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Monday, March 30, 2009

Motorola launches high speed M2M modem

Motorola has launched a high speed Machine-to-Machine (M2M) modem that uses the HSPA protocol for 3.5G connectivity. The HSPA series of modules is comprised of the H24-Global, providing tri-band HSPA connectivity (850/1900/2100MHz); H24-Single (2100MHz); and H24-NA (850/1700/1900MHz).
The new H24 module provides HSUPA/HSDPA connectivity at 5.76Mbit/s upstream and 7.2Mbit/s downstream, enabling true mobile broadband for next generation M2M solutions like automotive infotainment systems, fixed-wireless terminals, telemetry, and advanced security systems featuring real-time video surveillance. The H24 also has on-board GPS capabilities making it the ideal solution for location-based applications. In addition, the H24 includes receiver diversity for optimal performance under harsh network conditions as well as FOTA (firmware over the air), to ensure maximum reliability.
The H24 is built in the same compact form factor as the rest of the Motorola "24" family of wireless modules to provide flexibility with a single design solution. As the entire H24 series includes quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE connectivity, customers can easily add HSPA connectivity to their existing G24 GSM-based solution by integrating the H24.
"The H24 HSPA module enables the M2M industry to take advantage of global 3.5G network deployment," said Shamai Wasserman, vice president, Motorola Israel & Director of Motorola Wireless Modules business unit. "The addition of 3.5G HSPA technology to the "24" family of wireless modules expands on Motorola's commitment to supporting all air interfaces with a single form factor."

Ultrasound cost reduction technology

Texas Instruments (TI) is targetting the low cost, portable ultrasound equipment market with an embedded processor software toolkit to encourage more flexible ultrasound equipment in clinics rather than just in hospitals. This is the first in a family of products to help manufacturers quickly and easily develop ultrasound applications on the improved processing power of TI’s C64x+ DSP platforms.
The Embedded Processor Software Toolkit (STK) for medical diagnostic ultrasound makes use of the performance, flexibility and power consumption of TI’s C64x+ architecture to shorten the development time of an ultrasound system by providing optimized implementations of commonly used processing blocks.
TI is also offering the TMS320C6455 DSP Starter Kit (DSK) for medical imaging, a low-cost development platform which provides manufacturers with an easy-to-use solution for evaluating DSP algorithms, reducing medical imaging product development time.
The C64x+ kit contains:
* Optimized software modules of common ultrasound processing
* Complete source code for all modules affords developers full
visibility and enables module customization and differentiation.
* Well defined APIs simplify development by abstracting modules and
enabling easy integration into existing systems.
* Complete benchmarks allow for quick and easy evaluation of module
implementation and comparisons to other architectures.
* Full test benches provide assurance of module functionality while
aiding in evaluation and development. Custom test vectors can easily be
added to check functional and cycle performance for any input.
* Full documentation of each optimized module provides coding
illustrations on computational optimization methods for the C64x+ core
which can be used as a model to optimize other code modules.
* One year of support and release patches include up-to-date releases
and support by TI’s applications team over the next 12 months.

"Over the next few years, we anticipate a significant shift in medical
imaging applications from traditional imaging modalities limited to
basic diagnostic functions to a new ecosystem comprised of small form
factor, highly accurate portable devices, ” said Susie Inouye, research
director and president, Databeans. “It is clear that manufacturers
seeking to design more flexible, affordable and portable ultrasound
equipment can benefit from the low power, high-performance and flexible
programmability of TI’s digital signal processors.”

Altera and National get closer on automotive

Altera has teamed up with National Semiconductor on the transmission, processing and display of digital data in automotive applications in a first step to closer cooperation.
The two have developed a reference design for graphics interconnect to run digital video in automotive infotainment and driver-assistance applications, using Altera's low-cost Cyclone 3 FPGAs and National's FPD-Link 2 embedded clock serialiser/deserialiser (SERDES). This should provide higher bandwidth over longer range with less cabling and lower electromagnetic interference (EMI), as well as increased reliability and lower system costs.
This reference design shows the transmission of a digital video bitstream over a 10-meter CAT6 cable to National's DS90C124 FPD-Link 2 deserializer. The deserializer output interfaces directly to a Cyclone 2 FPGA, which processes the incoming signals and sends the resulting video to a display.
"National has a proven track record for enabling the high-speed data link between video source and sink in automotive applications," said Erroll Dietz, vice president of National's High-Speed Product Division. "Our expertise in mixed-signal IC design, video transport, signal integrity and automotive qualification processes has made National's FPD-Link 2 SERDES products the first choice among major OEMs and tier-1 suppliers for point-to-point data transfer. Altera's proficiency in embedded digital video processing is a natural complement to National's FPD-Link II SERDES. Our shared customers are well positioned to benefit from our strategic collaboration, which is fueled by strong growth in embedded video for infotainment and driver-assist applications."

"This work with National represents the first in a multi-step collaboration between the two companies to facilitate the routing of high-resolution digital video within automotive applications," said Michael Samuelian, director of Altera's automotive and industrial business unit. "Our experience in processing automotive video, graphics and human-machine interfaces combined with National's widely deployed FPD-Link 2 SERDES family delivers automotive manufacturers a proven solution for deploying digital video in their next-generation vehicles."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wind River Linux runs on FPGA processor

This is an interesting move - Wind River's Linux is now available on Altera's Nios II embedded processor which can sit in low cost FPGAs.

Wind River's Linux solution for the Nios II processor is based on Linux 2.6 kernel technology, the GNU 4 tool chain and the Eclipse-based Wind River Workbench Development Suite, customised for the Nios II instruction set, the processor architecture and the custom instructions feature that can be implemented in the FPGA fabric to increase system performance.

"Together, Altera and Wind River have brought Linux support to the Nios II embedded processor on FPGAs," said Mike Langlois, general manager of networking solutions at Wind River. "Our customers can leverage a flexible hardware and software solution to create and bring to market faster, highly differentiated systems. The fact that the Nios II processor can run on all of Altera's FPGAs and HardCopy ASICs to enable a broad spectrum of solutions is well-matched to the needs of our customers who are looking to differentiate on price and performance."

A reference design based on the low cost Cyclone III FPGA provides a fully timing-constrained and performance-optimized processor subsystem design with a Nios II/f core and a number of common system peripherals such as Ethernet, timer and UART. A matching board support package (BSP) and a pre-built Linux kernel for this hardware platform give application developers a familiar and stable environment to jumpstart their application development effort. The same processor system reference design can target any FPGA or HardCopy ASIC in Altera's product portfolio.

"As more customers adopt FPGA platforms to create product differentiation in ever bigger and more sophisticated systems, their software development needs increase and evolve," said Danny Biran, senior vice president of product and corporate marketing at Altera. "Our relationship with Wind River provides us with a partner who can support the broad and diverse needs of our global customers, and whose breath and depth of software expertise complements our hardware expertise."

The Linux distribution, a Nios II/f-based processor-system reference design, and a BSP for the Altera Cyclone III FPGA Development Kit are available from Wind River.

Wittenstein moves open source to microcontrollers...

Wittenstein High Integrity Systems has launched a fully integrated version of its OpenRTOS kernel with USB and FAT file system capability to reduce development times.

The real time OS, based on the FreeRTOS but with support, is designed to run efficiently on the new generation of small and medium 32bit microcontrollers, with the initial release supporting the NXP LPC2xxx, ARM 7 and Freescale Coldfire V2 architectures. The product shortens development time for applications using USB or flash memory considerably.

OpenRTOS CONNECT is a high performance middleware platform based on, and compatible with, FreeRTOS, the world’s favourite open-source microcontroller RTOS, which has a large, rapidly growing embedded developer community. Users are able control costs, developing projects on the free kernel and migrating to OpenRTOS later in the development cycle. OpenRTOS is commercially licensed and supported, easy to use, memory efficient and optimised for 32-bit controllers.

It provides a full featured FAT 12/16/32 based, DOS compatible file system designed for embedded applications requiring PC compatible media, for example SD and other common flash based devices. A lightweight file system version is also available for configurations with limited resources. The USB host, device and class drivers support all four USB transfer types and enables the development of embedded applications fully compliant with USB 1.1 and USB 2.0.

... as it ports SafeRTOS to highly integrated Luminary controller

Wittenstein High Integrity Systems has ported its SafeRTOS embedded kernel to the Luminary Micro Stellaris ARM Cortex-M3™-based microcontrollers, including the new highly integrated LM3S9000 series.
The release by Wittenstein enables high integrity application development on the ‘most integrated’ embedded microcontrollers on the market. The product greatly reduces the time and risk associated with obtaining FDA510(k) and IEC61508 certification through Wittenstein’s Design Assurance Pack.
Developed specifically for applications such as medical and industrial devices, SafeRTOS has been independently certified by TÜV SÜD, as having been developed in compliance with IEC61508 SIL3, and uses a compiler independent methodology.
SafeRTOS, a finalist at the Elektra Awards 2008 Embedded Product of the Year, was originally developed from the popular and robust open source kernel, FreeRTOS. Migration from FreeRTOS to SafeRTOS enables costs to be controlled during development.
Luminary Micro’s Chief Marketing Officer Jean Anne Booth said, “Stellaris microcontrollers are widely used in medical and industrial devices, and we are seeing a growing demand for certification in these markets. The launch by Wittenstein vastly simplifies what can otherwise be a complex task.”
Discussing the forthcoming announcement, FreeRTOS creator and Wittenstein’s Head of Innovation, Richard Barry, said, “Luminary is an exciting innovator in the ARM space and we are delighted about this early collaboration on the new flagship Stellaris microcontrollers.”

OpenVPX looks to overcome interoperability issues

An alliance of defence prime contractors and embedded computing systems suppliers has opened membership to its Technical Working Group to form the OpenVPX Industry Working Group.

The group was set up to tackle system-level interoperability issues associated with the VPX (VITA 46) family of specifications. VPX is one of the 'successor' specifications to VME and VME64 but unlike these is still suffering from interoperability issues between different manufacturers.

Although the group is hosted by Mercury Computer Systems, one of the leading users and developers of VPX, any COTS defense contractor or embedded computing supplier that is in good standing with the VITA Standards Organization (VSO), and is committed to the OpenVPX Industry Working Group’s mission and aggressive schedule for completion of a system specification, is invited to apply for membership to the Technical Working Group.

The VPX (VITA 46) roadmap

“The overwhelming response to this initiative exceeded our expectations, and we’re delighted to open enrollment to the Technical Working Group,” said Ian Dunn, CTO, Mercury Computer Systems.

“The Boeing Company supports the OpenVPX initiative as part of our ongoing efforts to work with the industry to develop standards that promote the interoperability of systems and assemblies,” said Jim Robles, Boeing Senior Technical Fellow. “We welcome the opportunity to work with LSIs and vendors of VPX products in this effort."

“GE Fanuc has long been committed to the VPX architecture and to its potential to revolutionize military embedded computing, and we very much welcome this initiative that will lower the risk of adoption of VPX systems, expand the market and accelerate deployment,” said Jim Berlin, CTO, Embedded Systems, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms. “We’re looking forward to building on the charter set at our first meeting, and moving ahead to complete a system specification in order to provide the necessary top-down, system-level design guidance.”

Once the OpenVPX system specification is transitioned into VITA, the Working Group will disband.