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Issue 58

Embedded World – the land of technology

Mircea Pătraș
Embedded C Software Engineer @ AROBS Transilvania Software
PROGRAMMING

A fantastic experience for ordinary people and an unforgettable one for those passionate about technology. After a visit to the famous exhibition Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg, entirely dedicated to the embedded domain, anyone will have something to tell their friends and most of the people will wish to come back again. Exploring so many booths enchants your eyes more than Disney Land. Your knowledge desire is fed same way a LAROUSSE encyclopedia does to you.

This exhibition has something for everyone: from electrical equipment and specialized software solutions, to future cars, games, robots and dozens of innovative ideas.

The exhibitors are divided into more categories through which the most important ones are the microprocessor and embedded solutions manufacturers, the electrical components distributors and the software services providers. Larger companies like Intel, ST, DigiKey, have imposing booths which delight the visitors' sight, and smaller firms differentiate themselves with ideas and devices that attract visitors.

AROBS booth (attracted) visitors with Julia, the "eye magnet", with a 100% wood body.

Still, the technical professionals weren't so easily impressed only by appearances and they wanted to investigate the car in details.

Julia is a wooden, but fully functional car, based on a metal chassis, with the windscreen taken from a Mercedes and seats from a Ford Probe (completely remade). The V6 engine is from a Ford Taunus, but everything else is custom made, mostly from wood. The participants put a lot of pertinent questions not only about the car but also about AROBS's embedded projects presented on the event: the mini cluster designed in QT, the ECU testing system, MITB, and the ADAS solution (AROBS Automotive Lane Departure Warning). AROBS introduced to the Embedded Computing Design, a lane departure warning system based on a single camera, which serves to reduce the cost of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in the automotive space.

Literally, at only two steps away from AROBS booth, Altium continuously presented, their PCB design software solution.

For connoisseurs, some images were absolutely eye-watering, for example when the demonstrator routed some dozens of a microcontroller pins with BGA capsule in less than a minute.
A little bit on the left, on a huge space, QT, had "well hidden" in the middle of the booth an electrical car of 1500 horse power.More at sights, they had an interesting solution that used QR codes to transmit to a phone the performance measures of an Ethernet network.

I activated warp 1, for a microsecond, to arrive two 2 booths away in the only place where I saw people staying in line, I'm speaking about Intel, (Hall 1 - 338).

The main attraction there was a BMW i8 where visitors could "climb down" wearing a really cool AR glasses.

The glasses offered the visitors the vision of the "augmented reality" so they could understand easier how the autonomous driving concept works. Those other demos about processing images using the standard Open VX were also extremely cool. An interesting use case was processing images sent to monitoring screens of a production line, this was done for optimization purposes. The fields on the screen that displayed errors states were automatically recognized and a statistic was made, so it was easier to find the bottlenecks.

The image recognition theme was also found at the booth of NVIDIA (Hall 4A-518), situated at two halls away in the east area. The path was crossing by AROBS booth where the visitor had the chance to bathe his gaze with Julia or to take some pictures of it.

At Nvidia the green booth design attracted visitors with extremely high-tech platform based on an ARM architecture, named Jetson, recognized objects and generated their model in 3D, everything in real time. A robot used this "power" to nicely arrange some mini dumbbells carelessly thrown in a box.

In another train of thoughts, the ST booth, looked like "a basketball field" where software experts waited for you to clarify any technical questions you'd have, Except that regarding the inexistence of an activation function of bidirectional UART communication. No need to worry, in the north area, the Kuka robot, helped by an ST Discovery dev board prepared your favorite cocktail, pouring with precise movements bubble water from a green bottle and sirup from a white one.

Two steps further a cordial team of girls and boys gave you DigiKey coins to play at "coin slot machines Vegas style". From time to time someone won an USB stick.

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There are a lot to tell about in this category entitled "eye catching things" but I will end my story with MatLab booth where autonomous cars circulated on the same mini streets with those controlled by the visitors with a game wheel.

This way it was tested one of the most important problems of "autonomous driving" domain: the interaction of robot drivers with the unpredictable homo sapiens driver (who changes the speed with his left hand, who adjust the wheel with his knees and of course in his right hand he has the omnipresent phone).

For professionals there were other attractions at their disposals, like technical workshops and presentations: so at IAR, you could learn about advanced debugging techniques, at Vector about a complete complex HIL testing system. Those from Logic presented you a software modeling tool that guarantees the functional correctness of a program.

Wishing to bring something with you from this exhibition, Renesas (and other firms included) organized a variation of the known "egg hunting" and you could win a starter kit synergy. The game was really suitable because it supposed to visit all the booths from the exhibitions, action which the visitor did anyway.

I remember with pleasure about a small booth where you'd learn about an embedded helmet which by putting weights on it, it simulated the G forces making the car simulators even more real.

Another pleasant thing was a discussion I had with a Cypress expert about the faster data acquisition methods.

That would be all about Nuremberg, the exhibition ended, and everyone is efficiently packing their booths. You now have the occasion to see that cars exhibited by AROBS and QT really work, the engine power is sent to the wheels.
Leaving the location, the visitor can feel a little sorrow but he's content that he stored in his "RAM" many imagines and impressions good to write in "ROM".

The risk is that being in Germany, you could have a memory leak after enjoying a last goodbye Weizenbier until the next edition in 27th of February- 1st of March, 2018!.

"Prost!"

 

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