A conclusion at the start of a report and the active voice improve engineers' written communications.
Many engineers see engineering and writing as mutually exclusive skills. They think people can do one or the other, but not both. Engineers can write well, although it takes some practice.
Analog guru Jim Williams died in mid 2011, but his work lives on in circuits, magazine articles, books and photographs. Part of his lab lives on, too, in the exhibit, "An Analog Life: Remembering Jim Williams," at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
In late 2011 I wrote about the GA144 "multi-computer" integrated circuit from GreenArrays that provides 144 cores on one chip. Engineers and programmers use the company's arrayForth tools to create
Lead-free solder has yet to yield documented benefits.
When you evaluate alternate-energy sources look at your entire system to find ways to reduce power use.
You need not roll your own wireless security protocols. Many standards already include them.
Arduino MCU electronic kits and projects make good gifts during the holidays.
You might wonder whether engineers who design embedded systems can benefit from using simulation software. "If you plan to control something like a nuclear reactor or a large piece of machinery, where you'd pay a high price for creating a bad controller...
About two years ago, the Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics (RF4CE) Consortium joined with the ZigBee Alliance to create a wireless protocol specifically for consumer-electronic products. Manufacturers and consumers have tired of handheld infrared (IR) controls...
You might think of Android only as an operating system (OS) for high-end mobile phones, but it extends beyond that type of device.
Whether you use a handful or thousands of sensors in a wireless network, communications can occur in many ways. But each approach requires a thoughtful analysis of distances between sensor nodes, node-power requirements, protocols, and network layouts, among other characteristics.
Summer vacation arrives soon and parents will have to come up with activities and projects to keep kids busy. Why not consider some electronic kits, boards, tools, and books?
At the Embedded Systems Conferences manufacturers talk about their new and improved hardware and software products. I wish space and time let write something about them all. Instead, the short descriptions below give you brief highlights of some standout products.
Engineers know about tools for controller-area network (CAN) applications that help identify problems with bits and bytes. But they might get fooled into ignoring low-level problems that can occur down at the "wire-and-connector" level.
Many product designers have thought, "My product uses four push buttons, a rotary switch, and 7-segment displays. How do I take the first step with touch-control replacements?" Semiconductor manufacturers now supply a wide range of touch-control ICs...
Contrary to what you might think, the awareness of "green power" didn't spawn the drive to harvest energy. Low-power electronic fabrication technologies did the trick. They cut the power needs of small monitoring devices to the point...
Small pocket-size logic analyzers can capture and display signals from parallel buses, but many engineers now use these capable instruments mainly to examine I2C, SPI, UART, CAN, and other protocols. A PC, connected via a USB cable, displays these serial signals and helps engineers interpret them.
When engineers think about using a real-time operating system they worry about task timing, interrupt latency, and other timing- and task-related concerns. But other aspects of adopting an RTOS deserve equal attention. "Keep an eye on your project's future growth and expandability," said Andy Gryc...
The Microchip Technology PIC processors have appealed to electronics experimenters and hobbyists for some time, and many companies sell a variety of device programmers and development boards. Young people, though, can start with a less elaborate setup...
Ask an engineer who uses microcontrollers whether processor cores matter and you'll likely hear, "Not much." People at three MCU vendors--Silicon Laboratories, Renesas, and Microchip Technology echo this answer. The capabilities and types of peripherals blended into an MCU chip matter much more.
The do-it-yourself approach to a real-time operating system appeals to many an engineer’s desire to control, schedule, and manage application interrupts. So ten years ago, the number of in-house RTOS applications outstripped all commercial RTOS implementations. Although the do-it-yourself (DIY) RTOS remains the number-one competitor to commercial RTOSs, industry analyst Embedded Market Forecasters has found
ARM counts six large silicon suppliers as licensees for the Cortex-M3 processor core, which attests to its popularity. Microcontroller manufacturers license the Cortex-M3 core and its attendant debug-and-trace macrocells, called CoreSight. The CoreSight block includes many capabilities, and hardware and software engineers should know how to take advantage of them.
In late April I visited the exhibits at the annual Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA. For the most part, people I met with discussed microcontrollers, communication, and development kits.
The emphasis on low-power embedded systems can give engineers heartburn. They must strive to enhance a system's performance, add capabilities, and make its battery last for as many as 10 years. A combination of hardware and software tools now help engineers understand power consumption without the antacids.