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EE Times
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ISSUE 1619 MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012 WWW.EETIMES.COM

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CONTENTS APRIL 2 , 2012
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Commentary: How ST could lose its MEMS mojo Last Word: Why machines need to smarten up

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April 2, 2012 Electronic Engineering Times

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COMMENTARY

ST riding high on the MEMS tide, but facing a downside
It seems STMicroelectronics has really found its mojo when it comes to MEMS. Indeed, market watcher Yole Développement emphasizes just how well ST and many other companies are doing in its ranking of the microelectromechanical systems market’s top 30 companies for 2011. ST is both an IDM, with products under its own brand, and a MEMS foundry supplier
to Hewlett-Packard and others. Its total MEMS sales leapt to $907 million in 2011 from about $600 million in 2010, according to Yole. But ST’s fast growth curve in MEMS, and the design slots it is believed to hold (hint: Think of a round fruit that’s so tasty, someone’s stolen a bite), could mean it’s running out of upside and facing some potential downside if it should get designed out. Then again, it’s possible to get designed out of any product, and most companies would rather be the incumbent in a winning platform than be on the outside looking in. Either way, the top 30 ranking (see story, page 20) underscores what exciting, dynamic times we live in. In 2011, generally considered a difficult year, the IC market was essentially flat and stalled at $300 billion in value. But the MEMS market grew 17 percent, to $10 billion in sales revenues, according to Yole. In the last issue of EE Times, I described ST’s mobile-handset chip joint venture as an achor weighing down its financial results, and suggested ST might do well to try selling 4
Electronic Engineering Times April 2, 2012

In 2011, a difficult year, ICs finished flat; MEMS sales grew 17 percent

ST-Ericsson to a suitor or suitors from China. I noted such a move would leave ST free to focus on the things it does well, including MEMS. According to IHS iSuppli, ST was the seventh-largest chip company in the world in 2011, with revenue of $9.792 billion—which puts its MEMS revenue at about 9 percent of its total semiconductor sales for the year. There is every sign that MEMS as a percentage of total chip sales will continue to grow rapidly, both for ST and for the industry as a whole, given that the MEMS market faces almost perfect growing conditions. The speed of the rise is phenomenal. ST has shown, courtesy of a slide presentation from senior executive vice president Carmelo Papa, that its sales of MEMS devices, excluding foundry work done for HP, went from $30 million in 2006 to $650 million in 2011—more than a twentyfold increase in five years. But the Yole ranking shows that others are also doing well in MEMS. Knowles Electronics, a maker of silicon microphones, jumped to fifth place as

its sales went from $140 million in 2010 to $362 million in 2011, a remarkable increase. What’s behind the runaway growth is no secret: The smartphones and tablets that have been selling like hotcakes are packed with MEMS sensors. Of particular significance are design wins with Apple, which continues to dominate the mobile consumer device market and outperform its Android rivals. But there’s the rub. According to IHS iSuppli, ST is the sole supplier of MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers for the iPhone and iPad, and Apple accounted for half of ST’s MEMS business in 2011. That puts ST at risk of becoming overly dependent on the success of one customer. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because ST’s dependence on a faltering Nokia, once the undisputed leader in mobile phones, is believed to have been one of the reasons for the industry realignment that led to the creation of ST-Ericsson. Nonetheless, the MEMS market’s fertile growth conditions should help ST and others to diversify their customer base for some time to come. Consumer electronics developers’ love affair with MEMS shows no signs of cooling, and more sensor and actuator functions are being rendered as MEMS. The high volumes and lower prices are washing back to support sales in traditional markets such as industrial and automotive electronics. And MEMS components are making inroads into sports, personal-health and even clinical medical electronics applications. Sometime soon, there might even be a MEMS device to measure mojo. p
By Peter Clarke (peter.clarke@ubm.com), European news director of EE Times.

.REPORT EE Times Confidential’s MEMS Sector Profile and Database analyzes the current MEMS market and examines where it is headed. The study’s database offers vital statistics for more than 200 MEMS market players. http://bit.ly/GD4kgm .MORE ONLINE “Apple bought half of ST’s MEMS in 2011, says IHS,” http://bit.ly/xtQvG5

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and it became true. and all these other things had to fall in place. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 7 PHOTO: TRISH TUNNEY . Dolby created a Web-based mystery game.’ but in fact innovator Thomas Dolby has a keen eye for disruptive technology Dolby sings of twists and turns in digital music By Rick Merritt SAN JOSE.” the musician said in a Design West keynote.” one of three songs he performed during his Design West address. — Thomas Dolby held several hundred engineers in thrall here last week with stories about his journey in and out and back into the music industry. his first in 20 years. the Floating City Gazette would publish it. the Floating City. Technology has opened up amazing opportunities—and created more than a few problems—for the music industry. [you] had to get a cassette tape to an A&R man. Dolby is on tour promoting the new album. He travels with a trailer “that looks like it was April 2. he helped create—and destroy—a billion-dollar business in polyphonic ringtones.” the musician said in a Q&A with press here. The lesson engineers should draw from it all? “S--t happens. “You used to have to spend millions just to get out in front of fans.” Dolby said.” he said. It became a forum for 11.” Now the Web can create instant stars and targeted audiences. CALIF. reading their conspiracy theories. “I was in the forums lurking around. best known for his 1980s hit “She Blinded Me with Science. If I saw something I liked. said Dolby. as a companion for his latest album.000 of his fans as they tried to unravel the clues. “When I started out at 17. with a music manager behind a screen” building a fan base through social networking tools that identify “qualified listeners with a laser focus. then get the radio stations to play it.News DESIGN WEST OF THE TIMES In his ’80s hit he was ‘blinded with science. “The music industry will be like day trading. In a detour along the way.

tour that will bring him back to the Bay Area for a San Francisco concert on April 13. that was too long.ly/kZqDsn CLEANTECH General Clark issues call to arms on solar By Rick Merritt SAN JOSE.’ retired general and onetime presidential candidate Wesley Clark told PV America West . Dolby headed back to the East Coast to resume the U. After his one-day stop in Silicon Valley last week. Headspace suddenly had a vibrant market.” His remarks drew a standing ovation at the solar conference here.100 workers were laid off in August. recording 30-second video clips from fans as part of a time capsule for the Floating City. Nokia heard the news and contacted Headspace for help getting the code to run on its phones.” Dolby said. and ringtones were a billiondollar business” that didn’t involve the big record companies. “electronic instruments were quite bulky. The handset giant wanted to compete with Japanese phones that used an audio chip to deliver polyphonic ringtones.000 people. they didn’t stay in tune and they were quite expensive. The resistance pushed Headspace to make its code as tight and efficient as possible.S. “But companies said if audio took an extra second to load their front page. creator of the Beatnik audio engine. Dolby described Beatnik as “a SoundBlaster card in software. moved back to England and resumed his music career. co-founders of Netscape.p lMORE Design West coverage http://bit. noting that one of his first synthesizers was the size of a refrigerator and cost twice as much as his first London flat. Dolby said. CALIF. “They would sit down with the carriers and do deals that cut out all the cottage ringtone publishers.” In 2008. About the time the commercial Internet was born.” Clark said in his keynote address at PV America West last month. The U. presidential candidate Wesley Clark called for putting the fledgling solar industry at the front of a new U. the window for polyphonic ringtones ended because the wireless networks were good enough to handle the whole song. “This is an industry central to America’s future. Wells. national economic strategy that focuses on being a world leader in production of low-cost clean energy. retired four-star general and former U. 2012 ‘We need an X Prize for solar efficiency.S. Dolby retired from the tech business.ly/rRr4ye The Floating City http://bit. an effort that paid off after Sun Microsystems licensed the technology for use in Java. That changed when Headspace developed the rich media format for embedding song samples in ringtones.” In 1994.G. “By 2005. Dolby snagged a oneyear grant from Paul Allen’s Interval Research group to explore some concepts at the nexus of music and technology.” he said. Dolby met Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark. Back when Dolby was embarking on his career. more than twice the level it employed 8 Electronic Engineering Times April 2.” It acts as a portable studio. — Just a few miles from the shuttered Solyndra plants where 1. adding that it would require government support beyond 2016 “for the technology to mature and stand on its own feet. Within a few years. That led to the formation of Headspace. and subsequently convinced them to support audio in their browser.” Dolby recalled.S.NEWS OF THETIMES designed by Jules Verne and H. The electronic-music era had a rocky start. “We inadvertently brought the large recording companies into the game.S. solar industry now employs slightly more than 100. most phone makers licensed Beatnik.

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panel startup Solyndra got caught in the dynamics. “We’ve often heard it said utilities hate solar. Department of Commerce announced it would impose a tariff of 2. A 30 percent tax credit on solar installations that Resch called “the backbone of solar” is under fire by legislators. but we should make it instead a bigger pie. The industry’s employment rolls could rise to as many as 250. noting that the shift to electric and hybrid cars is “going slowly. calling for greater academic and industry involvement in solar technology. not a smaller pie. where the processing will reside and the motherboard-level sensor fusion architecture?” . And the government’s Section 1603 Treasury Program.” Hamm said. “We’re not going to be energy independent in the near term on solar. The solar industry faces other immediate challenges. your company could go out of business. magnetometers. In addition. The penalty could increase next month. “The energy sector has been seen as declining. Eight utilities plan to invest $2. In the wake of Solyndra’s failure.” Clark did not directly answer the question of whether he would run for president again. it has not vanished altogether. said Rhone Resch.S. “We need an X Prize for solar efficiency and get it into classrooms in America to publicize it. supporting use of solar in small installations. is set to expire.73 percent on import- ed Chinese solar panels. executive vice 10 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. captured close to where it’s produced and made cheaper.889 megawatts last year. What’s more.S. some new smart meters don’t support selling back energy from rooftop solar panels. he added. In March. when the Commerce Department is expected to rule on whether Chinese panel makers are selling the products for less than their cost to manufacture. trade groups such as SEIA and advocates such as Clark continue to promote a role for PV and other solar technologies in the States. “We have to talk about a new vision for distributed energy. Nonetheless.” she said.ly/GD4kgm). so don’t wrap energy independence and solar together in the near term. various critics have declared the game over for U. In its new MEMS Sector Profile and Database (http://bit.” p SENSOR FUSION Hardware-agnostic sensor data integration: MEMS’ next frontier? By Junko Yoshida AS MORE microelectromechanical system sensors show up in mobile devices. which counts about 400 utilities among its members. gyroscopes and barometers. According to some reports. EE Times Confidential cites “the rise of the sensor fusion revolution” and asks an attendant question: “Who will determine the sensor architecture. “Changes in meters could shut down the entire industry in California.” said Clark. and the center of that program is solar energy. the largest solar-market state in the nation. photovoltaic panel prices plunged as much as 50 percent in the past year. PV panel manufacturing. the focus of MEMS design has begun shifting from discrete MEMS components to MEMS sensor data integration. Sensor Platforms has rolled a library of software algorithms and middleware that a company statement says are designed “to interpret users’ contexts and intents” using data accumulated by mobile devices’ complement of sensors. said Julia Hamm. but that’s not true. The decline is widely attributed to the billions in export subsidies that the Chinese government has given to domestic manufacturers since 2010. thanks to deployments that jumped nearly a gigawatt to 1.S.000 people over the next five years. said SEIA’s Resch.NEWS OF THETIMES in 2009. The MEMS sensors most often found in today’s smartphones and tablets include accelerometers.9 to 4. How raw data from multiple sensors is “fused” and “interpreted” makes a noticeable difference in a system’s power consumption and application performance. citing the illegality of the export subsidies. “That’s the national security argument we need. we have got to move away from carbon-based fuels. Some utilities want to cap the amount of solar energy that residential users can sell back to them.” Resch warned.” Clark said. chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).” On the other hand. He added that pressure is building in Washington for fundamental tax reforms.” he said. But while “utility skepticism has diminished dramatically.” Clark warned. “I’ve been there and have a couple of T-shirts. said Ian Chen. High-profile U.” he joked. chief executive of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). “we are dealing with climate change. the U. With that premise as its mission. 2012 president of startup Sensor Platforms Inc.5 billion in various solar programs. “Without the right policy. big challenges loom.

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” MEMS-sensor suppliers are developing their own sensor fusion software. Chen noted that “up to 10 milliwatts is added in power consumption when sensors are in use.” to cut sensor power consumption by up to 90 percent. the need for software development kits extends to applications developers looking to alchemize mobile device sensors’ divergent motion data into information their apps can exploit. includes a proprietary algorithm that can “turn off power-hungry sensors.” Chen said.NEWS OF THETIMES Though sensor fusion might mean physical integration of diverse sensors in a single. Movea offers motion-responsive software. like the gyroscope. whereas his company’s solution is hardware independent. Sensor Platforms offers sensor fusion in software that is hardware agnostic.” he added.” he said. The company says the single-codebase software can run in its entirety on an applications processor or on a sensor hub. or can be spread over the system. both for application developers and end users. and emulate their function with lower-power sensors when user movements are slow. chief of technology at Semico Research. Earlier this year. design flexibility. Chen said.” Massimini said Movea “is working with a CAD vendor so the output of this tool can be used to design an ASIC. Asked about the competition. for example.” Chen said. “Apps need information and context about the user. which combine magnetometer-provided headings with corrections from inertial sensors that compensate for stray magnetic fields.” Another advantage that Sensor Platforms claims is conservation of sensor power. many new to MEMS.” Indeed. Chen said MEMS sensor vendors use proprietary libraries to lock customers into their products. he said.” Massimini noted. Freescale Semiconductor rolled its Xtrinsic sensor fusion algorithms for electronic com- pass applications. Semico’s Massimini mentioned Movea as another potential competitor to Sensor Platforms. and electronic health care systems. Freescale is offering its sensor fusion algorithms as a free download for its MEMS sensor users. ST said the suite can be combined with its iNEMO Inertial Modules to create complete and customizable hardware/software multi-axis MEMS sensor solutions for enhanced motion and accurate heading recognition. compass calibration on some smartphones can be off by 90°. interactive TV and sports. firmware and semiconductor IP for markets such as mobile devices and tablets. Though the fact is not broadly advertised. 2012 . “Our software allows system designers to pick and choose different supply sources for each sensor. The FreeMotion Library architecture supports reliable sampling and continual cross-sensor calibration to ensure reli- able sensor information. monolithic device. not just the user’s location or changes in his motion or direction. since these sensors come at different price and performance points. data reliability and applications performance. Packing a system with MEMS sensors is just a first step toward improved system power consumption.” The startup’s FreeMotion Library. Sensor Platforms claims the FreeMotion SDK offers “a foundation to extend the type of information that applications can gain from sensor data. “Movea has been delivering solutions for several years. He said Sensor Platforms is releasing the FreeMotion Library’s application programming interface so that its sensor calibration and sensor fusion can provide robust data with better accuracy.” p 12 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. adding that the company “has developed a system that allows system developers to implement their algorithms using Movea IP blocks. said Tony Massimini. Reliability is another issue. need software development tools. “How do the system designers fully utilize [the available sensor data?] We may be just scratching the surface. Last fall. “System designers. “All sensors require frequent calibration to maintain their data quality. “The flexibility in sourcing is critical. STMicroelectronics unveiled its iNEMO Engine Sensor Fusion Suite of algorithms.

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adding that the company already had processed about 40 customer test chips. he said. said AMD planned to spend about $1. in the fourth quarter and is now the second-largest pure-play foundry in the world.NEWS OF THETIMES FOUNDRIES Globalfoundries expects increased sales to AMD in new agreement’s wake By Dylan McGrath SANTA CLARA. despite an amended wafer-supply agreement that gives AMD the right to use other wafer foundries for 28-nanometer accelerated processing units (APUs). Many industry pundits saw the change as the beginning of the end of the relationship between AMD and its former manufacturing unit. “take or pay” arrangement. CALIF. spun out in 2009. 2 pure-play? According to Noonen. senior vice president of sales. calling the amended wafer pact “not less but also not more than putting a mutually beneficial agreement in place that allows us to better balance risk moving forward. though he acknowledged that the deal’s structure might not have been as originally envisioned. who joined Globalfoundries in January after more than three years with NXP Semiconductors. That gave AMD the confidence to enter the amended supply agreement. — Globalfoundries expects more business from Advanced Micro Devices in 2012. which is structured as a fixed-price. with estimated sales of $3.” Seifert also painted a picture of an improving relationship. but also gives Globalfoundries the ability to further diversify their customer base. market and quality at Globalfoundries. The amended wafer-supply agreement and AMD’s divestiture of its equity stake in Globalfoundries further improve the working relationship. Noonen said new management at both companies—the appointment of Ajit Manocha as CEO of Globalfoundries and Rory Read as CEO of AMD—had set the tone for a healthier relationship between the partners after poor 32-nm yields at Globalfoundries cut into AMD’s sales last year. But in a conference call with analysts following the announcement. In exchange. AMD’s chief financial officer. “That’s always a stressful situation. whereas previously AMD had paid only for good dice. Michael Noonen. “I want to compete for [AMD’s] business as opposed to it being contractually obligated.5 billion with Globalfoundries in 2012 and to have 28-nm products manufactured at both Globalfoundries and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. For all of 2011. behind TSMC. Thomas Seifert. Noonen said Globalfoundries expects to have its 28-nm process in volume production later this year. “Going from 32 to 28 nm. Last month. The 28-nm transition didn’t involve “nearly the same degree of difficulty” as the shift to 32 nm. AMD spent about $900 million on wafers processed by Globalfoundries in 2011. ranked Globalfoundries third. Noonen. there are a lot more process steps in common. “We both believe that yields have progressed to a degree and maturity that we can make this transition.” Seifert said.76 billion and TSMC’s $14. Seifert said Globalfoundries’ yield performance at 28 nm had improved significantly since the issue came to a head last summer. Globalfoundries surpassed United Microelectronics Corp.58 billion. The claim is difficult to verify because Globalfoundries is a privately held company that doesn’t report quarterly financials. AMD agreed to give Globalfoundries a cash payment of $425 million and transfer its remaining Globalfoundries stake to the foundry provider. he said. said in an interview here at the recent Common Platform Alliance Technology Forum.” p 14 Electronic Engineering Times April 2.6 billion. On the March analyst conference call. AMD said it would take a $278 million charge associated with the equity transfer. trailing UMC’s $3.” No. AMD and Globalfoundries announced the foundry provider had waived a requirement that AMD’s 28-nm APUs be manufactured only at Globalfoundries. 2012 .” Noonen said. said it had always been the foundry’s goal to separate itself completely from AMD. market-research firm IC Insights Inc.

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6. accepts the ACE Startup of the Year Award from Patrick Mannion. We hope this awards program gives companies worldwide the impetus to stretch their imaginations and their resources for even more progress in the coming year. 16 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. a new conference and expo built around the rich foundation of training. accepts the 2012 ACE Company of the Year Award from EE Times editor in chief Junko Yoshida. The UBM Electronics ACE Awards recognize and honor the people and companies behind the technologies and new products that are transforming the global electronics industry. 2011. — UBM Electronics. combined for the first time with popular summits and new event launches in one venue. EDN honor 2012 ACE Award winners By Dylan McGrath SAN JOSE.NEWS OF THETIMES EE Times. Judging took place from Nov. vice president of global marketing. based on the criteria set forth in an online submission form. with Patrick Mannion. The award program this year combined the EE Times ACE (Annual Creativity in Electronics) Awards and the EDN Innovation Awards. 1. It was conducted in conjunction with Design West. Winners were determined from among the finalists by a panel of independent judges. honored companies. A panel of EE Times editors narrowed down the entries to five finalists in each category.. “It was a challenge for our judges to select one winner in each category from all of the creative and innovative technologies represented by the finalists. “The winners have proved that they are pioneers in developing and implementing breakthroughs in electronics. a division of UBM plc and the publisher of EE Times and EDN..” said Junko Yoshida. teams and individuals for achievements over the past year by presenting the 2012 UBM Electronics ACE Awards here last week.” vDan Novak (left). editor in chief of EE Times. education and products established by ESC. 2012. vACE Executive of the Year Award winner Rich Beyer (left). 2012 . vRobert Nalesnik. vice president of marketing at mCube (left). to Jan. chairman and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor Inc. CALIF. director of content for EDN and Test & Measurement World. public relations and communications at Qualcomm Inc.

Xilinx Analog ICs 3LG family of CrystalFree CMOS oscillators. Reference Designs & SBCs Home Health Hub reference platform. Sensors. general manager of the Silicon Frequency Control business at Integrated Device Technology. teacher. EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Rich Beyer. Freescale Semiconductor DESIGN TEAM OF THE YEAR Tilera Corp. team mentor CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR Jim Williams STUDENT OF THE YEAR Aaron Goldstein. hACE Mentor of the Year Stewart Christie of Intel. editorial director of EE Life. INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR Michael McCorquodale Integrated Device Technology ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AWARD Maxim Integrated Products hACE Innovator of the Year Award winner Michael McCorquodale. Intel LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD James Truchard. ULTIMATE PRODUCTS SoCs Zynq-7000 EPP (Extensible Processing Platform). hJonathan hIan Basey (left). Freescale Semiconductor Test & Measurement Systems & Boards MDO4000 mixed-domain oscilloscope. FPGAs. National Instruments IEEE SPECTRUM TECHNOLOGY IN THE SERVICE OF SOCIETY AWARD Ekso Bionics IEEE SPECTRUM EMERGING TECHNOLOGY AWARD SuVolta . Intelligent Systems Group. Freescale Semiconductor Software Virtual System Platform.. Texas Instruments Development Kits. Ted Hansen. accepts the ACE Integrated Program of the Year Award from Brian Fuller. director of server solutions at Tilera Corp. Chan (right) accepts the Most Engaged Community Member ACE Award from Junko Yoshida. Indicators and Interconnects TMP006 temperature sensor. NXP Semiconductors Power LTC6803 multicell battery stack monitor. accepts the Design Team of the Year Award from Junko Yoshida. Arizona State University PHOTOS: TRISH TUNNEY hIhab Bishara (right). Wayne Rust. Integrated Device Technology Digital ICs (MCUs. Utah: Pipe Dreams Christmas Tree. Cadence Design Systems Passive Components. Linear Technology Human-Machine Interface Technology Xtrinsic capacitive and resistive touch sensing platform. vice president of marketing at Avnet Electronics Marketing. National Instruments Jeff Kodosky. MENTOR OF THE YEAR Stewart Christie. product marketing engineer. Tektronix MOST ENGAGED COMMUNITY MEMBER Jonathan Chan BEST STUDENT DESIGN/DESIGN CHALLENGE WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS Oak Canyon Junior High team. microprocessors) LPC11U00 microcontrollers.2012 ACE Award winners: STARTUP OF THE YEAR mCube COMPANY OF THE YEAR Qualcomm Inc. Lindon.

a set of wearable robotic legs that let paraplegics stand and walk. He plans to launch his own aerospace and electrical engineering design firm after graduation. and Siu Williams.com NEWS OF THETIMES hACE Lifetime Achievement Award winners James Truchard (far left). The company won for its Ekso exoskeleton. Test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz. with Junko Yoshida and Patrick Mannion.2 Combination of protocol testing and AV content measurements Power-saving. accept the Contributor of the Year Award from Planet Analog editor Bill Schweber on behalf of Jim Williams. standalone operation without PC Easy operation via remote control A measurable edge in analyzing AV signals. hTekla Perry (left). accepts the ACE Student of the Year Award from Junko Yoshida. co-founder of Linear Technology. . presents the IEEE Spectrum Technology in the Service of Society Award to Eythor Bender.com hAaron 18 Electronic Engineering Times April 2.the-av-experts. For more information visit: www. a senior engineering student at Arizona State University.the-av-experts. the renowned analog circuit designer and EDN contributor who died in June 2011. CEO of National Instruments. Goldstein formed a satellite laboratory at ASU and has interned at NASA.New: ¸VTS – the AV expert for manufacturing The new compact video tester from Rohde & Schwarz is ideal for measuring mobile high-definition link (MHL) interface conformity – including media content transmitted during the manufacturing of mobile devices and their components. 2012 PHOTOS: TRISH TUNNEY Goldstein (right). A test platform with much to offer: Economical analyzer and generator platform for MHL 1. Truchard and Kodosky co-founded National Instruments in 1986. and Jeff Kodosky (second from right). wife of the late Jim Williams. CEO of Ekso Bionics. senior editor of IEEE Spectrum. www. vBob For more information: Dobkin (left). business and technology fellow at National Instruments.

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a leading provider of MEMS for automotive applications.Global $ millions WATCH MARKETS Top 30 worldwide MEMS companies by 2011 revenue Texas Instruments STMicroelectronics Hewlett-Packard Robert Bosch Knowles Electronics Panasonic Canon AKM Seiko Epson Analog Devices Avago Technologies Denso Sensata Honeywell 362 336 284 279 261 255 251 Freescale Semiconductor 762 738 913 907 ST closes in on TI in MEMS top 30 ranking By Peter Clarke TEXAS INSTRUMENTS and STMicroelectronics finished neck and neck atop market watcher Yole Développement’s 2011 global ranking of microelectromechanical system component manufacturers. But TI’s more mature micromirror MEMS business saw single-digit growth. ST capitalized on exploding demand for motion processing in mobile devices to expand its MEMS device sales by 42 percent over 2010’s tally. the top four finishers last year claimed a commanding presence in the MEMS device market (see table). The mobile device market drove a broad range of sensor suppliers to 40 percent or better growth last year. ST is also a leading foundry supplier of MEMS components. slower than that for ST’s inertial sensor business for consumer applications. The top four vendors collectively sold $3. to $907 million.4 percent last year. in a global market that totaled $10. The latter market inched up just 0. Robert Bosch. Yole reported.5 billion. moved into the fourthplace slot vacated by ST. according to Yole. ST moved from fourth to second among MEMS device makers last year.3 billion of MEMS products. to $299. Thirdranked Hewlett-Packard remains a force in MEMS production for inkjet printing. Yole (Lyon. As was the case in 2010. France) estimates TI’s 2011 MEMS sales at a market-leading $913 million. according to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics figures. Yole said. and the top 30 companies accounted for almost 80 percent of total MEMS packaged device sales worldwide.2 billion. Silicon microphone maker Knowles Electronics 174 153 237 250 Infineon Technologies 150 136 VTI Technologies 121 Lexmark 110 Triquint 102 FLIR Systems 90 Sony 77 Kionix 76 Ulis 75 GE Sensing Measurement Specialties Boehringer Ingelheim Microparts Invensense 144 144 56 Memsic 55 Murata 51 Omron Source: Yole Développement 62 The top 30 players accounted for almost 80 percent of total MEMS packaged device sales worldwide 20 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. up 17 percent from 2010. 2012 . The MEMS sector’s double-digit rise compares with a virtually flat 2011 market for semiconductor ICs.

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said Eloy. with its notoriously arduous qualification cycles. cited opportunities for MEMS devices of many types in sports equipment. said panelist JeanChristophe Eloy. MEMS apps are surfacing. “Helping the fabless to success [in MEMS] is the most important thing we can do. That was the consensus of a panel at the MEMS Executive Congress Europe. prices will come down. to $144 million. the observer added. “MEMS have become commoditized. You could start with one before moving to another one. But it remains unclear how many MEMS companies have acquired the discipline to work within strictly delineated process limitations. a hurdle for multiproject wafer runs. The report.” From the floor. Just about any mechanical device that conceivably can be rendered in silicon eventually will be. MEMS for cameras and MEMS-based audio speakers. But Sauli Palo. It is up to the apps developers to sort out what can be done. an observer remarked that startup companies cannot afford to invest in fabs and that foundry services are clearly in demand. “Growth is now coming from combos of accelerometers and magnetometers and from combos of accelerometers and gyros. as updates of established platforms are loaded with MEMS sensors and actuators. Andre van Geelen. “The key is to find the good applications. analyzes a highly dynamic and increasingly critical market to assess where it stands and where it is headed. audio speakers and chemical sensors. UMC and Globalfoundries. and as new classes of equipment come onto the scene. to record an eighth-place finish. The two classes. “are different supply chains that are not competing. with its database of more than 200 MEMS market players. Epcos’ van Geelen acknowledged that MEMS processes vary by application. he said.GLOBAL WATCH jumped from 18th place in the 2010 ranking to fifth last year as it grew its sales of MEMS microphones by 40 percent. And Memsic Inc.ly/GD4kgm. Toward that end.” said Eloy. said his company would look to offer MEMS-based RF and timing circuits to maximize bandwidth in mobile phones. Higher-volume demand will be met by the traditional IC foundries.” Laurent Robin. asked how Nokia felt about using fabless suppliers. as well as in personal-health applications that have similarities to medical apps but not the latter products’ strict requirements for clinical testing. inertial MEMS analyst at Yole. Magnetometer supplier AKM grew sales 46 percent. is an intelligence resource for engineers. to $279 million. as demand rose for its multi-axis gyroscope and motion sensing chips. said in a statement. The “big bang” in MEMS consumer applications has generated a wave that is resonating in automotive infotainment and sports gear. In mobile phones and tablets. which started to ship in volume last year. saw its sales soar 67 percent. to $362 million. silicon to win slots By Peter Clarke ZURICH. To obtain your copy. innovation manager at sports watchmaker Suunto. such as TSMC. Tehro Lahtinen. SWITZERLAND — Consumer electronics will continue to drive rapid expansion in microelectromechanical system volume shipments. such as Dalsa and Micralyne. founder and president of market research organization Yole Développement (Lyon. Palo. tunable RF circuits. entered the top 30 with a whopping 80 percent jump in its magnetometer and accelerometer sales. France). 2012 . go to http://bit. principal specialist for component quality and technology at Nokia. engineering managers and senior management across the electronics industry who increasingly must take a systems-level approach to product and market development. InvenSense. Eloy believes two classes of MEMS foundry will coexist. wireless sensor nets and various other elements of the Internet of Things.” Fabless outlook A second topic picked up by the panel was whether fabless companies can succeed in the MEMS sector. will act as development partners and support lower volumes.” Palo said. 22 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. said the company had “gone to fabless [providers] in other areas” apart from MEMS but added that going the fabless route for MEMS requirements “does raise questions. compiled by the editors of EE Times Confidential. Even in the medical electronics sector. clothing. p MEMS CONGRESS Panel predicts MEMS market boom. who predicted the imminent takeoff of RF MEMS devices.” p EE TIMES CONFIDENTIAL RELEASES MEMS SECTOR PROFILE AND DATABASE The MEMS Sector Profile and Database. expect to see silicon MEMS devices being used for camera autofocus mechanisms. pointed out that as MEMS volumes go up. general manager at Epcos Netherlands. given its fragmented technology base. while the traditional MEMS specialist foundries. The industry’s leading fabless MEMS device supplier.

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Freescale. Nvidia. tools and support. of whom . Analog Devices. • Current embedded projects contain a single microprocessor/microcontroller (cited by 53 percent of respondents). up from 291 MHz in 2011. the mobile markets for iPods. As in 2011. CEVA. time-to-market. • The average processor clock rate was 425 MHz in the 2012 survey. Atmel and Intel command the highest grades. the Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) stands out for taking on the task of using powerful. two processors/microcontrollers (25 percent).COVER STORY What is your embedded strategy? By Nicolas Mokhoff CHIP VENDORS KNOW they can cater to the huge embedded market with many more divergent chips than might be pitched to. or three to five MPUs/MCUs (16 percent). Not only does embedded system design offer a wealth of possibilities. Members Advanced Micro Devices. however. low-cost. iPads and notebook computers. Freescale Semiconductor. TI and Xilinx are addressing embedded vision applications as platforms consisting of devices and design tools. In the 2012 survey. 2012 59 percent were happy with their current supplier) and those who switched to a new processor (55 percent. Maxim. Microchip. industrial and medical markets. Intel. Among the industry’s embedded advocacy groups. tools and support) is twice as important as the chip itself. washers and microwave ovens. The sheer volumes of chips used in embedded systems make an embedded-market strategy a must for silicon vendors. of whom 46 percent did so for better features). There has been an explosion of embedded applications in the automotive. UBM Electronics’ just-released 2012 Embedded Market Survey sheds light on designers’ requirements for chips. • There is an almost even split between those respondents who used the same processor on their last project (45 percent. on par with Atmel. design/ 24 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. Five points stand out: • The top five areas of interest to embedded designers are chip technology. energy-efficient processors. say. Designers of embedded systems have their own requirements. In order. the most important factors in choosing a processor are the software development tools available and the chip’s performance. “Processor development process. STMicroelectronics was ranked fifth. global markets and outsourcing (both domestically and overseas). the ecosystems from Texas Instruments. but many embedded designs can forgo the added expense of leading-edge microcontrollers or microprocessors. and even in consumer white goods such as refrigerators. ARM. • Respondents believe the ecosystem surrounding the chip (software. among the providers of the processors that respondents considered using on their next project.

” said Grant Courville. For RTOS vendors. As a result. my colleagues and I at Berkeley Design Technology Inc. “M2M devices will need to be built on proven platforms. after nearly two decades of evaluating and using embedded processors for DSP-intensive applications. the company’s director of product management. Machine-to-machine devices—which connect everything. or is it the other way around? A few years ago. realized that embedded computer vision applications were poised to benefit from the same type of virtuous circle that had previously enabled the proliferation of wireless communications and video compression algorithms. which “has focused on creating a real-time software platform that can scale from the low end to the high end and that customers can easily extend for specific requirements. from which you choose using basic gestures. Their replies. which are largely based on their current embedded offerings. processor vendors are beginning to focus on embedded vision applications and to tune their processors for such apps. vision-based safety systems may be able to save many thousands of lives. But many of the most compelling embedded vision applications use very performance-hungry algorithms. often by incorporating specialized co-processors designed for vision processing. BDTI expects to see processor suppliers introducing more processors that are optimized for vision applications.” said Jeff Bier. founder of EVA and president of Berkeley Design Technology Inc. (Read about many more embedded vision applications on page 32 and at http://bit. p The next killer app: Machines that see Do embedded processors shape applications.Survey respondents indicate their preferences among chip vendors’ support ecosystems 19% 17% 14% 11% 12% 10% 10%10% 9% 11% 8% 9% 8% 8% 6% 8% 6% 6% 4% 2% 2% Texas Instruments Freescale Microchip ARM Atmel Intel NXP 2012 (N= 665) Unaided 2011 (N= 669) Unaided 2010 (N= 529) Unaided 3% 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% STMicroelectronics Renesas Source: UBM Electronics’ 2012 Embedded Market Survey vendors are beginning to focus on embedded vision applications. working with chip vendors means reaching as many application levels as possible. as a result. vision-enabled devices will be shipping at a rate of more than 3 billion units per year. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 25 . including automated over-the-air updates and dramatically expanded wireless capabilities. — Jeff Bier.) In some applications. On the more traditional embedded system design path are real-time-operating-system (RTOS) vendors such as QNX. and providing more application development support (such as optimized software libraries) for those apps.” EE Times asked six semiconductor vendors to define their embedded strategies. Implementing those algorithms at low cost and low power consumption will require specialized processors. By reducing the number and severity of auto collisions. Imagine turning on your TV just by staring in its directiion for a few seconds.” Courville said QNX is “working closely with our ecosystem partners to deliver a full M2M solution. Embedded vision also promises more-intuitive human-machine interaction—long the grail of consumer electronics. founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance and president of BDTI April 2.ly/la6LGk. With that vision starting to appear in volume applications. Courville said. everywhere—have huge ramifications for safety. it then offers you a personalized menu of options. start on page 26. vision functions will be simple and will be able to fit into existing processors (perhaps with a modest boost in clock rate or an additional core). security and dependability. Market research company IMS Research estimates that by 2015.

Not surprisingly. 2012 requirements of emerging applications in key end markets. In the automotive sector. or as the creation pathway in the opposite direction. “What are the most important factors in choosing an Analog Devices: Embedded as part of a complete signal chain By Daniel Leibholz OUR APPROACH TO EMBEDDED processing reflects our customers’ need to implement a complete signal chain. and a key technology enabler is embedded vision systems. into surveillance cameras or to support HD video processing in industrial imaging equipment. conversion and digital signal processing. given the lateness of projects. such as lane departure warning and collision detection. in which 1. Such application areas have a growing need to integrate recognition features.704 respondents provided details on their tools and work environment. Given that integrated signal processing chips combine multiple functions with embedded intelligence. debugging tools. 21 percent put hitting schedules at the top of their list. we are seeing that customers across a range of applications are looking for more tightly integrated digital signal processing components that improve throughput. 19 percent said that integrating new technology or tools would be most problematic. down 7 percentage points. only 3 percent saw it as a major issue. Another example of our approach to embedded design is the ADF7023. engineering team skill level jumped to 16 percent from 9 percent. We define a complete signal chain either as the processing pathway from signal acquisition through conditioning. Our work with carmakers on driver-assistance systems led us to develop the dual-core Blackfin ADSP-BF609. accuracy. This is just one of the results highlighted by the latest UBM Electronics Embedded Market Survey. which is about the same as in 2011 and 2010. These components must do more than address specific signal processing challenges. there is growing interest in improving driver and pedestrian safety. for instance. Among the many trends that influence signal chain design. operating systems and chips currently in use or being considered. they also must have sufficient performance and functional headroom so that customers can implement unique algorithms and differentiated platforms. Designed for multiple vehicle-safety functions. applications. with features extracted and forwarded to a dual-core programmable DSP. One of the new questions added to this year’s survey was. such as industrial and security systems. What one improvement would developers make to boost their embedded design activities? The leading improvement. we also place a premium on ease of use. more embedded systems developers are looking to increase the skill levels of their engineering teams. a . The results were presented at Design West last week. respondents were asked to think about the next year and the areas they expect will present the greatest challenges. such as license-plate detection and people-counting capability. At the bottom of the challenge list was connecting to the cloud.COVER STORY ‘Customers across a range of applications are looking for more tightly integrated digital signal processing devices’ The key challenges for embedded designers By Colin Holland To get more of their projects completed by deadline. This allows a video stream to be preprocessed at high-definition rates. The 2012 survey shows that 42 percent of all projects were finished on or ahead of schedule—leaving 58 percent of all projects late or canceled. latency and power efficiency while reducing the burden on downstream host controllers and application processors. In a new question this year. programmability and configurability. methods and processes. and 16 percent cited managing code size and complexity. the new DSP features an accelerator that handles real-time video analysis. Our newest Blackfin processors also allow Analog Devices to support embedded vision applications in other markets. Analog Devices’ embedded strategy demands a deep understanding of the 26 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. was cited by 22 percent of respondents.

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healthier and more connected. tools and system solutions—semiconductors. The four focus markets are undergoing changes in which embedded technology has a direct and foundational impact. networked. When it came to the operating systems being used. and that cover a full range of embedded architectures. We have stayed away from areas that are not truly embedded. with 13 percent and 12 percent. in-house/custom more than doubled. He began his career as a CPU architect with Digital Equipment Corp. and is the holder of 17 computer architecture and microprocessor patents. with more fuel-efficient vehicles. responsible for development and implementation of processor strategy. for example. cited by 41 percent of respondents. controllers. our technologies are the foundation for the innovations that make our world greener. Android’s dramatic impact was highlighted when engineers revealed what they are considering using in the next 12 months. At the bottom of the pile was the supplier’s reputation. scalable and programmable. scientific and medical (ISM) band that supports a wide range of applications. safer. cost-effective. In automotive. such as PCs and memory.holland@ubm. healthier and more connected’ 28 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. p Daniel Leibholz is vice president of Analog Devices’ Processors and Digital Signal Processing Products and Technology Group. To provide the necessary flexibility for these applications. display based. in-house/custom OSes claimed a surveytopping 22 percent of responses. such as smart metering and wireless sensor networks. which garnered only 3 percent. up from 8 percent. sensors. secure. We direct our efforts within four major areas: automotive. networking. safer. In networking. There was a marked change in what engineers said was most important when choosing a microprocessor: The chip itself dropped to 30 percent. to 17 percent from 7 percent. software and ecosystem—that will enable tomorrow’s leaders in the embedded segment. we are working toward the shared goal of zero fatalities and zero emissions by providing passive and active safety technologies to help make driving safer and cleaner. Leibholz earned his BSEE and MSEE from Brown University. Real-time performance and no royalties came in at 31 percent. multicore. in a dramatic jump. that include sensing capabilities.com). with 34 percent. industrial and consumer. We are a global leader in embedded processing solutions. As to processors. Our priorities center on the growing embedded markets. touch enabled. Sixty percent of respondents said they were not worried about the recent acquisitions of operating-system vendors by microprocessor vendors. while the ecosystem surrounding the chip jumped to 61 percent. 2012 . digital communications functions and a high-performance RF transceiver. providing products that advance the markets we serve with a world-class engineering force and a legacy of billions invested in R&D.COVER STORY low-power transceiver system-on-chip for the industrial. dramatic increases in mobile and video traffic are driving fundamental changes to network topologies and enabling our investment priorities in next-generation wireless ‘Our embedded technologies are the foundation for the innovations that make our world greener. though 8. respectively. Freescale Semiconductor: Four apps define embedded direction By Brad Johnson OUR MISSION IS LESS ABOUT being the leader in embedded than about being the leading supplier of products. operating system?” Availability of full source code was the top reply. the SoC embeds a microcontroller with customized.and 16-bit devices are maintaining their market share. Android outstripped the rest. p Editor’s note: UBM Electronics’ Embedded Market Survey can be obtained by e-mailing embedded content director Colin Holland (colin. while relative newcomers Android and Ubuntu took second and third place. Our value-added is at the juncture of diverse technologies that are collectively powering the growth of embedded processing: intelligent devices that are low power. there is a slow but steady rise in the use of 32-bitters.

which he joined in February 2011. He holds an MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a BS in electronics and communication from Punjab University in India. wireless devices. integrated development environments (IDEs). architectures and fusion with other semiconductor products. size and segments. Microchip provides MCUs that work at 40 volts. Microchip provides not just silicon but also a full development tool ecosystem. Johnson spent 14 years at McKinsey and Co. controller-area network. driven by embedded hardware. maximizing battery life and enabling energy harvesting. our MCUs have low-power modes that go down to nanoamperes of current. User interfaces are rapidly transitioning from knobs and pushbuttons to touch sensing. including compilers.. April 2. durable and easier to clean. In the industrial market. Microchip provides radios. contrast. along with our development environment. enabled by Freescale’s embedded technology. To help embedded designers speed their time-to-market. In addition. migration path and support. The challenge for designers is to cost-effectively implement the desired display brightness. Ethernet. Wi-Fi and the unlicensed sub-GHz bands. infrared and various flavors of RF. scalable and core-agnostic portfolio of embedded processors. We are building on that foundation by focusing on several growth areas and design imperatives within the embedded market. memory and ‘We’re building on our core strengths in MCUs. debuggers. p Steve Sanghi was named president of Microchip in August 1990. simplify customer development cycles and shorten time-to-market. We offer many mixed-signal and analog devices to facilitate energy monitoring and metering.and wireless-connectivity protocols as USB. Freescale combines a broad. with new ways emerging to make products more intelligent. which is more aesthetically pleasing. p Brad Johnson is the senior vice president of strategy and business transformation at Freescale Semiconductor. along with our development environment. local-interconnect network. software and M2M connectivity. there is a great focus on all aspects of energy: measurement. energy efficiency demands are continuing to push the expansion and adoption of smart energy technologies and portable medical devices. analog. power supplies and lighting. conservation and efficiency. Microchip’s embedded strategy is to address the needs of those applications by expanding on its core strengths in microcontrollers. The shrinking cost of microcontrollers is causing the number of applications to explode. realtime operating systems. processing capabilities. is expanding beyond consumer smart devices into vehicles. agency-certified modules. Microchip’s MCUs integrate easy interfaces to large displays via built-in graphics controllers and accelerators.Microchip: Expanding core competency By Steve Sanghi MICROCONTROLLERS HAVE COME a long way in terms of their applications. making the world more connected. Microchip’s MCUs and digital signal controllers (DSCs) digitally control motors. substantially increasing efficiencies. Many users are migrating toward higher voltages for greater efficiency in markets such as automotive and industrial. complementary semiconductor devices and software to offer highly integrated platform-level solutions that create customer value. To handle the relentless drive toward longer battery life. graphics tools. reference designs and code libraries. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 29 . such as ASICs and SoCs. Embedded designs are increasingly connecting to other systems via such wired. There is an increasing trend toward space-constrained applications with the thin styling that consumers love. Microchip has built a rich portfolio of touch-sensing solutions— many of which use our microcontrollers’ existing capabilities—to enable this transition. becoming a partner in 2006. embedded displays have evolved from LEDs to dot matrices to LCDs. Microchip enables this with minuscule quad flat no-lead (QFN) packages as well as chip-scale options. migration path and support’ infrastructures that enhance such areas as cloud computing and smaller basestations. Likewise. integrated MCUs and standalone controllers that offer designers solid options for adding this connectivity. appliances and other markets. which allow our MCUs to squeeze into today’s smallest and thinnest form factors. He received a bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics with distinction from Stanford University. analog. chief executive officer in October 1991 and chairman in October 1993. memory and wireless. such as ZigBee. Tablet-like functionality. 60 V and higher for transients.

Our products are developed to deliver quality. In complex systems. Given that more than 10 million MCUs are produced every day. our technology can make it possible. a . our embedded processing strategy has three basic tenets: a broad processor portfolio. we can achieve high performance and functionality. and getting wronger every day. but it is just the beginning. We continuously achieve single-digit parts-per-million reliability with an average production life of more than 15 years. TI runs the gamut on varying levels of power and performance across a variety of proprietary and industry-standard cores. We then use these technologies to create platforms that ease design and include different embedded memo- ‘Our strategy is about making a society where people are safer. 2012 The definition of embedded drives us By Chris Rowen THE QUESTION “WHAT IS YOUR embedded strategy?” assumes that embedded strategies are fundamentally separate from other electronic system strategies. more productive and more efficient with their time. he was a sales application engineer and design engineer at Wang Laboratories. The Renesas embedded design approach starts with quality and innovation. medical. We can support a complete network of redundant and long-term production factories with end-to-end quality control. Today. We are among the largest vertically integrated semiconductor manufacturers. How do we separate a smartphone from a tablet from an ultramobile? How do we define applications that are split between the phone and the cloud? So I would define “embedded” in a more useful way: as energy-sensitive. and integration. and designing and manufacturing hardware and software solutions that allow quick adoption and long-term supply. with products that are internally designed (including semiconductor CMOS process.COVER STORY Tensilica: Renesas: ‘Smart’ end-to-end quality control By Peter Carbone FOR MANY COMPANIES. With internally developed high-speed embedded flash and CPU core (+100 MHz). Design flexibility spans from the new Wolverine MSP430. Texas Instruments: Make the world By Brian Crutcher IF OUR CUSTOMERS conceptualize it. p Peter Carbone is marketing vice president at Renesas Electronics America. metering. which function as an ecosystem. delivering the right mix of functions. 30 percent of the world’s MCUs are manufactured by Renesas. home/building/factory automation. ARM-based processors and DSPs. delivering realtime predictable and low-latency response. Before joining Renesas. real-time performance. software development kits. Then the question becomes. manufactured and supported. the chip is very important. • • Our embedded portfolio can meet any design need. and integration of frequently used digital and analog peripherals.and tor process. but that assumption is wrong. healthier. “What’s your strategy for energy. our embedded solutions help put the “smart” into products that touch our everyday lives. a typical embedded MCU strategy is about touting the hardware and software with statements about the merits of the CPU core. local customer support. resources and the environment. third parties. In the end. and our embedded electronics solutions touch many parts of our social infrastructure and lives. continuity and longevity of supply. we can achieve ultralow power (leakage. operation and standby). lowering power consumption and providing greater integration and functionality can have far-reaching social benefits. The Renesas embedded strategy is different. Our strategy is about making a society where people are safer. highspeed memories and digital/analog functions to our internal semiconduc30 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. and • complementary analog and connectivity products for optimized system solutions. By interlocking the CPU. healthier. more productive and more efficient’ ries and packages without affecting the customer’s previous software investment. The Renesas embedded strategy starts with the goal of making our lives better by using fewer resources. He holds a BSEE from Columbia University and completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School. while offering scalability up and down the portfolio of microcontrollers. IP and chip design). and support to get customers to market quickly. cost-sensitive hardware/software systems. including such major industrial segments as automotive. enterprise/cloud/personal computing and networking. As a result. low power. white goods.

systems know-how and subsystems. we design. healthier and more fun microcontroller platform that uses only 100-microamps/MHz active power for wireless. Our real-time signal processors are a perfect fit for serving the expanding demand for analytics in video and industrial apps. simulation. greener. p ‘TI runs the gamut on power and performance across proprietary and industrystandard cores’ Brian Crutcher is senior vice president and general manager of the Texas Instruments Embedded Processing business. robotics and cloud computing. throughput and software sophistication. up to our highest-performance (yet power-optimized) multicore processors based on the Keystone architecture. Irvine. aimed at reducing development time by as much as 80 percent.and cost-sensitive hardware and software?” ’ ware environments for every processor. inexpensive and complete. smarter. Code Composer Studio (CCStudio). with the most specialized processors achieving efficiency improvements of more than a hundredfold over conventional processors. At Tensilica. If developers have a design requirement that cannot be found along the many TI avenues. “What’s your strategy for energy. the broad TI Design Network ecosystem provides everything from application-specific hardware modules to a variety of RTOSes. verify and deliver hardware and software building blocks for the most important communications and multimedia functions. Software has become an important part of our customers’ design process. Historically. so that software developers have all the compiler. He is also responsible for TI’s custom business. battery-free. board member and first president of Tensilica. TI also delivers low-cost development kits. that spans TI’s entire embedded processing portfolio.to twentyfold. evaluation modules and system-level reference designs. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 31 . and TI supports its broad portfolio with an extensive collection of software and a single IDE. CCStudio takes developers through each step of development while providing debugging and foundational software libraries. each processor can be leaner and faster in the target applications. April 2. Our OMAP application processors are well suited to fueling applications growth in mobile and connected computing. demos and specific application codecs for each processor. especially for wireless baseband. TI marks its 30th anniversary of DSP innovation. Based on the popular Eclipse opensource software framework. especially in baseband and multimedia. safer. debug. p Chris Rowen is founder. The second part is to create rich soft- ‘[You should have asked]. intelligent-sensing applications. Third.cost-sensitive hardware and software?” Tensilica’s approach has three parts. we routinely provide efficiency improvements of ten. profiling and operating systems needed for fast. reliable development. The first part is to make optimization and specialization of processors simple. The IDE provides a common interface for designers to scale their product line. Tensilica now has almost 200 licensees and has shipped more than 1 billion processor cores. We also have a broad ecosystem of partners that deliver additional software packages. processor development has been so slow and expensive that one processor design was forced to serve a wide and divergent spectrum of application requirements. audio and video/imaging. Rowen received his BA in physics from Harvard University and his MS and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University. We focus on highvolume SoC applications in a range of end markets where our customers’ success hinges on world-beating energy efficiency. which includes TI’s microcontrollers and core embedded processors. dramatically reduce development time and eliminate the need to learn multiple interfaces. chief technology officer. When generation of the processors is automated. Crutcher earned a BSEE from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from the University of California. In 2012. He was a pioneer in the development of RISC architecture at Stanford in the early 1980s and helped start MIPS Computer Systems in 1984. used in wireless basestations and supercomputing.

” But from the engineering community’s perspective. Digital paper consists of numerous small black dots in patterns essentially invisible to the human eye but detectable by the pen’s camera. Not a single word is lost. smart cameras. developer of a platform consisting of a digital pen. Biggest and perhaps best established is the market for industrial machine vision hardware (smart sensors. generally. determines a subject’s blood alcohol content. integrating an infrared camera and a digital audio recorder. “There are thousands of applications. and its market is extremely diverse. principal analyst at IMS Research. he said. digital paper and software apps. “We know it works. The user can replay portions of a recording by tapping on the notes. and they still don’t know what’s possible. the market watcher acknowledged Apple had changed the game by bringing touchscreen interaction to the masses. .Intelligence NEXT-GEN USER INTERFACES A shared vision for the UI beyond touch By Junko Yoshida IMS RESEARCH recently wondered whether Apple and the iPad were falling behind competitors in user-interface technology. “Thanks to Microsoft’s Kinect [controller for the Xbox 360].” Bier founded the Embedded Vision Alliance to inspire and empower embedded system designers to use vision technology. Cropley estimates average annual growth of more than 10 percent over the period. said the market for intelligent-automotive-camera modules alone was estimated at around $300 million in 2011 and is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of more than 30 percent through 2015. But then it asked: Is that all? As the industry debates where the next UI battle lines will be drawn. from around $1. “many design engineers. and automotive manufacturers are integrating embedded vision applications in cars in the cause of driver safety. president of Berkeley Design Technology Inc. 2012 ‘Never miss a word’ That’s the marketing tagline used by Livescribe.” explaining. an iPhone app available for 99 cents. and the emergence of increasingly sophisticated machine-vision algorithms that let embedded systems not just “see. DSP and processor companies are betting on embedded vision. compact vision systems and machine vision cameras). estimated at about $250 million in 2011. we now have ‘existence proof’ for embedded vision. EE Times worked with the industry group to put together this sampler of the latest embedded vision-enabled consumer products.5 billion in 2011.” Consumers are becoming more familiar with gesture controls. The technology uses the iPhone’s camera and the BreathalEyes app running on the phone to scan the user’s eyes and measure the presence of horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)—an involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball.” but extract information to produce value-added intelligence. a growing number of FPGA. In its commentary. Livescribe’s pen. just don’t think about vision. 32 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. Jon Cropley. The market for intelligent-video surveillance devices (devices with embedded analytics). Supporters of this position point to two developments: the use of parallelism to increase the processing power of embedded systems. is forecast for annual growth of more than 20 percent over the same period.” noted Jeff Bier. Bier called embedded vision a “classic long-tail story. Breathalyzer app BreathalEyes. no matter how messy the scribble. Sounds like a reporter’s dream—and a politician’s nightmare. Cropley added. can record a conversation while one participant takes notes on digital paper.

gesture control has become one of the most popular embedded vision applications on the consumer market. 65-inch. Aftermarket park assist camera CogniVue’s Image Cognition Processor and application software turn a small aftermarket rear-view camera into a smart parking assistant. while the screen can show overlaid text messages. The machine can take a good guess at a customer’s gender and age so that it can show advertising content to match the customer’s demographics. The transparent display allows customers to see products inside the vending machine. The vending machine comes with a camera and “audience-impression metric” features. Based on the image captured by the camera. high-definition touchscreen display. Netra-G. the app detects subtle changes in facial color to measure heart rate and tracks chest movements to gauge breathing rate. Israel-based eyeSight has come up with advanced image processing and machine vision algorithms tailored for embedded platforms. Vital Signs Camera Philips’ Vital Signs Camera app runs on an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S. tablets and mobile devices. But you could. the vending machine runs anonymous facial recognition algorithms. graphics and animation. object detection and distance estimation. But does it say “ouch” when you kick it? . It’s not clear who’d want to post their vitals on Facebook or e-mail their heart rate to a love interest (as the Philips demo suggests). independent of the underlying processor and camera. It can be embedded in computers. get measured for eyeglasses and access eye care— all via smartphone. With the device camera trained on the user. The technology offers de-warping. The technology. perspective correction. see-through. Vending machine sizes you up Intel. and allows multiple viewing modes (panoramic. top-down view and left/right split views) and overlay. requires minimal CPU and power consumption. Snap a hardware adapter onto a smartphone loaded with EyeNetra’s software. then follow the simple instructions to get measurements for eyeglasses on the phone and send them to your care provider. anywhere to take an eye test. Okaya Electronics and Sanden have developed a concept vending machine featuring a vertically mounted. Thanks to the success of Microsoft’s Kinect.Touch-free user interface Eye test by phone EyeNetra has come up with a quick and easy way for anyone.

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an embedded system typically monitors or controls some external device. Developers need some way to tailor the run-time libraries to remove unneeded functionality—in effect to scale the size of the executable code based on the language features actually used. possible lawsuits and damage to a company’s reputation. debugging embedded software is harder than debugging native software. For example. With perhaps thousands or even millions of systems in use. to detect and remove the errors before the software gets fielded. every byte counts—there is no room for coding errors or vulnerabilities in such critical applications as deployment. He holds a BA in mathematics from Amherst College and an MS and PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard University. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 35 . Though development costs need to be taken into account. The size issue is a bit subtler. Some of the features that have been introduced into programming languages in the interest of reliability—for example. a senior member of AdaCore’s technical staff. Software. concentrating on high-integrity systems. embedded systems generally involve concurrency and real-time constraints. Third. if that fails. Brosgol REDUCING COST AND SIZE for embedded hardware involves issues with circuit design. a much more significant expense comes from software errors. which introduce opportunities for errors such as deadlock. fabrication and similar topics.DESIGN + PRODUCTS In space. product recalls. buggy software is especially acute in embedded applications. has worked with programming languages and technology for more than 30 years. exception handling and highlevel concurrency support—require runtime libraries that might be too large for certain kinds of embedded systems. even a bug with low probability of being triggered will occur eventually. Second. so in critical applications an error or vulnerability could Benjamin Brosgol. which can lead to delays. April 2. security or both. raises a different set of concerns. A key to cost reduction is to prevent errors from getting into the code in the first place or. security and mission control of vehicles GLOBAL FEATURE Trimming cost and size: The software side of the story By Benjamin M. A new approach that couples a reliable language with customizable and specialized run-time libraries can reduce both cost and footprint size for embedded systems. however. missed deadlines and corrupted data. Because some of these bugs are timing dependent and not easily reproduced. compromise safety. lives could be lost. correcting a defect in an ‘An ounce of prevention … ’ For several reasons. and substantial assets could be at risk. First. they could go undetected until the software is fielded.

If that isn’t possible. raising the risk of introducing bugs and their associated detection and removal expenses. Though testing is an ongoing process for realworld systems. with the programmer adhering to set stylistic restrictions and supplying linker directives to avoid linking in unwanted libraries. is indirect and nonportable. of kilobytes to the size of an executable code. that can either be proved through formal methods or checked at run-time. failed check raises an exception. is the ability to specify stronger program properties. many of the new high-level-language features that improve reliability and maintainability—input/output (I/O) libraries. For a rich-featured language. For example. That presents a dilemma. design by contract5 or contract-based programming6. then automated error detection can occur at runtime with a well-defined effect. one language that makes it possible to tailor run-time requirements in a standard way is Ada. the specified contracts can be used either as formal comments that document the program’s intent or as runtime checks that are part of a testing regimen (Figure 1). limited processor power and memory space constrain many kinds of embedded systems. invariants). But C is notorious for vulnerabilities such as buffer overflow. commercialavionics software safety standard DO-178C1 specifies extensive tests to demonstrate that software meets all requirements and that these tests fully cover the source-code structure. Contract-based programming in Ada 2012. • When compliance with a safety or security standard is required. perhaps hundreds. Embedded-systems developers sometimes address these issues by choosing a lower-level language such as C. In the past several decades. the complexity of the libraries makes it harder to meet the certification objectives. Testing can catch some errors. strengthens the concept of an interface to include a behavioral specification and can help detect many kinds of coding errors early and inexpensively. The programmer can control whether the software generates code to check these conditions at run-time. the absence of run-time exceptions) on a range of safety-critical and high-security systems. Spark is an Ada subset augmented with contracts that specify intermodule data and information flow and that capture logical assertions concerning program state (subprogram preand postconditions. RTCA Inc. Solutions that involve wireless uploads raise serious security issues that are just beginning to be addressed in equipment ranging from medical devices to automotive systems. features such as strong type checking have been in some languages for decades. a 36 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. It does so through a compiler directive known as pragma Restrictions. sometimes known as correctness by construction4. In contrast. memory management. size does matter. The Spark language2 illustrates the first approach. This can be accomplished in an ad hoc fashion—for example. A recent example is Ada 20123. these libraries can add tens. or contracts. The Spark tools check that the source program conforms to its annotations and can automate the process of proving that the contracts are correct. 2012 Figure 1. however. in which contracts take the form of Boolean conditions that are supplied in contexts such as invariants for types and preconditions and/or postconditions for subprograms. with modest run-time-support requirements. Spark has been used in practice to demonstrate correctness properties (for example. Other language technologies treat contracts as run-time constructs. This idea isn’t new. This raises two issues: . What is new. Ideally.DESIGN + PRODUCTS embedded product already in service is complex and expensive. and then to eliminate those features whose run-time-support libraries are too large and/or too complex. This approach. In this way. An alternative approach is to start with a language that more directly supports the development of reliable software. • The executable code containing these libraries may be too large to fit into the available memory. the language can express the program’s intent so that automated error detection takes place at compile time. exception handling. use of programming language and tool technologies that automate error detection can bolster confidence in code correctness as well as demonstrate the code’s safety and security properties. The underlying methodology. or at least becoming more widely adopted. concurrency control—require run-timesupport libraries. KISS for programmers: Keep it small and simple Despite the general advances in hardware capacity.

the firewall filters messages before the device processes them. The defined communications policies need to be encoded as firewall rules. for libraries augmented by the tasking features permitted by the Ravenscar7 restrictions (see Figure 2) and for the full Ada language. — Alan Grau April 2. A VCN CAN SAFEGUARD EMBEDDED DEVICES With the growing number of embedded devices connected to the Internet. the programmer can choose features that are expressive enough to do the job but simple enough to accommodate their run-time support in the available Figure 2. To create a VCN. All packets received by the device are passed to the firewall for filtering and compared with the firewall rules. the firewall needs to part of the cell-phone communication protocol. The syntax of the firewall rules depends on the type of firewall. the device blocks attempts to hack into it before a connection is even established. the unneeded libraries can be omitted. Using either the à la carte mechanism provided by pragma Restrictions or one of the preconfigured run-time libraries provided by the Ada vendor. expanding opportunities for hacking and serious Internet attacks. A virtual closed network (VCN) can provide protection when a truly closed network is not an option. The device drops all packets that do not match the firewall rules. no exception propagation and no local allocators. as some vehicle antitheft systems use. If the device is using cell-phone text messages to communicate. corresponding to common sets of restrictions. Ravenscar tasking profile. the designer needs to define the communications requirements for the device to restrict communication to only what is required and block any communication that is not required. An example is AdaCore’s GNAT Pro High-Integrity Edition development environment. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 37 . include an integrated firewall. Alan Grau is president and co-founder of Icon Labs and architect of the company’s Floodgate Firewall. enforced by an embedded firewall.DESIGN + PRODUCTS With this pragma. Some vendors also supply several prepackaged run-time libraries. hackers have a new target. such as ZGate from Zilog. he worked for AT&T Bell Labs and Motorola. Engineers can build a firewall from scratch or purchase a commercial embedded firewall. and the firewall needs to be integrated into the embedded device’s communications stack. providing a low-cost solution. called profiles. which includes profiles for minimal or no run-time libraries (zero footprint). the number of embedded devices is growing rapidly and. The rules define each user group in terms of the group’s Internet Protocol (IP) address as well as define the protocols and ports that are allowed for each group. then the firewall needs to be in the lower layers of the TCP/IP stack. As a result. If the device is running TCP/IP. Before founding Icon Labs. Once the policies are configured into a set of rules. cellular networks and other networks via both wired and wireless protocols. in turn. for simple libraries compliant with DO-178B certification guidance. Grau has an MS in computer science from Northwestern University. the firewall can enforce them. Some hardware products. the programmer can specify which features are not being used. In each case. when the executable is built. Some common restrictions include no tasking. provides a critical layer of protection for embedded devices. The Ada compiler verifies that the program adheres to the specified restrictions. A VCN. As a result of the growing acceptance of IPv6 and the Internet of Things.

http://bit. Create these using appropriate language features (such as Ada’s pragma Restrictions) or specialized profiles supplied by the implementation. A. Vol.ly/9imSYX 4. “The Ravenscar Profile for High Integrity Real Time Programs. have made this task readily attainable and at lower cost. J. SO/IEC SC22/JTC1/WG9. in particular. failures fall into two main categories: systematic and random. Barnes. “Correctness by Construction. The SPARK Approach to Safety and Security. Moy. p 3. It is almost impossible to reduce the rate of random failures. getting it to flip state. Burns. Vaughan holds a BSEE from Texas A&M. High Integrity Software. The 1oo2 system is usually implemented using two 38 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. the two-out-of-two system (2oo2) and the two-out-of-three system (2oo3). At the design stage. 1411. a usage condition or the operating environment.G.DESIGN + PRODUCTS memory (and.” in Reliable Software Technologies—Ada Europe ’98. To understand why functional safety standards dictate numerous system aspects. the ability to specify contracts that express behavioral properties for program entities encourages the developer to think about the program References 1. • Second. if applicable. He joined TI as a product engineer in the imaging and audio group. “Integrating Formal Program Verification with Testing. December 2011. Compared with the 1oo1D system (shown). Continuous process improvements often repair them. Kanig and Y. Recent advances in embedded-processor architecture. comply with the relevant certification objectives). it helps to know the types of failures to which embedded systems are susceptible. Configurable run-timesupport libraries that reflect the features actually used will meet this goal. RTCA DO-178C—Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. Modern language features can help. logic in advance and to build in quality.” http://bit. In general. Romanski.” http://bit. Systematic failures usually result from problems with the chip design.ly/GBdnyZ 7. Springer Verlag Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 2. Dobbing and G. Eiffel Software. embedded-processor malfunction caused by an alpha or neutron particle bombarding a RAM bit. scale the program’s runtime functionality to fit in the available memory space. An example of a random failure in an electronic system is an Anthony Vaughan is the North America marketing and business development manager for Texas Instruments’ Hercules safety microcontroller group. size and development time By Anthony Vaughan INTEGRATING FUNCTIONAL safety into a complex electronic system can be daunting to designers. The three architectures now used most often are the one-out-of-two system (1oo2). 2012 . while meeting the hardware memory constraints: • First. however. software bugs or the manufacturing process. safety-critical architectures have helped electronic systems to withstand both systematic and random failures. 2003. Making the software fit Two techniques can be used to make embedded development less expensive and more reliable.ly/GD1iqv 5. eliminate or reduce the cost of tracking and correcting bugs. the 1oo2 system is usually implemented using two embedded processors with independent I/O in a configuration where both controllers must command an output for activation to occur. C.P. J. Figure 1. because they often result from chance defects or events that are inherent to a process. Altran Praxis. Random failures may be more difficult to fix. Ada 2012 Language Reference Manual. Comar.. An example of a systematic failure in an electronic system is a suboptimal solder reflow profile used in printed-circuit board assembly that results in circuit-continuity failures. then became an applications engineer with TI’s automotive and safety microcontroller group. Make sure the program does what it is supposed to do and doesn’t do what it is not supposed to do. “The Power of Design by Contract. B. but use of risk-mitigation measures can help detect them and respond appropriately when they occur. GLOBAL FEATURE Embedded safety trims system cost. Addison-Wesley.ly/16tBo7 6.” http://bit. Ada Rapporteur Group.

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they do need to be extremely robust and resistant to all types of failures: A failure in a major communications backbone can affect millions of people and lose significant revenue for the communications provider. When a fault occurs in one of the three controllers. The 2oo3 system is designed with three embedded processors and a complex output voting circuit. but sophisticated software-safety algorithms must be implemented. are now available with integrated embedded-hardware diagnostics to address a multitude of functional safety concerns. complexity and development time of safetycritical systems. The 2oo3 system is designed with three embedded processors and a complex output voting circuit. In addition. In addition. In this architecture. flightcritical aircraft systems and life-support medical devices. designers of fail-operational systems are working with safety-enabled processors and with the two-out-of-two-with-diagnostics (2oo2D) architecture. safety embedded processors are going into systems that don’t necessarily require functional safety but do require high levels of availability. not only does the entire embedded processor need to be duplicated. Because of their diagnostic capabilities and cost optimization. In this configuration. flash memory. the 2oo2 system has two embedded processors with independent I/O. Though a failure in one of these devices doesn’t usually pose an imminent danger to human life or the environment. SRAM. such as the Hercules RM4x and TMS570 microcontroller families from Texas Instruments. But using these safety-critical architectures takes a tremendous amount of development time and effort. p Figure 2. it takes a failure in both systems for an inadvertent activation to occur. the output circuit is configured in a manner in which a failure in both systems must occur for an inadvertent deactivation. Both of these systems are usually found in industrialcontrol environments.and neutron-particle strikes increases significantly as the number of system processors grows. including the one-outof-one-with-diagnostics (1oo1D) system. The CPU’s complexity makes it a prime candidate for a dual-core lockstep safety mechanism. Enhancements to embedded processors have emerged to combat the shortcomings of traditional safety systems.DESIGN + PRODUCTS embedded processors with independent input/output (I/O) in a configuration where both controllers must command an output for activation to occur. where the system must continue functioning despite a failure—most often. This type of safety architecture suits a wide variety of fail-safe systems where the failure rate must be extremely low. the output of the other two is used to control the system. which is simpler and more cost efficient than the 2oo3. 40 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. many controllers incorporate error-correcting code (ECC) that detects corruption and corrects single-bit errors so system operation can continue uninterrupted. 2012 . Many embedded processors. where inadvertent activation or deactivation of an actuator could be dangerous. Like the 1oo2 system. A 2oo3 system is usually used in fail-operation applications. Manufacturers of central-office communications and data-center equipment are taking advantage of safety embedded processors to mitigate the risk of downtime. The additional cost and time needed to develop a 1oo1D system is marginal compared with the cost of system downtime. A compare module confirms that the outputs of the two cores are identical on a cycle-by-cycle basis. Combining integrated safety features into a single IC has led to streamlined safety architectures. These processors apply continuously operating hardwarebased safety mechanisms on such components as the CPU. To address the integrity of both the embedded flash memory and the SRAM. The amount of logic that is susceptible to alpha. Embedded processors also have incorporated built-in self-test (BIST) engines that provide robust diagnostic testing on the CPU and memories even when the system is not running code. however. The advent of safety embedded processors is helping to decrease the cost. these architecures increase the systems’ sus- Integrated embedded-hardware diagnostics address a multitude of functional safety issues ceptibility to random failures. System designers who utilize integratedhardware safety features can substantially reduce safety software development time and the number of components needed for needed functional safety and reliability. power and clocks to ensure accurate software execution.

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some cases. however. but at work. This article examines the challenges designers commonly confront in creating this highly desirable. MP3 player or other device for x hours at home. “I charge my phone. 42 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. So let’s assume we are all smart enough to determine what voltage the native charge places on D+ and D–. it is becoming accepted as a universal charging port. with my new adapter. Jumping ahead. just like the native charger on D+ and D–. We then apply the right voltages. and we re-create a discrete charging circuit to confirm our suspicions. D– or both. The peripheral that gets Why is this taking so long? What does it mean to provide a “fast” charge? It depends on your definition of fast—and that usually boils down to customer expectations. Many of us who have worked on cell phone designs know that a deeply discharged lithium-ion battery needs to be trickle charged before the real charging can start. Common architecture for a wall charger. complicates knowing whether you have an optimal charging current. This can Figure 1. Battery power level plays a key role in charging. Achieving such universality. is easier said than done. Make no mistake. you first need a system to help measure the current on Vbus and to measure and apply voltages on D+ and D–. To begin an analysis of USB charging. it is time to evaluate the charging current with a device connected via your interposer board. but the charging current is not matching our previous results. The reason is simple: We do not like carrying them around. The common example is. about 50 percent of us will go out and buy another charger. such as in the office or in the car. This signature may come in the form of a specific voltage placed on D+. it also prevents the device from charging at all if the host is unknown. too. with my monitor. The native wall charger for a device will very often have a special signature on the data pins to let a device know it is safe to charge with more current. 2012 . but the level of power. so we leave a charger in each of the common places we frequent. omnipresent USB charging port. Note that the configurations are implemented so the manufacturer can sell more accessories.DESIGN + PRODUCTS PLANET ANALOG USB battery charging: Harder than it looks By Mitch Polonsky AS THE USB PORT becomes ubiquitous. For every chargeable product purchased. selling specialized accessories is definitely in the business plan for any portable product. be done by creating a board that both the peripheral and the host can plug into while exposing their D+. Figure 1 illustrates a common architecture for a wall charger using this methodology. In What’s the ‘right’ charging current? Here’s a hint: There may be three. it takes all day to charge!” So we start with the “native” charger that comes with any device. with my laptop. since that charging experience is the baseline for customer satisfaction. D– and Vbus lines for analysis. This. It is time to check our power—not just whether things are plugged in.

Energy Star) • No AC line voltage sense required • 0.and multirail management. Editor’s note: Liked this? Want more? If you’re interested in power components. Once CDP has been established.Y. It most likely has a lowcharging mode for the aforementioned trickle charging. check out our Power Management Designline (http://bit. As a result. efficiency.). you may want fast charging and the ability to transfer data at the same time. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 43 . number of cell phone chargers ending up in landfills. p Delivering Real Power Compact.2). and we need to act intelligently if we want to be the providers of this power. It also may have a different charging state for when the battery is nominally charged. it may have a charging state for a fully charged battery. by converging on one USB-charging specification. ac/dc and dc/dc supply topologies. Since traditional data communication on the USB is based on 3. The BC 1.800. But all is not lost.5 A and simultaneously communicate data. Before joining SMSC. batteries. For many apps (such as PC. Blue Angel. supply ICs. single. specifically. and supply monitoring. Finally. powerful solution • Fast time to market • Enables compliance with energy standards (1W.irf. you will need to observe what the charging current is when a given device’s battery is empty.8 V is sensed on D+ of a host or hub device.DESIGN + PRODUCTS plugged into a USB port may have several different points of charging before it is full. Powerful CCM PFC from 75 W to 4 kW+ VIN μPFC™ CONTROL IC VOUT Can I have the kitchen sink. 66kHz or programmable value available • Average current mode control • Cycle by cycle peak current limit system protection Mitch Polonsky is director of product marketing for analog products and technology at SMSC (Hauppauge. there has been a lot of confusion as to what is possible. products.2 spec includes a Charging Downstream Port (CDP) mode that allows for data and higher charging currents. and now some facilitate charging at a higher current while communicating.1 and 300 mV for USB 2. Plus. when it is midway charged and when it is fully charged. Carey School of Business. In this regard. The reason goes back to the fact that many native chargers place a voltage on the D+ and D– pins of the USB port. But the EU has yet to fully adopt the BC 1.com THE POWER MANAGEMENT LEADER April 2. If. should begin arriving this year. and news. Sound time-consuming? You bet it is—but it is a necessary evil for complete characterization.4 V and 0.0. The idea is to minimize the PFC Control ICs Part Number IR1152 Description Fixed 66KHz switching frequency with brownout protection and dual OVP protection Fixed 22KHz switching frequency with brownout protection and programmable OVP protection Programmable switching frequency and programmable OVP protection IR1153 IR1155 Features • Small. N. there is help on the way. indeed. Some cell phones are like this for syncing purposes. it has committed to using the same Micro-USB connectors on data-enabled cell phones. The full specification can be found at http://bit.981. A specification has been created to help with this data-pluscharging challenge: USB-IF Battery Charging Specification Revision 1. Devices with this technology.ly/H5Ds8j) for the latest design and tech trends.7 V. For more information call 1. There are some exceptions to this rule. More details on the timing associated with this provision can be found in the specification. he was in marketing at Motorola. we may be limited by what the device will allow given a specific software driver. too? We now have a growing understanding of customer charger configurations and what we would like to see for charging current.0 in the future. For instance. The USB port has infiltrated our life for providing power. BC 1. The European Union has been an early adopter of waste reduction principles. monitor and docking station). putting a different voltage on these lines eliminates the possibility for enumeration and communication.8699 or visit www. It is hoped that this primer on USB charging will help you to avoid going down many of the dark alleys in which some of our colleagues have gotten stuck.ly/9djibj).ly/eLVPx. then D– should respond with 0. there are devices that require you to download device-specific software to your host when you first plug the device into the USB port.3 V for USB 1. thermal issues.999 power factor • Switching frequency of 22kHz. a voltage between 0. sign up for our weekly Power Management Designline Newsletter (http://bit. easy. complete supplies.2 specification.2 (BC 1.5 V to 0.P.2 was created to unify batterycharging attributes for USB 2. peripheral devices are allowed to draw up to 1. So for device communication and charging. He holds a BA in mathematics from Emory University. an MSEE from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Arizona State University’s W. including cell phones. for example.

Radio telegrams from the self-powered sensors are received via USB dongle and visualized via personal computer software. Full story: http://bit. a major concern when deploying wireless-sensor networks in cities.libelium. The devices feature a microprocessorcontrolled design. the MIC943XX devices provide more usable board space for space-constrained applications. sensitivity.com Transducers resist harsh environments Honeywell has expanded its heavy-duty pressure transducer portfolio with the PX2 series of stainless-steel pressure measurement products. Portable apps include smartphones. Full story: http://bit.400 Bar). which are engineered to be resistant to moderately harsh media such as refrigerants. By allowing direct communication between the sensors and smartphones without an intermediate router. a temperature sensor module (STM 330). The MAX31722 and MAX31723 have an array of options to help the designer.ly/x8RIqi www. thanks to minimal part-to-part variation in accuracy.enocean.0 percent BFSL. 2012 . Full story: http://bit. The starter kit comes as a developer tool without CE certification. tablets/notebooks/ 44 Electronic Engineering Times April 2.000 PSI (3.000 and up.1 percent and 1. which are dangerous in critical systems such as hydrogen. brake and hydraulic fluids. medical imaging. Both the Model AST20PT Sensor and Model AST46PT Transmitter offer high accuracy pressure and temperature measurements of ±0. Both units come in various temperature ranges from –40° to 250°F (–40° to 125°C).000 pounds per square inch (1.com Products: Focus on sensors Sensor reads pressure and temperature American Sensor Technologies’ sensors provide both pressure and temperature outputs from a single process point. which removes noise from the power supply. along with a one-piece body construction.astsensors. heavy-oil processing. An SPI or three-wire interface is available for reading and writing data.5°C) or MAX31722 (±2. The Ripple Blocker technology improves minimum-detectable-signal capturing for low-light image sensors by suppressing system power ripple for the image system processor. This low supply voltage. tap water and compressed air. oxygen. The Wi-Fi sensors also can use secure HTTPS. along with a 2. offshore pipelines and ammonia systems.ly/wxDnEa www.7-volt supply. The total error band of ±2 percent over the compensated temperature range of –40°F to 257°F (–40ºC to 125ºC) provides interchangeability.DESIGN + PRODUCTS EETimes. Their compatibility with varied media.7 V.ly/AjXGg8 www.com Digital thermometers/thermostats feature SPI/three-wire interface Maxim Integrated Products’ MAX31722/ MAX31723 digital thermometers and thermostats provide local temperature readings over a user-selectable Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus or three-wire interface. temperature effects and nonlinearity using an onboard ASIC. these temperature sensors can operate from a supply as low as 1. The parts are available in an eight-pin MAX package and are unit priced from 79 cents in quantities of 1. ECO 200). the Model AST20PT is available in pressure ranges up to 45.sensing. and supports customer system accuracy and warranty requirements. They also can create TCP and UDP connections. ensuring the privacy of the information sent.maxim-ic. so that developers can design their own communications framework between the sensor nodes and the cloud servers.ly/wjFGsM www. PC software for visualization (DolphinView Basic) and a sample case for industrial switching solutions.ly/zb0SW8 www. components for different switch applications (PTM 330. respectively. the Wi-Fi radio opens the Internet of Things to iPhone/Android application developers. analyzers. a USB gateway (USB 300). This dual-output configuration reduces process-penetration points and leaks.100 Bar).’s MIC94300 voltage-follower output and MIC94310 fixed-output low-dropout (LDO) IC use its latest Ripple Blocker activefilter technology. easing the deployment of sensor networks. The fully calibrated PX2 series is compensated for transducer offset.4-microampere low-power standby mode.com Micrel aims to eliminate dropped calls Micrel Inc.and lowaccuracy applications are satisfied with the MAX31723 (±0. eliminates individual transducer testing and calibration.com Starter kit simplifies energy-harvested wireless sensors EnOcean GmbH said its ESK 300 starter kit simplifies the testing and development of energy-harvesting wireless solutions for OEM partners. makes the products suitable for low-power or battery-operated systems. The kit consists of a switch module (PTM 200) for building services. It is available for 868-MHz (R&TTE) and 315-MHz (FCC) frequencies. Full story: http://bit. Though most competitive devices require at least a 2. The transducers measure absolute or sealed gauge pressure. Full story: http://bit. The user can adjust the readout resolution between 9 and 12 bits for applications that require greater temperature resolution.0°C). The absolute versions have an internal vacuum reference and an output value proportional to absolute pressure. The PX2 series use piezoresistive sensing technology with ASIC signal conditioning. By eliminating the large LC filter that would typically be required to reduce ripple in a discrete solution.com Wi-Fi sensors connect directly to cloud servers/phone platforms Libelium’s Wi-Fi module for the Waspmote platform enables sensor nodes to send gathered data to cloud-based Web servers and to any smartphone without the need for a special gateway. The ESK 300 comes with electromechanical pushbutton generators for switches and a solar-powered temperatures sensor. Sensor nodes can connect directly to cloud servers using a standard protocol such as HTTP. allow for reliable performance in tough environments.honeywell. The starter kit is available for OEM partners at $106. engine oil. combined with up to IP69K protection and CE compliance. Though the Model AST46PT is offered in pressure ranges up to 20. hydraulics. Both high.

13365 Edna Brake Lucas Dr.micrel. The MIC94300 integrates a low-RDSon.zmdi. AL 36117. The MIC94310 is a lowdropout regulator that Micrel says offers better power-supply-rejection-ratio (PSRR) performance from dc to 5 MHz than discrete solutions. low power ZMD AG (ZMDI) has introduced a 16-bit-sensor signal-conditioning IC for calibrated resistive-sensor modules. The ZSSC3016 combines high-accuracy amplification. For quantities of 1. Full story: http://bit. or related field plus 1 yr exp req'd in electrical and electronic design for automotive electrical eng'g and network equipment construction. Email resumes to employment@sensata. and an 18-bit digital signal processor for linearization and calibration functions. unit pricing starts at 24 cents for the MIC94300 and 27 cents for the MIC94310. April 2. AL: Bachelor's degree in Computer Graphic Tech. EOE Electronic Drafter.com & reference job code IR14501 in email subject line. current-limit switch and a low-pass filter that passes direct current (dc) and blocks the alternating-current (ac) component of the input voltage. Must have legal auth.DESIGN + PRODUCTS Webcams. digital still and video cameras..com 16-bit-sensor signal conditioner delivers high resistance. MA to implement cost-effective solutions to facilitate economical manufacture of sensors at the quality level & cycle time required. GPS and image-system processors for image sensors.. Resume to Sungwon Alabama Corp. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 45 . Requires Master's or Bachelor's degree w/ exp.ly/w2xdss www. 16-bit precision analog-to-digital conversion. Montgomery.ly/An2jBX www. Montgomery. Both chips feature an active-high enable pin for power sequencing. Full story: http://bit.com PRODUCT OF THE TIMES Sensata Technologies has an opening for Process Engineer in Attleboro. The high-resolution sensor-interface ASSP is suitable for use in battery-driven low-power devices. to work permanently in the US. as it has an overall current consumption of less than 1 milliampere combined with a standby current of less than 250 nanoamperes. in Mechanical/ Manufacturing Eng. barcode scanners.000 pieces or more.

Xconomy. Celestron. CrazyEngineers. Purdue University.C. The Scripps Foundation for Science and the Environment.School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) PLATINUM Vertex Pharmaceuticals. You Can Do the Rubik's Cube. American Nuclear Society.. Environmental Protection Agency. Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP). Forbes/Wolfe.S. Association of Science-Technology Centers. D THE USA SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FESTIVAL IS PROUD TO HOST THE 2012 “NATIONAL ROBOT FEST AND DIY EXPO WHERE CREATIVITY & TECHNOLOGY MEET” USASCIENCEFESTIVAL..S. U. The George Washington University . Medimmune. Illumina Inc. The Planetary Society. Center for America. PBS Kids. Northern Virginia Technology Council. U.5 . Project Lead The Way (PLTW).S. U.American University Radio. Washington Family Magazine.com. Sigma Xi. The Kavli Foundation. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Aldebaran Robotics Inc. American Scientist. 3M. D. Department of Defense. Raytheon.S. Physics Today. WAMU 88.ORG . Army RDECOM and eCYBERMISSION. ABC7/WJLA-TV.PROUD SPONSOR: DOWNLOAD THE FREE FESTIVAL APP (STARTING APRIL10) S ’T MIS THE LAR ON CELEBRATION EST G CE IN THE SCIEN U OF GRAND FINALE WALTER E. Baxter International. Amgen. WASHINGTON CONVENTION CENTER. SchoolTube. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. OVER 3000 FUN HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES AND MORE THAN 100 STAGE SHOWS APRIL 28 & 29. 2012 EXPO & BOOK FAIR MEET AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS AND SCIENCE CELEBRITIES LIKE BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY AND ADAM SAVAGE & JAMIE HYNEMAN NEW THIS YEAR: CAREER PAVILION & BOOK FAIR | A FREE EVENT LOCKHEEDIUM / FESTIVAL HOST NOBELIUM EINSTEINIUM KRYPTON BOCKIUM LEGO Education. WASHINGTON. Center for Biotechnology Education at Johns Hopkins University K&L GATESIUM TAKE THE METROBUS OR METRORAIL TO THE USA SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FESTIVAL .

) 2. Many homes still maintain a POTS line in some way. 47 . After all. 3. how it works. But caffeine can be taken too far. p for work By Brian Fuller ENGINEERS WORK extraordinarily hard—harder. One reliable fuel for maintaining a high level of engineering operational readiness is caffeine. and the lines are ripe for use for remote home automation. inventors. through all kinds of adverse conditions. administered through delivery mechanisms such as coffee or tea. This month’s installment reviews the actual telephone line interface. beer needs to become more institutionalized in the workplace. Use this article and other Gizmo Blocks in the series to encourage students. The usual Twitter hilarity followed. That prompted embedded engineer and Drive for Innovation star Scott Wohler (@swohlereng) to raise a number of helpful design considerations. individual commands and tone feedback acknowledgements. It all got me thinking: Because engineers and beer go together like. Schematics. Follow John Gabay’s article and build the board design. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL and widely deployed communications network the modern world has ever seen is the plain old telephone system (POTS). pc board layouts. The posted article describes a telephone line interface that you can build and connect to your household phone line so you can control things remotely. engineers and hobbyists to devise gadgets that use energy efficiently and provide the next level of personalized control and safety. Next month. Red Bull. later. I helpfully suggested he add a beer keg to his cube to balance things out.ly/GN2yK2. 2012. energy savings and gizmology. filtering. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times BUILDING INNOVATION RULES Dive into the technology. engineers and caffeine. dualtone multifrequency (DTMF) receivers. Read the rules. beer is a staple in many business segments already.) We are building a community that rekindles ingenuity. one. And many of the innovations that came from Sun Microsystems are traceable to interactions that occurred during that workstation company’s famous beer bashes.EE LIFE DRIVE FOR INNOVATION ENGINEERING POP CULTURE Build your own crack POTS Beer: It’s what’s By Jon Gabay OUR VERY OWN DR. and then wear down the carpet between his cube and the nearest caffeine-expulsion room. reliably. The project is excerpted here. we will review the twoto four-wire interface. well. implement the design and share your innovations with us by following these steps: 1. (Limit of one gift card per person and only to the first 50 participants who fulfill the guidelines. Bigtime brewers usually offer free beer for their employees—and look at how successful they are! Bars make a killing off beer. Parts referenced in the online article are available at the Avnet Express Web site. Send the video file via e-mail to jennifer.com. Offer ends April 30. than almost anyone except the fishermen on “Deadliest Catch. as analog engineer and EE Lifer Chris Gammell recently pointed out. get a little too energetic and jittery. view the full project and accept the challenge at http://bit. (Please take reasonable safety precautions and seek guidance if you are new to gizmology. GIZMOLOGY challenges you to build a POTS line interface in this third installment of our Building Innovation contest. Share a video of your application with our Drive for Innovation audience. 4. Create a short. these household phone lines have provided basic voice and. bills of materials. I’d argue. For generations. and if you act quickly you will get a $100 Amazon gift card and the satisfaction of knowing that you can keep up with the doctor. Rush Limbaugh’s crisis-management consultants and Navy SEALs. data services to hundreds of millions of households. Beer should be more highly integrated into engineering environments for many April 2.delony@ubm.” coal miners. and how to interface to it electronically in a safe and isolated way. innovation and cleverness. DynaPep and disposable hypodermic needle (tell me you haven’t at least thought about it). and code listings as they apply are freely available and can be used as a starting point. de-multiplexers and logic flow for security-code access.to two-minute video describing your application of the design. We will send you back an online Amazon Gift card valued at $100. He wondered aloud on Twitter (@Chris_Gammell) whether his new incube coffee maker might be prompting him to partake in too much caffeine.

You need to get a liquor license. I usually had to buy the beer. — forthprgmr The problem is the law. Close with a reminder that today’s work environment is all about self-esteem—indeed. common-sense perspectives. we would convene in someone’s office with a six pack. In any event. Tröegs makes JavaHead Stout. and then imagine the workplace. and his reply was. huge keg serves the entire department via individual taps? Remember.. p ENGINEERING POP CULTURE Paying it forward: Two perspectives By Robert W. I have built a rewarding career in engineering. We’ll share them with the group. Teaching and learning moments arise throughout one’s career. — swohler I believe we have evolved enough as a civilization to recognize the innumerable benefits that beer provides for engineering and many other professions as well. but for what I think you can learn.. sincedebunked study that beer and science don’t mix (http://nyti.12. and you might not be so productive for idea generation any longer. and those who prefer efficiency.ms/HgZpz9). — David Ashton For years. quality. by example. Chief among them is that beer and scientists enjoy a collaborative relationship. a task that has afforded me the luxury to interact with some of the industry’s most knowledgeable people.ly/GNnMF4 . the more you need to carbonate your beer for optimal pours. ahem.2. how to work methodically. To create an effective and positive experience. And those bleeding-edge EE Lifers who have already installed a beer-delivery and productivity-enhancement system in the workplace are invited to e-mail photos. despite a notorious. I’ve had the opportunity to visit and audit many component suppliers. As a longtime employee of Rockwell Automation (once Allen-Bradley). Consider the connections between your daily design trade-offs and the beer-delivery architecture: • Is it practical to devise a distributed scheme in which multiple kegs serve one or two engineers? Pro: You’d avoid lunchtime and “rush hour” pulls on the keg. high self-esteem scores are crucial metrics in the annual “satisfaction in the workplace” surveys that spell bonus or bust for HR folks—and there’s nothing that improves self-esteem like a couple of carbonated fermented beverages. 48 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. quality auditor and global project manager. you must have a two-way commitment to clear goals. Beer is a well-known social lubricant. I once asked Jim why he hired me. a malty. Where do you store the CO2? It boggles the mind. but my mug just went dry.9-a). For the adventurous. I could go on. I worked at a small company where beer was a part of the culture. everyone has a “slippery slope”: Three beers in. this should arm you to pitch the idea to your management.” Jim is long retired. — kumaranmani I’m not sure [a license is] required everywhere. the farther the tap from the keg. but it was always something to look forward to. 2012 SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES AND CHECK OUT THE FUN http://bit. design plans and experiences to eelife@ubm. to be sure (when the beer would slow to a trickle). Mentoring can go beyond the technical side of engineering and may include discussions of ethics. and beer can correct that. But offer your HR VP a beer. Vol. I’ve worked in design engineering.EE LIFE reasons. Finally what better team-building exercise than to conceive. design and implement a beer-delivery system? Join the maker movement! There’s no reason college kids should have all the fun.. and we have a rock-solid bond that has stood the test of time. Engineers are typically introverts. However. Chesla and Melissa Boskocevic A mentor’s story My first manager. . but the full potential of seizing a mentoring opportunity happens only when you have the ideal mentor-mentee match. is it? — phoenixdave Don’t forget that we voted beer the fourth greatest innovation of all time: http://bit. Observe that some of the greatest design engineers of the 1970s and 1980s were not shy around the suds. I predict that this blog will one day be recognized as a seminal work in influencing the course of human events. He patiently passed down engineering know-how that taught me to tackle problems from both textbook and practical. 975. Con: How do you manage a distributed refrigeration system’s power consequences when your CFO is trying to win carbon credits as part of his bonus plan? • Should you have a “cloud” system in which a single. chocolatey stout made with coffee. Jim. Over the years. You’ve hit a wall with a prickly colleague over the right way to route a dense pc board? Revisit the topic after sharing a lunchtime brew.com (subject: beer architecture system). — Dylan McGrath I’ll drink to that! — phoenixdave Doubting Thomases I know what you’re thinking: HR will be reluctant (they always are. “Not for what I think you know. He showed. but I see him occasionally. Look up "ten cent beer night" on Wikipedia. Your boss has set an asinine project deadline? Beer will relax him. was a true teaching mentor. company politics and related career guidance. A DIALOGUE BREWS I’m from Cleveland. sit him or her down and explain the salutary effects of the occasional barley pop.” “creative” and “different” are not words found in HR Policies and Procedures. because “fun.m. unless you’re having a party and you get rid of the alcohol at the end of it. accomplish goals and enjoy engineering as well as the company of our colleagues.ly/ngTU6f. and he will relax it. component engineering and engineering services. My contributions to company objectives have included stints as an ISO 9000 instructor. On Fridays after 4 p. Giving back to the profession by “paying it forward” has long been a goal.

No less important are the rewarding and enjoyable bonds that can develop between mentor and mentee.ly/GGrf6G A mentee’s view Electrical engineering is my major because I enjoy the challenge of understanding the inner workings of everyday electronic devices and their applications.C. it has been a valuable and enjoyable experience. I grew confident that I was providing valuable assistance to my mentor and was contributing to Rockwell Automation. I’d heard Bob Chesla has tapped his own experience as a mentee in mentoring Melissa Boskocevic. She has assisted with my workload far more than I had anticipated.. as the engineers at Rockwell April caption contest: Deadline April 30 WHEN DINOSAURS ROAMED THE LAB .. but isn’t this taking things a bit far? Go to http://bit. Since beginning college. lJOIN THE CONVERSATION http://bit. and I was unsure of what was expected of me. ethical business standards and continual improvement practices. Melissa Boskocevic is a component engineering intern at Rockwell Automation. we’ll put the entries to a vote. April 2. I have not considered the time spent a chore. — B. I’ll admit to having been unsure of how to balance my workload and mentoring duties. however. and the writer of the winning caption will receive a color cartoon from artist Daniel Guidera. organized and dedicated. competent. I was intimidated by the tasks that were placed before me. guiding me through to numerous departments within the company while teaching me to balance the responsibilities. Happily. and this exceptional opportunity has greatly enhanced my understanding of industrial processes and the engineering profession as a whole. She is a senior at Cleveland State University and will graduate in December with a BSEE. Automation shared their knowledge with me. If I was going to put my reputation on the line with an intern. opportunities and hurdles that engineers face. only praise for Rockwell Automation. rather. Bob has done a phenomenal mentoring job. although I must verify her work. He always finds time to answer questions and give career advice. Melissa is enthusiastic. I wanted to make sure she was willing and able to add value toward department goals and objectives. we quickly realized that our personalities matched well. During my first few weeks at the company. All apprehensions quickly abated. and is a Certified PMP and a Certified ISO 9000 Quality Lead Assessor. the mentee gains real-life engineering experience. and my enthusiasm for the profession has grown as a result. based on its excellent products. At the end of April. Chesla is a senior project engineer with Rockwell Automation. I have been interested in control systems. and the company receives help in meeting its goals and objectives. I find satisfaction in solving complex problems and implementing a process to make a component function.ly/GHIYAp and add your caption to the comments field to explain Tyranno’s presence in the engineers’ midst. When a mentor-mentee program functions properly. I am able put some trust in it. Throughout my education. Age may be relative. p Robert (Bob) W. 2012 Electronic Engineering Times 49 . I had never worked for a large corporation. He holds a BEET. I joined Rockwell Automation last summer as a component engineering intern. it’s a win-win-win situation: The mentor gets the satisfaction of paying it forward.EE LIFE When Melissa was assigned to me.

But that’s just the beginning. such as e-mails. data storage systems will have to get very efficient and smart. database and programs.” Today. storing and managing ever-higher mountains of digital information along the way—the time to start questioning the vitality of our systems is now. p By Gururaj Rao. long business cycles and terabytes of largely structured data. storage. next-generation integration technologies will enable systems of integrated storage. a homeowner choosing the most efficient time to do laundry or a meteorologist predicting a hurricane. memory. speed and access patterns. Watson gives us a glimpse into the monumental shift in computing that will affect businesses in every industry and consumers around the world. So if you’ve wondered whether systems could get any smarter. thanks in large part to innovative ways of creating and sharing information. They will do so through deployment of advanced capabilities such as universal storage virtualization. . We are on the verge of expert integrated systems with built-in knowledge on how to perform intricate tasks. social networking and the Internet will contribute to a data glut of historic proportions—50 times greater than current levels. Last year. Are we ready for all that data? Better yet. For more than 50 years. When new applications or upgrades are needed. as well as through automated tiering to keep the data optimally balanced for cost. compression and data deduplication. rather than on experience and intuition. As we rush to the future—generating. IBM fellow and vice president for IBM Systems and Technology Group development in India and Southeast Asia. 50 Electronic Engineering Times April 2. Future generations of optimized systems will benefit enterprises across industries as they deal with common and complex data center issues. We’ve designed IT systems to handle business-process automation. they will be deployed against best practices and integrated patterns. IBM’s Watson high-powered question/answer system showed the world what is possible when a finely tuned learning system tackles big data with advanced analytics: It competed with and bested two human contestants at “Jeopardy. In doing so. we’ve been operating with the same IT elements: processor. making these capabilities easier to deploy. we would take a more scientific approach to our businesses and lives. based on proven best practices—systems that not only recognize changes in the computing environment but also anticipate them. mobile devices. Systems designed for transaction processing and structured data can’t deliver the levels of performance that businesses and consumers are demanding and will require in the very near future. according to market watcher IDC. the only way for technology to keep up is for computing to get smarter. 2012 We need to build IT systems that can not only filter and store data but also make use of it It’s time to shift the computing paradigm from computers that calculate to computers that learn from and adapt to all data. As workload demands spike. the answer is simple: Yes. structured and unstructured. the systems will respond. To this end. By 2020. But as data gets bigger. presentations and videos. are our systems equipped with the innovative technology to manage it? What’s needed is the technology to harness that data so that both businesses and consumers can make decisions based on quality analysis.LAST WORD Why systems need to get smarter The amount of digital data around the world is doubling every two years. To deal with the explosive growth of data. we need to build information technology systems that can not only filter and store all this data but also make use of it. IBM and partners are putting Watson to work in industries from health care to banking. In addition. whether as a doctor diagnosing a patient. networking and servers.

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