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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.

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...

Is FPGA power design ready for concurrent engineering?

Know what your power designer needs from you. 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...

NFC development kit interfaces to Android, Linux and Windows

The AS3911 NFC development kit and interface software stack provides a blueprint for an NFC implementation in any MCU-based system. Read More...

Test system for embedded designs in compact USB box

The PicoScope 300D Mixed Signal Oscilloscope is a tool for engineers working with a diverse range of embedded systems. Read More...

Drive-control interface IC integrates safety functions

The iC-Haus iC-MR provides 13-bit sine-to-digital conversion with condition monitoring for linear and rotational encoders. Read More...

Clock-tree design made easy

Silicon Labs' new online timing utility, the Clock Tree Expert tool, was designed to enable embedded developers to generate sophisticated, streamlined clock tree block diagrams within minutes. Read More...

USB interfaces to CAN bus, fast version

Measurement and control systems can access the CAN FD data bus - the "fast" version of the proven CAN bus - through two new USB interface devices from Peak System. Read More...

EDN Must Read: GUI

Tools and techniques supporting rapid GUI design, as well as tips on efficient development, are the subject of this month's EDN Must Read: GUI. Sponsored by: Renesas 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...

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...

ARM-based SiP targets for portable medical devices

A semi-customizable, power efficient SiP solution enables miniature sensing systems for mHealth applications including glucose monitors heart rate monitors, and electrocardiogram analyzers. Read More...

Bluetooth Smart MCU features high temperature range for industrial and lighting applications

TI's SimpleLink Bluetooth low-energy CC2540T is a low power wireless MCU with an extended temperature range of -40C to 125C and USB connectivity for industrial applications. Read More...

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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

MAX10 broadens the FPGA field

Altera's MAX series has graduated from CPLD to FPGA, and sports some unique features. Read More...

Test system for embedded designs in compact USB box

The PicoScope 300D Mixed Signal Oscilloscope is a tool for engineers working with a diverse range of embedded systems. Read More...

Drive-control interface IC integrates safety functions

The iC-Haus iC-MR provides 13-bit sine-to-digital conversion with condition monitoring for linear and rotational encoders. Read More...

USB interfaces to CAN bus, fast version

Measurement and control systems can access the CAN FD data bus - the "fast" version of the proven CAN bus - through two new USB interface devices from Peak System. Read More...

ARM-based SiP targets for portable medical devices

A semi-customizable, power efficient SiP solution enables miniature sensing systems for mHealth applications including glucose monitors heart rate monitors, and electrocardiogram analyzers. Read More...

Bluetooth Smart MCU features high temperature range for industrial and lighting applications

TI's SimpleLink Bluetooth low-energy CC2540T is a low power wireless MCU with an extended temperature range of -40C to 125C and USB connectivity for industrial applications. 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

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...

The Automata Processor - Practical processing in memory, Pt 2

Following up on Part 1 of this series, this article examines the architecture and programming model of the Automata Processor -- one of a new class of computing architectures that challenges decades-old concepts about the relationship between processors and memory. Read More...

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...

>> SEE ALL

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...

Testing the performance of your motion controller

A poorly tuned regulator can result in wasted energy, wasted material or an unstable system, so it's important to evaluate speed and position controller performance at many different speed and load operating points. Read More...

A comparison of space-grade FPGAs - Part 3

Imagine the worst-case scenario for a spacecraft containing SRAM-based FPGAs performing critical control, having their configuration - i.e., the intended functionality - suddenly corrupted by cosmic radiation. Read More...

Intro to LTE-Advanced

How do we achieve higher capacity mobile phone performance with the LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) specification from the 3GPP? 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...

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...

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