Electronics & Computers

VPX: The State of the Ecosystem

You can never have too much bandwidth. High-speed processing and growing amounts of data to be communicated require generous bandwidth from the board level to the I/O. VPX, with a backplane connector system supporting 6.25 Gb/s in a switched fabric architecture, is the latest generation of VMEbus and offers new levels of performance for embedded computer systems. VPX systems are designed for flexible application of demanding highspeed protocols, such as 10G Ethernet, RapidIO, InfiniBand, and Hyper Transport protocols, in ground, aerospace, and marine applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Data exchange, Performance upgrades
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Thin Cavity Cooling of Electronic Circuitry

Anovel tested technology for cooling electronic circuitry is also useful in many other industries. The method is called “Thin Cavity Fluidic Heat Exchanger”(TCFHE). Technology details can be viewed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Web site, at application 20100078155.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Product development, Cooling
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Embedded Video Requirements Drive New Mezzanine Card Format

Sophisticated graphics have hit the embedded systems world and are increasingly demanded by military, aerospace, industrial, and medical applications. The problem, of course, is that graphics are challenging even in the desktop world. In embedded designs, they present unique issues that include very specific, non-standard functionality.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Embedded software, Displays
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Smart Reset ICs

STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) has introduced a new line of Smart Reset™ chips. The integrated circuits reset ‘frozen’ gadgets, such as mobile phones, media players, and other portable consumer devices.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Battery Simulation Software

Using its low-power EFM32 Gecko microcontrollers, Energy Micro (Oslo, Norway) has introduced a software tool that enables designers to predict battery cell life expectancy. The free energyAware™ Battery Estimator provides a simulation of total system energy usage, taking into account actual battery source, MCU energy modes, peripherals employed, and external circuit components.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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DRAM-on-Logic IC

Imec (Leuven, Belgium) has demonstrated 3D integrated DRAM-on-logic for lowpower mobile applications. The 3D stack technology consists of Imec’s proprietary logic CMOS IC, on top of which a commercial DRAM is stacked using through-silicon vias (TSVs) and micro-bumps. Heaters were integrated to test the impact of hotspots on DRAM refresh times. The chip contains test structures for monitoring thermo-mechanical stress in a 3D stack, electro-static discharge (ESD) hazards, electrical characteristics of TSVs and micro-bumps, and fault models for TSVs.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Implementing PCI Express on PC/104-Size Modules

As PC/104 celebrates its 20th anniversary as an open standard this year, it continues to grow in terms of new design-ins, applications, and integration of the latest technology. In today’s fast paced, throw-away world, this is a remarkable achievement. PC/104 users typically demand a long product life cycle of seven years or more, so for two decades, these small, stackable, embedded computer systems have found applications in military, medical, industrial, transportation, communications, pipelines, mining, utilities and a host of other industries. However, as technology changes and becomes more powerful and complex, challenges arise in implementation. This has never been truer than for the different implementation strategies for PCI Express on PC/104 size modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Reliability
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COM Express Revision 2.0: What’s new in the latest specification?

The COM Express specification was first released in 2005. Its main target was, and still is, to define the mandatory requirements of COM Express modules and carrier boards as far as it is necessary to ensure interoperability between the products of different vendors. Nevertheless, with continuous technical progress, there is also the need for adjustments of the common interface — that being the COM Express connector.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Connectors and terminals, Performance upgrades, Parts, Reliability
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Using High-Level Language to Implement Floating-Point Calculations on FPGAs

The scientific community is interested in using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) for scientific computations because they can be targeted for specific applications and achieve greater throughput at a lower power cost. However, these gains can usually only be achieved by a user with expert knowledge of hardware design. Therefore, despite improvements in FPGA technology that have allowed their use to become attractive for a wider range of applications, inexperience with hardware design remains a barrier for many.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Technician training
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Managing Security in FPGA-Based Embedded Systems

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) combine the programmability of processors with the performance of custom hardware. As they become more common in critical embedded systems, new techniques are necessary to manage security in FPGA designs. Because FPGAs can provide a useful balance between performance, rapid time to market, and flexibility, they have become the primary source of computation in many critical embedded systems. However, techniques beyond bitstream encryption are necessary to ensure FPGA design security.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Cyber security, Integrated circuits, Safety critical systems
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