FOSDEM 2021 Online February 6-7 – Hardware, Embedded & IoT talks

FOSDEM 2021 Online

FOSDEM is an open-source developer event that takes place on the first week-end of February every year in Brussels, Belgium. Every year except this year, as due to COVID-19 restrictions, FOSDEM 2021 will take place online like most events these days. The schedule has been up for some time, and today I’ll look at some of the interesting talks mostly from the Embedded, Mobile and Automotive “virtual devroom” but also other tracks. Saturday, February 6, 2021 13:00 – 14:00 – From Reset Vector to Kernel – Navigating the ARM Matryoshka Long gone are the times of executing the OS in-place from memory-mapped flash upon reset. A modern SoC now comes with complex mask ROM firmware, with driver, filesystem, protocol and crypto support for loading… yet another bootloader. In his talk, Ahmad follows this chain of bootloaders until the kernel is started, stopping along the way for RAM setup, peripherial initialization, […]

Intel Elkhart Lake COM’s offer up to 3x 2.5GbE, SIL2 functional safety

Elkhart Lake COM Express 2.5GbE

Since the launch of the Intel Elkhart Lake IoT Edge processor family, we’ve covered several COM Express modules based on the new low power SoCs including TQ Embedded TQMxE40C1/C2 and Congatec conga-MA7 & conga-TCA7. But despite the processor supporting 2.5GbE, all the computers-on-module we’ve covered so far would only offer Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. But Eurotech CPU-161-19 and CPU-161-20 COM Express Compact Type 6 modules support up to three 2.5 Gbps Ethernet interfaces using COM Express with proprietary expansions, and CPU-161-20 is the first module we’ve seen taking advantage of Intel Atom x6000FE parts with Functional Safety (FuSa)  support making the module certifiable with SIL2 Safety Integrity Level (IEC 61508-2:2010) and/or Cat 3 PL=d (ISO 13849-1). As we may infer from the photos above and below, both modules share many of the same features, except for the added functional safety on CPU-161-20. CPU-161-19/20 specifications: SoC CPU-161-19 module Atom x6212RE dual-core processor @ […]

UL-Certified TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug with Dual Outlet Sells for $19.99 (Promo)

UL-Certified Smart Plug TP-Link Kasa

WiFi smart sockets to control home appliances have been around for a few years, and one of my favorite companies is Sonoff as they offer a variety of affordable smart plugs pre-loaded with eWelink firmware and compatible with open-source firmware like Tasmota and ESPurna. The company is also attentive to safety. communicate issues with customers, and recently wrote a post entitled “Safety is our responsibility” where they detail all steps taken to make sure their mains connected device sare safe to use. Sadly that does not include safety certifications like UL/ETL, or TUV which may have implications for your home insurance depending on where you live, and for peace of mind, it’s always good to have a third verify your design for safety. Which brings me to the main point of this point, as a UL-certified dual-outlet smart socket, namely TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug, is currently on sale for $19.99 […]

Arm Announces Cortex-A78AE CPU, Mali-G78AE GPU & Mali-C71AE ISP for autonomous automotive & industrial applications

Cortex-A78AE

Arm has announced new CPU, GPU, and ISP specifically designed for autonomous automotive and industrial applications with respectively Cortex-A78AE CPU, Arm Mali-G78AE GPU, and Arm Mali-C71AE ISP. Arm Cortex-A78AE CPU Key features and specifications: Architecture – Armv8.2-A (AArch32 at ELO only) Extensions – Armv8.1, Armv8.2, and Armv8.3 extensions (LDAPR instructions only), RAS extensions, Armv8.4 Dot Product, Cryptography extensions, RAS extensions Microarchitecture Up to 4x CPU cores per cluster Out of order pipeline Neon / Floating Point Unit included with INT8 Dot Product and IEEE FP16 Optional Cryptography Unit 48-bit Physical Addressing (PA) Memory system and external interfaces 32kB to 64kB L1 I-Cache / D-Cache 256kB to 512kB L2 Cache Optional 512kB to 4MB L3 Cache ECC Support LPAE Bus interfaces – AMBA ACE or CHI Optional ACP, peripheral port Functional Safety Support – ASIL D Systematic1 and ASIL D Diagnostic2 Security – TrustZone Interrupts – External GICv4 Generic timer – […]

Review of FamiSafe Phone Tracking & Parental Control App (Sponsored)

Android Phone Tracking

CNXSoft here. I’ve been tasked with reviewing Famisafe parental control app for Android and iOS acting both as a parental control app and phone tracker app and designed for parents who want to track their kids’ location and better control when to use the phone and what content they may access. The first thing to get started is to download the free trial on either Android or iOS. I actually downloaded both versions for FamiSafe for this review, since I used Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 (Android 10) as the “parent” smartphone, and an iPhone 6 as the “kid” phone. Famisafe Initial Configuration We’ll have to start with the “parent” phone. After a welcome screen explaining some of the main features including offensive content detection, device & app usage rules, web filter, etc.. you’ll be asked to select whether it’s the parent or kid device. Once we select “Parent” we’ll be […]

Arm Cortex-A65AE Targets Safety-Critical Automotive, Aviation, and Industrial Automation Applications

Cortex-A65AE

Arm introduced their first “Automotive Enhanced” processor with Cortex-A76AE last September. The processor targets autonomous driving applications, and comes with extra safety features such Dual Core Lock-Step (DCLS) running the same code on two different cores to continuously check the execution result is the same on both. The company has now unveiled a second AE core with Cortex-A65AE, which Arm claims is the first multithreaded Automotive Enhanced Cortex-A CPU technology to deliver the highest safety levels with Dual Core Lock-Step (DCLS). Arm Cortex-A65AE specifications: Architecture – Armv8-A (Harvard) Extensions – Armv8.1, Armv8.2, Cryptography, RAS, and Armv8.3 (LDAPR instructions only) ISA support – A64 Microarchitecture Out-of-order Pipeline Superscalar NEON/Floating Point Unit Optional Cryptography Unit Max number of CPUs in cluster – Eight Physical Addressing (PA) – 44-bit Dual Core Lock-Step Memory system and external interfaces L1 I-Cache / D-Cache – 16KB to 64KB L2 Cache – 64KB to 256KB L3 Cache […]

Some Sonoff TH16 and Sonoff POW Manufactured in December 2016 / January 2017 Are Being Recalled

Sonoff TH16 and Sonoff POW are inexpensive and useful wireless switches based on ESP8266 WiSoC. I’m using Sonoff TH16 to control a water pump, and Sonoff POW to monitor my office power consumption. I received mine in early November 2016, so they were probably manufactured sometimes in October. Does manufacturing month matter? Yes, it does, as ITEAD Studio has just issued a recall notice for both devices for a batch manufactured between December 2016 and January 2017. The problem is that while the switches come with a 16A relay, the trace were not thick enough, and if you connect a device that draws enough power, they would heat enough to make the case slowly melt. The problem is that ITEAD Studio asked the factory to add “sufficient tin to the wires to ensure low enough impedances”, but they did not quantify it clearly, and that’s why the product is not […]

Intel Smartwatches are Hot! So Hot, They May Burn Your Skin

Low power in constrained spaces is a tricky business, even for ARM based SoCs with the Qualcomm 810 overheating saga a few months ago. Now it’s time for Intel to feel the heat, as the company has has to recall Basis Peak smartwatches / fitness trackers due to potential overheating causing skin burns. Josh Walden – senior vice president and general manager of the New Technology Group at Intel Corporation – stated: On behalf of the Basis Science team, I want to personally apologise for this situation, we know that many of you love using your Basis Peak watches and have made them part of your daily lives, and we are very sorry for the disruption this will cause you, we had hoped to update the software on your watch to address the problem, unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we aren’t able to develop such a solution without completely compromising […]