Blogs

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
Overview

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...


C to C++: 3 Reasons to Migrate

Jacob Beningo October 31, 202215 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 off a series...


Favorite Software AND Hardware Tools for Embedded Systems Development

Stephane Boucher October 5, 2022

Last year, at the Embedded Online Conference, we interviewed the speakers and asked them what were some of their favorite software and hardware tools for Embedded development.  

We aggregated all their answers in one insightful video that you can watch here.

Although you should really watch the video in order to get the full picture, I've compiled the following non-exhaustive list for the fun of it (again, I cannot overstate enough how much valuable...


Getting Started With Embedded Linux - From Nothing To A Login Prompt

Mohammed Billoo September 28, 2022

One of the famous observations that have been made related to embedded systems is referred to as “Moore’s Law”, which states that the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles every year. This observation has held mostly true for the past several decades, so powerful CPUs are no longer simply relegated to servers, desktops, and laptops. Instead, we see powerful CPUs with increased capabilities being introduced into embedded systems on devices that live at “the edge”....


A New Related Site!

Stephane Boucher September 22, 20222 comments

We are delighted to announce the launch of the very first new Related site in 15 years!  The new site will be dedicated to the trendy and quickly growing field of Machine Learning and will be called - drum roll please - MLRelated.com.

We think MLRelated fits perfectly well within the “Related” family, with:

  • the fast growth of TinyML, which is a topic of great interest to the EmbeddedRelated community
  • the use of Machine/Deep Learning in Signal Processing applications, which is of...

Five ‘80s Movies that Inspired Me to Become an Engineer

Jacob Beningo July 20, 20225 comments

Five ‘80s Movies that Inspired Me to Become an Engineer

Movies and pop culture can incredibly impact society, particularly children. However, we never really know what conversation, demonstration, or movie could inspire someone to become an engineer. Recently in the Beningo house, we ran out of the film to watch for movie night. In desperation, I decided to find great movies from my childhood in the 80s. To my surprise, I realized how influential several of these films inspired me to...


Introduction to Microcontrollers - Beginnings

Mike Silva August 20, 201314 comments

Welcome to this Introduction to Microcontroller Programming tutorial series. If you are looking to learn the basics of embedded programming for microcontrollers (and a bit of embedded hardware design as well), I hope these tutorials will help you along that journey. These are my first postings here, and I am writing this tutorial series because over the years I have seen countless newbies asking the same questions and tripping over the same stumbling blocks, and I thought I might be able to...


MSP430 Launchpad Tutorial - Part 2 - Interrupts and timers

Enrico Garante June 17, 201342 comments

What is an "interrupt"? It is a signal that informs our MCU that a certain event has happened, causing the interruption of the normal flow of the main program and the execution of an "interrupt routine", that handles the event and takes a specified action.

Interrupts are essential to avoid wasting the processor's valuable time in polling loops, waiting for external events (in fact they are used in Real-Time Operating Systems,


VHDL tutorial - A practical example - part 3 - VHDL testbench

Gene Breniman June 25, 20118 comments

In part 1 of this series we focused on the hardware design, including some of the VHDL definitions of the I/O characteristics of the CPLD part.  In part 2, we described the VHDL logic of the CPLD for this design.  In part 3, we will show the entire VHDL design and the associated tests used to prove that we have, in fact, designed what we started out to design.

First, let's pull all of the pieces of the prior design together into a...


Analyzing the Linker Map file with a little help from the ELF and the DWARF

Govind Mukundan December 27, 201520 comments

When you're writing firmware, there always comes a time when you need to check the resources consumed by your efforts - perhaps because you're running out of RAM or Flash or you want to optimize something. The map file generated by your linker is a useful tool to aid in the resource analysis. I wanted to filter and sort the data generated in an interactive way so I wrote a C# WinForms application that reads the data from the map and presents it in a list view (using the awesome


MSP430 LaunchPad Tutorial - Part 4 - UART Transmission

Enrico Garante July 3, 201320 comments

Today we are going to learn how to communicate using UART with the Launchpad. For this purpose I will replace the default microcontroller that comes with the board with the MSP430G2553. It is the most powerful device in the MSP430 Value Line and it comes with an integrated hardware UART module, along with 16 Kb of Flash memory, 512 bytes of SRAM and an 8-channel, 10 bit ADC.

UART communication can be useful when dealing with sensors: as a basic example, we could...


How FPGAs work, and why you'll buy one

Yossi Kreinin June 20, 201314 comments

Today, pretty much everyone has a CPU, a DSP and a GPU, buried somewhere in their PC, phone, car, etc. Most don't know or care that they bought any of these, but they did.

Will everyone, at some future point, also buy an FPGA? The market size of FPGAs today is about 1% of the annual global semiconductor sales (~$3B vs ~$300B). Will FPGA eventually...


Understanding and Preventing Overflow (I Had Too Much to Add Last Night)

Jason Sachs December 4, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Maybe the memory of eating too much turkey is fresh in your mind. If so, this would be a good time to talk about overflow.

In the world of floating-point arithmetic, overflow is possible but not particularly common. You can get it when numbers become too large; IEEE double-precision floating-point numbers support a range of just under 21024, and if you go beyond that you have problems:

for k in [10, 100, 1000, 1020, 1023, 1023.9, 1023.9999, 1024]: try: ...

Adventures in Signal Processing with Python

Jason Sachs June 23, 201311 comments

Author’s note: This article was originally called Adventures in Signal Processing with Python (MATLAB? We don’t need no stinkin' MATLAB!) — the allusion to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre has been removed, in deference to being a good neighbor to The MathWorks. While I don’t make it a secret of my dislike of many aspects of MATLAB — which I mention later in this article — I do hope they can improve their software and reduce the price. Please note this...


MSP430 Launchpad Tutorial - Part 1 - Basics

Enrico Garante June 14, 201319 comments

TI's LaunchPad is a complete MSP430 development environment: all you have to do is download and install CCS IDE (login required), connect your G2231-ready LaunchPad to your computer with the included mini-usb cable, and you are ready to code!

Texas Instrument MSP430 LaunchPad

So, let's see how to start a new project in Code Composer Studio. This IDE is derived from Eclipse, so if you used it before you shouldn't have much problems.

We'll write a simple program that will...


My Love-Hate Relationship with Stack Overflow: Arthur S., Arthur T., and the Soup Nazi

Jason Sachs February 15, 201552 comments

Warning: In the interest of maintaining a coherent stream of consciousness, I’m lowering the setting on my profanity filter for this post. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time.

I’ve been a user of Stack Overflow since December of 2008. And I say “user” both in the software sense, and in the drug-addict sense. I’m Jason S, user #44330, and I’m a programming addict. (Hi, Jason S.) The Gravatar, in case you were wondering, is a screen...


Favorite Software AND Hardware Tools for Embedded Systems Development

Stephane Boucher October 5, 2022

Last year, at the Embedded Online Conference, we interviewed the speakers and asked them what were some of their favorite software and hardware tools for Embedded development.  

We aggregated all their answers in one insightful video that you can watch here.

Although you should really watch the video in order to get the full picture, I've compiled the following non-exhaustive list for the fun of it (again, I cannot overstate enough how much valuable...


A New Related Site!

Stephane Boucher September 22, 20222 comments

We are delighted to announce the launch of the very first new Related site in 15 years!  The new site will be dedicated to the trendy and quickly growing field of Machine Learning and will be called - drum roll please - MLRelated.com.

We think MLRelated fits perfectly well within the “Related” family, with:

  • the fast growth of TinyML, which is a topic of great interest to the EmbeddedRelated community
  • the use of Machine/Deep Learning in Signal Processing applications, which is of...

New Promo Video for the 2022 Embedded Online Conference

Stephane Boucher April 19, 2022

Less than a week to go before the conference! Check out our 2022 Embedded Online Conference promo video, featuring (in order of appearance) Helen Leigh, Peter McLaughlin, Jack Ganssle, Tyler Hoffman, Steve Branam, Colin O'Flynn, Miro Samek, Henk Muller, Jacob Beningo, Harrison Donahue, Kate Stewart, Clive (Max) Maxfield, Don Wilcher, Adam Taylor, and Jean Labrosse.

If you haven't registered for the conference yet, please consider doing so today.  Make sure to use the...


2022 Embedded Online Conference - Final Push!

Stephane Boucher April 8, 2022

With the Embedded Online Conference only a couple of weeks away, we are now doing a final push to ensure that as many engineers as possible who could benefit from the conference are aware of it. 

If you'd like to help us spread the word, not only will you make our day, but you'll also earn a chance to win one of TWO Saleae Logic Pro 8.     

Prize: TWO Saleae Logic Pro 8Raffle...

The 2021 DSP/ML Online Conference

Stephane Boucher September 29, 2021

The 2021 DSP/ML Online Conference is just around the corner and this year again, the program is packed with opportunities to learn. 

By registering for the conference, not only will you have full access to all talks, workshops, and Q&A sessions at this year's event, but you'll also gain instant access to all talks from last year's edition.  

We've asked the speakers to tell me a few words about their sessions, here are some of the answers we've...


Embedded Online Conference 2021 - Watch the Speakers Share their Thoughts on the Value for Attendees

Stephane Boucher May 4, 20212 comments

Over the last few weeks, we've had a chance to chat with some of the speakers at the upcoming Embedded Online Conference.  We asked them to share their thoughts on conferences and the Embedded Online Conference in particular.  Here are their answers edited together in one video:

  

If you are not registered yet for the conference but are considering it, please make sure to use the promo code ER149 to save more than 40% on your registration...


8 Weeks - 8 Giveaways!

Stephane Boucher March 10, 2021

If for some reason, you've been putting off registering for the upcoming 2021 Embedded Online Conference, here are 8 good reasons to register today.

The idea is simple; if you are registered for the conference by the 'raffle date' for any of the following giveaways, you'll automatically be entered into the draw.

So for instance, if you are already registered for the conference or register before March the 22nd, you'll be automatically entered into the 8 draws...


Announcing the 2021 Embedded Online Conference!

Stephane Boucher January 27, 20211 comment

Once again this year, Jacob Beningo and I are putting together the Embedded Online ConferenceLast year's edition was a very rewarding experience, with over 6,000 registrants, fantastic & insightful talks, and lots of positive feedback.  For this year's edition, we are delighted to announce that none other than Jack Ganssle will be giving a Keynote presentation about the 50th anniversary of the Microprocessor.

The 2021 Embedded Online Conference will...


The DSP Online Conference - Right Around the Corner!

Stephane Boucher September 20, 20201 comment

It is Sunday night as I write this blog post with a few days to go before the virtual doors of the very first DSP Online Conference open..

It all started with a post in the DSPRelated forum about three months ago.  We had just had a blast running the 2020 Embedded Online Conference and we thought it could be fun to organize a smaller event dedicated to the DSP community.  So my goal with the post in the forum was to see if...


Already 3000+ Attendees Registered for the Upcoming Embedded Online Conference

Stephane Boucher February 14, 2020

Chances are you already know, through the newsletter or banners on the Related sites, about the upcoming Embedded Online Conference.

Chances are you also already know that you have until the end of the month of February to register for free. 

And chances are that you are one of the more than 3000 pro-active engineers who have already registered.

But If you are like me and have a tendency to do tomorrow what can be done today, maybe you haven't registered yet.  You may...