Over a four-day period during electronica 2020, the embedded Forum delivered keynote talks and technical presentations covering several aspects of the embedded systems design and development world.
This ranged from the tools and software necessary to develop systems from design all the way through their product lifecycle; to the evolution of microcontrollers past and present, to addressing a future smart connected world. And on the subject of connectivity, it also explored the many facets of internet of things (IoT) connected devices, including security; and the topic of low power design, which is very relevant as the world edges towards billions of sensors and edge devices that need to run for years or even use energy harvesting to enable battery-free devices.
All the video recordings of both the keynotes talks and the technical presentations are available on-demand at the link for the embedded Forum printed at the bottom of this article. Here are some highlights from each day.
Day 1: Tools and Software
Much of the human experience is now reliant on electronic systems which themselves are becomingly increasingly complex. With more and more systems and software being deployed in safety and security critical applications, how do we ensure that we design systems to be safe, secure and resilient? In her keynote talk on day one, Aileen Ryan, senior director portfolio strategy at Mentor, a Siemens Business, explored some of the challenges and areas of opportunity for the next generation of tools and software to address these challenges, including the importance of product lifecycle management.
Other talks on day one addressed topics ranging from delivering deterministic real-time performance on multicore processors, applying mutation testing to ensure test quality, optimizing traceability in Industry 4.0, and enforcing concise and uniform model descriptions by automated architecture conformance checking; to migrating algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning using heterogenous architectures and custom instructions.
Day 2: Microcontrollers
In his keynote opening day two of the embedded Forum, Daniel Cooley, chief strategy officer, Silicon Labs, gave a really insightful big picture perspective on the evolution of embedded microcontrollers (MCUs) over the last 20 years. He also then progressed to looking at the challenges for the future, where we’ll need more secure, smart controllers as we witness the massive growth in IoT, connectivity and machine learning / artificial intelligence.
Other talks looked at the evolution of microcontrollers from an interface perspective; embedded controllers using energy harvesting to enhance battery performance in IoT sensors; a case study of a smart camera for non-intrusive vital signals detection based on a MIPS solution; as well as papers covering open source RISC-V processors and their hardware implementation and the benefits of custom instructions.
Day 3: IoT, Connectivity, Security
In the current age of ‘smart’ everything, whether it’s energy, buildings, cities, or other environments, this is one of the most popular topics of the day, since everyone talks about IoT, connectivity and security. To set the scene for this, our keynote from the father of ‘fog computing’, Flavio Bonomi, who is now a technical advisor at Lynx Software Technologies, talked about what’s next in edge computing that would drive the embedded edge. The trend is increasingly about deriving insights from information nearer to where the data is created. The next wave on the horizon is the creation of “systems of systems” architectures with time sensitive networking connecting rich, highly consolidated processing resources. This path provides an opportunity for processing to be applied on a more dynamic basis across these more fluid architectures. Bonomi discusses why edge computing needs to evolve in this direction, citing specific use cases, and points to some early indications as to the types of platforms being deployed.
There are 12 talks to choose from day three, covering topics including environmental sensors, dealing with bad packets in communications, electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection, efficient OTA (over the air) with Flash, prescriptive remote management for embedded devices; plus examples of condition-based monitoring solutions and wearable devices. In addition, several security topics included embedded device security and what we can learn from the past for the future, plus secure Flash memory and secure provisioning.
Day 4: Low Power Design
On the final day of the embedded Forum, we explored low power design. The emergence and exponential growth of breakthrough low-power IoT, wearable, hearable and edge devices, has led to new system and IC design challenges where every nanowatt of power consumption or every picojoule of energy drawn from the battery matters. In the keynote talk from Ravi Ambatipudi, vice president & general manager for the mobile power business unit at Maxim Integrated, he looked at historical trends in low-power, battery-operated systems, and then moved into discussions around the challenges of designing low-power systems. Battery management, IC design, and topology level power management solutions and trends were also presented.
In other talks in this session, talks covered simplification of thermal management in high reliability processing systems, challenges for portable low power device testing, ultra-low power and battery-free connectivity for connected lighting, reducing current consumption to enable increased IoT endpoint intelligence, and enabling embedded vision using ultra-low power image classification. There is also a talk highlighting an IoT smart selector webtool to help find the best battery to energize a low power application.
For all the details of speakers, talk outlines, and video recordings of the keynote talks and technical presentations, these are available upon free registration – click here.
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