Design West 2013

Posted by: Thom Denholm

Design West 2013 was held last week in San Jose. The phrase of the show was "Internet of Things," and plenty of new hardware was in evidence.

The Design West keynotes this year were full of fascinating applications of technology and blessedly devoid of the usual product pitches. Luke Dubord shared his experiences in autonomous systems development for the Mars Rover. Thirteen point eight minutes to receive acknowledgement of a command sent to the space vehicle serves to emphasize the importance of getting things right the first time and provides a valuable perspective that really brought home the definition of "mission critical" systems design. I missed the Wednesday keynote, but heard good things about Mayim Bialik's talk on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education. The percentage of women at the show was noticeably increased from prior years. It is inspiring to see the progress made in our industry. Thursday's keynote had me in awe of how technology is changing lives for the better with advances in prosthetic design. The potential to integrate electronics into the human body to replace missing limbs takes me back to my childhood of watching the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman. 

Although the convention center was under construction, there was plenty of space to contain this Embedded Systems Conference. All the usual platforms and environments were in evidence, with Freescale's i.MX6 a popular target. AMD announced the new G series System on Chip, and Wind River announced their new Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) platform. The BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi were also in evidence, of course. One unusual platform this year was the Programmable Beanie. These sessions were all held on the first day, and were packed with excited programmers.  Mentor Graphics had an eye-catching series of displays. These consisted of a see-through LCD panel in front of a rotating car, which made this automotive panel display look truly 3D. Mentor has made some big moves into the automotive environment recently, with online presentations and web seminars. At Design West, they also announced their latest Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition.

Mentor Graphics display at Design West As mentioned earlier, security was a big theme at this show. Two conference tracks were directly related to secure embedded, including the Black Hat summit. With secure hardware, the next step is secure software, such as the support for Secure File delete in Datalight's Reliance Nitro.  Security a big focus[/caption] Next year's show is earlier in the calendar, starting the end of March. Datalight will be in attendance at the next big Bay Area embedded show, Flash Memory Summit in August.


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