovations including multiple clock and power domains, dynamic voltage and frequency scaling, power gating, and multiple sleep states. Today Renesas is well justified in referring to their RL78 and RX100 families of MCUs as “ultra-low-power.” More

Industry News