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.

Technology for the Masses - The Democratisation of Development Systems

The last few years have seen the move from a small number of technology hobbyists building hardware and writing software, to a large and active global maker community. The new breed of ‘digital artisans’ that has emerged comprises hobbyists, tinkerers, students, inventors and graphic designers. The momentum that has built up around the maker movement has been made possible by the availability of low-cost, open-source microcontroller boards, freely available software and easy-to-use programming languages.

An introduction to using Linux on embedded single-board computers

Most of the more powerful compact form-factor single-board computers (SBCs) run one of the popular Linux distributions designed for use with these embedded boards. While there isn’t a specific version of the Linux kernel for embedded applications, the difference from a PC or desktop device running Linux is usually very small.

Overturning convention

By streamlining work-in-progress data management it’s possible to provide organisation, traceability and greater accountability.

Does NVMe Make Sense for Embedded?

NVM Express (NVMe) is already making a big splash in the enterprise and consumer markets. But some are now asking whether this ultra-fast solid state drive (SSD) protocol might also have a future within the embedded domain.

Measuring battery life

Poor battery life is affecting the take-up of too many devices. How can power be analysed in enough detail to ensure products live up to consumer expectations?

A better approach to engineering study?

While Hereford University of Technology and Engineering will be the first new university to open in Britain in 30 years, crucially it’s looking to provide a dramatically different approach to studying engineering.

Flash storage in networking infrastructure needs to focus on reliability, quality and data retentions

The infrastructure to support and grow connectivity is constantly evolving, and encompasses telecommunications, data communications and data centres. The processing and storage applications in that infrastructure stretches from base stations to subscriber lines, through a hierarchy of routers and switches. As the amount of digital traffic continues to expand, the need for fast and reliable storage only increases.

How do digital signatures and certificates provide protection for embedded systems?

When designing for security, the operating environment needs to determine the degree of robustness required. A security architecture must include not only the target device, but all endpoints and users within the overall system. While there are serial numbers, MAC addresses, white lists, and black lists - these designs are not foolproof. Most embedded hacks are accomplished by monitoring network traffic to reverse engineer commands, then replaying the same or modified version from somewhere else.

Evolution of real-time applications calls for novel memory technologies

We are now beginning to see the emergence of a range of technologies that will lead to major changes in the design of real-time embedded systems. These technologies include the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). The unifying thread between all of them is a greater focus on the use of distributed systems coupled with a need for high performance to deal with the data they generate and consume.

FireFly’s revolutionary smart harvesting machines

Hand-stacked turf harvesting is still widely used in the industry. Farm equipment companies have tried to build machines to automate turf slab cutting and stacking over the years to improve productivity, but the machines’ traditional approach makes them either perform inconsistently or increase productivity only slightly more than the hand-stacking process. They incorporate common mobile equipment such as electrically operated valves that control fluid power to hydraulic cylinders and motors for motion control. Though reliable for simpler systems, these components have been less effective for performing many parallel operations in tight synchronisation with other processes as well as implementing the complex math needed for advanced signal processing and high-speed motion control trajectory generation. In addition, limited data processing power and closed system architectures limit advanced functionality and remote monitoring and diagnostics.

It’s Time to Overdesign for Flexibility - Don’t Let the IIoT Catch You With Your Head in the Sand

Tired of the countless articles talking about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)? Surely all of the pundits, industry-leading companies, and technology providers excited to share their perspective on the growing impact of the IIoT have exhausted the topic. Instead of focusing on what the IIoT is, this article takes the opposite approach and talks about what the IIoT isn’t. Let’s be honest, the IIoT isn’t defined. It isn’t a known target with a clear set of parameters and rules. But there’s one thing we do know—as we build and define the IIoT, it’s critical that providers overdesign their technology offerings for flexibility.

Keeping pace with increasingly intelligent machines

Embedded systems are providing new levels of efficiency, performance, and safety to off-highway vehicles. Advances in fuel-efficiency through improved combustion techniques and hybrid powertrains are impacting the cost to operate while automatic GPS navigation and software-enabled implements are allowing equipment to accomplish more during operation.

Developing all programmable logic using the SDSoC environment

The traditional development flow of an all programmable Zynq SoC segments the design between processor system and programmable logic. The Zynq is a complex heterogeneous system which combines advanced ARM dual core Cortex-A9 processing systems with programmable logic. This programmable logic provides not only the traditional Flip Flops and Look Up Tables but also block RAM and distributed RAM, DSP Slices, PCIe endpoints and multi-gigabit transceivers. Users need a development environment which enables them to exploit the capability provided by both the processor and the programmable logic.

Making the impossible possible and the common easy

The rapid pace of technological advancement should be celebrated and embraced. It fuels amazing new technologies and scientific achievements that make us more connected and safer. It also pushes the limits of what we previously thought possible. The impact of these achievements is no longer isolated to a narrow market vertical. It permeates every industry and exposes the established market incumbents to an unusual combination of disruption and growth potential.

Protect your instrumentation investment with software

For more than 50 years, test engineers have been taking a PC-based approach to automating stand-alone instrumentation. With so much investment tied up in capital assets for test equipment, engineers are looking for reassurance that they can satisfy current and future testing needs. While capital expenditure on hardware is often the easiest cost to associate with test, the importance of a good software investment is commonly overlooked. Instrumentation will continue to evolve, but one thing remains consistent over time – software. Software is at the heart of every instrument control system, and it can help you future proof your application.

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