Embedded Systems Conference 2018 Schedule – IoT, Security, Artificial Intelligence, and More

The Embedded Systems Conference takes place each year in Boston, US in April or May. This year, the event will occur on April 18-19, and the organizers have published the schedule with 7 tracks: Advanced Technologies, Center Stage (free), Embedded Hardware Design & Verification, Embedded Software Design & Verification, IoT and Connected Devices, Keynotes (free) and Special Event (free). Even if you can’t attend, it’s always useful to have a look at the schedule to learn about potential industry developments. So I’ve made my own virtual schedule with some of the sessions I found relevant to this blog. Wednesday, April 18 8:00 – 10:00 – An Introduction to RTOS by Jean Labrosse (Software Architect, Silicon Labs) This tutorial will help you understand what RTOSs are and how they work so that you can make better use of their features. The class will explain what an RTOS is and why you […]

A Look at LoRaWAN and NB-IoT Power Consumption


LoRaWAN and NB-IoT are both designed for low power long range communication for the Internet of Things. We’ve previously seen both protocols have about the same 15km range in rural areas, and NB-IoT bitrate is a little higher since it can reach around 100 kbps, against 300 bps to 38.4 kbps for LoRaWAN. All LPWAN standards usually claim 10-year battery life, but it would be interesting to get some data about power consumption, and that’s exactly what AMIHO Technology has done by comparing LoRaWAN to cellular IoT (NB-IoT / eMTC) power consumption. They started by checking public information from datasheets, and compare Tx, Rx, Idle and Tx current for the three standards, and LoRaWAN is about three to five times more efficient in terms of current compared to NB-IoT, and as expected even more compared to LTE Cat-M1. They then went on to compare airtime for the different power states,  […]

Embedded Linux Conference & IoT Summit 2018 Schedule

The Embedded Linux Conference 2018 and the OpenIoT Summit 2018 will jointly take place next month, on March 12 – 14, 2018 in Portland, Oregon, USA. The former is a “vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products”, while the latter is a “technical conference for the developers and architects working on industrial IoT”. The Linux Foundation has already published the schedule, and it’s always useful to learn what will be discussed about even for people who won’t attend. With that in mind, here’s my own virtual schedule with some of the talks I find interesting / relevant to this blog. Monday, March 12 10:50 – 11:40 – Progress in the Embedded GPU Ecosystem by Robert Foss, Collabora Ltd. Ten years ago no one would have expected the embedded GPU ecosystem in Linux to be what it is now. Today, a large number of GPUs have […]

PicoCORE MX7ULP is a Compact Module Based on NXP i.MX 7ULP Ultra Low Power Processor

NXP unveiled another variant of their i.MX 7 Cortex A7 processor last year, and I missed it. NXP i.MX 7ULP offers many of the same features as i.MX 7, but is manufactured using FD-SOI (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator) process technology to offer lower power consumption, as low as 15 mW or less in deep sleep, or 17 times less in comparison to i.MX 7 devices, while the dynamic power efficiency is improved by 50 percent on the real time domain (Cortex-M4). I found out about it thanks to an email from F&S Elektronik Systeme about the introduction of their  PicoCORE MX7ULP module – based on i.MX 7ULP processor – at  the Embedded World 2018 conference. PicoCORE MX7ULP CoM specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX 7ULP Arm Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 800 MHz,  with Arm Cortex-M4 real-time core, and 2D/3D graphics accelerator System Memory – Up to 1GB LPDDR3 Storage […]

STMicro Introduces Ultra-efficient STM32L4+ Series MCUs with Better Performance, Chrom-GRC Graphics Controller

STMicroelectronics has announced an upgrade to their STM32L4 series Cortex-M4 micro-controllers with STM32L4+ series upping the maximum frequency from 80 MHz to 120 MHz delivering up to 150 DMIPS (233 ULPMark-CP) , and ultra low power consumption as long as 33 nA in shutdown mode without RTC. The new family also adds Chrom-GRC graphics controller (GFXMMU) that can handle both circular and square TFT LCD displays together with a MIPI DSI interface and displayer controller, making it ideal for wearables, Chrom-ART 2D accelerator for better graphics performance, two Octo SPI interfaces, and more memory (640KB max) and storage (up to 2MB flash). If you want to know all differences between STM32L4 and STM32L4+, and/or learn how to use peripherals, STMicro has setup a nice free STM32L4+ online training page, which allow you to do just that either by downloading PDF documents, or following e-Presentations with slides and audio. STM32L4+ appears […]

Save Power, Hibernate Your Embedded Linux System

This is a guest post by Tharma Rajan G, Project Lead, e-con Sytems. What is the best way to save power consumption of your embedded Linux system? Is there any way to save max power and resume operation ? Yes. It is ‘hibernate’ mode, one of the Power Modes in Linux. This article talks about how we utilized this ‘hibernate mode’ in our Reference Platform Kit Meissa-I with eSOMiMX6-micro SOM. Meissa-I is a dual board solution that features eSOMiMX6-micro Computer on Module & carrier board. Meissa-I development board runs Linux and Android Marshmallow (under development). eSOMiMX6-micro is based on Dual/Quad core ARM CortexTM-A9 based CPU @ 800MHz/Core. It has 1GB LPDDR2 and 4GB eMMC FLASH (expandable upto 32GB). The eSOMiMX6-micro module also has the Wireless LAN and Bluetooth module. Linux Power Modes Power Management is a key feature in embedded Linux system and there are two types for implementing the […]

ESP32-PICO-D4 System-in-Package Combines ESP32, 4MB SPI Flash, a Crystal Oscillator, and Passive Components

Espressif Systems has revealed another ESP32 variant, but this time it’s not an SoC, but a 7x7mm system-in-package (SIP) that comes ESP32 dual core processor, a 4MB  SPI flash, a crystal oscillator and various passive components, so that you don’t need to include those in your design, and create an ultra-compact PCB for wearables and other space-constrained applications. ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP specifications: SoC – ESP32 with two Tensilica LX6 cores, 448 KB ROM, 520 KB SRAM (inc. 8KB RTC memory), 1kbit eFuse On-module Flash – 4MB SPI flash Connectivity WiFi – 802.11 b/g/n/e/i (802.11n up to 150 Mbps) Bluetooth – Bluetooth V4.2 BR/EDR and BLE specification; ; class-1, class-2 and class-3 transmitter; Audio: CVSD and SBC SIP Interfaces SD card, UART, SPI, SDIO, LED PWM, Motor PWM, I2S, I2C, IR GPIO, capacitive touch sensor, ADC, DAC, LNA pre-amplifier Sensors –  On-chip Hall sensor & temperature sensor Clock – On-module 40 MHz crystal […]

Microchip EERAM Combines SRAM and Backup EEPROM into a Single Chip

Most micro-controllers comes with both SRAM volatile memory, and flash or EEPROM for non-volatile (persistent) memory, but Texas Instruments – and other companies – have been selling MCUs with FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory) and standalone FRAM chip, a non-volatile memory that delivers performance and power efficiency similar to SRAM, and much better endurance that either flash or EEPROM. You don’t see FRAM in that many MCUs and solutions, because it’s more expensive than having SRAM + flash, but some applications requiring ultra low power consumption and non-volatile storage write capabilities may benefit from the technology. Those include data logging, sensor networks, and batteryless applications. Microchip has also it own technology with EERAM, a non-volatile SRAM memory that includes a “shadow” EEPROM used to automatically backup data on power down with a small external capacitor providing enough power to save SRAM to the EEPROM. Once power is recovered (Vdd > […]

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