Embedded Evolution

Embedded technology is a running theme in this edition of Electronic Design Europe. I recently visited the Bus & Boards Conference in Long Beach, Calif., followed by the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany (see pages 8 and 12). Although very different in character—Bus & Board is a close-knit community kind of event whilst Embedded World is now the largest exhibition of its kind with over 500 companies—both exhibited some exciting technologies.

Single-board-computer company Concurrent Technologies, which appeared at both events, talked extensively about dual-core processing. The company’s VX 407/04x board uses the 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 processor. A clear advantage of this technology is the improved measured performance/ watt. By using the right operating systems and applications software, it’s possible to boost computing performance to at least twice that of an Intel Pentium M processor. Good stuff, particularly as the Intel Thermal Design Power (TDP) for the 2.16GHz dual core processor is 34W, versus 27W TDP for the singlecore 2.0GHz Intel Pentium M processor 760 with 2Mbytes of L2 cache. To learn more about this, check out my video interview with Concurrent Technologies at http://www.electronicdesign.com/embeddedworld/.

Another interesting technology approach, which I came across at the Embedded World event, hailed from Analog Devices (ADI). ADI put together a pavilion of companies on its exhibition booth, all of which were collaborating with ADI on Blackfin developments. I particularly liked the work of one partner, Swiss firm ANAGRAM Technologies. It specialises in digital audio solutions based on signal-processing algorithms and systems, and licenses its digital audio IP to chipmakers and consumer-electronic OEMs. One of its current projects is Blue Tiger, a hardware and software optical drives platform that’s based on ADI’s Blackfin.

Those are just a couple examples of interesting technologies from two great technology events. However, one of those events will never quite be the same again. This year’s Bus & Board was a finale. Next year it becomes a conference focused on critical embedded systems.

Why? Well, it’s fair to say that critical embedded systems in military, medical, automotive, industrial, and commercial systems are very topical and important subjects. It’s also fair to say that by renaming and reprofiling the Bus & Board event, it will open the conference doors to a broader spectrum of technology.

Conferences and exhibitions must evolve to stay in unison with the electronics technologies they reflect and, at times, nurture. Bus & Board has always been a very responsible conference when it comes to actively progressing electronics technology, and I strongly suspect that ethos will continue under its new guise.

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