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Embedded Security: Down to the Silicon

Embedded applications are increasingly going online. With the introduction of new embedded technologies that utilize a wide variety of communications options from Ethernet to Wi-Fi and ZigBee, there is a pressing need to secure these applications against the same problems that are inherent in any networked application.

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Monolithic Diffraction Grating Arrays Enable Wide-Bandwidth Single-Shot Spectrometers

For the last forty years, manufacturing technology for diffraction gratings has not changed significantly. Mechanical ruling and interferometric (holographic) exposure have been the two predominant approaches used to fabricate gratings. Both approaches provide limited freedom in terms of the complexity of grating lines (spacings and curvatures) that can be written.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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Battery Power Source Options for Mission-Critical Applications

Selecting power source technology for mission critical devices is crucial to ensure success. Whether it is a monitor at the bottom of the ocean, a drill system at 30,000 feet into the Earth’s crust, or hand warmers on an astronaut in Earth orbit, the cost of failure in these situations far outweighs the cost of a battery. Equipment used in these and other mission- critical situations must perform under environmental conditions that would destroy most commercially available components and energy sources. Every element must be capable of operating in environments where extremes in temperature, pressure, shock, vibration, and corrosive exposure are the norm. Selecting batteries for these vital activities must include consideration for the high level of reliability and performance required to ensure these significant and often costly programs stay on target.

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SMP vs. AMP: How Homogenous Is Your Embedded System?

Multiprocessing system architectures come in all shapes and sizes, so it is dangerous to make any generalizations. But perhaps there’s agreement that most systems can be classified as either symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) or asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP).

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Secure Partitioning Safeguards Real-time Performance

High performance multi-core processors are providing opportunities to consolidate multiple applications into a single system. However, embedded applications often have real-time requirements that cannot be put in jeopardy by other software clamoring for the same system resources such as CPU cycles and memory.

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Visualization Tools Aid Multi-core Development

Multi-core processing is a “disruptive technology”, transforming the way embedded systems are architected, developed, and debugged. With greatly improved performance and lower power, multi-core processors have caught the attention of designers who don’t think twice about putting two, four, or even eight processor cores into a system. But many software developers are playing catch up, working hard to quickly parallelize code. They are finding traditional debug methods aren’t sufficient to profile the complex interactions between concurrently running tasks. “In a system with interacting applications running simultaneously on multiple processor cores, breakpoints have reduced applicability as a tool for understanding system behavior,” says Rob McCammon, Director of Advanced Technology Planning at Wind River Systems.

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Electric Motors vs. Fluid Power: Robotic System Designers Have a Choice

Robotic system designers should choose the right power source for the job. Often, electric motors are chosen without thinking about the benefits of hydraulics or pneumatics. For applications where precise control of large forces and smooth motion are required, or applications that require “forgiveness” in the motion, fluid power can deliver significant benefits compared to electromechanical motion.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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