embedded computingPicture this: a military company is trying to create a new system to put into the field. It will be used in a mobile communication platform operating in Afghanistan. Within these parameters, naturally there are a number of aspects that the designers need to take into account. Two of the highest ones on the list will be:

  • Heat dissipation: Ensuring that this piece of equipment can retain functionality under the extreme heat of the region
  • Dust and sand proof enclosure: Sand can be a real destroyer for embedded hardware, so manufacturers work diligently to use enclosures rated for airtight protection

While these factors should unquestionably have their place at the forefront, there is still a particularly troublesome issue of embedded computing that should be focused on to a greater extent.

Embedded Computing and How Vibration Hurts

In general, industrial computers have to deal with rough environments and are subject to a great deal of movement throughout Continue Reading…


industrial RAMCan you put your mind in the same space as an engineer? Not only do people in this profession have to complete many years of schooling, but they are constantly thrown into problematic situations requiring ingenuity to solve. It’s essentially a vocation filled with problem solvers; people who look at an issue and use their knowledge and the technology available to them to come up with a new way forward. In the industrial world, the main focus of the technology is often efficiency in the harshest environments. Resolving this issue presents an interesting problem for makers of embedded systems.

When it comes to embedded systems, using optimal components is absolutely necessary to creating a functional machine. There are numerous off-the-shelf components within the commercial market that could theoretically be used. A CPU that powers a consumer PC can certainly be used within industrial computers; however, it may not be able to function at its peak efficiency because of the environment in which it is placed. Even more importantly, it likely won’t be supported for the full lifecycle of Continue Reading…


Embedded CPU-Arm ArchitectureSomething that shouldn’t be underestimated when creating embedded machines is the need for a strong processor. There are a whole suite of components that a developer or OEM needs to concentrate on, but most are not as important as the CPU. Understanding what power demands are allotted for the overall product and what it has to accomplish guides the component types that can be utilized. For many industrial machines, the main requirements of good design are:

  • compact
  • fast processor
  • low power/battery consumption

Finding the right embedded CPU to fulfill all of these demands has been made pretty darn easy, thanks to the ARM architecture. Created in the 80’s, these lines of smaller and smarter processors have taken the commercial world by storm, and have concrete applications for embedded systems. The constant reiteration of its product line ensures great strides in making the ARM architecture more efficient and powerful. They become even more relevant for the industrial market by being extremely compatible across old and new platforms. Their versatility in embedded CPU usage cannot be overlooked by companies and OEMs that are designing small, single board machines. Continue Reading…


The AEC-6613 Fanless Embedded System is an all-around good product that is a suitable fit for the majority of applications. Its low power, fanless, design makes it especially ideal for more demanding environments where temperatures can pose an issue. The AEC-6613 can be optimally used in the following applications:AEC-6613 Embedded System

  • In-vehicle,
  • Multimedia
  • Digital signage

Tip: Pair the AEC-6613 with a compact flash drive, as opposed to an HDD, for the best performance in suitable applications

It is important to take into consideration that the AEC-6613 embedded system only contains one VGA port as its sole display interface (though there is an option for 2), so if a higher scale digital interface such as an HDMI or DVI port are necessary, then this may not be the machine for your specific need.

However, the AEC-6613 does have a handful of noticeably impressive traits that could make it the right embedded system for you: Continue Reading…


Advertising, as a business and culture, has changed drastically, especially over the last decade. New avenues to create different kinds of digital signage computersignage are being explored. This, along with a shift away from print, has altered the way companies spend their ad revenue. The digital age puts innovative technology at the forefront and creates new ad space through a digital signage computer, for example.

Planar, a well-established tech company in the US, provides great solutions for the digital signage industry, not only by making high quality products, but by keeping on top of the newest technological breakthroughs in displays.

We are enjoying a welcome move toward a new panel standard, further shrinking of device footprints, and the unveiling of a new display resolution far beyond what was commonly viewed as “high definition.”

A Brave New Age of Digital Signage Computers 

We live in a time when a piece of advertising can become interactive. We’ve seen this strategy on the Internet with click through ads, but the new venture seems to be full-sized digital signage advertisements that implement gesture based technology. Touch screen monitors provide for high quality video bolstered by multi-touch capabilities. Planar has a specific line of products for this use case that puts a large scale monitor in the public realm with their hallmark Electronic Rugged Optimization, or ERO, to ensure that the product will last. Continue Reading…


MILITARY - Single Board Computers Military designers must hold one of the most frustrating vocations in the tech field. They may have a seemingly infinite number of resources and get to play with some of the latest and most interesting technology in the world, but they also have to deal with an inherent problem baked into the industry.

Military technology spans decades and therefore understandably has a tough time upgrading all at once. That said, newer pieces sometimes have to be able to handshake effectively or work within the existing framework of a much older machine. Single board computers have been around for some time and the backplane configuration is still widely used, so creating new SBC standards that can play well with the old guard can cause some headaches.

The eurocard SBC sector had long been held by the VME bus. However, with the increasing popularity and needs of the eurocard format, the PICMG ratified a format based on PCI technology, which we now know as CompactPCI and has grown considerably, to include much more than its PCI origins. And even later, VPX technology was thrown on the table to push technology forward by utilizing newer connection methods for faster data movement, while still embracing the older VME lineage. These two types of single board computers represent the vanguard of new information technology, especially for the military and aerospace sectors. The possibilities they allow mean new ideas for designers truly looking to the future. Continue Reading…


build your own computerPreviously, we looked at the importance of choosing a good OS. More specifically, that blog talked about the Windows Embedded platform, an operating system tailor-made for industrial systems, and one that provides a great deal of the functionality that these machines need. It works extremely well on the hardware and can be considered an industry standard. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the be-all and end-all of embedded operating systems. There are a number of other choices, some that provide interesting advantages to the end users and OEMs that design with them in mind.

One such OS that can be helpful during the build your own computer process is Linux. The many uses inherent to the platform make it just as flexible as the Windows Embedded platform, and perhaps even more so, due to its variability and open source nature. Linux has been around in embedded systems for some time, but the industry has become somewhat complacent in sticking to closed platforms rather than branching out. We should be looking more in this direction.

What is Linux in the “Build Your Own Computer” Context?

The moniker of the “Old Granddaddy of OS’s” fits the Linux platform. Though Linux was definitely not the first operating system, traced back to Continue Reading…


computer componentsIf there is one thing you can bet on in the technology world, especially in computing, it’s that the upcoming best component is always on the horizon. The constant march of progress has very little chance of stopping, which means that hardware manufacturers are always going to be thinking of the next revolution and “flashpoint” moment in computer components.

Intel has taken a significant stride in this direction with its new CPU microarchitecture named Haswell. This next step, a follow-up to the widely respected Ivy Bridge line of products, presents an upgrade across the board and spreads these boons to a completely different market: the mobile/tablet sector.

What does Haswell do for Computer Components?

These new CPU chips range from high end, super-powerful models to more stripped-down and conservative SKUs. Across the entirety of the line, there is an Continue Reading…


network attached storageStorage is an interesting quandary within the computing community. There are two different ideas on the matter, which match up to the different use cases within the industrial field. There is always demand for a machine/PC with a single or multiple large hard drives that allow for lots of storage and quick access, depending on the type of drive being utilized. Whether it is traditional SATA drives or faster flash-based, having adequate storage within a machine can be a necessary component for individual workers or small businesses.

But what about the storage needs of a larger company? What if there is a large group of workers spread out amongst different sites, or in diverse departments within a building, who all need to access the same information? In this situation, a network attached storage setup could be the most effective solution. An OEM that understands what this storage type is and how it can affect the productivity of a company will better service their clients and grow in business.

What is Network Attached Storage?

The basic way that network attached storage (or NAS) works is through a centralized and networked storage bay. Contained within Continue Reading…


rugged systemA quick experiment: think about some of the industrial computers that a company uses for their everyday functions. Where is that electronic device being placed? Is it used indoors, on a dusty warehouse floor? Or is it exposed to the elements in challenging outdoor environments? The real poser is: how do you know that the components that drive these computers are being kept safe, no matter what the conditions?

It’s a significant problem, not only for companies looking to buy these electronics, but for the OEMs that have to assemble and sell them. Understanding the rating standards for these rugged system enclosures is necessary to ensure provision of what the customer needs.

What are NEMA Ratings Standards?

One of the most stringent and widely tested rating standards for rugged systems is the NEMA, a.k.a. National Electric Manufacturer Association rating spectrum. It was created as a way for suppliers and OEMs to understand the relative protection that an enclosure will provide a rugged system. These range from Continue Reading…


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