Embedded Development and the .NET Micro Framework

The scenario:

You’ve been assigned the task of designing and producing an embedded device. You’ve been given time, cost and size constraints that impact your design. An initial analysis of the requirements leads you to the conclusion that a 32-bit processor with a relatively small amount of RAM and Flash are required. A bit of research shows that an ARM processor with 2MB of external Flash and 2MB of external RAM will meet your cost and size constraints.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Product development

Embedded Security: Down to the Silicon

Embedded applications are increasingly going online. With the introduction of new embedded technologies that utilize a wide variety of communications options from Ethernet to Wi-Fi and ZigBee, there is a pressing need to secure these applications against the same problems that are inherent in any networked application.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Cyber security, Embedded software, Telecommunications systems, Wireless communication systems

Next-Gen Networks Drive AdvancedTCA Deployments

The evolution of technology and the never-ending thirst for higher bandwidth from industries and applications are pushing the limits of existing standards. The latest processors run faster and integrate more features, thus requiring greater power, more efficient cooling design, and a larger board size. The explosion of bandwidth in enterprise local-area networks (LANs) brought on by the deployment of gigabit Ethernet, 3G/WiMAX mobile communication, and wireless network systems and the growth of triple-play or multi-play network services, have all fueled the demand for servicing greater amounts of data traffic.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Data exchange, Performance upgrades

Secure Your Embedded Wireless Network

Connecting devices like medical instruments, weigh scales, printers, sensors, and other embedded devices to wireless networks allows the user to gain unprecedented freedom and mobility without the need for cumbersome cabling. Traditionally, many of these devices have been confined to a certain area, and the applications have been prone to human error when used by someone to manually collect information and then transfer it to a computer.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Cyber security, Wireless communication systems

Encapsulated Video “Brick” Bolsters Video Surveillance Along Boarder

Increasingly dependent on continuous video monitoring and recording, even today's more sophisticated security surveillance systems are often plagued by reliability problems. In some ways, more complex video systems are susceptible to signal and other dependability problems simply because they are multifaceted. Systems integrators may know what cameras and recorders to use in a given situation, but they also need to consider how subcomponents could play a critical role under certain conditions. A noisy switch or incompatible distribution amplifier (DA) can compromise the integrity of a video security system yet go undiagnosed or even undetected until the horse is already out of the barn.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Security systems, Surveillance

Perspective - Colonel Lewis F. Setliff III

Colonel Lewis F. Setliff III
Commander/District Engineer, St. Louis District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and became one of the largest natural disasters in the history of the United States. It resulted in more than 1,800 deaths and more than $150 billion in damages. Katrina’s storm surge measured up to 30 feet along the Mississippi coast, with winds at 127 miles per hour when it made landfall in Louisiana. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans was under water. In the aftermath of Katrina, Colonel Lewis F. Setliff III of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was selected to command Task Force Guardian, the team responsible for restoring New Orleans’ flood and hurricane protection system to its pre-storm levels before the 2006 hurricane season began.

In the following perspective, Colonel Setliff describes the challenges his team — and local contractors — faced in accomplishing their almost impossible goal of providing a measurably stronger level of protection to the city of New Orleans in a compressed time frame. (Colonel Setliff originally prepared this account of the restoration project for SolidWorks World 2007 in February in New Orleans.)

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, People and personalities

SMP vs. AMP: How Homogenous Is Your Embedded System?

Multiprocessing system architectures come in all shapes and sizes, so it is dangerous to make any generalizations. But perhaps there's agreement that most systems can be classified as either symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) or asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP).
Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software