Archive for April, 2009

The Value of Integrated Schematic Libraries

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Why talk about schematic libraries in a blog focused on system verification?  Most systems (printed circuit boards on up) are still designed using schematic capture software.

I was talking to a manager at a medical devices company the other day about his company’s schematic symbol library.  Like most libraries, it contained schematic symbols and a few “extra bits” of data such as internal part numbers and references to the PCB footprints.  I then asked if his engineers typically ran signal integrity analysis and functional verification.  He said yes, these were common tasks.  Finally, I asked how the engineers passed the correct model names into the SI tool and how they brought the VHDL/Verilog models and correct timing into the simulations and was told “Its a manual process”.

A well planned schematic library provides all the hooks needed for downstream design and verification processes including functional simulation and signal integrity analysis.  All the major “big company” design systems support these capabilities.  But none of them do it out of the box. (more…)

Embedded Systems Conference – Follow Up

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I was able to spend a third day (Wednesday) at the Embedded Systems Conference before more pressing work caught up with me.  It was a very busy show with roughly 175 presentations and 230 exhibitors.  Here are the primary impressions I took away:

Energy harvesting, the ability to extract energy from the ambient environment, is becoming much more of an enabling technology.  This is not so much because energy harvesting techniques have improved as it is because low power electronics have progressed to the point where very small amounts of energy are now useful.  Micro-controllers and RF modules can now run on micro-amps of current and extremely low duty cycles.  Applications demonstrated ranged from wireless sensor meshes to wireless light switches.

Software has become the dominant area of embedded systems development.  This may not be news to you but, (more…)