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Embedded but not Static

March 9, 2009
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The Embedded World 2009 Exhibition and Conference that took place in Nürnberg, Germany from 3 to 5 March seemed relatively oblivious to the current economic turndown. At the time of writing official attendance figures were not available, but with 704 exhibitors representing a 4 per cent increase on 2008 and the display area having grown by 5 per cent from last year the signs are encouraging.

The event is the world's biggest exhibition of its kind and the meeting-place for the international embedded community. On show were hardware, software, tools, services, etc. for such varied applications as data and telecommunication systems, automotive systems, industrial and consumer electronics, military systems and aerospace.

M2M was again an important topic both at the conference and in the exhibition where seven top-flight companies presented their products in a pavilion in Hall 12. Close by in the same hall the geographical expansion of the embedded world was demonstrated by a pavilion showcasing ten Serbian companies, which presented their products at the event for the first time.

At the conference the subjects covered were diverse. Particular emphasis was given to environmental issues with the opening day’s keynote speech being Directing Globalization as a Key Issue – the Role of Innovation and Technology by Prof. Franz Josef Radermacher. The main theme of this keynote concerned climate fairness as a formula for a global solution with which governments can counter future environmental challenges. According to Radermacher, electronics and IT are resource-intensive and consume considerable amounts of electrical energy. But they can also contribute much towards networking people, simplifying training throughout the world, overcoming poverty or improving the state of the environment – if governments create the right framework.

Such themes are wide reaching and Embedded World 2009 embraced the full range of embedded technology and its development. Not all sectors showcased were relevant to Microwave Journal, for which the main focus was embedded wireless products.

However, to highlight a cross-section of the technology that was on show the following is a brief overview of some of the exhibitors and the new products they presented:

For Infineon the emphasis was on microcontrollers with the focus being on MCU solutions for Field Oriented Control (FOC). Significant launches included the 32-bit TriCore TC1197 and TC1167 devices, the M-series – XE162, XE164, XE167 and XE169 – 16-bit microcontrollers and the XC864, XC886 and XC878 8-bit devices. Also launched were three new application kits: the dual motor drive for XC878 and XE166, the FOC motor drive for XC878 and XE166 and 12 V brushless drive for XC866.

NXP Semiconductors focused on its broad range of ARM-based microcontrollers. These MCUs integrate vital technologies – like USB, LCD, Ethernet, and motor control – that enhance embedded applications of all kinds. The ARM portfolio delivers good performance, the latest technology, a wide selection, fast growing software ecosystem and design flexibility.

Another product of note is the company’s newly unveiled fully integrated Doherty amplifiers for TD-SCDMA and WCDMA base stations. The BLD6G21-50 incorporates an integrated Doherty concept leveraging NXP’s state of the art GEN6 LDMOS technology specifically designed for TD-SCDMA operation at frequencies from 2010 to 2025 MHz, whereas the BLD6G22-50 operates at frequencies between 2110 to 2170 MHz for W-CDMA transmission.

Addressing the need to protect electronic components operating in harsh automotive environments, Freescale Semiconductor introduced an advanced system basis chip (SBC) family designed to deliver robust electromagnetic compatibility and electrostatic discharge performance for in- LIN® vehicle networks. The new LIN SBC family features three highly integrated, pin-compatible devices. The MC33910G5 combines power management capabilities that contribute to low battery discharge during low-power modes, a robust LIN physical layer and a high-side driver. In addition to these capabilities, the MC33911G5 features a DC motor pre-driver, and the MC33912G5 offers a DC motor pre-driver with current sensing.

The company also introduced two highly integrated i.MX35 multimedia applications processors. Optimized for computationally intensive industrial and consumer applications, the pin-compatible i.MX353 and i.MX357 applications processors combine the ARM1136JF-S™ core with an OpenVG graphics engine, cost-effective DDR2 memory support and an array of connectivity interfaces.

IMST showed new WiMOD low power radio modules for the 2.4 GHz ISM band. The WiMOD Starter Kit is a simple, out-of-the-box solution to explore the features and capabilities of WiMOD radio modules. The kit contains two demo boards and the appropriate radio modules soldered on a specific adapter board. The modules are pre-programmed with a demo application to evaluate simple wireless connectivity. Additional sample applications and the WiMOD Configurator PC Tool are included to demonstrate the use of the radio modules. Other modules launched were the WiMOD im200A, WiMOD im221a, WiMODim820 and WiMOD 240A.

Pride of place for LeCroy went to the WaveMaster 8 Zi oscilloscope, which is said to combine the high bandwidth and sample rate with the superior performance of the X-Stream II architecture to maximize speed in all aspects—high bandwidth signal capture, 10 to100x faster analysis processing, instantaneous instrument responsiveness, and 20x faster off-line data transfer. Features include 4 to 30 GHz bandwidth, up to 80 GS/s sample rate, up to 512 Mpts of analysis memory, 50 Ω and 1 MΩ inputs and Eye Doctor™ II Advanced Signal Integrity Tools. Also, complete bandwidth upgradability makes it easy and affordable to stay current with emerging high-speed technologies and serial data standards.

Medav featured the ComCat-Tuner-family CCT-NG that offers the users for HF/VUHF (100 kHz to 3 GHz) the opportunity to link flexibly efficient broadband-tuners in computing networks and operate as Software Defined Radio. The essential prerequisite for this linking is that the CCT-NG not only makes the ZF-signal digital, but also processes it by means of integrated data processing. CCT-NG supports a broadband of up to 24 MHz and a fast scan operation up to 4 GHz/s over the complete RF-frequency range.

Amber Wireless showcased the AMB8425-M, an all embedded low-cost wireless M-Bus radio module, which operates in 12 channels in the 868 MHz frequency band. The integrated protocol controls the entire data communication. Data packets are built and transmitted according to EN13757-4:2005 specification. Configuration of parameters is handled via the UART interface and a control pin. The module automatically adds the Manufacturer ID and the Address based on parameters configured in the radio module. Measured field strength (RSSI value) offers the option of enhancing quality of the radio link. The customized application layer can be fully integrated in the radio module, thus eliminating the need for an external host microcontroller and the module is pre-certified for operation under the European radio regulations for license-free use.

There was also a significant presence at the show for the Fraunhofer Institute that demonstrated a wide variety of research and development initiatives. In particular the company was promoting its activity in the field of Integrated RF Circuits, Embedded Color and Polarization Sensors in Cost Effective CMOS Technology and High Frequency Microwave Technology, including digital media, navigation and localization and antenna design and measurements.


Recent Articles by Richard Mumford, Microwave Journal’s International Editor

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