Systems Design

Stephen Evanczuk
Contributing Editor
A 50,000-foot view of system technological advancements, design tips and news that will give designers solid technical advice and information for robust system-level designs. This site also covers the latest board-level embedded hardware, development tools, and related software.

5 Engineering Lessons from Pluto

The New Horizons mission to Pluto has lessons for earthbound embedded design. Read More...

Attaining functional safety: Standards, certification, and the development process

This first in a series on functional safety in design provides an overview of functional safety standards, key certification requirements, and how to ease the effort of certification. Read More...

Optical heart-rate measurement’s top 5 challenges

Before releasing your latest wearable into the world, be sure you’ve validated its heart-rate measurement function against these five challenges. Read More...

Save power in IoT SoCs by leveraging ADC characteristics

Understand your analog blocks and their use cases to wring out maximum power savings. Read More...

8 tips for squashing bugs using ASSERT in C

Assertions are a powerful debugging tool, when used properly. Here's how. Read More...

Handle industrial IoT data end-to-end

An addition to the data distribution service can extend its applicability to cloud-based IT communications. Read More...

Tektronix expands function generator line

AFG3151C and AFG3152C add 150 MHz models to the AFG3000 series. Read More...

LVDS display bridges and automated measurements, part 2

Part 2 describes the automation flow for characterizing LVDS devices used in automotive SoCs. Read More...

Meet Daniel's new oscilloscope

Keysight Technologies presented a new oscilloscope to incoming MIT freshman Daniel Sheen on August 12, 2015. Read More...

Safely Riding the Internet Highway

Learning how to drive the internet highway on the path to the Smart Home means rules, regulations and laws. Read More...

Getting the heat out of PCBs demands intelligent simulation

Thermal simulation is necessary for many designs, and tools take different approaches to the solution. Read More...

NIWeek: Automated test systems

NIWeek 2015 was full of companies demonstrating ATE systems ranging from wireless to military to an all-in-one system. Read More...

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Software PLL syncs to line using moving-average filter

A software PLL with a jitter attenuator lends itself to AC-line filtering and many other applications. Read More...

Circuit gates pulse train without truncating

This Design Idea accomplishes asynchronous gating without the worry of shortened pulses. Read More...

3 pins, 3 LEDs, 3 buttons

This LED multiplexing scheme allows for switches in the matrix too. Read More...

Facilitate oscilloscope debug of small microcontroller systems

A probe-to-the-metal approach is often the best way to debug a small µC system, and here’s some code to help out. Read More...

LabVIEW real-time seismic alert system

National Instrument’s LabVIEW has uses beyond instrument control, as demonstrated by this Web app. Read More...

Zener level-shifter drives high-side switch

Simplify a high-side driver by replacing a transistor with a Zener diode. Read More...

Replace a rotary switch with a potentiometer

Why use an expensive rotary switch with your microcontroller when you can use a cheap pot instead? Read More...

One wire brings power & data to LCD module

If you need to connect a small remote LCD display, or your µC has run out of I/O pins, here’s a good, cheap solution. Read More...

Single-cycle logarithms & antilogs

Here are some very fast log (and antilog) blocks well-suited to FPGA implementation. Read More...

Double-speed interpolation

Low-end micros can still benefit from little coding tricks. This one lets you "pan" between two signals or values more quickly than an explicit solution. Read More...

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Two-pin EEPROM is parasitically powered

Atmel has launched the AT21CS01/11, a single-wire serial EEPROM that needs only a data pin and a ground pin for operation. Read More...

Fanless mini PC consumes just 5W

Giada Technology offers the F200 mini PC, an ultracompact, low-power unit for thin client, digital signage, and industrial control applications. Read More...

Tektronix expands function generator line

AFG3151C and AFG3152C add 150 MHz models to the AFG3000 series. Read More...

Sensory hones accuracy of voice-control software

Compared to previous releases, Version 4.0 of TrulyHandsfree speech-recognition software from Sensory boasts an 80% increase in word accuracy. Read More...

FPGA-based SoC powers stackable PCIe/104 board

Residing on a PCIe/104 OneBank form-factor module, the EMC2-Z7015 from Sundance leverages a Xilinx ARM-plus-FPGA architecture. Read More...

Toshiba launches 256-Gbit 48-layer 3-D NAND flash

Ready for sampling in September, Toshiba’s 48-layer BiCS flash memory stores 256 Gbits using a 3-D vertically stacked cell structure. Read More...

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Teardown Preview: Inside the Apple iPhone 5

Until we can lay our hands on a real iPhone 5 and do a real teardown, let's take a look at what others are saying and render an opinion on the reliability of their comments. Read More...

Teardown: High-voltage Li-ion battery stack management - the drive for safe power

At the heart of the Chevrolet Volt, a sophisticated Li-ion battery stack management system ensures the safety and reliability of a multi-cell Li-ion battery stack capable of delivering power on demand to the Chevy Volt drive system. Read More...

Teardown: iPhone 5s

Go inside the iPhone 5s to see the tech, the parts, what's better, and what's the same, as iFixit tears it down. Read More...

Teardown: The power inverter - from sunlight to power grid

This teardown of a solar inverter card traces the path of harvested DC power from the photovoltaic panel, through boost conversion, power inverter and massive filtering of the created AC power signal required by the power grid. Surrounded by monitoring and microcontroller magic along with safety standard adherence, we uncover the mysteries of solar energy harvesting electronics. Read More...

Teardown: Analog rules over digital in noise-canceling headphones

Dig deeper into these headphones that deliver decent audio at relatively low cost and better yet, effective active noise reduction. Read More...

A closer look at LSI’s MegaRAID SAS 9260CV-4i controller

The MegaRAID controller's innovative use of CacheVault technology solves the problem of system reliability during power outages with a greener solution that uses existing power instead of batteries. Read More...

Integration amassed: analyzing a NAS

This hands-on project showcases the second generation of Western Digital's My Book World Edition NAS (network-attached storage) device, so named because it is potentially accessible by a user from anywhere in the world. Read More...

Tiny computer holds embedded treasure

The Waysmall series from Gumstix offers designers a line of Linux-based computer systems that easily fit into the palm of your hand. Housed in an 83×36×15-mm plastic case, these miniature systems provide XScale processing power along with an MMC (MultiMedia Card) slot, two serial ports, one USB client port, a power interface, and general-purpose I/O pins. Read More...

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How to improve IoT security

There is no such thing as absolute security. Every system has a weakness, it just depends on whether attackers are suitably motivated to exploit them. Read More...

Address E-band cost and reliability issues in MMIC packaging

High component cost and low production yield limit E-band usage in applications like 77-GHz collision-avoidance systems to luxury cars; a new approach can change that. Read More...

Field-oriented control by the numbers

Dave's tutorial on field-oriented control (FOC) for motors covers BLDC and AC inductive motor types used in robotics and industrial systems. Read More...

Defend encryption systems against side-channel attacks

Systems using encryption can still leak information that compromises data security unless properly protected. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - Projects, Pt 2

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes how to use the popular chipKIT MX3 development board to build simple projects. Read More...

How to ground and power complex circuits

IDT’s Nicholaus Smith takes an in-depth look at application-based methods for grounding and powering complex circuits, specifically looking at how to optimize complex circuits from the point of view of power delivery, improved signal integrity, and properly grounded functional blocks to implement the final system. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - Projects, Pt 1

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes how to use the popular chipKIT MX3 development board to build simple projects. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - The chipKIT MX3 development board, Pt. 2

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes details of the popular chipKIT MX3 development board and associated Pmod peripherals modules. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - The chipKIT MX3 development board, Pt. 1

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes details of the popular chipKIT MX3 development board and associated Pmod peripherals modules. Read More...

Solving the riddle of IO OBE/IBE timing

Timing of OBE and IBE pins of a pad has always intrigued design engineers for a multiple number of reasons. An incomplete understanding of the role played by OBE/IBE in an IO protocol can lead to catastrophic results. Read More...

Top systems design articles of 2014

Here are some of the most popular design articles and blog posts from EDN's Systems Design center during 2014. Read More...

Embedded security rises and falls with crypto key management

Embedded systems face unparalleled security threats, requiring solutions that extend more broadly into the system life cycle. Read More...

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Visit the Fantastical Theatre of Engineering Innovation at ESC Minneapolis

The Fantastical Theatre sessions are open to all Embedded System Conference attendees, including those sporting a Free Demo Hall Pass. Read More...

5 Engineering Lessons from Pluto

The New Horizons mission to Pluto has lessons for earthbound embedded design. Read More...

Attaining functional safety: Standards, certification, and the development process

This first in a series on functional safety in design provides an overview of functional safety standards, key certification requirements, and how to ease the effort of certification. Read More...

Optical heart-rate measurement’s top 5 challenges

Before releasing your latest wearable into the world, be sure you’ve validated its heart-rate measurement function against these five challenges. Read More...

8 tips for squashing bugs using ASSERT in C

Assertions are a powerful debugging tool, when used properly. Here's how. Read More...

Handle industrial IoT data end-to-end

An addition to the data distribution service can extend its applicability to cloud-based IT communications. Read More...

Meet Daniel's new oscilloscope

Keysight Technologies presented a new oscilloscope to incoming MIT freshman Daniel Sheen on August 12, 2015. Read More...

NIWeek: Automated test systems

NIWeek 2015 was full of companies demonstrating ATE systems ranging from wireless to military to an all-in-one system. Read More...

Design & simulate in the clouds

A look at some Web-based schematic, PCB layout, and simulation sites. Read More...

A first (lock) step into functional safety

You may not be involved in safety-related design now, but you probably will be. Time to start learning about functional safety design. Read More...

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