Arithmetic performance has become the latest battleground for mcus as they take on dedicated hardware and dsps.17.11.2016

“If you wanted to implement high speed digital signal processing in an embedded system a decade ago, you had to use a part designed specifically for that job. But improvements to microcontroller architectures have brought high performance maths support to a wider range of processors. Jim Stuart, Freescale's product marketing manager for industrial and multimarket parts, says a move to more advanced motor control techniques and a shift to sensorless systems is 'really driving the requirement for higher performance mathematics across the board'. "We are seeing a big move in the power supply market away from analogue to digital systems that need very fast mathematic capability.”
Ross Mitchell, Freescale's embedded systems engineering manager, explains: "A lot of them are dc/dc power units for telecom systems. Heat is a big problem: these units are really small for their power, but need forced air cooling. If you improve efficiency from 82% to 87%, it doesn't sound much, but the waste heat drops by a half."
It's not just control. Haakon Skar, Atmel's AVR product marketing director, points to consumer applications as targets for a new generation of maths enhanced microcontrollers. Apparently simple changes, such as the addition of fixed point arithmetic, rather than traditional integer processing, can make a big difference.
Fixed point arithmetic was the original feature of the dsp, but a cross pollination of architectural features has made the choice between mcu and dsp more finely balanced. "You gain the benefit of precision," Skar claims. "This is the key to MP3 decoding. If we didn't have fixed point, we would have to use a lot more integer instructions."
Speeds will improve, but engineers will still need to look at the tradeoffs between compute performance and responsiveness and other factors when implementing maths driven algorithms in control.
By : Veramasa Admin

Portfolio updates bring more options to dsp designers11.09.2016

Portable devices are becoming more sophisticated as designers look to provide users with more features in a smaller package. But they face another challenge; providing the extended battery life that users are coming to expect. Because alongside more features, we're all looking for longer times between charges.
n a move to meet the needs of designers working at both ends of this power spectrum, Texas Instruments has recently updated its dsp portfolio, adding two devices at the low power end and four higher powered parts based on the C647x core, which offers simultaneous floating and fixed point operation.
The two parts aimed at long battery life applications are the TMS320VC5505 and VC5504. According to TI, both parts combine 90nm process technology with low leakage transistor technology to offer what it believes is the industry's lowest standby power consumption for such devices. Alongside this, the dsps maximise energy efficiency and extend battery life in portable devices.
By : Veramasa Admin

There's still growing demand for DSP, say experts21.08.2016

Eight years ago, a New Electronics article about digital signal processors started: ‘Jump back a decade or more and there was little difficulty identifying just what digital signal processing was. Neither was there any problem in identifying a DSP. But times change. Today, DSP as a technique is beginning to disappear from view, hidden within applications. Whilst DSPs are still being produced, they are beginning to evolve into different types of device’.
You could argue that statement still has validity. So what is the ‘state of the DSP nation’?
Richard Kingston, VP of market intelligence with IP licensing company CEVA had a slightly different view. “We embrace the move towards embedded DSPs in the last few years,” he said. “Most traditional ‘discrete DSP’ vendors stopped developing DSP architectures a while ago, so the market opportunity is greater than ever.”
Who is using DSP?
So, with the consensus that DSP is still needed, if not in discrete format, where are the applications?
“Applications that need relatively low performance floating point processing, such as audio systems with a small number of channels, or simple single axis motor controls, are well handled using a DSP,” said Tremois. “Suitable algorithms for motor control, for example, are proven and readily available.
“In the IoT, DSP will be a key technology for Low Data Rate LTE and LPWAN standards to ensure low power and flexibility to support multiple standards in a single device. In automotive, vision DSPs are the underlying technology for object detection and recognition in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). And V2X communications use DSPs for baseband processing. “Apart from the inherent programmable nature of DSPs, which leads to differentiation, the power efficiency gains from using DSPs – where they are more suited than GPUs and CPUs – cannot be overlooked.”
By : Veramasa Admin

30 years of dsp: From a point solution for powering a toy to a pervasive technology21.08.2016

The beginning of 2012 marked an important anniversary, not only for the electronics industry, but also for consumers around the world. The celebrations – even if they were muted – recognised the launch of Texas Instruments' first digital signal processor (dsp) as a commercial product.
Gene Frantz, TI's principal fellow, was intimately involved with the technology's development in the 1970s. But he said signal processing, as a discipline, had been around for much longer. "It grew out of university curiosity in the 1960s," he recalled, "although there was work being done at Bell Labs in the 1950s. Before that, a speech vocoding system was demonstrated at the World Fair in 1939."
Will we still be talking about dsps in another 30 years? .Al Oppenheim (an MIT professor) says there will always be interesting signals and we will always want to process them. Therefore, there will always be signal processing.
Mujica had the final word. "Signal processing is a fundamental technology and will be around forever."
By : Veramasa Admin

FPGAs are the system21.08.2016

When it was unveiled in May 2006, the Virtex-5 family was one of the first products to be targeted at a 65nm process. And that’s a common factor amongst programmable logic devices – manufacturers take the view that they can maximise their opportunities by making their products on to the latest silicon process.
There are a number of reasons for this, including financial. But one of the main attractions is the ability to reduce dynamic power consumption.
Statistics provided by Xilinx at the time of the launch claimed a 30% boost in processing speeds for Virtex-5 parts compared to their 90nm predecessors, along with a 35% reduction in dynamic power consumption and the same level of static power consumption.
Another attraction is that the latest manufacturing processes offer the best opportunity to include the various features that support the ‘system on a chip’ approach.
By : Veramasa Admin