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Internet of Things

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When director Sam Esmail was casting for his latest cyberpunk–thriller TV series Mr. Robot, we’re surprised serial hacker Samy Kamkar wasn’t in the running for the star role. That’s because, in just the last year alone, the 29-year-old has devised a plug-in box capable of tracking everything you type, a 3D-printed robot that can crack combination locks, and his own radio device for online anonymity. Added to that growing list is a tablet-sized unit can easily tap into and wirelessly take control of a GM car’s futuristic features.


Undoubtedly, car hacking will be a hot topic at this year’s Black Hat and DEFCON events. Cognizant of this, the Los Angeles-based entrepreneur has created what he’s calling OwnStar, a device that can locate, unlock and remotely start any vehicle with OnStar RemoteLink after intercepting communication between the RemoteLink mobile app and OnStar servers.

As you can see in the video below, the system is driven by a Raspberry Pi (ARM Cortex-A7) and uses anATmega328 to interface with an Adafruit FONA for cellular connection. After opening the OnStar RemoteLink app on a smartphone within Wi-Fi range of the hacking gadget, OwnStar works by intercepting the communication. Essentially, it impersonates the wireless network to fool the smartphone into silently connecting. It then sends specially crafted packets to the mobile device to acquire additional credentials and notifies the attacker over 2G about the new vehicle it indefinitely has access to, namely its location, make and model.

First reported by WIRED, Kamkar has revealed that if a hacker can plant a cheap, homemade Wi-Fi hotspot somewhere on an automobile’s body — whether that’s under a bumper or its chassis — to capture commands sent from the user’s smartphone, the results for vulnerable car owners could range from pranks and privacy breaches to actual theft.


With the user’s login credentials, an attacker could do just about anything he or she wants, including tracking a car, unlocking its doors and stealing stuff inside (when carjacking meets car hacking), or starting the ignition from afar. Making matters worse, Kamkar tells WIRED that remote control like this can enable a malicious criminal to drain the car’s gas, fill a garage with carbon monoxide or use its horn to drum up some mayhem on the street. The hacker can also access the user’s name, email, home address, and last four digits of a credit card and expiration date, all of which are accessible through an OnStar account.

It’s evident that Kamkar’s objective here isn’t to help thieves and endanger the lives of drivers; instead, he is hoping to utilize OwnStar to raise awareness around the vulnerabilities of connected cars. Fortunately though, the actual issue lies on the mobile software and not the GM vehicles themselves. The carmaker has already been receptive of this discovery and plans to fix the matter at hand. Until then, the hacker advises owners to refrain from opening the app until an update has been provided by OnStar.

Intrigued? Kamkar says that he will provide more details around this and other hacks at DEFCON,which he will share on his website as well. Until then, you can watch the demonstration that was conducted on a friend’s 2013 Chevy Volt.

This blog originally appeared on Bits & Pieces.

Our world is connected. With 26 Billion devices expected to be deployed by 2020, the Internet of Things will be a reality for everyone of us in a very near future. From smart cities to smart homes and wearables, the applications are numerous and each might require a specific SoC to make it connected, responsive, efficient.


IoT endpoints face the challenge of connectivity, power consumption and security. Designing a new SoC for endpoints is complex and involves risk. ARM’s IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M processors lowers both these factors by integrating together a verified subsystem, enabling design teams to build around it so they can focus on the unique features of their design. Specifically designed for use with Cortex-M processors and optimized for integration with mbed OS and the Cordio Bluetooth Smart radio, the subsystem can also be interfaced with Wi-Fi or 802.15.4 radios.


As I read the post Moving forward in IoT, I kept wondering how one could build applications based around the ARM IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M processors and what could be typical systems for smart cities, the smart home and wearables.

Smart cities: Street Lights

Street lights are already a big part of our cities' infrastructure and form a complete network. Turned off to save energy, they could light up as cars drive by and then turn off automatically when no traffic has been observed for a while. Able to sense the presence of vehicles, they could provide real-time traffic conditions by sending back the information they collect through the mesh network they form or directly through cellular communications. Fitted with fine particle sensors, lighting systems deployed in cities could also provide information on pollution levels and help controlling which vehicles are allowed to circulate.


A street light control system could be built around the following elements:

  • Sensing: Temperature (TI HDC1000), Ambient Light (TI OPT3001), Motion sensor
  • Connectivity: Sub-GHz radio (ST SPIRIT1), LTE radio
  • Positionning: GPS module (TI CC4000)
  • Processor: Cortex-M3 SoC

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 17.15.20.png

Smart Home: Connected Smoke Detector

In 2013, in the US alone, almost 400,000 residential fires were reported, leading to 7 billion dollars in direct property damages and many casualties. Security in our homes is critical and today’s technology can enable solutions to prevent such catastrophes. Smoke detectors are essential to detect fire hazards and carbon monoxide leaks. Connected to the hub in our homes or directly to the Internet, smart smoke detectors can alert us when we are either home or away.

A smoke detector can be built around the 4 following elements:

  • Sensing: Smoke chamber (Infrared LED coupled with a photo-diode), Carbon Monoxide (Figaro TGS5342), Temperature sensor (TI HDC1000)
  • Processor: Cortex-M3 SoC
  • Connectivity: embedded 802.15.4 radio and Wi-Fi (Murata TYPE ZX module)
  • Alarm: LED and siren interfaced through GPIO

smoke detector.png
Smart Home: Connected Thermostat

A connected thermostat can be built around the following elements:

  • Sensing: Temperature & Humidity sensor (TI HDC1000), Ambient Light sensor (TI OPT3001), Pressure sensor (MS5607-02BA03)
  • Processor: Cortex-M3 SoC
  • Display: controller (ON LK79451KB) and E-paper display
  • Connectivity: ARM Cordio Bluetooth radio and Wi-Fi (Murata TYPE ZX module)
  • Interface: Knob & Buttons interfaced through GPIO

Smart thermostat.png

Wearables: Smart Wristband

68 million. According to research firm Gartner, this will be the amount wearable devices shipping for 2015. With 11.4 million devices sold only in first quarter of 2015 shipments have tripled year on year. Smarter, smaller, better connected, more and more accurate, smart wristbands are becoming ubiquitous and enable us to keep track of our activity and push ourselves to live a healthier lifestyle.Smart wristbands are built around 3 common core functionalities: motion detection, data processing and connectivity.

With these elements in mind, a simple smart wristband based around the IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M processors could integrate the following components:

  • Sensing: MEMS based accelerometer with a digital interface (ex. ST Microelectronics LIS3DH).
  • Processor : Cortex-M3 processor, IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M, Cordio Bluetooth radio and peripheral interfaces.
  • LEDs and a vibration motor to give the user notifications.


Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 17.12.26.png

For Internet of Things (IoT) designs, the consumer segment is a sexy siren call, but enterprise applications are where the money is, according to a top analyst from IDC.

Vernon Turner IDC

Vernon Turner, senior vice president of enterprise systems and IDC Fellow, said consumer whims coupled with volatility among  providers — due to mergers and acquisitions — make IoT far less lucrative in the near term than the enterprise. The latter segment is where companies want to drive more efficiency into their operations and nurture loyalty among customers by leveraging IoT technology.

Turner (pictured, left, courtesy of Huawei) said that by 2018 the consumer sector will account for 30 percent of the installed base of IoT devices, while the enterprise will account for the rest. However, the consumer sector will generate just 10 percent of the anticipated spend in that year, he noted.

“The real value for IoT is in the enterprise space,” Turner said during an IDC online webinar Thursday (July 23).

Boom times

Between now and 2020, the global IoT market will grow nearly 17 percent per year, with western Europe growing faster than the average, North America growing at about the average rate and Asia growing just slightly below the average, Turner said.

“Asia doesn’t look back,” he said. “It’s growing slightly less than the market as a whole, but it’s the biggest market and slowing down is not a problem for Asia.”

CES IoT Display-cropped.jpg

The global IoT market will generate $1.68 billion in revenue in 2020 compared with $780 million this year, he noted. In 2014, there were 10.3 billion IoT devices installed around the world; by 2020 that will grow to 29.5 billion or a compound growth rate of 19.2 percent, he added. The rate of end points connected will almost double from about 4,800 per minute today to 7,900 per minute in 2020, according to IDC’s forecast.

This is great news of course, but who will be driving this in the enterprise segment? Not surprisingly, larger companies, which have budget and motivation to invest in IoT. What kind of motivation? The two biggest are:

  1. To increase operational efficiencies
  2. To improve customer service and support.

Indeed the larger the company, Turner said, the more those two factors motivate investment.

The two biggest barriers to IoT adoption are concerns around security and cost. The first is important for all companies, but particularly acute for larger enterprises, according to IDC research. The second (cost) is more of a concern for smaller companies, which are often less resourced.

The draw for certain sectors

Some business segments are much keener to embrace IoT solutions than others, according to IDC’s research. Telecommunications, banking, utilities, investment services and process manufacturing companies are more likely to put aside budget for IoT investments in the coming years compared with organizations in government, education and construction, Turner said.

Turner highlighted a dynamic that’s not yet getting wide notice: How company cultures are responding to IoT technologies. IoT is often seen as a disruptive threat inside companies due to, among other things, fears around job security, he argued. This can affect how companies invest in IoT solutions. This has led to a movement to crowd-fund IoT development outside companies.

He called out Sony’s First Flight development effort, launched July 1, for crowdfunding and e-commerce solutions.    

“This is fairly new in the market space. We’re seeing a lot of ‘phantom’ startups out there,” Turner said. “This is similar to ‘spin in’ companies. IT can’t develop something because of its culture, so they create a separate company and it gets spun in or goes public.”

Earlier this year, IDC announced three available reports for IoT in this release.



Related stories:

Embedded & IoT News roundup (July 20, 2015); Thread wireless spec rolls out and US retailer Target shows off their Smart/IoT home

Embedded World 2015 - More than The Internet of Things

5 Challenges of Internet of Things Connectivity


Welcome to Home Smart Home

Posted by bfuller Jul 22, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO—Somewhere on the spectrum between hype and hope and “it’ll never happen” lies the future of the Internet of Things.


In electronics design, the ecosystem is driving hard toward delivering devices, software and tools to enable this vast and vague application nirvana to take off. For retailers it could be huge...or not. They’re trying to figure it out as intensely as we are.

So kudos to Target for creating a permanent space in its downtown location here dedicated to the connected home. The 3,500-square-foot display opened last week, and when David Blaza and I arrived at midday, it was thronged with consumers.

David Newman, leader of Target’s Enterprise Growth Initiatives Team, chatted with us for a few minutes as families and folks poked at touch screens, bounced a digitally-connected basketball and marveled at myriad technologies—all of which you could buy right there.

In short, he said Target is nurturing both its customer community and its vendor community through the Home Smart Home project, which may expand over time to other locations. (Target’s not alone in its effort to seed and educate the market: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy and others are pushing into home automation.)

Customers get to see the possibilities and feed back ideas to Target and Target gets to share some data with vendors about what was interesting to guests.

He also said he was keen to connect with silicon providers who might want to engage in the promotion. We could easily see a semiconductor open house event at this location, couldn’t you?

Here’s a sampling of the 35 products on display:


Petnet: Alas ole Buddy passed on from our family last year, but I might have bought this for him. The Petnet SmartFeeder is a sensor equipped, Internet-connected food feeder for animals. You can control portions and timing from your and when you’re running low on kibble it’ll order you a new batch for delivery. I like it and so do investors who have swarmed around the technology. And I’d like the robotic pooper scooper, please, to complement this (someone's got to be working on this at this very moment!).


A related product, the Whistle pet collar-tracker, I could have used in the 1980s when I had a dog who managed to escape the back yard 25 times.


Tile: The smart object-locator device has already caught fire in consumer minds. (And among crowd-funding investors, who ponied up $2.5 million to help the $20 devices come to market).


Mimo: This baby-monitoring technology created by MIT alumni and dropouts aims to keep track of an infant’s respiration, pressure, moisture and temperature. Sensors push the data into the cloud where parents/caregivers can monitor. The idea is to keep an eye out for potentially unhealthy sleep patterns or fatal issues such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Next up on Mimo’s roadmap? A smart bottle warmer that ties into the monitor and sleep-prediction data to be ready by baby stirs.


Wink: The connected home solution provider had a hub on display and a demo showing how to connect and control various application devices (connected doors, locks, lights and so forth).


One Wink-connected device, Rachio, is an automated sprinkler-control system.


You get the idea. Whatever you think about the various applications in this--the first--generation of connected devices, the Internet of Things, its creativity and its communities are stepping up to the innovation challenge. It’s really no different than the mid-1990s when we were first building web pages and trying to figure out how to make use of the Internet.

So, what would buy? What you design for this marketplace to be on display at places like Target?

Related stories:

The Low Cost, Mass Market Connected Home is Finally Here

Technology for our Connected Lives at Home Comes to Life at Computex

Hive’s smart home system will keep you informed and entertained


After being an after thought for many product makers, audio processing has taken on a new sexiness.   Look at the recent product announcement by GoPro.  Aside from the smaller packaging, the innovation is in its microphone processing.  DSP Concepts has been solving audio problems for our customers who understand the importance of audio.  In GoPro's case, their team go out of their way to test out real life use cases.  Some of their team members have extreme sports fatigue, but wow, what a wonderful job to have to jump off planes, ride their motorcycles, go surfing, skiing, biking for a job!  They care about their audio to not impact the sound of their motor sports.  Audio is as much as video to the experience of the user.  Nick Woodman gets that and is passionate about that.


Consider Zero UI and why is this a new frontier of technology.  For years, we interact with computers through pecking at our keys and swiping the screens, but these are not natural interactions.  The next breakthrough is to have natural interactions with our smart devices.  And what's more natural than audio?  After all, hearing sound is the first sense of human developmental milestone ahead of sight and touch.


Which brings us to IoT and how audio will be an important component to that, particularly those that interact with humans.   I am sure ARM executives  Simon SegarsIan Drew already see the important role ARM plays in enabling this new brave world.  The MCU's capabilities, Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M7, enhanced by the DSP CMSIS library is rocking the traditional DSP options.  MCUs are much cheaper because of the sheer volume manufactured for other uses.


All of this need for audio development is great except that there is a choke point in the system.  This article on the EE-times by David Blaza highlights a scarcity issue.  The bottleneck of all projects will be with the audio DSP engineers.  Audio is an unique problem in that it takes all three skill sets to produce a good audio product.  One missing component, and you get a sub-par audio product.  In isolation, audio DSP engineers will design off their graphs and numbers and not realizing the importance of psychoacoustics or hearing perceptions that is familiar to audio engineers.   The gap can't easily be bridged except through an easy to use common platform like Audio Weaver.  Audio Weaver brings the arcane method of audio development process to the new agile process.  It tightens the iteration time necessary in any audio development.  Audio is special in that real-time tuning is critical.   And specific form factors affect the audio.  That's why having the ability to tune at the last moment in the form factor is critical. 


It's true that there is improvements to be made and innovations to be had, but we are well on the way there.  The world of the future is going to look differently or hear differently than today, for sure.  As a good friend from Amazon who recently gave us the Echo to evaluate told me: "I used to love my Sonos, but now the Echo is making me hate my Sonos."  Why?  It's the ease of use.  He says he doesn't have to whip out his phone, scroll through to find the app, launch the app, and enter the zone to play anything.  He just talks to Alexa.


ARM based NAS

Posted by jensbauer Jul 9, 2015

I'm a big fan of Western Digital.

There's a reason for this. Where other harddisks were destroyed during use, my Western Digital drives keep working; even though they had a tough ride with Post Denmark (our post delivery service where I live).

8 harddisks from 5 different top harddisk vendors gave up on me, all within 2 years, but Western Digital is the only one, which still works faithfully on all drives - these are between 2 and 8 years old now.


You've seen a lot of Network Attached Storage devices; most of them have been using Intel's Atom processors until recently.

But now ARM based NAS are moving into the market and stealing shelf space from the others in the stores.


Western Digital is one of the companies that moved from Intel Atom to an ARM based system; their My Cloud EX4100 is my favourite; it has dual Gigabit Ethernet and supporting up to 4 x 6GB = 24GB storage in a single NAS. Of course it has wireless connections to your laptops, tablets and phones also; it's running Linux and they allow customizing, since it's based upon open-source firmware.

The ARM chip is a Marvell Armada 388 dual Cortex-A9 running at 1.6 GHz.

Note: There's also a smaller My Cloud EX2100, which use a Marvell Armada 385 dual Cortex-A9 running at 1.3 GHz. The EX2100 also have two Gigabit ports like the EX2100, where the predecessor EX2 only had one.

You may know already that I'm also quite fond of Marvell Semiconductor as well, because they've made a very fast ARM-based Serial-ATA RAID controller.


WDC's "My Cloud" series targets both nerds and normal users. It's easy to connect to the home theater so you can stream videos to your TV-box, connect mobile devices via WiFi, allocate user space and up/download files to it. You can have Web- and FTP-servers running on it and it supports rsync for those who need a daily/weekly/monthly backup (if you have a Mac, Carbon Copy Cloner uses rsync). It might also be a good idea to finally have one place for all your photos, so you can access them from any of your devices - even from your laptop, tablet or phone when you're not at home.

If you're a more advanced user, you may be able to add a mail-server and a git-server as well.


This device is a particular interesting "meeting point" for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows based platforms, so you would not have to go through the trouble setting up NFS, SAMBA, Netatalk and try to get them working together (I still haven't succeeded getting Netatalk working on my Cubian).

You can see more details under the "Specifications" tab on the web-sites for the EX2100 and EX4100.

New memories and more fog computing. That was ARM CEO Simon Segars' message to an audience of technologists at a recent IMEC event.

ARM CEO Simon Segars at CDNLive Silicon Valley 2015

It was the latest in a series of public presentations the executive has given in the past two years in which he outlines directions he believes the industry should pursue to enable a new era of computing and communications.

It began with his first ARM TechCon keynote as CEO in the fall of 2013 when he declared:

“The network we have today just can’t absorb orders and orders of magnitude more data. We’re going to have to change the network. The network itself is going to have to evolve. Silicon content is going to have to grow.”

It continued this spring during a keynote (pictured nearby) he delivered at Cadence Design Systems'  CDNLive Silicon Valley ( To Combat Battery Constraints, Think (and Design) Differently, Segars Says)  in which he called for engineers to think about a more distributed approach to computing resources to enable a more efficient network:

“The architecture of the network hasn’t changed for a long time.  We think we can extend intelligence throughout it to turn it into what can be another platform of innovation.”

And the latest vision emerged recently at the IMEC Technology Forum in Brussels, where Segars said a new class of non-volatile memories is needed to propel IoT applications around the world. In addition, he continued to push his distributed-resources theme by referencing the rise of fog computing, coined by Cisco, to improve network efficiency.

Here’s EE Times’ Rick Merritt’s coverage of Segars' presentation. And here is Android Authority's coverage.

SAN FRANCISCO—The short answer was “no.” The longer answer, however, was far more interesting.

That was my take-away from a panel on the Internet of Things at the Design Automation Conference here (June 11).

Moderated by Nick Sargologos, marketing manager with Freescale's Digital Networking Division, the panel (pictured below) at the 52nd DAC addressed the title question “The Long and Winding Road to IoT Connectivity: Are We There Yet?”

Wael William Diab, a panelist and senior director at Huawei, teed up the challenges best when he said there are two technology curves, “science fiction” and “science faction” and they’re beginning to converge.

“These technologies are maturing to point to enable us to do what we couldn’t do before… (and) IT is moving into more and more markets,” he said.

But throughout the 90-minute panel session, which touched on growth-inhibiting factors, security and wireless protocol issues, panelists seemed to intimate—if not outright say—that we’re making progress on the long winding road but that the journey will never stop as we optimize and improve technology into the future.

David Flynn, director of technology and Fellow with ARM, seemed to speak for his fellow panelists when he said, “Call it whatever you want but IoT will stay with us for a while.”

Panelists also seemed to agree on the spongy nature of the moniker (“Internet of Things”—what is it?) and the vastness and diversity of the potential markets.


ARM Cadence Huawei Freescale on DAC 2015 IoT panel


Major inhibitions?

“We’re still in that first phase when the product definition process looks something like this: Take the word ‘Internet connected’ and flip open the dictionary,” said Chris Rowen, CTO of Cadence's IP Group. “Put your finger down and read the word there and that’s a product plan. You get an Internet-connected bagel.”

He added that IoT is an “almost useless” term.

As they waded through what they thought were other market inhibitors, panelists agreed that diversity is as much an opportunity as a challenge. Diversity on the one hand, means designs don’t necessarily scale across markets. But there are unifying characteristics, as Rowen pointed out.

“How do I build it, secure it, and make it interoperate?” he said. “So we break down the boundary of what we thought of in the past as a system, which is typically something you can hold. This ‘thing’ is (now) not the system. The system is the ‘thing’ plus the gateway, plus the cloud services that are associated with it.”

Engineers need to be architecting, designing, programming, maintaining and optimizing all of those things simultaneously, he added.

Vic Kulkarni, senior vice president and general manager of the Apache business unit at ANSYS, Inc. noted diversity can have its technical/physics challenges. A Fitbit has sensors and antennae that need to work within the band itself but also not interfere with other devices, he said. It’s not so critical when the use case is recreation, he said, but when such wearables are more critical to a person’s health monitoring, care must be taken in its design.

Alex Jin-Sung Choi, CTO of SK Telecom Co., Ltd., argued the design ecosystem needs to think about “sustainable IoT service platforms,” otherwise it risks getting siloed. Once that happens, technology becomes costly because design reuse is severely curtailed, he added.

ARM’s Flynn noted that the biggest inhibitor is the sheer complexity of the design challenge. There are:

  • Security design issues
  • The managing and commissioning of devices
  • Managing software along the design chain
  • And considering not only the design but environmental impact of batteries.

“You have worry about the whole thing in your hand,” Flynn said. “The processor is a tiny part of the problem.”

Implying a note of caution for engineering teams in the IoT space, Flynn noted that the Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” song is a sad story. “You discovered you are back where you started,” he said.


A key concern for IoT design teams, of course, is security, given not only the vast number of potential nodes that could be attacked by black hats but also the ramifications on — for example — the electrical grid, should infiltration occur. (Or, to paraphrase a subsequent audience question, “how is this not going to become a complete disaster?”)

Design teams need to assess the requirements of the sector they’re serving and consider not just their vertical solution but how it fits in on a horizontal axis.

“Security comes at a cost, whether it’s a dollar cost or computing costs and latency costs,” Diab said.

Rowen noted that there is a lingering environment “of fear and uncertainty” around security and the industry lacks the certifications common in sectors such as consumer electronics that give users comfort.

Kulkarni, citing data that security breaches can cost companies up to $400 per stolen record, said “security and privacy both have to be built in right from IP to the electronics (systems) side to the embedded core.”


How the IoT is weaved together brought a little more disagreement from the panelists. What will win in the long term? 802.11 variants? Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)? LTE Category 0? 6LoWPAN?

Diab said teams need to consider context when designing their connectivity solutions.

“It’s hard to say it’s going to be one (solution),” he said. “The more important question is how are we going to connect these in a seamless way?”

At the end of the day, it was clear that the answer to whether “we’re there yet” on the road to IoT connectivity is clearly “it’s a journey not a destination.”

Related stories:

-- To Soar as a Business, IoT Needs a New User Interface

-- Freescale claims to offer the world’s smallest integrated smart system for the IoT

Ideal for auto enthusiasts looking to personalize their ride, Conrod is a small device that plugs into the CAN bus of a VW brand car and lets users customize its features. More than just a data logger or diagnostic tool, the dev board provides developers with the ability to create their own apps and run them right in the vehicle. In other words, the days of having to write programs on a smartphone and then connect them via a dongle are over!



Conrod interfaces with any VW car — including Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley — through its CAN bus, enabling a user to decode and manipulate messages to change the way that the vehicle operates. The fully-programmable unit can function as a standalone device, or can be paired with a 3G SIM to take advantage of its on-board cellular modem for Internet connectivity. For situations where 3G may not be an option, Conrod can sync to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth 4.0 as well.

The standard Conrod installation is designed to remain out of sight, with all of the configurations performed on a mobile device. To really let the platform shine, however, Conrod includes an add-on 3.2″ full color touchscreen for output vehicle information, which eliminates the need for a smartphone. This display comes in a self-contained case with GoPro mounting points, allowing a user to secure it in their car with any GoPro compatible mount.


Conrod ships with several pre-installed apps for both Android and iOS gadgets, including a GPS data logger that keeps tabs on a vehicle’s location, a fuel economy tracker that monitors and records gas consumption, smart speed alerts that trigger emails and push notifications, as well as IFTTT-like logic blocks that can be defined to fit the needs and preferences of its user. For example, drivers can set it to roll up all the windows whenever the doors lock or sound the horn in the event of a sudden stop. Aside from displaying things such as oil and transmission temperatures, users can devise their own apps to view weather forecasts, tweets and just about anything else that comes to mind, all pulled down via Conrod’s cellular data connection.

In terms of hardware, the board boasts an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, 8MB of memory, GPS, a SIM socket, Bluetooth 4.0 radio, an accelerometer and gyroscope, three temperature sensors, five CAN network transceivers, OBD-II diagnostic circuitry, and an external serial expansion jack. What’s more, Conrod is completely Arduino compatible.

While a number of startups have recently launched innovative products that can turn any older set of wheels into a smart car, Conrod taps into the CAN instead of the OBD-II port.


“Unlike OBD2, which is an open standard that anyone can read about, the CAN protocols used by specific vehicle manufacturers is not public information, and each manufacturer uses a different CAN language. We’ve spent thousands of hours decoding the CAN protocols in recent VW Group vehicles to enable Conrod to communicate with the CAN networks as if it was installed by the factory itself,” its creators add.

So, are you ready to pimp your ride? Then hurry over to its Kickstarter page, where the Conrod team is currently seeking $77,786. Delivery is expected to begin in December 2015.

This blog originally appeared on Atmel Bits & Pieces.

Recently launched on Kickstarter, the Wino is an Arduino-compatible board with built-in Wi-Fi that is designed to help bring IoT ideas to life in a cost-effective manner. $11 to be exact.




Boasting a much smaller form factor and lower price tag than other Arduinos on the market today, the Wino is built around the Atmel | SMART SAM D21 — the same chip at the heart of the Zero. This gives users more speed, space and several new features, all while consuming minimal power. The unit runs at an operating voltage of 3.3V, includes 15 digital I/O and seven analog I/O pins (six 12-bit ADC, one 10-bit DAC), 16KB of RAM and 128KB of Flash memory. Meanwhile, its on-board Wi-Fi module comes with a simple web-based setup that makes the device accessible from just about anywhere.

The layout combines an uber small size (26.6mm x 18.6mm) with a 27-pin stackable header, enabling Makers to easily upgrade the Wino with functions like relay and power measurement, battery supply, temperature monitoring, DC and servo motor control, motion sensing, as well as USB which allows a user to program their board by opening a web browser and selecting a Wi-Fi network. Once connected, a Maker can communicate with the module from any TCP/IP device, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC.


Those Makers just starting out will appreciate that Wino comes with pre-installed, open source software, thereby eliminating any prerequisite programming skills. What’s more, the board supports the highly-popular Arduino IDE, giving users the ability to upload existing Arduino codes or employ one of the countless libraries available.

“Since over a year the design of the board was constantly improved and optimized. The goal was to create a hardware which combines als necessary features which makes it a perfect basis for connected devices. And this a a very small size,” its team writes.”The main task was provide the board at a minimum price which makes it easy to use the board even in low cost applications (like wireless switches). We are very confident that we found a good solution that combines functionality, small size, performance and costs.”


Interested in devising a home automation, multimedia or fitness IoT project? You may want to head over to Wino’s official Kickstarter page, where German startup IAN is currently seeking $28,019. Delivery is slated for November 2015.

This blog originally appeared on Atmel Bits & Pieces.

You might have noticed last week ARM announced a new IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M Processors at Computex in Taiwan. Not being too involved in the whole IoT space at ARM, I was intrigued at where this fit in along the IoT story for ARM and its partners. I have to admit I am one of these people who are constantly dazzled by the IoT revolution; and the scope of possibility is so vast I sometimes find myself wondering how does it all work? How does the whole ARM IoT solution enable partners?


Why does anyone care about IoT in the first place?

This was probably the main question I had when I first joined ARM over a year ago. When you think about it however, it isn’t only obvious, it is also close to unbelievable how many applications there are for IoT solutions. According to Gartner;

'The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.'

Simple, right? However when you break it down it becomes so vast you wondering where it will actually stop? We are now in a world where all objects will become smart and connected. When you think about some of the opportunities and areas these solutions can be deployed:

  • Automotive and smart city applications.
  • The amount of people who have 1-3 wearables for fitness, health, productivity or security purposes.
  • The number of appliances in a modern smart home.
  • Production sites with people looking for faster and better ways to produce items with smart machines and control units.
  • Then to name a few; the number of cities, trash bins, street lights, traffic lights, newspaper stands and vending machines that IoT endpoints could be used. there are millions per city.

New Version for Website.png

The opportunity in this revolution for partners is endless, and ARM is at the forefront of development when it comes to IoT.

The IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M Processors

ARM’s IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors allows design teams to create IoT endpoints faster and with lower risk. The subsystem with mbed OS is a complete reference system that reduces the complexity and risk of an SoC design for IoT endpoints. The IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors features a range of peripherals and interfaces. It is specifically designed for use with Cortex-M processors and optimized for mbed OS and Cordio Bluetooth Smart radio but it is also possible to integrate other radios and wireless networking standards such as Wi-Fi and 802.15.4. The system has been designed to optimize power consumption and bring a high level of security: two key features for IoT solutions. This subsystem has been developed in collaboration with TSMC, one of the world's leading semiconductor foundries, for production on its 55ULP process technology. The combination of Artisan physical IP and TSMC's 55ULP process means the subsystem can run at sub-one volt operation, extending battery life and making it easier to run a device using energy harvesting.

IoT Subsystem Diagram1.pngIoT Subsystem for Cortex-M example system diagram


What are the advantages of using the IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M processors?

There are three big advantages (along with many smaller ones) to using the IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors:

Low Power consumption

Endpoints today need low intensity processing and ultra low power. Flash consumes power when reading, but having a cache reduces the number of flash fetches. The IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M processors includes an integrated cache which allows up to 99% flash power consumption reduction.

Flash Cache.png

This reduction does not take into account Radio/Sensors and has been tested in isolation.

Optimized for ARM Cortex-M Processors

The IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors solution supports the successful ARM Cortex-M processors. The Cortex-M3 is an example processor that the IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors is optimized for. This industry-leading 32-bit processor offers the performance and efficiency for the most demanding IoT applications.


Cortex-M processor family


Mbed OS and mbed Device Server

The IoT subsystem for Cortex-M has been optimized to run with mbed OS, which includes the connectivity, security and device management functionality required for IoT markets.


mbed Ecosystem


Of course the IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M Processors is only one individually licensable subsystem IP block, but together with the Cortex-M processor and ARM Cordio radio IP, forms the basis for an IoT endpoint chip design, allowing partners to integrate sensors and other peripherals to create complete SoCs.


To conclude, the subsystem makes a big difference to the whole IoT story from ARM. It enables partners to create even lower power Cortex–M based IoT applications for endpoints that will (whether we like it or not) take over the world. For a more detailed view, please go to the IoT Subsystems for Cortex-M processors webpage


Personally I am looking forward to the connected lifestyle. Waking up to your coffee brewing, your music turning off when you fall asleep and your desk lamp coming on when you sit on the chair when it is dark in the room are just some of the cool things I have seen at events this year. How do you think IoT will effect everyday life in the next few years?

If Captain James T Kirk was pioneering the future of embedded he would be setting out on a five year mission is to expand strange new markets; to seek out new applications and new ecosystems; to boldly go where no engineer has gone before.


ARM will again be organizing an IoT Pre-Conference symposium at Sensor Expo.  The symposium will explore the building blocks to create predictive UI, making machines behave and act
like humans.  We can see this trend in robotics, drones, and autonomous driving vehicles. But many embedded devices makers are lagging as they are hampered by a
lack of volume scalability, price points established by prior generation of devices, or lack of expertise to create more complex sensor arrays to enable predictive UI.  In order for these
embedded device makers to become future IoT makers they need turn-key technologies that will enable them to collect the relevant data to add more value through services, product capability that leverages internet connectivity.


We’ve got a great line up of speakers:




Welcome and Introduction

Willard Tu, Director Embedded Marketing – ARM

Market view for IoTGuillaume Girardin, Market & Technology Analyst – Yole           
Microphones hearing the future of IoTKevin Shaw, Director Business Development – Audience Inc
Future of Connectivity, From Tiny Sensors to Cloud  Kaivan Karimi, VP & GM Wireless Solutions – Atmel Corp.
Sensor Stacks – mbedOS and ThreadBill Curtis, Sr. Director of Strategy – ARM
Panel discussion: Do sensors need to be smart?          

Bill Curtis, Sr. Director of Strategy – ARM

Kaivan Karimi, VP & GM Wireless Solutions – Atmel Corp.

Kevin Shaw, Director Business Development – Audience Inc

IoT - Opportunities and Challenges in Embedded VisionJeff Bier,  Founder - Embedded Vision Alliance
Sensors to help us smell. Tristan Rousselle, CEO – Aryballe Technologies
Sensor Fusion for IoT devicesSteve Scheirey, VP of Software Development – Hillcrest Labs
Use case: Drone Attack Shan Philipps, COO –Yunecc
Final Thoughts & Drone Drawing

Willard Tu, Director Embedded Marketing – ARM

Shan Philipps, COO –Yunecc



Come to Sensor Expo and join the pre-con, a great opportunity to learn, and a chance to win a Typhoon Q500 Drone from Yuneec for those who attend this symposium.

Admit it, you’re the best darn drummer that your morning carpool has ever seen. The only problem is that, as you thump your thigh to the beat of your favorite song, the world can’t enjoy the awesomeness that resonates from your leg. Well, thanks to the latest Indiegogo campaignfrom Bay Area-based startup Tappur, now they can.


DrumPants 2.0 is exactly what you think it is: a wearable musical kit that magically turns your clothing into a full band with over 100 built-in sounds. If this seems familiar, that’s because you may have come across the team back in 2013 when they successfully introduced their first prototype on Kickstarter. Initially conceived by Tappur co-founder Tyler Freeman as a prank to play on his drummer friends, the concept eventually transcended well beyond a simple stunt and into a master’s project, an educational tool used to teach teenagers about programming and music production, and finally what it has become today: an industrial, production-ready wearable music kit.

DrumPants is comprised of two wearable sensor strips and a control box, that when attached to any item of clothing, enable a wearer to play a beat by simply tapping their body. The pair of sensors can easily be removed as well, making it the ultimate portable instrument. Its control box — which is based on an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M3 MCU — is equipped with an ultra-low latency Bluetooth 4.0 chip, an embedded sound engine for a 1/8″ headphone jack, 128 instrument sample banks and a micro-USB for connecting to a laptop or PC. Meanwhile, its sensors can be placed anywhere on the body, whether that’s a snare drum on an upper thigh or a cymbal on a knee. Want a kick drum or a looping pedal, too? Wearers can bring that functionality right inside their shoe through a set of footpads.


After the successful completion of its crowdfunding campaign, the latest iteration of DrumPants features dramatically improved software and firmware upgrades, along with support of Apple’s Bluetooth over MIDI protocol. What’s more, the team says it will be unveiling their hardware designs to the open-source community, as well as Arduino libraries and sketches for making high-performance wireless instruments.

“We will also release the firmwares needed to run the hardware: an Arduino Due library+sketch for converting sensor data into individual hits and MIDI messages, the UI (LED control and knob/buttons), and EEPROM memory/storage management. It will also include a patch to the Arduino project source code for a class-compliant USB MIDI implementation on the Arduino Due ARM processor (SAM3X8E),” the team writes.


Every musician — whether recreationally jamming out in the car or professionally putting together some tunes in the studio — can use DrumPants’ wearable controllers to play 150-plus sounds, and record, loop and edit their melodies with more than 300 music apps in the Apple store, not to mention any MIDI/OSC apps. This lets users rock out with all four limbs and create music in ways not possible with an MPC or tabletop MIDI controller. There’s also a built-in metronome for those looking to hone that rock steady tempo while on the go — whether that’s on the bus, on a coffee break, or at home waiting for a YouTube video to buffer.

Users can either play the DrumPants with headphones, or an external speaker for those confident enough to share with others. Though DrumPants were originally designed with the music industry in mind, the sensors actually provide a number of additional uses. As billions upon billions of connected objects emerge, this system will prove to be a prime example of a creative, alternative way to control those smart devices. In fact, the kit can be programmed to perform additional actions with a tap, whether that’s silencing a phone, browsing a website, switching slides during a PowerPoint presentation, interacting with virtual reality games, or assisting those with disabilities to command in-home appliances. No buttons or new gestures required.


“It’s 2015. Wireless instruments are the future of performance and electronic musicianship. A completely portable one will help you make music easily. Now, you can invent a beat or melody, and tap it out on your body—just like you already do,” its creators add. “We hope it will provide an educational base for many Bluetooth musical instruments to come: as a solid codebase to make your own DIY instruments, and as a reference for other musical instrument manufacturers to implement MIDI over Bluetooth LE.”

Geared towards the Maker crowd, DrumPants is Arduino-compatible and allows tinkerers to devise their own sensors and upload their sketches for maximum hackability. This opens up a plethora of possibilities, ranging from using it as the brain for a piezo drum trigger or plugging in any kind of resistive sensor to send MIDI CC data with bend sensors, photoresistive light detectors and ribbon sliders.

Want a set of DrumPants of your own? Head over to its Indiegogo page, where Tappur is currently seeking $35,000. Shipment is expected to begin in September 2015.

This blog originally appeared on Atmel Bits & Pieces.

Philippe Bressy has been doing a great job summarizing Maker Faire with his daily blog posts ARM at Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 – Day 1 and more recently ARM at Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 – Day 2.  My family and I also attended on Saturday and had a great time with all the activities.  It's always great to catch up with some partners as well.  A few other highlights for me:


The Light-up ARM shirt

Sandra Larrabee selected a much sought-out shirt.  It was great fun to be asked about and complemented on the shirt.  What you can't see in the picture is that it lights up.   Shirt.jpg


Still More Giveaways to Win at ARM

Philippe mentioned the cool giveaways at the booth too.  It was fun to see friends of our son stop by and Logos.jpg

play with the demos in the booth.  Love encouraging the next generation of engineers.  Thanks again to the partner donations.  Sandra also made some cool magnets to highlight the partners who donated to the partner backpack.  Stop by to enter a chance to win today!










Build Your Own Remote Controlled Nerf Gun

As you may recall from last year (My First Maker Faire: Engineers and Kids at Play), our son loved the nerf gun.  Well I stopped by this year and an awesome addition is that Freescale has shared how you can build your own.;-)  Nerf Gun Demo - Using FRDM K64F | Freescale Community Nerf Hack.jpg


IoT Isn't Just For Microscontrollers

As Philippe mentioned, the Qualcomm booth was busy showing off the Dragonboard 410c based on a quad QC2.JPGARM cortex-a53 processor.  In the booth there were 3 different video games that they build using the board on linux, android and #windows 10.  The Linaro team was showing off their demo.  Stop by and see ARMv8 for IoT in action.














Vegas Lights

Now you may not have thought much about what powers the signs in Las Vegas.  Atmel has been and has created some new solutions for Atmel.pngthese applications.  Using a SAM D21 (based on Cortex-M0+) Atmel is processing the pixels needed to display the sign.  As Bob from Atmel said, check out what Arduino Zero's big brother can do.


Still lots to see and do at Maker Faire today.  One tip - definitely take public transportation!

There’s a lot to be excited about the upcoming Freescale's Technology Forum (FTF) in Austin from June 22nd – 25th. First, it’s the 10 year anniversary and FTFlogo3.pngit’s the first time to be hosted in Austin, Freescale’s home.  Given the context of the announced pending merger with NXP this event is sure to be filled with a lot of cutting-edge technology developments.  Secondly, have you seen the line-up of keynotes?  Woz is speaking!  Want more reasons to go?  How about a Smart Home (and #iot) in action, Startups and (IMHO and biased) some cool ARM demos?  This year’s FTF has something for every designer.

Woz That You Say?

That’s right, Freescale said “Woz”…as in Steve Wozniak. Freescale is very excited to bring you the best in innovation at FTF, including a morning Steve-wozniak-1.pngwith Woz. He’ll be the Wednesday keynote speaker. The designer of the Apple I and Apple II (remember how revolutionary those were?!), Woz is an inventor, electronics engineer and computer programmer who co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. Join Woz for a conversation about technical innovation, the evolution of connected devices and his vision of what’s next.


I was blessed to see Woz speak in an intimate setting a few years ago.  I got to know him even better this year when my son chose him as the famous person that he wanted to do a report on.  I expected Woz to be inspiring, especially in technology. What was a wonderful surprise is how entertaining he is.  He is a prankster at heart and loves to tell stories.  I predict that you’ll be very glad you went to hear him speak.


Smart Home

Freescale believes in showing technology in action.  One of the best examples not to miss is the Internet of Tomorrow Tour.  This truck has tonsiott.png of end products that you can interact with and see some of the uses in action.  There’s a lot of buzz about IoT.  Freescale helps to demystify it by showing real end products.


Furthering the trend, Freescale will have a Smart Home in the technology lab with a kitchen, living room and bedroom to show different smart home-based products in use.  See what being connected can mean to you.



Innovator Space

Something else that caught my eye this year was the Innovator Space.  Seeing the growth in Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects, many of the new innovations in IoT will likely come from new companies.  Freescale wants to make this more accessible and has provided a new area at FTF to support.  Be sure to check it out for exciting new ideas and products.



ARM is a gold sponsor and will be exhibiting in the technology lab with mbed and tools demos to help developers learn how to complete their projects.  Learn more from ARM experts on how to get your designs up and running faster.

  • Session: Development Solutions for Advanced Freescale ARM Based Platforms

    • ARM’s DS-5 provides a common toolchain supporting the i.MX range of Application processors, and the QorIQ Layerscape communications processors that delivers the best in class compilation, full multi-core debug support, and advanced profiling functionality.
  • Session: Hands-On Workshop: ARM® mbed™-enabled Development Board Solutions for Kinetis MCUs

    • Learn about - and practice using - some of the many ARM mbed-enabled development board solutions for Kinetis microcontrollers.
  • Session by Green Hills Software and ARM: The New ARMv8-A Architecture – 64-bit at Your Doorstep

    • The new ARMv8-A architecture will explode into a diverse set of markets demanding power-conscious high performance including automotive cockpit, networking and data center. Freescale’s own QorIQ, i.MX and S32V families are no exception.
  • Demo: ARM IBM IoT Starter kit based on Kinetis K64F

    • This kit shows how a Freescale K64F board and sensor board can be used to help engineers develop their next connected devices IBMEthkit.pngquickly.
  • Nespresso demo

    • This is the new and improved Nespresso demo uses the FRDM-K64F development board.  Want to know an internet-connected way to track which types of coffee people are using?  This is a demo for coffee lovers.
  • Demo: DS-5 Ultimate Edition with support for i.MX6SX and QorIQ Processors

  • Demo: MDK-ARM with support for Kinetis range of MCUs

    • The MDK-ARM is a complete software development environment for ARM-based microcontroller applications.


Stop by to these sessions and/or at our booth and ARM would be glad to answer your questions.


I hope that this glimpse into FTF gives you a roadmap to some of my anticipated highlights.  There are many more compelling sessions as detailed in the agenda.  Early Bird registration is open until May 31st.


Did I miss one of your favorites?  Let me know in the comments below.

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