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Facing the challenge

Testing times for fpga specifiers.

Embedded instrumentation has thrown up all manner of challenges for the humble designer. As technology has become ever more complex, the need for external instruments such as oscilliscopes and logic analysers has accordingly decreased.
Today, the sheer density and integration of semiconductor devices on boards has escalated to the point that any inadequacies of external and modular instrumentation have become immediately apparent. Glenn Woppman, president and ceo, Asset InterTech, explained: “Embedded instruments can take many shapes and forms. Some experts in the industry expect that soon the capabilities of a complete oscilloscope will be embedded as an additional resource on a chip. The types of instruments that will be embedded will be determined by many factors, such as the needs of the application, the resources of the system and the ingenuity of the chip’s design.”
Embedded fpgas allow designers to automate, access and analyse instruments at the chip level and can be called upon during every phase of a system’s life cycle. Woppman continued: “For example, design validation has a critical need for the capabilities of embedded instrumentation. Without it, the design team cannot test and validate the signal integrity of high speed busses. As the circuit board, sub assembly or system move into manufacturing, embedded instrumentation will be used to perform at speed tests and diagnose failures. And, once the product has been deployed in the field, embedded instrumentation could be accessed and engaged locally or remotely by service technicians to diagnose performance issues and troubleshoot failures.”

Chris Shaw

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