Articles

User Programmable FPGAs Power CompactRIO Embedded Systems

With a laundry list of design constraints, including a combination of real-time requirements, reliability/durability requests, and functionality and performance needs, it’s not surprising that engineers may find successfully building a competitive embedded solution difficult. To simplify the process, National Instruments developed a rugged, new high-performance embedded system, called CompactRIO, that combines the processing power and flexibility of a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) with the reliability of a real-time processor.

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Cell Technology Tackles 3D Medical Imaging Reconstruction Challenges

Medical imaging is an information processing technique that takes data samples from medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scanners and translates them into 2D, 3D or even 4D images. Advances in sensor technology allow for the generation of an increasing number of images per procedure and per patient, posing a tremendous challenge for the efficient, in-time processing and visualization of the resulting images. In addition, sensor systems are now capable of acquiring thousands of projections per second, literally flooding the image reconstruction subsystem with several hundreds of Mbytes of data per second.

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Laser Scanning Improves Dimensional Accuracy of Automotive Gas Tanks

In the past, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fuel tanks used coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) to inspect first articles. The geometry of the tanks is so complex, however, that it was difficult to fully inspect the surface one point at a time. Inergy Automotive Systems has achieved significant improvements in quality by switching to laser scanning, which “paints” the surface of the tank with a laser and then uses a sensor to capture all the points in the laser’s path. The new approach generates a solid model of the as-built part that can be compared to the design intent to highlight the full extent of any differences between the two. As a result, Inergy can make required tooling changes with a higher level of confidence and ensure that production parts meet customer specifications.

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GPS Receiver RF Front-End Enables Use of a Laptop PC for Soft Baseband Processing

Software techniques foruse in the global positioning system (GPS)1,2 have recently captured the growing interest of communication and navigation engineers. Thanks to very-largescale integration (VLSI) development, powerful CPUs and DSPs are now capable of detecting and decoding GPS signals in real time using software. The resulting software-based GPS receivers offer considerable flexibility in modifying settings to accommodate new applications without hardware redesign, using the same board design for different frequency plans, and implementing future upgrades.

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Choosing Among ZigBee RF Power Options for Your Wireless Application

While often associated with home automation, the new ZigBee wireless data standard is making fast inroads into industrial, military, and aerospace applications. By supplying highly reliable, wireless mesh networking at very low cost, ZigBee enables improvements to traditional sensing and monitoring applications, and enables new applications that would otherwise be impractical.

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A Software Development Process for Small-Scale Embedded Systems

Developing software for small-scale embedded applications is different from developing large-scale software applications. Large-scale applications use commercially available ‘one fits all’ software development solutions that are difficult to scale downward and usually miss the desired process goals. In many cases, developing a small-scale software application development process within an existing corporate environment is quicker, less expensive, and results in superior developer productivity and product quality.

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Embedded Development and the .NET Micro Framework

The scenario: You’ve been assigned the task of designing and producing an embedded device. You’ve been given time, cost and size constraints that impact your design. An initial analysis of the requirements leads you to the conclusion that a 32-bit processor with a relatively small amount of RAM and Flash are required. A bit of research shows that an ARM processor with 2MB of external Flash and 2MB of external RAM will meet your cost and size constraints.

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