Creative innovations reshape the embedded environment

June 1, 2012 OpenSystems Media

To survive and prosper in the competitive atmosphere of today’s embedded industry, designers are constantly developing and testing new ideas and innovations that can enable smaller, faster, lower-power, and lower-cost devices while achieving faster time to market. One of our objectives this month was to identify and recognize a few of these innovative products along with the prominent innovators who are changing our industry.

In response to the promotion for this inaugural Innovation Issue, we received dozens of suggestions and entries specializing in our main topics of coverage: Silicon, Software, and Strategies. Although it was a difficult choice, our editorial team evaluated nominees and selected three winners based on creativity, uniqueness, and value to the embedded community. As you can see on the cover, the winners of the 2012 Embedded Computing Design award for Top Embedded Innovator are:

  • Silicon: Zvi Or-Bach, founder and CEO of MonolithIC 3D, for breakthrough techniques that enable the fabrication of 3D semiconductor devices using conventional fabrication equipment.
  • Software: Sebastien Marineau-Mes, Senior VP of Engineering at QNX Software Systems, for advances in embedded automotive technology, mobile operating systems, and open-source development tools.
  • Strategies: Kwok Wu, Head of Embedded Software and Systems Solutions at Freescale Semiconductor, for networking and communications innovations that connect users and smart devices.

In addition to the innovation coverage, this issue is loaded with new ideas and technologies you can use in your embedded design projects. For example, in the Silicon section, Alex Lin of Advantech shows how the transition to multicore processing platforms is revolutionizing embedded computing design by removing many traditional constraints. Recognizing how multicore delivers new capabilities and improvements to performance, power consumption, and cost, Debbie Greenstreet and Atul Verma from the Multicore Processors Business Unit at Texas Instruments issue a call to action for the industry to establish a market-accepted multicore benchmarking strategy that benefits not only embedded engineers, but multicore System-on-Chip (SoC) manufacturers as well. Presenting a key technology at the center of multicore-based mobile devices, Intel’s Max Domeika demonstrates how HTML5 can help solve two of the biggest problems in embedded design: application portability and performance.

The transition to multicore has made a significant impact on the software development side of embedded design. In this issue’s Software section, Brad Quinton from the Tektronix Embedded Instrumentation Group outlines techniques to simplify the on-chip instrumentation and debug process for ASICs and FPGAs with increasing complexity. Continuing the debug theme, Frank Schirrmeister, Michael McNamara, Larry Melling, and Neeti Bhatnagar of Cadence Design Systems describe the best methods to observe and evaluate the significant software/hardware dependencies present in the latest generation of intricate electronic systems. Emphasizing the need for software developers to interact with hardware earlier in the design process, Colin Walls of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division explains how an integrated embedded platform offers greater visibility into hardware and software execution threads and enables more efficient debug.

Focusing on the rising popularity of In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) applications, this month’s Strategies section presents some of the latest technologies that help enhance system usability and safety. Scott Pennock of QNX Software Systems discusses how spatial auditory displays can improve human-machine interaction and serve as an enabling technology for new in-vehicle applications. In addition, Marvell Semiconductor’s Bart Giordano examines the impact of wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Near Field Communication (NFC)on current IVI designs and the next generation of vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems.

The embedded industry is constantly changing as new innovations such as those revealed in this issue are implemented and integrated into the latest devices and applications. We are working hard to keep you up-to-date with the most recent trends and technologies essential to your embedded design projects. If you would like to present your innovation to the embedded industry with a technical article or video, please send me a suggestion or an abstract.

Warren Webb (Editorial Director)
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