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ISO 26262 & Automotive Electronics Development

Compliance standards, especially those that involve relatively new functional safety elements, will likely add additional requirements to the development process. But ISO 26262, in particular, will add more than new requirements to the product life cycle for automotive hardware-software systems. This Functional Safety standard will act as a framework impacting integrated requirements traceability, risk management, validation, verification, documentation and collaboration throughout the systems engineering “V” model life cycle process (see Figure). ISO 26262 will also require the qualification of tools used to create automotive systems. This paper examines the impact of the standard on the development process and support tool chains for automotive electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Semiconductors & ICs, Software

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Putting FPGAs to Work in Software Radio Systems

FPGAs have become an increasingly important resource for software radio systems. Programmable logic technology now offers significant advantages for implementing software radio functions such as DDCs (Digital Downconverters). Over the past few years, the functions associated with DDCs have seen a shift from being delivered in ASICs (Application-Specific ICs) to operating as IP (Intellectual Property) in FPGAs.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs

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MP3 Audio DSP Microcontroller

VLSI Solution (Tampere, Finland) has introduced the VS1010 MP3 Audio DSP Microcontroller, a highly integrated all-in-one MP3 player system-on-a-chip. VS1010's I/O system includes support for Hi-speed USB (both host and device operations are supported), SD/SDHC cards, 2xSPI, MEMS microphones, S/PDIF, I2S, 2xUART, RTC clock, SAR inputs, a PWM output, GPIOs. It also contains a 24-bit stereo DAC and an integrated earphone amplifier with a dynamic range of 100 dB(A). VS1010 runs VLSI Solution's VSOS operating system. For those who want to program the VS1010, VLSI Solution's Integrated Development Environment VSIDE is available for free.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs

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32-Bit MCUs

Mouser Electronics, Inc. (Mansfield, TX) is now stocking the MSP432 mixed-signal microcontrollers from Texas Instruments (TI). TI’s MSP432 microcontrollers are based on a powerful, 32-bit ARM® Cortex®‑M4F core with a floating point unit and memory protection management. The microcontroller includes two 16-bit timers, four 32-bit timers, and a 14-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) that converts at 1MSPS. The microcontroller also boasts four high-drive input and output (I/O) pins that can support up to 20mA. The microcontrollers support capacitive touch capability, as well as digital glitch filtering on some I/O pins.

Posted in: Products, Products, Semiconductors & ICs

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Novel Computer Chips Could Bridge Gap Between Computation and Storage

Software written by Jing Li, right, and her students — including Jialiang Zhang, left —allows programmers to directly use existing coding languages with the new Liquid Silicon chips. (Credit: Stephanie Precourt/UW–Madison College of Engineering) Computer chips in development at the University of Wisconsin–Madison could make future computers more efficient and powerful by combining tasks usually kept separate by design. Jing Li, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UW–Madison, is creating computer chips that can be configured to perform complex calculations and store massive amounts of information within the same integrated unit — and communicate efficiently with other chips. She calls them “liquid silicon.”

Posted in: News, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs

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Semiconductor Test System

Marvin Test Solutions, Irvine, CA, released the TS-960e PXI Express semiconductor test platform that features test capabilities for RF devices and SoC applications. It features 256 125-MHz digital I/O channels with per-pin-PMU, and multiple RF and analog test instruments in a single, 21-slot PXIe chassis. It incorporates the GX5296 digital subsystem, software test suite, and RF instrumentation option.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Semiconductors & ICs, Test & Measurement

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The Economics of Accuracy in Low-cost, High-volume Sensing Applications

Various research firms forecast the market for portable medical devices to be somewhere around the $20 billion-range within the next several years. Part of the increased demand is due to an aging population with more chronic conditions. These smaller portable units requires devices with smaller footprints. By the same token, smaller devices need to provide adequate levels of care to ensure patient safety and comfort. Thus, functionality cannot be sacrificed for space.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs, Data Acquisition, Sensors

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