Jan
04

Bridgetek Brings Us Closer to Smarter Living with its Unique PanL Concept

Drawing together the various elements of its advanced semiconductor technology, Bridgetek will demonstrate its game-changing PanL home automation solution at CES 2017. The objective of this all-encompassing platform is for users to finally be able to control the various lighting, air conditioning, heating and security systems that are present in their house/apartment via one single point of contact.

 

Currently the home automation market is very disjointed, with systems from different manufacturers each relying on their own proprietary control technology and thus needing users to access a multitude of specific apps. This proves both inconvenient and highly frustrating. Users want to be able to centralize the control of these functions rather than having separate stand-alone controls for each respective system.

 

PanL home automation hubs comprise an array of different wireless and wireline connectivity options – including Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.2, Zigbee and PoE-enabled Ethernet (100Base-T). This gives them the scope to connect with numerous systems simultaneously. Their processing capabilities are derived from the Bridgetek FT900 series of 32-bit microcontrollers. Inclusion of one of the company’s second generation FT813 Embedded Video Engine (EVE) high resolution graphic controllers in each unit takes care of the human machine interface (HMI) aspect. This provides simple and intuitive control to the user, with access to rich graphical content and multi-touch functionality. Another major benefit of PanL’s centralized approach is that it allows coordinated operation of different systems (so that the lighting and heating could be brought on at the same time, for example). Furthermore it means that data from different systems can be consolidated together (allowing parameters like overall household energy consumption to be monitored).

 

Announcements over the course of 2017 will see the PanL portfolio expand. These will make use of the innovative modular framework that has been put in place. Further developments will result in additional wireless technologies being integrated into the platform, thereby enabling direct connection to the cloud.

 

http://brtchip.com/product/

Dec
19

SEGGER Training Classes: Introduction to Software Development for ARM Cortex-M Microcontrollers

SEGGER has launched an extensive training program for 2017. Through this, the company’s team of Embedded Experts will be able to give guidance to software developers to help them get the most out of ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers. All participants will be given extensive opportunities to work hands-on with the evaluation boards provided. They will be shown how a Cortex-M based target system should be set up and how to subsequently debug targets, as well as being introduced to modern techniques for carrying out system analysis. Basic tuition on use of an RTOS will also be covered. Each of the topics will be demonstrated and explained in detail, with all projects being shared with participants, so they can rebuild and modify them, then take them home. There are 6 one day training sessions already scheduled for early 2017. The first these will take place on 12th January at SEGGER’s headquarters in Hilden, Germany. Some of the further training sessions that are being organized will be hosted at its US facility, near Boston. To access more information on SEGGER’s training classes go to: https://www.segger.com/segger-training-classes.html

Dec
13

IR-Based Liquid Level Switches Deliver Low Power Operation, Compact Design & Attractive Price Points

Drawing on its expertise in fluid sensor technology, SST Sensing Ltd. has developed the Optomax Digital series of liquid level switches. These highly cost-effective and simple-to-use devices have the capacity to detect almost any liquid type (whether it is oil or water based). Each unit incorporates an infra-red (IR) LED emitter, a phototransistor and a microcontroller within a streamlined housing (which can be as small as 22.7mm in length and 12mm in diameter) well suited to space constrained settings.

 

As they rely on solid state electronics, rather than the conventional mechanical technology of float switches, the members of the Optomax series are not prone to jamming or wear and tear – resulting in long, maintenance-free operational lifespans. Furthermore, unlike other optically based devices on the market, the performance of these liquid level switches is not affected by ambient light. This is due to the advanced optical design employed, as well as SST Sensing’s propriety signal conditioning algorithms. Furthermore, they are not affected by the presence of a foam layer on top of the liquid, so superior accuracy levels are assured.

 

There are a multitude of application possibilities for the Optomax series. Among these are fuel/industrial chemical tanks, hydraulic systems in heavy machinery, vending machines, telecommunication cabinets, transportation, etc. To broaden their scope still further, these devices are supplied in a choice of rugged, chemically-resistant materials that can deal with the harshest of fluid media. The standard Polysulfone housing is complemented by a Trogamid® option (which is suited to use in the food/beverage sector and has full European standards approval). The switches can be externally or internally mounted, with an array of different fittings offered (M10, M12, 1/2-inch SAE, 1/4-inch NPT).

 

Driven by a 4.5V to 15.4V DC supply, these low power devices draw a maximum current of 2.5mA. The sensors are available with high or low in air outputs as well as a PWM option for maximum reliability and fail-safe operation. They are capable of supporting pressures of up to 20bar and offer an operational temperature range of -25oC to +80oC (with extended range versions covering -40°C to +125°C). 

http://www.sstsensing.com/product-category/sensors/liquid-level-switches

Dec
09

SEGGER Attain Record-Breaking Crypto Performance with NXP® Kinetis® MCUs

SEGGER has announced the availability of hardware acceleration support for its emCrypt offering. emCrypt is a comprehensive library of cryptographic algorithms which are at the heart of all cryptographic software products from SEGGER, such as emSSH and emSSL, as well as security focused products like emSecure.

 

This pure software solution is the fastest available, achieving a performance of 2.17MBytes/s AES-128 encryption on a 168MHz NXP Kinetis K66 MCU. Written entirely in C, it is compatible with any 16-, 32- or 64-bit CPU and can be used in microcontroller-based applications, as well as tablets or PCs. The new version now also supports hardware acceleration. On the same MCU, the hardware supported algorithm nearly quadruples the performance to 8.20MBytes/s.

 

“NXP and SEGGER share a common view on the security required for modern devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). With the increased exposure of embedded devices, security becomes a central part of product development. SEGGER’s libraries enable developers to easily add security to their devices with less effort,” states Michael Norman, Product Line Manager at NXP.

 

“IoT is becoming an increasingly important part of modern embedded design. Recent reports of service attacks have demonstrated the importance of having strong IoT security in place. NXP’s Kinetis series of MCUs is highly optimized for implementing security. The Kinetis Crypto Acceleration Unit (CAU) significantly improves the performance, resulting in higher communication speeds, lower CPU utilization and a reduction in power consumption. Our already efficient algorithms used for TLS and SSH gain even more by using the CAU,” adds Alex Gruener, CTO at SEGGER.

 

To access more information on emCrypt and its performance go to: https://www.segger.com/emssl-crypto-library.html

Dec
07

Compact, Rugged GPS Time & Frequency Solution

Precision time synchronisation is now proving essential to the implementation of many different types of modern electronic systems. As the exclusive UK distribution partner for Spectracom, Steatite can provide its customers with access to the latest innovative technology in this sector. VersaSync is a high performance GPS master clock and network time server that is capable of delivering accurate, software-configurable time and frequency signals under all circumstances, even in GNSS-denied scenarios. Supporting both precision time protocol (PTP) and network time protocol (NTP) synchronisation standards, this robust, military grade unit (MIL-STD-810G) can deal with the most uncompromising of operational environments. Thanks to its lightweight construction (0.91kg) the solution is highly portable, while a compact form factor (147.3mm x 127.5mm x 63.0mm) and VITA 75 compliant design both facilitate its integration with existing hardware. The unit’s I/Os can be configured to accommodate a variety of timecode formats, such as IRIG, HaveQuick, 1PPS, xPPS, etc. A diverse choice of GNSS receivers is also offered.

 

Each VersaSync unit has a built-in high stability oscillator/clock resource (either OCXO or CSAC based, depending on the degree of exactitude required) that enables time and frequency accuracy to be upheld for extended periods without GPS/GNSS support. Furthermore, it can be re-synchronised by an external reference if required. There are a wide array of different applications for which this timing solution is highly suited. These include large scale UAVs, military vehicles, radar equipment (civil or military) and marine (sonar systems), among others. The VersaSync units have an operational temperature range that covers -45°C to +85°C. They can also cope with 95% humidity levels and have strong resilience to shock (20g) and vibration (7.7g). Functioning at altitudes up to 13,000m, they are highly suited to airborne deployment.

 

For more information on VersaSync visit: www.steatite-embedded.co.uk/products/gps-time-sync/spectracom-versasync-accurate-time-and-frequency-in-all-conditions

 

Nov
29

X-FAB & efabless Co-Sponsor a Design Challenge to Create Ultra-Low Power Voltage Reference

In order to drive further ingenuity in IC development, X-FAB Silicon Foundries and efabless corporation have announced the launch of an open mixed-signal design challenge. The objective of this challenge is to give designers across the globe, of all levels of experience, the opportunity to deliver a completed design IP for an ultra-low power voltage reference. The IP will be developed in X-FAB’s 350nm mixed-signal process with designers being granted access to the required models, design files and technical documentation. The 3 winners will each receive an attractive monetary reward and their IP will subsequently be made available to the X-FAB customer base through both the company’s IP Portal as well as via efabless’ try-before-buy online marketplace. All participants in the design challenge will fully retain their IP ownership.

 

The efabless/X-FAB open mixed-signal design challenge is the first of its kind in the semiconductor industry, as it is fundamentally outcome based with reference to target specifications. It will simultaneously focus on both encouraging greater design creativity and also maximizing execution quality in line with the performance requirements that have been set. Entrants for the design challenge will be accepted up to 20th February 2017. To get more information and to sign up go to efabless.com.

 

X-FAB’s 350nm mixed-signal process (XH035) on which the designs will be implemented is highly optimized for telecom, industrial and automotive applications. It provides strong signal integrity characteristics, as well as having industry-leading high-voltage capabilities. The world class noise behavior of its p-mos and n-mos transistors makes this process highly suitable for circuits requiring a high signal-to-noise ratio. The efabless design environment provides all entrants with the tools needed to design, verify and deliver the IP they envisaged.

 

“X-FAB continues to seek novel and imaginative ways by which to strengthen the IP offering available to our customers,” states Ulrich Bretthauer, Manager of Industrial & Medical Solutions at X-FAB. “efabless’ unique crowdsourcing approach to semiconductor development, and the highly-engaged engineering community it has built up around this, clearly complement our existing portfolio of valued IP partners. This means that customers have access to on-demand IP that is fully optimized to meet their particular needs. The cooperation of our two companies on this design challenge will be an effective means by which to highlight the pioneering foundry and design services we respectively specialize in.”

 

“The semiconductor industry continues to evolve, with new sectors like IoT, eHealth, home automation and wearable technology all showing huge potential. The growing diversity of development projects means that there will be many places where IP on demand is destined to be a critical factor,” adds Mohamed Kassem, co-founder and CTO of efabless. “The efabless concept is to bring the dynamics of crowdsourcing to the design and delivery of semiconductor IP. We have created a platform upon which members of our community can sell or license the IP they’ve created to customers worldwide, resulting in a vibrant, highly responsive marketplace. We are excited by the prospect of working together with X-FAB. The jointly announced design challenge enables further refinement to our business model as well as highlighting its inherent benefits,” he continues. “It is open to all engineers – from students right through to seasoned industry veterans – thus staying true to efabless’ philosophy of democratizing the design process.”

Nov
28

Common mode chokes featuring nanaocrystaline cores help to streamline electronic designs

With increasing power densities needing to be supported in modern electronics hardware, ensuring adequate EMI suppression is of greater importance than ever. As well as being fully operationally effective, common mode chokes must also exhibit compact form factors in order to address increasingly acute space constraints. Solid State Supplies has shown itself to be ahead of the game here, offering engineers new chokes from Pulse Electronics with markedly reduced volumetric dimensions.

 

Measuring just 32.0mm x 12.6mm x 10.0mm and 42mm x 27mm x 46mm respectively, the PH9455xNL and PA441xNL series can both deliver high levels of performance while being significantly smaller than competing devices on the market. This capability stems from the use of nanocrystalline cores, which results in a quadrupling of the impedance over conventional ferrite core chokes of the same dimensions and winding arrangements. Engineers are thus given plenty of scope for scaling down to lower profile, smaller footprint components without any compromises needing to be made.

 

The PA441xNL series’ inductance range covers 14mH (at 8A) to 35mH (at 5A), while the PH9455xNL series has an inductance range that spans 1.00mH (at 22.0A) to 82.0mH (at 3.0A). Both series exhibit a 1500Vrms dielectric strength. The superior common mode noise rejection of these components means they are highly optimised for EMI filtering tasks in AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC power sources where limited available space is available, as well as in solar inverters and motor drives. They also offer industry-leading temperature stability.

 

For more information visit: www.sssltd.com/manufacturers/pulse-electronics.html

Nov
23

High-performance pressure-tolerant batteries for deep-dive underwater vehicles move a step closer

Steatite has announced the successful completion of the first phase of a 24-month project to develop a pressure-tolerant lithium sulphur (Li-S) battery pack that can improve the endurance and speed of ‘deep-dive’ autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Having demonstrated that Li-S cells can meet the demanding challenge of operating at depths up to 6000m, the project can now move on to the battery development phase involving continued development of Steatite’s pressure-tolerant multi-chemistry Battery Management System (BMS).

 

The MAS (Marine Autonomous Systems) Consortium is a group of UK companies and academic partners led by Steatite and funded by Innovate UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The project, which is due for completion in October 2017, aims to exploit the potential of Li-S cell technology to surpass conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) solutions, and will enhance the capabilities of the scientific and defence vehicles used in applications across the marine and maritime community, including subsea structures, ROVs, profilers, buoys and submersible systems.

 

AUVs are energy-limited, which constrains their operational envelope meaning that speeds are usually low (2-4 knots) and endurance can be limited. By significantly increasing the energy available within the vehicle, this operational envelope could be expanded, thereby raising both speed and range. At the same time, as vehicles go deeper, the pressure vessels become excessively heavy and expensive and AUVs with internal batteries become limited by the fact that these batteries have to be recharged. The Consortium aims to produce a pressure-tolerant battery pack that delivers increased energy storage and that can be hot swapped to improve operational utilisation.

 

The first phase of the project was completed at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton and involved repeatedly testing Li-S cells at pressures and temperatures equivalent to undersea depths of 6,000m. The results of the testing have demonstrated that the Li-S cells now deliver (almost) the same performance as at ambient conditions and that the effective Neutral Buoyancy Energy Density (NBED) is nearly double that of the Li-ion reference cells. Several cells have been used to perform life tests, and have now reached over 60 cycles for slow discharge, and 80 cycles of faster discharges. http://www.steatite.co.uk/mas-pressure-tolerant-battery-project-update

 

 

Nov
22

Solid State Oxygen Sensors Simultaneously Address Cost, Power, Longevity & Ecological Demands

Recognised as a leading supplier of advanced gas and fluid sensor technology, SST Sensing Ltd. offers a comprehensive array of oxygen measurement devices. Complementing the company’s high performance Zirconia product offering, the LuminOx family uses proprietary solid state technology to deliver sensors with the cost effectiveness found in commonly-used electrochemical oxygen sensors, but with a series of key additional benefits.

The optically-based, factory-calibrated LuminOx sensors rely on fluorescence quenching by Oxygen. Here, pulsed light is directed onto an oxygen-sensitive fluorescent dye causing it to fluoresce.   The rate at which this fluorescence decays is inversely proportional to the amount of oxygen present in the vicinity. Because the phenomenon does not deplete the fluorescent dye, LuminOx devices can be deployed for far more prolonged periods than are possible using conventional oxygen sensors in this price bracket (which are normally based on electrochemical measurement mechanisms which rely on an electrolyte which is “consumed” over time). They can remain in service of well over 5 years. Furthermore, LuminOx sensors are completely free from lead, liquid electrolytes and other hazardous materials that are present in electrochemical sensing solutions – which have significant environmental concerns associated with them.

LuminOx devices are suitable for measuring oxygen in terms of either partial pressure (ppO2) or oxygen concentration (vol. %). LuminOx is fully compensated for temperature and barometric pressure. Running from a standard 5V supply, these sensors draw a current of <6mA when acquiring sampling data at a rate of 1sample/s. Standard sensors operate from 0-25% vol. O2 and a high degree of accuracy is maintained across this range (with better than 2% full scale achieved). They support a working temperature range spanning from -30°C to +60°C, making them considerably more robust than competing devices. Providing a simple 3.3V TTL output across an RS232 serial interface, they can be connected directly to the system microcontroller with no need for additional signal conditioning electronics. The compact form factor of these sensors means that they can easily be used to replace older generation sensor devices while keeping the same housing format. www.sstsensing.com

Nov
04

SEGGER presents new embOS port for Renesas’ automotive RH850 microcontrollers

 SEGGER presents a new embOS port for the Rnesas Electronics’ automotive RH850 microcontroller (MCU) Family. The industry-leading efficiency of embOS complements the high-performance and very low power consumption characteristics that are inherent within RH850 MCUs. The embOS port comes with board support packages for all popular Renesas RH850 MCUs plus their related evaluation boards. These packages run direct out of-the-box without the need for additional configuration or setup. Included in the support items is a project for the IAR EWRH850 workbench.

 

The embOS for RH850 offering includes the highly-valued embOS manual, which can not only be used as a reference for the embOS API but, in addition, comprehensively describes all the RTOS basics for engineers are not yet familiar with an embedded RTOS. Furthermore, embOS is fully MISRA-C:2012 compliant, thus proving the superior quality of the embOS source code and facilitating its utilization in demanding automotive environments.

 

“With the introduction of embOS for our RH850 Family, SEGGER shows their expertise in creating highly-efficient software. It enables our customers to benefit from low memory footprints, thus leaving more room for the actual application. It also delivers highly predictable performance, which enables real-time applications”, says Hans-Michael Loch, Senior Manager for Support in the Automotive Business Group at Renesas Electronics Europe.

 

”Renesas RH850 is a very flexible and scalable automotive-optimized MCU solution. With similar attributes and equally high degrees of operational performance, it is clear that embOS and RH850 are very well matched together.” adds Til Stork Product Manager embOS at SEGGER.

 

More information on SEGGER’s embOS priority-controlled multi-tasking platform is available at: https://www.segger.com/embos.html

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