PICMG to Demo IIoT Development Concept at Sensors Expo

The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), a not-for-profit consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open specifications will have a booth at Sensors Expo (#1642) to promote its concepts for a new IIoT specification.  Live demonstrations will be performed to illustrate PICMG’s approach to connect sensor and the controller endpoints using new Internet of Things (IoT) methodologies.

Doug Sandy, CTO of PICMG, will hold a tutorial on Thursday June 28th in the Live Embedded Theater on the subject “Making Sense of Industrial IoT”.  Part of the PICMG tutorial and booth live demonstrations will be to illustrate RESTful API “put, get, delete” commands for the connected sensor/computer interaction. PICMG has a working agreement with the DMTF to utilize the well-known Redfish APIs. The new PICMG specification will intend to develop a meta-data model that encompasses a breadth of individual data models for IoT. The booth will include information on a concept for a developer’s kit geared to help legacy sensors and PLCs become “IoT enabled”. PICMG will also have details on its existing embedded market open specifications for high-performance industrial computing.

PICMG | www.picmg.org

IoT in Rugged Environments

Input Voltage

–Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

JeffHeadShot

In late January every year, I always enjoy attending the Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) event where a selection of 15—give or take—sponsor companies from the embedded board industry get together to confab with the embedded industry’s  technology journalists. Held this year in Austin, Texas, it was a great opportunity to kick off the year with TED-talk style presentations from the vendors, and one-on-one meetings between us in the press and the sponsoring vendors. These companies are the leading makers of board- and box-level embedded computers designed for the more rugged end of the embedded spectrum—everything from transportation to factory automation to defense.

With Circuit Cellar increasing its coverage of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) in 2018 and beyond, naturally the IoT part of the discussion stood out or me—and there was good representation of that. In his presentation at ETT, Jarvis Wenger of MEN Micro exemplified the idea of IoT in a rugged environment. His talk described a high-performance edge computing system for an IoT oil field implementation. This IoT system had to function reliably even under the most adverse conditions and is currently in use on oil platforms.

The CompactPCI-based server platform is installed directly on the drilling sites and communicates with the operator’s data processing center in real time over GSM. The system relays all the data relating to the position of the drill head, resistance in the drilling mud, as well as general function and error analyses.

The server makes use of CompactPCI standard components equipped with a solid conduction-cooled aluminum frame. The components, in turn, are encased in an IP64-protected housing, also with thermally conductive properties. The transmission of data from the server platforms to the drilling sites and onward to the data processing center is encrypted by security protocols and corresponds to an end-to-end encryption.

The presentation from PICMG (PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group) at ETT focused directly on Industrial IoT as a theme. My friend Jessica Isquith, President of PICMG, gave the PICMG talk. She described how two of the primary challenges to the adoption of IIoT are a lack of standardization and the need to accommodate the legacy installed base of technologies. The need for standards, she emphasized, is a key need but one that falls right into PICMG’s strengths as a creator of open standards. Jessica described how there’s excellent standards work already being done to facilitate IIoT, but gaps exist and collaboration by interested stakeholders is vital. In terms of embedded board form factors, three PICMG standards are very well suited for IIoT: COM Express, CompactPCI Serial and MicroTCA.

Jessica outlined several efforts that PICMG is working on to fill the gaps of IIoT standardization. A standard called Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Redfish is a growing standard for management in IT and datacenters, but it lacks any schema for industrial-specific devices. With that in mind, PICMG plans to use its capabilities and domain knowledge to craft a meta-data model for IIoT.

Next, Jessica talked about a COM Express IIoT Developer Kit. This hardware kit to be offered by PICMG will include a carrier board with IIoT I/O break-out, examples of metadata models for common sensors and examples of I/O interface for common sensors types. Jessica believes the kit will help accelerate IIoT development and the deployment of IIoT enabled sensors.

Another solution opportunity Jessica described in her talk is a postage-stamp sized embedded board form factor specification. The idea would be a board with “just enough“ I/O and microcontroller-level processing. A postage stamp form factor will allow PICMG to extend its platform support lower into the IIoT hardware stack and enable growth in the smart sensors market. To sum up her presentation, Jessica said that, taken together, all these collaborative PICMG efforts fit into the organizations goal to make 2018 a year of significant success in IIoT.

While IoT—and even IIoT—are broad application areas with many sub-segments, it’s clear that the rugged portion of the IoT has particular challenges. It’s encouraging to see that many embedded computing vendors and organizations like PICMG are committed to help smooth the way forward. The talks mentioned here and all the of the rest of presentations from this year’s ETT are available at www.embeddedtechtrends.com

This appears in the March (332) issue of Circuit Cellar magazine

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TECHNOLOGY FOR THE INTERNET-OF-THINGS

IoT: From Device to Gateway
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most dynamic areas of embedded systems design today. This feature focuses on the technologies and products from edge IoT devices up to IoT gateways. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the wireless technologies, sensors, edge devices and IoT gateway technologies at the center of this phenomenon.

Texting and IoT Embedded Devices
Texting has become a huge part of our daily lives. But can texting be leveraged for use in IoT Wi-Fi devices? Jeff Bachiochi lays the groundwork for describing a project that will involve texting. In this part, he gets into out the details for getting started with a look at Espressif System’s ESP8266EX SoC.

Exploring the ESP32’s Peripheral Blocks
What makes an embedded processor suitable as an IoT or home control device? Wi-Fi support is just part of the picture. Brian Millier has done some Wi-Fi projects using the ESP32, so here he shares his insights about the peripherals on the ESP32 and why they’re so powerful.

MICROCONTROLLERS HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 4)
In this final part of his four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal discusses the firmware part of the system and gets into the system’s actual operation. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Apartment Entry System Uses PIC32
Learn how a Cornell undergraduate built a system that enables an apartment resident to enter when keys are lost or to grant access to a guest when there’s no one home. The system consists of a microphone connected to a Microchip PIC32 MCU that controls a push solenoid to actuate the unlock button.

Posture Corrector Leverages Bluetooth
Learn how these Cornell students built a posture corrector that helps remind you to sit up straight. Using vibration and visual cues, this wearable device is paired with a phone app and makes use of Bluetooth and Microchip PIC32 technology.

INTERACTING WITH THE ANALOG WORLD

Product Focus: ADCs and DACs
Makers of analog ICs are constantly evolving their DAC and ADC chips pushing the barriers of resolution and speeds. This new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative ADC and DAC products.

Stepper Motor Waveforms
Using inexpensive microcontrollers, motor drivers, stepper motors and other hardware, columnist Ed Nisley built himself a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines. In this article Ed examines how the CNC’s stepper motors perform, then pushes one well beyond its normal limits.

Measuring Acceleration
Sensors are a fundamental part of what make smart machines smart. And accelerometers are one of the most important of these. In this article, George Novacek examines the principles behind accelerometers and how the technology works.

SOFTWARE TOOLS AND PROTOTYPING

Trace and Code Coverage Tools
Today it’s not uncommon for embedded devices to have millions of lines of software code. Trace and code coverage 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 trace and code coverage tools.

Manual Pick-n-Place Assembly Helper
Prototyping embedded systems is an important part of the development cycle. In this article, Colin O’Flynn presents an open-source tool that helps you assemble prototype devices by making the placement process even easier.

January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

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                                     IMPROVING EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGNS

Special Feature: Powering Commercial Drones
The amount of power a commercial drone can draw on has a direct effect on how long it can stay flying as well as on what tasks it can perform. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines solar cells, fuel cells and other technology options for powering commercial drones.

CC 330 CoverFPGA Design: A Fresh Take
Although FPGAs are well established technology, many embedded systems developers—particularly those used the microcontroller realm—have never used them before. In this article, Faiz Rahman takes a fresh look a FPGAs for those new to designing them into their embedded systems.

Product Focus: COM Express boards
COM Express boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. This brand new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative COM Express products.

TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3

LF Resonator Filter
In Ed Nisley’s November column he described how an Arduino-based tester automatically measures a resonator’s frequency response to produce data defining its electrical parameters. This time he examines the resultsand explains a tester modification to measure the resonator’s response with a variable series capacitance.

Technology Spotlight: 5G Technology and Testing
The technologies that are enabling 5G communications are creating new challenges for embedded system developers. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest digital and analog ICs aimed at 5G and at the test equipment designed to work with 5G technology.

                                     MICROCONTROLLERS IN EVERYTHING

MCU-based Platform Stabilizer
Using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), two 180-degree rotation servos and a Microchip PCI MCU, three Cornell students implemented a microcontroller-based platform stabilizer. Learn how they used a pre-programmed sensor fusion algorithm and I2C to get the most out of their design.

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 2)
Continuing on with this four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal this time discusses the mechanical aspect of the design. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Massage Vest Uses PIC32 MCU
Microcontrollers are being used for all kinds of things these days. Learn how three Cornell graduates designed a low-cost massage vest that pairs seamlessly with a custom iOS app. Using the Microchip PIC32 for its brains, the massage vest has sixteen vibration motors that the user can control to create the best massage possible.

AND MORE FROM OUR EXPERT COLUMNISTS:

Five Fault Injection Attacks
Colin O’Flynn returns to the topic of fault injection security attacks. To kick off 2018, he summarizes information about five different fault injection attack stories from 2017—attacks you should be thinking about as an embedded designer.

Money Sorting Machines (Part 2)
In part 1, Jeff Bachiochi delved into the interesting world of money sort machines and their evolution. In part 2, he discusses more details about his coin sorting project. He then looks at a typical bill validator implementation used in vending systems.

Overstress Protection
Last month George Novacek reviewed the causes and results of electrical overstress (EOS). Picking up where that left off, in this article he looks at how to prevent EOS/ESD induced damage—starting with choosing properly rated components.