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Multicore Processing: A Technological Dead End?

The computing press is full of discussions about multicore systems, defined here as single-chip computers containing two or more processing cores each connected to a common shared memory (Figure 1).

These devices are being presented as the solution to the performance problems faced by embedded systems, but in fact, multicore may be more of a problem than a solution.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware
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Understanding Virtex FPGAs

With each new generation of FPGA devices, Xilinx continues to push the performance envelope to match the ever-increasing requirements of target applications. The recent announcement of the Virtex-6 is no exception. More processing power, lower power consumption and updated interface features to match the latest technology I/O requirements are all part of the new devices. While it might be easy to assume that faster, bigger, more powerful is better, it’s important to understand how the latest FPGA innovations actually deliver this higher performance to best match the device to the specific requirements of the application.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits
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Applying Embedded Form Factors to Wireless Systems

Wireless connectivity is merging with technological advancements in silicon, signaling, mass storage and software to meet the high-performance, ultra-low power requirements for next-generation wireless systems. Embedded form factors, seeking to utilize these developing technologies to the best advantage of system designers, continue to evolve by providing enhanced capabilities while simultaneously reducing form factor footprints. As wireless connectivity becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the volume of embedded systems that utilize wireless is expanding. This perpetuates the demand for higher processing power with minimal power draw and size.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Wireless communication systems
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SUMIT™ Expansion Modules

VersaLogic Corp. (Eugene, OR) has developed two expansion modules that feature the Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology (SUMITTM) interface scheme. These PC/104-sized modules are suitable for systems that need a small (3.65" × 3.8") footprint. Expansion boards may be added, including PCI Express (PCIe) lanes, USB ports, LPC, SPI, and SMB. For legacy applications, the accessory cards are also equipped with a PC/104 ISA feed-through connector.

Posted in: Products, Products, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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EBX-Sized Single Board Computer

The EBC-Z8510-G single board computer (SBC) from WinSystems (Arlington, TX) is powered by an Intel 1.1GHz AtomTM processor. It measures 203mm × 147mm and supports the SUMIT-ISM I/O expansion standard plus COMIT (Computer On Module Interconnect TechnologyTM). The interface features two Gigabit Ethernet ports, CRT and LVDS flat panel video, a MiniPCIe card interface for a wireless networking module, four USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM ports, HD audio, PATA controller for both a CompactFlash and hard disk, 48 lines of digital I/O, LPT, and a PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse. Additional I/O module expansion is supported with two SUMIT and legacy PC/104 connectors. This RoHS-compliant board operates over a temperature range of -40 to +70°C.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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COM Express ModuleCOM Express Module

ADLINK Technology, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has introduced the Express-ATC, a “Compact” COM Express module that is compatible with the Type 2 pin-out of the PICMG® COM Express specification. The module is suitable for systems that require a full set of graphics features in a small package (95mm × 95mm), including medical diagnostics, medical imaging, gaming, industrial automation, test and measurement, and industrial control.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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48-Channel PCIe Digital I/O Card

ACCES I/O Products (San Diego, CA) now offers the PCIe-DIO-48S, a 48-channel PCI Express (PCIe) card designed for use in a variety of digital I/O applications. It is compatible with 8255 PPI (mode 0) and features a x1 lane PCIe connector that can be used in any x1 or higher PCI Express slot. It is suitable for use in applications sensing inputs such as switch closures, TTL, LVTTL, CMOS logic and controlling external relays.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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18-Pin Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) has introduced the PIC16(L)F1826 and PIC16(L)F1827 general-purpose 8-bit microcontrollers that feature the company’s enhanced mid-range core. The new MCUs provide an advanced peripheral set that includes an mTouchTM capacitive touch sensing and dual I2C/SPI interfaces, along with “LF” versions featuring low power consumption via Microchip’s nanoWatt XLP eXtreme Low-Power technology. Key features include a maximum frequency of 32 MHz, up to 7 KB Flash, up to 384 Bytes of SRAM, and an operating voltage of 1.8 to 5.5 V.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Designing the Next Generation of Military Robots

Many recent blockbuster films and best-selling books depict the robotic apocalypse and have shed a negative light on military robotics. However, not all unmanned system development is aimed toward building autonomous machines that spy on foreign nations or neutralize enemy threats. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) continues to aggressively invest in developing unmanned systems and technologies because robots can perform the tasks that are too dull, dirty, or dangerous to warrant warfighter intervention.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment
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USB-to-Synchronous Cable Enables IP Data Communications for Tactical Radios

Warfighters can benefit greatly from having radio IP-based data communications at the theater level. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the 750,000 tactical radio systems currently in use do not have the necessary built-in hardware and software to send IP-based data communications. The installed base of tactical radios is comprised of various makes and models that are not interoperable, further making it difficult to achieve theater-level data communications.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Internet, Performance upgrades, Military vehicles and equipment
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