Embedded Systems Conference

One of the things that I kind of enjoy doing is traipsing around the world.

I’m writing this from Italy but a week or so ago I was in Germany. Hit the Embedded World Show 2012. It’s an annual event for the people doing embedded work. Lots of technology. Lots. Most of it pretty high end. Saw a few things that you’d might like to know about.

3S – Ran into some of my old friends from 3S again. They are just growing like crazy. If you don’t know about these, they’re the ones that make CoDeSys. To simplify it, it a logic engine that you can embed in just about anything. I’ve been out to their facility and it was impressive. Now I’ve heard that they’ve added a 2nd and 3rd building. They’re the absolute leaders in IEC 61131-3.

NXP – These guys had a lot of interesting stuff in their booth. A washing machine that does all sorts of calculations and energy savings and what not. Looks to me that a lot of these household equipment vendors are trying to chuck the front panels off their machines and have everybody use their cell phones to drive them. That would save them a ton of money. Don’t know if they can do it. In their booth a found the AoA stuff. That’s Droid Add-on-Accessory technology. It’s a way of bridging comms from a Droid application to another network. Interesting – didn’t know about that.

IXXAT – These guys are a competitor of ours in some regards but they have exactly what I need for a project I am thinking about. They’ve got a dual Ethernet Profinet IO board that is perfect for a number of my applications. Problem is that with a lot of these German companies, the technology is fabulous but the price is out there too.

USB – I searched hard for USB stuff but couldn’t find much at all in the low end or even middle range equipment. All the high end boards and PC replacement boards have it but that’s about it. Seems odd to me that none of the low level stuff is using USB. It’s pretty much like CAN except that you have to have a Master and between the Master code set and all the power considerations it gets a little messy. The slave side is a pasta (piece of cake for you guys in the US).

Lantronix – Really seem to have good wireless solutions for OEM applications. I am much more impressed with them than Digi though I visited with both. Digi is just so unfocused. They have a little of everything you might need. Their real focus appears to be the high end, cloud data collection stuff.

NABTO – I had to stop here twice cause I couldn’t understand. These guys are focusing on two things. One is moving the HTML code out of low level sensors so that really dumb sensor devices can have slick web interfaces and providing a layer of security on the factory floor for these devices. Don’t know how they are going to succeed at it. You need a plug in on your browser (where the real HTML code is kept). You need a base station for the security in the middle of the whole thing. Lots wrong with what they are doing but no time here to go into it.

Extreme DB Fusion – Here was the coolest product I found. Hope it works like they say. They are focusing on providing database functionality for small, embedded devices. It is such a cool idea. Guess what 90% of their applications are? Configuration data! That’s such a big headache and not having to write, test and maintain that code is really a God send. I’m going to test their stuff and see how well it works.

Next I stopped at WizNet (Korean company) – It’s a really simple idea. They’ve started with their own TCP/IP stack and embedded it in a chip. Then they added a Phy. They added a Micro. Went form 2in1 to 3in1 to 4in1. It has its place in low level systems but don’t think I would trust it in a highly reliable, mission critical application. But for something down and dirty like a sensor, it could be the right tool.

Bunch of other cool stuff. Ate a bunch of German Sausage. Drank a lot of dark beer. Oogled the German girls. Pretty much my standard trip to Nurnberg.

In Italy now – Have more for you in a few days.