Wireless embedded networks have matured beyond academic research as industry now considers the advantages of using wireless sensors. With this growth, reliability and real-time demands increase, thus timing becomes more and more relevant. In this dissertation, we focus on the development of highly stable, low-power clock systems for wireless embedded systems. Wireless embedded networks, due to their wire-free nature, present one of the most extreme power budget design challenges in the ﬁeld of electronics. Improvements in timing can reduce the energy required to operate an embedded network. However, the more accurate a time source is, the more power it consumes. To comprehensively address the time and power problems in wireless embedded systems, this dissertation studies the exploitation of dual-crystal clock architectures to combat eﬀects of temperature induced frequency error and high power consumption of high-frequency clocks. Combining these architectures with the inherent communication capabilities of wireless embedded systems, this dissertation proposes two new technologies; (1) a new time synchronization service that automatically calibrates a local clock to changes in temperature; (2) a high-low frequency timer that allows a duty-cycled embedded system to achieve ultra low-power sleep, while keeping ﬁne granularity time resolution oﬀered only by high power, high frequency clocks.
Building an embedded system from an idea to a product is a slow and expensive process requiring a lot of expertise. Depending on the developer’s expertise, the required quantity and price level of the final product, and the time and money available for development, the developer can build a device from different granularity of components, ranging from ready-made platforms, kits, and modules to individual components. Generally, solutions requiring less expertise, time and money produce products with higher production costs. The main contribution of this thesis is the EOC (Embedded Object Concept) and Atomi II Framework. EOC utilizes common object-oriented methods used in software by applying them to small electronic modules, which create complete functional entities. The conceptual idea of the embedded objects is implemented with the Atomi II framework, which contains several techniques for making the EOC a commercially feasible implementation. The EOC and the Atomi II Framework decreases the difficulty level of making embedded systems by enabling a use of ready-made modules to build systems. It enables automatic conversion of a device made from such modules into an integrated PCB, lowering production costs compared to other modular approaches. Furthermore, it also enables an automatic production tester generation due to its modularity. These properties lower the number of skills required for building an embedded system and quicken the path from an idea to a commercially applicable device. A developer can also build custom modules of his own if he possesses the required expertise. The test cases demonstrate the Atomi II Framework techniques in real world applications, and demonstrate the capabilities of Atomi objects. According to our test cases and estimations, an Atomi based device becomes approximately 10% more expensive than a device built from individual components, but saves up to 50% time, making it feasible to manufacture up to 10-50k quantities with this approach.