The Embedded Systems Conference was recently separated into the DesignWest and DesignEast conferences. DesignWest is generally considered to be the larger of the two (DesignEast will not even be held in 2013) and I am very happy to have had the opportunity to attend. This post will focus on the talks / lectures that I attended and will try to give you a feel for the technical content provided at the conference. All of the sessions can be sorted through easily at the link.
Monday April 22, 2013
The all access pass provided me with the opportunity to attend two half-day sessions out of approximately a dozen. My research focuses on the power management capabilities of real-time operating systems, so I chose to attend the “Fundamentals of Real-Time Operating Systems” presented by Micrium. The technical content of the lecture was appropriate, attendees ranged from never used an RTOS before, all the way through experienced firmware engineers. We were provided a RX63N demonstration kit. The demonstration board features an Ethernet port, USB/USB-OTG, an SD-card, LCD display and more. Additionally, all of the demo code was provided on a USB key.
The morning session was so comprehensive that I decided to stay for the afternoon session “Essentials of USB device development”. This session used the same kit as the morning session. We used a USB sniffer provided by Total Phase in order to analyze the USB traffic generated by the RX63N RDK. Total Phase put up a blog post on the event here (yes I am in the picture). During the hands on demo, we created a HID compliant mouse out of the RX63N and interfaced that with a PC. Ultimately this came down to having our board send coordinates to the PC which resulted in moving a mouse pointer around. This was a great way to demonstrate the capabilities of both the sniffer and the board at a very quick pace.
Tuesday April 23, 2013
I spent a lot of time at the expo and attended the following sessions:
- Low-Power Analog Techniques for Maximizing Battery Life in Embedded-Control Systems
- Wireless Power Management for Battery Power
- Waiting on the Speed of Light: Engineering Autonomy at Mars
- Learn the Four Basic Concepts of Arduino in 45 Minutes
- Analog Interfaces for Low Power Design
Wednesday April 24, 2013
- Really Real Time Systems
- Troubleshooting switched mode power supplies
- Challenges And Strategies For Synchronizing IO In Embedded Systems
- Energy Management: Techniques for Measuring, Controlling and Reducing Power Consumption
Thursday April 25, 2013
- Energy Harvesting for Microcontrollers
- How to Measure RTOS Performance
- The New Era of Human 2.0: New Minds, New Bodies, New Identities
- Hands-On Analog Basics, Part 2: Beginner Knowledge and Veteran Refresher
- This talk sticks out as having, by far, the most technical content of any that I attended!
I talked for a bit with Bob Scaccia of USA Firmware. His company maintains a database of developers looking for freelance work and provides his customers with engineers who have a very specific set of development experience! This is in contrast to the various contracting companies who have more of an interest in getting contractors off of their bench (non-billable time) and into customers hands. I think Bob has carved out quite a useful niche and I look forward to working with him in the future.
Overall, I am pleased to have made the journey from Raleigh to San Jose and take part in the conference. If I had to sum up my experience in one word, it would be “humbling”. There was a vast amount of knowledge at this conference and I am pleased to have absorbed some of it. My only disappointment were those of scheduling conflicts. There was so much content that inevitably some of the lectures overlapped time-slots. Luckily all of the proceedings are available here. Looking forward to next year!