PCB Design Tools Evolve to Next Level

More Smarts, Wider Scope

PCB design tools and methods continue to evolve as they race to keep pace with faster, highly integrated electronics. Automated, rules-based chip placement is getting more sophisticated and tools are addressing the broader picture of the PCB design process.

By Jeff Child

Diagnostic fter decades of evolving their PCB design tool software packages, the leading tool vendors have the basics of PCB design nailed down—auto-routing, complex layer support, schematic capture and so on. In recent years, these companies have continued to come up with new enhancements to their tool suites, addressing a myriad of issues related to not just the PCB design itself, but the whole process surrounding it.

With that in mind, even in the last sixth months, PCB tool vendors have added a whole host of new capabilities to their offerings. These include special reliability analysis capabilities, sophisticated design-for-test (DFT) tools, extended team collaboration support and more.

High-Speed Signal Validation

Exemplifying these trends, in February Mentor Graphics started shipping its HyperLynx solution that provides automated and intelligent channel extraction for serializer/deserializer (SerDes) interfaces. HyperLynx PCB simulation technology for high-performance designs provides an end-to-end fully automated SerDes channel validation solution. Today’s advanced electronics products require intelligent high-speed design tools to ensure that designs perform as intended. With signaling rates of
50 Gbps becoming commonplace, and protocols like Ethernet pushing 400 Gbps bandwidth, traditional methods are insufficient. This is crucial for industries that demand superior high-speed performance such as automotive, networking, data centers, telecom and IoT/cloud-based products.

SerDes applies to interfaces like PCI Express (PCIe) that are used anywhere high-bandwidth is required. The problem is today’s hardware engineers lack time to fully understand the detailed signal integrity requirements of these interface protocols and may have limited access to signal integrity (SI) and 3D EM experts for counsel. Mentor’s new HyperLynx release provides tool-embedded protocol-specific channel compliance. The company claims it’s the industry’s first fully automatic validation tool for PCB SerDes interfaces. This includes a 3D explorer feature for design and layout optimization of non-uniform structures like breakouts and vias.

Using the new HyperLynx release, hardware engineers can easily perform protocol-specific compliance checks. The tool provides embedded protocol expertise for PCIe Gen3/4, USB 3.1 and COM-based technology for Ethernet and Optical Implementers Forum (OIF). Engineers can easily perform equalization optimization (CTLE, FFE, DFE) based on protocol architecture and constraints. HyperLynx’s 3D Explorer feature provides channel structure design and pre-layout optimization. Template-based 3D structure synthesis can be used for differential pair, BGA breakouts, via configurations, series-blocking capacitors and more (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Using HyperLynx, a 3D area is automatically created based on the available return path.

This isn’t the first Mentor Graphics time came out with PCB design tools that address a new dimension of PCB design. In March 2017, the company released its Xpedition vibration and acceleration simulation product for PCB systems reliability and failure prediction. The Xpedition product augments mechanical analysis and physical testing by introducing virtual accelerated lifecycle testing much earlier in the design process. The tool lets you simulate during the design process to determine PCB reliability and reduce field failure rates. You can also detect components on the threshold of failure that would be missed during physical testing. Finally, you can analyze pin-level Von-Mises stress and deformation to determine failure probability and safety factors.

DFT Plugin Added

In its most recent enhancement to its PCB tools offering, in February Zuken announced that it teamed up with boundary scan tool vendor XJTAG to add a plugin that enhances Zuken’s CR-8000 PCB Design Suite with a design for test (DFT) capability. . …

Read the full article in the June 335 issue of Circuit Cellar

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ETX Module Provides Long Life Cycle Solution

ADLINK Technology has continued its commitment and support to customers who have designs based on the ETX computer-on-module form factor. ETX is one of the earliest computer-on-module form factors. After more than two decades, its popularity is only second to COM Express when it comes to installed user base. With the recent discontinuation of the hugely popular Intel Atom processor N270, many customers are searching for an ETX module replacement to keep their systems up and running.

They are in need of an ETX drop-in solution at both hardware and software levels (Intel-to-Intel) with equivalent or improved performance and a better thermal envelope to simplify the transition. The problem is that customer’s current module suppliers may not have ETX on their roadmaps anymore. Since ETX is no longer a viable choice for completely new designs, many earlier manufacturers have moved on and dropped out of the ETX market.

ADLINK’s solution is the ETX-BT, based on the Intel Atom processor E3800 series SoC (formerly Bay Trail).  This Intel Atom product family is possibly the last processor that can fully support all ETX legacy interfaces: PATA IDE, ISA bus, PCI bus, serial/parallel ports, VGA and LVDS (Hsync/Vsync mode). The ETX-BT is available in both commercial (0°C to 60°C)  and Extreme Rugged (-40°C to +85°C) versions and has a life cycle of 10 years, keeping in line with Intel’s warranted life cycle for the Intel Atom processor E3800 series of 15 years from release.

ADLINK was a pioneer in the ETX form factor computer-on-module market, and continues to support its users in sustaining and extending the life of their existing ETX-based system.

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com

Linux Still Rules IoT, Says Survey, with Raspbian Leading the Way

By Eric Brown

The Eclipse Foundation’s Eclipse IoT Working Group has released the results of its IoT Developer Survey 2018, which surveyed 502 Eclipse developers between January and March 2018. While the sample size is fairly low—LinuxGizmos’  own 2017 Hacker Board survey had 1,705 respondents—and although the IoT technologies covered here extend beyond embedded tech into the cloud, the results sync up pretty well with 2017 surveys of embedded developers from VDC Research and AspenCore (EETimes/Embedded). In short, Linux rules in Internet of Things development, but FreeRTOS is coming on fast. In addition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leading cloud service for IoT.

 Eclipse IoT Developer Survey 2018 results for OS usage (top) and yearly variations for non-Linux platforms (bottom)
(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click images to enlarge)
 

When asked what operating systems were used for IoT, a total of 71.8% of the Eclipse survey respondents listed Linux, including Android and Android Things (see farther below). The next highest total was for Windows at 23%, a slight decrease from last year.

The open source, MCU-focused FreeRTOS advanced to 20%. Last December, the FreeRTOS project received major backing from Amazon. In fact, the Eclipse Foundation calls it an “acquisition.” This is never an entirely correct term when referring to a truly open source project such as FreeRTOS, but as with Samsung’s stewardship of Tizen, it appears to be essentially true.

Amazon collaborated with FreeRTOS technical leaders in spinning a new Amazon FreeRTOS variant linked to AWS IoT and AWS Greengrass. The significance of Amazon’s stake in FreeRTOS was one of the reasons Microsoft launched its Linux-based Azure Sphere secure IoT SoC platform, according to a VDC Research analyst.

The growth of FreeRTOS and Linux has apparently reduced the number of developers who code IoT devices without a formal OS or who use bare metal implementations. The “No OS/Bare Metal category” was second place in 2017, but has dropped sharply to share third place with FreeRTOS at 20%.

Other mostly open source RTOSes that had seen increases in 2017, such as mBed, Contiki, TinyOS, and Riot OS, dropped in 2018, with Contiki seeing the biggest dive. All these platforms led the open source Zephyr, however, as well as proprietary RTOSes like Micrium PS. The Intel-backed Zephyr may have declined in part due to Intel killing its Zephyr-friendly Curie module.

Eclipse IoT results for OS usage for constrained devices (top)
and gateways (bottom)

(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click images to enlarge)

When the Eclipse Foundation asked what OS was used for constrained devices, Linux still led the way, but had only 38.7%, followed by No OS/Bare Metal at 19.6%, FreeRTOS at 19.3%, and Windows at 14.1%. The others remained in the same order, ranging from Mbed at 7.7% to Riot OS at 4.7% for the next four slots.

When developers were asked about OS usage for IoT gateways, Linux dominated at 64.1% followed by Windows at 14.9%. Not surprisingly, the RTOSes barely registered here, with FreeRTOS leading at 5% and the others running at 2.2% or lower.

Eclipse IoT survey results for most popular Linux distributions
(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click image to enlarge)

Raspbian was the most popular Linux distro at 43.3%, showing just how far the Raspberry Pi has come to dominate IoT. The Debian based Ubuntu and more IoT-oriented Ubuntu Core were close behind for a combined 40.2%, and homegrown Debian stacks were used by 30.9%.

Android (19.6%) and the IoT-focused Android Things (7.9%) combined for 27.5%. Surprisingly, the open source Red Hat based distro CentOS came in next at 15.6%. Although CentOS does appear on embedded devices, its cloud server/cloud focus suggests that like Ubuntu, some of the Eclipse score came from developers working in IoT cloud stacks as well as embedded.

Yocto Project, which is not a distribution, but rather a set of standardized tools and recipes for DIY Linux development, came next at 14.2%. The stripped-down, networking focused OpenWrt and its variants, including the forked LEDE OS, combined for 7.9%. The OpenWrt and LEDE OS projects reunited as OpenWrt in January of this year. A version 18, due later this year, will attempt to integrate those elements that have diverged.

AWS and Azure rise, Google Cloud falls

The remainder of the survey dealt primarily with IoT software. Amazon’s AWS, which is the cloud platform used by its AWS IoT data aggregation platform and the related, Linux-based AWS Greengrass gateway and edge platform, led IoT cloud platforms with 51.8%. This was a 21% increase over the 2017 survey. Microsoft Azure’s share increased by 17% to 31.2%, followed by a combined score for private and on-premises cloud providers of 19.4%.

The total that used Google Cloud dropped by 8% to 18.8%. This was followed by Kubernetes, IBM Bluemix, and OpenStack On Premises.

Other survey findings include the continuing popularity of Java and MQTT among Eclipse developers. Usage of open source software of all kinds is increasing — for example, 93% of respondents say they use open source data base software, led by MySQL. Security and data collection/analytics were the leading developer concerns for IoT while interoperability troubles seem to be decreasing.

There were only a few questions about hardware, which is not surprising considering that Eclipse developers are primarily software developers. Cortex M3/M4 chips led among MCU platforms. For gateways there was an inconclusive mix of Intel and various Arm Cortex-A platforms. Perhaps most telling: 24.9% did not know what platform their IoT software would run on.

They did, however, know their favorite IDE. It starts with an E.

Further information

More information on the Eclipse IoT Developer Survey may be found in this blog announcement by Benjamin Cabé, which links to a slides from the full survey.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on April 30.

Eclipse IoT Working Group | iot.eclipse.org/working-group

Firms Team to Enable LoRaWAN Availability in 10 Cities

Semtech has announced that machineQ, Comcast’s enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) network service, has connected operational LoRaWAN networks to 10 U.S. cities. The extensive and comprehensive network coverage in these markets increases access at the network edge to add value to solutions providers and enterprises, establishing a strong foundation for nationwide deployment.

According to ABI Research, IoT technology revenues across 12 key smart city technologies and verticals, including metering, parking and street lighting, is expected to grow from around $25 billion in 2017 to $62 billion in 2026 at an average growth rate of 11%. This rapid adoption will need a proven infrastructure that is able to scale and provide key LoRa capabilities to support multiple applications.
MachineQ has rolled out networks in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington D.C. The comprehensive network presence in these 10 cities demonstrates the steady progress of enabling smart business decisions with the broad adoption of Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) for their smart applications.

According to Semtech, machineQ’s optimized LoRaWAN network drives even more diverse applications and IoT adoption. MachineQ’s widespread and comprehensive presence in these 10 cities demonstrates shows that Semtech’s LoRa Technology is able to support a diverse number of applications in making cities smarter, from improving parking congestion to remote lighting control for street lights.

Semtech | www.semtech.com

Generation Robot

Robots may be as disruptive as the automobile, causing us to rethink how we live and work. In Mouser’s 5-part Empowering Innovation Together video series, Grant Imahara departs on another technical journey to explore the frontier of robotics, meeting with researchers, engineers and visionaries shaping the robotic future.

Next Newsletter: Sensors and Measurement

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Sensors and Measurement newsletter.
May has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you this bonus newsletter beyond our normal four rotating weekly subject areas. While sensors have always played a key role in embedded systems, the exploding IoT phenomenon has pushed sensor technology to the forefront. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in sensors and measurement.

Bonus: We’ve added Drawings for Free Stuff to our weekly newsletters. Make sure you’ve subscribed to the newsletter so you can participate.

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Our weekly Circuit Cellar Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

Embedded Boards.(5/22) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Analog & Power. (6/5) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AD-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (6/12) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

Edge-as-a-Service Solution Targets Commercial IoT

Rigado has announced Cascade, its new integrated Edge-as-a-Service solution. Designed for commercial IoT applications like Asset Tracking, Smart Workplaces and Connected Retail, Cascade helps companies save six months of time—or more—in bringing their solutions to market, without the need for upfront hardware investments.

Offered as an integrated monthly subscription starting at $9/month, Cascade gives you the wireless infrastructure, edge computing platform and managed security updates that allow IoT product and project teams to focus on driving maximum value from their IoT apps—and not on the underlying edge infrastructure, security and maintenance.

Rigado’s  Cascade Edge-as-a-Service does so with four main components:

Cascade-500 IoT Gateway: Rigado’s newest IoT gateway offers a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth 5, Zigbee, Thread, Wi-Fi & LTE; security features like file system encryption; and 800 MHz of edge computing power.

Edge Protect Service: A managed, automated security service, Edge Protect provides automatic OS and security updates when common vulnerabilities, exposures and exploits are discovered. The service also provides signature authentication to ensure that what your developers publish is exactly what runs.

Edge Direct Tools: Secure edge device orchestration and systems performance monitoring allow your operations teams to set alerts and diagnose issues; provision gateways with secure IDs and encrypted keys; and flexibly schedule, manage and apply application updates. Edge Direct integrates with existing DevOps processes and CI tools and uses a familiar app store deployment model. With Edge Direct, technicians are able to stay out of the field, remotely deploying—and rolling back if necessary—updates for reliable maintenance.

Edge Connect Platform: Gives developers a secure connectivity and computing platform with a fully containerized edge OS. Featuring Ubuntu Core by Canonical with secure boot and an encrypted file system, Edge Connect also leverages Snaps, a simple application packaging system that makes it easier for developers to build and maintain application containers at the edge. With Edge Connect, your developers can work in the programming language of their choice and can easily and securely add multiple apps and functionalities onto a single gateway. Last, EdgeConnect also offers easier connections to IoT sensors and beacons using API calls that do not require device or protocol expertise.

Cascade benefits engineers by shaving months off of their IoT design and build efforts by helping them quickly develop and deploy edge applications. EdgeConnect APIs, with their ‘web-style’ access to devices, greatly simplifies architecture and saves thousands of lines of code and weeks of development and testing time.

Operational teams who are tasked with ongoing edge maintenance can use their same DevOps workflows, dashboards, and tools, such as CI, to monitor their IoT solutions. Edge performance monitoring helps Operations keep a close eye on device health and connectivity to manage successful scaling.

Cascade gives your IoT Support the solutions they need to effectively diagnose and fix client-specific issues. Able to easily integrate into existing support applications, IoT support needs little to no additional team or tools to effectively track device performance, diagnostics and update configurations.

 

Business teams benefit from the ability to easily scale IoT solutions across the commercial enterprise – all with a solution that mirrors their own SaaS Commercial IoT model. With increased security, a faster time to market and the ability to extend easily to the entire commercial enterprise, Cascade gives your business teams the ability to introduce innovation at the speed of the market.

You can get started with Rigado’s Cascade Evaluation Kit.

Rigado | www.rigado.com

MCU-Based Blood Pressure Monitoring Eval Kit

Renesas Electronics has announced an expansion of its healthcare solution lineup with the launch of a new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit. The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit comprises hardware and software elements needed to jump start blood pressure measurement design. The kit includes a pressure sensor, arm cuff, pump, electronically controlled valve, LCD panel and a reference board. The reference board incorporates an RL78 MCU-based ASSP (application specific standard product) that includes analog functions required for blood pressure measurement. Reference software and graphical user interface (GUI) development tool are also part of the new evaluation kit. Using the new evaluation kit, system manufacturers can immediately begin their system evaluations and significantly reduce their development time.


The Internet of Things offers consumers connected tools with which to manage their personal healthcare more efficiently. For instance, blood pressure monitors are already popular personal medical devices and the market is expected to grow further as blood pressure monitoring functions are incorporated into wearable devices. The growth of this market offers new business opportunities, but can also be challenging, particularly for system manufacturers who are new to the connected healthcare device ecosystem and may not have the built-in application-specific expertise. Blood pressure measurement requires a specific expertise, including filtering functions for extracting the waveforms required for measurement, making it extremely time consuming to start studying this area from the very beginning.

Renesas has developed the new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit to alleviate the development pain points, providing functions close to those used in actual blood pressure monitors thus accelerating blood pressure measurement system development.

Key features of the blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit:

The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit comprises hardware and software elements needed to jump start blood pressure measurement design, including:

  • A full range of hardware components, including a pressure sensor, arm cuff, pump, electronically controlled valve, LCD panel, and a reference board that incorporates the newly-developed RL78/H1D ASSP with the analog functions required for blood pressure measurement.
  • Reference software that provides the algorithms required for blood pressure measurement and that can be easily modified, as well as access to smartphone applications, and a graphical user interface (GUI) tool.
  • A Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, which enables the measured data to be transmitted to a smartphone under the Continua standard blood pressure monitoring (BPM) profile is also provided in the new evaluation kit.

Development support with GUI tool, specialized for blood pressure measurement

  • The pressure sensor, pump, electronically controlled valve components, and pulse width modulation control can be set from the GUI tool. If the system structure is the same, the GUI tool can also be used for system evaluation of the actual application the system manufacturer is developing.
  • The IIR digital filter calculations required for extracting the pulse waveform from the cuff pressure output waveform during blood pressure measurement can also be simulated using the GUI tool. The digital filter constants calculated based on this simulation can be written from the GUI tool to the RL78/H1D firmware and verified in the actual application being developed. This significantly reduces the number of steps in the development process.

RL78/H1D ASSP with optimized analog functions for healthcare applications

  • The RL78/H1D is a new ASSP of the RL78 Family of MCU. The RL78/H1D, designed to control systems required for blood pressure measurement with a single chip. It incorporates rich analog functions including high-resolution delta sigma A/D converters, programmable gain instrumentation amplifiers, D/A converters, operational amplifiers, and other circuits required for blood pressure measurement, as well as timers for PWM (pulse-width modulation) control.
  • In addition to the delta sigma 24-bit A/D converters, the RL78/H1D also provides 10-bit sequential comparison A/D converters that operate asynchronously. This simplifies implementation of systems providing temperature measurement and battery voltage monitoring while measuring the blood pressure.
  • The Rich analog functions make the new ASSP ideal not only for blood pressure monitoring systems but also for a wide array healthcare application including biosensors.
  • Samples of the RL78/H1D ASSP are available now. Pricing varies depending on the memory capacity, package and number of pins. For example, the R5F11NMG 80-pin LQFP package type with 128 KB flash ROM capacity is priced at US$3.50. The R5F11NMG includes an LCD controller for arm- and wrist-type blood pressure monitors, and a 4mm x 4 mm miniature ball grid array (BGA) package for use in wearable devices.

Renesas plans to expand its range of solutions for the healthcare field and will continue to contribute to the realization of a safe and secure smart society, including the development of smart connected devices for the industrial and healthcare industries.

 

The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit is scheduled to be available for order from May 10 priced at $600 per unit.

Renesas Electronics | www.renesas.com

Gesture Recognition in a Boxing Glove

Sensors Packed in the Punch

Learn how these two Boston University graduate students built a gesture-detection wearable that acts as a building block for a larger fitness telemetry system. Using a Linux-based Gumstix Verdex, the wearable couples an inertial measurement unit with a pressure sensor embedded in a boxing glove.

By Blade Olson and Patrick Dillon

Diagnostic monitoring of physical activity is growing in demand for physical therapists, entertainment technologists, sports trainers and for postoperative monitoring with surgeons [1][2]. In response to the need for a low-cost, low-profile, versatile, extensible, wearable activity sensor, the Hit-Rec boxing sensor is a proof-of-concept device that demonstrates on-board gesture recognition and high-throughput data monitoring are possible on a wearable sensor that can withstand violent impacts. The Hit-Rec’s ability to gather raw sensor values and run calculations at a high frame rate make the Hit-Rec an ideal diagnostic device for physical therapists searching for slight perturbations across a user’s gestures in a single recording session or for looking at discrepancies between the ideal motions of a healthy individual and the user’s current motions. The following sections will describe the implementation of a prototype for the Hit-Rec using a boxing glove (See Lead Photo Above).

SYSTEM OVERVIEW

The Hit-Rec sensor incorporates a Gumstix Verdex Pro running Linux, a 9-DoF (degree of freedom) inertial measurement unit (IMU), a pressure sensor that is connected to the Gumstix via a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and LEDs for user feedback. The ADC and IMU both communicate over I2C. The LEDs communicate to the Gumstix through general purpose input/output (GPIO). Figure 1 shows a high-level explanation of hardware interfaces and Figure 2 provides an illustration of the system overview. All software was written in C and runs exclusively on the Gumstix Verdex Pro. A Linux kernel module was written to interact with the LEDs from the user-space program that performs data capture and analysis. IMU data was smoothed and corrected in real-time with an open-source attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) provided by Mahony [3][4]. A circular buffer queue was used to store and retrieve sensor data for recording and analysis. Punch classification compares accelerometer values at each data point and chooses the gesture with smallest discrepancy.

Figure 1
This high-level diagram details the data transfer connections made between the main hardware and software components of the Hit-Rec.

Figure 2
Overview of the software architecture for translating IMU and Pressure data to user feedback

Each of three LEDs on the Hit-Rec glove represents a different gesture type. After the “punchomatic” program is started, the user is prompted to record three gestures by way of three flashing LEDs. In the background, IMU data is continuously being recorded. The first, yellow LED flashes until an impact is registered, at which point the last 50 frames of IMU data are used as the “fingerprint“ for the gesture. This gesture fingerprint is stored for the rest of the session. Two additional gestures are recorded in an identical manner using the red and blue LEDs for the subsequent punches. After three gestures have been recorded, the user can punch in any form and the Hit-Rec will classify the new punch according to the three recently recorded punch gestures. Feedback on the most closely related punch is presented by lighting up the corresponding LED of the originally recorded gesture when a new punch occurs.

SENSORS

We used the Adafruit LSM9DS0 with breakout board as an IMU sensor and a force-sensitive resistor (FSR) from Adafruit as a pressure sensor. Both sensors communicate over I2C, which the pressure sensor achieves through an ADC. …

Read the full article in the June 335 issue of Circuit Cellar

Don’t miss out on upcoming issues of Circuit Cellar. Subscribe today!

Note: We’ve made the October 2017 issue of Circuit Cellar available as a free sample issue. In it, you’ll find a rich variety of the kinds of articles and information that exemplify a typical issue of the current magazine.

IoT Edge Server Manages Distributed Devices

Advantech has announced its new generation of wireless connectivity: the Edge Intelligence Server EIS-D210 series. As smart cities and industry 4.0 deployment installs millions of IoT sensors and devices, wireless communications has become the fastest growing sector and wireless networks have been part of every application. As a result, the task of remotely managing distributed devices becomes more complex.

To echo market requirements, Advantech EIS-D210 series is powered by an Intel Celeron processor N3350 and has LoRa/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and WISE-PaaS/EdgeSense edge intelligence and sensing software built-in. It is also pre-integrated with Microsoft Azure IoT Edge and AWS Greengrass to extend cloud intelligence to edge devices and enable real-time decisions at the edge. Advantech EIS-D210 is an integrated solution from the edge to the cloud and simplifies IoT application deployment. It’s well suited for applications in smart factory, smart energy and intelligent agriculture applications that need wireless sensor network management.

EIS-D210W has a built-in certificated Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz standard) and Bluetooth 4.1 module, and EIS-D210L incorporates a built-in private LoRa long-range modem. All EIS-D210 series have built-in dual GbE, COM (RS-232/422/485), VGA/HDMI, four USB 3.0 and mPCIe ports. The mPCIe ports can be extended to support 3G/4G LTE. EIS-D210 series provide several connection capabilities and peripheral support for multiple wireless/wired communications.

EIS-D210 series comes with Advantech’s WISE-PaaS/EdgeSense edge intelligence and sensing integration software, which provides an IoT SDK and documents for wireless sensor (LoRa, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) data integration and supporting field protocols (MQTT/OPC/Modbus) for sensor/device data acquisition. With these, customers can quickly incorporate data integration, data pre-processing, and edge analytics to their applications.

EIS-D210 series is also pre-integrated with Azure IoT Edge and AWS Greengrass, ensuring that IoT devices can respond quickly to local events, interact with local resources, operate with intermittent connections, and minimize the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud. Furthermore, after data modeling and machine learning with data, results can be pushed back to edge (IoT Edge/ Greengrass) to provide data prediction for IoT applications.

EIS-D210W (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) became available at end of April and EIS-D210L (LoRa) will become available in June.

Advantech | www.advantech.com

Low-Power MCUs Extend Battery Life for Wearables

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the ultra-low power MAX32660 and MAX32652 microcontrollers. These MCUs are based on the ARM Cortex-M4 with FPU processor and provide designers the means to develop advanced applications under restrictive power constraints. Maxim’s family of DARWIN MCUs combine its wearable-grade power technology with the biggest embedded memories in their class and advanced embedded security.

Memory, size, power consumption, and processing power are critical features for engineers designing more complex algorithms for smarter IoT applications. According to Maxim, existing solutions today offer two extremes—they either have decent power consumption but limited processing and memory capabilities, or they have higher power consumption with more powerful processors and more memory.
The MAX32660 (shown) offers designers access to enough memory to run some advanced algorithms and manage sensors (256 KB flash and 96 KB SRAM). They also offer excellent power performance (down to 50µW/MHz), small size (1.6 mm x 1.6 mm in WLP package) and a cost-effective price point. Engineers can now build more intelligent sensors and systems that are smaller and lower in cost, while also providing a longer battery life.

As IoT devices become more intelligent, they start requiring more memory and additional embedded processors which can each be very expensive and power hungry. The MAX32652 offers an alternative for designers who can benefit from the low power consumption of an embedded microcontroller with the capabilities of a higher powered applications processor.

With 3 MB flash and 1 MB SRAM integrated on-chip and running up to 120 MHz, the MAX32652 offers a highly-integrated solution for IoT devices that strive to do more processing and provide more intelligence. Integrated high-speed peripherals such as high-speed USB 2.0, secure digital (SD) card controller, a thin-film transistor (TFT) display, and a complete security engine position the MAX32652 as the low-power brain for advanced IoT devices. With the added capability to run from external memories over HyperBus or XcellaBus, the MAX32652 can be designed to do even more tomorrow, providing designers a future-proof memory architecture and anticipating the increasing demands of smart devices.

The MAX32660 and MAX32652 are both available at Maxim’s website and select authorized distributors. MAX32660EVKIT# and MAX32652EVKIT# evaluation kits are also both available at Maxim’s website.

Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com

Software Speeds Safety Certification for STM32-Based Systems

STMicroelectronics has announced new free software for its STM32 microcontrollers. The functional-safety design package cuts complexity and IEC 61508 safety-certification costs for STM32-based safety critical applications. This resource is created for designers of STM32-based devices in the field of industrial controls, robots, sensors, medical, or transportation, which must be certified up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 or 3 of the recognized safety standard IEC 61508. ST’s STM32 SIL Functional-Safety Design Package simplifies system development and certification.

The SIL Functional-Safety Design Package comprises documentation and the X-CUBE-STL, a software Self-Test Library certified to IEC 61508 SIL3. The package is initially available for the STM32F0 series. ST will continue to introduce equivalent packages for all other series in the STM32 family throughout 2018 and 2019. There are currently more than 800 STM32 microcontroller variants.

ST’s STM32 SIL Functional Safety Design Package contains full documentation to support development of STM32-based embedded systems to meet IEC 61508 requirements for functional safety. The documentation comprises safety manuals that detail all applicable safety requirements, or conditions of use, with implementation guidelines to help developers certify their products to SIL 2 or SIL 3 in accordance with IEC 61508. Also included are the mandatory Failure-Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA), containing the detailed list of microcontroller failure modes and related mitigation measures, and Failure-Mode Effects and Diagnostics Analysis (FMEDA), which gives a static snapshot reporting IEC 61508 failure rates, computed at both the microcontroller and basic functions detail levels.

The software self-test library, X-CUBE-STL, is a software-based diagnostic suite for detecting random hardware failures in STM32 safety-critical core components comprising the CPU, SRAM, and Flash memory. The Diagnostic Coverage is verified by state-of-the-art ST proprietary fault injection methodology. Integrated with the familiar and proven STM32Cube workflow, it is application-independent thereby allowing use with any user application, and is delivered as compiler-agnostic object code.

TÜV Rheinland, a leading international certification institute for functional safety certification to relevant international standards, has positively assessed X-CUBE-STL-F0 according to the functional safety standard IEC 61508:2010. Detailed information of the certificate will be soon available on www.fs-products.com. Swiss-based sensor manufacturer Contrinex is the first to use ST’s Functional-Safety Design Package to certify safety products based on STM32F0 microcontrollers.

The Functional-Safety Design Package for STM32F0 microcontrollers is available from www.st.com, free of charge, subject to Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with ST. Equivalent packages for other STM32 series will be introduced throughout 2018 and 2019.

 

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com

Next Newsletter: Embedded Boards

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Embedded Boards newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter content focuses on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

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Our weekly Circuit Cellar Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

May has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Sensors and Measurement
. (5/29) While sensors have always played a key role in embedded systems, the exploding IoT phenomenon has pushed sensor technology to the forefront. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in sensors and measurement.

Analog & Power. (6/5) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AD-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (6/12) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

SST and UMC Qualify Flash Tech on 40-nm Process

Microchip Technology subsidiary Silicon Storage Technology (SST) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) have announced the full qualification and availability of SST’s embedded SuperFlash non-volatile memory on UMC’s 40 nm CMOS platform. The 40-nm process features a more than 20 percent reduction in embedded Flash cell size and a 20- to 30-percent reduction in macro area over their 55-nm process.
The high endurance of embedded SuperFlash IP offers System on a Chip (SoC) customers extensive reliability and design flexibility combined with reduced power usage. SST’s SuperFlash non-volatile memory technology is qualified for a minimum of 100,000 cycles, underscoring the technology’s reliability. Ideal for edge computing in IoT devices, SST embedded SuperFlash technology features power benefits that derive from low-power standby and read operations, with core supply as low as 0.81 V. SuperFlash also secures applications with code maintained on chip, which is the first step in preventing illegal access through hardware and software attacks.

 

SST’s SuperFlash technology complements UMC’s embedded memory portfolio with high density and low-power IP. Combined with SST’s inherent technology reliability, UMC’s flexible capacity and high-yield maturity for its 55 nm and 40 nm platform provides foundry customers the manufacturing support needed to build a range of product applications.

To date, more than 80 billion units have shipped with SST’s embedded SuperFlash technology. SuperFlash technology is based on a proprietary split-gate Flash memory cell with the following capabilities:

  • Low-power program, erase and read operations
  • High performance with fast read access
  • Good scalability from 1 µm technology node to 28 nm technology node
  • High endurance cycling up to 500,000 cycles
  • Excellent data retention of over 20 years
  • Good performance at high temperature for automotive-grade applications
  • Immunity to Stress-Induced Leakage Current (SILC)

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Silicon Storage Technology | www.sst.com

Edge Platform Provides Machine Condition Monitoring Solution

ADLINK Technology has announced the release of its new MCM-100 machine condition monitoring edge platform, highlighting continuous 24/7 data collection and vibration measurement with maximized precision and sampling rates for rotating machinery and equipment. Integrating data collection, vibration analysis algorithms, computation and network connection tasking in a single system, the MCM-100 enables rotating machinery, tooling, and plant and automation equipment operators to easily overcome challenges inherent in conventional equipment maintenance.

According to the company, this intelligent machine monitoring solution replaces conventional manual inspection methods, providing 24/7 online monitoring and failure prediction, accurate control of machine status and responsive maintenance in real time.

The ultra-compact MCM-100 features high 24-bit resolution (compared with conventional 12-bit to 16-bit solutions) and captures high-frequency signals at a very high 128 kS/s, dramatically improving on conventional solutions’ 20 kS/s or less, delivering significantly more vibration data for analysis. Benefiting from high performance Intel Atom x7-E3950 processors, the MCM-100 provides edge-based data acquisition, domain algorithm, data analytics, machine status conversion, usage trends, alarms, and more. In addition, a LAN port and optional wireless Wi-Fi module support enable seamless data connectivity.

ADLINK’s MCM-100 all-in-one design simplifies setup, with a minimal footprint enabling quick and easy installation in proximity to equipment, reducing wiring costs and effort, while integrated function and rugged construction guarantee the MCM-100 full operability in harsh industrial environments. Features include built-in IEPE 2 mA excitation current source on each channel requiring no additional signal conditioning, and the included accelerometer attaches magnetically, allowing easy relocation to any test point, avoiding the cost and effort of non-adjustable tapping meters.

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com