Memfault State of IoT Report

When a Mongoose met a MicroPython, part II

Sergio R Caprile June 22, 2024

In the first part of this blog, we introduced this little framework to integrate MicroPython and Cesanta's Mongoose; where Mongoose runs when called by MicroPython and is able to run Python functions as callbacks for the events you decide in your event handler. Now we add MQTT to the equation, so we can subscribe to topics and publish messages right from MicroPython.

ANCS and HID: Controlling Your iPhone From Zephyr

Mohammed Billoo June 11, 2024

In this blog post, we see how certain BLE services can be used to control an iPhone from a Nordic nRF52840 using The Zephyr Project. Specifically, we see how to control certain multimedia functionality using the HID service. Finally, we learn how to use the ANCS client library provided by Nordic in The Zephyr Project to accept or decline an incoming call.

Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 4) - Let 'em talk

Massimiliano Pagani May 22, 20242 comments

No state machine is an island. State machines do not exist in a vacuum, they need to "talk" to their environment and each other to share information and provide synchronization to perform the system functions. In this conclusive article, you will find what kind of problems and which critical areas you need to pay attention to when designing a concurrent system. Although the focus is on state machines, the consideration applies to every system that involves more than one execution thread.

Getting Started With CUDA C on an Nvidia Jetson: A Meaningful Algorithm

Mohammed Billoo May 11, 2024

In this blog post, I demonstrate a use case and corresponding GPU implementation where meaningful performance gains are realized and observed. Specifically, I implement a "blurring" algorithm on a large 1000x1000 pixel image. I show that the GPU-based implementation is 1000x faster than the CPU-based implementation.

Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 3) - Unuglify C++ FSM with DSL

Massimiliano Pagani May 7, 2024

Domain Specific Languages (DSL) are an effective way to avoid boilerplate or repetitive code. Using DSLs lets the programmer focus on the problem domain, rather than the mechanisms used to solve it. Here I show how to design and implement a DSL using the C++ preprocessor, using the FSM library, and the examples I presented in my previous articles.

C++ Assertion? Well Yes, But Actually No.

Massimiliano Pagani April 8, 2024

Assertions are a double-edged sword - on one side you enforce program correctness catching bugs close to their origin, on the other your application is subject to run-time error, like any interpreted language. This article explores what C++ can offer to get the advantages of assertions, without risking the crashes by moving contract checking at compile time.

The volatile keyword

Colin Walls April 1, 20245 comments

Although the C keyword volatile is very useful in embedded applications, care is needed to use it correctly and vigilance is required to ensure its correct implementation by compilers.

When a Mongoose met a MicroPython, part I

Sergio R Caprile March 31, 2024

This is more a framework than an actual application, with it you can integrate MicroPython and Cesanta's Mongoose.
Mongoose runs when called by MicroPython and is able to run Python functions as callbacks for the events you decide in your event handler. The code is completely written in C, except for the example Python callback functions, of course. To try it, you can just build this example on a Linux machine, and, with just a small tweak, you can also run it on any ESP32 board.

Getting Started With CUDA C on an Nvidia Jetson: GPU Architecture

Mohammed Billoo March 28, 2024

In the previous blog post (Getting Started With CUDA C on Jetson Nvidia: Hello CUDA World!) I showed how to develop applications targeted at a GPU on a Nvidia Jetson Nano. As we observed in that blog post, performing a calculation on a 1-D array on a GPU had no performance benefit compared to a traditional CPU implementation, even on an array with many elements. In this blog post, we will learn about the GPU architecture to better explain the behavior and to understand the applications where a GPU shines (hint: it has to do with graphics).

C to C++: Templates and Generics – Supercharging Type Flexibility

Jacob Beningo March 24, 20242 comments

"C to C++: Templates and Generics – Supercharging Type Flexibility" illuminates the rigidity of C when managing multiple types and the confusion of code replication or macro complexity. In contrast, C++ offers templates, acting as type-agnostic blueprints for classes and functions, which allows for the creation of versatile and reusable code without redundancy. By using templates, developers can define operations like add once and apply them to any data type, simplifying codebases significantly. Generics further this concept, enabling a single code structure to handle diverse data types efficiently—a boon for embedded systems where operations must be performed on varying data, yet code efficiency is critical due to resource limitations. The blog walks through practical applications, showcasing how templates streamline processes and ensure type safety with static_assert, all while weighing the pros and cons of their use in embedded software, advocating for careful practice to harness their full potential.

Visual Studio Code Extensions for Embedded Software Development

Jacob Beningo March 22, 20238 comments

Visual Studio Code has become one of the most popular IDEs in the world. To date, software developers have downloaded it more than 40 million times! I suspect you’ve at least heard of it, if not already attempting to use it. Visual Studio Code allows developers to easily customize their development environment which can help them accelerate development, minimize bugs, and make developing software overall much better.

One challenge with Visual Studio Code is that embedded software...

Cracking the (embedded) Coding Interview

Manasi Rajan March 23, 2023

You never forget the day you land your first job. 

The thrill of receiving that call from your recruiter to tell you that you bagged your dream role! The relief when you finally see the offer letter you’ve been working towards for years. The pride in your parents' voices when you call home and say “Hey look Ma, I’ve made it!”

But before that, there’s the grueling screening process to get through. Tech interviews often last up to three months and companies can have five...

Modern C++ in Embedded Development: (Don't Fear) The ++

Amar Mahmutbegovic June 13, 20232 comments

While C is still the language of choice for embedded development, the adoption of C++ has grown steadily. Yet, reservations about dynamic memory allocation and fears of unnecessary code bloat have kept many in the C camp. This discourse aims to explore the intricacies of employing C++ in embedded systems, negotiating the issues of dynamic memory allocation, and exploiting the benefits of C++ offerings like std::array and constexpr. Moreover, it ventures into the details of the zero-overhead principle and the nuanced distinctions between C and C++. The takeaway? Armed with the right knowledge and a careful approach, C++ can indeed serve as a powerful, safer, and more efficient tool for embedded development.

C to C++: Bridging the Gap from C Structures to Classes

Jacob Beningo May 23, 20238 comments

In our last post, C to C++: Proven Techniques for Embedded Systems Transformation, we started to discuss the different ways that C++ can be used to write embedded software. You saw that there is no reason to be overwhelmed by trying to adopt complex topics like metaprogramming out of the gate. An important concept to understand is that you can make the transition gradually into C++ while still receiving the many benefits that C++ has to offer.

One of the first...

Scorchers, Part 3: Bare-Metal Concurrency With Double-Buffering and the Revolving Fireplace

Jason Sachs July 25, 20201 comment

This is a short article about one technique for communicating between asynchronous processes on bare-metal embedded systems.

Q: Why did the multithreaded chicken cross the road?

A: to To other side. get the

— Jason Whittington

There are many reasons why concurrency is

Creating a Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) in C

Jacob Beningo October 23, 20233 comments

In my last post, C to C++: Using Abstract Interfaces to Create Hardware Abstraction Layers (HAL), I discussed how vital hardware abstraction layers are and how to use a C++ abstract interface to create them. You may be thinking, that’s great for C++, but I work in C! How do I create a HAL that can easily swap in and out different drivers? In today’s post, I will walk through exactly how to do that while using the I2C bus as an example.

Review: Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers

Steve Branam September 20, 20202 comments

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book for evaluation.

Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers: Building real-time embedded systems using FreeRTOS, STM32 MCUs, and SEGGER debug tools by Brian Amos is an outstanding book. It lives up to its name, extremely hands-on and practical, taking you from knowing nothing about RTOS's (Real-Time Operating Systems) up to building real multithreaded embedded system applications running on real hardware.

It uses the ST Micro

C to C++: 5 Tips for Refactoring C Code into C++

Jacob Beningo July 23, 20235 comments

The article titled "Simple Tips to Refactor C Code into C++: Improve Embedded Development" provides essential guidance for embedded developers transitioning from C to C++. The series covers fundamental details necessary for a seamless transition and emphasizes utilizing C++ as a better C rather than diving into complex language features. The article introduces five practical tips for refactoring C code into C++. Replace #define with constexpr and const: Discouraging the use of #define macros, the article advocates for safer alternatives like constexpr and const to improve type safety, debugging, namespaces, and compile-time computation. Use Namespaces: Demonstrating the benefits of organizing code into separate logical groupings through namespaces, the article explains how namespaces help avoid naming conflicts and improve code readability. Replace C-style Pointers with Smart Pointers and References: Emphasizing the significance of avoiding raw pointers, the article suggests replacing them with C++ smart pointers (unique_ptr, shared_ptr, weak_ptr) and using references

C to C++: 3 Reasons to Migrate

Jacob Beningo October 31, 202222 comments

I’ve recently written several blogs that have set the stage with a simple premise: The C programming language no longer provides embedded software developers the tools they need to develop embedded software throughout the full software stack. Now, don’t get me wrong, C is a powerhouse, with over 80% of developers still using it; however, as embedded systems have reached unprecedented levels of complexity, C might not be the right tool for the job.

In this post, I’m kicking...

Creating a GPIO HAL and Driver in C

Jacob Beningo February 28, 20241 comment

Creating a GPIO Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) in C allows for flexible microcontroller interfacing, overcoming the challenge of variability across silicon vendors. This method involves reviewing datasheets, identifying features, designing interfaces, and iterative development, as detailed in the "Reusable Firmware" process. A simplified approach prioritizes essential functions like initialization and read/write operations, showcased through a minimal interface example. The post also highlights the use of AI to expedite HAL generation. A detailed GPIO HAL version is provided, featuring extended capabilities and facilitating driver connection through direct assignments or wrappers. The significance of a configuration table for adaptable peripheral setup is emphasized. Ultimately, the blog illustrates the ease and scalability of developing a GPIO HAL and driver in C, promoting hardware-independent and extensible code for various interfaces, such as SPI, I2C, PWM, and timers, underscoring the abstraction benefits.

Memfault State of IoT Report