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If you follow me or read my blogs you know I am a huge fan of Kickstarter and how its fundamentally changed the way electronics come to market and the new devices that appear rarely disappoint.  Kickstarter Week  here on the community last December was a huge hit and we learned a lot about the technology people really will pay for upfront.  So when you combine Kickstarter with the IoT thats a potent market driver.   This is also the week of Embedded World so the market is awash with talk of everything IoT (for a quick rundown see Philippe Bressy's blog Embedded World 2015 has started, and what a start !).  An essential element of the IoT is connectivity and its a non trivial challenge to get your device talking to the world.  There are so many options, wifi, zigbee, bluetooth, cellular, ISM band and even the brand new SIGFOX.   Of all of these though the cellular route has some real advantages,  good coverage, especially outdoors, cheap low volume data plans ($2.99/month for up to 20,000 short messages in this case) and solid networks so when I saw this new Kickstarter from Spark I had to order one.


Alongside the cellular modem you get a ARM Cortex-M3 based controller (STMicroelectronics STM32F205) and a dead simple board layout for connecting peripherals and the antenna:


In the time its taken me to edit this post the $29 version is sold out but you can get in on the $39 version if you move fast.  Its products like this that will drive the IoT so go take a look and tell me what you think.

Chinese Version中文版:基于mbedFirefox OS WoT开发马拉松大赛

Firefox OS WoT (Web Of Things) Hackathon hosted by KDDI was held in Tokyo on the 14th and 15th February 2015.


Event information

[Event name] Firefox OS WoT Hackathon
[Date] 14th and 15th Feb 2015 10:00 - 20:00
[Lacation] Iidabashi station bldg., Tokyo
[Total attendees] 70
[Fee to join] Free
[Hash tag] #fx0xm
[Host] KDDI
[Support] ARM K.K., Mozilla Japan, Switch Science

About this hackathon

Created "web application which connects things and human" and "Things connected to web" by using FxO the Firefox OS Smartphone and mbed the Device Development Platform.

Here is the URL for event detail:


Tweets at hush tag #fx0xm:


Since it was the St. Valentin's Day, we're a little bit nervous about the number of registrations, but ended up increasing the number of capacity from 40 to 70.

As the two days hackathon starting from giving each other's ideas, developing both hardware and software to the final presentation of the completed product, it was probably the biggest hackathon in Japan.

ARM provided mbed LPC1768 boards and its support.



Mr. Yamabe of KDDI gave an opening speech saying "Thanks for coming to this even on the St. Valentin's day!" It was truly THE SPECIAL DAY for those attended to this event because they're so excited about playing with Fx0 and mbed.


After description of the event agenda, Mr. Nagaike of KDDI talked about his passion towards "KDDI WoT Hackathon" followed by describing the concept of WoT and about prepared materials and API services.


Giving ideas and short presentations with temporary teams

Self-introduction with own ideas was done. White boards and post-it were filled up with lots of ideas.


All ideas were put up and shared on Fabble, and simple presentations were added by each team.


Reorganized the team after this presentations.

Introducing support companies

Numbers of API and hardware were provided by companies listed below:

Technical descriptions were given by API support companies after fixing outlines of target products.ARM gave the presentation and mini workshop for those people never used mbed before including the lecture to pronounce mbed correctly.


The sample program of connection of mbed and Murata WiFi module TypeYD:


Starting the development!

The event venue was located very close to Akihabara, so there were some people going over there to get the parts they wanted. It was nice to see soldering; which rare at web based hackathon, form core and clay for decoration, cute stuffed animal, even bike! Hardware based hackathon is always fun.The closing time was 8:00 pm on the first day, but it was the hackathon! There were several people stayed up all night. Thanks to KDDI.Day 2! Arriving at 9:30, most of people were already working with the passion which can even melt the chocolate.Technical support teams were also busy helping to debug and giving them ideas.In the afternoon, we started to see "the product:Things with Internet" and getting excited about seeing their achievements. The time flied and there were only 1 hour left. Developing products, preparing for presentations, there was no time to rest during the 2 days event.fx0_work1.pngfx0_work2a.png


5 min. presentations were done by all 12 teams starting at 4:00 pm on the day 2.


Award and Cocktail Party

  • Special award from high school students: Dance Dance Wearable
  • Microsoft award: Hamster Cloud
  • Gracenote award: Jukebox to recognize atmosphere
  • KDDI "fx0" award: Sunny Finder
  • Mozilla award: Cycling Go! Go!
  • ARM award: Laughing "Foxkeh"


Closing Remarks

The size of the event was huge as the hackathon, but attendees were all enjoying and putting so much effort to create "Things with Internet". Collaboration with expert engineers with web technology including Firefox OS and engineers in embedded industry using technology including mbed were seen a lot.

Someone told me that "I've never used mbed before and I was amazed how easy to connect sensor and network by it". I'm looking forward to seeing more people to start using mbed through the event like this, and I'll continue supporting the events.

Other links

Hackathon report






Adding to my previous post, here are a few highlights about the many things happening at the moment at Embedded World 2015, with ARM and ARM partners.


Embedded World Award !

  We kicked off the day in the greatest fashion possible, with the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform winning the Embedded World Award, in the software category!

Zach Shelby received the award from the CEO of Nuremberg Messe, Prof. Sturm and the executive committee.




  These were great news, building upon the announcement of the IoT Starter Kit – Ethernet Edition, announced by ARM and IBM this morning at Embedded World. This kit includes the ARM® mbed™-enabled Freescale FRDM-K64F development platform, powered by an ARM Cortex®-M4 processor, access to IBM IoT cloud, and all the necessary parts needed to get started running the example programs right out of the box and developing your own IoT application!


Indeed, enabling embedded intelligence for a smarter world, ARM lowers the barriers to innovation and speeding it up, with its scalable efficiency, low-power computing capabilities, and software ecosystem and partnerships. ARM ecosystem partners are now innovating and embedding intelligence from sensors to servers.


As the ARM booth, you will find several demos about based on the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform, such as an Instrumented Booth Sensors to Servers, which includes ARM mbed-enabled Platform Sensors Connect via mbed Device Server Hosted on a 64-bit ARMv8 Server.


You can also see the latest ARM mbed OS development for Bluetooth® Smart, as well as the ARM mbed OS Integrated Thread Stack demos.


Of course you will find demos on ARM® Cortex® Processor Family, with Virtual Prototypes for Embedded Developers, Powertrain Control with Scaleo OLEA® Automotive Microcontroller, or Real Time Audio Processing on ARM Cortex-M7 with DSP Concepts demos..


You will also see demos of the latest tools from ARM, including ARM® Keil® Microcontroller Tools and ARM® DS-5 Development Tools.

Be sure to ask about the ARM Microcontroller Design Contest in cooperation with Elektor !


Technology entrepreneurs can now compete for a $10,000 prize fund in a contest to create a smart domestic or industrial device based on an ARM Cortex-M processor. The competition will run from March to June 2015 and will showcase just how quickly products can be designed by utilizing ARM CMSIS software components and middleware.


Finally, don’t forget to fill our survey at the booth, and enter a chance to win a Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband!


Our partners have also exciting ARM-based announcements and demos at their stand, so make sure you go and check them out:

  • At the Freescale booth (4A-220) demos about wearables solutions, smart health, energy, home or other IoT solutions based on ARM technology.


  • At the Atmel Hall (4A-230), among other things, you will see several demos on motor control, communication, wearables and IoT demos based on SMART SAM series MCUs. Be sure to ask about the latest SMART SAM S70/E70 ARM Cortex-M7-based MCUs!


  • At the ST booth (5-280), be sure to check the STM32 F7 MCUs based demo, such as a smart home concept demo. The STM32 F7 MCU is based on the Cortex-M7 processor.

You can also discuss about the newly launched STM32L4, Cortex-M4 processor based MCU. You can check Atmel’s blog: Atmel to showcase smart and securely connected solutions at Embedded World 2015

  • A the Silicon Labs booth  (4A-128), you will be able to see demos based on the 32-bit ARM®-based EFM32™ MCU, as well as multiple live Thread mesh networks. Networks consist of IP-based sensor nodes (temperature, ambient light, toggle switch), an Internet-connected border router and a cloud service that provides real-time visualization of the sensor data.


  • A the Hitex booth (4- 258), Keil will be present at the Safety booth, where you will be able to see presentations of ARM safety related products (Cortex-R, Compiler Qualification Kit), and a demo stand showing system analysis/validation of a Cortex-M system as it is required for safety





See you at the ARM booth !




In the United States, this is National Engineers Week. This annual event is aimed at raising awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] and the great contribution that workers in this area contribute to society. As a strong supporter and enthusiast for STEM subjects, even though I am not located in the US, I am very keen to participate in the activities this week.

With this in mind, I wanted to pose a question: Are you an engineer? …

It is quite likely that, since you are reading this blog, that on your business card or ID the word “engineer” makes an appearance. But that is not what I am asking. Are you really an engineer deep inside? Does this simple word define how you function on a daily basis?

OK. Consider these questions:

  • Are you dissatisfied by not knowing how something works?
  • Do you like taking things apart to see how they work [or did you do that as a child?]?
  • Do you regard a machine/device that does its job efficiently [and/or elegantly] as intrinsically beautiful?


To read the rest of these questions, visit the Colin Walls blog via Mentor Embedded.



Hello again! It's been awhile =). If you remember about three months ago during the Kickstarter week, I had a series of posts named the "Out of Box Analysis." Well it turns out there was a great response from the Community and it was determined we had a hit on our hands! As of this lovely February, there will be bi-monthly Board Breakdowns with "Monday Reveals" and "Following Friday" Finalists! The idea of the Breakdowns is to dive into what makes each development board tick. Each board will be live for a little under two weeks before the winners of the boards are revealed! A big thank you to our participating partners for helping to keep this aspect of the reviews alive: it's just not as fun to talk about how great a board is without the opportunity to share!

That's the scoop so let's move on to this week's board: the ST Nucleo-L152RE. This board has been staring at me since I got it a few months back and a few weeks ago when I received the Grove Starter Kit Plus it started beating me over the head, demanding my attention. When STMicroelectronics offered to donate a few boards to this purpose, it provided the perfect storm for me to test this board. The Arduino-compatible pins combined with Seeed Studio's base shield means I get to put this board to the test with some neat little sensors. This board, built with an ARM®Cortex®-M3 32-bit CPU, is a fantastic development board whether you are starting out or at an advanced level! Hopefully both of those experience levels will get the chance to try out the Nucleo family since I have a Nucleo-F030R8, F103RB, F334R8, F411RE, L053R8, and a L152RE to give away!



How do you get your hands on one of these boards? Comment below (here in the Connected Community) with how you would use this board for a chance to win! The winners will be announced by noon on Friday, March 6, 2015.


Image courtesy of developer.mbed.org



From a design aspect I have needed to take the physical size of the board into account, what voltage supply/ battery pack to purchase, the number of break out pins available for sensors, price and available documentation. These aspects have therefore been taken down in case they are important to anyone else’s design.

  • Physical dimensions (width x length)
    • 70mm x 82.5mm
  • CPU specs: Performance, Memory, Power
    • Input voltage: 3.3V, 5V, or 7-12V accepted
    • Operating voltage: 5V
    • Flash memory: 512 KB Flash with ECC and 2 bank of 256 KB
    • RAM: 80 KB RAM
    • EEPROM: 16KB
    • Clock speed: 32 kHz-32 MHz
  • I/O specs:
    • 116 I/Os (102 of which are I/Os 5V tolerant)
      • map to 16 external interrupt vectors
    • 1x USB 2.0 (internal 48 MHz PLL)
    • 5x USART
    • 3x SPI 16 Mbits/s (2x SPI with I2S)
    • 2x I2C (SMBus/PMBus)
    • Arduino Uno R3 pin compatibility


Courtesy of developer.mbed.org


The benchmarking for software was determined by the available IDEs, native languages, time to get started and the like.

Projects & Community

Whenever you take on a new project it is always nice to see what other people have done. Therefore the last section is dedicated to the resources already available.

Opinion time:

What I appreciate about the Nucleo boards


I appreciate that it has a lot of juice to do what you want and with the amount of peripherals you can do A LOT. Not all boards give you this much freedom so it's great. Most of the pinouts are also 5V compatible which is great for sensors as well! It's really easy to get a prototype up and going, so much so I ended up using it to make a demo for a presentation to kids using the Grove sensors. I used the Arduino-compatible female headers to attach the Grove cape, added an LED, a touch button and a buzzer and played a little tune using the pwm signal. (Word to the wise- when you're testing a buzzer DON'T try it at your desk. Murphy's Law will guarantee that it will work and Facilities will think you set off an alarm...) I also like that the pins are connected to the 16 interrupt vectors. Interrupts can be crucial for certain applications so 16 is more than enough for most applications of a microcontroller (props to you and your project if you need more than that on a microcontroller). My overall impression of this board is it opens up a lot of opportunities for you to choose what you want to do with it and does't really push you to go a certain direction.


*Warning on biases: I am a senior Computer Engineering student with a background in embedded systems. I have worked with a variety of ARM-based boards for projects over the years. I acknowledge that I have my own set of preferences based off of what has worked well in the past but I have tried to be as impartial as possible since not everyone has the same project goals.I am an intern at ARM but these opinions are my own. The donations aren't going to change my opinions- I don't get to personally keep them after the review. Instead they will be here at the ARM office in case any of our awesome Community members has a question that requires more than a dive into the schematics =). Finally, if you have had a different experience I welcome your feedback!

Most of you who’ve lived through the late ‘80s and ‘90s can’t distinctly recollect those Life Alert commercials with Mrs. Fletcher yelling, “Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” Lo and behold, the catchphrase would go on to become a pop culture phenomenon throughout the United States. Since then, there have been numerous attempts to develop solutions geared towards providing the elderly real-time support in the event of an emergency, especially when they’re unable to reach a phone. And, as we enter the era of constant connectivity, it’s no wonder more brands are turning to ARM-based wearable technology to help bring senior citizens online.


Inspired by her own 80-year-old mother who refuses to wear some of today’s bulky emergency alert products, UnaliWear CEO Jean Anne Booth decided to take matters into her own hands. Not only are a number of gadgets available today socially stigmatizing and downright ugly, they’re also limited to use in homes unless tethered to a mobile device — something many seniors do not have in their possession.

Dubbed a “Wearable OnStar for seniors,” Kanega is a stylish watch that provides discrete support for falls, medication reminders and a safeguard against wandering, as well as uses an easy-to-use speech interface rather than buttons. The Bluetooth-enabled wearable — which recently made its Kickstarter debut — is connected to a cellular network, meaning that it isn’t reliant upon Wi-Fi or having to be synced to a smartphone much like the Apple Watch or Samsung Gear.

Better yet, UnaliWear’s latest product can be worn 24/7 thanks to its waterproof casing. This allows for the band to be used in the shower or bath, where a majority of falls occur. Its well-lit display and other built-in features can even assist with issues that may arise at night, such as trips to bathroom or the kitchen for a snack.


Aesthetically it appears no different than a traditional watch, thereby eliminating the ignominy often associated with “needing” assistance. Instead, it first requests permission to speak by buzzing on a wearer’s wrist — something that will surely come in handy when in public. The device can even communicate over Bluetooth to newer generation hearing aids, as well as serve as a communications gateway for home telemedicine devices.

Shall an emergency arise, voice-activated assistance will connect you directly to a monitor who will confirm assistance should be dispatched to a location. If a user happens to activate help and doesn’t respond immediately, UnaliWear will call an emergency contact first or dispatch local medical assistance, depending on the preferences set.

At its core, the gadget is based on an Atmel | SMART SAM4L Cortex-M4 MCU and a ATWINC1500 module. While it may appear to be another smartwatch, it’s so much more. Aside from its “work anywhere” support, Kanega packs 200% more battery life, continuous speech recognition, patent-pending quick-swap batteries, GPS for proper tracking, and a 9-axis accelerometer. Detected falls trigger a watch-based query, which significantly reduces false alerts, and eliminate the need to be near a base station or smartphone.

What’s more, data is collected and sent to Verizon’s HIPAA-compliant cloud, which offers an analysis of the wearer’s lifestyle. Artificial intelligence learns the wearer’s lifestyle to determine likelihood of wandering, and updates the information on the watch — including activity and medication reminders — every night while asleep. This also helps a wearer obtain directions home or get help if they happen to stray from home.

Interested in a Kanega for a loved one in your life? Hurry over to its official Kickstarter page, where UnaliWear is currently seeking $100,000. Delivery for early backers is expected to begin in February 2016, while shipments to all other consumers slated for Summer 2016.


WiFi for All

Posted by jensbauer Feb 20, 2015

Perhaps this SoC type is 2 years old, but the price is new.

STM32W108HBU63 - 24 MHz ARM Cortex-M3, 2.4GHz IEEE 802.15.4 WiFi, 128kB Flash, 16kB RAM


This price makes WiFi (and IoT) very appealing!

This tiny 6x6 mm QFN40 (0.5mm pitch) package makes it possible to add WiFi to very small devices.


Here's how you get started; STMicroelectronics provide everything you need.


-So perhaps even I will start to use the IoT word...

Note: It may be difficult to solder a 0.5mm pitch QFN at home, however, your PCB manufacturer is often able to do that for you.

(I personally recommend Jaco, their quality is good, they allow low volumes from 5 pcs and up, their prices are very low, they pay attention to our environment, they are ESD aware and in addition, they're kind people).


Tell us what you will use the STM32W for in the comments below.

Hello developers!


I posted the document introducing how to get started with BLE in the IoT group but since embedded projects can also be connected I thought you guys should know about it too =).



If you are interested you should check it out here: Intro to BLE for Developers



Thanks =)

I'm posting this blog on behalf of Matt Benes of Tektronix who looks at the trade offs to consider for wireless connectivity:


Integrating ZigBee into your wireless designs

In my last post, I highlighted the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it is contributing to the need to become “unplugged.” This time I'm shifting focus from how to power these unplugged devices to looking at how these devices are able to connect wirelessly to the network.


There are numerous wireless technologies and standards available today, but three stand out from the pack for embedded applications: ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.


The use of these technologies has been growing rapidly over the past few years with no end in sight. The Wi-Fi Alliance claims there are more than 4 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices ready to connect today. David Blaza from ARM highlighted the rapid growth of Bluetooth in his Predicting the future using CES blog post. ZigBee is in the process of emerging from a group incompatible or proprietary technologies to become the de facto worldwide standard for the smart home, and is expected to see broad adoption in the coming years.

With all of the different wireless standards available to choose from today it can become a challenge just to figure out which will work best for your Kickstarter project design. Below is a table that compares these three wireless standards and will start to give you a better understanding of their typical applications.






Data rate

20, 40, and 250 kbits/s

1 Mbit/s

11 and 54 Mbits/s





Network topology

P2P, star, mesh, or Ad-hoc

Ad-hoc, small network

Point to hub






900 to 928 MHz (NA)

868 MHZ (EU) 2.4 GHz (worldwide)

2.4GHz2.4GHz & 5GHz

Power Consumption

Very low



Typical applications

Sensor networks, Industrial control, building automation, toys, games

Phones, laptops, headsets, cameras, printers, peripherals, serial cable replacement.

Broadband Internet, WLAN, Security cameras

ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi each have their own strengths and weaknesses that can be used to evaluate which would be best-suited for a particular application or design. The standard with the highest data rate capabilities is Wi-Fi at up to 54 Mb/s. This makes Wi-Fi the optimal solution where high data throughput is important, for example streaming video or sharing files. The main downside to Wi-Fi is its large power consumption, a problem for IoT devices that run at very low power to extend battery life. Also Wi-Fi is limited to point-to-hub connections, meaning the devices cannot freely communicate with one another without first connecting to a central hub.


Bluetooth is in the middle compared to Wi-Fi and ZigBee when it comes to performance. It is low power and is able to connect to multiple devices directly without the need for a central node. This makes Bluetooth a great candidate for the use in peripheral devices such as wireless keyboards, mice, and headsets. Bluetooth is limited in range so it is best used when all the devices being connected are in the same room.


ZigBee is the lowest performance of the three standards, but can often be the ideal choice for IoT applications. A key factor is that ZigBee uses very low power compared to the other two. Where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth battery life might be measured in hours or days, ZigBee can be optimized to last for weeks or months. Another impressive feature is ZigBee’s ability to have up to 65,000 devices connected to one another in a mesh type network.


With so many new Kickstarter IoT projects using ZigBee, it is important that designers know how to test their devices properly. There are a few different form factors to consider when looking for a ZigBee module to add to your device. There is the radio-only IC that is the barebones of the wireless technology and provides the greatest flexibility in your designs. However you must provide all the amplifiers and microcontrollers needed to utilize a ZigBee IC. Next there is the radio module with microcontroller and amplifier already integrated. This setup is the easiest to use as all the components necessary to make the wireless connection possible are already configured and assembled. The downside is that this form factor is larger and less customizable.


The Cortex-M Series from ARM provides a powerful microcontroller for all of your wireless design needs whether you need a bare microcontroller so you can have full flexibility or you are looking to save time with an integrated development board. The Cortex-M family is optimized for cost and power sensitive MCU and mixed-signal devices for applications such as IoT, connectivity, smart metering, human interface devices, automotive and industrial control systems, domestic household appliances, consumer products and medical instrumentation.


The MDO4000 Series mixed domain oscilloscope from Tektronix is ideal for testing ZigBee and other wireless technologies because of its unique ability to analyze signals in both the time domain and frequency domain. Although you can use the MDO4000 Series simply as a mixed signal oscilloscope or as a spectrum analyzer, the real power comes from the integration of the two. For example, you can see how your ZigBee design performs in both the time and frequency domains on a single instrument. Powerful trigger, search and analysis tools help you zero in on analog and digital anomalies, ecode serial buses alongside waveforms, and view the RF spectrum at any point in time.

Once the approach to the radio implementation is selected, the appropriate printed circuit board laid out, and any necessary software written, there are a number of tests to be performed to assure good communication in your Zigbee-based design. For many applications, there will be serial communications between the radio system and other parts of the product. For example, the microcontroller IC and modules use a four wire SPI connection to control the radio IC and any related components such as a power amplifier.

To illustrate some of the tests that should be carried out to verify radio operation, an amplified radio module with a demonstration board was used. The screen shots were taken using a  Tektronix MDO4000 series mixed domain oscilloscope  which allows simultaneous time correlated viewing of RF, analog, and digital signals. Setup and data commands are sent from a PC to allow manual control. Figure 1 shows the test setup. Note that a direct connection to the radio is used to facilitate power and other measurements. A calibrated antenna could equally have been used to take the RF measurements.

Tek zigbee 1.png

Figure 1. Test connections between microcontroller, demo board, ZigBee module, and MDO4000 series mixed domain oscilloscope


ZigBee RF compliance testing – The MDO4000 is unique in that it allows simultaneous viewing of the radio spectrum and the power supply as shown in Figure 2. The channel spacing for ZigBee is 5 MHz. The 20 dB channel bandwidth should be significantly less than the channel spacing. The measured occupied bandwidth of 2.3 MHz shown in Figure 2 is well within the specification. The output power is expected to be in the range of 20 dBm. The screen shows the output spectrum in the lower part of the screen and direct measurements of bandwidth and power. The test cable drop is about 2 dB in this frequency range, so the power measurement is in the range of what is expected. The orange bar at the bottom of the top half of the screen indicates the time period in which the spectrum trace is displayed. The spectrum time is defined as the window shaping factor divided by the resolution bandwidth (RBW). In this example, using the default Kaiser FFT function (shaping factor 2.23) and the RBW of 11 kHz, the spectrum time is approximately 200 us. Moving the spectrum bar across the time domain window allows the spectrum and measurements to be taken at any time during the packet transmission. This acquisition correlates just after turn-on of a radio packet transmission.

Tek zigbee 2.png

Figure 2 Time Domain and Frequency Domain displays. Orange Bar represents the spectrum time of the frequency domain display relative to the time domain measurements.


Simulated power supply failure. In Figure 3, a 1.5 ohm resistor is placed in series with the module to simulate the effect of a depleted battery. The current drawn by the module is only a few milliamps lower, but the voltage drop is about 230 millivolts. Note that the output power is reduced by 1 dB as measured by the RF power measurement and there is a slight increase in the adjacent channel noise can be seen in the spectrum display. The lower output can also be seen on the amplitude versus time (Trace A). It is often necessary to understand the performance of radio transmitters during low battery conditions or conditions when the power supply becomes current limited to understand the margins of radio compliant performance.


tek zigbee 3.png

Figure 3 Spectrum and measurements with resistance in series with the module power source to study low power performance behavior.


Digital Commands – Radio ICs and modules need to be set up to meet the operating requirements of the specific application and any protocol specific setups. The MDO allows decode of the SPI commands to the ZigBee module. The unique architecture of the MDO4000 allows simplified measurements between SPI command triggering and correlated RF events. In Figure 4, the trigger event is now the SPI command, the radio Transmit trigger command. Markers on the Time Domain display show the SPI command to current draw (at the beginning of the RF Tx turn-on) is 1.768 ms. This allows you to quickly determine the delay between when the command is given to the ZigBee device and when the ZigBee begins to transmit.

tek zigbee 4.png

Figure 4 Subsequent acquisition triggered on SPI command shows delay between command and radio turn-on.


These are only a few of the tests that would be needed to test and troubleshoot your wireless designs. For a more in depth testing guide for ZigBee designs see this instructional video from David Saar, Electrical Engineer and President of SAAR Associates. In the video you will learn how to make sure your device is regulatory compliant and ensure your device is working properly.


If you have any questions or comments, please add your thoughts below or feel free to drop me a line; Matt Benes matthew.benes@tektronix.com  or call +1 503 627 3222

What's been your experience with ZigBee?

After the top of the line Cortex-M7 announcements of recent months, Renesas is "retaliating" with the release of its full portfolio of 240MHz... Read more

10...9...8....The countdown has started to the world’s biggest Embedded Systems exhibition and conference, held in Nuremberg,  Germany. Some of the largest tradeshows in the world take place in Germany and Embedded World, which has had impressive growth over the last 10 years is no exception. The event saw over 26,000 attendees and 850 exhibitors in 2014 and will likely exceed these numbers in 2015.


Embedded World is a wonderful microcosm of the ARM® Ecosystem in action so please stop by our booth (Hall 5, Stand 338) to see live demonstrations in collaboration with our partners, on topics such as Internet of Things (IoT), Tools, Automotive, High performance MCUs and development systems.


As usual, there will be a lot happening within the ARM ecosystem at this year’s conference, so make sure you are well prepared for the event, such as ensuring you pre-register (with voucher code: ew15internet) this will get you free entry and save you a few Euros.


The tagline for the 2015 Embedded World show is “it’s a Smarter World” and this year expect to see the IoT becoming a reality in so many tangible ways. Embedded World has always focused on the industrial embedded market and many analysts believe that the first really significant IoT applications will come from this world in applications like transportation and intelligent machines.


Our theme for the ARM booth this year is “Enabling Embedded Intelligence for a Smarter World”.


With scalable efficiency and low-power embedded computing now a reality, the vision of a connected planet is now entirely possible and it is being enabled by ARM technology and the ARM partnership.  Whether those connections are across smart cities, vehicle fleets, or industry, the advances we are seeing are already improving society, safety and processes:


  • ARM will be showcasing its new ARM mbed™ IoT Device platform and free mbed OS, an open OS that simplifies and speeds up the creation and deployment of IoT products. Creating the software ecosystem for the future of IoT, mbed is aimed at both the developer and server community and now provides end-to-end solutions for IoT connectivity.


  • ARM enables scalable embedded platforms, from the tiny ARM Cortex®-M processor series to Cortex-R cores for real-time critical systems and the Cortex-A series for intelligent system platforms.



  • The ARM Cortex-R5 processor now has a comprehensive safety documentation package, announced in January 2015. Geared towards next-generation vehicle applications, it helps OEMs reduce development costs and time-to-market, and helps semiconductor vendors gain full ISO26262 accreditation with their automotive safety devices.


  • In addition to the above, ARM will be presenting:


    • Cortex-M7.pngThe Cortex-M7 processor, the latest addition to the Cortex-M family which debuted in September 2014. The Cortex-M7 offers double the compute and DSP capability of other ARM-based MCUs. It is targeted at high-end embedded applications requiring high levels of integer, DSP and floating point performance with flexible memory systems and fast real-time response.  It also has safety features built into the architecture and has documented processes to support applications requiring ASIL-D (ISO 26262) and SIL-3 (IEC61508) safety levels, to enable partners to build smart, energy-efficient devices in safety-critical applications
    • The latest ARM software development environments: the ARM KEIL® Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK) for ARM processor-based microcontrollers and the ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) for ARM application processors and SoC devices



Come to the ARM booth to grab your own copy of an infographic about ARM in Embedded or if you can’t be at the show just right click on this image to download and print your own.

Embedded Infographic.jpg

You will find hundreds of ARM based products at Embedded World, you can find a few examples of the exciting things our partners are doing at the event:


A few Embedded World ARM partner pages:


If you're attending the technical conference itself, then you can look forward to over 60 classes and sessions over three days, including several on ARM:


Tuesday February 24, 2015

09:30 – 10:00Efficient Interrupts on Cortex-M MicrocontrollersChris Shore
10:00 – 10:30Speed up application software using new Cortex-M featuresChristopher Seidl
12:00 – 12:30Debug, Test, and Verify Applications on ARM Cortex-M MicrocontrollersJohannes Bauer
14:30 – 15:00Memory Access Ordering in Complex Embedded SystemsChris Shore


Wednesday February 25, 2015

14:30 – 15:00Design of SoC with Embedded Processor for High Reliability SystemsJoseph Yiu


Partner activities:


Feb 24


ARM Cortex-M designed for RTOS kernelsJean Labrosse, Micrium

Feb 24


Advanced debugging on ARM Cortex target devicesMatthias Norlander, Atollic

Feb 25


Guidelines and Trade-offs for energy efficient system designMark Wallis,STMicroelectronics

Feb 25


Running an OS on ARM/FPGA hybrid architectureAnthony Pellerin, Adeneo Embedded

Feb 25


ARM TrustZone as a basis for safety critical systemsKonrad Schwarz, Siemens
Feb 25 13:30-14:00DSP vs. FPGA in ARM-based Heterogeneous SoC SolutionsJörg Hammerschmid, Enea

Feb 26


Real Time FPGA-ARM edge detection for embedded visionBryan Huang,Altera



In the meantime, keep an eye out for news, interviews and videos form the show over on ARMflix where we will create a playlist for the 2015 show – you can find last year's playlist here.

If you can’t be at the show why not follow the @ARMEmbedded twitter feed and also the @embedded_world twitter feed to get breaking news live from the event.


Wir sehen uns dort !


In the UK, it is well known that an early sign of being old is making the observation “don’t the policemen look young”. As I am an advocate of the “60 is the new 40″ concept [even though I have a couple of years to go], I like to think of myself as being up to date on most things. However, there are some areas of life that challenge me. Clothes fashion is one [that has always been the case – nothing to do with age!]; social networking is another …

It is not that I dislike social networking – quite the reverse. I enjoy being in touch with people and making new connections. My issue is that the “flavor of the month” seems to change an amazing rate [just like clothes fashions] and often for no obvious reason [ditto]. Anyone remember MySpace and Yahoo IM? I am a keen user of Facebook and LinkedIn and tweeting has been known to occur. And I still feel that, properly used, email is an excellent written communications channel. But no, I believe that I am supposed to use Instagram and WhatsApp nowadays, even though they have less functionality than their predecessors.


A social networking platform that has become more significant lately is Reddit. Broadly speaking, Reddit is a place to share stuff and then chat about and comment on it in a context of “communities”. It also offers the opportunity for broader discussion via AMA [“Ask Me Anything”] sessions. I thought that it might be interesting to host one of those …

So, you have an opportunity to literally ask me anything. I anticipate that it will be about embedded software, but please do not feel constrained to purely that topic. I am happy to chat about anything [well, almost anything!]. The session will take place live on Thursday 19 February at 09:00 PST[which is 12:00 EST, 17:00 GMT and 18:00 CET]. I anticipate being online for about an hour, but will check back in the day or so after the session.

You need to set up a Reddit account to participate, but that is free, of course, and only takes moments. To join my AMA session, you will need to follow a link. I will update this posting to include the link about 30 minutes before the session and also provide it via other social networking channels.

The PSDR, which some of you may remember was a Hackaday Prize finalist, is a standalone pocket-sized software defined radio ideal for those looking to stay connected while hiking or traveling abroad. Created by Michael Colton, the open-source device was originally designed for backpacking use by ham radio operators with complete coverage up to about 30MHz.


The LiPo battery-powered device -- which recently made its Kickstarter debut -- packs a 168Mhz ARM Cortex-M4-based MCU, a color LCD for its waterfall display, a single knob for selecting items from the screen, dual DDS frequency synthesizers, a built-in microphone and speaker, a magnitude and phase measurement chip, digitally-controllable instrumentation amplifiers, vector network analysis and a GPS receiver — all housed in an aluminum case.

The self-contained radio boasts an innovative interface equipped with pair of AT42QT1010 capacitive touch sensors, in addition to a USB connector for uploading firmware, keyboards and possibly remote Internet use.


“It’s built for rugged portable use. It is designed to be a flexible platform for development, a learning aid, and and a useful instrument for electronics enthusiasts,” Colton shares.

Pending all goes to plan, the Maker aspires that with the necessary crowdfunding, he will be able to enhance the PSDR’s design to include a media player, an e-reader and picture viewer, improved audio, GPS mapping, and serve as as an emergency location beacon. Interested in learning more? Head over to the project’s official Kickstarter page here.

This blog was originally posted on Atmel Bits & Pieces.

ARM University Program (AUP) in conjunction with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, in Assam, northeast India, organized a two-day faculty workshop on its Lab-in-a-Box (LiB) offerings on Efficient Embedded Systems. The workshop was supported by the local IEEE student body and NETES Institute of Technology & Science (NITS) Mirza, and aimed at reaching out to universities geographically tucked away in the northeast of India. In that sense, the workshop emphasized AUP’s equal-opportunity approach as well as commitment to reach out to geographically remote areas. The timing of the workshop, in addition, kind of rode on the heels of Indian PM Modi’s ‘make-in-India’ initiative and the emphasis he has laid on the northeast region with regard to his initiative.


Kick-off in the presence of IIT Guwahati Director Dr. Gautam Biswas
Inaguration Mod 1.jpg


The delegates were from all across the northeast region, covering at least ten other universities apart from IIT Guwahati. It was a full house with thirty participants on both days of the workshop, with each participant receiving a free workshop kit consisting of an ARM Cortex-M0+ based microcontroller unit (MCU), bread board, jumper wires, USB cable and essential peripheral components, all designed to make the workshop a hands-on experience each academic could carry onward into her/his daily teaching routine.


Trainees at the Workshop
Participants Mod 1.jpg

The workshop began with a run-through of the essentials of the ARM Cortex-M0+ architecture and ARM Keil version 5. Following this, the trainees were taken through the crucial connectivity basics of installing the flash driver on their laptops and the CMSIS debug-access-port (CMSIS-DAP) firmware on the MCU. In the first lab, participants started a new Keil Project from scratch for compile, pulling in the minimum set of required manufacturer supplied library files (startup file for resetting and initializing hardware and system file for configuring MCU) to be able to get to the point where a new application-program file with an empty main function can be compiled. Typical example application programs accompanying any MCU assume this knowledge.

The second lab emphasized understanding memory-mapped register methodology for programming a MCU. A blinking LED using the GPIO interface illustrated this, setting the stage for later labs by elaborating on the fundamental steps of MCU programming – reading data sheets for port functionality and connectivity info, selecting ports based on application requirements, enabling ports using the appropriate bits of the system-clock-gating-control register, selecting required port pin functionality using the mux bits of the pin-control-register, configuring port pins as inputs or outputs using the corresponding bits of the port-data-direction register, and finally driving port pins with a high or low signal using the corresponding bits of the set, clear, or toggle-output register.


Trainees being helped by AUP Assistant Radha Narayan Rao
Radha Helping Participants Mod 1.jpg


In the third lab, the participants built an electronic spirit level. Although complex, they learned the fundamentals of modular coding for reuse. The blinking LED program was recoded into two modular functions, one for initializing the LED and the other for controlling it, to show how modular code can be reused in developing new projects efficiently and quickly. In addition, the i2c bus was used for sending “roll” data measured with the on-board accelerometer to the MCU for processing. The fourth and final lab was on proximity sensing, wherein the participants were tested on the principles they learned in the previous labs. They were required to use an Analog-to-Digital Convertor (ADC) to process raw analog data representing the intensity of reflected Infra-red (IR) radiation from an object to figure out how far or near the object was to the IR sensor (IR Phototransistor).


Such was the level of engagement that at the end of the workshop, many delegates asked to repeat the workshop at their own institutions. Owing to the large number of such requests in recent times, they were pointed to the AUP-vetted and enabled training provider in India - EduVance. They believe workshops such as this would help educators and researchers in this region focus on the use of low-power ARM technology that is driving the internet of Things (IoT) on further developing this resource-rich region and consequently further narrowing down the socio-economic divide.

Hi all,


my presentation is related to Cortex-M exception handling. I have found the method to extract exception information form an exception stack frame.  Usually it can be done by getting the stack top by using the inline assembler as described in the post error: Hard Fault Handler. My presentation does not use the inline assembler. It will use the calling and receiving conventions of a function.

This procedure will be only valid under assumption the stack pointer is not switched. It means SPSEL bit of CONTROL register is "0".

As you know, arguments for a function will be passed via registers and the stack. In almost all case, the first 4 arguments will be passed via registers (i.e. r0, r1, r2 and r3) and as for after the 5th arguments will be passed via the stack. Therefore, for an exception handler declared as


void exception_handler(int a0, int a1, int a2, int a3, int a4, int a5, int a6, int a7, int a8, int a9, int a10, int a11)
    /* the body of the handler */


the stack contents just before calling the exception handler would be set from a4 to a11. That is,


   a0 ... register r0 value

   a1 ... register r1 value

   a2 ... register r2 value

   a3 ... register r3 value

   a4 ... stacked r0 (i.e. the same as a0)

   a5 ... stacked r1 (i.e. the same as a1)

   a6 ... stacked r2 (i.e. the same as a2)

   a7 ... stacked r3 (i.e. the same as a3)

   a8 ... stacked r12

   a9 ... stacked lr

   a10 .. stacked pc

   a11 .. stacked psr


If you want to get the SVCall parameter,


      scv_param = *(char *)(a10 - 2);


would be able to get it in the exception handler.


If you want to change the return address,


    *(short *)(&a10) = NEW_RETURN_ADDRESS;


would be realized it.


Although I have not seen it, for the compiler which had not adopted the register argument passing, it would be the a0 would be the stacked r0, the a1 would be the stacked r1, and so on.


How about my idea. Or someone had already mentioned it.


Best regards,

Yasuhiko Koumoto.

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