Memfault State of IoT Report

What to See at Embedded World 2023

Stephane Boucher March 6, 2023

Embedded World 2023 is just around the corner, and I am thrilled to be attending this year's edition in Nuremberg, Germany. The last time I was there was three years ago, and the world was on the cusp of a major pandemic. It was a surreal experience as many booths and exhibits were empty and cordoned off by security tape due to last-minute cancellations. It was clear that something big was happening. 

But with more than 900 vendors exhibiting this year, I'm glad to see that Embedded...

Review: Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques

Steve Branam February 28, 2023

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.

Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques, by Jacob Beningo, is an excellent introduction to strategies for embedded systems design and bringing those designs to fruition. Renowned embedded systems expert Jack Ganssle was the technical reviewer.

This is a practical how-to book on the modern professional practice of embedded systems...

C to C++: 3 Proven Techniques for Embedded Systems Transformation

Jacob Beningo February 7, 20234 comments

For 50 years, the C programming language has dominated the embedded software industry. Even today, more than 80% of embedded projects are using C; however, over the last few years, many teams have begun transitioning from C to C++. C++ offers embedded developers a robust, modern set of tools that can be used to write flexible, scalable, and reusable applications. As embedded applications become more complex and connected, teams need a more modern language to help them deal with the software...

Libgpiod - Toggling GPIOs The Right Way In Embedded Linux

Mohammed Billoo January 24, 2023

We all know that GPIO is one of the core elements of any embedded system. We use GPIOs to control LEDs and use them to monitor switches and button presses. In modern embedded systems, GPIOs can also be used as pins for other peripheral busses, such as SPI and I2C. Similar to the previous article on interacting with peripherals on an SPI bus in userspace via SPIdev (https://www.embeddedrelated.com/showarticle/1485.php), we can also control GPIOs from userspace on an embedded...

Basler pylon on Raspberry Pi with Yocto

Peter McLaughlin January 21, 2023

Camera vendors are increasing offering Yocto layers to simplify the integration of drivers and the creation of cross-compilation environments. This article demonstrates how Yocto can be used to integrate Basler pylon into a Raspberry Pi Linux image.

Basler's pylon Camera Software Suite includes an SDK, a viewer and drivers for development and operation of vision software using Basler cameras. When deployed in Windows environments, pylon is usually installed on a booted Windows image using...

Supply Chain Games: What Have We Learned From the Great Semiconductor Shortage of 2021? (Part 4)

Jason Sachs December 31, 2022

Today we’re going to look at what’s been going on this past year in the chip shortage, particularly in the automotive markets. I’m going to share some recent events and statements that may shed some light on what’s been happening.

In Part Three we went through a deep dive on some aspects of Moore’s Law, the semiconductor foundries, and semiconductor economics, and we looked at the game Supply Chain Idle. We touched on a couple of important points about the...

Supply Chain Games: What Have We Learned From the Great Semiconductor Shortage of 2021? (Part 3)

Jason Sachs December 10, 2022

Hello again! Today we’re going to take a closer look at Moore’s Law, semiconductor foundries, and semiconductor economics — and a game that explores the effect of changing economics on the supply chain.

We’ll try to answer some of these questions:

  • What does Moore’s Law really mean, and how does it impact the economics of semiconductor manufacturing?
  • How does the foundry business model work, and how is it affected by the different mix of technology...

A Beginner's Guide to Embedded Systems

Manasi Rajan December 6, 2022

I was in my Junior year of college when I first learned about embedded systems. Sure, I’d heard about this mystical world of sensors and IoT, the same way I’d heard about thermonuclear astrophysics; But, the phrase “embedded systems” didn’t really mean anything to me. This, here, is a guide for people like teenage me. We’re going to learn what an embedded system actually is, and why working on embedded software is the coolest thing you could ever do!

What's an embedded...

Peripheral Interaction Without a Linux Device Driver Using Spidev

Mohammed Billoo November 20, 2022

When integrating a new peripheral onto an embedded Linux platform, we might think we always need to implement a kernel module to serve as a device driver. However, as we all know, absolutes such as “always” and “never” are rarely true. The same is true in this case. Implementing a device driver in kernel space on an embedded Linux platform should only be undertaken if the performance requirements of the final application demand it. In most instances, a userspace...

In Memoriam: Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. and The Mythical Man-Month

Jason Sachs November 20, 2022

It is with some sadness that I have read that Fred Brooks has passed away. Brooks (1931 - 2022) worked at IBM and managed a large team developing the IBM System/360 computers in the early 1960s. Brooks was thirty years old at the start of this project. He founded the Computer Science Department at UNC Chapel Hill in 1964, at the age of thirty-three, acting as its department chair for twenty years. He remained at IBM until 1965, however. During this one-year...

Using XML to describe embedded devices (and speak to them)

Martin Strubel October 12, 20111 comment

This article discusses one of the typical development cycles in embedded device and communication design and presents a possible, light weight solution using the free DClib/netpp framework.

The challenge

Assume we're faced with the design of an embedded device, be it a simple SoC unit or a more complex, uC controlled engine with various attached peripherals. From first prototype to the market, the following development cycle is typically walked through:

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part III: Volatility

Jason Sachs October 10, 2014

1vol·a·tile adjective \ˈvä-lə-təl, especially British -ˌtī(-ə)l\ : likely to change in a very sudden or extreme way : having or showing extreme or sudden changes of emotion : likely to become dangerous or out of control

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Other articles in this series:

10 More (Obscure) Circuit Components You Should Know

Jason Sachs February 5, 20121 comment

The interest in my previous article on obscure but useful electronics parts, "10 Circuit Components You Should Know" was encouraging enough that I thought I would write a followup. So here are another 10:

1. "Ideal Diode" controllers

Load-sharing circuits use diodes tied together at their cathode terminal to take the most positive voltage among the sources and connect it to a load. Works great: you have a DC/DC power supply, a battery, and a solar cell, and it will use whichever output is...

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...

Real-time clocks: Does anybody really know what time it is?

Jason Sachs May 29, 20118 comments

We recently started writing software to make use of a real-time clock IC, and found to our chagrin that the chip was missing a rather useful function, namely elapsed time in seconds since the standard epoch (January 1, 1970, midnight UTC).Let me back up a second.A real-time clock/calendar (RTC) is a micropower chip that has an oscillator on it that keeps counting time, independent of main system power. Usually this is done with a lithium battery that can power the RTC for years, so that even...

Energia - program a TI MSP430 using Arduino sketches

Lonnie Honeycutt November 5, 20131 comment
TI MSP430 Launchpad

I started tinkering with microcontroller a couple of years ago with an Arduino Uno.  I had a little experience with C, so programming in the Arduino environment has been relatively easy and straightforward for me.  My code is not necessarily elegant or efficient, but I can usually figure out how to make an Arduino do what I want it to do eventually.  A lot of credit to the Arduino userbase, as it is very easy to figure most things out with a quick Google...

How to Arduino - a video toolbox

Lonnie Honeycutt November 15, 20131 comment

I've begun producing a new series of video tutorials for the hobbyist new to the Arduino or microcontrollers in general.  My videos are very pragmatic - I prefer to answer the question "what is the quickest, simplest and most affordable way to accomplish this?".  The videos are meant to be a quick source of "how to" knowledge for the hobbyist that is using an LCD display, ultrasonic sensor or accelerometer for the first time, for example.  I hope you enjoy this series of...

C++ on microcontrollers 2 - LPCXpresso, LPC-link, Code Sourcery, lpc21isp, linkerscript, LPC1114 startup

Wouter van Ooijen October 24, 20115 comments

 previous parts: 1

This blog series is about the use of C++ for modern microcontrollers. My plan is to show the gradual development of a basic I/O library. I will introduce the object-oriented C++ features that are used step by step, to provide a gentle yet practical introduction into C++ for C programmers.  Reader input is very much appreciated, you might even steer me in the direction you find most interesting.

I teach my students that...

Someday We’ll Find It, The Kelvin Connection

Jason Sachs July 28, 20142 comments

You’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to measure electrical resistance accurately. And it’s really not, at least according to wikiHow.com: you just follow these easy steps:

  • Choose the item whose resistance you wish to measure.
  • Plug the probes into the correct test sockets.
  • Turn on the multimeter.
  • Select the best testing range.
  • Touch the multimeter probes to the item you wish to measure.
  • Set the multimeter to a high voltage range after finishing the...

Introduction to Microcontrollers - More Timers and Displays

Mike Silva October 15, 20133 comments

Building Your World Around Timers

By now you have seen four different ways to use timers in your programs.  Next we will look at some ways to produce the effect of multiple parallel streams of work in your program with the help of timers.  This effect is only an appearance, not a reality, since a single microcontroller (one core) can only run a single thread of code.  However, since microcontrollers are so fast in relation to a great many of the tasks to...

Memfault State of IoT Report