Highlights of the Week – 2006.06.02

There were quite a few interesting articles this past week. Take a look for yourself.

Researchers Lay Out Blueprint for “Real” Invisibility
Wow, this sounds so cool. The article compares the technology to Harry Potter. I’m thinking Star Trek. According to the article, three physicists have developed the blueprint for an “invisibility cloak,” or fabric, to make physical objects appear as though they have disappeared when they are covered. The key to making the cloak work comes from an exotic artificial composite called metamaterials. In theory, electromagnetic waves would flow around the object covered by the metamaterials. The material would act as though a hole opened in space, and light or other electromagnetic waves were swept around the physical object to emerge on the other side as if materials had passed through empty space.

Managing Embedded Systems Complexity with SysML
This article was written by Scott McKorkle of Telelogic. The article is a how-to guide about SysML in embedded design. It provides the basics of model driven development methodologies and takes you through the key steps in a fire control system from model specification to final design.

Robot Interfaces with Brain
According to the article, researchers have developed a new brain machine interface that allows robots to decode and act on brain activity in humans. Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Honda Research Institute Japan developed the BMI so data can be extracted for near real-time operation of a robot without invasive incisions into the head and brain (now they tell me). The breakthrough opens up possibilities for new interfaces between machines and people.

Controller takes Java to the Factory Floor in Real Time
Ajile Systems rolled out an edge controller that makes it possible to deploy Java code throughout an enterprise, even to the real time world of the factory floor. The systems include battery-backed pseudo-SRAM and NAND flash; 10/ 100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 and dual serial-bus ports; and dual CompactFlash Type II slots. The JNIB development kit is available now for $1,499. Commercial JNIB systems are scheduled to roll out in July, priced at less than $390.

The Debate Over Linux
Is the open-source operating system ready for device prime time? The debate takes several forms. Some industry executives knock their rivals’ approaches to device-level Linux. Others say Linux is not ready for device prime time. Still others position Linux as a discussion point in the debate over DSO.

Intel Bows Out
The end of an era. Intel will stop producing the 8051, 251, 8096/196, 188/186, i960, all versions of the 386 (including the 386EX) and 486. In all, some 700 part numbers have been end-of-lifed. Intel will only offer Pentiums and Pentium-like CPUs for embedded apps.