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2021.03.05 19:00 UTC

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Raspberry Pi CM4 carrier delivers isolated Modbus, 1-Wire, and CAN

2021-03-05 20:00 LinuxGizmos Eric Brown

On Kickstarter: an open-spec, $120 “CM Hunter” carrier for the RPi CM4 with GbE, HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 2.0, micro-USB OTG, LCD, relay, and isolated RS485/Modbus, 1-Wire, and CAN. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module carrier scene has always been interesting, as different companies focus on different applications. With its expanded feature set, the Raspberry Pi […]

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How MIPI Alliance specs enable the IIoT

2021-03-05 19:24 Embedded.com Kevin Yee

Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications are forecast to grow massively over the next decade, driving productivity and efficiency gains across process industries such as oil and gas, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, energy and mining, as well as discrete industries such as aerospace, semiconductors and manufacturing.

The development of new cyber-physical systems that underpin this growth will be dependent on use of high-resolution cameras to power machine vision, high-resolution displays to enable rich user interfaces, and optimized command and control interfaces to connect sensors, actuators and other components.

This article explains how MIPI specifications, which are widely implemented within billions of mobile devices, can be leveraged by developers to create successful device designs, drive down development efforts and reduce costs across a number of IIoT applications.

Defining the industrial internet of things

MIPI Alliance Image 1

The IIoT envisages highly digitized industrial processes that collect and share data through the use of connected machines and other devices. Using real-time analytics, data is used across wider industrial processes to proactively address production and supply issues, improve efficiency, enhance logistics and respond to new demands.

Growth in this market is being driven by technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, cloud computing, machine vision and robotics. By connecting the physical and digital worlds, the IIoT can monitor and optimize an entire industrial process and wider supply chain.

Benefits of MIPI specifications in IIoT

MIPI Alliance develops interfaces that connect embedded components (cameras, displays, sensors, communications modules) within electronic devices. MIPI specifications, conformance test suites, debug tools, software and other resources allow developers to create innovative connected devices.

The focus of the organization is to design and promote hardware and software interfaces that simplify the integration of components built into a device, from the antenna and modem to peripherals and the application processor. MIPI Alliance crafts all of its specifications to meet the stringent operating conditions required in mobile devices: high-bandwidth performance, low power consumption, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI).

MIPI Alliance specification framework
MIPI specification framework

MIPI specifications provide the following benefits to IIoT applications:

  • Safety-critical devices, such as industrial machines, benefit from MIPI’s functionally safe and secure interfaces
  • Low-power devices benefit from MIPI’s power-saving features
  • Connected devices benefit from MIPI’s 5G preparedness
  • Size-constrained devices benefit from MIPI’s low pin/wire counts and low EMI
  • MIPI’s software and debug resources accelerate device design and development.
MIPI Multimedia Specifications
MIPI multimedia specifications

Uses of MIPI specifications

IIoT solutions will be built upon a broad range of devices. We’ve highlighted a few examples to demonstrate the applicability of MIPI specifications to different IIoT use cases.

Pharmaceutical quality control

MIPI Alliance Image 2

Machine vision is essential to the pharmaceutical industry, being used for critical inspection processes such as checking package integrity, fill levels, safety seal integrity and labeling. Use of machine vision is critical to product quality, and a key driver of productivity. Use of high-resolution cameras is essential for these applications and other vision-based AI functionality.

MIPI specifications that enable machine vision include:

  • MIPICSI-2 over MIPI C-PHY, D-PHY or A-PHY to provide a highly scalable protocol to connect high-resolution cameras, enabling low-power vision inferencing
  • MIPI I3C to provide a low complexity, two-wire command and control interface for cameras and other sensors

Automated industrial vehicles

MIPI Alliance Image 3

Automated vehicles are used within many industrial processes to transport materials around a site, following predefined routes using radio beacons, cameras and lasers for navigation. Automated vehicles can contain hundreds of sensors and generate huge volumes of data.

MIPI specifications that support automated vehicles include:

  • MIPI CSI-2 over A-PHY to connect high-resolution cameras (or lidars), enabling vision inferencing and machine vision for the vehicle to navigate around an industrial site
  • MIPI A-PHY to provide a long-reach (≤15m), ultra-reliable physical interface to link components within noisy EMI environments
  • MIPI I3C to provide a low complexity, two-wire interface to connect the sensors and actuators within the vehicle
  • MIPI RFFE within the vehicle’s radio communications module to enable wireless connectivity to operation systems

Industrial control systems with advanced user interfaces

MIPI Alliance Image 4

Machine control systems are becoming more advanced, connecting machines to a wider industrial process and providing rich user interfaces to allow operator monitoring and control.

MIPI specifications that support machine control systems:

  • MIPI DSI-2 over C-PHY, D-PHY or A-PHY to drive high-resolution display panels
  • MIPI Touch over MIPI I3C to enable advanced touchscreen-based user interfaces
  • MIPI I3C to provide a low complexity, two-wire interface to connect user interface components such as push buttons, LEDs and buzzers

More information on how MIPI specifications relevant to enabling IIoT are explained in a white paper, “MIPI Alliance: Enabling the IoT Opportunity.”

Kevin Yee - MIPI Alliance

Kevin Yee is chair of the MIPI Alliance marketing steering group


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New MIPI RF front end spec takes 5G beyond mobile

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Second Amlogic S905X3 based Banana Pi revealed

2021-03-05 18:15 LinuxGizmos Eric Brown

SinoVoip has posted specs for a 63 x 63mm, community-backed “Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro” SBC with a quad -A55 Amlogic S905X3, 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, GbE, WiFi/BT, and 40-pin GPIO. SinoVoip’s Banana Pi project has unveiled its second Amlogic S905X3 based SBC after the Banana Pi BPI-M5. The similarly open-spec, but feature-reduced Banana Pi BPI-M2 […]

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The basics of IoT’s Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

2021-03-05 16:52 Embedded.com Carsten Rhod Gregersen

Not all connected devices are made equal. While some are more powerful and technologically advanced, others are simple sensors and home automation devices with limited energy, memory, computational power and bandwidth. To compensate for such resource-inhibited and low-power devices, developers can choose Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) as their IoT protocol to more efficiently communicate between two peers.

This lightweight RESTful protocol is specially optimized for deployments with a high number of end devices within the network. CoAP is able to create and manage resources on devices, publish and subscribe data, manage multicast of data, provide device description when requested, and give mechanisms to tell if a device is powered or not — all while conserving energy and simplifying communication between client and device. Better yet, the infrastructural similarities between CoAP and HTTP REST enable designers to leverage their understanding of RESTful patterns into their IoT solutions.

Let’s explore the what and the why of this unique request/response communication type.

CoAP at a glance

Just like HTTP is used to transport data and commands between a client and a server, CoAP allows the same command transmission features but without needing the same amount of resources, making it ideal for today’s internet of things (IoT) devices.

Designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the service layer protocol enables simple devices to join the IoT even through constrained networks with low bandwidth.

From a developer perspective, CoAP feels very much like HTTP. Obtaining a value from a sensor is not much different from obtaining a value from a Web API. The similarity between the two protocols greatly simplifies development as device developers can use well-known patterns from traditional client/server HTTP REST services in their infrastructure. Further, since HTTP and CoAP share the REST model, they can easily be connected using application-agnostic cross-protocol proxies. This is a major advantage when it comes to CoAP vs MQTT, for example, as the latter is not RESTful based.

CoAP vs MQTT
CoAP vs MQTT (Image: Nabto)

Faster communication, better batteries

CoAP is designed to meet specialized requirements such as multicast support, low overhead, and simplicity, three important elements for IoT devices which are deeply embedded and have much less memory and power supply than traditional internet devices. Efficiency, therefore, is integral, and exactly what CoAP delivers.

Due to its low overhead and simplicity, for example, CoAP offers reduced power requirements. The protocol operates, for instance, over UDP and BLE which require minimal overhead for communications and allow faster wake up times and extended sleepy states. Taken together, this means batteries last longer. Moreover, the smaller packet sizes offered made possible by UDP and BLE lead to faster communication cycles, again allowing batteries to last longer.

In practice, faster communication cycles and longer-lasting batteries are excellent benefits when it comes to controlling smart home devices. CoAP allows direct interaction with, for example, a smart lock, alarm, or heating system, like it would be when exposed in a traditional HTTP REST service. Likewise, industrial device users benefit from the ability to send control commands, query registers, and change configurations.

A note on remote access

At the same time, however, device designers must be aware of the limitations of CoAP.

CoAP itself does not deliver remote access, so users will not be able to reach their device if the connection is behind a firewall. Thus, since there is no secure transport in CoAP per the standard, users will need to bring their own.

The answer here could be HTTPS, TLS, DTLS, or a third-party platform. But, whatever the choice, it is integral that device users and designers acknowledge this limitation and prepare accordingly. Also, do not ignore access control in this equation. Users must be very sure of who they are letting in when traversing any firewall, therefore it is incumbent upon the user to ensure the data transfer is between the correct client and device. Alternatively, they can select a third-party remote access platform with built-in secure transport and access control.

It’s all about the nodes

As sensor numbers grow month by month, it is clear that connecting IoT’s billions of nodes will need to be simultaneously inexpensive and efficient. Achieving this is one of the most exciting elements of CoAP as the protocol has been designed to work on microcontrollers with as low as 10 kibibyte (KiB) of RAM and 100 KiB of code space.

In its essence, CoAP takes the best elements of HTTP REST and downsizes them. REST is primarily run over HTTP and commonly used in Web APIs. Applications based on the REST architecture conform to several guiding principles and constraints, with the resulting protocol performing well and being highly scalable, simple, and easy to modify and extend. Since CoAP is REST-based but with a focus on keeping the size of the protocol down, it is the perfect solution for small devices and designers who are familiar with the RESTful pattern.

Again, it is integral that device and network designers consider access and security, with the implementation of third-party platforms which enable peer-to-peer (P2P) remote connections likely their best bet. Overall, CoAP is helping to minimize the cost of cloud–device connections by enabling IoT devices to cost-effectively and securely send data over large distances while consuming very little power. For designers, meanwhile, the similarity to HTTP REST makes any device transition to CoAP all the more tempting in 2021.

Carsten Gregersen - Nabto

Carsten Rhod Gregersen is CEO and founder of Nabto, a P2P IoT connectivity provider that enables remote control of devices with secure end-to-end encryption.


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Gadget Book: A Day in Code

2021-03-05 16:09 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

After an initial introduction to the syntax of C, the characters in the story - a boy and girl - decide to record their next day's activities in code.

This story continues at Gadget Book: A Day in Code

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Noyce the VC

2021-03-05 15:07 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Bob Noyce, co-founder and first CEO of both Fairchild and Intel, was a keen investor in startups which initially meant nothing more than writing cheques and keeping the receipts in shoe boxes. In 1973, he formalised the process with a fund called the Callanish Fund, set up with his lawyer Paul Hwoschinsky with capital of ...

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Most Read articles – Intel sued, MIPS developments, EUV lithography

2021-03-05 12:01 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

There's NXP's i.MX 9 processor series for multi-sensor applications, the electric plane developed by Rolls Royce and Electroflight, VLSI Technology suing Intel for patent infringement, news of MIPS and Imec demonstrating the patterning capability of EUV lithography...

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STM32WL based LoRa-5E development kits go for $19.90 and up

2021-03-05 10:40 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

The LoRa-E5 STM32WL module we covered last month can now be found in two LoRaWAN...

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This mini-computer is set to outperform NVIDIA Xavier by eight times

2021-03-05 08:31 CNXSoft Abhishek Jadhav

When it comes to high-end AI-edge computer boards, we have seen Hackboard 2 with support...

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Shrinks boost revenue per wafer

2021-03-05 07:30 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

With IC companies clamouring to have their leading-edge devices fabricated using 7nm and 5nm process nodes, and with TSMC the only foundry manufacturing ICs using both 7nm and 5nm process nodes, the company’s overall revenue per wafer increased significantly in 2020, reports IC Insights. 16 fabless IC companies with more than $1.0 billion in 2020 revenues ...

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January semi sales up 13.2%

2021-03-05 07:29 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

January semiconductor sales of $40 billion were 13.2% up on the $35.3 billion of January 2020 and 1% more than December’s total of $39.6 billion, says the SIA. “Global semiconductor sales got off to a strong start in 2021, increasing both year-to-year and month-to-month in January,” says SIA CEO John Neuffer, “global semiconductor production is ...

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Melexis and Chronoptics hook up on ToF technology

2021-03-05 07:25 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Melexis, the Belgian auto IC specialist, has entered into a license agreement with Chronoptics which designs and integrates Time-of-Flight 3D cameras. The agreement gives Melexis exclusive use of Chronoptics’ multipath and linearity error correction technologies in automotive applications. This includes ADAS for autonomous vehicles, and interior monitoring and safety systems. The companies will also work ...

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Memory stable in Q4.

2021-03-05 07:12 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

In Q4 memory avoided the shortage problems affecting the logic market with prices, demand and availability staying stable, reports TrendForce, Q4 DRAM revenue reached $17.65 billion, a 1.1% increase YoY, which is attributed to Chinese smartphone brands like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, buying more stock with a view to taking the market share made available after ...

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DSA patterns line pitches down to 18nm

2021-03-05 07:10 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Imec has demonstrated the capability of directed self-assembly (DSA) to pattern line/spaces with a pitch as small as 18nm, using a high-chi block copolymer (high-χ BCP) based process under high volume manufacturing (HVM) conditions. An optimized dry-etch chemistry was used to successfully transfer the pattern into an underlying thick SiN layer – which will enable further ...

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Intelsat completes acquisition of Gogo inflight broadband

2021-03-05 07:06 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

Intelsat has completed its acquisition of the commercial aviation business of Gogo. It creates, says the company, “the world’s leading provider of inflight broadband connectivity to the commercial aviation industry”. The $400m cash deal – which was first reported back in September 2020 – brings together the satellite operator with the provider of inflight broadband ...

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NXP i.MX 9 processors to integrate Arm Ethos U-65 microNPU, EdgeLock secure enclave

2021-03-05 05:58 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

NXP i.MX 6 and i.MX 8 processors are widely used in industrial boards and systems-on-module,...

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Tunnel linking China and Taiwan

2021-03-05 02:00 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Earlier this week China’s transport minister Li Xiaopeng showed a news conference this map of the rail and road links planned by Beijing for the next 15 years. If you look closely you can see a green line between the Chinese mainland and northern Taiwan. This green line represents a tunnel. The tunnel is part ...

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NXP unveils ultra-secure i.MX9 and low-power i.MX8ULP SoCs

2021-03-05 00:15 LinuxGizmos Eric Brown

NXP previewed an NPU-enabled “i.MX9” platform and unveiled low-power, Cortex-A35 based i.MX8ULP and Azure Sphere enabled i.MX8ULP-CS SoCs — all with and “Energy Flex” power management and “EdgeLock” security. NXP offered a glimpse into some foundational technologies of an upcoming i.MX9 family of processors, including “EdgeLock” on-die security, RISC-V-based “Energy Flex” power management, and the […]

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Lenovo embedded computer addresses growth in edge data

2021-03-04 20:21 Embedded.com Nitin Dahad

embedded world 2021 – Lenovo has announced a new embedded computer portfolio for edge data processing. Its new ThinkEdge SE30 and ThinkEdge SE50 build on the company’s existing ThinkEdge products, but specifically provide small, rugged, and powerful computing for the needs of enterprise data processing, security and scalability at the edge.

Lenovo - Blake Kerrigan
Blake Kerrigan

Speaking to embedded.com, Blake Kerrigan, GM edge computing at Lenovo PCs and smart devices, said, “We are launching these two new products over the next 45 days, as standard products through all our channels. The SE30 is for more mobile, rugged environments with its extended temperature range and 4G, plus it has an expandable I/O box. The SE50 is for more high-performance requirements and has integrated I/O. It also can accommodate future acceleration, for example, later this year, we’ll be able to integrate Movidius accelerators.”

Asked about the biggest trends in embedded computing, he said, “The biggest one is addressing edge AI: how do you take the tools in the cloud and move to the edge? How do you take tools in the cloud and move them to the edge? The software ecosystem is really going to start ‘pulling’ the hardware.” He added, “The biggest opportunity in edge computing is in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge. To address this, the embedded and industrial PC market is going strong.”

In a Lenovo survey of IT executives and managers, it found that edge computing solutions are an urgent priority and their deployment is on a fast-track. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed stated they are “looking to implement new edge computing solutions within the next 6 months.” And 82 percent stated that “real time data collection and analysis is where edge solutions are making the most impact on their business.”

According to Gartner, it is estimated that by 2025, 75 percent of enterprise-generated data will be processed at the edge. The global pandemic has become a catalyst for digital transformation and accelerated the push to the edge for many levels of the enterprise, as new solutions for operations and sales are introduced in global markets.

Edge computing applications are numerous and growing rapidly. Retailers are implementing more automated checkouts and dynamic signage, real-time store traffic monitoring, inventory and fulfilling. Manufacturers are further automating assembly lines with predictive maintenance alerts and utilizing smart cameras for safety and quality inspections. Healthcare turns to edge computing for remote patient monitoring and medical device integration. With increased need for powerful, real-time insights across industries, the edge is becoming more critical and complex than ever.

Lenovo said edge computing is critical infrastructure for intelligent transformation within the enterprise. So, its new products in the ThinkEdge portfolio are purpose-built devices designed to be networked on premise or embedded in solutions.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE30
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE30

The new ThinkEdge SE30 is a small and rugged compute device for edge workloads. It includes the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro processors for industrial computing. The processor improves compute power, accelerates AI workloads, and is built for edge implementations in enterprise with extended temperature support from -20 to +60 Celsius, long-life reliability, as well as enhanced security and manageability features. The ThinkEdge SE30 will start with 4G support globally and have 5G availability with key carrier support in the second half of this year. Embedded applications for the ThinkEdge SE30 include kiosks and ATMs for smart retail, automated production lines in manufacturing, and medical device monitoring in healthcare, among others.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50

The new ThinkEdge SE50 is designed for applications that require higher analytics and data processing at the edge. The embedded edge compute device includes an Intel Core i5 or i7 vPro processor for industrial computing and up to 32GB of memory. End users can deploy the ThinkEdge SE50 to aggregate and analyze real-time data from distributed IoT devices. This smart edge device can filter and forward IoT data across the WAN (wide area network) to the cloud or data center. Customers have the option to enhance their edge AI strategy with silicon and optimized software leveraging the OpenVINO toolkit.

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UK made: Transparent power delivery for glass

2021-03-04 18:11 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

Zytronic of Newcastle has introduced a way of delivering power through glass invisibly, calling it Electroglaz. “Electroglaz is completely transparent and can be used to ‘magically’ power a near limitless variety of low power, electronic and electrotechnical devices embedded within a glass panel,” said company marketing director Ian Crosby. “Potential applications include LED lit display cases ...

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Congatec unveils i.MX8M Plus SMARC COM and COM-HPC starter kit

2021-03-04 17:51 LinuxGizmos Eric Brown

Congatec announced a “Conga-SMX8-Plus” SMARC 2.1 module with dual GbE support that runs Linux on an i.MX8M Plus. The company also offered new details on a COM-HPC starter kit for its Tiger Lake based Conga-HPC/cTLU module. Congatec unveiled a Conga-SMX8-Plus SMARC 2.1 module with an NPU-equipped NXP i.MX8M Plus. As part of its virtual Embedded […]

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UKESF and OEMSecrets sponsor 2020 Elektra Awards

2021-03-04 15:57 ElectronicsWeekly EW Staff

Not one but two new sponsors have signed up up for this year’s virtual Elektra awards – we’re very pleased to announce UKESF is now kindly sponsoring the Rising Star of the Year award and OEM Secrets the Distributor of the Year award. We welcome them both on board. UKESF The UKESF (UK Electronics Skills Foundation) ...

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Anritsu and Tektronix team up to automate PCI Express 5.0 testing

2021-03-04 15:31 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

Anritsu and Tektronix are offering an automated PCI Express 5.0 (PCIe Gen5) tester, combining Anritsu’s RMP1900A bit error rate tester (BERT) with Tektronix’ DPO70000SX 70GHz real-time oscilloscope, and automation software. “The all-in-one solution supports tests of PCIe 5.0 electrical characteristics and physical-layer protocol analysis, and supports automated transmitter test, receiver jitter tolerance test and Tx/Rx ...

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Fable: The Entrepreneur Who Loved Maxim’s

2021-03-04 15:30 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

A legendary entrepreneur who co-founded one of the world’s great companies, was so taken with Maxim’s restaurant in Paris that he had replicas installed in the basements of his major office buildings. Dark and sinfully opulent these eateries were as far removed from conventional office canteens as they possibly could be. During a cost-cutting exercise, ...

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Viewpoint: On antenna placement for new wireless designs with 5G

2021-03-04 14:00 ElectronicsWeekly Contributed Content

Geoff Schulteis, an antenna applications specialist with Antenova, considers the challenges of antenna placement for new wireless designs with 5G. 5G offers the advantage of greater data throughput and lower latency, and will enable a host of new mobile applications, for example in broadcast, robotics, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS), vehicle telematics, remote ...

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100nF capacitor for microwave and mmWave

2021-03-04 13:07 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

Knowles Precision Devices has added a 100nF capacitor to its V-Series of single layer capacitors. The high-frequency wire-bondable device is suited to GaN and GaAs amplifier applications where small size and microwave performance are critical. “The small footprint, along with X7R temperature stability and wire bondability of the 100nF are integral to a well-performing circuit,” ...

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Near infra-red sensing separates nylons for recycling

2021-03-04 12:48 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

German company Trinamix has turned to near infra-red spectroscopy to create a mobile sensor that can, at the push of a button, distinguish the similar nylons PA6 and PA66 for recycling. The polymers have similar properties, are used interchangeably in numerous applications, and are virtually impossible to distinguish with the naked eye. At the same time, ...

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Ask a mussel how to anchor wind turbines

2021-03-04 12:19 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

The University of Nottingham is to investigate how sea mussels stick to wet and wave-hit rocks, aiming to use the knowledge to solve engineering problems. What is already known, is that they use collagen-rich sticky threads, ending in adhesive pads known as plaques. And that these plaques work on many different surfaces. The design principles ...

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Micron launches automotive-qualified low power DDR5 memory

2021-03-04 11:52 Embedded.com Nitin Dahad

Micron Technology has begun sampling what it said is the industry’s first automotive low power DDR5 DRAM (LPDDR5) memory that is hardware-evaluated to meet the most stringent Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL), ASIL D.

As electronic components in cars become integral for safety, automakers must meet strict functional safety standards that require mechanisms to mitigate risk in the event of malfunctions. System integrators are ultimately responsible for justifying that all electronic components and subsystems are suitable for safety-related system in advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking systems, lane departure warning and blind spot detection systems.

Micron’s JEDEC-compliant LPDDR5 is the first product within the company’s automotive-compliant memory and storage portfolio to be deemed suitable for safety systems at any ASIL level, based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26262 standard. It is accompanied with product-safety documentation collateral, including a hardware evaluation report, as well as safety application notes and analysis reports.

Micron car diagram ASIL with legend
Various systems in the car and their ASIL ratings (Image: Micron)

Importance of LPDDR5 in automotive functional safety

With more and more adoption of ADAS and autonomous technologies, data capture and efficient processing are becoming key to automotive innovation. Gartner projects the automotive memory market will grow to $6.3 billion in 2024, more than doubling from $2.4 billion in 2020. With data-intensive automotive technologies on the rise, ADAS-enabled vehicles now run over 100 million lines of code and require hundreds of tera operations per second, rivaling data center compute.

LPDDR5 addresses these requirements with a 50% increase in data access speeds and more than 20% improvement in power efficiency. These capabilities equip intelligent vehicles with near-instantaneous decision-making from the fusion of multiple sensors and inputs, such as radar, lidar, hi-resolution imaging, 5G networking and optical image recognition.

The energy efficiency of LPDDR5 enables high-performance compute for cars while minimizing power consumption for both electric and conventional vehicles, resulting in greener transportation with lower emissions. Micron’s automotive LPDDR5 is also ruggedized to support extreme temperature ranges and qualified for automotive reliability standards such as Automotive Electronics Council-Q100 and International Automotive Task Force 16949.

Micron LPDDR5
Micron’s low power DDR5 DRAM memory (Image: Micron)

Accompanied by extensive functional safety collateral, Micron’s LPDDR5 supports customers in conducting comprehensive safety analysis during system configuration. The Micron-provided hardware evaluation report verifies extensive functional safety analysis in strictest compliance with ISO 26262. To meet top-level safety requirements, LPDDR5 incorporates safety mechanisms to detect and control memory errors during operation, as well as mechanisms that can be implemented by system integrators to further reduce risk.

“Autonomous vehicles promise to make our roads safer, but they need powerful, trusted memory that can enable real-time decision-making in extreme environments,” said Kris Baxter, corporate vice president and general manager of Micron’s embedded business unit. “To fulfill this growing market need, we’ve optimized our automotive LPDDR5 to deliver the utmost performance, quality and reliability for the smart, safe cars of tomorrow.”

Recognizing the growing importance of functional safety, Micron has established an office dedicated to collaborating with customers on the memory requirements of designing safe automotive systems. To help customers navigate complex compliance obligations, this office was responsible for the launch of LPDDR5 with a safety application note and a supplier-provided hardware evaluation report of DRAM. Micron’s hardware evaluation has also been independently assessed and verified by exida, a renowned expert in automotive safety.

“Functional safety is essential to the development of advanced automotive systems, but to date, memory has had a somewhat neglected commercial off-the-shelf existence,” said Alexander Griessing, chief operating officer and principal safety expert at exida. “Micron has launched its industry-leading automotive LPDDR5 with a laser focus on ISO 26262, setting a new standard for the rest of the memory industry. This increased attention to functional safety will benefit all, from automakers to consumers who need advanced, safe vehicles.”

Functional safety basis and ISO 26262

While functional safety requirements have historically been addressed by the automotive Tier 1s and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), the increasing system-level complexity and electronics associated with today and tomorrow’s vehicle puts more of a responsibility on the semiconductor suppliers themselves. These semiconductor suppliers, including memory suppliers, are offering enhanced support to help automotive Tier 1s and OEMs in their functional safety efforts.

ISO 26262 defines functional safety as the “absence of unreasonable risk due to hazards caused by malfunctioning behavior of electrical/electronic systems.”

Writing in a blog, Micron’s senior director or automotive systems architecture, Robert Bielby, outlined the classifications of failure types under ISO26262. There are two categories of failure types:

  • Systematic failures: these are failures that occur in a deterministic manner — typically introduced during product design or development. These failures are generally addressed by adopting well-documented processes and methodologies, including safety planning, safety concept documentation, requirements traceability, proactive safety analysis tools, robust verification, operational procedures and other associated factors.
  • Random failures: these are failures that appear arbitrarily during the lifetime of a device. Random failures can be further classified in two categories: transient faults (single-event upsets or soft errors) or permanent faults (hard errors such as stuck at a logic level). These types of failures are generally addressed by introducing safety mechanisms that help identify these faults, enabling the system to take the proper actions, including correcting the fault or enabling the system to maintain a safe state.

In order to address this, several safety mechanisms are employed at the hardware and system levels:

  • Redundancy: typically implemented at the hardware level.
  • Cyclic redundancy check: typically used for error detection.
  • Error correction code: generally used for both error detection and correction.
  • Built-in-self-test: provides additional circuitry that verifies accurate device operation, either continuously or during power-up.

The effectiveness of the safety mechanisms used to detect random failures in time (FIT) and the likelihood of risk are measured by the various metrics, including single-point fault metric (SPFM) and latent fault metric (LFM). These metrics are used to measure the functional safety of a given hardware component.

What are ASILs and ASIL levels?

ASIL refers to the Automotive Safety Integrity Level, a risk-classification system defined by the ISO 26262 standard for the functional safety of road vehicles. ASIL A systems have the least stringent level of safety reduction, whereas ASIL D is the most stringent. Because higher ASIL levels typically imply increased levels of cost and complexity, the required ASIL level for a given system scales in direct correlation to the impact of a that system’s failure on the operation of the vehicle. For hardware components, the ASIL requirements identify the requisite values for the failure metrics as shown in the table below.

ASIL levels targets Micron
Failure targets of the different ASIL levels (Image: Micron)

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The post Micron launches automotive-qualified low power DDR5 memory appeared first on Embedded.com.

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Advantech Connect Online Partner Conference sees AIoT Vision

2021-03-04 11:43 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

Advantech, a specialist in industrial IoT, has launched Advantech Connect, with AIoT Vision as its theme. An online partner conference, the forum will centre around five main topics: Industrial IoT, Embedded IoT, IoT Cloud Platform – WISE-PaaS, Smart City Solutions and Services, and Cloud IoT. It is being held from 24 February to 6 May. ...

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The first Rockchip RK3566 TV box is out with H96 Max running Android 11

2021-03-04 11:40 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

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Digital pulse and delay generator works from 1ps to 1,000s

2021-03-04 11:11 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

P500 is a benchtop digital delay and pulse generator that generates four separately programmable delay-and-width outputs. It can generate delays up to 1,000 seconds in 1ps increments, and is capable of a repetition rate of 14MHz. Trigger sources include internal, external, remote, manual or line. “The low-jitter internal synthesised rate generator may be programmed from ...

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Infineon AIROC CYW5557x WiFI 6/6E targets IoT and streaming devices

2021-03-04 10:28 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

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ams sets up development centre in Rochester NY

2021-03-04 07:19 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

ams is establishing an imaging centre of excellence for consumer image sensors and product validation to support key US customers from the Riverwood Tech Campus in Rochester, New York, USA. A concentration of photonics expertise in research and development in the Rochester area means that there is a talent base to develop optical imaging. The ...

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Imec and ASML show EUV limits

2021-03-04 07:09 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Imec and ASML have demonstrated the ultimate single-exposure patterning capability of today’s 0.33NA NXE:3400 EUV lithography. Process optimizations have enabled the patterning of dense 28nm pitch line/spaces with an Inpria metal-oxide resist in one single exposure, relevant for high-volume manufacturing. For the first time, optical and e-beam inspections were correlated with electrical data to gain further ...

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binder M16 connectors aim at high pin count applications

2021-03-04 07:06 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

binder is extending its M16 connector series, which offer environmental protection up to IP68, featuring mainly metal housings and a robust screw locking system. The combination of a high pin count with the compact size of nominally 18.5mm diameter and 60mm in length means M16 connectors offer an alternative to more expensive connector systems, says ...

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LoRa and GS1 exploring standardisation

2021-03-04 07:00 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

The LoRa Alliance and GS1 are to explore adding LoRaWAN networks as an available carrier technology to the GS1 standards. The goals are to provide greater efficiency and interoperability for supply chain and maintenance operations, strengthen inventory management, and simplify data exchanges between different systems and stakeholders. The initial collaboration addresses the requirements of the railway ...

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SPARK UWB technology takes aims at Bluetooth with lower power consumption, higher bandwidth

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Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro is a compact Amlogic S905X3 SBC

2021-03-04 04:49 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

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Multiple Ordering Warps Chip Market

2021-03-04 02:01 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

Are double and triple ordering exacerbating the chip shortage? They usually do. The current average industry lead-time is 14.1 weeks, up from 13 weeks in January, according to Chris Rolland, an analyst at Susquehanna, the Philadelphia derivatives and equities trading group. Anything above 14 is the danger zone, he says. ‘While things appear red-hot for semis in ...

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Edge AI system offers 26-TOPS Hailo-8 and dual cameras

2021-03-03 22:19 LinuxGizmos Eric Brown

Leopard Imaging unveiled a compact “EdgeTuring” edge AI system that runs Linux on a quad -A7 Socionext SC2000 ISP SoC along with a 26-TOPS Hailo-8 M.2 AI module, dual 4K@30 Sony IMX477 sensors, and AWS Kinesis services. Leopard Imaging announced a dual-camera EdgeTuring mini-PC for edge AI applications that combines a Socionext imaging processor with […]

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Raspberry Pi lookalike offers RK3288 for $75

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Adlink announces pre-certified Ubuntu and Altium Upverter design tools

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Security compliance, root of trust, software at embedded world 2021

2021-03-03 16:54 Embedded.com Nitin Dahad

As the debate rages on whether last year’s massive power outage in the city of Mumbai was the result of a cyber-attack, the issue of addressing cybersecurity is, as is becoming the norm in recent years, a prominent part of embedded world 2021.

Last October, Mumbai, the Indian city of 20 million people and the financial capital of the country, was significantly paralyzed from a power outage for several hours during peak working time. According to a new report from intelligence firm Recorded Future, its analysis of network traffic analytics suggest cyber intrusion activity by attackers had occurred. Ten Indian power sector organizations including a number of centers responsible for operation of the power grid were attack targets in a concerted campaign against India’s critical infrastructure.

In the internet of things (IoT) era, if this was a cyberattack as suggested, this is just one example of the potential outcomes of being complacent on security policies and compliance.

In this article, we look at some of the hardware and software security announcements around embedded world 2021, ranging from hardware root of trust to security suites, ongoing device management and compliance.

Compliance is a challenge for every organization working in the IoT domain, especially given that most applications are unique, and that formal certification methodologies are both costly and time consuming. This is why the IoT Security Foundation, a non-profit industry association, developed an IoT Security Compliance Framework, enabling organizations to build a self-certification methodology that meshes with the 13 best practices captured in UK and European secure by design guidelines.

Compliance Suite from Secure Thingz/IAR Systems

To address this, Secure Thingz, an IAR Systems group company, announced its Compliance Suite, a set of tools and training specifically targeted to provide embedded developers with a simplified path to building applications that are compliant with the European EN 303645, UK and Australian 13 best practices, and the evolving US Cybersecurity Improvement Act (NISTIR 8259).

The suite includes a set of development tools and preconfigured security contexts that enables developers to rapidly implement core aspects of the guidelines, such as the use of advanced device specific security enclaves to protect provisioned information. Coupled with these tools is a set of training and support resources linking the functional requirements with the certification requirements identified in the IoT Security Foundation compliance questionnaire, ensuring a rapid implementation that meets international requirements.
Compliance is a step towards formal third party certification, such as global platform Security Evaluation Standard for IoT Platforms (SESIP), and the Arm PSA requirements. By implementing the IoT Security Foundation Compliance Framework, developers are aligning their organizations with the best-in-class methodologies, enabling them to achieve and surpass the evolving industry requirements. The Compliance Suite delivers a set of security development tools to extend the development toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench; it includes a security development tool, C-Trust, plus a set of preconfigured security contexts for both mainstream microcontrollers and advanced security devices. It also includes a suite of training covering secure implementation to achieve compliance and organizational vulnerability disclosure.

Next generation hardware RoT: Lattice Sentry Stack 2.0

In a whitepaper jointly authored whitepaper by the Cloud Security Industry Summit (CSIS) with the Open Compute Project (OCP), CSIS said, “Firmware represents a significant threat vector for computer systems, appliances, and associated infrastructure. If the first code that executes on a device when it powers on were to become compromised, then the entire system can and should no longer be trusted as secure. Firmware can be compromised through malicious attacks or unintentionally.”

To address this, Lattice Semiconductor announced a new version of its Lattice Sentry that addresses the rapidly evolving security requirements of current and emerging server platforms, by providing an efficient and secure way for developers to quickly implement enhanced system and cryptographic applications. The new Lattice Sentry 2.0 stack supports firmware security by enabling next-generation hardware root-of-trust (RoT) solutions compliant with NIST Platform Firmware Resiliency (PFR) Guidelines (NIST SP-800-193) and supporting 384-bit encryption. With the Sentry stack, developers can add support for strong firmware security to system control applications based on Lattice secure control PLDs, creating a platform to establish a hardware RoT to validate the legitimacy of all firmware instances in a system.

Lattice Sentry 2.0
Lattice Sentry 2.0 can be customized within Lattice Propel (Image: Lattice Semiconductor)

Key features of Sentry 2.0 include:

  • Heightened security – the Sentry solutions stack supports the Lattice Mach-NX secure control FPGA and a secure enclave IP block that enable 384-bit cryptography (ECC-256/384 and HMAC-SHA-384) to better secure Sentry-protected firmware against unauthorized access. Support for 384-bit crypto is a requirement for many next-generation server platforms.
  • 4x faster pre-boot authentication – Sentry 2.0 supports faster ECDSA (40 ms), SHA (up to 70 Mbps), and QSPI performance (64 MHz). These features enable Sentry 2.0 to deliver faster boot times that help minimize system down time and reduce exposure to attempted attacks on firmware during the boot process.
  • Ability to monitor up to five firmware images in real-time – to extend the PFR-compliant hardware RoT enabled by Lattice Sentry, the stack is capable of real-time monitoring of up to five mainboard components in a system at boot and during ongoing operation. Competing MCU-based security solutions, as an example, lack the processing performance to properly monitor that many components in real-time.

EmSPARK from Sequitur: focused on Arm TrustZone device level security

Enabling device protection on devices based on Arm TrustZone architecture, Sequitur Labs’ EmSPARK Security Suite is aimed at enabling IoT hardware manufacturers to easily embed device-level security by addressing technical, supply chain and business process challenges. Supporting security functions for encryption, storage, data transmission and key/certificate management are delivered by EmSPARK and housed in the secure environment.

Supporting Microchip, NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics and Nvidia, Sequitur Labs has announced new deployment option pacakages for EmSPARK – a base package and an advanced package. The “base” package provides essential security defenses for IoT applications in a turnkey solution that is easy to install, integrate and manage; key features in this package include secure boot, firmware updates, device failure recovery and software provisioning.

The “advanced” package provides a complete suite of security features and functions for protecting devices at all stages of their lifecycle; this includes a robust suite of API’s and trusted applications for advanced functions including key and certificate management, secure storage, cryptography, cloud integration, and protection of AI/ML models at the network edge.

Sequitur EmSpark packages
The base and advanced packages with the EmSPARK Security Suite (Image: Sequitur Labs)

Sequitur Labs told embedded.com, “Up to now, EmSPARK was only available as what is now the advanced package. The new base package is for entry-level requirements.”

ST boosts STM32MP1 microprocessor security

STMicroelectronics announced new software packages and support for enabling security on its STM32MP1 dual-core microprocessors.

By providing code for security mechanisms such as OP-TEE (Open Portable Trusted Execution Environment) and the TF-A (Trusted Firmware-A) project, ST helps STM32MP1 developers address the key concepts of information security in their applications: confidentiality, integrity, availability, and authenticity verification.

In addition, ST has extended the roster of authorized partners in embedded security with Sequitur Labs. Sequitur Labs’ EmSPARK Security Suite for STM32MP1 streamlines firmware development implementing protective techniques such as secure boot and device authentication. The security suite works with the Arm TrustZone architecture integral to the STM32MP1 and assists with secure provisioning to simplify deploying connected devices while keeping secrets safe. In this, it is optimized for applications such as industrial control, building automation, smart-home equipment, machine vision, automotive communication, and medical devices.

These new resources join the STM32MP1 ecosystem alongside solutions from authorized partners Prove&Run, TimeSys, and Witekio, which provide reliable and field-tested solutions to security-software development challenges. ProvenRun helps STM32MP1 customers integrate security in their design by providing custom security engineering services (secure boot, secure firmware, OP-TEE) and more advanced solutions leveraging on ProvenCore, a secure OS that has been certified.

The TimeSys Vigiles Vulnerability Management Suite is embedded in OpenSTLinux and constantly watches for relevant vulnerabilities that open devices to cyberattacks. Vigiles also provides remediation information for device lifecycle management. Witekio’s FullMetalUpdate open-source over-the-air (OTA) solution helps IoT platform operators manage their own OTA updates, combining security with flexibility and economy.

Infineon tackles counterfeit devices with OPTIGA Authenticate IDoT

Consumer devices, home appliances and industrial machines are constantly exposed to the risk of counterfeit spares and accessories. Fakes can compromise functionality, user safety and – as a result – brand value. To solve this problem, Infineon Technologies has launched the OPTIGA Authenticate IDoT (identity of things) anti-counterfeit turnkey solution which combines enhanced authentication with configuration flexibility. The new embedded security solution delivers enhanced hardware ECC-based security and flexibility to address customer and application requirements.

With an extended temperature range of -40° to +120 °C, the solution is ideal for industrial applications and supports the ever-growing and ubiquitous requirements for authentication. Use cases include single-use disposables for HVAC and water filters, rechargeable batteries for portable devices, light electric vehicles as well as computing and robotic systems in highly complex eMobility, industrial and IoT environments.

Infineon OPTIGA_Authenticate_IDoT_applications
Applications for OPITIGA Authenticate IDoT include rechargeable batteries for portable devices, light electric vehicles as well as computing and robotic systems in highly complex eMobility, industrial and IoT environments. (Image: Infineon Technologies)

OPTIGA Authenticate IDoT is packaged in the proven and robust TSNP SMD housing measuring as little as 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.38 mm3. It supports four ECC authentication modes: one-way, mutual, host binding and host support. Designers can select from three temperature ranges, two communication profiles, three sets of memory and four integrated secured decremental counters with secured lifecycle management, capless LDO and robust ESD protection. OPTIGA Authenticate IDoT also provides unique on-chip turnkey digital certificates and key pairs.

NXP announces EdgeLock secure enclave

NXP Semiconductors has introduced its EdgeLock secure enclave, a pre-configured security subsystem that simplifies implementation of complex security technologies and helps designers avoid costly errors. It enhances protection to an edge device by autonomous management of critical security functions, such as root of trust, run-time attestation, trust provisioning, secure boot, key management, and cryptographic services, while also simplifying the path to industry-standard security certifications. The EdgeLock secure enclave intelligently tracks power transitions when end-user applications are running to help prevent new attack surfaces from emerging.

The secure enclave will be a standard integrated feature across the i.MX 8ULP, i.MX 8ULP-CS with Azure Sphere, and i.MX 9 applications processors, providing developers with a wide range of compute scalability options to easily deploy security on edge applications.

The self-contained, on-die hardware security subsystem has its own dedicated security core, internal ROM, secure RAM, and supports state-of-the art side channel attack resilient symmetric and asymmetric crypto accelerators and hashing functions, providing an array of security services to the other user-programmable cores within the SoC. In essence, the secure enclave functions like a security headquarters or fortress inside the system-on-chip (SoC), storing and protecting key assets, including RoT and crypto keys to protect the system against physical and network attacks.

This subsystem is isolated from the other processor cores that handle applications and real-time processing functions. This physically-siloed architecture supports a well-defined security perimeter within the SoC, and enhances SoC and application security by isolating secure key store management and cryptography.

NXP i.MX 8ULP-CS Microsoft Azure Image
NXP has partnered with Microsoft to bring ongoing trusted device management to its customers with Azure Sphere chip-to-cloud security in the i.MX 8ULP-CS (cloud secured) applications processor family. (Image: NXP Semiconductors)

NXP has also partnered with Microsoft to bring ongoing trusted device management to its customers with Azure Sphere chip-to-cloud security in the i.MX 8ULP-CS (cloud secured) applications processor family. The i.MX 8ULP-CS with Azure Sphere incorporates Microsoft Pluton enabled on EdgeLock secure enclave as the secured root of trust built into the silicon itself, and as a key step toward enabling highly secured devices for a vast range of IoT and industrial applications. In addition to the secured hardware, Azure Sphere includes the secured Azure Sphere OS, the cloud-based Azure Sphere Security Service, and ongoing OS updates and security improvements for over ten years.

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Budget 2021: Technology funding pledges overtaken by pandemic concerns

2021-03-03 16:28 ElectronicsWeekly Alun Williams

In the context of both a global pandemic and Brexit, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has finished presenting his Budget 2021 to the House of Commons. He’s been setting out a £65bn three-point plan “to provide support for jobs and businesses”. With extensions to furlough, self-employed support and business grants grabbing the headlines, ...

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Power Architecture automotive MCUs supported until 2034

2021-03-03 16:20 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

STMicroelectronics is extending long-term support for its 32bit Power Architecture SPC56 automotive microcontrollers to “at least 2034″, it said. “To ensure lifetime support for our customers’ new applications, and those already in the market, we are unveiling the extension to 20 years, of our unique product longevity commitment, which we launched in 2014, assuring the ...

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Embedded World: Adlink pre-certifies hardware to run Ubuntu Linux

2021-03-03 15:40 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

Adlink Technology has signed a deal with Canonical to pre-certify Adlink devices with Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system, and provide security support and operational updates. “The agreement eliminates the need for customers to install the device OS themselves and to work with the OS provider for licensing and support. It also enables Adlink to support ...

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The 5G Patent Race

2021-03-03 15:00 ElectronicsWeekly David Manners

With more than 15% of granted 5G patents worldwide, Huawei takes first place in a ranking complied by IPlytics. As the patenting process can take several years, these percentages might still change as more patents are granted. While Huawei also launched the most applications overall, Qualcomm comes second when counting granted and open applications. Korea, ...

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Geniatech XPI-3288 Raspberry Pi lookalike features Rockchip RK3288 SoC

2021-03-03 13:49 CNXSoft Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

Geniatech XPI is a family of single board computers following Raspberry Pi 3 form factor....

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GaN transistor for vehicle lidar

2021-03-03 12:51 ElectronicsWeekly Steve Bush

EPC is aiming at vehicle lidar with an automotive qualified GaN power transistor with integrated reverse gate clamp diode. Called EPC2219 it is a 65V 3.3Ω normally-off gallium nitride transistor qualified to AEC Q101. “This EPC2219 has completed rigorous automotive qualification testing including humidity testing with bias [H3TRB], high temperature reverse bias [HTRB], high temperature gate ...

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