I recently read on CNN.com the transcript of an interview (May 9, 2002) with arachnologist Norman Platnick who stated: “You’re probably within seven or eight feet of spider no matter where you are. The only place on earth that has no spiders at all—as far as we know—is Antarctica.” It didn’t take long for me to start thinking about embedded systems and my proximity to them. Is the average person always within several feet of embedded systems? Probably not. But what about 50% or 60% of the time? E-mail me your thoughts.
Embedded systems are becoming ubiquitous. They’re in vehicles, mobile electronics, toys, industrial applications, home appliances, and more. If you’re indoors, the temperature is likely monitored and controlled by an embedded system. When you’re engaged in outdoor activities (e.g., hiking, golfing, biking, or boating), you probably have a few MCU-controlled devices nearby, such as cell phones, rangefinders, pedometers, and navigation systems. This month we present articles about how embedded systems work, and our authors also provide valuable insight about topics ranging from concurrency to project development.
Freescale’s Mark Pedley kicks off the issue with a revealing article about a tilt-compensating electronic compass (p. 16). Now you can add an e-compass to your next MCU-based project.
Turn to page 24 for an in-depth interview with Italy-based engineer Guido Ottaviani. His fascination with electronics engineering, and robotics in particular, will inspire you.
Have you ever come across a product that you know you could have designed better? Scott Weber had that experience and then acted on his impulse to build a more effective system. He created an MCU-based light controller (p. 32).
If you want to ensure a microcontroller works efficiently within one of your systems, you should get to know it inside and out. Shlomo Engelberg examines the internal structure of an I/O pin with a pull-up resistor (p. 40).
Bob Japenga continues his series “Concurrency in Embedded Systems” on page 44. He covers atomicity and time of check to time of use (TOCTTOU).
On page 48 George Novacek presents the second part of his series on project development. He covers project milestones and design reviews.
Ed Nisley’s June 2012 article introduced the topic of MOSFET channel resistance. On page 52 he covers his Arduino-based MOSFET tester circuitry and provides test results.
If you read Robert Lacoste’s June 2012 article, you now understand the basics of frequency mixers. This month he presents high-level design methods and tools (p. 58).
Jeff Bachiochi wraps up the issue with an examination of a popular topic—energy harvesting (p. 68). He covers PV cell technology, maximum power point tracking (MPPT), and charge management control.
Circuit Cellar 265 is currently on newsstands.