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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

December 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

SMALL BOARDS Meet the Punch of

RUGGED ENVIRONMENTS Wireless Sensor Networks Span the Range of Applications In Consumer Devices, One RTOS Doesn’t Fit All Gesture Recognition Comes to Small Systems An RTC Group Publication


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Small Boards Meet the Punch of Rugged Environments

52 Rugged COM Express Carrier Offers Full-Featured I/O Plus Mini PCIe Expansion Site

54 Core i7-Based 6U VPX Module Conduction or Air Cooled

TABLEOF CONTENTS

58 SATA SSD Line to Satisfy Embedded Needs for Endurance, Industrial Temperature

VOLUME 21, ISSUE 12

Departments

EDITOR’S REPORT

TECHNOLOGY IN SYSTEMS

Gesture Recognition

Small Boards in Rugged Systems

Gesture Recognition Coming Express Makes its Way into 6Editorial 12 Integrated 40COM Let’s Party, and... BYOD to Consumer Devices and Beyond Rugged and Reliable Applications Insider 8Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded Technology in Context Rugged Enough? Commercial Marketplace Embedded Boards Offer Reliability 46 Consumer Devices and Survivability Small Form Factor Forum Pick the Right Operating System 10From COTS to Commercial 18 for Your Consumer Device Products & Technology TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYED Embedded Technology Used by 52Newest Industry Leaders Standards Update TECHNOLOGY CONNECTED What Coding Standards Can Do Article Index Wireless Network Sensors 48 for Critical Embedded Software 60Annual A Review of the Previous Twelve Development Wireless Sensor Networks Evolve Months in RTC Magazine 26 to Meet Mainstream Needs Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief

Dave Barker and Jeff Porter, Extreme Engineering Solutions

Cliff Moon, VIA Technologies

John Carbone, Express Logic

Chris Tapp, LDRA

Daniel Cooley, Silicon Laboratories

Wireless Sensor Networks for Environmental 32 Implementing Monitoring Early Detection Communication Systems

Christine Van De Graaf, Lilee Systems Digital Subscriptions Available at http://rtcmagazine.com/home/subscribe.php RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

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POWER

PROCESSING

TEN YEARS. AND STILL GOING STRONG.

Are you dealing with obsolete commercial off-the-shelf cycles shorter than your product’s lifespan? If so, contact Raytheon Computer Products for reliable processing solutions. And backed by Raytheon’s 15-year support program, we offer an unmatched level of manufacturing expertise, maintenance and repair.

DECEMBER 2012 Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@rtcgroup.com

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tom Williams, tomw@rtcgroup.com SENIOR EDITOR Clarence Peckham, clarencep@rtcgroup.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Colin McCracken and Paul Rosenfeld MANAGING EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Sandra Sillion, sandras@rtcgroup.com COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

Art/Production ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, kirstenw@rtcgroup.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Farina, michaelf@rtcgroup.com LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Justin Herter, justinh@rtcgroup.com

Advertising/Web Advertising © 2012 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved. “Customer Success Is Our Mission” is a registered trademark of Raytheon Company.

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

To Contact RTC magazine: HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com Editorial Office Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief 1669 Nelson Road, No. 2, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Phone: (831) 335-1509

Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2012, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.


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EDITORIAL DECEMBER 2012

Let’s Party, and... BYOD

W

ay back when in the days of yore—that would be the mid-80s to most of you youngsters—I walked into a medical facility and saw a multi-million dollar CAT scanner. When I walked around behind the machine, lo and behold I saw an IBM PC attached to it. This was the old machine with a several-megabyte hard drive, dual floppy disks and a beige CRT monitor, and it was running MS-DOS. But it was plugged into that CAT scanner to support some sort of functions the crew thought important. Well, of course, that was just the beginning. Next, there were special versions of I/O cards that could plug into the PC’s ISA bus for various control applications. Then we started to see things like PC/104 that then ran actual RTOSs—a plethora of x86 RTOSs appeared on the market. The race was on and we now have a vibrant and growing embedded systems industry with no end in sight—except that things never really stay the same. While there are certainly a number of strong players in the embedded market, one of the reasons that the x86 became such a dominant architecture had nothing to do with its inherent properties—in fact, it happened partly in spite of them—was the sheer size of the PC market among the general population. This made the technology, including ISA bus, PCI, USB and much more, not only inexpensive but also widely understood and thus eased the task of adapting it for more specialized applications. Today, I am wondering if we may not be witnessing a similar phenomenon beginning to ride the crest of the wave of ARM/Android/Linux-based smartphones and tablets. The devices flying off the shelves by the hundreds of millions are having a distinct cultural impact that influences the expectations that almost everyone brings to the experience of interacting with a computerbased system. For one thing, we now take mobility for granted and that means low power, which is where ARM is definitely out in front. We expect a touch-sensitive graphic interface and, of course, we expect instant connectivity. Feeding and supporting these expectations is the unseen but vital world of universal connectivity carrying Big Data, which is coming to be known as Intelligent Systems. This world, of course, includes everything from networked small devices to enormous server farms, all accessed from everywhere. People increasingly expect to access this world by means of

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief

their familiar phone or tablet interface, and why not? It is rich, it is interactive and it is connected. It is capable of displaying the needed data and controls as well as any specialized user interface, and can be customized to imitate them if desired. At the same time, there does seem to be a desire on the part of users to actually integrate the electronics and touch display technology into embedded systems that require a human interface, thus expanding the use of the same user experience directly in devices. So now the industrial plant manager is coming to expect that he or she can not only interact with the factory systems via a similar user interface, but also directly from the phone or tablet itself due to the ease of wireless Internet connection. This trend seems to be popular among some in management, who see cost savings in allowing employees to use their own phones and tablets to interact with the corporate systems—both on the IT side and with connected embedded devices. Hence the expression, “Bring your own device,” or BYOD. Does anyone see a problem here? Oh right. Security. How do we keep the world of Angry Birds and personal email separate from critical corporate data and vulnerable infrastructure? While this is certainly not a new question, the inclination of companies to relinquish control over the devices employees use could present definite additional difficulties. However these difficulties are confronted and/or resolved, we should be very aware of one thing. This is a trend that cannot be reversed. Once an idea like this takes hold, it definitely will continue. It is especially apparent in the medical field. Doctors like to use iPads, therefore iPads are entering the medical world where they are increasingly being used by nurses, technicians and other hospital personnel. They are used in record keeping and also as interfaces to sophisticated medical equipment such as scanners and patient monitoring systems. This cannot be reversed because doctors call the shots, not hospital gumshoes. It presents additional challenges for FDA compliance, challenges that will have to be met because the trend cannot be reversed. This entire phenomenon will lead to interesting technological innovations and inventions at the hardware and software levels that try to reconcile the problems that arise as a result of the ongoing merger of the consumer with the industrial world—all of which we will closely follow in the pages of RTC.


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INDUSTRY

INSIDER DECEMBER 2012 ARM Major Participant in a Consortium to Acquire Rights to MIPS Portfolio of Patents ARM has announced that it is a leading member of Bridge Crossing LLC, a consortium of major technology companies affiliated with Allied Security Trust, which has entered into an agreement with MIPS to obtain rights to its patent portfolio. The MIPS patent portfolio includes 580 patents and patent applications covering microprocessor design, system-onchip design and other related technology fields. The consortium will pay $350 million in cash to acquire rights to the portfolio, of which ARM will contribute $167.5 million. The transaction will, upon completion, support continued innovation in system-on-chip design, while removing any potential litigation risk presented by the MIPS patent portfolio with respect to the consortium members. The consortium will make licenses to the patent portfolio available to companies not within the consortium. “ARM is a leading participant in this consortium which presents an opportunity for companies to neutralize any potential infringement risk from these patents in the further development of advanced embedded technology,” said Warren East, CEO, ARM. “Litigation is expensive and time-consuming and, in this case, a collective approach with other major industry players was the best way to remove that risk.” This transaction, which is subject to MIPS shareholder approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013. ARM’s contribution of $167.5 million will be funded out of existing cash reserves.

Market for Snake-Like Robots Set for Huge Jump

The worldwide market for snake robots is expected to jump from just $46 million in 2011 to $8.5 billion in 2017. According to a study by Market Analyst, these snake-like robot arms, which can be self-contained portable devices or extensions to existing systems, are being used or will be used in a range of applications where space is confined. The study by WinterGreen Research is titled, “Snake Robots Market Shares, Strategies and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2011 to 2017.” Snake robots are useful just about anywhere space is confined, either by design (e.g.,

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

aircraft engine), failure (e.g., collapsed building), or nature (e.g., human body). Snake robots can be implemented as industrial arm robots, minimally invasive surgical devices, and for the military they provide unique reconnaissance opportunities. Snake robots are the ultimate in all-terrain units because they can go anywhere, from under doors to over mountains. The market for snake robots is expected to see huge growth because the technology is proven, with a hundred successful reference accounts in a range of industries.

Advantech and PolyCore Software Collaborate for Multicore Designs

PolyCore Software and Advantech have announced a partnership that aims to enable developers to rapidly develop and migrate programs for multicore designs. PSI’s Poly-Platform, a collection of productivity tools and runtime communications engine, when integrated with Advantech’s family of video processing products based on Texas Instruments’ TMS320C6678 (C6678) multicore digital signal processor (DSP), offers significant improvement in development schedules. PolyCore Software’s suite addresses multicore developers’ challenges with a comprehensive solution that scales across many DSPs. By implementing Poly-Platform on Advantech’s hardware platforms, equipment manufacturers can expand their product line across multiple hardware platforms to meet desired performance levels at different price points. Advantech’s DSPC-8681 integrates four C6678 multicore DSPs to achieve the highest possible performance levels in a halflength PCIe form factor. PolyPlatform provides engineers with the development tools needed to harness the full potential of this combination.

381 Million Active Mobile Money Users Predicted in Emerging Markets by 2017

According to a new research report by Berg Insight, the number of active mobile money users in emerging markets is forecasted to grow from 61 million in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent to reach 381 million by 2017. Several of the most successful mo-

bile money services are today in use in Africa, but Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the active user base in 2017. The total value of mobile money transactions is projected to grow from US$ 44 billion in 2011 at a CAGR of 44 percent to US$ 395 billion in 2017. Mobile money has a central role in extending the reach of formal financial services to the unbanked and financially underserved populations in emerging markets. The mobile phone will also be the primary self-service banking channel for a substantial share of the already banked individuals. “The industry is in a very exciting phase right now. Mobile money has not only taken off in Kenya—we’re seeing exponential growth in Tanzania, Uganda and several other countries as well,” said Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. He adds that a number of services targeting the unbanked have been launched in several of the world’s largest countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Mexico and Argentina. In some countries mobile money services have already matured to the extent that significant business opportunities have emerged for companies from adjacent industries, such as insurance providers and merchant acquirers.

ONF to Drive Configuration Management for SoftwareDefined Networking

Tail-f Systems is the most recent member to join the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a new approach to networking called SoftwareDefined Networking (SDN). As a member of ONF, Tail-f will


contribute its experience and expertise in areas that include the role of NETCONF and YANG in automating the configuration of software-defined networks. The company will actively contribute to ONF working groups to further establish SDN standards and specifications in the area of manageability. “The concept of direct software programmability to networks is gaining traction, and with programmability comes the need for manageability,” says Dan Pitt, executive director, Open Networking Foundation. “We are excited to be joined by leading global companies to help develop and implement advanced networking capabilities for today’s operators and enterprises.” “Software-Defined Networking is an exciting new approach to networking,” said Fredrik Lundberg, CEO of Tailf Systems. “We look forward to working with all companies involved with the Open Networking Foundation and sharing our experience and expertise to further the successful adoption of ONF standards in the industry.”

Germany Predicted to Decide Future of the European Smart Metering Industry

According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the market for smart metering solutions in Europe will deliver a strong performance in the coming five years. Until 2017, electricity distribution network operators and power suppliers will invest approximately €15.8 billion in the deployment of 110 million smart meters. Between 2011 and 2017, the installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.5 percent to reach 154.7 mil-

lion units at the end of the period. Meanwhile the penetration rate for smart meters in the EU27+2 area will more than triple from 18 percent in 2011 to 56 percent in 2017. The increase will largely be driven by nationwide rollouts in France, Spain, the UK and a handful of other European countries. Based on current deployment plans, around 70 percent of the EU households will have smart electricity meters by 2020. Germany remains the only major country in Western Europe that has not committed to the introduction of smart metering. The initial approach by the German energy regulator to rely on a market-driven adoption of the technology has not resulted in much uptake. Therefore Germany is now evaluating the option of a regulation-driven nationwide rollout. During 2013, the German federal government is expected to announce the results of an economic assessment of the business case for smart metering in Germany. The key question that should be answered is whether the benefits in the form of energy savings, grid optimization and greater efficiency outweigh an investment in the magnitude of €15-20 billion.

ality, according to 70 percent of those surveyed. The vast majority of the 200 in-house software development executives and managers from large (US $1 billion+) enterprises surveyed are aware of the significant consequences that result from endemic constraints across software development and testing. This includes loss of reputation (96 percent) and customers switching to competitors (93 percent). Delays in application development and testing are negatively impacting businesses with respondents reporting reduced functionality (74 percent) and late delivery of new customer-facing applications (60 percent). In part, this is due to the increased pressure and demand for highly sophisticated applications, with 66 percent of respondents stating that their approach to software development and testing will have to change as a result of massive growth.

EVENT CALENDAR 1/21-22/13

Embedded Tech Trends Long Beach, CA vita.com

1/24/13

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Santa Clara, CA rtecc.com

1/28-31/13 DesignCon Santa Clara, CA designcon.com

1/28-31/13 AFCEA West San Diego, CA afcea.org

2/1-7/13

Photonics West San Francisco, CA spie.org

2/19/13

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Atlanta, GA rtecc.com

2/21/13

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Huntsville, AL rtecc.com

2/26-28/13

Enterprises Suffer as a Consequence of Software Development Constraints and Failures

More than half (60 percent) of respondents in a study by CA Technologies claim that customer-facing applications are delayed as a result of endemic constraints within the software development and testing environment including limited access to infrastructure, databases and undeveloped applications. To compound the situation, applications are often released with reduced function-

Embedded World Nuremberg, Germany embedded-world.de

2/26-28/13

Digital Signage Expo Las Vegas, NV digitalsignageexpo.net

If your company produces any type of industry event, you can get your event listed by contacting sallyb@rtcgroup.com. This is a FREE industry-wide listing.

RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

9


SMALL FORM FACTOR

FORUM Colin McCracken

From COTS to Commercial

M

ajor military engagements and occupations are winding down in the greater Middle East. The outlook for the New Year is that program budgets will be reduced, or eliminated in some cases as the political landscape isn’t changing much. “Sequestration”—across-the-board automatic budget cuts that could wipe out defense budget strongholds—looms days away on January 2. Defense primes, subprimes and the entire supply chain is caught in the crossfire. But that’s not to say that an entire segment of military computer electronics will be eradicated. Far from it. There are always a large number of ongoing missions worldwide that don’t make headlines. Perhaps this is a signal, however, that certain technologies and architectures originally earmarked for the battlefield could be redeployed for civilian and commercial embedded applications. The term “COTS,” or commercial off-the-shelf, pertains to readily available hardware and systems developed by industry. Mil-COTS refers specifically to the use of commercially developed electronics and computers that are appropriate for military and avionics/aerospace deployments. Although the pendulum has swung back and forth a few times over many decades, government equipment acquisition policies in recent times tend to favor COTS systems over custom RFQ-driven hardware. Certain embedded computing architectures have earned reputations as COTS-oriented. Among the more common ones are VME, VPX, even cPCI and PC/104 in certain cases. These map well to certain applications based upon performance or size requirements, from heavy signal processing SATCOM racks down to tubular SBC and I/O stacks that fit behind small LCDs. Whether they be backplane and mid-plane waffle-style or mil-circulars for I/O, ruggedized connectors are inherently expensive and massive overkill for commercial markets. Highbandwidth fat-pipe bus connectors are unnecessary for simple machine I/O as well. Aside from blatant connector differences between military and commercial grade, much of the circuit building blocks and board form factors are reasonable to reuse in applications ranging from communications to medical imaging to law enforcement UAV drones. Many of the commercial certifications and regulatory testing requirements are simpler than temperature, shock & vibration and power supply transients

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

within MIL-STD-202, -810, -901, -704 and -1275, for example. Consequently, the prices of hardware should be much less too. With that in mind, product development teams at Mil-COTS computer houses can be retrained easily to target broader commercial applications. Common design flows are quite feasible that can leverage schematic capture across ruggedized and commercial grade products, with the tailoring of multiple products relegated to the last steps. Another strategic consideration is where to assemble boards according to cost and quality objectives. Vendors need to revisit go-to-market strategies. More than simply hiring an additional sales channel—whether representatives, distributors, value-added resellers or integrators—a completely new mind-set is needed in top management. Supplier qualifications in communications/networking or healthcare sectors don’t revolve so tightly around election seasons, program offices, or who you know inside the Beltway. From an architecture and standards point of view, much of what exists already is sufficient to facilitate the migration of ruggedized designs to commercial grade products. Some of the standards are even viable without any modifications. The desktop/enterprise and mobile/tablet markets will continue to provide healthy roadmaps of power-efficient processors, high-speed buses and easy-interface I/O complete with device drivers. Often the form factor can be “good enough” to a system OEM. In such cases, why not skip the usual battlegrounds of ideologies, needless debates and filibusters among the supplier community? In other cases, small modifications can reduce the costs of implementing a standard for a commercial application. For these, vendors can reach across the aisle to push through a needed standards update. The alternative, “standing on ceremony,” is nothing more than a great vantage point for watching competing form factors win the majority of commercial grade designs. Gridlock in the government and within certain trade groups is eerily similar. As the holidays come and go and governments resume their economic, healthcare and financial market priorities over defense spending during the new presidential term, the embedded computing industry can adapt by repurposing mil-COTS products and R&D budgets toward those same market segments rather than being left high and dry in the desert.


Microsoft to Introduce Intelligent System Strategy With Windows Embedded 8 YOU ARE INVITED: 34 CITIES ONE POWERFUL TECHNOLOGY UPCOMING EVENTS AMERICAS

Atlanta, GA - Jan. 29 Melbourne, FL - Jan. 31 Montreal, QC - Feb. 5 Toronto, ON - Feb. 7

ASIA

Mumbai, India - March 2013 Bangalore, India - March 2013

EMEA Reading, United Kingdom - Jan. 17 Stockholm, Sweden - Feb. 5 Moscow, Russia - Feb. 7 Tel Aviv, Israel – March 2013 Cologne, Germany - Mar. 5 Munich, Germany - Mar. 26 *Dates and locations are subject to change

Windows Embedded Summit What Is It? A half-day technical brieďƒžng highlighting the Microsoft intelligent system strategy and how engineers and technology leaders can leverage existing WES7 and upcoming WES8 technology to increase embedded OEM business more effectively. Who Is Invited? Business leaders and technology decisionmakers will be invited to join Microsoft and key partners at over 30 global locations. Questions Answered: What game-changing technology does Windows Embedded 8 bring to embedded design? How to best select an embedded software platform for next generation intelligent systems? How to get started today and prepare your business for the future?

evolve2012tour.com


editor’s report Gesture Recognition

Integrated Gesture Recognition Coming to Consumer Devices and Beyond As a complement to touchscreen technology, gesture recognition appears poised to be easily and costeffectively integrated into small systems to enhance the overall user experience. by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief

T

he world is becoming well-accustomed to interacting with our devices via touchscreens. How many of us have sat at a desktop and instinctively tried to scroll with our finger only to wonder why nothing happened? Tablets and smartphones without interactive touch technology would be unthinkable. This assumption and expectation is also starting to migrate in all directions, including the interaction with home appliances as well as with industrial systems. Now it looks like 3D gesture recognition may be joining the party as well. As a technology, gesture recognition is not exactly new. Solutions to date have involved a pair of cameras or a stereo camera along with sophisticated software to interpret gestures and make them available to applications. Now a new approach is making its debut from Microchip Technology in the form of a 3D gesture controller that can be connected to a set of sensors, which can be integrated unobtrusively behind screens, beneath keyboards or inside more specialized equipment. The heart of this approach is the MGC3130 GestIC from Microchip, a 3D electrical field-based tracking and gesture

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

controller. The GestIC performs 32-bit digital signal processing on a combination of sensor inputs, which it interprets to match to defined gestures in an on-chip library called the GestIC Colibri Suite. The GestIC interfaces via an I2C/SPI serial link to the system processor, which means that it can then be easily adapted to other peripheral interfaces such as USB if desired (Figure 1). The GestIC—in a 5 mm x 5 mm QFN 28-pin package—works in conjunction with a sensor array consisting of a transmit electrode that emits a signal and is mounted behind the five receive electrodes. It can be tailored to fit a given form factor within a range of dimensions. The chip interprets the x/y/z position of the hand in terms of the relative strengths of the received signals. The emitted electrical field is in the range of 70-130 kHz with frequency hopping to avoid RF interference, and is resistant to ambient light and sound interference. The system has a detection range of 15 cm and can be sized to fit a desired form factor such as a laptop, tablet or phone screen, providing 100% surface coverage to eliminate “angle of view” blind spots. The five sensors are

insulated from the flat emitting electrode by a thin layer of material. The electrodes can be made of any conductive material such as PCB traces or a touch sensor’s Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) coating (Figure 2). Active sensing state power consumption can be as low as 150 μW. The low active sensing state power applies when the device is configured for an Auto Wake-Up on Approach state that will enable always-on gesture sensing for power-constrained applications. Once awakened, power consumption will increase up to a maximum of 90 mW, but after a predetermined time of inactivity it can resume the Auto Wake-Up mode. This capability would lend itself to use in such things as room light controls and proximity sensors to name a few. At this point it may be remarked that the GestIC technology is aimed at a different set of application uses and devices than the broader and more comprehensive technology represented by camera and software-based gesture systems such as those now available on some Intel-based Ultrabooks. Such technology is capable of recognizing such things as fingers closing to grasp an object on up to full body movements and can therefore have much broader applications including things like robot arm and hand control, which are clearly not targeted by the GestIC. Intel offers Gesture Recognition for Ultrabooks based on software developed by Computer Vision Systems of St. Petersburg, Russia. The company specializes in software for use in video-based systems to extract 3D data in real time, primarily for gesture recognition applications. The proprietary algorithms extract gestures in a specific 3D zone of complex dynamic shape. This allows the Ultrabook user to interact via gestures while browsing the Internet or reading documents, but it does not interfere with the use of the keyboard, which is outside the detection zone. A somewhat similar issue is addressed by the GestIC in that it will no doubt be expected to work in conjunction with the use of keyboards and touchscreens. Use with keyboards is not much of a problem because a sensor pad placed


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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

8/3/12 4:47 PM

Figure 2 The MGC31330 evaluation kit includes an example of the kinds of panels that can be implemented using GestIC technology. Beneath the first layer is the transmit electrode, which corresponds to the full board area. On the surface are five receive electrodes that interpret the hand’s position in the electrical field in three dimensional space.

below a keyboard will sense movement of a user’s hands, but that movement will not correspond to any defined gestures in the Colibri Suite or custom library and so will not interfere with operation of the device. Combining the gesture recognition with touchscreen operation, however, requires controlling how and when the two technologies are allowed to send input to the system. Touchscreens increasingly use

capacitive touch and projected capacitive touch, which allows the use of a sheet of glass to cover the screen surface. This makes it straightforward to simply shut off the gesture recognition as soon as a touch is detected and turn back on when touch is removed. There is also the alternative to multiplex the two subsystems at some rate, but this can be a more complex approach. The point is that both can co-


editor’s report

Figure 3 A page of the Aurea tool’s graphical interface shows the relative strength of the five signals that are used to detect the hand’s 3D position (upper right). The trace of a circle gesture is shown at upper left.

exist without interfering with one another and thus can complement each other in the user experience. As noted, in contrast to the camera/ software-based gesture recognition, for which one can develop a very wide variety of recognition algorithms, the GestIC has a set of predefined gestures that is stored on-chip as the Colibri Suite. These consist of the Wake Up on Approach function and the x/y/z/ hand position, which GestIC is able to track to a resolution of 150 dots per inch at a sampling rate of 200 Hz. In addition, there is a library of predefined gestures. These consist of flick gestures such as might be used to turn a page, and circle gestures for such things as rotating a page or a selected object. There is also a set of symbol gestures for easily recognized symbols like an “M” or a “J.” There is probably not an “X” symbol because while we may easily differentiate “X” from “O,” the system would have a hard time ignoring the continuous hand motion needed to move from one stroke of the “X” to the next because that could be interpreted as a continuous

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motion. Therefore, while the chip does have the capacity to store custom-defined gestures in its integrated flash memory, care must be taken that they are distinct from other gestures. The GestIC technology is being positioned for easy integration into new and upgraded systems designs, where the biggest effort would be the inclusion of a suitably sized platter to carry the transmit and receive electrodes. Then the small IC could go almost anywhere followed by the modification of application and/or operating system software or drivers. To that end, Microchip is offering a set of development aids consisting of what it calls the Sabrewing Single Zone Evaluation kit, which is a board including a set of mounted electrodes, depicted in Figure 2, along with a mounted MGC3130 GestIC adapted to a USB interface. In addition, there is a software suite called Aurea with a graphical user interface (Figure 3) that allows graphical depiction of the functioning of the gesture sensing as well as a way for developers to tailor the defined functions in the Colibri Suite to their own system com-

mands. As a side note, the words Colibri, Sabrewing and Aurea are all terms that refer in some way to hummingbirds. Gesture recognition is on the way to becoming a part of the normal user experience we will come to expect in our interaction with technology. While it may appear in different forms for different target application areas, the GestIC represents an approach that targets a defined set of interactions that can be easily integrated at low cost into a variety of consumer and industrial products. Microchip Technology Chandler, AZ. (888) 624-7435. [www.microchip.com]. Computer Vision Systems St. Petersburg, Russia. +7(812)926-60-60. [www.compvisionsys.com]. Intel Santa Clara, CA. (408) 765-8080. [www.intel.com].


Technology in

context Consumer Devices

Pick the Right Operating System for Your Consumer Device Developing a successful product requires choosing an operating system that minimizes memory requirements, maximizes reliability and delivers the performance that users expect. by John Carbone, Express Logic

I

nnovative consumer electronics products have replaced business information technology systems as the major force driving the electronics industry. The explosive growth in this market has led to a proliferation of hardware platforms, operating systems and development tools. In response, the consumer products industry needs to strive toward optimization of technologies and processes on an enterprise level rather than project by project. However, the highly competitive nature of the consumer products industry and the wide spectrum of products being developed to meet various market requirements means that only rarely can one size fit all. The choice of operating

Low-End

• Very Small Memory (250 6KV) • Inexpensive Processor • Real-Time Performance • High-Volume • Cost Critical

system, for example, can make or break the performance of your product and its success in the marketplace. Let’s take a closer look at the factors you need to consider. The explosion of the consumer device market over the past decade has generated products that can be grouped into three categories (Figure 1). Low-end devices generally are built around ASICs or SoCs with small amounts of program memory (ROM), typically up to 256 Kbyte, use an inexpensive processor, are manufactured in high volumes, and are typically developed by a single programming team. Typical examples of this type of device include many digital still cameras (DSCs) and ink-

Mid-Range

• Moderate Memory (1 MB) • Real-Time Performance • Multiple Programming Tastes

jet printers. Mid-range consumer devices, such as video cameras, are characterized by moderate amounts of program memory in the area of 1-2 Mbyte and multiple programming teams. High-end devices, such as smartphones and set-top boxes (STBs) typically have much more memory, use powerful multicore processors and are developed by large, or multiple programming teams.

Differing Operating System Requirements

The operating system requirements for these different categories of consumer devices vary widely. High-end consumer

High-End

• Lots of Memory (32 MB) • Powerful Processors • Soft Real-Time • Large Programming Teams

Figure 1 The wide spectrum of consumer device requirements makes it impossible for one set of tools to satisfy all needs.

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technology in context

Graphics

File

USB

CAN

WiFi

Application Program RTOS

POSIX

uITRON

Customize

Network

Standardize

Development Tools

Hardware Figure 2 Developers need to consider the complete development environment when choosing an RTOS.

devices typically use relatively expensive high-performance multicore processors, and often also specialized graphics and DSP coprocessors, that deliver tremendous throughput. These high-end devices typically involve a significant degree of human interaction, though, and human users are slow enough that the processors can typically easily keep up. Because of

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Selecting an RTOS 1) D  on’t buy a black box. Make sure you obtain the full source code and complete commercial support. 2) Don’t be a pioneer: Use a solution that has been proven in many other devices and try it before you buy. 3) D  on’t use an operating system with more capabilities than you need, because not only will it consume additional memory, it will take additional time to learn and will be tougher to debug. 4) Don’t get trapped into a single-source environment. Instead use tools that support industry standards such as POSIX and multiple development environments. 5) D  on’t build your own operating system. The costs of developing, debugging and maintaining your own operating system and associated middleware is far greater than the relatively low cost of purchasing a proven commercial system, while the chance of failure in that home-built software stack is significantly higher.

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

this, the real-time requirements are not particularly demanding. Note that within these high-end devices are many smaller subsystems that handle what hard realtime requirements do exist. Such examples include baseband radio, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for smartphones. High-end devices often have specialpurpose hardware, such as the digital signal processors used in set-top boxes (STBs) for IP routing and video decoding, which remove the responsibility for the most demanding processing from the operating system. These devices also have a wide range of peripherals that require operating systems with many middleware services. Products on the lower end of the consumer device spectrum typically have very different operating system requirements. Lower-end devices typically have relatively little human interaction and instead consist largely of processes whose timing needs to be tightly controlled. For example, pressing the shutter on a typical DSC kicks off a series of software tasks or threads that might involve measuring the ambient light, focusing the camera, capturing the image on the charge coupled device (CCD), moving the image to memory, etc. These tasks all need to be completed before the exposure period calculated by the DSC has elapsed and the shutter closes. In another example, a typical inkjet printer application needs to scale the picture, translate the picture into appropri-

ate inkjet commands, issue commands to the motors controlling the position of the inkjets and fire the inkjets. Inkjet printers are sold largely based on their printing speed so all of these tasks must be completed within a brief and welldefined time period. Cost constraints for mass-market DSCs and inkjet printers do not allow for dedicated hardware to complete these tasks, so they rely upon the real-time performance of the operating system to allow the processor to get all this work done within hard real-time scheduling demands.

Hard RTOS vs. Soft RTOS

We can classify real-time operating systems (RTOSs) as “hard” or “soft,” depending on their ability to meet deadlines. A hard RTOS is deterministic in that it can respond to a command or stimulus within some defined maximum (worst case) time period (typically on the order of 10 μs or less) with 100% reliability. Soft RTOSs feature longer response times (typically on the order of 100 μs or longer), but without the ability to guarantee meeting deadlines 100% of the time. The application characteristics discussed above help explain why the majority of low-end devices use hard RTOSs that provide 100% predictable response to interrupts while higher-end consumer devices often use soft operating systems such as Linux and embedded versions of Windows that do not have to (and cannot) guarantee interrupt latency. Another important factor in an RTOS for a low-end consumer device is its context switching capability. This refers to the amount of time needed by the RTOS to save the state for the current task, load the context for another task and begin execution. It should be noted that there are no clear standards to compare the measurement of context switching across different RTOSs, so it may be necessary to work with RTOS vendors to determine the performance of their products in your specific application environment. These requirements help to show why Linux, despite its popularity in the high-end consumer device market, is less commonly used in low-end consumer devices. The best-case interrupt response and context switching times for embed-


technology in context

ded Linux are typically in the high tens of microseconds, while typical real-time performance for Linux is generally in the range of a few milliseconds. However, it is important to note that in the worst case scenario, Linux real-time performance is unbounded. On the other hand, the fastest hard RTOSs provide a deterministic real-time performance in the range of 1 to 2 μs or less, which is normally sufficient to meet the needs of the most demanding applications.

Memory Requirements

Another important consideration is the memory required by the RTOS. Lowend devices are typically built around

a single system-on-chip (SoC), so the amount of memory is constrained by the available real estate and the need to incorporate other functions. The more memory consumed by the RTOS, the less memory available for the application. Off-chip memory may be provided in many applications; however, external memory offers inherent performance drawbacks such as speed and the possibility of error introduction. External memory performance is acceptable for some uses, such as storing the image in a DSC, but rarely is sufficient for program code. It’s important to note that application functionality will always grow into the future, so it’s

a good idea to allow headroom for future growth, which means minimizing the capacity required by the RTOS. A good rule of thumb is to keep RTOS code size to no more than approximately 10-25 Kbyte for kernel services and comparably small sizes for key services such as TCP/IP, file system and USB.

RTOS in the Big Picture

The choice of RTOS needs to be made in the context of the complete development environment. The middleware layer consists of a wide range of services that may or may not be required in specific applications (Figure 2). The network service typically provides an Ethernet

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technology in context communication port required by many midrange and high-end consumer devices, such as network-capable inkjets, for example. The graphics middleware is generally used to develop the graphical user interface that is again typical mainly of higher-end devices. USB, on the other hand, is ubiquitous among both high- and low-end consumer devices. File systems are required by many consumer devices at all ends of the spectrum; a printer needs to handle a range of file formats and a

DSC must save files when creating an image and open files for viewing and transfer to a computer, for example. The specific middleware required in an application is an important factor in operating system selection. An operating system such as Linux offers hundreds, perhaps even over a thousand, middleware applications. The richness of the available middleware provides an important advantage for Linux in high-end consumer applications. On the other hand,

this richness comes at the price of slower performance, higher complexity, (performance uncertainty?) and the need to deal with the challenges of navigating the open source environment. Hard RTOS operating systems, on the other hand, generally provide a smaller number of middleware options, but include all of the core services needed by designers of low-end consumer devices. The need for middleware in most any consumer device also raises a significant challenge introduced by build-your-own operating systemâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;you will be responsible not only for developing all of the middleware you need, but also for maintaining it in a rapidly changing environment. This can tax an already busy development team, and inhibit their ability to create new products and services.

Support for Multiple Hardware Platforms

The flexibility of the RTOS in terms of its support for a range of hardware platforms is another important concern. Developers of low-end consumer devices typically determine that a single low-cost 32-bit processor delivers the best performance to price ratio. There are a number of vendors, most using processors based on ARM architectures, competing for this business. ARM has a particular strength in low-power, high-performance applications and has gained many wins in inkjet printers, personal digital appliances and smartphones. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to note that the 32-bit processor market is changing rapidly and that new offerings are continually being developed. You may be using ARM now, but in six months the landscape may have changed enough that you will pick a different architecture, or at least a different ARM processor architecture for your next offering. Selecting an operating system that supports a broad range of processors will make it possible to switch to a different processor in your next product while continuing to reuse most of your code. The rapidly changing processor environment also points out another danger in developing your own operating systemâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;if the processor you chose for your previous product is no longer the best choice, you may find yourself faced with not only developing

22

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technology in context new code but also with using another operating system entirely. Using a commercial RTOS that supports a variety of processors also helps keep your options open in terms of addressing important issues such as multithreading versus multiprocessing. The race among microprocessor vendors to deliver the fastest clock speeds has run up against obstacles such as power consumption and hardware complexity. More recently, microprocessor development has been driven

ACR O M AG

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by multiprocessing and multithreading approaches that deliver higher performance while using less power and at a lower cost. Multithreading increases performance by using cycles in which the processor would otherwise be waiting to access slower memory to handle additional threads. Multiprocessing provides additional processor cores that can handle separate concurrent threads and provides the ability to turn off entire processors to save power during the execution of less demanding workloads.

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Development Tools

The development tools provided with the RTOS form another important factor. Some of the more important areas to consider are the code quality (size and space optimizations) of the compiler, the RTOSawareness capabilities of the debugger and the ease of use of the IDE framework, whether Eclipse based or proprietary. The bottom line is productivity—although cost and budget are important factors, they should be considered secondary to time-tomarket, which can have an enormous impact on the profitability of the product over its lifetime. Developers should carefully evaluate tools and RTOS candidates to select the ones best suited for their particular job; the ones that will enable development to meet schedule and produce a high-performance product faster than the competition. So it is clear that consumer device manufacturers face a critical decision when it comes to determining which type of RTOS to use for their product. On one hand, there is the need to elevate choice from the individual level up to the enterprise to gain the benefits of standardization. On the other hand, the competitive marketplace demands the delivery of products that are optimized for application requirements such as functionality, cost, power consumption, etc. Standardization is beneficial but requirements differ so greatly across the consumer device market that the RTOS must be matched to the application. To truly achieve development efficiency, an enterprise should choose a development tools solution that supports all the projects supported by the enterprise, and choose the best RTOS technology for each device under development. It is also extremely important to make sure the development tools and RTOS can be used together without requiring additional integration work. The RTOS provides the foundation for device performance. By considering the factors discussed above, development teams can make the choice that positions their product for success in the marketplace. Express Logic San Diego, CA. (858) 613-6640. [www.rtos.com].


Technology

connected Wireless Sensor Networks

Wireless Sensor Networks Evolve to Meet Mainstream Needs A convergence of technologies in sensors, silicon, protocols and energy storage is enabling low-power, cost-effective wireless sensor networks that can now enter a vast variety of markets and applications. by Daniel Cooley, Silicon Laboratories

R

ecent advances in semiconductor, Application Benefit networking and material science technologies are driving the ubiqploration uitous deployment of large-scale wireless Measure micro-climates on farms Increase crop yield per square km your goal sensor networks (WSNs). Together, these k directly technologies have combined to enable Monitor traffic on road systems Steer traffic away from jams, accidents and age, the source. construction zones; alert emergency services a new generation of WSNs that differs ology, greatly from wireless networks developed d products and deployed as recently as 5 to 10 years Detect human presence in homes and offices Reduce wasted power in HVAC and lighting ago. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s state-of-the-art WSNs have lower deployment and maintenance costs, Electrical/gas/water metering Optimize utility distribution systems and last longer and are more rugged. They reduce inefficiencies are finding their way into numerous applications in our homes, work places and TABLE 1 beyond, bringing new sources of informaWSNs bring a multitude of benefits to our daily lives. nies providing tion,solutions controlnow and convenience to our perion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your1goal is to research the latest sonal and professional lives. Table sumation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you marizes several examples of how WSNs ity, security and performance. Wireless hardware and software technology supyou require for whatever type of technology, productivity, reduce cost and embedded designers must assess these pliers to add value. and productscan you enhance are searching for. even save lives. trade-offs and make multiple decisions, In the future, each WSN application such as transducer and battery technology A Look Back at Wireless Sensor will incorporate a well-established, stan- choices, frequency of wireless operation, Networks dardized mix of hardware and software output power and networking protocols. To understand the trade-offs in tosolutions. But for now, wireless system Breaking down the trade-offs in dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s WSNs, it is helpful to briefly exand network designers are faced with WSN deployment requires a broad amine their history. Like many advanced making sense of and understanding the range of specialties within an organiza- technologies, the origin of WSNs can be complex trade-offs among many applica- tion, including energy storage, wireless seen in military and heavy industrial aption variables including deployment costs, networking protocols, semiconductor plications, far removed from the light inhardware and software, system reliabil- design and sensor/actuator technology. dustrial and consumer WSN applications The complexity of WSN design repre- that are prevalent today. The first wireless sents one of the most significant barriers network that bore any real resemblance Get Connected to the widespread adoption of WSNs, to a modern WSN is the Sound Surveilwith companies mentioned in this article. but it also provides an opportunity for lance System (SOSUS), developed by the www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

End of Article

26

DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.


technology connected

WSN Technology Transitions

Although the technology for largevolume industrial and consumer applications did not exist in the 20th century, both academia and industry recognized the potential for such networks and formed joint efforts to solve the engineering challenges. Examples of these academic/industrial initiatives include: • UCLA Wireless Integrated Network Sensors (1993)

Wireless Sensor Network Debut

Past

Present

Total Market Size

Cost and Energy per Sensor

United States military in the 1950s to detect and track Soviet submarines. This network used submerged acoustic sensors—hydrophones—distributed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This sensing technology is still in service today, albeit serving more peaceful functions of monitoring undersea wildlife and volcanic activity. Echoing the investments made in the 1960s and 1970s to develop the hardware for today’s Internet, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the Distributed Sensor Network (DSN) program in 1980 to formally explore the challenges in implementing distributed/wireless sensor networks. With the birth of DSN and its progression into academia through partnering universities such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs, WSN technology soon found a home in academia and civilian scientific research. Governments and universities eventually began using WSNs in applications such as air quality monitoring, forest fire detection, natural disaster prevention, weather stations and structural monitoring. Then as engineering students made their way into the corporate world of technology giants of the day, such as IBM and Bell Labs, they began promoting the use of WSNs in heavy industrial applications such as power distribution, waste-water treatment and specialized factory automation.

Military

Science & Technology

Industrial

Consumer

Application Figure 1 WSNs gain market traction with decrease in sensor costs.

• University of California at Berkeley PicoRadio program (1999) • μ Adaptive Multi-domain Power Aware Sensors program at MIT (2000) • NASA Sensor Webs (2001) • ZigBee Alliance (2002) • Center for Embedded Network Sensing (2002). The goal of many of these initiatives and standards organizations is to enable high-volume deployment of WSNs in light industrial and consumer applications by reducing the cost and energy per sensor, while simplifying development and maintenance tasks (Figure 1). Reducing WSN deployment costs while increasing functionality involves major advances in four key technology areas: sensors, CMOS-based semiconductor devices, networking protocols and energy storage/generation technology. The culmination of this effort

is the deployment of wireless sensor networks for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

Sensor Types

The heart of any WSN lies in the sensors. The past decade has seen rapid advancement in multiple sensing technologies. In addition to the widespread CMOS-based sensors used for sensing temperature, humidity, capacitive proximity and chemical composition, there have been significant advances in micro electromechanical systems (MEMS). These include such thing as gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, pressure sensors, pyroelectric effect sensors and acoustic sensors measuring physical effects in their surroundings. In addition, there is a large class of LED sensors used for such things as ambient light sensing, proximity sensing and chemical composition. RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

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technology connected

Networking Topologies

One-way

Star

Bi-directional

Mesh

Figure 2 Four types of network topologies.

When combined into a network, these cost-effective sensors enable new applications such as optimizing HVAC control and lighting inside of homes and buildings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy “Annual Energy Outlook 2012”

report, HVAC and lighting accounted for 48.1% of all commercial energy used in the U.S. in 2010, a significant amount of which was wasted due to the absence of smart systems. Most HVAC and lighting systems are programmed on timers at best

and do not take into account the physical presence of humans. Using MEMS, CMOS and LED sensors to track environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, ambient light) and the presence of people (pyroelectric, proximity and acoustic), smart systems can be designed to drastically reduce the overall power used by shutting off power to environmental control when no human presence is detected and dimming light fixtures if the ambient lighting is adequate. Furthermore, once a sensor network is in place, additional functions can be implemented. For example, acoustic sensors can be reused to monitor human physical presence during the day and to detect broken glass from a potential break-in during the evening hours. Another example is using human presence information to eliminate “vampire power” drawn from powered devices (e.g., computer monitors, televisions, etc.) when humans are not present by removing power from wall outlets. Estimates indicate that vampire power alone is responsible for 7-15 percent of commercial power usage.

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technology connected

Semiconductor Technology Advances

120 100 Power Consumed (mW)

As the semiconductor industry began standardizing on CMOS processing technologies for most semiconductor components by the late 1990s, the hardware required to implement large-scale WSN applications finally reached attractive cost points. Network designers no longer rely on bulky and power-hungry discrete circuit or multi-chip solutions. Instead, new products are coming to market that simplify WSN hardware, such as wireless MCUs—system-on-chip (SoC) devices that contain a general-purpose MCU and an RF transceiver in a single chip. These SoCs include enough high-performance peripherals (amplifiers, ADCs, DACs) and non-volatile memory to handle both the application processing and network protocol stack while simultaneously providing the RF link to the network. Leading semiconductor suppliers now offer wireless SoCs for WSN applications. For example, Silicon Labs’ EM35x Ember ZigBee series includes a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor, fully com-

Power in a Wireless Sensor Network

80 Power (TX)

60

Power (RX)

40

Power (Total) 20 0 0

2

4

6

8

10

12

Number of Transmitter and Receivers Figure 3 WSN power requirements.

pliant IEEE 802.15.4-2003 transceiver, AES encryption accelerator, an ADC and sub-µA sleep mode currents—all in a single 7 mm x 7 mm QFN package. Developing a sensor node in a WSN with this type of highly integrated solution requires little more than adding a battery and a sensor to

the EM35x SoC mounted on an inexpensive circuit board.

Networking Topologies and Protocols

Wireless sensor networking topologies generally fall into four categories:

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View it at logicsupply.com/ONESOLUTION © 2012 Logic Supply, Inc. All products and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

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INDUSTRIAL AND EMBEDDED COMPUTING

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technology connected

one-way, bi-directional, star and mesh networks (Figure 2). The first networking protocols were simple one-way communication links, still common in applications such as tire pressure monitoring systems, garage door openers and television remote controls. As the need for more advanced topologies became apparent, networking engineers developed low-memory protocols for bi-directional, star and finally mesh technologies. In addition, the indus-

try is making the transition from proprietary to standardized protocols, similar to the transition in MCUs from proprietary instruction sets and toward 8051-based cores for 8-bit processing and ARMbased solutions for 32-bit applications. Having a set of standardized networking protocols such as ZigBee and its variants removes the burden of continuous development costs and frees vendors to focus on their specific applications.

The emergence of cost-effective mesh topologies enables new applications where traditional star topologies come up short. For example, a home lighting application can quickly exceed 30 lights and sensors. A Wi-Fi router is frequently unable to provide wholehouse coverage due to multipath propagation or shadowing. But a mesh topology ensures a robust connection to all locations in the house with lowest costper-node. Furthermore, mesh topologies enabled by ZigBee software, such as Silicon Labsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; EmberZNet PRO, allow hundreds and potentially thousands of nodes on a single network, much more than the number of devices permitted by Bluetooth (7) or Wi-Fi (32).

Energy Storage and Harvesting Technologies

The wide variety of battery technologies available today for WSNs enables system designers to tailor their energy storage devices to the needs of their applications. For example, the latest lithium battery technologies allow optimization for any operating lifetime or environment. For applications with small temperature variation and short lifetime, lithium manganese dioxide (LiMnO2) batteries provide solid performance at cost-effective prices, while applications demanding large temperature ranges and multi-decade lifetime are satisfied with batteries based on lithium thionyl chloride (LiSOCL2) chemistry. While batteries represent the preferred low-cost energy storage technology, energy scavenging and harvesting devices are beginning to emerge as viable battery replacements in some applications. For example, power can be generated from temperature differences through thermoelectric and pyroelectric effects, kinetic motion of piezoelectric materials, photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight, or even the direct conversion of RF energy through specialized antennas and rectification. Examples of energy scavenging and harvesting devices coming to market today include piezoelectric light and doorbell switches. Research is ongoing in the energy scavenging domain, and deployment costs are expected to continue to fall in the coming years.

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technology connected

Convergence of Technologies

To understand the impact of technology convergence in today’s WSN applications, let’s examine the power needed to send information from one sensor to an aggregator located about 3 km away in the WSN using wireless MCUs. For the purposes of this example, we will assume a receiver power consumption of 10 mW and sensitivity of -60 dBm for an effective link budget of 80 dB. Furthermore, the transmitter power will be simplified as only the power amplifier. If we examine the number of transmitter and receiver pairs needed to transmit this data from one end of the network to the next, the following trend emerges as shown in Figure 3. For a single transmitter/receiver pair, the total power consumed by the network during transmission is 110 mW, but that power drops to 70 mW when a repeater is installed halfway between, representing a 36 percent power savings. Including this repeater means that the network protocol needs to increase complexity beyond a simple one-way link and into a star or mesh network. With the additional repeater in place, the WSN designer is free to place another sensor at only an incremental cost, transitioning the simple repeater into a fully functional sensor node. Having more sensors in the network increases the WSN’s utility in accordance with Metcalfe’s Law, which states that the network value is proportional to the square of the number of nodes. While the utility of the network has increased and power consumption has decreased, there was an additional hardware expense of a sensor and transceiver pair. This additional hardware cost is offset because the deployment and replacement cost for a WSN can be 10x the hardware costs involved. In other words, the extended lifetime of the network for a given energy storage technology more than makes up for the additional hardware costs. Likewise, if extended network lifetime is not desired, the network designers are now free to choose a less expensive battery technology. Through advances in sensor, networking, semiconductor and energy storage technologies, future WSNs will

combine to form the nervous system of the Internet of Things. When combined with cloud computing and big data processing, the number of applications for and market size of the IoT are almost limitless and will allow humans and machines to interact in unprecedented and unanticipated ways. End users will be able to fully control their homes through a single easy-to-use interface. Energy content and distribution systems

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will increase their efficiency. Farms will produce more crops. Lives will be saved with continuous in-home medical monitoring systems. In short, the coming years are an exciting time in the world of WSNs. Silicon Laboratories Austin, TX. (512) 416-8500. [www.silabs.com].

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Technology

connected Wireless Sensor Networks

Implementing Wireless Sensor Networks for Environmental Monitoring Early Detection Communication Systems A staged implementation with focused testing and validation at each stage is essential to a robust and reliable sensor network for monitoring natural conditions for disaster alert. It can also ease the task of expanding and modifying the system. by Christine Van De Graaf, Lilee Systems

T

he Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data applies to M2M communication that stretches beyond manufacturing processes and infotainment apps on smartphones and tablets. Predicting and preparing for natural disasters is not an easy task. Geologists, meteorologists, local and national government preparedness agencies and many more depend on the constant set of data being collected from a diverse array of distributed wireless sensors in their ongoing efforts. They have the tough job of interpreting the data collected. The more challenging job, however, is implementing that wireless sensor network and ensuring that the information the sensors gather is communicated reliably and in time. Challenges comparable to these are faced by engineers implementing wireless networks spanning all types of applications. Not every solution has to contend with intense rainfall velocity like the example use case described here, but the implementation of wireless networks for various uses across

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Sensor Array

Base Station

Control Center

Figure 1 The sensors used in the application are the end points that communicate realtime data to the strategically positioned base stations in the coverage region, ensuring that the critical data reaches the control centers to support proactive emergency readiness in the anticipated event of a natural disaster.

the globe is challenging. As you will see, the method of modeling and selection and testing with the right hardware and software tools is the key to success. The speed, efficiency and rapid analysis of real time data is essential for critical

disaster mitigation communication systems. The reliability of data gathered and communicated can be a pivotal point in terms of reducing loss of human life and property. Global Positioning System (GPS), Global Information System (GIS) and infrared


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technology connected

Monitoring Station (Multiple) Micro Controller

Data Converter

TransAir PTC Radio

Water Level Sensor

Field Receiver

Mobile PTC

Field Receiver Field Receiver

Field Receiver

Central Control Station TransAir PTC Radio WAN Router

Ethernet Switch

Storage Server

LMC

reliably run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year—ideally for years on end. In the particular use case we are looking at called “Hill Top”—a state-of-the-art advanced detection and storm warning plus debris flow monitoring system—the coverage area was widespread and some of the places in the coverage area were not easy to access. Yet if conditions in these difficult to reach areas change, nearby populated areas could be severely affected. Using sophisticated modeling software, in this case the Artemis software suite that is available in Lilee Systems TransAir intelligent connectivity solutions, engineers were able to create the basic system architecture for the Hill Top project. This architecture, as depicted in Figure 1, features sensors and base stations that enable high quality, long distance, all weather/terrain and optimized bandwidth communication transmission of key early warning sensor data and information. The solution includes multiple remote sensor data gathering posts that rapidly communicate information to a base station aggregator facility that is designed to prioritize and begin data processing. Data and information is then transmitted to a central data processing center for final analysis and determination of critical natural disaster management decisions.

Care in Implementation Figure 2 Basic Detection and Advanced Warning Network. Unique sensors in the overall solution gather information and channel it to the monitoring station. Basic data processing starts at the monitoring station and is expanded on at the control station. A designated portion of information can also be communicated out to additional mobile network points.

spectrum core technology platform architectures are among the advanced technology applications that have been created to serve the data analysis needs of disaster mitigation communication systems. However, they depend on the sensors to collect and communicate data quickly and effectively. Thus, they need a seamless, optimized and fully integrated system solution. The requirements of such a solution include, at minimum: • Hardware and Software for predictive modeling • Seamless IP connectivity in a mobile IP environment

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• Implementation of a solution that allows flexibility for software-defined radio, 3G and Wi-Fi data radios with variable data rate capabilities • Remote configuration and management of diverse sensors and accessories such as dam debris flow, ground vibration detectors, water level meters, infrared CCTV cameras for live feed, etc.

Understanding Requirements

To really come up with the needed solution also takes understanding the conditions under which the solution will have to

Prior to installing the solution components, it is highly advisable to test the model with properly calibrated transmitters and receivers. For the Hill Top project, modeling and testing was broken up into four phases to ensure that the full solution would work with minimized unknown variables. Phase 1 was for the long distance radio transmission of video surveillance data. Phase 2 included the medium distance radio transmission for the sensors and video. Phase 3 covered the flood detection and advance warning broadcast system. Phase 4 brought all the gathered data back to the larger central emergency response system. At each phase, testing was conducted and findings were validated by means of a software tool, in this case the Apollo software suite that also is integrated in the Lilee Systems TransAir intelligent connectivity solution. For the Hill Top Project, Apollo served to collect, analyze and measure the health


technology connected

Remote Sensors Environmental Sensors

Surveillance Video

District-wide Intercom

Water level, Rainfall, Water flow, Soil, Moisture, Tripwire

Jobsite, River, Ramp, Bridge

Bi-directional Voice, Inter-communication

Sensor x 15,000 sets

Video

x 35 sets

Voice

x 1,023 sets

TransAir PTC Radio Network TransAir PTC Base Station

TransAir PTC Relay

TransAir PTC Relay

TransAir PTC Relay

Disaster Prevention Center Central Management TransAir PTC Gateway

Figure 3 Voice, Data, Video Convergence in a Community Mesh Network Hilltop Project. Through a phased process, multiple sensor networks can be brought online to enhance the view of the monitored environment showing each selection of data independently and how it correlates with the other types of data collected via the other sensor networks. The complete actionable data collected allows decision makers to make educated real-time choices.

of the data/video radio system waveforms and the quality of the radio signals from sensors to base to central control. Through Apollo, it was possible to review single-click views of waveforms and locations, verify signal to noise ratios and validate antenna tower heights. It was also possible to validate the actual performance of heat map simulations while debugging and continuously improving the data/video network system.

By modeling and testing in this order, the overall solution ensured that flaws could be captured and corrected early and before adding the next phase. For Hill Top, it was possible to measure the signal to noise ratio for signal packets and thus fine tune the system preamplifiers and attenuators to optimize transmitted data signal â&#x20AC;&#x153;packets.â&#x20AC;? This contributes to the reliable decoding of each data packet transmitted and received.

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An example of a public portal graphical interface. To aid in public awareness and preparedness, live feeds of video and other data collected for the monitored area are made available via a web portal.

As each phase of the project was completed, it was found that a larger mix of sensors could be integrated to enhance the warning system. This is highlighted in Figures 2 and 3. Figure 2 depicts the initial level of sensor data gathered and communicated. Figure 3 extends this to cover a more detailed degree of emergency preparedness. If we consider this use case as compared to an agricultural use or industrial automation flow, we see that by expanding sensor networks in phases it is possible to increase the degree of M2M communication achievable, and in turn the information gathered allows for process improvements and optimization. Additionally, the complement of information gathered can be used to create a very user-friendly interface for not only the decision makers, but also for staff members and even the public. In the Hill Top project, it was possible to bring together all the data from the wireless networks in a public web-based portal such that the community related to the monitored area could stay up to date on the latest environmental conditions. Figure 4 is a snapshot of the portal where the public can get real-time updates with details including rain gauge, geophone, radar water level, soil moisture, water flow, weather station and tilt. Through this use case, it is apparent that multiple wireless networks can be implemented to create very comprehensive

views of data. However, trying to bring all the networks online in one fell swoop is not advisable. To ensure that all possible interference for signal integrity and communication is accounted for, modeling and validation should be done using effective tools. This approach not only allows the natural and/or man-made obstacles to be identified, it also gives communications engineers the necessary opportunities to fine tune the system from edge to control center. This level of early detail also means that future remote configuration and maintenance is optimized. This is the technology equivalent to the construction philosophy of â&#x20AC;&#x153;measure twice, cut once.â&#x20AC;? If we get things right from the start, the future effort is well managed and the overall solution can be brought online on time and on budget. When it comes to developing solutions that are intended to keep people safe, there is little room for error. A wellmodeled and validated wireless network communications system that gets the right information to the right personnel at the right time is the key to success whether they are preparing for natural disasters or making educated business decisions. Lilee Systems Santa Clara, CA. (408) 988-8672. [www.lileesystems.com].


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systems

Small Boards in Rugged Systems

COM Express Makes its Way into Rugged and Reliable Applications Although not originally conceived for use in rugged systems, the COM Express specification is flexible enough to be adapted for use in extreme environments, bringing high-performance single-processor systems to a range of needed applications. by Dave Barker and Jeff Porter, Extreme Engineering Solutions

T

he COM Express form factor has been very successful as a low-cost processor mezzanine in a variety of commercial, industrial and communication applications. But without ruggedization features commonly employed by other form factors such as PMC, PrPMC, XMC, VME, CompactPCI and VPX, can COM Express stand up to the rigors of the most demanding rugged applications that require maximum reliability? First consider, what is a rugged application? A number of environmental factors determine ruggedness, such as temperature extremes, humidity, shock, vibration, pressure extremes and the cooling method. The amount and type of ruggedization depends on the severity of these environmental factors. Since there isn’t a single level of ruggedization that works for all applications, industries have defined various environmental requirements, such as those found in MIL-STD-810, IEC 60068, ISO7637-2 and EN 50155. The most rugged applications need to withstand high levels of shock, vibration and humidity. The most thermally challenged applications demand system cooling with no airflow and have high temperature requirements that can create significant challenges to keeping the junction temperature of high-

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Figure 1 Rugged mini, compact and basic form factor COM Express modules. The additional mounting holes and soldered memory (no SoDIMM sockets) can easily be seen in these rugged modules.

performance processors below +105°C. They also have low operating temperature requirements down to -40°C and below.

What Is COM Express?

COM is an acronym for Computer On Module and Express represents the PCI Express interface between a module and a carrier. COM Express is a PICMG mezzanine module standard that defines processor subsystems and their native I/O. A COM Express module requires a processor,

volatile physical memory (SDRAM) and chipset power supplies (sourced by 12V). Other functionality includes non-volatile memory (NAND Flash), serial interfaces (RS-232), Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T) and video. The carrier card provides I/O buffering and isolation, power to the COM Express module, and application-specific features such as additional I/O. This standard makes it is easy for system designers to separate the processor subsystem and the I/O subsystem, both


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use commercial-grade ICs that support a 0° to +70°C temperature range. It is important to note that many COM Express vendors will simply replace commercial grade ICs with industrial grade ICs and declare the module to be rugged. There is much more to making a board that will operate in the most severe environments than changing the bill of materials (BOM). Features such as soldered down SDRAM, class III fabrication and additional mounting holes cannot be added with a BOM change.

COM Express for Rugged Applications Figure 2 A ruggedized mini form factor (55 x 84 mm) COM Express module, the X-ES XPedite5650 supports a Freescale QorIQ P2041 quad-core processor. The four additional mounting holes and soldered memory, as opposed to socketed SoDIMM memory, can be seen in the photo.

logically and physically. There are several reasons to do this. First, the life cycles of processors and I/O can vary widely. New generations of processors are introduced almost every year, while most I/O technologies tend to evolve much more slowly and tend to be application specific. Second, because COM Express is an industry standard with a large marketplace, companies can outsource the specialized design of high-performance processor subsystems to COTS vendors to focus on their added value with specialized I/O, application-specific functionality and application software. The COM Express specification defines four module sizes—mini (84 x 55 mm), compact (95 x 95 mm), basic (125 x 95 mm) and extended (110 x 155 mm). The three most commonly used sizes are shown in Figure 1. COM Express modules support one or two high-density, low-profile connectors on the bottom side of the module. There are seven COM Express I/O types, but most new COM Express modules use one of the I/O types listed in Table 1.

Shortcomings for Rugged Applications

The developers of the COM Express standard envisioned COM Express being used in benign, forced air-cooled applica-

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tions (in fact, most COM Express modules utilize a fan mounted on the heat sink); there are no provisions in the standard for dealing with severe shock and vibration or conduction and passive cooling in applications where forced air over the module isn’t an option. While some commercial COM Express modules have been made to work in applications requiring lower levels of ruggedization, for the most severe environments, commercial COM Express modules are not an ideal choice. The specification does not include provisions for cooling high-power, high-performance processors in rugged environments. For example, the COM Express standard defines as few as four mounting holes near the corners of modules, which can cause major problems for conduction-cooled applications. As the pressure between a heat sink and a module is increased when they are mated, PCB deflection of the module increases. In addition to adversely affecting the life and reliability of the module, this creates separation between the processor and heat sink resulting in a much less efficient thermal interface between them. Commercial COM Express modules utilize SoDIMM memory modules, which can become unseated or temporarily disconnected under severe shock/vibration. Most commercial COM Express modules

Before getting into how COM Express can be used in rugged applications, it is worth mentioning VITA 59, or ESMexpress. This was an effort to create a rugged module based off the COM Express standard with a new connector because the backers believed that the existing COM Express connector was not rugged enough. For this and other reasons, VITA 59 has never had any traction in the market. Furthermore, Extreme Engineering Solutions has proven that with additional mounting holes to reduce board flex, the COM Express connector is reliable at the highest levels of shock and vibration in the VITA 47 and MIL-STD-810 specifications. If the COM Express specification doesn’t address features required by the most severe environments for embedded applications, how can it be used in these applications? The good news is that the COM Express standard does not prevent module manufacturers from designing in features that make the module rugged and reliable while still maintaining compliance to the standard. There are some obvious changes that can make modules more rugged. COM Express modules can be designed to use soldered memory chips, as opposed to SoDIMMs, and they can be designed to use ECC memory for increased reliability. The removal of configurable SoDIMMs is more than made up for by the reliability of soldered ECC memory. Another obvious modification is to use industrial-grade ICs to expand the temperature range to operate at -40° to +85°C. To ruggedize a COM Express module, additional mounting holes must be added


tech in systems

throughout the module with specific attention paid to the connectors and processor. Not only does this enable the design to be stiffer to resist damage and failure from shock and vibration, it is important in high temperature applications to minimize PCB deflection thus maximizing the thermal conductivity between the processor and the rigid cooling interface. Class III PCB fabrication and assembly processes significantly improve the reliability of modules. A leaded solder process can mitigate the risk of tin whisker formation, which is important to many customers requiring long life cycles and maximum reliability. Conformal coating can also be applied to a module to allow for operation in high humidity environments. Some of these ruggedization enhancements can be seen in the rugged XPedite5650 COM Express module shown in Figure 2. Two other, less-obvious engineering efforts contribute to making COM Express modules suitable for rugged applications. One involves engineering processes and practices routinely put in place by engineering organizations that develop highly reliable, rugged, conduction-cooled boards. These include stringent project and configuration management, thermal, structural and signal integrity simulation and analysis, component derating, hightemperature and cold-temperature performance analysis. In addition, there is IPC 9701 thermal fatigue analysis, reliability and maintainability (MTBF and MTTR), design verification, environmental qualification, BIT, Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) and Fault Detection and Isolation (FDFI).

COM Express Enclosures

Another less-obvious engineering effort involves the design of enclosures. COM Express modules are mounted on carrier boards of any shape and size. Therefore, custom enclosures are commonly designed around each specific application. In conduction and passively cooled applications, the enclosure design is integral to providing cooling. In traditional, slot-based COTS board standards, such as VME, CompactPCI and VPX, modules were designed to be easily inserted and extracted from large, multi-board sys-

COM Express Connector Type

I/O Provided by COM Express Connector

Primary Suitability

Type 5, double connector, 440 pins

32 PCI Express lanes, PEG, no PCI, no IDE, 4 SATA, 3 LAN (Gigabit Ethernet)

Freescale QorIQ processors and network heavy applications

Type 6, double connector, 440 pins

24 PCI Express lanes, PEG, no PCI, no IDE, DDI (for DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI or SDVO), 4 SATA, 1 LAN (Gigabit Ethernet), 2 Serial COM, USB 3.0

Intel Core i7 processors

Type 10, single connector, 220 pins

4 PCI Express lanes, no PEG, no PCI, no IDE, 2 SATA, 1 LAN (Gigabit Ethernet), single-channel LVDS only, DDI, no VGA, 2 Serial COM

Smaller and lower power processors such as Intel Atom and smaller Freescale QorIQ options

TABLE 1 Commonly used COM Express I/O types.

tems. The heat from these modules must be transferred through the relatively narrow side rails of the module to the chassis. While this is required in large, multiboard systems, it creates unnecessary thermal inefficiencies for small form factor systems based on a single processor. In contrast, a system based on COM Express can provide a direct and thermally very efficient interface between the hot components and a chassis’ cooling interface. With the primary side of a COM Express module on the opposite side of the board from the COM Express connectors, the processor resides on the outside of the sandwich that is created when a COM Express module is mated with its carrier card. This is significant from a thermal management and system design perspective because the processor and other hot components can interface directly with the cooling interface of the enclosure. To further improve the thermal interface, the inside of the chassis wall that interfaces with the primary side of the COM Express module can be “skylined,” that is, it can be machined to be a mirror image of the COM Express module so that all of the major heat producing components have a direct and unobstructed path with the chassis’s cooling interface. Because of the tremendous thermal efficiency of interfacing processors directly with the cooling interface of the enclosure, very high-performance proces-

sors, such as the Freescale QorIQ and Intel Core i7 processors, can be supported in high temperature environments. With other, less thermally efficient Small Form Factor standards, such as PC/104, VITA 73 and VITA 74, only less powerful processors, such as the Intel Atom, can be adequately cooled. Another advantage of having the primary side of the COM Express module in direct contact with the cooling interface of the enclosure is that securely attaching the entire module to the enclosure provides a high degree of mechanical stability against shock and vibration damage to the circuit board and internal components.

Building COM Express Systems

By nature, COM Express lends itself to small systems requiring only a single processor. COM Express wasn’t designed, nor is it suited, for building larger, multiprocessor systems. There are other industry standards, such as VME, CompactPCI, VPX, MicroTCA and ATCA, that are much better suited to building large, multi-board systems. However, these standards unnecessarily increase size, weight and power (SWaP) and limit the thermal performance of small single processor systems. A COM Express system typically includes a COM Express module and a carrier card containing the applicationspecific I/O and functionality. This type of design has very little overhead—two RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

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Tech In Systems PCBs with a set of COM Express connectors. Because COM Express modules are small (a Mini COM Express module is about the size of a business card), and in many applications the only other board in the system is the carrier card, enclosures can be physically small. However, since each application dictates the size and composition of the COM Express carrier card it needs, there is no way to create a COM Express system standard based on a COM Express mod-

ule and carrier card approach—every system is custom. Mating a COM Express module to a custom carrier card isn’t the only way to implement a COM Express design. Instead of developing a carrier card that contains all of the application’s I/O, a carrier card can be designed with a COM Express site and an I/O mezzanine card site to support COTS mezzanine form factors such as IP, PMC, XMC, or miniPCIe modules. Using this approach, a single car-

Figure 3 The X-ES XPand6000 Series rugged enclosure, which houses a carrier card that supports a COM Express module, a PMC or XMC for I/O, and a 1.8” SSD, illustrates that it is feasible to create a standard COM Express-based system and that not all COM Express-based systems have to be custom designs.

rier card can support a variety of COM Express modules and COTS I/O modules. Regardless of the I/O, the shape and size of the boards are the same, allowing a standard enclosure to be designed around them. Extreme Engineering Solutions used this approach to create the XPand6000 Series Small Form Factor (SFF) enclosures, shown in Figure 3. These enclosures include a customizable carrier card that supports a single COM Express module, a single PMC or XMC module and a 1.8” SSD. The PMC/XMC form factor was chosen because of the number of I/O solutions available on the market. Not only can COM Express modules be ruggedized and include the features necessary for embedded computing applications, they can support very highperformance processors, unlike some other small form factor standards. COM Express is very well suited to meeting the needs of small embedded computing applications, and it fills a void that slot-card standards cannot fill. Even though the COM Express standard does not specify the size of carrier cards, with a little foresight, it is possible to develop COTS COM Express-based systems that can meet a growing need for small, rugged systems to be deployed in vehicles, small UAVs, industrial facilities and remote locations. Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].

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technology in

systems

Small Boards in Rugged Systems

Rugged Enough? Commercial Embedded Boards Offer Reliability and Survivability When the specification calls for a “rugged” system design, what does that actually mean? Do you really need to pay the higher cost and accept derated performance for embedded processor boards that are designed for a battlefield? by Cliff Moon, VIA Technologies

A

s you read this, embedded processing boards are operating on the surface of Mars after surviving interplanetary travel and an amazing landing onto an inhospitable Martian world that offers scant hope for field repairs. Without question, the embedded systems on a Mars rover are “rugged” computers that justify almost any design expense to ensure the survivability and reliability of embedded processor boards that are critical to mission success. In the broader market for rugged embedded systems, the designers don’t have a NASA-sized budget and years of development time to field a single system. Instead, many board designs ship in relatively high volume with severe cost constraints and short design cycles. Embedded system designers have a range of options when the project requires a rugged embedded computer, since the military, aerospace and automotive industries have spent decades testing and documenting what it takes to build a system that can survive some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Designers need to also consider the option for using a commercial-grade embedded computing board, since this will almost always be the lowest-cost approach if

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Figure 1 Example of a rugged system using a Pico-ITX commercialgrade embedded processor board. VIA’s fanless AMOS-3002 system integrates an EPIA-P900 board with a 1 GHz dual-core x86 processor.

the system design is rugged enough for the specific environmental conditions.

Resist the Expensive Urge to Over-Kill the Design

When an embedded system needs a rugged microprocessor-based product that will operate in a “harsh” environment, designers can take a simple approach by specifying military- or industrial-grade hardware. After all, if an embedded processor board is certified to operate on a battlefield or under the hood of an automobile, then the board will certainly work just fine

in a medical instrument or inside a vehicle. In the hyper-competitive marketplace for embedded systems, the simple approach might be overkill for many applications and lead to unnecessary costs that can be removed by relaxing the specifications. Designers need to evaluate the expected environmental conditions to determine how much to ruggedize a system. For example, does the board really need to operate (often with derated speed) at industrial (-40° to 85°C) or military (-55° to 125°C) temperatures? Also, is it worth the cost for conformal coating and rigorous testing to standards such as MIL-STD-202G in order to protect the board from environmental conditions it may never experience? Figure 1 shows an example of a conductively cooled embedded computer that uses a commercial-grade x86-based board, yet is rugged enough to survive in most environments that simply need a reliable, quiet computer that can take a beating and keep on working. For many embedded applications, the board designs only need to be ruggedized to resist shock and vibration. The semiconductor industry’s trend toward integration has reduced the size of single-board computers to form factors that are naturally


tech in systems shock resistant, because the tiny boards have little mass and are manufactured with all chips soldered firmly in place. For example, the Pico-ITX form factor measures just 3.9 x 2.8 inches and can be a very attractive size for the single-board computer in a ruggedized embedded platform. These small boards still pack a punch, and Via’s P9xx series, for example, supports single-, dual- and quad-core x86 processors with speeds over one GHz. These are complete board-level systems that are designed for embedded applications needing full software compatibility with the PC ecosystem. Shock-mounted in a sturdy chassis such as the one Via designed for its AMOS3002 system, commercial-grade Pico-ITX boards can approach the level required by the military for shock and vibration resistance. For example, Via uses international testing standards (IEC 60068-2-27 and IEC 60068-2-64) to rate its systems as shock resistant up to 50G (half-sine pulse of 11ms duration) and vibration resistant up to 5G (random 20-500 Hz acceleration). These shock and vibration testing methods are comparable to the tests in military standards such as MIL-STD-202, 810 and 883. However, the IEC standards are more commonly used for commercial products.

Some Applications Need Truly Rugged SBCs

Some vendors of rugged embedded processor boards claim compliance to the military standards without ever conducting the expensive testing using the conditions specified in the standard. Most of these tests lead to the destruction of a large number of units, so the vendors will claim compliance “by design,” and many third-party testing organizations avoid a number of the tests by just evaluating the materials and manufacturing methodology. There are certainly many harsh embedded environments that preclude the use of commercialgrade products, and operating temperature is the most obvious metric for comparison. A commercial-grade product such as the Via AMOS-3002 is guaranteed to operate reliably at 1.0 GHz when the chassis temperature is above -20°C and below 60°C (note that the Via Eden X2 processor by itself is rated up to 90°C chip case temperature). For comparison, most handset and tablet vendors limit the system case temperature to well below 45°C or it

Figure 2 Tiny embedded processor boards are naturally shock resistant, since the boards have little mass, and all chips are soldered to the board. VIA’s EPIA900 supports a 1 GHz, dual-core x86 processor and is roughly the size of a business card.

becomes painful to touch. Using a wider temperature range requires that the system operate at lower performance levels, and designers need to evaluate whether a 20 to 50% drop in performance is justified. Often the processor and memory vendors can get some of this performance back by selecting the chips that yield faster speeds, but these chips come with a commensurately higher cost. If the embedded system doesn’t actually need to operate at the wider temperature range, then it may not be worth paying extra to design for these conditions. Designers of rugged systems may be able to use higher-performance commercial processor boards if the system chassis is able to dissipate enough heat to keep the system below the maximum operating temperature. The maximum system temperature is defined to ensure that no component exceeds its maximum transistor junction temperature, taking into account the thermal transfer through the various junctions between the silicon, the chip package and the heat sink. For a passively cooled chassis, the case itself becomes a large heat sink with a thermal conductivity that can be modeled in standard software to calculate the thermal flow. The thermal modeling tools compute using Fourier’s Law of Conduction,

which states that the rate of heat flow depends on the area that is normal to the heat flow path, the temperature gradient along the path, and the thermal conductivity of the medium. While the Via dual-core x86 processors can dissipate as much as 9 watts (more than most Atom or ARM-based processors), the aluminum chassis spreads out the heat across a larger area. Even with higher ambient temperatures, most systems should have enough convective air flow from the chassis to keep the chips cool enough to ensure reliable operation and take advantage of the higher performance. As the Mars Rovers have proven, embedded system designers can rise to the challenge of creating processor boards that can survive in some of the harshest conditions in the solar system. There will always be a need for truly rugged computers, but designers should also give some consideration to commercial embedded boards as a way to keep the costs down while taking advantage of the better performance. VIA Technologies Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [www.via.com.tw].

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technology deployed Standards Update

What Coding Standards Can Do for Critical Embedded Software Development Especially in projects that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require certification, subsets and deviations provide ways for developers to leverage the benefits of standards while controlling cost and development time. by Chris Tapp, LDRA

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eviews of faults and failures in highreliability embedded systems ranging from medical devices to military systems show that all too frequently the source of the problem lies in software errors. A variety of standards such as ISO 26262 and IEC 62304 introduce the requirement to adopt a language subset enforced by means of a coding standard. Indeed, there are significant benefits to be found in using coding standards even when a company does not need to certify to an industry or international standard. However, there is a cost involved in working to a standard, both in terms of time and money. The good news is that organizations not compelled to certify have the freedom to not only choose which coding standards to follow as best practices to improve their products, but also to reduce the cost of compliance by adopting only a subset of a given standard. This requires an understanding of how coding standards work and how to define subsets in a way that does not render the standard ineffective. Here, we will explore how development teams can determine which coding standards or their subsets will deliver the most value, how to adapt them most ef-

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fectively and establish variants when required, and how to configure automated tools to ease the process.

Understanding a Coding Standard Subset

A coding standard is a term used to describe a collection of guidelines, in which a guideline is a requirement or set of requirements that aims to help ensure that the quality attributes of a project are appropriate to its integrity level. The requirements

of the guidelines within a coding standard must be met to support a claim that a project complies with that standard. Coding standards used within a formal-methods environment often contain â&#x20AC;&#x153;absoluteâ&#x20AC;? guidelines, which may never be violated. While it may be desirable to have strict enforcement of a coding standard, it is not always practical. For example, the C programming language contains many implementation-defined behaviors that should generally be avoided (e.g., using the absolute position of bits within a bit-field), but whose use is essential under certain conditions (e.g., when mapping on to hardware registers). A coding standard intended for use with such a language needs to allow some flexibility so that guidelines can be violated in a controlled way. The implementer of a coding standard for a language such as C has to balance the strictness of the guidelines against the effort required to follow them. The guidelines are generally chosen to provide as much protection as possible against any undesirable language behavior, even if this means considerable effort is necessary to comply with the coding standard. Safety is considered more important than ease of use. This ensures the standard provides the maximum level of benefit when used within a high-integrity project, but it may mean that the cost associated with its use for a high-reliability system is excessive. The introduction of subsets relaxes strict standards, allowing them to be used more cost-effectively at lower integrity levels (Figure 1).

Figure 1 A selection of some of the popular standards including MISRA C, MISRA C++ and CERT C.


Technology deployed

Is a Subset Acceptable?

An initial determination should be made to ensure that a subset is permissible before work starts on identifying the guidelines that are to be excluded from it. The first step is to understand certification requirements. If a project needs to be certified before it is put into service, then the requirements laid down by the certification body will be a primary driver. It is possible that a specific coding standard may be mandated, one must be chosen from a set of approved standards, or the choice may be left to contractual arrangements. The body may further restrict what subsetting is permitted or may prohibit it entirely, especially if compliance with an approved standard is formally verifiable. The process is slightly different when there is no requirement for certification prior to deployment. It is likely that many projects will be expected to adhere to an international industry-specific standard (e.g., ISO 26262 for automotive, IEC 62304 for medical systems), especially if those projects have high integrity requirements. Certification of compliance will either be via a certification authority or by means of selfcertification. These international standards generally require the use of a language subset defined by means of a coding standard. The project may have more flexibility to decide if it is appropriate to use a subset of a coding standard, especially when the safety requirements are less stringent than when a certification body is involved. Additional key points include determining whether the chosen coding standard permits a subset to be used and whether the supply contract allows the use of a subset (Figure 2).

Subset Selection Criteria

Once it has been shown that a coding standard subset is acceptable for the project, selection of candidate guidelines can proceed. Choosing the subset depends on the type of issue covered by the standard. The guidelines offered by a standard generally fall into one or more of the following areas, with a particular standard providing guidance in one or more of them: â&#x20AC;˘ Language issues (e.g., prevention of undefined behavior) â&#x20AC;˘ Security issues (e.g., buffer overrun errors that enable the execution of malicious code)

Leading Safety-Critical Standards Avionics

DO-178B (First published 1992) / DO-178C

Industrial

IEC 61508 (First published 1998) Railway

CENELEC EN 50128 (First published 2001)

Nuclear

IEC 61513 (First published 2001)

Automotive

ISO 26262 (First published 2011)

Medical

IEC 62304 (First published 2006)

Process

IEC 61511 (First published 2003)

Figure 2 Many safety-critical standards have evolved from the generic standard IEC 61508. Sectors that are relative newcomers to this field (highlighted) are advantaged by the availability of established and proven tools to help them to achieve their goals.

Figure 3 Building secure code by eliminating known weaknesses.

â&#x20AC;˘ Stylistic matters (e.g., use of tabs versus spaces) These areas present different criteria to consider when selecting guidelines to eliminate from a subset: Implementation-defined language behavior: Languages such as C include behavior that varies between implementations. The implementer is required to document how any such implementation-defined behavior is actually implemented so that a user may account for it when writing code. Coding standard guidelines are often designed to flag the

effects of such behavior because it may be different from that which a coder is expecting based on previous experience with another implementation. This is a pragmatic approach as it ensures that any implementation-defined behavior that might affect the project is identified. Use of such behavior is often unavoidable, however, especially with C. It may therefore be appropriate to exclude one or more related guidelines from a standard subset, provided that adequate measures are put in place (e.g., staff training) to ensure this does not compromise the design. RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

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technology deployed

ect should only be excluded from a subset when it can be proven that the associated vulnerability cannot be exploited. This will be hard to show for a project where input data can be manipulated by a third party. Building secure code is all about eliminating known weaknesses (Figure 3), including defects, so by necessity secure software is high-quality software. Style: Some coding standards include guidelines that address purely stylistic is-

Unspecified and undefined language behavior: These aspects of language behavior almost always lead to a failure, so any related guidelines should generally not be considered for removal from a subset. An exception may be made in the relatively unlikely case of an implementation providing defined, documented behavior in these cases. Security: Guidelines targeting potential security vulnerabilities within a proj-

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sues. Many of these are likely to be suitable for exclusion from a subset, especially if they are at odds with an in-house style guide. Contractual obligations may prevent their exclusion, however, so care should be taken to ensure that any stylistic guidelines that bring value are retained. One such example would be a guideline aimed at reducing the potential for identifier confusion due to typographical similarities. Cost/benefit: The cost associated with following a guideline can be assessed with respect to the benefit that will be gained if it ensures that incidences of a defect class are eliminated or reduced within the project. The cost will generally be the same for all projects, but the benefit will vary. A project with a high criticality or that is deployed in large numbers, for example, is likely to have high remediation costs if an in-service failure were to occur.

Why Not Just Use Deviations?

A deviation allows a particular guideline to be violated for a specific reason within a defined scope by means of a tightly controlled, formal process that includes: 1) a record of the guideline subject to the deviation; 2) a justification for why a deviation is required; 3) an explanation to show what analysis has been performed and to show how suitable safeguards have been put in place to ensure that system integrity is not compromised; and 4) a formal sign-off process to show that the above have been provided and are of suitable quality.

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This process helps to prevent ad hoc deviation of guidelines by developers, but at the cost of considerable amounts of paperwork. This can be mitigated to a certain extent by providing standing deviations for specific use cases, allowing a specific guideline to be broken in a file (or set of files) or across a project. If a deviation has project-wide scope, then the guideline it covers is an ideal candidate for elimination when creating a subset, reducing the amount of supporting documentation that would otherwise be required each time the guideline is violated. Note that deviations may still be


Technology deployed

required when using a subset as there may still be justifiable reasons for not following the guidelines it contains under certain conditions.

Creating a Subset

There are four main tasks to carry out when producing a subset. First, identify which guidelines are to be subject to project-wide deviations. For each of these, produce a reasoned justification explaining why the deviation is required, produce evidence to show that deviation will not compromise the system, and obtain official approval for the deviation. Next, produce a subset document to show which guidelines it includes. Finally, produce configuration file(s) for the tool(s) that are used within the project to enforce the coding standard (subset). For example, MISRA C:2004 Rule 10.5 states that “If the bitwise operators ~ and << are applied to an operand of underlying type unsigned char or unsigned short, the result shall be immediately cast to the underlying type of the operand.” This guideline (“Rule” within the MISRA document) aims to ensure that the result of an expression using these operators is not influenced by integral promotion. Consider the following:

disabled. Given this behavior, it would be reasonable to exclude Rule 10.5 from the project’s MISRA C:2004 subset. This claim would be supported by reference to the compiler documentation. Coding standards mitigate the effects that the implementation-defined, unspecified and undefined behaviors of a programming language have on its behavior. While they are of benefit to all projects, some of the more onerous guidelines can be overkill

for projects with lower integrity requirements. A coding standard subset can be used to reduce the severity of the standard in a reasonable and controlled way, allowing it to be applied more cost-effectively to a wider range of projects. LDRA Technology San Bruno, CA. (855) 855-5372. [www.ldra.com].

uint8_t a = 0x5Au; a = (~a) >> 4;  /* Invert and move top nibble to bottom nibble */

An inexperienced programmer may think that the resulting value of ‘a’ is 0x0A. However, ‘a’ is stored using a small integer type and will therefore be promoted to int before it is used as an operand. Given that int is required to have at least 16-bits, this means the result is actually 0xFA. Rule 10.5 requires the code to be written as: a = ( uint8_t )(~a) >> 4;

This ensures that the ‘expected’ result of 0x0A is obtained by neutralizing the effects of integral promotion. Assume that the compiler being used within a project has a language extension to permit integral promotion to be Untitled-7 1

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products &

TECHNOLOGY Humidity and Temperature Sensor Features Easy Scaling and Configuration Specially designed for HVAC, a new sensor represents a cost-effective, highly accurate and reliable solution for measuring relative air humidity and temperature. The precision of the EE160 by E+E Elektronik is combined with the latest manufacturing technologies to create a product with an attractive price/performance ratio. The enclosure minimizes installation costs and provides outstanding protection against contamination and condensation, thus ensuring flawless operation. The EE160 employs the new humidity/ temperature E+E sensor element HCT01 with excellent long-term stability and resistance against pollutants. In combination with a long calibration experience, the EE160 provides a measurement accuracy of ±2.5%RH and is available to be wall- or duct-mounted with current, voltage or Modbus RTU output. A configurator makes it possible to freely select the scaling of the temperature output and configure the Modbus parameters. The configurator software, which is free of charge, allows additionally for an on-site adjustment of the humidity and temperature. E+E Elektronik, Engerwitzdorf, Austria. +43 7235-605-0. [www.epluse.com].

8-Bit Controller for DC Motors in Tight Spaces A new 8-bit controller for DC motors features integrated power transistors. Because of its small form factor, the Micronas HVC2480B from Rutronik is the ideal solution for the control of BDC/BLDC motors with tight space requirements. The controller is available at distributor Rutronik as of now. The Micronas HVC2480B is a high-voltage controller for use in automotive, industrial, medical, consumer and instrumentation applications. Reducing the number of external components to a minimum, the product’s flexible peripherals provide all means to control brush-type and brushless DC (BLDC) motors either directly with the 3x300 mA fully integrated half-bridges or by driving external MOSFETs with six enhanced PWM outputs. Besides timers/counters, interrupt controller, multichannel A/D converter and enhanced PWMs, the HVC2480B contains voltage regulators for direct connection to a 9-18V power supply, a LIN transceiver, UART, PWM and SPI host interfaces. Various integrated digital and analog circuit units such as comparators with virtual star point reference or embedded amplifier allow users to control brushless motors (BLDC and PMSM) by different means, like six-step commutation with sensor feedback or sensorless control with BEMF evaluation up to space vector control. The controller has an enhanced 8051 core with 32 Kbyte flash, 1.75 Kbyte RAM and 512 EEPROM as well as built-in safety features like protection logic. Its temperature range is from -40°C to +150°C junction temperature. Rutronik, Ispringen, Germany. +49 7231 801-0. [www.rutronik.com].

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Rugged COM Express Carrier Offers Full-Featured I/O Plus Mini PCIe Expansion Site A new carrier card hosts Type 2 or Type 3 COM Express modules in a small footprint of only 95 mm x 125 mm. Designed for extreme applications, the ACEX4405 from Acromag has an extra rigid PCB and extended temperature support. Features include dual ports for Gigabit Ethernet, RS-232/422 and USB plus many other features. A mini PCIe slot adds further flexibility for expanded, highspeed I/O capabilities. Locking and latching connectors prevent shock or vibration from loosening cables. COM Express is an embedded computing standard that is becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective solution that balances size, performance, I/O, thermal and scalability. The extremely flexible architecture allows users to select from a vast offering of processor modules and pair them with a carrier card that meets their application’s I/O requirements. The rapid deployment and longterm viability through use of interchangeable components make COM Express very appealing to the defense, aerospace, industrial automation, transportation and medical markets. Acromag’s carrier card supports a wide variety of applications with a broad feature set. In addition to the Ethernet, serial and USB support, the ACEX4405 includes dual SATA connectors, audio and VGA video interfaces. The board also has a standard ATX power connector with LEDs for power and status indication. If additional cooling is required, the carrier provides an optional fan power interface. Scalable data storage is accommodated by a CompactFlash socket with ejector. LVDS ports are available for LCD panel display and LCD backlight control. The single quantity list price is $695. Acromag, Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0865. [www.acromag.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Miniature Triaxial Accelerometers for Electronics and Engine Testing A new piezoelectric accelerometer supports the high-precision shock and vibration testing of hard drives, electronic peripherals, engine rotor and stator blades, as well as their associated components. The Endevco 35A miniature triaxial ISOTRON from Meggitt Sensing Systems offers low-impedance output for its dimensional size. The shear mode Endevco 35A provides a complete measurement package for the collection of IEPE acceleration data across three orthogonal axes. The integral internal amplifier of the model 35A converts high-impedance accelerometer charge input into low-impedance voltage output. Output is transmitted through the same wires that supply required 4 mA constant current power. Signal ground is connected to the outer case. The unit is delivered with pre-installed fine gauge (34 AWG) wires as output leads, all of which are easily field repairable. A new lead assembly may further be factory reinstalled. Also included is the four-conductor Endevco 3027AM5-120 cable terminating in three BNC connectors. The cable is shipped as an accessory for installation by the customer. A tool is also provided for easy field installation and removal. Units weigh just 1.1 grams without cable and are adhesive mounted for minimized mass loading. With its extremely small size, the Endevco 35A is suitable for the triaxial shock and vibration testing of electronic components and equipment; scaled model vibration; automotive component vibration monitoring; and biomedical research, among other specialized applications.

Ad Index

Meggitt Sensing Systems, Fribourg, Switzerland, +41 26 407 11 11. [www.meggittsensingsystems.com].

One-Chip Solution Combines 2.4 GHz, Low-Power Wireless and Capacitive Touch A single-chip solution integrates a wireless radio with touch-sensing circuitry for wireless mice, trackpads, remote controls, presenter tools and other Human Interface Devices (HIDs). The new Programmable Radio-on-a-Chip–User Interface (PRoC-UI) solution combines 2.4 GHz proprietary WirelessUSB-NL Radio with Cypress’s CapSense and TrueTouch capacitive touch technologies. This combination enables user interface functionality in wireless devices, including gestures supported by the upcoming Windows 8 applications. The one-chip solution also offers standard HID microcontroller functionality, effectively combining three chips into one to save BOM cost, board space and power, while increasing reliability compared with multi-chip implementations. Cypress’s CapSense offers stylish interfaces and superior reliability compared to mechanical buttons. PRoC-UI is also available with Cypress’s TrueTouch touchscreen technology, enabling multiple new HID use cases with multi-finger gesture recognition, including new Windows 8 gestures. The TrueTouch variant also supports customized gestures. Both CapSense and TrueTouch variants include advanced features such as proximity sensing, which allows a device to “wake up” as a hand approaches, and haptics to give tactile user feedback. PRoC-UI boasts -87 dBm receive sensitivity at 1 Mbit/s. This enhanced sensitivity enables longer range (up to 30 meters) operation and allows for lower-power transmit signals. The device features low active and standby currents, which enable longer battery life. It also offers superior performance in the presence of 2.4 GHz interference from common sources such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cordless phones and microwaves. PRoC-UI supports Cypress’s AgileHID protocol that allows existing WirelessUSB-NL customers to get started quickly on their designs without any additional effort. Customers who have existing designs with WirelessUSB-NL can reuse the same dongles for new PRoC-UIbased touch products. PRoC-UI comes with free software to enable endproduct customization. Device

Device

Proximity Sensing

Trackpad

Touch Buttons

Proximity Sensing

Trackpad

GPiO

Touch Buttons

GPiO

GPiO

PC

GPiO

System Control

GPiO

PRoCTM-UI

SPI

GPiO

Dongle

Dongle

PC

PC

USB

USB

MCU

System Control

2.4 Ghz Radio

Existing ICs

PRoCTM-UI

External Devices

• 2/3 chip solution to implement capacitive touch • Complex system design • Big footprint, increased BOM cost

Without PRoC-UI

New Cypress ICs External Devices

• Single chip solution for capacitive touch and wireless RF • Simple system design • Small footprint, reduced BOM cost

With PRoC-UI

Cypress Semiconductor, San Jose, CA. (408) 943-2600. [www.cypress.com].

PCI Express Frame Grabber Captures 8 Channels of Get Connected with technology and NTSC/PAL Video and Audio companies providing solutions now

A new frame grabber is equipped with eight asynchronous inputexploration Get Connected is a new resource for further channels and a high-speed PCI Express x 1 interface. With the Model into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is toFrame research the latestfrom datasheet from a company, speak directly 812 PCI Express 8-Channel Grabber Sensoray, each video Application or jump to a company's technical channel captures atwith fullanframe rateEngineer, of 30 frames per second (fps) for page, the of which Get Connected put you in touch withrate the of right NTSC or 25 fps for goal PAL, results in isantoaggregate frame upresource. of service you require for whatever type of technology, to 240 fps for NTSCWhichever or 200 level fps for PAL. Associatively, eight channels Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products of mono audio can you be are captured asfor. well. The board implements a PCI searching Express x 1 interface that facilitates plug and play operation into any www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected width of PCI Express slots. All operating power is supplied from the PCI Express bus and no external power supply is needed. It is a complete hardware solution for applications such as high-performance image capture, multicamera security applicaGet Connected with technology and companies prov tions, product inspection,Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into pro etc. The captured videodatasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engine data can be streamed in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you requir Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and produc continuously to system memory or diskwww.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected for either immediate local display or further processing. All eight composite video inputs are connected through a DB 15 connector, or through an optional DB 15-to-BNC breakout cable. An additional 34-pin connector can be used for breaking-in the all composite video input signals. Video capture resolutions include D 1, VGA, QVGA, CIF, 4CIF, SIF and 4SIF. Captured frames can be in YUYV, YUV420, or RGB555/RGB565 formats. Similarly, DB 15 connector and in-one 34-pin connector are provided for audio inputs. The audio sampling rate can be at 8K, 16K, 32K, 44K, 1K, or 48K Hz. Sensoray an SDK for the Model Getprovides Connected with companies and 812 that includes drivproducts featured in this section. ers and programming samples for both Windows and Linux operating www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected systems. OEM quantity 2-9 pricing for the Model 812 is $184. Volume discounts are also available.

Products

Sensoray, Tigard, OR. (503) 684-8005. [www.sensoray.com].

Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

53


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

8-Channel PC/104 Express Frame Grabber An 8-Channel PC/104 Express Frame Gabber is targeted for demanding real-time situational awareness systems like remote video surveillance, traffic monitoring and control of vehicle-based video capture in hostile environments. The AVC8000X from Advanced Micro Peripherals delivers high-performance 8-Channel video capture and overlay on a single PC/104 form factor card. Combining high throughput, ruggedness and flexibility, the AVC8000X captures up to eight concurrent analog PAL/NTSC/ RS170 video inputs for local system display, or if preferred, on-going software analysis and processing. Captured video can be scaled, cropped and positioned under software control and can be streamed continuously to system memory or disc for immediate local display or further processing. Additional features include eight live NTSC/PAL video inputs (240 fps), eight mono audio inputs and eight D1 size capture at full frame rate. The module also allows arbitrary video window sizing, cropping and scaling. Advanced Micro Peripherals, New York, NY. (212) 951-7205. [www.amp-usa.com].

New Improved Projected Capacitive Touchpanel Seeks to Replace Resistive Touch Sophisticated displays for medical technology and industrial electronics applications require high-quality state-of-the-art touchpanel solutions at reasonable pricing. Display Solution is pleased to announce the availability of the Evervision, a new and improved projected capacitive touchpanel (IPCT) product line from Enervisions. The Evervision specifically addresses customers and manufacturers on the way to jump into modern cost-effectively projected capacitive touch technology as well as for customized small order quantities with long-term availability. IPCT’s key benefits compared to conventional PCT solutions are mainly economic aspects. The favorable price/performance ratio of Evervision’s IPCT touch panel is

Core i7-Based 6U VPX Module Conduction or Air Cooled A conduction- or air-cooled 6U VPX Single Board Computer (SBC) supports second and third generation Intel Core i7 processors. With a dual- or quad-core processor, 16 Gbyte of memory, and dual PMC/XMC sites, the XCalibur4440 from Extreme Engineering Solutions is a suitable platform for the most demanding military applications. The XCalibur4440 features include a choice of Intel Core i7-2655LE, -2610UE, -3555LE, -3517UE, and -3612QE processors and up to 16 Gbyte of DDR31600 ECC SDRAM in two channels and 32 Mbyte of boot flash and up to 256 Gbyte of user flash. It is available in an OpenVPX-compliant conduction- or air-cooled 6U VPX form factor. Interfaces include dual PMC/XMC interfaces with rear I/O and front panel I/O support, two 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet and two 10/100/1000BASE-BX Ethernet ports. There is one HDMI/DVI-D video port, four USB 2.0 ports and four SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports. Front panel I/O includes DisplayPort video, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet, and USB 2.0 ports. Software support is available in Linux, Wind River VxWorks and Green Hills Integrity BSPs, as well as Microsoft Windows Drivers. Other RTOS solutions may be available. Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].

achieved by using raw materials and production processes that are also applied in LCD manufacturing. This is a benefit also for fully customized solutions, which can be realized at feasible tool costs. Due to mechanical dimensions that are identical with the existing resistive touch panel standard, IPCT touch panels can be integrated into current projects in the course of a redesign without the need to modify the enclosure. Projected capacitive touch technology allows touch recognition through a glass surface mounted on top of the display. Its resistance to scratches, moisture and impurities makes it an ideal solution for outdoor applications. The IPCT touch panel’s glass surface allows cleansing and disinfection with almost all agents. Evervision offers IPCT in sizes from 3.5” up to 10.2” already mounted on the corresponding Evervision TFT displays. The IPCT touch panel comes with a durable surface hardness of 7H, reliably detects up to five fingers, and is not sensitive to detergents or to disinfectants. Its transparency is 85 percent. Further characteristics are an I2C interface (USB in Q1/2013) and a chip-on-flex structure. Enervision, Karlsruhe, Germany. +49 (0)721 82447-53. [www.enervisionlcd.de]. Display Solution, Gilching, Germany. +49 (0)8105-73 403-0. [www.display-solution.com].

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

High-Performance Graphics Board for Constrained Environments A high-performance graphics board designed for demanding graphics applications in harsh environments features the latest E6460 graphics processing unit from AMD to deliver the highest possible performance from a restricted power envelope. The rugged XMCGA7 mezzanine from GE Intelligent Platforms addresses typical applications that include command and control workstations, radar consoles and cockpit displays. The XMCGA7 provides a form, fit and function upgrade to its predecessor, the XMCGA6, and is a further example of GE’s strategy to maximize the long-term value of customer investments, minimize cost of ownership, and provide support for the multi-year deployments typical of the defense industry. Depending on the build variant, the XMCGA7 provides up to four independent graphics channels, which can be either two channels of DVI or VGA or four channels of DVI. In addition to pin-compatible rear outputs, the XMCGA7 optionally offers front output, providing greater flexibility for applications in benign environments, and also easing initial lab development. Drivers are available for both Windows and Linux operating systems. GE Intelligent Platforms, Huntsville, AL. (256) 382-8137. [www.defenwse.ge-ip.com].

PCIe Network Board Based on Intel Platform for Communications Infrastructure

2U Rackmount Network Server Based on New Intel Platform for Communications Infrastructure

A new network acceleration board is an instantiation of the Intel platform for communications infrastructure, formerly codenamed “Crystal Forest.” The WIN SoNIC module from Win Enterprises supports the 32nm Intel Xeon processor E3-1125 or Intel Core processor i3-2115 with 2 or 4 cores. It also incorporates the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx series with Intel QuickAssist technology. It features a dual 10 GbE optical LAN with modular expansion to 100 GbE The WIN SoNIC (System-on-NIC) uses software from Wind River and other Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance members to consolidate network workloads through integrated data preprocessing, deep packet inspection, crypto acceleration and dual 10 GbE optical LAN capabilities, which will be expandable to 100 GbE. WIN SoNIC is a standard half-length PCIe card that connects to network servers through a PCIe slot to enable significant performance improvements in broadband networking. The Intel Communications Chipset 89xx series supports the preprocessor. This versatile chipset integrates Intel QuickAssist Technology to accelerate cryptographic, data compression and pattern matching services. WIN SoNIC augments the platform specification by providing the Intel 82599ES 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller with dual 10GbE optical LAN ports. WIN SoNIC provides the OEM with a range of SFPbased I/O options for SFP+ optical port connectivity through PCIe x8 and LAN expansion modules to 100GbE. The Intel Data Plane Development Kit helps speed the OEM’s time-to-market by enabling the rapid development of mid-ware or layered software for server platforms based on the Intel platform for communications infrastructure. It is also used to port applications such as deep-packet inspection to Intel architecture-based platforms like WIN SoNIC. Wind River offers the WindRiver Linux developed with the Intel DPDK. This software is highly optimized for multicore environments to deliver maximum data throughput and packet processing intelligence. WIN SoNIC can be used with the Wind River Linux, plus software developed by 6WIND, Radisys and Tieto Corporation, specifically for the Intel platform.

A highly functional and modular 2U rackmount communication appliance offers a comprehensive solution for customers in the network security, communications and infrastructure market. The modular design of the CAR-5020 from American Portwell utilizes the Intel Platform for Communications Infrastructure, formerly codenamed “Crystal Forest.” The platform features Intel QuickAssist Technology, supports dual processors up to 16 cores with CPU support for Level 3 Cache (up to 40 Mbyte), 16 DIMMs and DDR3 240-pin memory slots. Specifically, the CAR-5020 supports dual Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 series with up to 16 cores and 2 QPI links. The platform supports dualchannel DDR3 1333/1066 UDIMM/ RDIMM memory with maximum capacity up to 128 Gbyte. The Intel QuickAssist Technology, supported by Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series on the platform, supports security up to 20 Gbit/s Bulk Encryption/Decryption, Bulk: AES, 3DES, (A)RC4, Hash: MD5, SHA1/2, HMAC, Wireless: Kasumi and SNOW 3G, Public Key: RSA, DSA and DH Internal TRNG + pCRC. It is this technology combined with the processor offload for workload acceleration that makes the CAR-5020 platform compelling for the communications & infrastructure market. The three swappable NIC module card slots on the CAR-5020 appliance offer a wide range of choices to customers to accommodate Ethernet interfaces For example, 4/8GbE copper or 2/4/8GbE fiber with 0/1/2 bypass segments; expandable with 2 ports 10GbE (RJ45/ SFP+) with or without bypass. In addition, there are four expansion slots—two PCI-E x8 Gen2 slots and two PCI-E x8 Gen1 slots to satisfy various customer demands. The CAR-5020 appliance implements both IPMI 2.0 and Power Management Bus I/O on board, providing robust remote monitoring and management capabilities. American Portwell’s CAR-5020 2U rackmount communication appliance is positioned for network security applications such as firewall, VPN, IDS/IPS, anti-spam, anti-virus and UTM, and network management applications such as routers, RAS gateways, QoS, server load-balancing, wireless LAN controllers, medical DICOM and PACS, and industrial automation control via Ethernet TCP/IP.

WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com].

American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (877) 278-8899. [www.portwell.com]. RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Intel Core i7-Based Small Form Factor System for Development, Demo or Deployment A small form factor (SFF) system with commercial connectors can be utilized as a COM Express development platform, a deployable SFF system, or a demo platform for applications requiring a high-performance Intel Core i7 processor solution. The XPand6104 from Extreme Engineering Solutions in a natural convection-cooled SFF enclosure, is suitable for size, weight and power (SWaP)-constrained applications thanks to its dimensions of 2.10 in. (H) x 4.88 in. (W) x 7.70 in. (L) and with its weight less than 4 lbs. It includes an XPedite7450 Intel Core i7 ruggedized COM Express module and an optional 1.8-inch SSD. The front panel features an RJ-45 Ethernet connector to a 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 2.0 connector to a USB 2.0 port, and an eSATA connector to a SATA 3.0 Gbit/s port. In addition, there are two micro-DB-9 connectors to RS-232 serial ports, a DisplayPort connector for graphics, reset and power switches, and status LEDs. It also includes an integrated MIL-STD-704 28 VDC input voltage power supply with MIL-STD-461 EMI filtering and an external AC/DC 110 VAC input voltage power supply for development. Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].

Digital PWM Controllers Offer Ultra-Low Standby Power in 12W - 24W Power Supplies Two new digital pulse width modulation (PWM) controllers offer extremely low standby power consumption to just 10 mW at up to 12W output power and 20 mW at up to 24W output power. The iW1761 and iW1762 controllers from iWatt exceed current energy standards in the markets in which the company competes, including the proposed stringent 2012 U.S. DoE(1)regulation requiring under 100 mW AC/ DC adapter standby power consumption and tighter efficiency requirements. Like the previous iWatt parts, both the iW1761 and iW1762 enable high power density in an ultra-small overall adapter size. The iW1761 and iW1762 meet the compact size and low power requirements of next-generation compact media tablet power chargers and adapters. They also offer significantly greener and smaller solutions for AC/DC power adapters in a wide range of electronic products that remain permanently plugged in to the wall in standby mode, including set top boxes, satellite receivers and home networking equipment. In addition to very low standby power consumption, these new controllers provide good dynamic load response (DLR). Power supplies that achieve low standby power typically do so by entering a standby operating mode. However, when a load is applied, they need to “wake up” quickly to keep the output voltage from dropping too low. Dynamic load response is determined by the speed at which the system wakes up and responds to changes in the power load. The iW1761 and iW1762 offer the ultimate in low standby power with good DLR, while the recently announced iW1699 and iW1760 give designers options for higher DLR performance. The iW1761 and iW1762 are priced in 1,000-piece quantities at $0.34 for both parts. iWatt, Campbell, CA. Campbell, CA, (408) 374-4200. [www.iwatt.com].

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE

Industrial ATX Form Factor Motherboard with 3rd Generation Intel Core Processors A new industrial ATX form factor motherboard is based on Intel’s mobile QM77 PCH supporting the latest third generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 (formerly codenamed Ivy Bridge) processor with power management technology, DDR3 support and dual Gigabit Ethernet. The RUBY-D714VG2AR from American Portwell also features four 240-pin DIMM sockets to support dual-channel DDR3 1600/1333 SDRAM up to 32 Gbyte; dual display support via VGA/DVI-D/HDMI and one PCIe x16 (PCIe x16 signal). In addition, there are one PCIe x16 (PCIe x4 signal), one PCIe x4 (PCIe x1 signal), four PCI expansion slots and one Mini PCIe socket. Dual Intel GbE LANs (one of which can support iAMT 8.0) are supported along with four USB 3.0 connections at rear I/O and 6 USB 2.0 connections via onboard headers. The board also has five SATA interfaces (2 x SATA 6 Gbit/s, 3 x SATA 3 Gbit/s) with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and CF-SATA II; plus six serial ports including 4 x RS-232 and 2 x RS-232/422/485. The ATX motherboard is an attractive solution for Green PC and applications in such areas as Point-of-Sale (POS), lottery, medical, gaming, digital signage, automation, surveillance security monitoring and kiosks. The new RUBY-D714VG2AR offers many significant improvements in computing performance and lower power consumption over the previous Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo processor-based solutions. The key difference is that the RUBY-D714VG2AR, even when equipped with the Core i7 CPU, has a thermal design power (TDP) at 77W, which is far lower than the previous 95W via the 2nd generation Core processors. PCIe x16 Gen 3 supports much greater graphics processing speed for users who need high-performance add-on graphics cards and to fulfill the highend requirements from current imaging applications. The built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000/2500 architecture supplies the enhanced graphics capabilities demanded by such industries as medical and digital signage at no extra cost. American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (877) 278-8899. [www.portwell.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

New Version of PSoC Designer IDE for Cypress Devices Cypress Semiconductor has introduced PSoC Designer 5.3, a new version of its Integrated Design Environment (IDE) for the PSoC 1 Programmable System-onChip architecture. The new version includes over 30 new or enhanced user modules, which are free “Virtual Chips” represented by an icon, which are used to integrate multiple ICs and system interfaces into a single PSoC device. Also included in Version 5.3 are multiple new features to make designing with PSoC faster and easier. PSoC Designer helps users harness the power and flexibility of PSoC 1 devices. By operating at a higher level of abstraction and not requiring firmware development, it enables new designs to be created, simulated and programmed to the targeted PSoC device in hours or days instead of in weeks or months. It provides the user with a catalog of peripheral functions called “user modules.” User modules take the configurable PSoC devices and create useful functions as diverse as counters, timers and PWMs, analog converters, both ADCs and DACs, communications links like UARTs, SPI and I2C, as well as comparators, programmable gain blocks, filters and even bootloaders. Each user module includes the hardware configuration data, startup code, an interrupt service routine when applicable, and a set of APIs.

Some of the new user modules in Version 5.3 are a gas-sensing analog front end (AFE), a fan controller, a voltage sequencer, an SMBus slave and a thermistor interface. These user modules can be dragged and dropped as icons into a design. They are pre-tested and pre-characterized, and each comes with a datasheet that designers can use to customize the functionality for their specific designs. PSoC Designer 5.3 includes over 150 of these user modules, making designing with PSoC 1 devices fast and easy. In addition to the new user modules, Cypress has added a new autorouting capability that radically simplifies the creation of systems using PSoC. Additional ease-of-use features include a filterable device catalog, GUI improvements, easier user module customization and a project archive capability. The flexible PSoC digital and analog blocks allow designers to future-proof their products by enabling firmware-based changes during design, validation, production and in the field. The unique PSoC flexibility shortens design cycle time and allows for late-breaking feature enhancements. All PSoC devices are also dynamically reconfigurable, enabling designers to morph internal resources on-the-fly, utilizing fewer components to perform a given task. Cypress Semiconductor, San Jose, CA. (408) 943-2600. [www.cypress.com].

Low Power, High Performance ARM Solutions LE

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CSB1724-Armada300

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1.6Ghz 88F6282 1GByte 16-Bit Wide DDR3-800

CSB1726-ArmadaXP

Dual PCIe x1 and Dual GIGe

CSB1725e-DiscoDuo

Dual SATA Gefn 2 and Dual USB

1Ghz Dual Core MV78200

1.33Ghz Quad Core MV78460

1GByte 64-Bit DDR2-800 w/ECC

2GByte 64-Bit DDR3-1333 w/ECC

PCIe x4 and Dual x1

PCIe x4 and Dual x1 Gen 2

Dual SATA Gen 2 and Dual USB

Dual SATA Gen 2 and Dual USB

Quad 10/100/1000 Ethernet

Quad 10/100/1000 Ethernet

For more information Tel: 401-349-3999 Email: sales@cogcomp.com Web: www.cogcomp.com Untitled-2 1

Visit us at… Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Santa Clara Convention Center

57

9/5/12 5:09 PM RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Conduction Cooled OpenVPX StoreEngine Moves 750 Mbyte/s A scalable storage server designed for high-performance embedded systems provides the built-in capability to operate as a high-bandwidth data recorder, embedded RAID or file server. The StoreEngine from Critical I/O is an OpenVPX conduction-cooled scalable solid state storage blade that is easily scalable in storage capacity and performance by simply adding additional StoreEngine blades that seamlessly work together. StoreEngine provides superior storage capability, ultra high performance and high capacity all within a small size, weight and power (SWaP) footprint. StoreEngine is suitable for high-bandwidth data recording, file serving and general purpose RAID applications. Embedded storage applications are often challenging as they require a wide range of performance, capacity and interface options—and this is particularly true for high-bandwidth data recording functions. StoreEngine is designed to address these specialized requirements by making it highly configurable and easy to scale by adding additional blades. File serving, RAID and data recording functions are all built in and available with the StoreEngine blade. And now StoreEngine is available in a highly rugged conduction-cooled OpenVPX form factor, enabling this advanced storage product to be used in flight or other rugged environments.

Capacitive Touch Platform Offers High Resolution Sensing A family of capacitive touch ICs for a wide range of home appliances and consumer electronics enhances the ECO mode present in many green home electronics by integrating an IR decoder for system wake up. This enables the host to go into sleep mode during system standby and minimizes the overall power consumption. The analog sensor front end in the SX95xx platform from Semtech is equipped with a high-resolution ADC, which can detect down to 4fF of capacitance and is optimized for robust touch and proximity detection. These controllers also feature an advanced

Critical I/O, Irvine, CA. (949) 553-2200. [www.criticalio.com].

SATA SSD Line to Satisfy Embedded Needs for Endurance, Industrial Temperature Designed to meet virtually any workload requirement of embedded systems, a new solid state storage portfolio satisfies needs for enhanced endurance and extended operating temperature. The new StorFly CE, RE and XE product classes from Virtium are optimized for the data types and workloads of applications ranging from digital signage to networking equipment that have strenuous requirements for ten-year product deployments in harsh environments with 24/7 operation. Industry trade organizations have defined workloads and application classes for client and enterprise computing, but the embedded market is so diverse in terms of chipsets, operating systems and data types that it has been difficult to make distinct classifications. Therefore, Virtium designed its four classes of StorFly embedded SATA SSDs to match the storage needs of a multitude of uses. The StorFly CE product family is designed for digital signage, automotive infotainment and other applications that are “write seldom, read many.” StorFly RE is optimized for higher reliability applications such as networking appliances or industrial computing. StorFly XE is a suitable alternative to SLC SSDs in industrial automation or central office switches because of its high endurance and -40° to +85°C operating temperature capabilities. Rounding out the Virtium StorFly portfolio, the previously announced StorFly PE is the highest performing SSD with endurance of up to 500 Gbytes per day for 10 years. Virtium, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. (949) 888-2444 [www.virtium.com].

256-step LED driver for various blinking and breathing control providing enhanced visual feedback in TV applications. Each device is designed with circuitry that combines the capacitive sensor with the LED driver to reduce the overall solution footprint. The SX9510/11/12/13 are in an 8-channel configuration that are offered as space-saving 4 mm x 4 mm 20-QFN and 4.4 mm x 7.8 mm 24-TSSOP packages; and the SX9500/01 provide 4-channels in a tiny 3 mm x3 mm 20QFN package. Semtech guarantees all of these devices to operate over the extended (-40° to +85°C) temperature range. Key features include a high-resolution touch sensing solution in eight- and fourchannel versions with options for enhanced proximity sensing, integrated IR decoder for ECO system design, built-in LED drivers for visual feedback and an on-chip buzzer control for audible feedback. In addition, automatic compensation eliminates false triggers from environmental factors. Semtech offers comprehensive design assistance, including field- and factory-based support, data sheets, volume pricing and delivery quotes, as well as evaluation kits and samples. Semtech, Camarillo, CA. (805) 498-2111. [www.semtech.com].

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Solid or Spin...

Tools Support Advanced Development of Multicore Linux-Based Embedded System

we go both ways

A next-generation tool set aims at optimizing multicore performance in Linux-based embedded systems. The Embedded Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer products from Mentor Graphics enable developers to accelerate system debugging, including multiple Linux applications concurrently, by quickly and easily visualizing and analyzing complex software systems. When combining the Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer products, embedded developers get customizable end-to-end development tools that include automatic performance analysis and efficient multiprocess debugging to increase productivity. New releases of the free Sourcery CodeBench Lite commandRuggedized VPX Driv Drive v e Storage S torage Module line development tools include enhanced versions of the modern open Whatever your drive mount criteria criteria, everyone knows the reputation reputation, source components value and endurance of Phoenix products. The new VP1-250X, compatsuch as GCC 4.7.2 and ible with both solid state or rotating drives, has direct point-to-point GDB 7.4.50. The comconnectivity or uses the PCI Express interface with the on-board SATA controller. It is available in conduction cooled , conduction with REDI mercially supported covers (VITA 48) and air cooled (shown) configurations. Sourcery CodeBench product adds to these powerful tools a compreWe Put the State of Art to Work hensive integrated development environment (IDE), optimized debuggable runtime libraries, XXXQIFOYJOUDPNt714-283-4800 flash programming and PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL IS AS 9100 REV C / ISO 9001: 2008 CERTIFIED peripheral register display among other valuable features. The Sourcery Analyzer tool delivers visualization and 9/7/12 9:54 AM analysis capabilities that give developers new insights into the behaviorUntitled-1 1 and performance of complex software systems. New or enhanced capabilities of the Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer product releases include usability improvements to connect to JTAG and probe devices, select target device configuration, and configure application usage of system libraries along with enhanced static analysis capabilities to pinpoint common C and C++ errors as /LQX[.HUQHO,QVWDOOHG code is being written. In addition, a faster debug probe connection to 0%)/$6+0%5$0 the application makes for efficient debugging and test. 0K]$UP&38 'LJLWDO,2/LQHV There is support for leading hardware including Altera Nios II, %DVHÂą7(WKHUQHW  86%DQG6HULDO3RUWV Freescale i.MX, Freescale Kinetis, Fujitsu FM3, Qualcomm Brew MP, +DUGZDUH&ORFN&DOHQGDU Texas Instrumentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; DaVinci, OMAP, Sitara and Stellaris, and many :DWFKGRJDQG$XGLR,Q2XW  9'&3RZHU   other ARM, Power, MIPS and x86 core devices.  Analysis support includes scheduling, CPU state, mutex locking, 4W\ process and thread state, and many more analysis agents along with  state flow, scatter plot, analog value and seven other graph types. In addition, the tools offer improved system profiling with Linux Trace Toolkit (LTTng) 2.0 support including simultaneous kernel and user 3UHORDGHGZLWK'26 )ODVK)LOH6\VWHP 0+]&RPSDWLEOH3URFHVVRU space tracing. Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, OR. (503) 685-7000. [www.mentor.com].

.)ODVK.'5$0 3LQ',36RFNHW 'LJLWDO,2/LQHV 6HULDO3RUWV &RQVROH'HEXJ3RUW :DWFKGRJ   ELW7LPHUV 9'&RU93RZHU



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ZZZMNPLFURFRPVDOHV#MNPLFURFRP Untitled-3 1

RTC MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2012

59

6/25/12 1:14 PM


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

DECEMBER 2011

JANUARY 2012

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

December 2011

January 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

Computers Stand Up to Harsh Environments

www.rtcmagazine.com

ASICs AND SoCs FINDING THE NEW SWEET SPOT(S)

Power Management — Making Every Electron Count

Hard Logic Speeds Memory Access

Systems Combine Vision with Motion

Scripts Speed Design for Web-Based Maintenance

ARM Moves onto COM Modules

Virtual Tools Speed ASP Development An RTC Group Publication

ASICs and SoCs: Finding the New Sweet Spot(s)

An RTC Group Publication

Editorial

Editorial

Small Form Factor Forum

Small Form Factor Forum

Editor’s Report—Development Tools for ASPs Virtual Platforms from Xilinx and Altera Support Development on ASPs................................................................................. 14

Editor’s Report—A New Wave of COMs—ARM-Based ARM on COM Modules: Meeting the Needs of Mobile Devices...................................................................... 14

Power and Integration—ARM Making More Inroads into More Designs................................................................................... 6 Help Wanted! Industry Leadership......................................... 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Embedded Memory Design

Algorithmic Memory Boosts Next Generation SoC Memory Performance.......................................................................... 18 Sundar Iyer, Memoir Systems

Technology Connected—Embedded Web for Maintenance

and Control App Servers and Lua Scripting Speed Rich Web Applications for Small Devices.................................................................. 24 Wilfred Nilsen, Real Time Logic

Technology in Systems—Computers for Harsh

Environments Conduction Keeps Computing Cool........................................ 28 Colin McCracken, American Portwell

Ruggedizing Commercial Products to Withstand the Most Demanding Environments...................................................... 38 Jared Francom and David Kummer, Parvus

Special Section: USB 3.0

USB: 3.0 Taking Hold and Gearing for the Future................... 32 Evan Schulz, Silicon Labs

Technology Deployed—System Software Simplify Development with Cost-Effective Bootloading Using I2C/SMBus Interfaces............................................................ 42 Evan Schulz, Silicon Labs

Industry Watch—MicroTCA

The Migration Path to MicroTCA............................................ 46 Mark Lowdermilk, Embedded Planet

60

DECEMBER 2012 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

Large Operating Systems Have Embraced Embedded. Did Anyone Notice?....................................................................... 6 Occupy Consortia.................................................................. 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—The Changing Role of the ASIC

and SoC The Changing Nature of the ASIC........................................... 16 Alan A. Varghese and Michael B. Doerr, Coherent Logix

Changing Demands Are Changing the Role and Applicability of SoCs and ASICs..................................................................... 20 Brian Calder, IntervalZero

Technology Connected—Developments in Small Form Factors The Benefits of COM-Based Single Board Computers............ 24 Jonathan Miller, Diamond Systems

Technology in Systems—Power Management: Making

Every Electron Count Re-focusing the SoC for Energy Optimization......................... 32 Rasmus Christian Larsen, Energy Micro

Software Considerations to Manage and Optimize System Power.................................................................................... 36 Adam Kaiser and Arvind Raghuraman, Mentor Graphics

Technology Deployed—Combining Vision with Motion Three Considerations for a Successful Vision-Guided Motion System.................................................................................. 40 Priya Ramachandran, National Instruments

GigE Vision Interfaces Deliver Higher Performance for Machine Vision Systems...................................................................... 46 John Phillips, Pleora Technologies


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

FEBRUARY 2012

MARCH 2012

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

February 2012

March 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

THE LONG

REACH

OF ARM

The Long Reach of ARM

www.rtcmagazine.com

FPGAs CPUs MIX IT UP WITH

Serial Interconnects Provide Speed and Scalability

FPGAs Mix It Up with CPUs

Digital Signage Builds on Embedded Windows

Android Poised to Move into Embedded

Software Frameworks Speed Development

Automate Power Management in Industrial Sites

Bridging the COM/Stackable Gap

An RTC Group Publication

An RTC Group Publication

Editorial

Editorial

Small Form Factor Forum

Small Form Factor Forum

Editor’s Report—Android Aiming at Embedded Systems Android Poised to Move from Phones and Tablets to Wider Embedded Applications......................................................... 14

Editor’s Report—New Architectures for COM Modules ARM-Based COM Modules? Let’s Take a Step Back and Look at This................................................................................... 12

System Security—or Security Blanket?................................... 6 Just One More Small Change... Please.................................. 10

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—The Long Reach of ARM

ARM Variants Serve Multiple Levels of Complexity in xTCA Hardware Platform Management Controllers......................... 18 Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems

ARM-Based Module Solutions to Deliver Low-Power Building Blocks for Smart Connected Applications............................... 24 Jack London, Kontron

Technology Connected—Serial Interconnects Faster Measurement Results with SuperSpeed USB.............. 32 Andy Purcell, Agilent Technologies

A PCI-SIG Outlook on PCIe 4.0............................................... 36 Al Yanes, PCI-SIG

Technology Deployed—Systems in Transportation

When Transportation Applications Get Rugged....................... 40 Jeff Munch, Adlink Technology

High-Octane Distributed Computing Fuels Intelligent Highways............................................................................... 44 Kelly Gillilan, AMD

Industry Watch—Industrial Power Management

Saving Money with Energy Monitoring for Industrial Installations........................................................................... 48 Ben Orchard and David Crump, Opto22

“It’s Not Rocket Science”... but Maybe it Should Be................ 5 Embedded 2.0....................................................................... 10

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—FPGAs Mix It Up with CPUs

FPGAs Mix it Up with CPUs—The Era of the SoC FPGA.......... 14 Chris Balough, Altera

Designing ASP-Type Devices: What Does it Take?.................. 20 Greg Brown, Xilinx Inc.

Technology Connected—Bridging Form Factors Introducing the EMX Form Factor—Bridging the Worlds of COM and SBC................................................................................ 24 Jonathan Miller, Diamond Systems

Technology in Systems—Embedded Windows

Windows Embedded POSReady 7: The Right Choice for Digital Signage................................................................................. 34 John Lisherness, Avnet

Embedded Systems and Digital Signage: A Natural Fit........... 38 Larry Allen, Bsquare

Technology Deployed—Frameworks Help Systems Adapt Future Proofing through Portable Software............................ 42 Wes Johnson, Eurotech

The Yocto Project: New Possibilities for Intelligent Embedded Systems?............................................................................... 46 Lax Mandal & David Stewart, Intel

RTC RTCMAGAZINE MAGAZINE DECEMBER DECEMBER2009 2012 2012

61


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

APRIL 2012

MAY 2012

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

April 2012

May 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

DEVICES RULE—

The Internet OF THINGS

Devices Rule—The Internet of Things

www.rtcmagazine.com

Power Architecture Scores in Embedded Making the Most of Buses and I/O

Android Breaks out of Phones and Tablets

Speeding Data Acquisition in Small Systems

M2M Systems Spread Intelligence Hypervisors Pull the Best out of Multicore Fine Tuning a Hybrid Architecture

An RTC Group Publication

An RTC Group Publication

Editorial

Editorial

Small Form Factor Forum

Small Form Factor Forum

Editor’s Report—Wireless Video Networking Wireless HD Video Streaming: Struggling toward a Standard Solution................................................................................. 14

Editor’s Report—Network Connectivity Affects Embedded The Fabric of the Cloud......................................................... 14

Meeting Regulatory Demands—Is There Help from the World of IT?....................................................................................... 6 ARM Yourself......................................................................... 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Hybrid Architectures

Wireless Microcontrollers Combine Low-Power Processing and RF Connectivity in a Hybrid Architecture................................ 18 Nisha Ganwani, Silicon Laboratories

Technology Connected—Devices Rule—The Internet of Things Embedded Firewalls—Protecting the Internet of Things......... 22 Alan Grau, Icon Labs

Common Weakness and Enumeration—Tracing the Path to Industrial Security.................................................................. 28 Chris Tapp, LDRA

Technology in Systems—Developing for Multicore Systems

Approaches to Inter-OS Communication and Messaging for Multicore – Multi OS Systems................................................ 32 Gerd Lammers, Real Time Systems

Harnessing the Potential of Multicore Processors for Real-Time Applications........................................................................... 38 Chris Grujon, TenAsys

Technology Deployed—Machine-to-Machine Systems

Accelerating Machine-to-Machine System Development with Embedded Software.............................................................. 42 Kurt Hochanadel, Eurotech and Brian Vezza, Wind River

Accelerated Processing Units and Multicore Programming Innovation at the Cusp of Machine-to-Machine...................... 46 Cameron Swen, AMD and John Havener, Texas Multicore

62

DECEMBER 2012 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

Once the Network Was the Computer. Now the Network Is the World....................................................................................... 6 Wake Up, COM...................................................................... 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Power Architecture Stakes Its

Claim Power Architecture Combines Rich Features for Embedded............................................................................. 18 Fawzi Behmann, Power.org

Technology Connected—Networks, Buses and I/O Ensuring Rigorous Isolation in Fieldbus Designs.................... 24 Vincent Ching and Foo Chwan Jye, Avago Technologies

Challenges in Providing Optimal I/O Solutions for Small Systems................................................................................ 30 Ram Rajan, Elma Electronic

Technology in Systems—Android: Breaking Out of Phones

and Tablets Android—At Last A Ubiquitous Embedded OS?...................... 38 Bill Weinberg, Olliance Group (A Black Duck company) and LinuxPundit.com

Android Goes Beyond Google................................................. 44 Art Lee, Viosoft

Technology Deployed—Data Acquisition with Small Modules Solving Data Transport Challenges in Radar and Sensor Applications........................................................................... 48 Rafeh Hulays, Ph.D., AdvancedIO Systems

Avoid Bottlenecks Using PCI Express-Based Embedded Systems................................................................................ 54 Jim Henderson, Innovative Integration


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

JUNE 2012

JULY 2012

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

June 2012

July 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

www.rtcmagazine.com

Touch Screens Revolutionize Small Device Interfaces

OpenCL Unleashes the Power of Parallel Coprocessing

PCIe over Cable: A Popular Interface Extends its Reach Embedded Technologies Fire up the Smart Grid Accelerated Processors: A New Class of Device? Wi-Fi: Connectivity Backbone for Devices Tools Take a High-Level Look at Code

An RTC Group Publication

Editorial

Standards and Standards Groups: Are We Losing Our Way?..... 6

Small Form Factor Forum

Standard Rules for “Industry Standards”............................... 12

Editor’s Report—Accelerated Processors: A New Class of

Devices? Family of Accelerated Processors Opens the Doors to New Embedded Possibilities.......................................................... 14 Tom Williams

Technology Connected—PCIe over Cable PCI Express over Cable Middleware Maximizes Application Performance.......................................................................... 18 Herman Paraison, Dolphin Interconnect Solutions

PCIe as Blade-to-Blade Interconnect...................................... 22 Mark Gunn, One Stop Systems

Technology in Systems—User Interface Design for Small

Systems Unlocking the Potential of a Multi- Touch Experience............. 26 Mark Hamblin, Touch Revolution

Keeping up with Embedded Development—The New User Interface................................................................................ 36 Jason Clarke, Crank Software

Technology Deployed—Embedded Technologies for the

Smart Grid SoCs Driving Higher Levels of Integration in Smart Appliances............................................................................. 40 Rufino Olay and Reghu Rajan, Microsemi

Key Considerations for Designing Low Cost, Energy Efficient Smart Grid Devices................................................................ 44 Srinath Balaraman, Mentor Graphics

Industry Watch—Safe and Secure Systems

Industrial Computers in Safety-Critical Applications: Out of the Ordinary................................................................................ 48

An RTC Group Publication

Have We Yet Pulled All the Power out of Multicore?

Editorial

The “ASIC Quandary”—How Much Can We Integrate, When and Why?................................................................................ 6

Small Form Factor Forum

The Graying of Embedded..................................................... 10

Editor’s Report—Realizing the Potential of Multicore Processors Retooling Applications to Ride on Multiple Cores................... 12 Tom Williams

Technology in Context—The Expanding Roles of Non-

Volatile Memory The Expanding Role of Non-Volatile Memory in HighPerformance Embedded Architecture..................................... 16 Adrian Proctor, Viking Technology

Technology in Systems—Developing Hybrid Code Using

OpenCL OpenCL Programming: Parallel Processing Made Faster and Easier than Ever.................................................................... 26 Todd Roberts, AMD

Developing Embedded Hybrid Code Using OpenCL................ 32 Mark Benson, Logic PD

Parallel Computing with AMD Fusion-Based Computer-onModules................................................................................ 38 John Dockstader, congatec

Technology Deployed—Code Requirements and Verification Requirements Engineering Today........................................... 44 Marcia Stinson, Visure

Out of the Passenger’s Seat: Requirements Traceability to Drive the Software Development Process....................................... 48 Jared Fry, LDRA Technology

Transforming Code Analysis with Visualization....................... 54 Paul Anderson, GrammaTech

Susanne Bornschlegl, MEN Mikro Elektronik

RTC RTCMAGAZINE MAGAZINE DECEMBER DECEMBER2009 2012 2012

63


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

AUGUST 2012

SEPTEMBER 2012

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

August 2012

September 2012

www.rtcmagazine.com

Energy Harvesting Keeps Low-Power Networks Humming

FITTING CUSTOM I/O TO SOLID CPUs

FPGAs Move into ASIC Turf

Devices Swarm into the Cloud

Optical Interconnects Bring Supercomputing to Embedded

ZigBee Forms Foundation for Home Networks

Advanced Management Shepherds Remote Systems

An RTC Group Publication

www.rtcmagazine.com

Fitting Custom I/O to Solid CPUs

Sorting out the Options in Solid State Storage

An RTC Group Publication

Editorial

Editorial

Small Form Factor Forum

Small Form Factor Forum

Editor’s Report—Power Debugging Power Debugging—Minimizing Power Consumption by Tuning the Code................................................................................ 12

Editor’s Report—Analyzing Networks for Performance and Security NetFlow Analysis Helps Understand and Protect Distributed Networks............................................................................... 14

Oh, Give Me a Sign... And Paint it with My Data....................... 6 SFF Connectors Go 3G........................................................... 10

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Energy Harvesting for Low-Power

Networks Zero Power Wireless Sensors Using Energy Harvesting.......... 16 Steve Grady, Cymbet

Design Basics for Energy Harvesting Systems....................... 20 Farris Bar, Silicon Laboratories

Technology in Systems—FPGA to ASIC

Accelerating Time-to-Market Using an FPGA and Customizable SoC Methodology................................................................... 24 Rufino Olay, Microsemi

Technology Connected—Wireless Device Connectivity Embedding Wi-Fi—What’s Involved?..................................... 28 Amir Friedman, Connect One

Wireless Monitoring Helps Protect Consumer Health.............. 32 Alf Helge Omre, Nordic Semiconductor

Technology Deployed—Advanced Management for Industrial Control Secure Remote Management Technologies Support Embedded Platforms............................................................................... 36 Norbert Hauser, Kontron

Industry Watch—Optical Connectivity

Optical Connectors to Fire Up VPX Backplanes....................... 48 Michael Munroe, Elma Electronic

The Double-Edged Blade of Security........................................ 6 Escaping COM-Moditization................................................... 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Customizing I/O

FPGAs Drive Digital I/O Solutions........................................... 18 Rodger Hosking, Pentek

Leveraging Computer-on-Modules for Long-Term Design Scalability.............................................................................. 22 Jack London, Kontron

Technology Connected—Devices in the Cloud Delivering Device Data to the Enterprise................................ 28 Robert Andres, Eurotech

Protecting the Internet of Tiny Things: Embedded Firewall Can Secure an 8-Bit MCU............................................................. 34 David West, Icon Labs and Thomas Ormiston, Zilog

Technology in Systems—Advances in MicroTCA

New FPGA Designs Take Advantage of the Latest COTS Platforms............................................................................... 40 Tony Romero, Performance Technology and Edward Young, CommAgility

Technology Deployed—ZigBee in Control and Monitoring The Internet of Things Starts at the Smart Home................... 44 Cees Links, GreenPeak Technologies

Industry Watch—Options for Solid State Storage

How Does an Embedded Systems Designer Select the Right Storage Solution?.................................................................. 56 Gary Drossel, Virtium

64

DECEMBER 2012 2009 RTC MAGAZINE


ANNUAL ARTICLE INDEX

OCTOBER 2012

NOVEMBER 2012

Power Struggle: Compute vs. Electrical

PCIe Gen3 Opens New Paths to Performance

Managing the Workhorses: Blades and Backplanes Use I2C to Manage Small Systems Building Blocks Make Systems for the Digital Home

Editorial

Editorial

Small Form Factor Forum

Small Form Factor Forum

Editor’s Report—Digital Home Opportunity for OEMs Digital Home Devices to Offer Increased Opportunities for Embedded OEMs................................................................... 12

Editor’s Report—Advances in SoCs Advanced SoC Devices Are Developing in Interesting Ways.... 14

Intelligent Systems – The Power of a Name............................. 6 Vote!...................................................................................... 10

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Blades and Backplanes

Standardized LAN-Attached Management Controllers Yield xTCA Performance and Serviceability Gains........................... 16 Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems

PCIe Card Instantiates the Next Generation Communications Platform from Intel................................................................. 22 Chiman L. Patel, WIN Enterprises

Technology Connected—Computing vs. Electrical Power Use Power Debug to Optimize Software for Minimal Power Consumption......................................................................... 26 Anders Lundgren and Lotta Frimanson, IAR Systems

Need a Many-Core Strategy?................................................. 30 Jeff Milrod, BittWare

Technology in Systems—I2C in Small Systems

The Old-Timer in the Background– I2C Bus as a Cost Cutter on Small Form Factors................................................................ 34 Ross Watanabe, congatec

Technology Deployed—Pre-Integrated Systems Hitting the Ground Running: Pre-Integration Speeds System Development......................................................................... 40 Susanne Bornschlegl, MEN Micro

Klaatu Barada Nikto................................................................. 6 Big Protos for Small Systems................................................. 12

Tom Williams

Technology in Context—Developing for FPGA SoCs

Development Tools Are Key for FPGA SoCs............................ 18 Matt Spexarth, National Instruments

Using HLS and Programmable SoCs to Drive Real-Time Digital Signal Processing.................................................................. 22 Matthew Ouellette, Xilinx

Technology Connected—PCI Express Generation 3 Practical Implementation of PCI Express Gen3 across Optical Cabling.................................................................................. 30 Christopher Wong, Avago Technologies

What Else Can PCI Express Do?............................................. 38 Krishna Mallampati, PLX Technology

Technology in Systems—Distribute Data in the Cloud

Security in the Cloud............................................................. 44 Robert Day, LynuxWorks

Speed Communications for Selected Applications with UDP....................................................................................... 50 John Carbone, Express Logic

Technology Deployed—Security for Data and Design Want it Secure? Target Both Design and Data Security.......... 54 Richard Newell, Microsemi

Industry Watch—Automotive Systems

Safety and Multimedia Collide in Next-Generation Automobiles........................................................................... 54 David Kleidermacher, Green Hills Software

RTC RTCMAGAZINE MAGAZINE DECEMBER DECEMBER2009 2012 2012

65


with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Advertiser Index Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Company Page Website 2013 International CES......................................................................................................19............................................................................................................... www.cesweb.org ACCES I/O Products, Inc...................................................................................................22.............................................................................................................www.accesio.com Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.............................................................................................68................................................................................................ www.amd.com/embedded

of Article ChinaECNet.......................................................................................................................41..End ................................................................................................................www.eccn.com Products

Cogent Computer Systems, Inc..........................................................................................57.......................................................................................................... www.cogcomp.com Commell...........................................................................................................................37.......................................................................................................www.commell.com.tw

GetSignage Connected with companies and Digital Expo..........................................................................................................23...........................................................................................................www.dse2013.com Get Connected products featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. Dolphin Interconnect Solutions...........................................................................................15.......................................................................................................... www.dolphinics.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Elma Electronic.................................................................................................................44.................................................................................................................www.elma.com Embedded World 2013 Exhibition & Conference.................................................................25................................................................................................. www.embedded-world.de Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc....................................................................................67............................................................................................................. www.xes-inc.com Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Innovative Integration.........................................................................................................51................................................................................................... www.innovative-dsp.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. Intelligent Systems Source.................................................................................................29................................................................................... www.intelligentsystemssource.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected JK Microsystems, Inc.........................................................................................................59............................................................................................................. www.jkmicro.com Lilee Systems....................................................................................................................30......................................................................................................www.lileesystems.com Logic Supply, Inc...............................................................................................................29........................................................................................................www.logicsupply.com Mathworks, Inc..................................................................................................................2.........................................................................................................www.mathworks.com Measurement Computing Corporation................................................................................38............................................................................................................ www.mccdaq.com MEDS Magazine................................................................................................................33..................................................................................................www.medsmagazine.com Men Micro, Inc..................................................................................................................14.......................................................................................................... www.menmicro.com Microchip Techonology, Inc................................................................................................13.......................................................................................................... www.microchip.com Microsoft Windows Embedded Evolve 2012.......................................................................11.................................................................................................. www.evolve2012tour.com Nallatech...........................................................................................................................31...........................................................................................................www.nallatech.com One Stop Systems, Inc......................................................................................................17.................................................................................................www.onestopsystems.com Pentek, Inc.........................................................................................................................5...............................................................................................................www.pentek.com Phoenix International.........................................................................................................59........................................................................................................... www.phenxint.com Raytheon Company............................................................................................................4............................................................................................................ www.raytheon.com Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference..................................................................45................................................................................................................ www.rtecc.com RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.................................................................................. 34, 35.................................................................................................................www.rtd.com Schroff..............................................................................................................................28.................................................................................................................www.schroff.us Solid State Drives Showcase..............................................................................................21........................................................................................................................................ Super Micro Computer, Inc.................................................................................................7........................................................................................................ www.supermicro.com VITA..................................................................................................................................50...................................................................................................................www.vita.com Xembedded.......................................................................................................................24......................................................................................... www.acromag.com/xembedded

RTC (Issn#1092-1524) magazine is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodical postage paid at San Clemente and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RTC, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.

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DECEMBER 2012 RTC MAGAZINE


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