Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

adl embedded systems

Exclusive interview with JC Ramirez, director of engineering, ADL Embedded Solutions

If there’s one problem most companies would be happy to have is the one related to having too many orders to deal with. 

This is the situation ADL Embedded Solutions finds itself in, according to JC Ramirez, the company’s director of engineering and product manager.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Ramirez says the company is experiencing “serious growing pains”, especially in Germany, where there is “too much work” going on.

ADL has generally been highly regarded and known as a “board company”, specialising in supplying technology for military and defence applications.

But the company has been going higher, into the upper levels of integration with its products in the past few years.  Continue reading Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

Tiny chip capable of running deep neural networks could accelerate robotics development

movidius

One of the challenges in robotics development is the fact that the computer processing required is just massive, often too much for a complex machine to handle onboard without packing very large pieces of hardware. 

One way around it has been to connect the robots up to cloud computing systems which run such things as neural networks and can remotely process data – but this is inefficient and slow.

Even if takes a few seconds to process massive quantities of data, those seconds are just too much time wasted for a machine such, for example, an autonomous car on the move – these things need to be instantaneous.  Continue reading Tiny chip capable of running deep neural networks could accelerate robotics development

ADL launches what it claims is ‘industry’s smallest Intel-based embedded device ever’

adl 1500 device

ADL Embedded Solutions has launched its ultra-compact ADLEPC-1500 Embedded PC, which the company claims is “the industry’s smallest Intel-based embedded device ever released”.

At 3.4” x 3.2”, the ADLEPC-1500 is a “full-feature embedded PC” targeted at unmanned, industrial controls, robotics, traffic management and surveillance market, says the company.

ADL adds that the device’s wide voltage and temperature range make it “ideal” for a variety of applications and environments.  Continue reading ADL launches what it claims is ‘industry’s smallest Intel-based embedded device ever’

Industrial internet: Advantech joins LoRa Alliance

advantech

Advantech, which claims to be one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial computers and “intelligent systems”, has joined the LoRa Alliance. 

The LoRa Alliance is open, non-profit association which provides a forum for its 400 members to develop standards for internet of things technologies.

Advantech says it will provide the LoRa gateway and sensor node devices based on the M2.com open standard for Industry 4.0 and Smart City applications.  Continue reading Industrial internet: Advantech joins LoRa Alliance

Human-machine interface league: The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

Philip Oakey
What, him? Together in electric dreams… Phil Oakey of The Human League in his heyday, with mullet out of sight for once. Oakey had no idea about cloud computing.

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier EU Automation examines how digital decay is affecting industry

The 80s: an era of double denim, floppy disks and such classics as Don’t You Want Me, by The Human League. Back then, the concept of storing the vinyl collection of your standard new romantic as well as enough movies to rival the local video shop on a “cloud” was unimaginable and let’s be honest, ridiculous.

Today, data storage for consumer and industrial technology is advancing rapidly, but what does this mean for older industrial devices?

Digital decay describes storage media, or anything stored in computerised form, gradually decaying over time. Much like the spine of a well read book will crack and its pages will fade and crease, digital media is also vulnerable to breakdown and deterioration over time. For consumers, the throw out and upgrade attitude to storage devices is fine, but for industrial manufacturers it’s not quite so simple.  Continue reading Human-machine interface league: The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

Qualcomm unveils first communications chip for connected cars

qualcomm at ces

Chip giant Qualcomm has revealed its first communications chip for connected cars, a market in which it is soon to be dominant after its acquisition of NXP Semiconductor goes through. 

Presenting the new chip at CES, Patrick Little, Qualcomm’s senior vice president of automotive, said the chip can handle cellular signals at speeds measured in gigabits per second, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

“No longer will you be cranking windows and pushing buttons,” WSJ quoted Little as saying. “You’ll walk into your car and it will feel like a very seamless transition with your handset.”

Full report on Wall Street Journal

Reality ain’t what it used to be: The Sword of Damocles gets a reboot

Leroy Spence, head of sales development at industrial spares supplier EU Automation, looks at how AR and VR are changing the world of manufacturing

The Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens and even Google Cardboard are a far stretch from the first virtual reality headset, created in 1968 by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland.

The concoction was called the Sword of Damocles and, because of its formidable size and weight, had to be anchored to the ceiling so it didn’t crush the user.

Almost 50 years later, we are only now seeing VR and augmented reality being used in manufacturing environments.  Continue reading Reality ain’t what it used to be: The Sword of Damocles gets a reboot

Maxim Integrated launches new PLC development platform

maxim-Pocket IO PLC Development Platform

Maxim says its new platform transforms traditional manufacturing processes with real-time intelligence, adaptive manufacturing, and distributed control

Maxim Integrated has launched a new Pocket IO programmable logic controller development platform which its says can significantly increase manufacturing productivity.

The company says the platform provides customers with the ability to achieve the smallest form factor and highest power efficiency for next-generation PLC designs.

Lost productivity is a common concern for Industry 4.0 designers challenged with keeping a manufacturing line running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Continue reading Maxim Integrated launches new PLC development platform

Beyond Moore’s Law: Human-plus-machine computing

d-wave processor

By Adam Devine, vice president of marketing, WorkFusion

How do we move forward in a world where Moore’s Law no longer holds true? For five decades, Gordon Moore’s famous prediction about processing power doubling about every two years held firm.

It was a reliable sort of constant as innovators continued to increase the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits.

But all good things must come to an end, and Moore’s Law has been confounded by another, more immutable law: physics.  Continue reading Beyond Moore’s Law: Human-plus-machine computing

Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

raspberry pi starter kit

New manufacturing hub in Japan complements UK production operation and expands capacity for famed Raspberry Pi microcomputer

RS Components and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have agreed a deal which will see the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi 3 credit-card-sized single-board computer being manufactured in Japan under a local contract manufacturing arrangement.

This increase in global production of Raspberry Pi is to serve large and increasing demand for the popular platform in the Asia Pacific region.

William Chong, head of product, supplier, inventory and pricing management, Asia Pacific, RS Components, says: “Existing models of the Raspberry Pi will continue to be manufactured in South Wales, UK, with the dual manufacturing locations in place to cater for future demand growth globally.

“Asia Pacific is a significant growth market for Raspberry Pi, and this new ‘Made in Japan’ element means that we are now geared up for this growth.”  Continue reading Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

Infineon chip solves Rubik’s Cube in about one half of one second

rubik infineon
Picture from Caschy’s Blog

Lightning fast machine sorts out the squares in 637 thousandths of a second

The Rubik’s Cube is one of the world’s most famous puzzles, and one of the best-selling products in history. 

Tens of millions – possibly hundreds of millions – of people have tried to manipulate the cubic puzzle to manoeuvre the colours so they match on all six sides. And millions have succeeded.

But it would impossible for any human to do what a machine did earlier today at the electronica trade fair, where a machine called “Sub1 Reloaded” pulled off the feat with the help of microchips from Infineon in less than a second – 637 thousandths of a second to be exact.  Continue reading Infineon chip solves Rubik’s Cube in about one half of one second

Board leader: 10 million Raspberry Pi units sold and new kit launched

Raspberry Pi sold its 10 millionth unit last month, four years after its founders launched the tiny computer, expecting to sell only a few thousand. 

Writing on the company’s blog, one of the founders, Eben Upton, says “imagine how strange it feels” to announce having sold 10 million, and that the figure has “beaten our wildest dreams by three orders of magnitude”.

Raspberry Pi was originally started to provide encourage to more people to join the Computer Science courses at Cambridge University, UK.  Continue reading Board leader: 10 million Raspberry Pi units sold and new kit launched

Small potatoes: A closer look at chips

microprocessor

One of the issues with analysing the chip market, as with some others, is that the products are complex and have a huge array of applications. This often makes it difficult to compare one chip with another. 

Moreover, some people might not know the difference between a micro-processor and a micro-controller, or what a semiconductor is… and where microchips fit into all this.

So here’s an attempt at an explanation. Continue reading Small potatoes: A closer look at chips

Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

qualcomm headquarters

Mergers and acquisitions happen quite frequently these days, and there’s a lot of interest surrounding them. 

For example, there are currently strong rumours that US smartphone chip giant Qualcomm is about to buy NXP Semiconductor for $40 billion.

NXP itself last year bought Freescale for $12 billion. The deal gave NXP access to the market for micro-controllers, in which Freescale is one of the leading companies.

And in a separate, similarly large deal, Japanese communications colossus SoftBank recently agreed to buy the British chip designer ARM for $32 billion.  Continue reading Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

Qualcomm and NXP ‘agree $40 billion deal’

nxp chip on board

Chipmakers Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors have reportedly agreed a $40 billion takeover deal, according to CNBC

Wall Street Journal reported a couple of weeks ago that Qualcomm was in negotiations to buy NXP for $30 billion, and TechCrunch.com says the acquisition would be “a huge consolidation move for the silicon industry”.

Neither company has so far commented on the talks, and have not confirmed they are taking place.

But now, CNBC is confident that Qualcomm and NXP “have agreed an all-cash handshake deal that Qualcomm will pay $110 a share for NXP … in a deal that would be close to $40 billion”.

Qualcomm has a market capitalisation of more than $100 billion, and earned over $25 billion in revenue in 2015. The company has 27,000 staff and is headquartered in California, in the US.

NXP is valued at $35 billion and had revenues of $6 billion in 2015. It has 45,000 staff and is headquartered in the Netherlands, Europe.