Analog front ends for network appliance and gas sensors

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is the most commonly used gas found in our homes. Leakage of LPG can be life threatening. Even in low concentrations it can be suffocating whereas if the concentration is high enough it can lead to a fire or cause a blast. Hence, it is extremely important to monitor the LPG level in our surroundings. Another type of gas that needs to be constantly monitored and kept within certain limits is CO2. High embedded system concentration levels can cause breathing problems and prolonged exposure can lead to death.

We can prevent gas exposure-based COMe Module accidents from happening by recording and maintaining gas levels in the immediate environment. Gas sensors can play a key role to this effect by raising an alarm when the level crosses prescribed safe limits. Advances in modern semiconductor technology have empowered us to design low-cost and low-power sensing solutions to make embedded system our homes, offices, and network appliance lives safer by keeping a check on the gas levels in our surroundings.

Every sensing system comprises a basic network appliance element that measures one or more electrical parameters like resistance or capacitance, and a circuitry that measures the changes in those parameters. Most of these sensors can operate on battery power so they can work uninterrupted for years on end. Hence, it becomes imperative that they consume low power for their operation. To pass the sensed information to the controller, analog front ends (AFE) are used. These allow the microcontroller to understand analog signals sent by sensors by converting them to a digital signal and then performing post processing on the received data.

Parameters measured by sensors: sensors measure changes in resistance and capacitance.

Resistance
There are two common ways to measure a change in resistance: a potential divider COMe Module circuit and passing a known current. First, in a potential divider circuit, we connect a sensor whose resistance varies depending on some physical parameter like temperature, network appliance, etc. We compare the changing value of the sensor to a fixed value resistance. In such a circuit, the voltage of the connecting node (ADC) of the fixed resistance and the sensor depends on the resistance of the sensor and thereby on the physical parameter being measured.

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/analog-front-ends-for-gas-sensors/

The fast-growing M2M market presents a series of wireless design challenges (part 4)


Check that positioning receivers are automotive-grade, support dead reckoning, and can be plugged into the vehicle’s CAN bus to acquire the data. Also, ensue that

they can interface directly with vehicle sensors such as gyros and odometers and that the vendor offers an evaluation environment to speed industrial computer product development.

Indoor positioning is possible by combining satellite and cellular data

Where an approximate indoor position needs to be established, combining a satellite receiver with a wireless modem overcomes the problem of satellite signals being blocked by walls or other obstructions. This hybrid solution exploits the visibility of 2G or 3G cells because GSM or UMTS signals easily penetrate walls. Where the boundaries of visible mobile cells are known, an approximate position can be calculated from knowing where the cells overlap. This approach needs a wireless connection to an external service, similar to assisted positioning. Check that the positioning receiver and wireless COMe Module modem supplier can offer such a solution, and that it’s proven and provides an online industrial computer service. It’s also important to ensure that the system’s accuracy is adequate.

Positioning system compatibility

Until recently, embedded system GPS was the only system designers needed to consider. Now, there’s Russia’s GLONASS, Japan’s QZSS, China’s BeiDou, and Europe’s Galileo. Compatibility with GPS plus at least one other satellite system will be needed to increase system reliability and accuracy, and to fulfill regional on-board computer government mandates for compatibility with their own systems. Parallel operation that uses two systems simultaneously may be part of the specification. An example is Russia’s new embedded system ERA-GLONASS vehicle emergency call system that requires GLONASS compatibility. Look for GPS/GNSS receivers that provide multi-GNSS support and provide parallel GPS/GLONASS or GPS/BeiDou reception.

These are just some of the considerations when adding wireless connectivity to M2M products. Remember that many new standards, both wireless and positioning, are in transition. It’s important to consider the on-board computer product’s operation over its lifetime and which markets it will serve. Also, consider whether it’s important to include design support for next-generation performance and industrial computer network coverage, or opt to design for easy upgradeability of products in the field.

refer to:

http://embedded-computing.com/articles/the-fast-growing-m2m-market-presents-a-series-of-wireless-design-challenges/

The fast-growing M2M market presents a series of wireless design challenges (part 3)

Bandwidth requirements rarely decrease

The bandwidth demand of tracking embedded system applications only goes in one direction–up–so it’s important to consider the lifetime costs of connection. Choose a modem based on what it may need to do in three to five years, or at least choose one COMe Module that makes upgrades easy.

Automotive special needs

In vehicle-mounted systems, temperature, humidity, and vibration can be extreme. AEC-Q100 qualified devices manufactured in ISO/TS 16949 certified sites will ensure reliable, long-life operation. Qualification on-board computer tests for each industrial computer component should conform to ISO16750, Road vehicles – Environmental conditions and testing for electrical and electronic equipment. This applies to on-board computer and industrial devices that operate in demanding environments, such as ships or railcars.

Emergency call systems are growing in popularity

Increasingly, cars are fitted with systems that automatically report accidents or aid recovery after theft. The U.S., Europe, Russia, and Brazil have established initiatives to support such embedded systems and that will increasingly be required by government mandate. For these applications (see the example in Figure 3), an “in-band modem” is often needed. It sends data over the modem voice channel in a similar way to a fax machine sending data over the telephone lines. It’s needed because operators prioritize voice over data in mobile networks. In the event of an accident, the voice industrial computer channel becomes the crucial link for transmitting data to emergency services. Check that the proposed solution supports in-band modems on both 2G and 3G networks.

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/the-fast-growing-m2m-market-presents-a-series-of-wireless-design-challenges/

The fast-growing M2M market presents a series of wireless design challenges (part 2)

Battery life is critical

The time between battery charging or replacement is critical to the success of some industrial computer products. A container-mounted tracking device, for example, in-vehicle system may be required to run for several days if it’s being shipped by air or road, and up to several weeks if shipped by sea. Battery life must be adequate to support these timescales.

Mobile phones are typically expected to run for two or three days on a charge. Hence, consumer expectations for the operating life of health and fitness devices will be similar. When comparing modem and GNSS receiver specifications in these applications, both the operating and standby current consumption are important, as well as the power-saving functions. The latter may include auto-wakeup features and intelligent power-saving modes, such as the ability to log data autonomously without waking the host processor. Ideally, components should only wake up when needed.

Mobility demands multi-standards compliance

Global mobility is increasing for people and goods, so it’s important to consider where a modem needs to function today and where it may be required to work in the future. GSM is supported by four main frequency bands worldwide, UMTS by six, and LTE over 30. An electricity meter is usually static whereas a resource management system may be required to work in all regions of the world and should include either a quad- or dual-band GSM modem (depending on the location), or six-band UMTS modem.

Certified modems accelerate embedded system approvals

Any cellular network device, whether for GSM, UMTS, or LTE, needs regulatory, industry, and operator certification. It significantly simplifies and speeds up the in-vehicle system certification process if the modem embedded in the device is certified.

What’s needed today may be different tomorrow

While GSM/GPRS networks are perfectly capable of handling the small volumes of data transmitted in remote metering applications, GSM bands are already being considered for re-allocation to 3G and 4G services. To save the expense of future-proofing, it’s a good idea to design with on-board computer standards in mind. Today, this means designing with UMTS/HSPA or LTE modems, or at least future-proofing hardware to simplify upgrades.

Nested design simplifies technology upgrading

Cellular M2M technologies are in embedded system continuous evolution and when designing a new device enabling cellular connectivity, it’s important to consider its upgradability to newer technologies to optimize the design cost. Here, there’s on-board computerlayout compatibility across the entire cellular on-board comouter modem range (GSM, UMTS, CDMA, and LTE). With this approach, as shown in Figure 2, one PCB layout can be used for all end-product variations, ensuring an easy migration between on-board computer and module generations, also thanks to the AT command compatibility within the different modules.

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/the-fast-growing-m2m-market-presents-a-series-of-wireless-design-challenges/

 

Acrosser Releases Product Video for 35-mm Onboard Computer: AIV-HM76V1FL

ACROSSER Technology, a world-leading onboard computer manufacturer, releases the product video for its 35-mm-high fanless in-vehicle computer, AIV-HM76V1FL. The footage displays a full view of each angle of this ultra-slim in-vehicle computer. All input and output interfaces are fully demonstrated with the computer lying horizontally on its 35-mm I/O surface. It takes not only substantial R&D effort to develop hardware with such thin client dimensions, but also numerous production checks to guarantee quality for on-road tests. This thin hardware platform showcases Acrosser’s expertise in industrial PC manufacturing.

The video familiarizes systems integrators and application engineers with the user interface (UI) for BIOS modification for power management settings. The ignition is used not only to turn the vehicle on and off, but also the vehicle PC as well. However, not all vehicle users follow the same ignition process; a subsystem to delay startup of the vehicle PC is necessary for some users. Therefore, we created a system that allows users to manually alter the power mode of the vehicle PC on ignition.

Contact Us:
http://www.acrosser.com

Product Information:
Ultra Slim In-Vehicle Computer: AIV-HM76V1FL

Product Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8D4exq9LBI

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The fast-growing M2M market presents a series of wireless design challenges (part 1)

When selecting wireless modems, there’s a checklist of features to consider. We’ve presented those here.

The growth rate of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections now far exceeds new connections between people, and soon there will be many more machines than people connecting over cellular industrial computer networks, as shown in the GSM Association forecast in Figure 1. These in-vehicle system include security systems, meters, robots, vending stations, asset trackers, and emergency call systems. The variety is growing by the day, as are the silent conversations between millions of machines exchanging data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no human intervention.

At the same time, it’s becoming cheaper and easier to connect to fleet management the Internet and even mass produced computing devices are able to gather and process ever-larger volumes of data. The one potential bottleneck to greater M2M connectivity, the fact that all 4 billion+ IP version 4 (IPv4) addresses are already allocated, has been removed with the introduction of embedded system. This supports 2128 addresses, more than enough for every grain of sand on Earth to have its own address. It’s perhaps no surprise then that LTE, the fourth generation of mobile networks (4G), is designed to deliver services such as data, voice, and video over IPv6.

To join the M2M in-vehicle system revolution, all that’s needed is to embed machines with small, economical (wireless) modems. Where location, speed, or navigation information needs to be established, the machines also need a GPS or GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver. Both industrial computers, with an antenna, can fit easily in a device smaller than a mobile phone. GNSS is the standard generic term for satellite navigation systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. It includes GPS (U.S.), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe), BeiDou (China), and other regional systems.

When thinking about how to equip an embedded system with communications capability, start by thinking about the needs of the application. Factors such as industrial computer longevity, geographical network coverage, or future-proofing to take account of future wireless network upgrades, are all important considerations. Here are some of the product features to consider when selecting wireless fleet management modems.

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/the-fast-growing-m2m-market-presents-a-series-of-wireless-design-challenges/

Acrosser Launches Its Latest Fanless 35-mm Vehicle Computer: AIV-HM76V1FL

ACROSSER Technology, a world-leading vehicle PC supplier, announces the launch of its 35-mm-high fanless in-vehicle computer, AIV-HM76V1FL. This ultra-slim car computer, equipped with an Intel® Core™ i7-3517UE processor, enables unparalleled computing performance for vehicle applications.

Capable of BIOS modification, AIV-HM76V1FL provides significant flexibility for power management applications. For system integrators, the default power on/off value of the vehicle can be customized based on task requirements. For advanced in-vehicle infotainment service applications, Acrosser’s AIV-HM76V1FL includes two HDMI connectors for digital output, and one combo cable for analog output.

The two optional Mini PCIe modules are designed for wireless communication.  If equipped with a 4G LTE module, this fanless on board computer makes an excellent solution for developed markets where high-speed telecommunication services are well-established and widely used. A versatile set of I/O features includes four COM ports, four USB slots, and 9-32V wide voltage compatibility. The design includes a SIM slot on the side of the device to enable easy SIM card installation without opening the case, alleviating the task load of your technical team.

Contact Us:
http://www.acrosser.com

Product Information:
Ultra Slim In-Vehicle Computer: AIV-HM76V1FL

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Acrosser Kicks Off Sale of Its Latest Ultra Slim Vehicle Mount Computer Sale

ACROSSER Technology, a world-leading in-vehicle computer supplier, is pleased to announce the kickoff of a presale event for its latest ultra-slim vehicle mount computer, AIV-HM76V1FL. Acrosser has been an expert manufacturer of in-vehicle computing solutions for nearly a decade. For 2015, Acrosser is releasing its first slim Vehicle mount computer, AIV-HM76V1FL, to fulfill the growing market demand for a thinner hardware platform.

The detailed specifications for AIV-HM76V1FL have been released on the Acrosser Web site. A limited number of samples will be available in early June, and we urge all customers to make a quote for a sample soon! The versatile, ultra- slim AIV-HM76V1FL fits easily into any vehicle no matter the size, ranging from taxis, police cars, ambulances to fire fighter trucks, heavy duty trucks, buses, construction vehicles and trains. Taking real-time environmental factors into consideration, AIV-HM76V1FL was built to perform under a variety of road conditions, including road bumps and unexpected vibrations. Acrosser will have a live demo of the product available at Computex 2015. To experience this product’s shock and vibration endurance firsthand, come visit us at Computex 2015, located at Booth K0409a in the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall. Acrosser’s rugged vehicle platform can withstand any challenges and fulfill all of your vehicle computing needs. Stay tuned for our upcoming product launch press for a full introduction to this amazing in-vehicle computer!

Contact Us:
http://www.acrosser.com/

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Product Information:
Fanless Ultra Slim In-Vehicle PC / Car Computer: AIV-HM76V1FL

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#acrosser #In-Vehicle Computer #Industrial PC #AIV-HM76V1FL #Computex 2015

The case for security in Linux-based IoT devices (part 1)

Are you among the embedded system OEM and software consultant adding Internet connectivity and services into devices that were not originally intended to do so? If you are, then you know that by connecting these products to the Internet, customers are discovering new forms of revenue and, in some cases, entirely new business models. What’s more, they are able to make their current products both more valuable and cost-effective.

As we continue to see more Internet-connected devices, we must acknowledge that they will be vulnerable to attack, remotely disabled, or compromised in some other undesirable way – each scenario seriously threatening the entire underpinning of these new business models.

Consider the following example in the world of home automation. It is one of the biggest consumer applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), and potentially one of the most lucrative for attackers. What could a criminal do with information stored in what might be considered a rather harmless home-automation device like an IP-connected smart thermostat? Well, these devices are built to learn your habits. They are designed to recognize or “learn” when you are home and when you are away, so that they can optimize the industrial computer used to heat and cool your house. You can guess where I’m going with this. They’ll know your habits and track your routines – sensational fodder for someone thinking about stopping by uninvited.

Remember the case of the Samsung Smart TV? In order to be able to respond to voice commands, it constantly “listened” to your chatter, interpreted it, and then might even send it to “authorized” third parties. Yes, I am serious. The Smart TV was demonstrated to be hackable (what isn’t without lock down security) back in 2013. This is a perfect example demonstrating the need for multiple embedded system accessibility levels. In the in-vehicle system case, there was only one user account possible, and that user could access anything on the device[1][2].

Security through obscurity

In many past instances, product developers would rely on the fact that their in-vehicle system devices were too few and too uninteresting to hackers to attempt to exploit them. In other words, these devices were obscure – ostensibly unknown nodes on a network. Unfortunately, this strategy will no longer work. With what is expected to be billions of devices connected to the Internet in next five years (with tremendous variety of functionality), these once “no interest” devices will become quite tempting as targets for exploit.

To address how security by obscurity will no longer work, let me offer an example of how a website is being used to search for Internet connected devices: www.acrosser.com

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/the-case-security-linux-based-iot-devices/

Auto industry highlights: Innovation in green, smart, and safe (part 2)

Simulation to real-world test

I got the opportunity to talk with Mahendra Muli, Director of Marketing and New Business Development at dSPACE, about Euro NCAP and the challenges involved with the car computer testing required to ensure functional safety. Mahendra describes ADAS and active safety systems development as a pipelined process shown in Figure 2.

Open-loop testing provides an environment where engine controller unit (ECU) algorithms can be developed and validated within a realistic context. Closed loop simulation is used in the early development stages to provide a higher quality production candidate. Simulation should also be able to occur in real-time or faster than real-time.

These models can then be used to perform early integration testing. Integration in-vehicle system tests can be run with virtual ECUs at this point and the tests can be prepared and validated for use within the fleet management testing.

Once the software-in-the-loop (SIL) testing is complete, the same tools, models, embedded system boards, and fleet management tests can be utilized within the HIL testing. At this point the ECU tests can also be automated.

The process and simulation environment provides for car computer testing of actuators, radar sensors, and camera sensors involved in things like lane departure warning, emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Mahenda cited test cases dSPACE has been involved in using their ControlDesk, MotionDesk, and AutomationDesk simulation environment suite for testing lane departure warning (LDW) systems and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Euro NCAP test scenarios

The Euro NCAP test scenarios for autonomous emergency braking involve approaching a stationary target in city and embedded system boards, approaching a slower target, and approaching a braking target. Each scenario involves a vehicle speed between 50-80 km/h with distance to target calculations and operation that provides controlled braking to eliminate or minimize impact.

There are also similar test scenarios for AEB involving pedestrian or vulnerable road users (VRU) like bicycles or motorcycles. Mahendra mentioned that these test fleet management scenarios are not finalized and may be subject to change by Euro NCAP. Mahendra mentioned that the dSPACE simulation environment provides a library with Euro NCAP test scenarios that allow the user to execute the tests and generate score results. The same test framework can be used for model, software, and hardware testing.

Improving vehicle safety and functionality

ADAS and active safety systems are gaining importance and new challenges are emerging to ensure in-vehicle system functional safety of these systems. Virtual test drives and early simulation and testing are becoming a critical factor in providing better modeling, higher quality algorithms, and faster development of advanced driver assistance systems for the automobile.

refer to:
http://embedded-computing.com/articles/auto-highlights-innovation-green-smart-safe/