eTech Magazine - Issue 4

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eTech Magazine - Issue 4

  1. 1. e YOUR ELECTRONICS MAGAZINE ISSUE 406Watching UsWatching ThemThe Future of the User Interfacerswww.com/electronics
  2. 2. SWITCH TO APEM Apem is an established name in switches synonymous with innovation, quality and reliability. Approved to most European and International standards, APEM can provide PCB and panel switches membrane and stainless steel keypads, LEDs, panel indicators and joysticks that any designer can specify and feel secure using. APEM have established facilities worldwide providing technical assistance and availability. rswww.com/apem PUSHBUTTONS FOR HARSH ENVIRONMENTS IR SERIES - Sealed to IP67 - Non-illuminated or illuminated - Momentary, Latching Rear Mount Versions - Square or Round Bezel Actuator - Wide choice of Actuator colours - Wide choice of illumination colours - Wired, Solder or Screw Terminals - Microswitch Versions Rated to 5A 250V AC - Screw Terminals Rated to 2A 250V AC
  3. 3. PABI TIES LI 06 4 CA 2 G CE SWITCHIN USER INTERFA G R4 14 GET READY FOWelcome to your latest edition of eTech. The theme for this edition isuser interface and mobile technology, with a focus on the future ofUI, 4G and batteries for mobile designs.We’ve also introduced a new ‘Market Trends’ feature in conjunction with iSuppli, INSIDE eTechwhere we look at future technology trends and the growing use of motionsensors in mobile phones - see page 22. 04 iSAYThe world of electronics technology is evolving rapidly and nowhere is this more 05 RS NEWSLINEapparent than on the DesignSpark.com forums and blogs. DesignSpark.com is thegateway to online resources and design support for engineers, powered by RS. 06 FUTURE OF THE USER INTERFACEDesignSpark.com provides us all with an ideal forum to keep up-to-date with the 10 PRODUCT NEWSlatest trends, tools and hot topics and some of these have shaped this edition. 12 BATTERIES FOR MOBILE DESIGNS Feedback from you indicates that you want to see 14 GET READY FOR 4G more Design Reviews. So we have extended this feature with the ARM mbed review on page 20 16 LANE DETECTION Terms and conditions: Terms and and the Embedded Systems review on page 34. 20 DESIGN REVIEW:conditions of sale set out in the current ARM mbed RS Catalogue. This issue is valid from We are now more connected with you October 2010 to December 2010. than ever before! Keep in touch with us 22 MARKET TRENDS: through DesignSpark.com or email me at MOTION SENSORS Published by: RS Components Limited. Registered office: Birchington Road, Weldon, Corby, etech@rs-components.com. 24 SWITCHING CAPABILITIES 26 Northamptonshire NN17 9RS. Registered No. 1002091. RS EPD UPDATE : WIRELESS Components Ltd 2010. Glenn Jarrett RS are trademarks of RS Components Limited. An Head of Electronics Marketing 29 DESIGN TIPS: ELEKTOR 32 Electrocomponents Company. ELECTRONICS ExTRAS 34 DESIGN REVIEW: EMBEDDED SYSTEMS 38 CUSTOMER PROFILE 40 LUNCH BREAK 42 INDUSTRY NEWS: FRAUNHOFERELE_0010_1010 eTech - ISSUE 4 03
  4. 4. iSAY RSPROF FERNANDO AGUADO, .UNIVERSITY OF VIGO, SPAIN NEWSLINESSAYS: 3D CAD Library from RS Energy Micro Cortex M3“ continues to grow range now available. Why there’s RS introduces 3D CAD models Silicon and Development Kits add ultra low power from more manufacturers choice to ARM portfolio at RS In a major expansion of the 3D CAD programme, RS Adding Energy Micro to the M3 core and its integrated low- no time like the present introduces an additional 5000 new models available to already comprehensive range power peripherals to the test. space ” download from its website. Models from key manufacturer of ARM devices at RS brings The combination of Ultra-low Tyco Electronics include the popular Mate-n-Lok and the world of ultra-low power power and industry standard core to get into MODU ranges, along with high speed Z-Pack and Multigig applications in to the hands of should prove to be a compelling connectors. Also introduced are a series of sensor and Design Engineers everywhere. one for energy conscious relay models from Schneider Electric, ideal for use in safety This range expansion will engineers everywhere. equipment designs. include 128k Flash versions of all devices in the Gecko product family. Alongside the silicon, With this expansion, RS now both the Gecko and Tiny Gecko offers a huge number of development tools will be 3D CAD models in over 20 available allowing designers to For detailed information,The European Space Agency’s new low-cost launch different file formats to suit all put the advanced 32-bit Cortex visit rswww.com/electronicsvehicle, Vega, heralds “the democratisation of space” of the most popular 3D design software suites. All models– and exciting opportunities for electronics are available to downloadcompanies to become involved. free-of-charge, ready to be incorporated into your new Development kit and design. accessories offer doublesHere’s how. Smaller satellites make it applications. Also, these smaller To download 3D models from RS, to over 1,300 visit rswww.com/3d.realistic to carry out missions that would satellites will train new engineers RS recruits development kit reviewershave been inconceivable just a few in space technologies, and makeyears ago. CubeSats, one of the most space missions affordable forpopular standards for small satellites, many fields of research.allow scientists to carry out experimentsin space with very modest budgets. The For example, the XATCOBEO project, RS sign new distributiondesign of a single satellite traditionallyinvolves massive expenditure, long a joint research project between INTA and the University of Vigo includes three agreement with Bournsperiods of design and testing, and an exciting and challenging experiments: an Partnership covers EMEA and APAC,extensive specialized team, but CubeSats in-flight reconfigurable radio based on adding to existing US agreement “change the rules completely. They are standard FPGAs, a radiation dose sensorsmaller and simpler, cheaper to launch,and a small team of engineers can and a panel deployment mechanism. Lower launch costs The partnership with Bourns, a leading manufacturer of passive components, formalises the long-standing relationship with RS.develop in years, rather than decades. This pioneering work will pave the way for many future small-satellite projects and smaller payloads The two companies will be working together on a series of initiatives covering range developments and promotional activities, A significant investment by RS in leading edgeLower launch costs and smaller payloadsmake it economical to fly shorter where the University of Vigo has a pivotal role: like HUMSAT - a low-cost make it economical to be carried out on a global basis. development tools has seen the development kit and accessories offer expand to over 1,300. Now to fly shorter missions - ”missions - and more of them. In turn, global communications infrastructure Over 700 new products have RS is actively looking for reviewers to contribute to and more of them.this means that electronic components for humanitarian aid and disaster or been added to the RS range, the growing database of independent reviews onon board don’t need to be radiation climate change monitoring; GENSO - including TBU™ high speed DesignSpark.com.hardened, nor undergo time-consuming, a worldwide network of education protection components.costly space qualification. and radio amateur ground stations; To view the full range of development kits on offer, and the European Student Earth Orbiter visit rswww.com/developmentkitsCommercial, off-the-shelf components (ESEO) and European Student Mooncan be used instead. In this “virtuous Orbiter (ESMO).circle” modern COTS will help meet , If you are interested in writing and posting athe tight mass, power, and dimensions In all of these, the use of COTS If you’ve got a strong opinion and would review, email your details to etech@rs-components.constraints in CubeSats, and at lower components will provide opportunities like the opportunity to get on your soapbox, com and we will send you details of how to obtaincost. It all combines to make CubeSat for the European electronics industry to write it up in around 300 words and email a development kit free of charge. More details can be foundhighly competitive for commercial test its technology and play its part. it to etech@rs-components.com at rswww.com/bourns04 eTech - ISSUE 4 eTech - ISSUE 4 05
  5. 5. Watching UsWatching Them The Future of the User Interface Designers of home computing and consumer Growth of touch technology know that success relies heavily Mechanical knobs, dials and sliders, which were commonplace even on portable music players as on delivering the most outstanding user recently as the last decade, have quickly become experience. Game consoles, smartphones ancient history. Mobile phones introduced the and even PCs are evolving quickly to provide concept of soft keys to enable context-sensitive access to large numbers of features and options. seamless, intuitive interactions that consumers Current MP3 players and mobile handsets have taken not only demand, but also need if they are the concept further to deliver an even more flexible to make best use of increasingly diverse user interface featuring capacitive touch sensing. and powerful features. To make it happen, More recently still, smartphones with multi-touch designers are “disappearing” the technology. capability have begun enabling users to interact even more freely and naturally with their gadgets. Basic two-touch sensing allows features such as pinch- to-zoom, allowing people to experience and share the increasing variety of content now available on mobile handsets more spontaneously and naturally than ever before. Just around the corner, true multi-touch, capable of decoding ten or more touch points simultaneously, hints at a vast new world of single-user and multi-user applications; not only on equipment such as handhelds and game terminals, but also in professional applications such as drawing packages, management/logistics software, and tools for collaborative design. To enable the next technology leap for touchscreens, UK-based Peratech has developed a cost effective pressure-sensing touchscreen technology which differentiates between gentle touch and a hard poke. Using what’s called the Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC), a touchscreen display can very efficiently detect where, and how hard the screen is being pressed. Peratech’s QTC changes the game Continued page 08>06 eTech - ISSUE 4 eTech - ISSUE 4 07
  6. 6. switch Omron < Continued from page 06 when it comes to human machine “light coding” at wavelengths , at home and on the way to work; interface design with capabilities close to infrared, to compute why should they then spend to build truly 3D user interfaces in depth-of-field data. The resulting their working day struggling small, low power devices. Using absence of lag means this with cumbersome, unrewarding products with an embedded QTC approach is well suited to high- industrial technology? switch consumers could use speed consumer devices. this third dimension to search PrimeSense’s 3D capture system The benefits of good ergonomics deeper into a file structure simply shows how visual recognition, in industrial design are, of course, by pressing harder, control an drawing on components such as already understood. Equipment solutions avatar’s movement through a CMOS image sensors can allow designers have drawn heavily game more naturally, or create the machines to respond to users’ on existing PC technology, for thin or thick lines which are vital movements. Sensed actions can example, not only to benefit for Far East characters. be replicated on screen and used from the advanced processing to determine subsequent events capabilities and economies of Optical sensing in the game; no handheld or even scale that are available but also to Despite howls from some self- wearable controller is needed. take advantage of user-interface confessed geeks and couch Building on the concept of motion- advances such as menus and potatoes, disappearing technology aware gaming, which Nintendo pointers – and, more recently, is also having a significant effect in Wii cemented into the collective touchscreen capability. the gaming sector. Nintendo Wii, consumer consciousness, featuring MEMS motion sensors PrimeSense’s technology heralds Examining some of today’s embedded in wireless handsets, another significant milestone: the most advanced machines, such Introducing the New A9 series of Switches took user interaction to a higher age of the controller-less controller. as production-line equipment level than was possible with the for electronics manufacturing, traditional gamepad featuring The notion is poised to reach shows how simplified graphics button and joystick control only. significantly beyond gaming, and touchscreens are being The recent announcement of however. PrimeSense envisages used successfully to help users This new range of switches from Omron has a see-saw mechanism that offers high contact reliability Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox television viewers using hand set up complex processes 360 claims to advance the movements, instead of a quickly and accurately, despite combined with a quick electrical changeover that minimises risk of sparks and chattering. concept of ultra-accessible and traditional remote, to select economic pressures that are compelling gameplay even channels, browse interactive forcing employers to provide the I Two-point clip contact mechanism combined with see-saw action further. Kinect uses optical sensing features and access online briefest, most cursory training. and recognition technologies services. The company’s CEO, Inon Extensive use of pictorial – rather I Gold-plated clip contact and cleaning mechanisms ensure high reliability developed by the Israeli company Beracha, has said the technology than text-based – instructions also PrimeSense to realise what some enables a paradigm shift in overcomes language barriers, I Specially designed to prevent grease entering the contact area the way people interact with which brings benefits I Sealed against flux entry and a built-in ‘O’ ring ensure immersion washability “ consumer electronic devices. In for equipment owners as I Washable Models (IP64) More recently still, fact, PrimeSense’s goal, through well as vendors in today’s its recognition technologies, is globalised economy. smartphones with multi- to enable users to control and interact naturally with devices in a Taking a fresh look at important A9P Push Button Switch touch capability have simple and intuitive way. advances in the consumer sector – and particularly technologies such Available with straight, right-angle or vertical mounting, with or without a 5mm cap top. begun enabling users to Implications for professional technology as multi-touch, motion sensing and 3D optical techniques – could interact even more freely This, of course, is where many inspire future generations of A9S Slide Switch owners of professional technology professional equipment designers This switch is available with two positions (changeover) or three positions (off-on-off). and naturally with their ” – such as industrial, medical and to deliver even more productive, gadgets. office equipment - would like to go. Achieving a more natural and easy to use and rewarding designs in the future. A9T Toggle Switch intuitive user experience is seen as Offered in momentary and latching form with two or three positions and a standard, flat or anti- being central to helping business consider as being the ultimate owners increase their productivity, electrostatic actuator. It is also available with straight, right-angle, vertical or bracket versions. game controller – the player’s reduce training overheads, and own body. avoid cost contributors such as stoppages and human errors. Omron’s range of switches includes quality, precision microswitches satisfying most industries, Optical 3D sensing can be done in It is also important to note that tactile switches featuring the industry’s smallest positive click action switch and DIP switches to a number of ways. Some systems today’s equipment operators Find the latest introductions suit most production processes. detect the position of the user’s expect a better user experience; from RS to support new body or limbs by calculating the as increasingly tech-savvy user interface designs “time of flight” for a pulse of light. consumers, they are accustomed for applications at PrimeSense uses what it calls to easy interaction with devices rswww.com/electronics Omron designs operability, user-friendliness and customer benefits into all of its switches. Visit www.omron-rs.eu to view the range08 eTech - ISSUE 4
  7. 7. PRODUCT PRODUCTNEWS AGILENT 33500 SERIES WAVEFORM GENERATOR NEWS Agilent Technologies Announces 30 MHz Function/ Arbitrary Waveform Generators with Unparalleled Signal Accuracy compact connections. n Agilent 33500 series of waveform generators deliver the lowest total harmonic distortion, true point-by-point arbitrary waveforms, lowest jitter in their class for the most challenging measurement JTAG PROGRAMMING AND applications.The generators include USB 2.0 , LAN (LXI-C) and GPIB BOUNDARY-SCAN TESTING PRODUCTS (optional) for quick and easy connectivity to a PC or a network. Increase your coverage with JTAG master Online search term: Agilent, 30MHz n JTAGMaster is a Boundary Scan Tester and In-System Programmer from ABI Electronics. The ABI JTAGMaster is a complete and powerful solution for the testing, faultfinding and programming of complex PCB assemblies with JTAG devices. Online search term: JTagMaster RS THERMAL INTERFACE MOLEx MINI-FIT H20 RANGE Allowing the efficient conduction and managementThe sealed Mini-Fit H2O™ IP67-rated system meets of heat away from sensitive components the need for weatherproof, compact connections n RS Components is delighted to introduce a range of thermal n The Mini-Fit H2O™ mid-range power interface materials, gap fillers, greases and gels. The range offers connector is designed for use in weatherproof good value without compromise in performance. applications. It has a small overall profile and Online search term: RS Thermal Interface Material can handle up to 9.0A per circuit. RECOM REC3.5 AND REC6 Online search term: molex h2o minifit ISOLATED DC/DC CONVERTERS Re³inforced DC/DC Converters offer up to 10kVDC isolation compact connections n The Recom Re³inforced range offer users the triple bonus of reinforced isolation, high isolation voltage and high efficiency. The REC3.5-R8/R10 offers 3.5W of power and the REC6-R8/R10 offers 6W DESCO EMIT BENCH TOP ZERO VOLT IONISER of power, both with 10kVDC of isolation Zero Volt ESD equipment for handling of sensitive electronic components in a DIP24 package. Online search term: recom, rec35*, rec6* n Ionization systems provide neutralization of charges on items such as circuit board materials and some device packages. The ionisers from Desco Emit are very small in size, have two fan speeds, have visual and audible power and alarm indicators and come with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty. Online search term: ESD zero ioniser NEW COST EFFECTIVE PASSIVE COMPONENTS FROM RS RS Series of Thick Film Resistors, 0402 / 0603 / 0805 / 1206 formatSCHAFFNER INLET FILTER 9244x SERIES n RS Series of Thick Film Resistors, 0402 / 0603 / 0805 / 1206 format,FN 9244 Excellent performance IEC inlet filter RS Thick Film Chip Resistors have anti-surge characteristics superior to standard metal film resistors and are very reliable. They are suitable forn The FM9244 series of IEC inlet filters from Schaffner provide both reflow and flow soldering operation with a consistent size to allowexcellent performance and are a practical solution helping you pick and place machines to be used.to pass EMI system approval in a short time. These filters Online search term: RS Resistorcombine an IEC inlet and mains filter with superior filterattenuation in a small form factor.Online search term: schaffner FN9244* RS Series of Carbon Film Leaded Resistors, MICROCHIP MCP2200EV-VCP Axial 0.25W / 0.5W / 1W / 2W format MCP2200 USB to RS232 Development n The RS Carbon Composition Resistors consist of a solid and Evaluation Board cylindrical resistive element with embedded wire leads to which HALL EFFECT JOYSTICKS FROM APEM the wires are attached. The body of the resistor is protected with Contactless joysticks for harsh environments n The MCP2200EV-VCP is a USB to RS232 development and paint or plastic polymers then colour coded with its value. evaluation board for the MCP2200 USB to UART device. The Online search term: RS Carbon Resistor n The 3000 Series are high precision contactless accompanying software allows the special device features to joysticks. It is available in one, two or three axes be configured and controlled. The board is powered from USB. formats. Long trouble-free life is assured with the Online search term: Microchip MCP2200* latest hall effect technology. Online search term: Heavy duty Apem10 eTech - ISSUE 4 See more online - Over 5,000 new products are added at rswww.com/electronics every month eTech - ISSUE 4 11
  8. 8. Batteries designs solid polymer composite rather than an organic powered by battery manufacturer’s ever- cells, ensuring that there is always the perfect solvent, as is the case with Li-ion. Advantages stronger R&D efforts, according to Herbert solution for any application. Regardless of of this approach include lower manufacturing Schein, Managing Director and CEO at VARTA technology, the fundamental questions remain cost, more rugged construction and wider Microbattery, “There is a continuing increase the same for the designer: finding the solution adaptability to different packaging shapes. in more powerful batteries, for example in the that best meets the requirements of size, area of rechargeable batteries there is a need voltage, current, duration, weight, temperaturelive longer for mobile This means that, as with Lithium Ion battery cells, they can be used to construct battery packs in a huge variety of voltages and for technically advanced and well-engineered energy storage. VARTA Microbattery meets these requirements with fundamental range, recharging, environmental and safety considerations. capacities, all of them ultra-lightweight in research. The challenges of the future will be ”By Vincent Bannigan relation to their capacity. met by a strengthened team in a new researchProduct Manager, RS Components and development centre. Varta’s innovative EasyPack range, based onAs mobile devices continue to evolve, they are becoming smaller and smarter. Today’s their leading PoLiFlex® technology, offers a The right choice – the widest rangehigher performance mobile processors demand ever-greater power; and users want high performance, ready-made, cost effective Despite this, traditional solutions may still solution. The expanding RS catalogue prove best for some applications. The limitedlonger-lasting, faster-charging batteries, in ever smaller and lighter packages. includes four 3.7V EasyPack modules with output current of Li-ion and Li-polymer capacities up to 2000mAh. And designing batteries may be a drawback, especially withThe batteries for use in these applications are amongst the best, they suffer no memory customers a range of Li-ion batteries in could not be simpler, thanks to the availability need for a protection circuit module. Alsocontinue to develop with higher energy effect, and lose their charge slowly when not cylindrical and flat prismatic hard and soft-pack of an EasyPack Charging Evaluation Kit. This transportation issues need to be considereddensities, as manufacturers apply new in use. Beyond these advantages, lithium formats, delivering between 3.7V, 1840mAh comes complete with a sample of each of with lithium chemistries. Often there is a morerechargeable chemistries such as lithium-ion ion batteries are increasingly recognised and 15V, 6800mAh in packages of up to 12 the EasyPack range; plus a plug in power suitable solution provided by more traditionaland lithium polymer to professional for military, electric vehicle, and aerospace cells. All provide high energy density and long supply, open PCB-mounted charger circuit technologies: for example a 2.7kg pure leadand industrial devices as well as applications because of their high energy cycle life, require no maintenance and have and connector set. Based on the Texas battery can produce over 300A. It’s handconsumer products. density. Manufacturers are making a string built-in circuit protection Instruments BQ24014 charge management portable yet powerful enough to start a of R&D improvements to the technology, chip, the kit also incorporates 14 test pins to large vehicle.Not to be confused with the non-rechargeable focusing on energy density, durability, Improving on Lithium-ion make it easy to perform measurements andlithium primary cells, lithium-ion batteries cost, and safety. Lithium polymer technology is a further add elements to the circuit. RS stocks literally hundreds of different battery Find a complete range of batteriesare justifiably popular for portable consumer development from lithium-ion batteries, in types, from dozens of manufacturers, ranging suitable for mobile devices atelectronics, as their energy-to-weight ratios For example, Enix Energies offers RS which the lithium-salt electrolyte is held in a Battery innovations are set to continue, from coin back-up batteries to lead-acid primary rswww.com12 eTech - ISSUE 4 eTech - ISSUE 4 13
  9. 9. Get ready for 4G “ Fourth-generation (4G) wireless has got off to a quiet start but the migration to a faster mobile internet is already underway. Cities The move from 3G to such as Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas already have 4G services 4G is far smaller than in place and US operator Sprint is gradually adding cities to its list. the one from GSM to 3G that faced integrated circuit (IC) designers ” Stockholm and Oslo saw the first deployments of 4G to launch, getting underway just ahead of the Beijing service by operator TeliaSonera late last year. But, as with the 3G services that preceded them, there is a Olympics in 2008. ten years ago catch. These services all fall under the 4G banner One thing became very clear early on in the development but these US and European networks use of the 4G standards. The 4G networks would use some different protocols. form of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing only reduce the cost of 4G handsets, it means Wimax can support downlink datarates (OFDM), the same basic technology as that used in WiFi you can get the additional bandwidth and lower approaching 50Mbit/s, with LTE promising Sprint and a number of operators in Asia have opted wireless networks and ADSL for wired access to the latency of LTE alongside high-speed CPUs that 100Mbit/s, although the higher peak speed of for services based on a mobile form of the Wimax internet. The situation is slightly simpler than with 3G as can be used for embedded processing. LTE was only recently demonstrated by Telstra standard that was originally developed to offer wireless Qualcomm’s own successor to CDMA2000 did not enjoy in Australia. But these are speeds that, for broadband to homes and at least 250 are already in place. success: operators picked either LTE or Wimax. The result for designers of industrial systems users closer to a basestation, compete well TeliaSonera and other large operators such as Verizon is a set of wireless standards that support high- protocols benefit from low latency as well with ADSL minus the wires, making possible a Wireless in the US and NTT DoCoMo in Japan have There is good news for anyone who wants to implement speed access to the internet at a lower cost as high bandwidth and LTE in particular host of new applications. chosen the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) of the standard LTE in industrial communications. In terms of the amount than that of 3G when it first appeared. Analysts was designed to reduce latency compared widely used for 3G today in Europe and Japan. of die space that it takes up, the move from 3G to 4G also expect the wireless dongle market to be with 3G. This helps reduce the chances is far smaller than the one from GSM to 3G that faced much more important in the early development of time-outs and similar problems from As with 3G, there are strong technical similarities integrated circuit (IC) designers ten years ago. of 4G than they were for 3G, especially as disrupting communications, as well as helping between LTE and Wimax – their differences often the the networks that underpin 4G are based applications such as videoconferencing where result of their different lineages. Although the world According to Professor Gerhard Fettweis of the Technical on the Internet Protocol (IP) rather than delay in sound and video can irritate the users. ended up with three different 3G protocols, they were University of Dresden, whereas the 3G modem would being designed around the needs of Get more online... all based around the core technology of code-division use up a complete IC ten years ago, a modem that voice communication. In applications such as telemedicine, LTE and multiple access (CDMA). CDMA2000, based largely supports 2G, 3G and LTE implemented using today’s Wimax bring higher peak bandwidths than their Find out more on 4G, and add your on technology from Qualcomm, became the preferred silicon technology does not need more than a quarter of The design decisions behind the 4G standards 3G predecessors, making it possible to have voice on how the roll-out is going standard for the US and Korea. In Europe and Japan, a die. So, we are likely to see those functions combined help with applications such as security, real- high-quality two-way video to allow doctors to at www.designspark.com wideband-CDMA prevailed. TDS-CDMA was the last with applications and graphics processors. That will not time monitoring and control. Many network make better diagnoses remotely.14 eTech - ISSUE 4 eTech - ISSUE 4 15
  10. 10. Lane detectorzoomsout the noiseBy Yifei Wang, Naim Dahnoun and Alin AchimDepartment of Electronic and ElectricalEngineering, University of BristolThroughout the last two decades, a significant amount of research hasbeen carried out in the area of lane detection to improve the safety ofmotor vehicles. These systems will prevent drivers from unwittingly movingout of their lane and into the path of other cars on the road.It is a difficult problem to solve as, even with clearly By carefully selecting a region of the image andmarked lanes, images captured by a camera contain interpolating this region back to the original imagea large number of extraneous features that can size, the driver’s view can be simulated and theconfuse the lane-detection algorithm. lanes on the interpolated and original images should overlap.Feature extraction is a key part of lane detection:using image processing to work out which shapes in The first task is to select the appropriate area forthe frame form part of the actual lanes along which interpolation. On a flat, straight road, the vehicle willthe vehicle is moving. By using the characteristics head towards the vanishing point where the left andof the lanes and their shape information, a novel right lanes meet on the horizon. A Sobel filter is usedfeature-extraction algorithm has been developed that to generate lines for each clear edge in the image.Thecan verify whether the features in a process belong to intersection of each line and the horizon’s ‘vanishingthe lanes or are extraneous noise. line’ is a possible position for the vanishing point of the lane. A voting system picks the point on theTypically, while driving on a straight road with vanishing line to which most of the detectedcontinuous lane markings, the positions of the lanes edges point.will not change significantly over time from thedriver’s point of view. The algorithm takes advantage This technique works for flat, straightof the above phenomenon and tries to find the non- roads but few are like that. To extendmoving features within the scene. In order to do this, this approach to curved lanes,a digital interpolationis is used. Continued page 18>16 eTech - ISSUE 4 eTech - ISSUE 4 17
  11. 11. Microcontrollers< Continued from page 17 Does your product design require a USB Connectivity upgrade?the image is split into a number of Add USB connectivity to your application without completely redesigning the systemhorizontal bands and perform vanishingpoint detection on each of the image bands. Controllers Digital SignalThe number of edges belonging to the laneboundaries found by the Sobel filter willdecrease with distance, so the vanishingpoint of the lowest, and nearest, imageband is detected first. The vanishing pointson the upper bands are detected based onthe vanishing-point position of the lowerbands to reduce the detection error and theamount of processing needed. Detection Analogaccuracy is helped by tracking the positionof the vanishing point frame by frame onthe basis that the position of the vanishingpoint will not change dramatically. can perform up to eight 8bit multiply- comparison, in addition to the edge map accumulate (MAC) operations per clock from the original image. As the maximumTo extract the lane features and suppress cycle. The processor can be clocked at up to zooming ratio is set to be 0.9 in normalnoise from edges that do not belong to the 700MHz. , although we run it at 600MHz, . cases, the selected zooming areas havelane markings, a logical-AND operation is Due to the high precision required in some almost the same size as the original image.applied to the original image edge map algorithms a combination of 8 × 8bit and 4 × Therefore a large amount of data needs to Memoryand to the edge map from the scaled, 16bit MACs, which the processor supports, be transferred. However, a large portioninterpolated image on a pixel-by-pixel have been used. of the image is repeated for each pair ofbasis. If the interpolated edges overlap the adjacent selected areas. Reusing thewith the original image edges, these edges This processor also provides a video repeated areas will save the memoryare preserved. More of the noise can be subsystem. This provides a glueless transfer significantly.removed by rejecting edges that are clearly interface to the standard video decoder andat the wrong angle to be a lane marking. on-screen display. The combination of the In experiments, the initial gradient map video subsystem and the enhanced direct was very noisy, containing a large numberThe zooming and edge comparison process memory access (EDMA) that the processor of unwanted features. The resizing and Microchip o ers design engineers a complete, out-of-the-box solution that makes it easy ORDER YOUR MCP2200EV VCPis carried out with different zooming ratios supports simplifies considerably the data noise-removal algorithm successfully to add USB connectivity to existing systems.until most of the unwanted features are transfer from the camera to the processing removes most of the unwanted feature but DEMO BOARD FROM RS TODAY!removed. Typically, the lanes will remain buffer and from the output buffer to preserve the lane features, showing that The MCP2200EV-VCP USB-to-RS232 Demo Board is a low-cost evaluation tool which is supportedintact because, on a straight road, will the display. If the EDMA and the central the implementation results agree with the with software libraries and a PC based con guration tool, the board removes the burden ofremain approximately in the same position processing unit (CPU) are synchronised theory and are robust.on the image no matter the scale factor. The perfectly, the memory transfer overhead thoroughly understanding the USB protocol from system designers, which simpli es the additionother objects will disappear because they will be reduced to minimum. The possibility of using the on-chip resizer of customizable USB functionality to existing designs.will not match up in all cases. to interpolate the zooming areas needs toBased on experiments, ten iterations are The captured frames (test videos are in be further investigated. But the complete The Board serves as a complete USB-to-RS232 converter solution (dongle) and provides USB-to-GPIOnormally sufficient even under very severe NTSC format) are resized to 352 × 240 pixels system is running today in real-time at capability, enabling designers to manipulate the on-chip I/O from the included PC software, so thatconditions. During the edge comparison to reduce the computation, using the on- above 23 frames per second without they can program and test di erent functional con gurations.process, segmented lane markings will be chip resizer hardware. The resizer is capable the need to write code at the assemblyshortened because of the change in length of generating output images from 1/4× to 4× level and just by managing the memory The whole solution is designed to shorten time-to-market for a variety of applications in addition MCP2200EV-VCP : RS Stock No 699-0448 : ~ £16.00and position caused by the image scaling. the original image size in increments efficiently. Further optimisation could be to legacy RS-232 applications. MCP2200-I/MQ : RS Stock No 698-8990 : £1.54Although they will stay on the same line of 256/N where N is an integer between achieved by identifying the slow parts ofafter interpolation, the upper part of the line 64 and 1024. the code and optimise these parts using MCP2200-I/SO : RS Stock No 698-8993 : £1.42will be erased. intrinsics, linear assembly or assembly. Features: MCP2200-I/SS : RS Stock No 698-8997 : £1.42 The system was implemented can be • Powered via USBAs multiple vanishing points exist on separated into three main parts.The first issegmented images each of the image edge and vanishing-point detection, which • Test points for all GPIO pinsbands has its own corresponding vanishing takes 16% of the total computation power. • RS232 device and 9-pin D-sub connector for connecting to RS232 applicationspoint and the results of edge detection Handling multiple vanishing points takes 2% • Tx and Rx LEDs for indicating USB to UART tra c (when enabled)on each section are compared separately. of compute power.The last component of • Software for con guring special features of the deviceImage content above the vanishing line, the process, digital interpolation and featurewhich does not include useful information, extraction, is the most processor hungry,is not processed in order to reduce thecomputational complexity. taking 82% of the total computation power. Intelligent Electronics start with Microchip As the iterative zooming process normallyThe system was implemented on a Texas requires ten steps, ten different zooming See our full range of TI digital mediaInstruments TMSD6437 Digital MediaProcessor, based on the C64+ core which areas need to be transferred into internal memory for interpolation and edge processors available from stock at rswww.com/ti rswww.com/microchip18 eTech - ISSUE 4 The Microchip name and logo, the Microchip logo and PIC are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are property of their respective companies. © 2010, Microchip Technology Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. ME276Eng/08.10D

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