Robert Cravotta of Embedded Insights shares weekly questions that explore the issues affecting today’s embedded developers.
    • Mar 28, 2012

    How could easing restrictions for in-flight electronics affect designs?

    The FAA has given permission some airlines permission for their pilots to use electronic devices (iPad) in lieu of paper charts and manuals during a flight. This may mark the beginning of a process to allow more devices to be used – possibly even by passengers. Is this wishful thinking or a real possibility as product designers examine the incentives...
    • Mar 24, 2012

    When is running warm – too hot?

    As mobile devices deliver more capabilities, including better graphics, in small form factors, the design challenges of keeping a warming system from becoming too hot become more visible to the end user. When is running warm – too hot?
    • Mar 20, 2012

    Are random numbers a solved function?

    Random number generators have been used by developers for many decades with varying levels of success and lessons learned about what constitutes a suitable nature of random numbers (think music players selecting random tracks). Are creating and using random numbers a solved function for system developers?
    • Mar 1, 2012

    Do you refactor embedded software?

    Software refactoring involves modifying the internal structure of software without changing its external behavior. Because embedded software typically has a tighter level of coupling with the target hardware than application software, do you perform software refactoring on embedded software?
    • Feb 25, 2012

    Are you looking at USB 3.0?

    Does the recent SuperSpeed USB certification of Intel processors mean that more consumer devices will begin to support higher data rates? Will this cause a trickle down into other devices that are increasingly connected to the network and other devices within the shop and home environments? Are you looking at USB 3.0 for any of your upcoming projects...
    • Feb 17, 2012

    Are you using Built-in Self Tests?

    The opportunity to avoid catastrophic operation of safety critical or high costs systems via use of built-in self tests makes a lot of sense. Is a built-in self test a luxury or necessity for other types of less critical designs? Are you using Built-in Self tests in your designs?
    • Feb 10, 2012

    Do you ever think about endianess?

    I remember when knowing your machine’s endianess was important – especially when implement assembly language programs. With efficient compilers and supplied drivers from tool providers, do software developers have common reason to be aware of endianess anymore?
    • Feb 2, 2012

    Are software development tools affecting your choice of 8-bit vs. 32-bit processors?

    8-bit processors are still represented in a significant number of embedded designs. Is there a capability gap growing in the software development tools for 8- versus 32-bit processors that are affecting your choice of when to use either size architecture?
    • Jan 27, 2012

    Do you employ “Brown M&Ms” in your designs?

    A rock band used a contract requirement using a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones removed as a nearly costless cost way to see how well a contractor followed their large list of requirements. Do you employ any nearly costless methods to verify the environmental conditions that your systems are asked to operate on to improve quality and reliability...
    • Jan 20, 2012

    Are you using accelerometers and/or gyroscopes?

    The Nintendo 3DS provides a unique 3D feel by combining a 3D display with an inertial sensing capability. Inertial sensing has been used to help protect equipment from the impact of a fall, and it has found use in binoculars and cameras to provide superior image quality. Are you using or aware of accelerometers and/or gyroscopes being used in similarly...