Electronics & Computers

Small Form Factor Computers Go Ultra-low Power

Agrowing number of mobile, space constrained or harsh environment applications are being designed for the military, industrial automation/HMI, digital signage and medical markets that are driving the need for ever-lower power consumption. These embedded systems have been underserved by existing SFF platforms that have not been able to offer ultra-low power operation, many times below 3 Watts, in a slim profile design. OEM developers have also been challenged to find computing platforms that deliver a flexible and scalable solution in terms of performance and rugged reliability with state-of-the-art interface and graphics support that mimics the same functionality as today’s smart consumer devices.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Human machine interface (HMI)
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Carbon Nanotube Technology Promises a Revolution in Electrical Cabling

While carbon nanotube technology (CNT) has generated widespread interest for applications ranging from semiconductors to medical, one area that is a focus of research at TE Connectivity is high-performance electrical cables. TE has been actively researching CNT for wire and cable, including cooperative efforts with universities and industry leaders, and has prototype samples for evaluation. While there is still much progress to be made before CNT cables become main stream, we believe the technology is sufficiently advanced to meet specific niche applications such as satellites.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electric cables, Conductivity, Nanomaterials, Satellites
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Looking Under the Hood of a Military Power Supply

There are power supplies in virtually every military electronic system. These ubiquitous devices come in all sizes and power ratings. And just like their commercial counterparts, they are available in the AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC configurations that provide the appropriate electrical energy to operate the electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Power electronics, Electric power, Military vehicles and equipment
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Transitioning Application Platforms to Sandy Bridge

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is changing how software applications run and perform on server platforms. In order for applications to tap the full power of these new devices, developers will need to update not only their application software, but also the hardware platforms on which those applications run. Changes to Intel’s Xeon® E3 and E5 series of microprocessors include new instructions used to accelerate common encryption tasks and floating point calculations, as well as increased core counts and cache per CPU. Paramount to adoption is the critical thinking that developers need to consider to successfully transition to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware
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Strong-ARMing The Market

Embedded market applications have entered a new era thanks to extensive software support as well as the shrinking of borders between different processor technologies enabling the software ecosystem to expand to additional technology platforms. Consequently, the standard form factors at the board and module level must also be enhanced to fully realize the multiple interface options available with new processor platforms.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software
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Using Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) to Create Robust Hardware Security Devices

A wide range of devices are designed to handle, convey and store sensitive information that requires varying degrees of security from protecting low level administrative to classified and top secret information. In addition, the information and data can reside in an equally wide range of locations and environments from protected and guarded facilities to unsecure desks and offices and over a wide range of environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, shock and vibration.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Cryptography, Cyber security, Lasers, Humidity, Vibration
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VPX-SC N-dimensional Supercomputing Architectures Come To The Critical Embedded Systems Market

From the first computers of the 1940s through the machines of the 1990s, all computer systems were CPUbound. In other words, the I/O interfaces could deliver more data than the CPU could process. In the 1990s Moore’s Law took over and clock speeds doubled every 18 months, along with the addition of multi-core processors. So, from 1990 through today, we have been I/O-bound, meaning CPUs can now process more data than the I/O links can deliver. Increases in CPU performance have been revolutionary while the increases in interconnect bandwidth have been incremental for many decades. However, bandwidth increases in RapidIO, InfiniBand, and Ethernet are breaking this bottleneck, giving us the ability to design incredibly powerful embedded supercomputing architectures for today’s dataintensive applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Performance upgrades
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The Evolution of AdvancedTCA How Far Has It Come?

AdvancedTCA (ATCA) continues to evolve to meet not just the market demands for the telecom central office, but networking, data center, medical, and military communications applications. The two main goals that ATCA suppliers have been trying to solve often conflict with each other: offering more performance in less space, while meeting the specific market and compliance requirements for each industry.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Telecommunications systems, Technical reference
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Designing CompactPCI Systems with Serial Interfaces

With more than a year under its belt since it was officially ratified by PICMG in March of 2011, CompactPCI Serial (PICMG CPCI-S.0) has proven to be a good example of how an industry standard can be upgraded to meet the needs of evolving computing parameters while protecting the historical investments tied to the original architecture. The fact that it has found a new home in a wider variety of application environments is just one more benefit that this new computing standard offers.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Performance upgrades
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New Standards Allow More CPU Options in Embedded Computing

Embedded system designers often find themselves trapped by CPU design choices they made years earlier, since switching costs can be astronomical. Hardware development often involves processor-specific interface chips and board design. Software switching costs can be even more onerous, since CPU architectures drive the purchase of development tools and the requirement for customized software. However, a couple of industry trends have opened up the CPU platform, and system designers are gaining the ability to mix and match CPU suppliers or even change CPU instruction sets to optimize products across a wider range of applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Standardization
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