Category Archives: Microcontrollers

mcu, microcontrollers, processors, controllers, microprocessors

Microchip MASTERs Conference

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MCHP) will hold their Worldwide MASTERs Conference at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. The main conference will take place from July 23-26 and a pre-conference on July 21 and 22, 2008. The MASTERs Conference offers design engineers a forum for sharing and exchanging technical information on the company’s 8-, 16- and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, high-performance analog and interface solutions, 16-bit dsPIC digital signal controllers (DSCs), KEELOQ security devices, memory products, and MPLAB development systems — including the industry’s only singular IDE to support an entire 8-, 16- and 32-bit microcontroller portfolio.

The conference is ideal for designers who are looking for solutions to embedded-control challenges or in-depth education on Microchip’s products. Design engineers and engineering managers benefit from the conference by learning about solutions and interfacing with the Microchip architects and developers. Engineers graduating from the MASTERs program are equipped to go out and use Microchip products to their full advantage. The conference courses, a 1G Flash Drive with all class materials, and three-night accommodations with meals and evening entertainment are included in the conference cost of $1,295 USD, with all payments due by July 18th, 2008.

MASTERs is an in-depth, bi-directional exchange of technical information between Microchip experts and the company’s technical partners, including consultants, customers, third parties, distributor FAEs and design houses. Topics presented cover a broad range of subjects, from board layout topologies to real-life reference designs and embedded applications.

MASTERs classes cover the gamut of electronic engineering topics, including hands-on sessions offering instruction for object-oriented programming of PIC microcontrollers and how to do battery authentication, courses on designing LED and LCD display systems, and classes on how to add Ethernet, USB and ZigBee(tm) protocol communication to embedded designs. In addition, there are hands-on workshops that show how to create intelligent power supplies, motor control and how to take full advantage of the dsPIC DSC for speech-processing applications.

Microchip is also offering a two-day pre-conference for those who wish to attend as many classes as possible during the week. These classes are designed for beginner and advanced attendees. For example, “Introduction to Embedded Programming Using C” is a two-day, 16-hour step-by-step crash course in C, with practical hands-on exercises.

More info: MASTERs Conference

10 Years, 10 Lessons: A View from the Multiprocessing Trenches

QNX Software Systems is offering a webinar titled, “10 Years, 10 Lessons: A View from the Multiprocessing Trenches.” The one-hour webcast will take place on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. The online seminar may be of interest to embedded software development managers, architects, and developers who are considering or who are using a multi-core processor for an upcoming project.

Overview

Do you know what you want to achieve with multi-core processing? Are you making the most out of the processor cores in your embedded designs? Whether you have migrated to a multi-core or are still investigating strategies, tune in to this session to hear Kerry Johnson and Robert Craig explore multi-core technology based on their 35 years of combined experience in the industry.

In this web seminar, Kerry Johnson shares the insights gained from QNX Software System’s 10 years of experience in symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) for embedded systems. Kerry argues that adopting a multi-core processor does not have to be an arduous task. The programming approaches are, in fact, well established and within the ability of most embedded software developers today. The real key is to know what you want to accomplish, where to start, and to follow proven, experience-based practices that prevent the “gotchas” and ensure maximum scalability. Join Kerry as he shares 10 lessons learned that will help ensure the success of your next multi-core project.

Robert Craig will then take you through the new QNX developer portal, where there is a description of the key functions used to handle SMP system bring up and inter-processor co-operation, development tools, forums and more to enable migration to multi-core processing.

More information: QNX Software Systems Webinar

Webcast: Selecting the Best Microcontroller for a Mechatronic Design

Freescale Semiconductor has an on-demand webcast entitled, “Microcontroller Choices & Answers: Selecting the Best Microcontroller for a Mechatronic Design.”

Overview

Mechanical systems interact with the world around them in various ways. When there’s electronics and firmware involved, it’s important to choose the best microncontroller available for the job at hand. Join our moderator and his experienced guest from Freescale, so you can make smarter processor selection decisions.

The webinar will cover:

  • The types of features available in modern microntrollers
  • The importance of software development tool availability
  • The significance of code-compatible families of related parts
  • How to select the best fit microcontroller for use in your system

More info: Selecting the Best Microcontroller for a Mechatronic Design

Webcast: When Should a Mechanical System Compute?

Freescale Semiconductor has an on-demand webcast entitled, “Microcontroller Choices and Answers: When Should a Mechanical System Compute?”

The webinar will cover:

  • The benefits of an embedded processor and software in a mechanical system
  • When a purely mechanical system design is sufficient and/or superior
  • When discrete electronics would be sufficient vs. a microprocessor
  • How to decide if a part of your system design should be in electronics

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World Markets for Microcontrollers in Automotives

Frost & Sullivan
According to Frost & Sullivan, the proliferation of electronic content in automobiles aimed at reducing human errors as well as the growing number of automobile safety features such as additional radars, ultra sonic sensors, cameras, and automatic parking assistance are increasing demaind for microcontrollers. In addition, the introduction of multiplexing in the automotive industry has triggered sales of high performance microcontrollers by amplifying the need for additional processing power and intelligence. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, the automotive microcontroller market generated revenues of $5.83 billion in 2006 and will reach $9.52 billion in 2010.

Other findings of the World Markets for Microcontrollers in Automotives report include:

  • The sales growth for hybrids and electric vehicles will likely drive the microcontroller market.
  • Increasing automobile sales, especially in the Asian sub continent, will drive the microcontrollers market to greater heights.
  • The oil crisis and pollution control have forced power train applications to include stringent methods for controlling emissions and fuel combustion. Since these applications utilize microcontrollers to process information, these environmental and government regulations will spur microcontroller growth.
  • The strong quality requirements and extensive quality certifications required for product introductions will adversely affects lower bit microcontroller manufacturers who lose their market shares to higher bit microcontrollers. Lower bit microcontroller manufacturers can counter by focusing on developing countries with high growth potential.
  • Automotive manufacturers can increase revenues by working with semiconductor manufacturers to clearly identify difficulties. This collaboration helps reduce the gap between the expected solution and the actual solution provided. By improving cooperation, the lead-time for new technology adoption can drastically reduce due to the higher level of confidence among automotive and semiconductor manufacturers.

More info:
Frost & Sullivan

PowerQUICC Optimized Java SE for Embedded

Freescale and Sun are optimizing Java SE for Embedded for the PowerQUICC III processor family. The new implementation will enable developers and systems designers may soon incorporate the functionality, security and portability of the Java(TM) SE platform into embedded systems powered by Freescale Semiconductor’s PowerQUICC III processors.

Java SE for Embedded is a lightweight, high-performance version of the Java platform customized for embedded applications. It offers embedded markets the portability and rich feature set that has made Java ubiquitous in desktops and servers. Java SE for Embedded provides specific features for the embedded market, including a small footprint Java Runtime Environment, headless configurations, memory optimizations and additional platform support.

The planned implementation for PowerQUICC processors is designed for high-performance embedded applications such as multi-function printers (MFPs), connected industrial and robotic systems, military avionics and medical imaging equipment. PowerQUICC III processors are based on Power Architecture technology and combine outstanding performance and low-power operation with hardware acceleration, an onboard signal processing engine, high-speed memory interface integration, and network security processing.

A fully certified version of Java SE Embedded optimized for the PowerQUICC III family is expected be available from Sun Microsystems in Q4, 2007.

More info:
Freescale Semiconductor
Sun Microsystems

Making Things Talk

Recently, I was sent a copy of Tom Igoe’s book, “Making Things Talk: Practical Methods for Connecting Physical Objects.” It’s a book about building devices that talk to each other. Through a series of simple projects, readers will learn how to get their projects to communicate with one another by forming networks of smart devices that carry on conversations. Whether you need to plug some sensors in your home to the Internet or create a device that can interact wirelessly with other creations, Igoe’s book explains it all.

Making Things Talk is written for people who want to make things talk to other things. The book is ideal for diehard “techies,” but also serves as a primer for people with little technical training, but a lot of interest. According to the author, all you need is a little electronic know-how, a couple of inexpensive microcontroller kits, and some network modules to make them communicate using Ethernet, ZigBee, and Bluetooth.

Project examples:

  • Enable your pet’s bed send to send you email
  • Wire a favorite stuffed animal for a game of Monski Pong
  • Set up communication between microcontrollers, personal computers, and web servers using three easy-to-program, open source environments: Arduino/Wiring, Processing, and PHP
  • Make a seesaw game controller that communicates over the Internet
  • Learn how to use ZigBee and Bluetooth radios to transmit sensor data wirelessly
  • Write programs to send data across the Internet based on physical activity in your home, office, or backyard
  • Broadcast messages to others on the network; build a battery–powered GPS that reports its location wirelessly; send data across the Web based on physical activity in your home, office, or backyard

Tom Igoe, the author of the Making Things Talk, teaches courses in physical computing and networking at the Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He is co-author of the book, Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers, which has been adopted by numerous digital art and design schools around the world.

Embedded Multi-Core CPU Market

VDC
According to Venture Development Corporation (VDC), revenue growth for multi-core CPUs in embedded applications is projected to be strong through 2011. Multi-core CPU revenues from embedded in 2011 will be over six times that of 2007 multi-core revenues and over 44 times 2006 levels.

The embedded market is shifting from traditional single-core processors to processors with multiple cores. Single-core processors and the performance imperative of Moore’s Law may be approaching an upper limit in terms of adding increasing processing power simply by increasing clock speeds. In response to this problem, processor suppliers have turned to multi-core architectures in order to achieve performance gains. Multi-core processors have the potential of increasing processing performance while reducing processor footprints and providing better thermal characteristics.

There is a great deal of opportunities in the embedded multi-core market. However, a major gap currently exists between multi-core silicon and software enabled to take advantage of the available performance.

More info: VDC »

NXP PNX1702 Media Processor EEMBC Benchmarks

The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium(R) (EEMBC) recently published certified benchmark scores for NXP Semiconductors’ PNX1702 Media Processor. The PNX1702 is a system-on-chip device intended to perform video, audio, graphics, and general-purpose control processing.

With full optimizations making use of the PNX1702′s SIMD operations, the device achieved a score of 386 Consumermarks for EEMBC’s ConsumerBench(TM) digital imaging and DENBench(TM) digital entertainment suites. The score is the highest ever achieved for the EEMBC suite. Using the TCS5.01 compiler, the PNX1702 was also tested against EEMBC’s AutoBench(TM) automotive/industrial and TeleBench(TM) telecommunications benchmark suites. All scores were certified by the EEMBC Technology Center and are summarized in the table below.

Certified PNX1702 EEMBC benchmark scores
Benchmark suite Type of certification Single-number score
AutoBench Out-of-the-box 357.8 Automarks
AutoBench Optimized 1303.3 Automarks
ConsumerBench Out-of-the-box 89.9 Consumermarks
ConsumerBench Optimized 386.0 Consumermarks
DENBench Out-of-the-box 94.4 DENmarks
TeleBench Out-of-the-box 9.0 Telemarks
TeleBench Optimized 155.7 Telemarks

More info: EEMBC »

Microchip MASTERs Conference

Microchip
Microchip’s (NASDAQ:MCHP) annual Worldwide MASTERs Conference will take place at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, with the main conference taking place from August 8 – 11, and a pre-conference on August 6 and 7, 2007.

The MASTERs Conference provides design engineers with an annual forum for sharing and exchanging technical information on the company’s 8-bit and 16-bit PIC(R) microcontrollers, high-performance analog and interface solutions, 16-bit dsPIC(R) digital signal controllers (DSCs), KEELOQ(R) security devices, memory products, and MPLAB(R) development systems.

MASTERs is an in-depth, bi-directional exchange of technical information between Microchip experts and the company’s technical partners, including consultants, customers, third parties, distributor FAEs and design houses. Topics presented cover a broad range of subjects, from board layout topologies to real-life reference designs and embedded applications.

The conference will offer 101 classes. In addition to lecture-based classes, there will be 66 hands-on workshops that enable attendees to practice what they have learned. The course materials are geared to varying skill levels.

Microchip will also offer a two-day pre-conference for those who wish to attend as many classes as possible during the week. These classes are designed for beginner and advanced attendees. For example, “Introduction to Embedded Programming Using C” is a two-day, 16-hour step-by-step crash course in C, with practical hands-on exercises.

MASTERs classes cover the gamut of electronic engineering topics, including hands-on sessions offering instruction for object-oriented programming of PIC microcontrollers and how to do battery authentication, courses on designing LED and LCD display systems, and classes on how to add Ethernet, USB and ZigBee(TM) protocol communication to embedded designs. In addition, there are hands-on workshops that show how to create intelligent power supplies and how to take full advantage of the dsPIC DSC for speech-processing applications.

Additional activities include networking sessions between consultants and attendees to discuss relevant design topics, meeting with third-party development tool experts and a simulated wafer fab plant tour. Extracurricular events include a “Moonbase 2020″ interactive demonstration from the Challenger Space Center, “hover mouse” building and races, Arizona Magician performances, a robot competition, Scalextric digital slot cars, casino tables, and sports-bar and video games.

The Conference is ideal for those who are looking for solutions to embedded-control challenges or in-depth education on Microchip’s products. Design engineers and engineering managers benefit from the Conference by learning about solutions and interfacing with the Microchip architects and developers.

The MASTERs Conference courses, a CD-ROM with all class material, and three-night accommodations with meals and evening entertainment are included in the conference cost of $1,195 USD. The deadline to register is July 25th.

More info: MASTERs Conference »