Prototyping PMC Daughterboards

The PMC, or PCI Mezzanine Card, follows the IEEE P1386.1 standard for printed circuit boards. PMCs combine the electrical characteristics of the PCI bus with the mechanical dimensions of the Common Mezzanine Card, or CMC, format. Within the PMC format single PMC boards measure 74mm × 149mm. While the standard also defines a double-sized card, this format is rare. For PMC cards, as defined by the standard, connector configurations can be:

2 bus connectors (P1 and P2) supporting 32-bit PCI signals, 3 bus connectors (P1, P2 and P3) supporting 64 bit PCI signals, and/or 4th bus connector (P4) supporting non-specified I/O signals.
Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Standardization

Touch Screen Technology 101

What makes the iPhone so great? Touch screen technology. Touch screens are changing the way we interact with technology and with iPhone, Apple has opened the floodgates of innovation for the function and design of handheld devices.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays

The Virtual Becomes Reality at Iowa State University

The colonel has a problem. He has eight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying over the outskirts of Baghdad, looking for potential insurgent activity. Are those people he sees moving through the streets insurgents or are they a US infantry patrol? If he alters the flight path of one UAV to loiter over the suspicious activity, how should he deploy the other seven UAVs to pick up the first's original mission? How does he keep track of the positions of the eight UAVs, what they are seeing, and the locations of nearby US troops, all in real-time?

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Virtual reality, Human machine interface (HMI), Defense industry, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Data-Based Paradigm for Rapid Development of Advanced Avionics Displays

The database concepts, tools, and runtime software described in this article provide a methodology for creating advanced avionics human-machine interfaces (HMIs), such as those found in modern flat-panel display systems. The key innovation described is the ability to treat the avionics displays as databases rather than as compiled and linked software. This new technology facilitates the goals of open architecture for avionics, a key avionics industry trend.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aircraft displays, Avionics, Computer software / hardware, Human machine interface (HMI)

Static vs. Dynamic Detection of Bugs in Safety-Critical Code

In the never-ending quest to produce high-quality software, traditional dynamic testing plays a fundamental role. The weakness of dynamic testing is that it is only as good as the test cases. To be effective, a great deal of effort must go into writing or generating good test cases, and doing so can be very expensive.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Computer software / hardware, Reliability, Test procedures

Taking the Sting Out of Multiprocessor DSP Application Development

Systems engineers face a number of challenges when configuring and programming a complex, heterogeneous multiprocessor system of the type often used in digital signal processing applications. These include:

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Computer software / hardware, Systems engineering

Using CompactPCI to Build Rugged Embedded Systems

The task-specific nature of an embedded system application typically defines a narrow scope of performance requirements. But the range of options for achieving those requirements are broad — from multicore processors and rugged single board computers (SBCs) to I/O devices and the bus systems that tie everything together. And the choices to be made are critical in their impact on cost, on performance efficiency in computeintensive operations, and on the ability to function reliably in hot, cold, dusty or wet environments.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Durability