Firms Collaborate to Address Chinese Automotive Radar Market

NXP Semiconductors has announced a new strategic collaboration and investment agreement with Hawkeye Technology, a company serving the Chinese automotive radar sector. Hawkeye will offer its deep 77 GHz expertise, a team of highly qualified engineers and a state-of-the-art lab complex within Southeast University in Nanjing, China. Together, the two companies plan to craft a reference design collaboration that leverages the top engineering talent at Southeast University and NXP’s longstanding radar expertise, to create NXP-based reference designs for the Chinese automotive market.

China’s automotive radar sensor market is growing at nearly 2 times the world market rate. Current automotive market analysis projects that by 2020, radar technology will be in 50% of all newly produced cars. These robust appraisals are driven in part by the China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP), which mandates the further implementation and innovation of radar in safety-related applications such as blind spot detection, automatic emergency braking, front and rear cross traffic detection and precise environmental mapping.

NXP is a manufacturer of RFCMOS-based 77 GHz automotive radar sensors, a key technology in the next phase of the advanced driving assistance roadmap. This leading-edge technology will continue to develop to address the detection and classification of vulnerable road users, full and surround view applications and the ultimate solution; imaging radar, which could in time replace more expensive and bulky technologies. NXP is building on the success of its radar sensor and S32 processing portfolio and its large scale commercial implementations by partnering with top engineering talent in China.

The cooperation is expected to address important research areas in automotive radar to help China’s domestic Tier 1 suppliers meet the challenges of this complex, fast-growing technology through complete radar system solutions and reference designs. The partnership aims to help shape the future of radar implementation in China. The collaborative environment will help the Chinese automotive market innovate with system-level solutions and radar reference designs. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com

 

Next Newsletter: Automotive Electronics

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Automotive Electronics newsletter. April has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Automotive Electronics. Automotive dashboard are evolving into so-called infotainment systems at the same time more of the car is being controlled by embedded  computing. That’s driving a need for powerful MCU-based solutions that support these trends. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in automotive electronics.

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

Already a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber? Great!
You’ll get your
Automotive Electronics newsletter issue tomorrow.

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Don’t be left out! Sign up now:

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

Analog & Power. (5/7) 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 (5/14) 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.

IoT Technology Focus. (5/21) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(5/28) 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.

Framework Unifies Development for PIC and SAM MCUs

Microchip Technology has announced a unified software framework with the release of MPLAB Harmony version 3.0 (v3), extending support for SAM MCUs for the first time. The development environment is progressively adding support across Microchip’s entire portfolio of 32-bit PIC and SAM MCUs. This provides developers more options to meet different end application requirements. The new version also adds enhancements to streamline designs, such as royalty-free security software through a partnership with wolfSSL, as well as modular software downloads that allow designers to only download select portions of software based on the needs of an application.
MPLAB Harmony v3 provides a unified platform with flexible choices spanning architectures, performance and application focus, enabling developers to learn and maintain a single environment on their computer. To support varying software development models from basic device configuration to Real Time Operating System (RTOS)-based applications, MPLAB Harmony version 3.0 relieves designers from having to download the entire software suite when they only need to use small elements or components of it.

For example, developers can now simply download device drivers or a TCP/IP stack as their application demands, saving time and hard disk space. To further streamline development, the software features simplified drivers and optimized peripheral libraries. This alleviates developers from spending time and effort on lower level drivers, allowing them to focus on differentiating applications.

To reduce embedded security design cycles for customers, Microchip has partnered with wolfSSL to implement elements of the company’s security suite software in MPLAB Harmony v3. The multi-year agreement with wolfSSL provides developers ready-to-use, royalty-free software-based security solutions that emphasize speed, size, portability and standards compliance. Developers can go into production with a free commercial license anytime during the agreement and will have access to the following elements of wolfSSL’s suite: wolfSSL TLS Library, wolfMQTT Client Library and wolfSSH SSH Library.

The Xplained Pro and Ultra evaluation platforms for SAM MCUs are now supported in MPLAB Harmony v3. MPLAB Harmony works closely with the MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to provide customers a unified software development across the company’s MCU product portfolios. The PIC32 family of MCUs and associated development platforms, such as Curiosity boards, will continue to be supported under MPLAB X and Harmony development platforms. MPLAB Harmony also seamlessly integrates third-party solutions (i.e. RTOS, middleware, drivers) into the embedded development framework.

MPLAB Harmony version 3.0 is available free to download on Microchip’s website. The following families are fully supported in MPLAB Harmony v3:

  • SAM E/S/V7x
  • SAM C21/C20
  • SAM D21/D20

The following families are beta supported in MPLAB Harmony v3:

  • SAM D/E5x
  • PIC32MZ EF
  • PIC32MZ DA
  • PIC32MK

All other 32-bit SAM and PIC32 MCU families will be supported progressively by the middle of 2019. Support for new families will be added to future MPLAB Harmony versions.

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

 

Fully Encapsulated PMBus Power Modules Deliver 10 A and 15 A

Renesas Electronics has announced a pair of new encapsulated hybrid digital DC/DC PMBus power modules, the 10-A ISL8280M and 15-A ISL8282M. The hybrid digital power modules offer best-in-class power density of 115 mA/mm-squared in a 12 mm x 11 mm package, with up to 95 percent peak efficiency. They are complete single-channel, synchronous step-down regulated power supplies that operate over a wide input voltage range of 5 V to 16 V.
Also announced are the new ISL8210M and ISL8212M analog power modules, offered in the same pin-to-pin compatible 12 mm x 11 mm package with 10 A and 15 A of output current, respectively. The hybrid digital and analog power modules provide point-of-load (POL) conversion for advanced FPGAs, DSPs, ASICs and memory used in servers, storage, optical networking, telecom, and a broad range of space-constrained industrial applications. Each device integrates a PWM controller, MOSFETs and inductor inside a new thermally optimized, Grid High Density Array (GHDA) encapsulated module. To complete the power supply, designers simply add input and output ceramic capacitors.

The ISL828xM hybrid digital and ISL821xM analog power modules feature integrated LDOs that enable single-supply operation. They leverage Renesas’ patented R4 high-speed control loop architecture with inherent line voltage feed-forward, providing designers a unique combination of ultra-fast load transient response and high noise immunity. Their proprietary Grid HDA package offers unmatched electrical and thermal performance through a single-layer conductive package substrate that efficiently transfers heat from the module to the system board, and dissipates it without requiring airflow or heatsinks – even under heavy load conditions.

Key Features of ISL828xM Hybrid Digital and ISL821xM Analog Power Modules:

  • 5 V to 16.5 V single rail input voltage, and 0.5 V to 5 V output voltage settings
  • ± 1.5% output voltage accuracy over line, load, and temperature with remote sense
  • 256 output voltage options configurable through a simple pin-strap resistor setting
  • Hybrid digital modules are SMBus/I2C/ PMBus v1.3 compatible up to 1.25 MHz
  • Seven switching frequency options from 300 kHz to 1 MHz
  • Selectable PFM/light load efficiency mode

Comprehensive fault protection with voltage, temperature and current protections

The PowerCompass tool helps users quickly identify the right power modules and other parts that match their specific requirements. Multiple power rails can be set up for more than 200 FPGAs, and designers can perform high-level system analysis and generate custom reference design files in minutes. The PowerNavigator tool works with PMBus, allowing power architects to set up hybrid digital power module telemetry, sequencing, and run-time configuration, while each module’s pin-strap configuration allows for standalone operation.

The ISL828xM hybrid digital power modules and ISL821xM analog power modules are available now from Renesas Electronics’ worldwide distributors with pricing ranging from $9.41 to $13.73 (1,000s).

Renesas Electronics | www.renesas.com

 

A Drone By Any Another Name

Input Voltage

–Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

JeffHeadShot

For over a decade before I joined the Circuit Cellar team, I was Chief Editor of a magazine that covered embedded computing technologies used in military systems. At that publication, I naturally wrote and edited a lot of articles about UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). Just as am now, I was very particular about terminologies and what they represent. And one word I quite adamantly wouldn’t allow used in that magazine was “drone.” Back then I didn’t like the term for a number of reasons. First, drone is a word that implies mindlessness or lack of intelligence. To me that didn’t feel right when covering military UAVs, because they typically embedded massive amounts of computing. Large military UAVs like the Global Hawk even had full backplanes of FPGA-based boards to do processing of imaging data and other functions. A second reason is that within the defense electronics industry, UAV was the term preferred over drone. Drone was what the unknowing, non-industry public called them—the word used for them in news stories. Most news stories using the word drone were—often justifiably—bad news.

So, for those reasons I banished any use of the word drone in that publication—at least I did before a change started happening in drone world. It’s important to understand that there are very few areas where the defense industry is ahead of the commercial industry. One exception, however, is UAVs—for many years the defense industry was way out ahead of the commercial world in UAV technology and development activity.

But around 2014 or 2015 a shift happened where biggest growth area for drone technology became dominated by commercial/civil unmanned platforms. Within that the largest chunk is the huge number of small hobbyist kinds of air vehicles. But as commercial uses blossomed for drones—ranging from film making to agriculture to construction and more—the drone market morphed toward a multi-billion-dollar market.

With that trend happening, I softened my stance, and I did start using the term drone when referring to consumer and commercial drones. And I knew that the defense electronics industry in this day and age has to keep tabs on the consumer technology market, because that’s where the rapid innovations happen. It’s too soon to tell what impact the rapid growth of the commercial/consumer drone industry will have on the defense side of drone technology. And since most (but not all) military drones are fixed-wing and commercial drones are mostly (but not all) rotary-wing, they may continue down separate paths. But it will be important for the defense industry to keep its eyes on where commercial drone technology is going.

Interestingly, this transition from defense to commercial also played out in the tradeshow realm. When I was at that military publication, the AUVSI Unmanned Systems show was a key event that I attended every year—this was even before they shifted to the new name Xponential and then to AUVSI Xponential. That show was dominated by companies marketing to the defense UAV market, along with all the defense primes (their customers). But in the 2014/2015 time frame, that show transitioned to where the number of consumer and commercial drone companies exhibiting began to be in the majority, and that’s been its direction ever since. While that wasn’t a positive trend for me when I was covering defense technologies, it’s very much welcome for me here on Circuit Cellar.

I have to be honest, writing about consumer and commercial drones is way more fun than covering military drone technology. As I’ve said before in this column, drone technology fascinates me partly because it represents one of the clearest examples of an application that wouldn’t exist without today’s level of chip integration driven by Moore’s law. That high level of integration has enabled 4k HD video capture, image stabilization, new levels of autonomy and even highly compact supercomputing to fly aboard today’s commercial and consumer drones. I’m looking forward to attending this year’s AUVSI Xponential event in Chicago, and next month I’ll be sure to share with you my thoughts about what I saw there. And as far as my objections to the word drone? Clearly, I’m over it.

This appears in the April 345 issue of Circuit Cellar magazine

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Smart Linear Regulator Boasts High Efficiency and Power Density

Texas Instruments (TI) has expanded its portfolio of linear regulators by introducing a smart AC/DC linear regulator. With 75 percent higher efficiency and two times the power density of other linear regulators, this device achieves the best balance between high efficiency and ultra-low noise while shrinking power-supply size. The fully integrated TPS7A78 linear regulator uses a unique switched-capacitor architecture to eliminate discrete components, including external inductors and transformers and miniature circuit breakers and interrupters, for tamper-resistant designs in applications including electronic metering in grid infrastructure and building automation.

The TPS7A78 is a non-isolated linear regulator that delivers up to 0.5 W from AC to DC with smaller, fewer components. This smart design optimizes regulation through an active bridge, switch capacitor and integrated low-dropout regulator (LDO). This design results in higher efficiency and a reduced capacitor size compared to linear regulators in traditional capacitor-drop solutions utilizing a Zener diode.

 

Key features and benefits of the TPS7A78:

Low standby power: A unique dynamic active bridge clamp pre-regulates the input voltage for optimal performance to reduce standby power to 10 mW, which is up to 75% lower compared to traditional capacitor-drop solutions.

Higher power density: The switched-capacitor architecture eliminates up to 26 discrete components, including the bridge rectifier. This architecture reduces capacitor size by 25% compared to traditional capacitor-drop solutions.

Tamper-proof design: The TPS7A78 is free of costly magnetic shielding, thus meeting the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61000-4-8 standard required by applications such as electronic metering.

Available through the TI store and authorized distributors, the TPS7A78 is offered in a 14-pin, 5-mm-by-6.5-mm thin-shrink small-outline package (TSSOP) and priced in small reels at US$1.00 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

 

5 V MCU Family Provides Water Tolerant Touch Integration

NXP Semiconductor has announced its 5 V KE1xZ family of MCUs. Based on the Arm Cortex-M0+ core, the MCUs are suited for embedded control systems in harsh electrical environments and provide an integrated CAN controller and capacitive touch from 32 KB flash. Designed for a wide range of industrial applications, the KE1xZ family offers mixed-signal integration across a range of compact memory variants. The 1-MS/s ADC and FlexTimer modules, combined with NXP’s Freemaster software tools library and Motor Control Application Tuning plugin (MCAT) enable designs of Brushless DC (BLDC) and other motor-control systems.

NXP’s KE1xZ MCU family offers advanced noise immunity, water-tolerant touch and low-power wake-on-touch operation—essential features for the strict electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards of the industrial and home appliance markets. NXP’s touch IP, combined with software and tools provide a high level of stability, accuracy and ease of use, with continued responsiveness and functionality through wet conditions. It can sustain 10 V in conducted noise, in alignment with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 6100-4-6 test level 3.

Additional KE1xZ MCU features:

  • Internal 48MHz internal reference clock with 1% accuracy over full operating range
  • Boot ROM with built in bootloader and 128-bit unique device identifier (UID)
  • ADC self-calibration feature
  • Flash Access Control (FAC)
  • Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) generator module
  • Internal watchdog (WDOG) with independent clock source and external watchdog monitor (EWM)
  • On-chip clock loss monitoring
  • IEC 60730 Class B safety certification
  • LQFP package with 48- and 44-pin options

The KE1xZ MCU family will be available globally in March 2019 from NXP and its distribution partners with a suggested resale price from $0.79 at 10,000-unit quantities. NXP enables developers through its MCUXpresso software and tools ecosystem, along with its FRDM-KE15Z and FRDM-TOUCH development platforms (see image above), with respective suggested resale prices of $35 and $15. Third-party support is enabled from the broad ARM ecosystem.

NXP Semiconductor | www.nxp.com

 

Intel Core Based Thin Mini-ITX Board Supports Extended Temps

Avalue announced a thin Mini-ITX board for signage, PoS, kiosk, AiO PCs, and industrial applications. Like the company’s EMX-SKLUP thin Mini-ITX board, the new EMX-KBLU2P supports Intel’s 6th Gen Skylake Core and Celeron processors, and it can also load 7th Gen Kaby Lake models. Windows 10 and Linux are on tap — the Kaby Lake configurations require higher than Linux kernel 4.7.

 
EMX-KBLU2P, front and back
(click images to enlarge)
The 170 x 170mm EMX-KBLU2P is equipped with a heatsink and can work without a fan, assuming 0.5 m/s air flow. The system supports a -20 to 70°C range and 0-90% relative humidity, and ships with a wide-range, 12-24V DC input.

The EMX-KBLU2P supports up to 32GB DDR4 RAM via dual sockets and offers 2x SATA III with 2x SATA power interfaces for storage. There’s also an M.2 Key-B 3042/2242/2260/2280 socket with 2x PCIe x1 or 1x PCIe x2 support for various USB 2.0, SATA, or wireless options. An M.2 Key-A socket supports WiFi, and there’s also a SIM card slot and a standalone PCIe interface.


EMX-KBLU2P portside view
(click image to enlarge)
Triple simultaneous displays are available with 4K-ready HDMI 1.4b and 2x DisplayPort 1.2a connections — one with HDMI support and the other with DP++. You also get dual-channel, 18/24-bit LVDS with HD resolution, which can be swapped out for an eDP port. Dual audio jacks are supported with a Realtek ALC892 codec, and you also get dual 6W amplifiers and an S/PDIF audio interface.

 
EMX-KBLU2P block diagram and detail view
(click images to enlarge)
The EMX-KBLU2P is equipped with 2x GbE (Intel I219LM and I211AT) and 4x USB 3.0 ports. Internal I/O includes 4x USB 2.0, 4 x RS232, 2 x RS232/422/485, and 16-bit GPIO. The board ships with a watchdog timer, hardware monitoring, and optional TPM 2.0.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the EMX-KBLU2P. More information may be found in Avalue’s EMX-KBLU2P announcement and product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on April 15.

Avalue Technology | www.avalue.com.tw

May (issue #346) Circuit Cellar Article Materials

Click here for the Circuit Cellar article code archive

 

p.6: Capacitive vs. Inductive Sensing: Touch Trade-Offs, By Nishant Mittal

References:
[1] (Ref: http://www.cypress.com/file/427771/download)
[2] Cypress’ Inductive Sensing Evaluation Kit product page www.cypress.com/cy8ckit-148
[3] Inductive Sensing Design https://www.cypress.com/documentation/application-notes/an219207-inductive-sensing-design-guide  
[4] CapSense Design Guide https://www.cypress.com/file/46081/download

Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com

p.10: PIC32 Tames Real-Time Stock Monitoring: Market Matador, By David Valley
and Saelig Khattar

References:
[1] A. Dunkels, “Protothreads” http://dunkels.com/adam/pt
[2] B. Land, “TFT_KEY_expander_shift_BRL4.c,” Cornell University.
http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/Target_board/TFT_KEY_expander_shift_BRL4.c
[3] B. Land, “Cornell University ECE4760 Uart Serial,” Cornell University.
http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/index_UART.html

Sources/BOM:

ITEM Manufacturer
ESP-8266 WiFi Module by Sparkfun – 1568-1235-ND Digikey reference Sparkfun
Development Board Sean Carroll
Breadboard Generic
Power Supply Generic
PIC32MX250F128B Microchip
TFT LCD Adafruit
Keypad Generic 12-key

Sean Carroll’s PIC32 development Boards http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/target_board.html

“ESP8266 Module (WRL-13678) Datasheet,” Sparkfun Electronics.

Rudinskiy, “Wi-Fi Communication Using ESP8266 & PIC32,”
Cornell University, 2014.

“PIC32 Family Reference Manual – Section 21. UART,” Microchip.

“Socket Programming HOWTO,” Python Software Foundation, 2018.

Espressif Systems | www.espressif.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
SparkFun | www.sparkfun.com

p.16: Transistor Basics: And Their Role Today, By Stuart Ball

The On Semiconductor specification for the 2N3904 used as an example in this article can be found at https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/2N3903-D.PDF

The On Semiconductor specification for the 2N3906, complementary to the 2N3904 can be found at: https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/2N3906-D.PDF

The On Semiconductor specification for the 2N7000 is at: https://www.onsemi.com/pub/Collateral/2N7000-D.PDF

On Semiconductor | www.onsemi.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com
Vishay | www.vishay.com

p. 24: Robotic Arm Plays Beer Pong: Using PIC32s and IMUs, By Daniel Fayad,
Justin Choi and Harrison Hyundong Chang

References:
[1] Sean Carroll. The Small Board, Nov 2016 http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/target_board.html
[2] Sean Carroll. The Big Board, Nov 2016 http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/target_board.html  
[3] Caulley, Desmond; Nehoran, Nadav; Zhao, Sherry. Self-balancing Robot. Dec 2015 http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/FinalProjects/f2015/dc686_nn233_hz263/final_project_webpage_v2/dc686_nn233_hz263/index.html
[4] M. Nowicki, J. Wietrzykowski, and P. Skrzypczynski, “Simplicity or flexibility? Complementary Filter vs. EKF for orientation estimation on mobile devices,” 2015 IEEE 2nd International Conference on Cybernetics (CYBCONF), 2015. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7175926/

Parts List:

Robotic Arm:
● Microcontroller: PIC32MX250F128B
● Servo Motors: SG90 (x3)
● RF: XBEE S2 (not used)

Sleeve
● Microcontroller: PIC32MX250F128B
● IMU: MPU6050
● Force Sensor: Pololu 2128260
● RF: XBEE S2 (not used)

Digi International | www.digi.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
TDK InvenSense | www.invensense.com

Here is the YouTube video of the project:

p.30: Digital Signage Technologies Gain Momentum: System Solutions,
          By Jeff Child

AAEON | www.aaeon.com
Advantech | www.advantech.com
Axiomtek | us.axiomtek.com
EFCO | www.efcotec.com
Ibase Technology | www.ibase.com.tw
Intel | www.intel.com
Logic Supply | www.logicsupply.com

p.36: Code Analysis Tools Up Their Game: Quest for Code Quality, By Jeff Child

AdaCore | www.adacore.com
GrammaTech | www.grammatech.com
Green Hills Software | www.ghs.com
IAR Systems | www.iar.com
LDRA | www.ldra.com
Segger Microcontroller | www.segger.com

p.40: PRODUCT FOCUS PC/104 Boards: Legacy That Stacks Up, By Jeff Child

ADL Embedded Solutions | www.adl-usa.com
ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com
Advantech | www.advantech.com
Diamond Systems | www.diamondsystems.com
RTD Embedded Technologies | www.rtd.com
Sundance Multiprocessor Technology | www.sundance.com
Versalogic | www.versalogic.com
Winsystems | www.winsystems.com

p.44: EMBEDDED SYSTEM ESSENTIALS: Attacking USB Gear with EMFI:
            Pitching a Glitch, By Colin O’Flynn

Sources for Trezor at https://github.com/trezor/trezor-mcu. If you want to follow this article, be sure to select the “v1.7.3” tag on GitHub.

Great Scott Gadgets | www.greatscottgadgets.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
NewAE Technology | www.newae.com
STMicroelectronics | www.st.com
Total Phase | www.totalphase.com
Trezor | www.trezor.io
Yepkit | www.yepkit.com

p.52: THE CONSUMMATE ENGINEER: Pressure Sensors: Terminologies and
           TechnologiesBy George Novacek

References:
[1] Adafruit Industries Barometric Pressure/Temperature Sensor https://www.adafruit.com/?q=pressure
[2] Accelerometers Revisited George Novacek, Circuit Cellar # 334, May 2018
[3] SparkFun Pressure Sensor MS5637 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14688

Pressure Sensors, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pressure_sensor&oldid=846577974

Adafruit | www.adafruit.com
NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com
Sparkfun | www.sparkfun.com

p.56: PICKING UP MIXED SIGNALS: Fancy Filtering with the Teensy 3.6:
              Arm-ed for DSP, By Brian Millier

References:
[1] “The Scientist and Engineer’s Guide to Digital Signal Processing”, Stephen W Smith, Ph.D. : https://www.dspguide.com/pdfbook.htm
[2] TFilter- online FIR filter design: http://t-filter.engineerjs.com/
[3] Author’s Github Site for this project: https://github.com/bmillier/Teensy-FFT-Convolution-Filter

Teensy Audio Library Design Tool: https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/gui/index.html

Teensy 3.6 Arm MCU module, Teensy Audio Shield:

https://www.Pjrc.com

SGTL5000 Codec: https://www.nxp.com/products/media-and-audio/audio-converters/audio-codec/ultra-low-power-audio-codec:SGTL5000

Frank’s Teensy SDR project: https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/40590-Teensy-Convolution-SDR-(Software-Defined-Radio)?highlight=SDR

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com
PJRC | www.pjrc.com

p.68: FROM THE BENCH: An Itty Bitty Education: STEM at Home, By Jeff Bachiochi

Itty Bitty Buggy                   Microduino’s newest STEM educational toy
Microduino Inc.

E-Switch, Inc.
SS0750301F015V1A           SS Series Sub-Miniature Snap Action Switches

Microduino | microduinoinc.com
E-Switch | www.e-switch.com

p.79: The Future of Safe Programming: How Programming Languages Evolve to
             Reduce Risks, By Quentin Ochem

[1] https://www.lanl.gov/projects/CartaBlanca/webdocs/PhippsPaperOnJavaEfficiency.pdf
[2] https://doc.rust-lang.org/book/ch00-00-introduction.html
[3] http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/docs/n2086.htm
[4] https://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/language/attributes/contract
[5] http://spark-2014.com/
[6] https://www.adacore.com/uploads/techPapers/Controlling-Costs-with-Software-Language-Choice-AdaCore-VDC-WP.PDF
[7] https://www.adacore.com/press/scandinavian-real-heart-selects-adacore-embedded-software-development-platform-for-revolutionary-artificial-heart
[8]  https://www.adacore.com/papers/ada-and-spark-at-welch-allyn
[9] https://www.adacore.com/press/denso-spark-automotive-research
[10] https://blog.adacore.com/security-agency-uses-spark-for-secure-usb-key
[11] https://www.adacore.com/press/adacore-enhances-security-critical-firmware-with-nvidia

AdaCore | www.adacore.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.

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

Already a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber? Great!
You’ll get your
Embedded Boards newsletter issue tomorrow.

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Don’t be left out! Sign up now:

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

April has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Automotive Electronics (4/30)  Automotive dashboard are evolving into so-called infotainment systems at the same time more of the car is being controlled by embedded  computing. That’s driving a need for powerful MCU-based solutions that support these trends. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in automotive electronics.

Analog & Power. (5/7) 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 (5/14) 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.

IoT Technology Focus. (5/21) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Low Power SMD Converters Target Critical Medical Designs

RECOM has introduced SMD versions for its recently released 3.5 W, 5 W and 6 W medical-grade DC/DC modules. All key features required for critical medical applications are now available for SMD designs. The REM3.5E, REM5E and REM6E series of medical-grade regulated DC/DC converters now come with either pins or SMD. They feature reinforced 250 VAC continuous working isolation with >8mm creepage/clearance providing 2xMOPP and qualify for medical B, BF and CF applications due to their very low 1 μA leakage current. The reinforced insulation of up to 10 kVDC is sufficient for virtually every medical application.

These compact SMD packages have tightly regulated single or dual outputs with UVLO, SCP, OCP and OVP. The modules operate at above 80% efficiency in a wide temperature range from -40°C up to +85°C without derating. They are UL marked and certified to CB, IEC, EN and ANSI/AAMI 60601 3rd ed. Safety and 4th ed. EMC medical standards.

Samples and OEM pricing are available from all authorized distributors or directly from RECOM.

RECOM | www.recom-power.com

 

Rugged Computers Run Linux on Jetson TX2 and Xavier

By Eric Brown

Aitech, which has been producing embedded Linux-driven systems for military/aerospace and rugged industrial applications since at least 2004, announced that Concurrent Real-Time’s hardened RedHawk Linux RTOS will be available on two Linux-ready embedded systems based on the Nvidia Jetson TX2 module. With Redhawk Linux standing in for the default Nvidia Linux4Tegra stack, the military-grade A176 Cyclone and recently released, industrial-focused A177 Twister systems can “enhance real-time computing for mission-critical applications,” says Aitech.


MIL/AERO focused A176 Cyclone (left) and new A177 Twister
(click image to enlarge)
Here, we’ll take a closer look at the A177 Twister, which was announced in October as a video capture focused variant of the similar, MIL/AERO targeted A176 Cyclone. Both of these “SWaP-optimized (size, weight and power) supercomputers” are members of Aitech’s family of GPGPU RediBuilt computers, which also include PowerPC and Intel Core based systems.

We’ll also briefly examine an “EV178 Development System” for an Nvidia Xavier based A178 Thunder system that was revealed at Embedded World. The A178 Thunder targets MIL/AERO, as well as autonomous vehicles and other applications (see farther below).

Both the A177 Twister and A176 Cyclone systems deploy the Arm-based Jetson TX2module in a rugged, small form factor (SFF) design. The TX2 module features 2x high-end “Denver 2” cores and 4x Cortex-A57 cores. There’s also a 256-core Pascal GPU with CUDA libraries for running AI and machine learning algorithms.


 
A177 Twister (left) and Jetson TX2
(click images to enlarge)
The TX2 module is further equipped with 8GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC 5.1. Other rugged TX2-based systems include Axiomtek’s eBOX800-900-FL.

The RedHawk Linux RTOS distribution, which was announced in 2005, is based on Red Hat Linux and the security-focused SELinux. RedHawk offers a hardened real-time Linux kernel with ultra-low latency and high determinism. Other features include support for multi-core architectures and x86 and ARM64 target platforms.

The RedHawk BSP also includes “NightStar” GUI debugging and analysis tools, which were announced with the initial RedHawk distro. NightStar supports hot patching “and provides a complete graphical view of multithreaded applications and their interaction with the Linux kernel,” says Concurrent Real-Time.

A177 Twister

The A177 Twister leverages the Jetson TX2 and its “CUDA and deep learning acceleration capabilities to easily handle the complex computational requirements needed in embedded systems that are managing multiple data and video streams,” says Aitech. The system is optimized for video capture, processing, and overlays.


A177 Twister
(click image to enlarge)
The A177 Twister supports applications including robotics, automation and optical inspection systems in industrial facilities, as well as for autonomous aircraft and ground environments,” says Aitech. Other applications include security and surveillance, mining and excavating computers, complex marine and boating applications, and agricultural machinery.

The 148 x 148 x 63mm A177 Twister is protected against ingress per IP67. The fanless system weighs 2.2 lbs. (just under 1Kg) and supports -20 to 65°C temperatures.

The Jetson TX2 module supplies 8GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC 5.1. The A177 Twister adds a microSD slot with optional preconfigured card, as well as an optional “Mini-SATA SSD with Quick Erase and Secure Erase support.”

The system shares many features with the A176 Cyclone, with the major difference being that it adds optional WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.1, as well as support for simultaneous capture of up to 8x RS-170A (NTSC/PAL) composite video channels at full frame rates. It also has lower ruggedization levels and a smaller 6-24V input range compared to 11-36V, among other differences.


 
A177 Twister block diagram (left) and I/O specs
(click images to enlarge)
As shown in the spec-sheet above, you can purchase the Twister with and without 8x composite inputs and/or 1x SDI input with up to 1080/60 H.264 encoding. There’s also a choice of composite or SDI frame grabbers, both, or none at all. The one SKU that offers all of the above sacrifices the single USB 3.0 port.

Standard features include USB 2.0, HDMI, Composite input, GbE. 2x RS-232 (one for debug/console), 2x CAN, and 4x single-end discrete I/O. Most of these interfaces are bundled up into rugged military-style composite I/O ports.

Power consumption is typically 8-10W with a maximum of 17W. The system also provides reverse polarity and EMC protections, hardware accelerated AES encryption/decryption, temperature sensors, elapsed time recorder, and dynamic voltage and frequency scaling.

EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder

Aitech revealed an A178 Thunder< at computer at Embedded World. The company recently followed up with a formal announcement and product page for an EV178 Development System that helps unlock the computer for early customers.


 
EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder (left) and Jetson AGX Xavier
Built around Nvidia’s high-end Jetson AGX Xavier module, the compact, Linux-driven A178 Thunder “is the most advanced solution for video and signal processing, deep-learning accelerated, for the next generation of autonomous vehicles, surveillance and targeting systems, EW systems, and many other applications,” says Aitech. The EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder processes at up to 11 TFLOPS (Terra floating point operations per second) and 22 TOPS (Terra operations per second), says Aitech.

The Jetson AGX Xavier has greater than 10x the energy efficiency and more than 20x the performance of the Jetson TX2, claims Nvidia. The 105 x 87 x 16mm Xavier module features 8x ARMv8.2 cores and a high-end, 512-core Nvidia Volta GPU with 64 tensor cores with 2x Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA) — also called NVDLA — engines. The module is also equipped with a 7-way VLIW vision chip, as well as 16GB 256-bit LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB eMMC 5.1.
EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder
(click image to enlarge)

Preliminary specs for the EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder include:

  • Nvidia Jetson AGX Xavier module
  • 4x simultaneous SDI (SD/HD) video capture channels
  • 8x simultaneous Composite (RS-170A [NTSC]/PAL) video capture channels
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI output
  • USB 3.0
  • UART Serial
  • Discretes
  • Pre-installed Linux OS, drivers, and test applications
  • Cables and external power supply

Further information

Concurrent’s RedHawk Linux RTOS appears to be available now as an optional build for the A177 Twister and earlier A176 Cyclone, both of which appear to be available with undisclosed pricing. No ship date was announced for the EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder. More information may be found in Aitech’s RedHawk Linux announcement, as well as the A177 Twister product page. More on the A178 Thunder may be found in the EV178 Development System for A178 Thunder announcementand product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on March 18.

Aitech | www.rugged.com

May Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The May issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is out next week!. We’ve been hard at work laying the foundation and nailing the beams together with a sturdy selection of  embedded electronics articles just for you. We’ll soon be inviting you inside this 84-page magazine.

Not a Circuit Cellar subscriber?  Don’t be left out! Sign up today:

 

Here’s a sneak preview of May 2019 Circuit Cellar:

EMBEDDED COMPUTING AT WORK

Technologies for Digital Signage
Digital signage ranks among the most dynamic areas of today’s embedded computing space. Makers of digital signage players, board-level products and other technologies continue to roll out new solutions for implementing powerful digital signage systems. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in digital signage.

PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards
PC/104 has come a long way since its inception over 25 ago. With its roots in ISA-bus PC technology, PC/104 evolved through the era of PCI and PCI Express by spinning off its wider family of follow on versions including PC/104-Plus, PCI-104, PCIe/104 and PCI/104-Express. This Product Focus section updates readers on these technology trends and provides a product gallery of representative PC/104 and PC/104-family boards.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES FOR EMBEDDED ENGINEERING

Code Analysis Tools
Today it’s not uncommon for embedded devices to have millions of lines of software code. Code analysis tools have kept pace with these demands making it easier for embedded developers to analyze, debug and verify complex embedded software. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest technology trends and product developments in code analysis tools.

Transistor Basics
In this day and age of highly integrated ICs, what is the relevance of the lone, discrete transistor? It’s true that most embedded systems can be solved by chip level solutions. But electronic component vendors do still make and sell individual transistors because there’s still a market for them. In this article, Stuart Ball reviews some important basics about transistors and how you can use them in your embedded system design.

Pressure Sensors
Over the years, George Novacek has done articles examining numerous types of sensors that measure various physical aspects of our world. But one measurement type he’s not yet discussed in the past is pressure. Here, George looks at pressure sensors in the context of using them in an electronic monitoring or control system. The story looks at the math, physics and technology associated with pressure sensors.

MICROCONTROLLERS DO IT ALL

Robotic Arm Plays Beer Pong
Simulating human body motion is a key concept in robotics development. With that in mind, learn how these Cornell graduates Daniel Fayad, Justin Choi and Harrison Hyundong Chang accurately simulate the movement of a human arm on a small-sized robotic arm. The Microchip PIC32 MCU-based system enables the motion-controlled, 3-DoF robotic arm to take a user’s throwing motion as a reference to its own throw. In this way, they created a robotic arm that can throw a ping pong ball and thus play beer pong.

Fancy Filtering with the Teensy 3.6
Signal filtering entails some tricky tradeoffs. A fast MCU that provides hardware-based floating-point capability eases some of those tradeoffs. In the past, Brian Millier has used the Arm-based Teensy MCU modules to serve meet those needs. In this article, Brian taps the Teensy 3.6 Arm MCU module to perform real-time audio FFT-convolution filtering.

Real-Time Stock Monitoring Using an MCU
With today’s technology, even very simple microcontroller-based devices can fetch and display data from the Internet. Learn how Cornell graduates David Valley and Saelig Khatta built a system using that can track stock prices in real-time and display them conveniently on an LCD screen. For the design, they used an Espressif Systems ESP8266 Wi-Fi module controlled by a Microchip PIC32 MCU. Our fun little device fetches chosen stock prices in real-time and displays them on a screen.

… AND MORE FROM OUR EXPERT COLUMNISTS

Attacking USB Gear with EMFI
Many products use USB, but have you ever considered there may be a critical security vulnerability lurking in your USB stack? In this article, Colin O’Flynn walks you through on example product that could be broken using electromagnetic fault injection (EMFI) to perform this attack without even removing the device enclosure.

An Itty Bitty Education
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a golden age when it comes to easily available and affordable development kits for fun and education. With that in mind, Jeff Bachiochi shares his experiences programming and playing with the Itty Bitty Buggy from Microduino. Using the product, you can build combine LEGO-compatible building blocks into mobile robots controlled via Bluetooth using your cellphone.

Highly Integrated USB-C Buck Charger Reduces Size by 30%

Maxim Integrated Products has announced the MAX77860 3A switch-mode charger. This USB-C buck charger provides the industry’s first integrated USB-C port controller and charger to eliminate the need for a separate host controller, according to Maxim. This simplifies software development and reduce overall bill-of-materials (BOM) costs for applications such as financial point-of-sale terminals, power banks, industrial computers, scanners, radios, medical devices and charging cradles.
To reduce design size as well as simplify the system hardware and software design, the MAX77860 integrates USB-C configuration channel (CC) port detection and a battery charger for 15 W applications. These integrated functions allow battery charging at the fastest rate possible under the USB-C specification and contribute to 30% smaller design size while also simplifying software development. The CC pin detection feature also shortens the design effort by eliminating the need to support end-to-end USB port connection and allowing charging to start automatically.

Key Advantages:

  • Highly Integrated: Eliminates a separate port controller and many discrete components. Reduces the size of an inductor and a capacitor due to a high switching frequency of 2 MHz/ 4 MHz, resulting in a solution size that is 30 percent smaller than the closest competitive device. This high level of integration also reduces overall BOM costs.
  • High Efficiency: High-efficiency buck reduces heat dissipation with more than 93 percent efficiency and up to 3A charging capability.
  • Design Flexibility: Backward compatibility allows designs to work with both USB-C and legacy BC1.2 or proprietary adapters. Integrated analog-to-digital converter (ADC) frees up resources in the microcontroller, while providing accurate voltage and current measurements.

The MAX77860 is available at Maxim’s website for $3.03 (1,000-up). The MAX77860EVKIT# evaluation kit is available for $70.

Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com