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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.

In-memory database systems, NVDIMMs and data durability

The emergence of non-volatile dual in-line memory modules, or NVDIMMs, adds a new tool for in-memory database durability. Read More...

Reduce your electricity bill - start with an efficient A/C design

How HVAC designers are meeting increasingly challenging standards while still reducing the cost of their system implementation. Read More...

Platform tackles heterogeneous multicore SoC embedded development

The integrated development solution supports device configuration, deployment and system optimization for multi-OS designs that include the Linux platform, RTOS, and bare-metal applications. Read More...

Safety-optimized OS targets automotive applications

QNX OS for Automotive Safety is fine-tuned for systems requiring a certification according to the ISO 26262 safety standard. Read More...

Security MCU integrates transceiver and wake-up transponder

TI's RF430F5978 MCU integrates TI sub-1GHz RF transceiver, 3D LF wake-up trigger and transponder with standard MSP430 MCU features and advanced AES security. Read More...

MICRO SD cards with AES flash memory encryption and access protection

Swissbit AG presented two new members of the Security Series PS-100u: the secure MICRO SD storage cards PS-100u PE and PS-100u DP include new security functions, the PS-100u PE with an integrated smart card, the PS-100u DP without. Read More...

SparqEE boards bring cellular connectivity to Raspberry Pi and Arduino

A total of seven new SparqEE boards are available including the CELLv1.0 – a tiny cellular development board that implements a 2G+3G chipset to provide wireless worldwide. Read More...

Ultra-low-jitter, ultra-small packaged clock management ICs

Microsemi's ZL30250 and ZL30251 flexible clock generators are an ultra-low jitter solution (160 fsec [12 kHz-20 MHz integration band]) in a 5 x 5 mm package capable of replacing multiple high performance crystals and crystal oscillators. Read More...

Validating and using the I2C protocol

I2C is a two wire, clock synchronized protocol with a bi-directional data line and a uni-directional clock line. Its simplicity lies in its use of only two lines for communication and its complexity lies in the fact that these lines are shared among all the devices on the bus. Read More...

Certification kits for safety-critical railway MCU applications

Embedded Office's Cert-Kits now offer a component for µC/OS-II OS, pre-certified on the 16-bit microcontroller C167 from Infineon. Read More...

Evaluation kit for programmable SoC applications

Microsemi says it is enabling OEMs to expedite prototyping and application development with its comprehensive SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA evaluation kit. Read More...

NVM IP offers 75% area reduction

The non-volatile memory IP meets stringent automotive Grade 0 temperature and AEC-Q100 quality requirements. Read More...

New Raspberry Pi model adds pins, ports, and lower power

An update of the Raspberry Pi Model B - called the Raspberry Pi Model B+ - incorporates numerous small improvements that have been requested by users. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

Wireless temperature monitor has data-logging capabilities

You can make a wireless temps system with two ICs. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Safety-optimized OS targets automotive applications

QNX OS for Automotive Safety is fine-tuned for systems requiring a certification according to the ISO 26262 safety standard. Read More...

Security MCU integrates transceiver and wake-up transponder

TI's RF430F5978 MCU integrates TI sub-1GHz RF transceiver, 3D LF wake-up trigger and transponder with standard MSP430 MCU features and advanced AES security. Read More...

MICRO SD cards with AES flash memory encryption and access protection

Swissbit AG presented two new members of the Security Series PS-100u: the secure MICRO SD storage cards PS-100u PE and PS-100u DP include new security functions, the PS-100u PE with an integrated smart card, the PS-100u DP without. Read More...

SparqEE boards bring cellular connectivity to Raspberry Pi and Arduino

A total of seven new SparqEE boards are available including the CELLv1.0 – a tiny cellular development board that implements a 2G+3G chipset to provide wireless worldwide. Read More...

Ultra-low-jitter, ultra-small packaged clock management ICs

Microsemi's ZL30250 and ZL30251 flexible clock generators are an ultra-low jitter solution (160 fsec [12 kHz-20 MHz integration band]) in a 5 x 5 mm package capable of replacing multiple high performance crystals and crystal oscillators. Read More...

NVM IP offers 75% area reduction

The non-volatile memory IP meets stringent automotive Grade 0 temperature and AEC-Q100 quality requirements. 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

In-memory database systems, NVDIMMs and data durability

The emergence of non-volatile dual in-line memory modules, or NVDIMMs, adds a new tool for in-memory database durability. Read More...

Validating and using the I2C protocol

I2C is a two wire, clock synchronized protocol with a bi-directional data line and a uni-directional clock line. Its simplicity lies in its use of only two lines for communication and its complexity lies in the fact that these lines are shared among all the devices on the bus. Read More...

A robust scan insertion methodology

Designers face multiple challenges in stitching the flops in SoCs to enable robust scan across all process voltage temperature corners. Read More...

Two Views of the Post PC World - Automata Processor and TOMI Celeste, Part 3: Ray Kurzweil's Crazy Dream

Ray Kurzweil may be barking at the moon, but questions of sanity aside, Kurzweil sees the future in 3D 4K HighDef clarity -- and he's not the only mad scientist racing headlong into a brave new post-PC world. Read More...

Enhanced timing closure using latches

Latches are generally used in scan timing paths to provide robustness with respect to variations. Theoretically, latches can also be inserted in functional paths provided certain design conditions are ensured. Read More...

Efficiency and memory footprint of Xilkernel for the Microblaze soft processor

The use of a real-time multitasking kernel simplifies the design process of embedded software, but the kernel requires some portion of system's resources. This paper describes results of research work performed to determine overheads incurred by Xilkernel, a real-time multitasking kernel developed by Xilinx. Read More...

Logical chain-based clock implementation

A solution restrategizes timing optimization to tackle clocks and data logic concurrently. Read More...

Increasing observability of activity-based gating circuits

Adding XOR-based gates into the design has shown significant power saving in the SoC clock networks but requires methods to insert this circuitry while reducing the area and timing impact as well as boosting coverage of the design. Read More...

The Automata Processor - Practical processing in memory

Increasing computer performance requires a willingness to challenge decades-old concepts that are firmly ingrained in our collective ideas about computer systems. Chief amongst these is the relationship between processors and memory. Read More...

Performance optimization using smart memory controllers, Part 1

In this article, we explain how a smart memory controller can improve the performance of a system. We discuss various issues in an SoC and describe features of a smart memory controller that can be configured to mitigate these issues. Read More...

Embedded Linux - Kernel modules and device drivers, Part 7

This book offers a hands-on look at Linux for embedded and real-time applications, focusing in this excerpt on installable kernel modules and device drivers and showing how to integrate a new device driver into the kernel source tree. Read More...

Embedded Linux - Kernel modules and device drivers, Part 6

This book offers a hands-on look at Linux for embedded and real-time applications, focusing in this excerpt on installable kernel modules and device drivers and showing how to integrate a new device driver into the kernel source tree. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Reduce your electricity bill - start with an efficient A/C design

How HVAC designers are meeting increasingly challenging standards while still reducing the cost of their system implementation. Read More...

A comparison of space-grade FPGAs - Part 2

For the latest, deep-submicron, space-grade FPGAs operating at higher frequencies with lower voltages and increased logic densities, SETs can dominate the soft-error rate. Read More...

Using conditional complexity to test embedded software

There are many different ways to test an embedded system but they can be boiled down into two primary types of testing, white and black box testing. Read More...

Auto design gets help from old and new tools

Automotive design is one of the first new sectors added to the traditionally semiconductor EDA dominated DAC show, and is a major thrust into the "it's all about the system" mentality. Read More...

Don't major in CS: 5 reasons why

Mommas, here are the top 5 reasons why your babies should NOT grow up to pursue degrees in computer science. Read More...

Motor control for functional safety

As electric motor use proliferates, a fault in the electronics, sensors or motor could pose a serious risk to people or the environment, so functional safety standards now apply to the electronics. Read More...

MCU leverages 55nm automotive-specific semiconductor platform

Scaleo chip has positioned itself as the first fabless company to introduce an automotive MCU manufactured with the GlobalFoundries 55nm automotive-specific eFlash NVM advanced semiconductor manufacturing platform. Read More...

3D Printing goes open source

There's been a ton of excitement around 3D printing over the last few years and open source is right there with the commercial manufacturers this time. Read More...

A comparison of space-grade FPGAs - Part 1

FPGAs are increasingly being used in almost every spacecraft sub-system and designers now have a choice of process technologies and diverse fabrics. Which one is right for your mission? Read More...

>> SEE ALL

07.15.2014

Validating and using the I2C protocol

I2C is a two wire, clock synchronized protocol with a bi-directional data line and a uni-directional clock line. Its simplicity lies in its use of Read more...

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