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2011

Home healthcare devices are an enormous growth area for embedded systems manufacturers that offer low cost, ubiquitously connected hardware. These devices along with associated services are rapidly growing in popularity and allow doctors to monitor, diagnose, and often treat select health conditions remotely. Home healthcare devices can also be used for preventive wellness coaching such as monitoring or adjusting the user’s daily exercise and diet. For example, the Intel® Health Guide provides tools for remote patient monitoring including data collection, patient reminders, surveys, multimedia content delivery, and video conferencing (See figure 1). The Health Guide combines the PHS6000 in-home patient device with the Intel® Health Care Management Suite, an online interface that allows healthcare providers to remotely monitor patients and manage care.

 

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There are a number of common requirements that embedded designers must satisfy for most home healthcare devices including low power operation, a graphical interface, a small form factor, and universal connectivity. The Intel® Atom™E6xx architecture provides a plenty of performance enhancements and features to simplify these connected healthcare device applications.  One improvement over the previous generation architecture is the integration of the display, audio, and memory interfaces onto the CPU resulting in higher system bandwidth along with a reduced bill of materials (BOM) and board area. The processor incorporates the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600 2D/3D graphics engine which delivers a 50 percent improvement in graphics performance compared to earlier architectures. The Intel® Atom™E6xx series also updates the front side bus used in previous generations to a four-lane PCI Express interface giving designers the option of replacing the companion chipset with custom or third-party circuitry.

 

To support the next generation of integrated processor architecture in healthcare and other applications, board manufacturers and standards organizations are developing a series of smaller, off-the-shelf computer modules. For instance, PICMG member companies have recently proposed updates to the COM Express specification to include a new 84 mm x 55 mm “Ultra” form factor that is about the size of a typical credit card.  The nanoETXexpress-TT Computer-on-Module from Kontron conforms to this new card size and features a 600 MHz to 1.6 GHz Intel® Atom™ processor E6XX series as well as the Intel® Platform Controller Hub EG20T (See figure 2). In addition, the COM Express board provides up to 2 GB of DDR2 800 system memory and a microSD card socket for boot media. The nanoETXexpress-TT also offers new Digital Display Interfaces (DDI) that support two independent monitors plus LVDS single-channel graphics.  Additional interfaces include gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0 ports, three PCI-Express x1 lanes, and support for an external PCIe-to-PCI Bridge.  The Kontron module also supports a wide range of operating systems including Wind River VxWorks 6.8, Linux, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows Embedded Standard 7.

 

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The Intel® Reader is another example of a home device that provides rehabilitation and remote care for low vision patents (See figure 3). The reader combines a high resolution camera with text-to-speech software to convert printed text to digital text, and then reads it aloud to the user or stores the text for later listening. The reader is based on the Intel® Atom processor and includes a 4 GB Intel® Solid State Drive (SSD) and can hold up to 600 pages of images and text or 500,000 text-only pages. In addition to a stereo audio jack and USB 2.0 port, the reader includes a five megapixel camera and internal speakers. The internal 3300mAh lithium-ion battery delivers 4 hours of test-to-speech operation or 5 days of standby time and can be recharged in approximately 150 minutes.

 

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By choosing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology based on advanced Intel® Atom™E6xx processor architecture, healthcare device developers can bypass the most complicated portion of embedded design and shorten the time to market. If you are starting or have completed an embedded design for a remote healthcare application, please offer your suggestions and share your experience or questions via comments with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community.  You can also keep up with the latest technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on home healthcare.

 

To view other community content on connectivity, see “Connectivity - Top Picks

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Warren Webb
OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with Intel® Embedded Alliance

 

Kontron is a Premier member of the by Intel® Embedded Alliance.

 

Digital signs are rapidly replacing posters and placards in settings ranging from department stores to advertising in outdoor public areas to kiosks. Early on, most digital signs offered the benefit of an attractive dynamic presentation, but mainly provided information flow in one direction. Today, touch-sensitive signs provide an interactive experience with the user and a bidirectional connection to the back office so that the sign supports sales, subscriptions, and other real-time transactions. Embedded systems for the signage market require the latest in wired or wireless connectivity, remote management capabilities that minimize expensive truck rolls, and security capabilities that protect personal and institutional financial data. Indeed the application can require most of the features found in the latest in Intel® Architecture (IA) processors such as the second-generation Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors.

 

The digital signage market is poised for rapid growth. Analyst firm NSR projects that digital signage installations that are supported by third-party advertising will grow from 596,000 back in 2009 to 1.45 million in 2019. Moreover annual advertising revenue on the signs will grow from $1.68 billion to $7 billion over the same period. And many industry participants believe that the sector is growing at an even more rapid pace.

 

The market potential is driving embedded designers to develop signage products. Moreover, it’s led a trend among manufacturers of modular boards and systems that target the embedded space to design building-block products specifically for the signage market. For example, Norco* and Emerson Network Power Embedded Computing**, among others, offer such products.

 

Until recently, digital-sign installations were driven primarily by aesthetics. Walk by a restaurant in a mall, airport, or hotel, and the sign provided compelling images. Today, you can interact with the sign checking the menu and perhaps reading diner reviews. You might use the sign to make a reservation or even order an autographed copy of the chef’s latest cookbook.

 

It’s the interactivity that is driving the need for high-end processors, ubiquitous connectivity, and security. Emerson, for instance, has published an ebook entitled “Digital Signage Gets Smart” that comprehensively describes the application and the required technology.

 

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A digital-signage design clearly needs to support the latest in network connectivity. Connectivity enables new content pushed to the sign and bidirectional transactions. Gigabit Ethernet and the fastest versions of Wi-Fi are a given and of course all of the IA platforms include such support. In some installations, 3G and 4G cellular connectivity may be more convenient especially with bandwidth escalating on the cellular networks. Some IA processors and chipsets directly support 4G WiMax technology and modular products allow any IA-based system to support all of the 3G and 4G networks deployed around the globe.

 

What may be surprising is the complexity of the software used in state-of-the-art digital signs. Emerson notes that such signs must concurrently run transaction-processing software, security algorithms, the user interface with touch control, and even video recognition. Video recognition could be used for identification purposes and implies the need for a camera and imaging hardware.

 

Clearly a design must isolate the different software tasks and technologies such as Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) and Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) provide secure capabilities. Virtualization allows a task such as transaction processing to be isolated from the user interface. Indeed while both run on the same processor, they would likely be hosted on isolated virtualized operating systems. Search the Intel Embedded Community site for virtualization, and you will find plenty of background on the topic.

 

TXT technology integrated into IA processors can further protect digital-signage systems that are connected to the Internet. For background, see my recent article on TXT and the Trusted Platform Module.

 

Several other key IA technologies are important for digital signage:

 

The Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) instruction set and single-instruction multiple-data (SIMD) execution unit are vital in high-end multimedia and security-centric analytics functions such as face recognition.

 

Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT) allows for remote management of digital signage and even recovery from basic system faults without a truck roll.

 

Intel has also developed a modular standard specific to digital signage that can help reduce system cost as my colleague Warren Webb covered recently.

 

As for how you can implement a digital-signage system, the options are broad. Emerson targets the market with small-form-factor Mini-ITX and microATX motherboards. For example, the company announced the MITX-CORE-800 series earlier this year that customers can specify with either second-generation Core i5 or i7 processors.

 

Emerson also targets the market with its Com Express product line for computer-on-module (COM)-based systems. The COM approach allows a design team to develop one base board that can easily be upgraded with the latest processor technology using a COM product.

 

Norco targets the market with both ruggedized turnkey systems and board-level products including motherboards and COM products. The company has published the “Norco Digital Signage Platform” whitepaper that describes its approach. The company recently announced the MITX-6920 ITX motherboard based on the latest I3, I5, and I7 processors.

 

Have you developed digital-signage products? Do see the potential in high-end systems as we’ve discussed here or will lower-cost, lower-performance system prevail. Fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community would greatly appreciate it if you share your experiences via comments.

 

To view other community content focused on connectivity, see -- Connectivity-Top Picks.”

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Maury Wright

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor)

Intel® Embedded Alliance

 

*Norco is an Associate member of the Intel® Embedded Alliance

**Emerson Network Power Embedded Computing is a premier member of the Alliance

Communications and networking equipment typically employs multi-architecture designs where control and application processing run on general purpose processors, while packet and signal processing execute on specialized processors. This multi-architecture approach has its advantages, but it leads to complex, inflexible designs. Today an alternative approach where applications, services, control plane, and packet processing are consolidated onto one hardware platform is possible thanks to performance gains in the latest multi-core Intel® Xeon processors. This 4:1 consolidation allows original equipment providers (OEMs) to streamline development, and offer service providers ways to reduce capital and operating expenditures (CapEx and OpEx). What’s more, Intel Xeon processors provide the scalability and flexibility to offer these benefits to a wide variety of markets, such as unified threat management (UTM), enterprise PBX systems, and LTE infrastructure.

 

How are these benefits possible? Let's start with the hardware. Consolidating workloads onto one architecture reduces the development, integration and validation issues that come from using multiple architectures. Using a single architecture also means fewer boards to build, inventory, maintain, and support. From a software perspective, workload consolidation means one code base and one set of development tools.  This reduces development costs and enables more software reuse, which in turn boosts efficiency, reduces training time and decreases license fees. Entire product lines can now scale from the low end of the bandwidth spectrum all the way up to high volume boxes with a single development effort.

 

A key challenge in workload consolidation is the fact that different workloads may require different operating systems.  This challenge can be overcome with virtualization, a technology that introduces a software layer known as a hypervisor below the OS level (Figure 1).  The hypervisor enables operation of multiple virtual machines (VMs), each containing a guest OS and its associated applications, by presenting each guest OS with what appears to be a dedicated hardware platform. Intel Xeon processors support virtualization through a hardware-assist technology called Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) that performs a number of virtualization tasks directly in hardware, reducing the footprint of the hypervisor and improving performance.

 

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Figure 1. Embedded hypervisors enable multiple OSs to run on the same hardware.

 

The need for extreme packet and security performance has also hindered workload consolidation in the past.  Today, manufacturers can leverage the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK) to achieve the packet performance they need and speed solutions to market. To speed up security functions, Intel Xeon processors also include optimizations for cryptography, data compression, and pattern matching. Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.2 (Intel® SSE 4.2) and Intel® AES New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI) set extensions accelerate tokenizing, regular expression evaluation, virus scanning, intrusion, and other security functions. OEMs can tap Intel® QuickAssist Technology to get workload-specific APIs for tasks such as pattern matching, cryptography, and data compression.

Let’s now look at how some Alliance members are using Intel Xeon processors to enable workload consolidation.

 

UTM is a fast-growing segment within the network security market that Advantech is addressing with a variety of Intel® Xeon® processor-based solutions. One in particular is the FWA-6500 Network Application Platform. The FWA-6500 provides a complete network communication appliance in a 2U form factor. It features the Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 or 5600 series with up to in 12 cores in a dual-socket configuration and up to 96 GB of DDR3 memory with ECC. The FWA-6500 is configurable with two PCI Express full-height, half-length add-on cards as well as two 2. 5" or 3.5" removable SATA HDDs. The FWA- 6500 also supports four field replaceable unit (FRU) slots that can be used to provide a variety of Ethernet connections. By incorporating packet processing software such as 6WIND’s 6WINDGate*, the system can provide up to 65  Mpps for IP forwarding per socket, depending on the specific use case (Figure 2).  For more details, see the latest Embedded Innovator magazine.

 

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Figure 2.  IP forwarding performance for a 2.4 GHZ Intel® Xeon® processor E5645 running 6WINDGate.  The performance varies based on the number of fast path protocols running in the system.

 

Deep packet inspection (DPI) is another hot market, one that Emerson Network Power is addressing with its ATCA-7365 AdvancedTCA* (ATCA) blade. Offering the option of two 2.13 GHz Intel® Xeon® processors L5638 processors for use in high temperature telecom environments or two 2.4 GHz Intel® Xeon® processors E5645 for use in cooler environments, the ATCA-7365 provides each CPU with six memory slots for a total of up to 96GB of balanced memory. The blade supports a range of connectivity options, including both 1Gbps and 10Gbps Ethernet. Performance testing, using 6WINDGate software (Figure 3), indicates that for a basic fast path configuration including VLAN, IP forwarding, GTP-U tunneling, flow accounting, and QoS conditioning, an Intel Xeon® processor E5645 can process 2.5 million packets per second (Mpps) per core with an average packet size of 512 bytes (equals roughly 10Gbps of packet ingress and 10Gbps of packet egress per core). The tests indicate that the ATCA-7365 could handle basic communications on 4 x 10G terminations using only 4 of the 12 cores available, leaving ample headroom for additional packet analysis and inspection. When deployed in Emerson’s carrier grade Centellis 2000 2-slot ATCA platform, a system could offer up to 80Gbps of throughput in a 3U form factor. The same core architecture could scale up to 480Gbps in a 3U form factor. (More details on this platform will be available in the September Embedded Innovator newsletter.)

 

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Figure 3. 6WINDGate* DPI platform for Intel® Xeon® processor-based PCEF.

 

With its AT8050 single-socket processor blade equipped with an Intel® Xeon® 5500 or 5600 series processor, Kontron is helping TEMs migrate to 40G without a forklift upgrade. TEMs can swap out their existing ATCA node blades and replace them with the AT8050. With up to six cores of processing power, this blade do the work of a dual-socket design, while saving you from having to upgrade a chassis platform to handle the cooling needs of dual-socket replacement blade.  What’s more, the single-socket design frees up an AdvancedMC (AMC) slot for further feature extensions (Figure 4). Kontron provides additional value by integrating the different software components such as OS, BIOS and IPMI, and works with partners like Wind River to pre-validate ‘out-of-the-box’ software kits for faster application development.

 

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Figure 4. The AT8050 offers up to 6 cores and an AMC slot.

 

Real-time IP media processing typically runs on specialized digital signal processing (DSP) hardware. RadiSys saw an opportunity to deliver carrier-class DSP using software instead, even under heavy load. The RadiSys* Convedia* Software Media Server is a cost-effective and reliable IP media processing platform that can scale to thousands of ports on a single 1U rackmount server platform, or tens of thousands of ports on a fault-resilient bladed chassis architecture. Using commodity server hardware, this Linux-based Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) media server can consolidate the functions of announcement and recording servers, audio and video conference bridges, interactive voice response units (IVR/VRU), messaging equipment, and speech platforms. A special “co-residency” capability allows the integration of a VoIP telecommunications application with the Convedia Software Media Server on a single platform. This feature enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to offer integrated all-in-one telecommunication products at a serious cost advantage. A single Convedia Software Media Server deployment can economically support a broad range of enterprise VoIP applications, including IP PBX, IP Contact Centers, VoiceXML-based IVR, Unified Messaging, or voice/video enterprise-wide conferencing.

 

To learn more about applications that can benefit from workload consolidation, solutions available from the Intel® Embedded Alliance, and the performance of these solutions, see the white paper Consolidating Communications and Networking Workloads onto one Architecture.

 

workload_consolidation.pngFor more on building flexible networking solutions, see intel.com/go/embedded-consolidation

 

Advantech, Emerson, Kontron and RadiSys are Premier members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Wind River is an Associate member of the Alliance. 6WIND is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.


 

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Embedded Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/kentonwilliston

At the recent NI-Week Convention in Austin, TX, Intel Engineer Stewart Christie  had a near escape from a potential violation of the Barber Statutes of Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TLDR) when a prototype of an automatic four bladed “hair cutting appliance” broke free from its tether on the stage and proceeded at alarming speed towards the audience. Ironically Mr. Christie had just shown some slides of previous accidents caused by similar devices. The two research students seen in these photos, were apparently involved in an accident, while tuning the PID (PonyTail Initiation Detacher). One obtained twenty six lacerations and the other received four stitches.

 

Robinhttp://www.teamifor.blogspot.comSaurabh
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More info can be found at http://www.teamifor.blogspot.com/ if you would like to donate to their medical expenses. It’s believed that in order to get around similar barber licensing restrictions in Dubai these students have stated that this is not actually a QuadCropper, but is instead a Quadrotor Helicopter. In order to maintain this apparent subterfuge these student’s and their “accomplice’s” have recently travelled to North Dakota and entered their device in the autonomous category. This is believed to be some sort of unmanned haircutting and styling event, more info can be found at http://iarc.angel-strike.com/competitors.php.

Mr Christie also showed a video of one of his colleagues attempting, and failing, to control this device, and the youtube video shows this elegant fail.

 

 

Apparently it was because of these imminent threats to coiffure that it was decided to clamp the hair cutting device to the stage.

Mr Christie then went on to explain the design of the device and how it can be enhanced by the enabling of the Intel® Automatic Trim Or Manicure (Atom™) Microprocessor that is installed in the stack of controller boards.

But all hair broke loose when after a few minutes of running the system on the stage it apparently dis-entangled itself from the clamp and shot straight up in the air. Luckily, with some quick thinking from the Intel engineer, and some judicious handling of the remote controls, audience haircuts were avoided as he guided the errant craft over their heads to a clear space beyond the theatre area. A citizen reporter has supplied the following video of the system taking off and its subsequent crash landing, several disheveled engineers can be seen ducking, but it's not apparent if these were a result of the devices escape or just bad hair days.

 

 

At this point the TLDR has not commented on any proceedings against Mr Christie but un-named sources have intimated that depending on circumstances the following violations may apply.

No Sign containing the word “Barber”. - 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 82.71(e).

Unlicensed Individual – Tex. Occupations Code Ch. 1601.251 (a)

Interestingly the final regulation may be the downfall of the ultimate deployment of this interesting device. 16Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 82.102 ( h). states that Multi-use equipment, implements, tools or materials shall be cleaned and disinfected before use on each client.  It was not apparent, at least on the prototype device, how this would be accomplished, as the system has four independent blades, and is capable of cutting multiple people at once.

 

Mr Christie stated that new clamps have been designed and that he is not expecting anything similar when he takes the craft out to the upcoming Intel’s Design and Fashion (IDF) event in San Francisco. The QuadCropper will be shown in the Embedded Booth at IDF, Sept 13th -15th at the Moscone Center. http://www.intel.com/idf/

East Coasters can see this novel device in Boston at the Hynes Centre at the upcoming Eastern Styling and Curling (ESC) event. ESC  takes place Sept 26th -29th  http://esc.eetimes.com/boston/

 

UPDATE:

Since returning from Austin, Mr Christie has augmented the system with LED strips and the video below shows its inaugural night flight.

By Peter MacKay, Solutions Architect, Wind River

 

2011 is turning out to be an evolutionary year for the growing mobile healthcare industry.  In 2007, the iPhone, while not the first handheld applications platform, arguably revolutionized the way modern consumers use telephones.  Around this time healthcare visionaries also foresaw the integration of what I call “user space” with medical enterprises, and a general change in the way ‘patients’ interact with providers – or even take charge of their own wellness.  In addition, the Continua Healthcare Alliance was born, a consortium uniting healthcare and technology companies to focus on standardizing connected devices.  I predict this standardization will drive commoditization (as the inverse – utilizing consumer platforms in healthcare – takes hold), and the Android platform has accelerated this movement.

 

What makes 2011 “evolutionary”?  Clearly there are regulatory implications when healthcare applications co-exist with consumer platforms.  In February, the FDA ‘finalized’ guidance on Medical Device Data Systems (MDDS), an initiative it had started in 2008.  On July 21, the FDA released draft guidance on mobile medical applications, perhaps influenced by the mHealth Regulatory Coalition which was created to work with the FDA to write a guidance document that addresses what gets regulated and what does not.

 

While the February ruling defines MDDS and its intended use, the latest guidance further discerns a “mobile” application.  It calls out two categories of applications: an app intended for use with a regulated device, and an application intended to transform a mobile platform into a healthcare platform – with “intended use” claims being the qualifier.  The guidance excludes app stores and their operators, but expects service providers to cooperate with manufacturers in correction or removal actions.

 

What the FDA is trying to do with this guidance is encompass anything that poses a threat to the safe and effective operation of medical devices, so if you’re in the business of positioning your mobile apps toward healthcare providers, or even patients as end users, it will be important to pay close attention to this regulation and take the necessary steps.  This new guidance is a draft with 90-day commentary period, so if it affects your business act now or forever hold your peace!

 

 

For additional information about Wind River, visit:

http://www.windriver.com/

http://www.facebook.com/WindRiverSystems

 

Wind River is an Associate member of the Intel® Embedded Alliance

Virtual Routing and Forwarding allows a router to handle multiple  independent instances of a routing table. Therefore a single router can  handle overlapping IP addresses and routes, provided that they are in  different VRF instances.

 

This has an impact on all protocols handling interfaces, IP addresses  or routes. In the case of IPsec, Security Policies (SPs) and Security  Associations (SAs) are extended with VRF information to take into  account the VRF of the packets before and after IPsec processing. As a  result of this, the IKE protocol, which is responsible for dynamically  negotiating SPs and SAs, also handles VRFs.

 

For performance reasons, 6WIND has extended its IKE daemon to handle  multiple VRFs, instead of using one daemon per VRF instance. The IKE  daemon’s APIs, configuration interfaces (configuration files and tools,  CLI), kernel interface (IKE UDP socket), IKE protocol implementation and  test tools have been extended to support VRF identifiers.

 

We would be happy to hear about your IKE and Virtual Routing use  cases. Please don’t hesitate to provide feedback using the comments  section.

As consumers demand ever-present connectivity, vehicle computers and infotainment systems have become the next embedded design challenge.  These In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems combine a wide range of hardware, software, and communications components to provide features such as hands-free communications, voice-activated music selection, real-time navigation/traffic information, plus streaming multimedia and interactive gaming for passengers.  Seamless connectivity is a very important part of embedded automotive electronics. For example, consumers expect automatic data links to be established between IVI systems and portable computing, cellular, or entertainment devices when within range. IVI systems may also connect to in-vehicle communications facilities such as the MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) bus, a high-speed, fiber-optic network optimized to transport multimedia signals within the harsh automotive environment.

 

The Intel® Atom™E6xx architecture provides a number of performance enhancements and features that simplify these connected IVI applications.  One improvement over the previous generation architecture is the integration of the display, audio, and memory interfaces onto the CPU resulting in higher system bandwidth along with a reduced bill of materials (BOM) and board area. The Intel® Atom™E6xx series also updates the front side bus used in previous generations to a four-lane PCI Express interface giving designers the option of replacing the companion chipset with custom or third-party circuitry. The processor also incorporates the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600 2D/3D graphics engine which delivers a 50 percent improvement in graphics performance compared to the predecessor. To deal with the potentially rugged environments found is in-vehicle applications the Intel® Atom™E6xx series processors are available in the -40 to 85 °C extended temperature range.

 

A number of embedded system manufacturers have incorporated the Intel® Atom™E6xx architecture into computing devices targeting IVI applications. For example, NORCO offers the BIS-6622I embedded computer system designed for low power, fanless, and space-constrained automotive applications (see figure 1). The system features the E6xx CPU along with the EG20T Platform Controller Hub to provide 2D/3D image display with hardware decode or acceleration for multiple video compression standards including MPEG2, MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC1, and WMV9. In addition to display interfaces for both VGA and HDMI with maximum resolutions up to 1280x1024, the BIS-6622I supports a 1.8” SATA hard disk drive, four USB 2.0 ports, and 1 GB of DDR2 RAM. Other communications features include dual Ethernet ports, an internal CAN bus connection, and optional WiFi support with an external wireless antenna. The system requires  12V DC power input , operates over the  -10°C to + 50°C temperature range, and is packaged in a 4.8” x 4.8” x 1.8” enclosure with a standard VESA mount. In addition to vehicle infotainment, the BIS-6622I can also be used for digital signage, kiosk, surveillance, and point-of-sale applications.

 

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Manufacturers can simplify the design of hardware and software for vehicle systems with a specialized development kit such as the congatec IVI reference kit shown in figure 2. This development platform is based on the conga-CA6 COM Express module which contains the Intel® Atom™E6xx series processor, system memory, solid state drive, and key I/O such as USB, Gigabit Ethernet, and CAN bus interfaces. The COM Express module connects to a 6.5” x 6.9” carrier board that provides the I/O connectors as well as additional features such as a radio tuner, Bluetooth, Parallel ATA, MOST bus, and a touch-screen interface. Expanded connectivity is supported through a PCI Express mini slot that can be used for Wi-Fi, WiMAX, or external display modules. The kit also comes with a flat panel display, power supply, CD-ROM drive, and device drivers for the automotive interfaces implemented in the on-board FPGA. The congatec IVI Reference kit is compatible with several operating systems and software including MeeGo, GENIVI, and Microsoft Windows Embedded.

 

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With the objective of developing a standardized software architecture for vehicle applications, a group of manufacturers, suppliers, and tool developers established the AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) alliance.  This development partnership plans to simplify the exchange and update options for automotive software/hardware and control the growing complexity of the electrical and electronic systems in motor vehicles.  Supporting this software approach, OpenSynergy introduced the COQOS-tP platform, allowing developers to implement, run, and test AUTOSAR software components directly on the Linux operating system (see figure 3). COQOS-tP consists of an AUTOSAR run time environment generator, which provides all AUTOSAR interfaces through a Linux adaptation layer.

 

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Low power operation, high performance video-processing, and universal connectivity are key technologies in the development of advanced vehicle communications, information and entertainment systems. The Intel® Atom™E6xx series architecture provides these features through a flexible I/O architecture that simplifies IVI designs and shortens the time to market. If you are starting or have completed an in-vehicle design, please offer your suggestions and share your experience or questions via comments with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community.  You can keep up with the latest technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on both in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity.

 

To view other community content on connectivity, see “Connectivity - Top Picks

connectivity.jpg

 

Warren Webb
OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with Intel® Embedded Alliance

 

NORCO and congatec AG are Associate members of the by Intel® Embedded Alliance. OpenSynergy is a General member of the Alliance.

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