Software dominates the embedded system design process; according to some estimates, software development can now consume up to 70% of a project’s resources.

Traditionally, software development started when the hardware arrived, but not any more: software designers are using virtual prototypes to get their projects started in time to meet the deadlines.

But there are also operating systems, which manage this growing complexity. The choices are numerous and have an impact at the system level, as well for deeply embedded products. And C is no longer the only programming language.

Whatever the complexity of the embedded system you’re developing software for, New Electronics addresses the issues regularly by looking at the latest tools and techniques available.

Will MRAM replace flash in leading edge processes?

As microcontrollers run at faster clock rates and the amount of software needed in embedded systems increases, developers are becoming more interested in embedding memory on chip, rather than transferring data to and from an external device.

Memristors as logic gates and memory cells in tomorrow’s computing devices

As the last decade ended, ARM’s CTO Mike Muller warned the era of dark silicon was approaching. The 2008 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, published a year before, showed that scaling was diverging from transistor size. Muller argued that, while Moore’s Law might well deliver billions of transistors, they cannot all be active at the same time without making the chip cook itself to death.

Security risks in the connected world

To say the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay may be the understatement of the decade. We are all knee-deep in the IoT and there is no turning back – gone are the days of thinking connecting refrigerators, security systems and vending machines to the Internet is in a land far, far away.

Back to the future for RISC

The surprise announcement that SoftBank was to buy ARM sent ripples through the electronics industry as companies tried to determine the long-term consequences of the deal. Though there is no immediate threat to users of the ARM architecture, the potential for upheaval has led some companies to consider the risks of changes in their relationship with the processor-IP supplier.

Communicating data in the IoT

The Internet of Things is evolving to provide greater intelligence at the node, converting raw data into smart information. With less data to communicate, it becomes more cost-effective to integrate low power RF transceivers into the node module. Certification to wireless protocol standards ensures interoperability and the emergence of open tools will make support for these standards less onerous to developers.

Five tips for developing secure android applications

Android now commands 76% of the smartphone market in the EU5 (Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Spain), 67% in the US and nearly 80% in China – according to latest figures from Kantor World Panel. With such numbers, it’s no wonder the Android application development gold rush is continuing with nearly a quarter of a million apps added to Google Play so far in 2016. That’s an average of 1379 apps every day. However, with Accessibility Clickjacking, Stagefright, Triada and other malware among the growing list of Android exploits, security should be at top of developers’ priority list.

MRAM is finding ways around the memory chasm

When Freescale started work on magnetic random access memory (MRAM) two decades ago, it looked as though it could provide a fast, low power memory that does not need a constant flow of current to store data. With a bit cell that looked to be competitive with DRAM, but with better storage behaviour than flash, MRAM offered the potential to be the ultimate memory.

High throughput, low power requirement

For cloud and IoT applications, there is a rising need for flexible GbE firewalls in corporate network infrastructures. With integrated Open Source and x86-based AMD Embedded G-Series SoCs, Deciso’s OPNsense firewall appliance offers double the flexibility. It enables high throughput with low power consumption making it suitable for both enterprise and IoT appliances.

How to achieve ultra-efficiency in 64-bit compute

This article describes how combining dual 64-bit/32-bit computing with targeted enhancements to memory, CPU and power-management features, the latest ARM Cortex-A35 processor delivers the efficiency needed to satisfy the future demands of fast-growing markets for entry-level mobile devices.

Do engineers know what they like and like what they know?

Engineers can select from a range of technologies which might be appropriate for their next design. Options include ASICs, FPGAs and embedded CPUs. But there is a suspicion that, rather than selecting the platform which will be best for the job, engineers fall back on something with which they’re familiar.

Key attributes to consider when choosing high bandwidth probes

High speed digital applications are pushing probing solutions to the limit. As system bandwidth increases, the edge speed of the signal gets faster, the size of the chipsets and components becomes smaller and PCB layout becomes more complex. These trends challenge probing solutions and the higher the performance, the more care is needed in selecting probes.

Move to 3D flash memory set to boost prospects of SSDs

Developers of memory devices of all types have generally been the first customers for the latest process technology. A combination of the need to make memories with greater capacity at lower prices has pushed manufacturers to the ‘bleeding edge’. That combination of dynamics has also pushed some manufacturers ‘over the edge’ and the remainder into joint ventures that can cope with the commercial and technical challenges.

1D to 3D HMI solutions

Just a few years ago Touch revolutionised input: mechanical buttons, keyboards and sliders were replaced by static plastic or metal surfaces. It meant that operator interfaces could be incorporated into a device, and unobtrusive and modern design became increasingly common on the factory floor. Capacitive touch is based on a capacitor whereby the human finger acts as the actuator for the capacitor. Ingenious designs also enable proximity switches to be implemented as well. In this case the control system is only active shortly before it is activated, reducing energy consumption. This is known as ‘1D’ input.

Partnership set to ease the safety critical software verification process

Multicore processors are nothing new to electronics designers and have many features which make them attractive in a range of applications. But those developing software for safety critical systems may not view multicore devices with such fondness. The reason? Proving that the software written for multicore processors meets the requirements of the various standards is a complex and time consuming business.

You want to add security to your system, but where do you start?

Growing awareness of the Internet of Things has brought with it a desire amongst those building embedded systems to include some form of connectivity. But, as some of those designers have already found out to their cost, providing connectivity is one thing; providing security for such a system is another.

How to make sure the IoT is as secure as it should be

Attacks on Sony and Target suggest current enterprise security, in many companies, is not fit for purpose. The Internet of Things means that almost anything can now be connected to the Internet, but that also means that anything connected to the Internet can be hacked. Most of the information isn't transmitted securely and many apps have vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited by anyone with the necessary skills.

A recently developed board format is being targeted at low power, high performance applications

There is no shortage of board formats available to product designers – and it seems there is always room for a new configuration to be introduced. One of the more recent formats to be unveiled is SMARC – short for Smart Mobility Architecture. The format was developed by SGET, the Standardisation Group for Embedded Technology. SGET was launched at Embedded World in 2012, with founding members including Advantech, congatec, Data Modul, Kontron, MSC and SECO.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Editor's Choice

Crossing the threshold

Some years ago, processor developers realised that thermal issues were becoming a ...

Coping with conflict

Are electronics products worth someone’s life? This uncomfortable question has led ...

Helping UK start ups

The relationship between universities and new technology start-ups is crucial and ...