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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.

Simpler superconducting promised by nanowire device

MIT researchers have developed a new circuit design that could make simple superconducting devices much cheaper to manufacture. Read More...

Design strategies for the wearables market

This article looks at the user-experience-driven design methodologies being used to create some of the most successful wearable products on the market and considers the features and functions that drive a wearable product's energy budget and computational requirements. Read More...

Enhancing Servo Drive Performance

Last month, I discussed the methods that can be used to compare the performance of speed and position controllers. In this post, I’d like to show you some actual performance test results. Read More...

Should your company build or buy its IoT infrastructure?

What factors drive deciding how to connect tens or hundreds of thousands of devices (and up)? Read More...

Getting Started with the MSP430 Launchpad: The Languages of LaunchPad, Part 1

In this detailed guide to the TI LaunchPad, the authors break down hardware circuits and walk through MCU-based projects designed to help users work with the LaunchPad development kit. Read More...

Audio bus technology takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

The Analog Devices audio signal distribution system for automotive use that could emerge in some environments as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB. Read More...

Tiny SiP offers integrated TPMS solution

This highly integrated tire pressure monitoring device features the smallest package and lowest power consumption. Read More...

Memory IP targets low power requirements

In order to reach the stringent low power requirements of LCD drivers and touch screen controllers, Dolphin Integration has introduced a foundry-sponsored Single port RAM for the UMC 110 nm embedded Flash process. Read More...

MATLAB takes on big data

Release 2014b brings a range of new capabilities to MATLAB, including graphics and big data, and options in Simulink for accelerating model building and running consecutive simulations. Read More...

COM Express mini module has ECC memory support

The conga-MA3E, based on Intel Atom E3800 series processor, provides a memory error correction feature ensuring maximum reliability. Read More...

Getting Started with the MSP430 Launchpad: The digital stream, Part 2

In this detailed guide to the TI LaunchPad, the authors break down hardware circuits and walk through MCU-based projects designed to help users work with the LaunchPad development kit. Read More...

Low-cost real-time clock IC offers precise timing

The RTC1010 real-time clock IC includes an integrated quartz and digitally temperature-compensated oscillator. Read More...

1.5-V clock ICs support PCIe timing functions with SoC designs

The chips offer up to a 90% reduction in power and board space compared to standard 3.3 V current-mode HCSL devices. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

Adaptive rotary encoder distinguishes fine from coarse

Need a rotary panel control that automatically switches between fine and coarse adjustment? It's here. Read More...

Microcontroller drives piezoelectric buzzer at high voltage through one pin

If you're short on I/O pins, this circuit might solve your problem. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Apps help identify mobile code 'energy hotspots'

A software startup company based on a Purdue University innovation is helping to extend the life of smartphone batteries by helping application developers identify code that drains batteries quickly. Read More...

Audio bus technology takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

The Analog Devices audio signal distribution system for automotive use that could emerge in some environments as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB. Read More...

Tiny SiP offers integrated TPMS solution

This highly integrated tire pressure monitoring device features the smallest package and lowest power consumption. Read More...

Memory IP targets low power requirements

In order to reach the stringent low power requirements of LCD drivers and touch screen controllers, Dolphin Integration has introduced a foundry-sponsored Single port RAM for the UMC 110 nm embedded Flash process. Read More...

COM Express mini module has ECC memory support

The conga-MA3E, based on Intel Atom E3800 series processor, provides a memory error correction feature ensuring maximum reliability. Read More...

Low-cost real-time clock IC offers precise timing

The RTC1010 real-time clock IC includes an integrated quartz and digitally temperature-compensated oscillator. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

>> SEE ALL

Getting Started with the MSP430 Launchpad: The Languages of LaunchPad, Part 1

In this detailed guide to the TI LaunchPad, the authors break down hardware circuits and walk through MCU-based projects designed to help users work with the LaunchPad development kit. Read More...

Getting Started with the MSP430 Launchpad: The digital stream, Part 2

In this detailed guide to the TI LaunchPad, the authors break down hardware circuits and walk through MCU-based projects designed to help users work with the LaunchPad development kit. Read More...

Getting Started with the MSP430 Launchpad: The digital stream, Part 1

In this detailed guide to the TI LaunchPad, the authors break down hardware circuits and walk through MCU-based projects designed to help users work with the LaunchPad development kit. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: ARM mbed analog-to-digital conversion, Part 4

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Designing for wearables: Tremendous opportunity but not without challenges

The wearables space is wide open and exploding with opportunity, but that does not come without design and sourcing issues – issues some believe could be alleviated in part the strength of the maker community and an open-source approach to this segment. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: ARM mbed analog-to-digital conversion, Part 3

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: ARM mbed analog-to-digital conversion, Part 2

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: ARM mbed analog-to-digital conversion, Part 1

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: Applying the ARM mbed, Part 2

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Fast and effective embedded systems design: Applying the ARM mbed, Part 1

Specialists and beginners alike can quickly engage in successful embedded system design thanks to user-friendly and sophisticated building blocks. In this book excerpt, the authors walk developers through the key elements of embedded system design through the use of one such building block - the ARM mbed. Read More...

Handling metastability in bistable circuits

Bistable circuits exhibit three possible states: two stables states and one metastable state. Proper design requires a clear understanding of metastability and the techniques to remove it. Read More...

Simplifying SoC IO timing closure

Several factors contribute to the current complexity of SoC IO timing closure for embedded systems but designers have multiple alternatives for reducing this complexity. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Simpler superconducting promised by nanowire device

MIT researchers have developed a new circuit design that could make simple superconducting devices much cheaper to manufacture. Read More...

Enhancing Servo Drive Performance

Last month, I discussed the methods that can be used to compare the performance of speed and position controllers. In this post, I’d like to show you some actual performance test results. Read More...

Should your company build or buy its IoT infrastructure?

What factors drive deciding how to connect tens or hundreds of thousands of devices (and up)? Read More...

Galactic opportunities!

The future commercialisation of the space industry offers many new opportunities for companies to change and grow. The global-space market is forecast to be worth £400Bn by 2030 and the UK has set a target to capture a 10% share of £40Bn per year as well as the creation of 100,000 new jobs. Read More...

Putting the U in embedded systems GUIs

When the UI fails to deliver on the potential of the product, it simply doesn't matter how sophisticated the architecture or how powerful the hardware. Read More...

Vehicle electrification improves automotive efficiency

If the thought of funding a cross country trip is making you reconsider your adventurous plans, you may be interested to know there are several recent advancements in vehicle design that can help ease the pain of high fuel prices. Read More...

7 Steps to Writing a Simple Cooperative Scheduler

For many MCU-based applications an RTOS is overkill; a much simpler, cooperative scheduler will fit the requirements just as easily. Read More...

Winged parcel delivery: Google's way

While there is still debate about if legislation would ever allow swarms of commercial drones to fly over our heads, Google recently unveiled some details of its own drone-based delivery project, named Project Wing. Read More...

Pesky parasitics

As transistor sizes continue to shrink and more and more logic is placed next to analog circuits, digital-switching noise propagates through the substrate and power distribution network, degrading the functionality of the sensitive analog circuitry. Read More...

A leap into quantum computing

This first entry in a new blog examines the meeting place between EE and quantum computing. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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