Five innovations that caught our attention at Embedded World fair

This year, Embedded World welcomed around 1.000 exhibitors in Nuremberg, Germany. The fair was visited by more than 30.000 people from around the world. This year’s theme was “embedded intelligence”. At the fair, we exhibited our product and met with partners. But that’s not all.

As visitors, we explored multiple booths to select some of the best innovations of Embedded World. The main goal was to understand how these innovations would impact the industry and the final user. For that, we discussed with multiple experts of some of the most important actors in the electronics industry.

Toshiba : Implementing complex equations in a dedicated hardware

Toshiba e-bike showcased at the fair

Toshiba changed the concept of field-oriented control technique on e-bike. They implemented these mathematics calculations in a dedicated component instead of using the microcontroller for it. This special hardware is a specific system on chip.

We have interviewed a field application engineer from Toshiba during the fair. He explains us the innovation “ to drive the e-bike we generally use field-oriented control mathematics that date back from the 70s. It’s a lot of calculations that needs to be done. And at the level of a microcontroller, it’s done on software. It takes some time, and the microcontroller can’t do anything else instead of these calculations.”

For the engineer, implementing these calculations in a dedicated chip provides two advantages:

“-It’s faster than running it on a microcontroller processor. And the processor itself is completely free to do something else. The calculations are done in parallel to the operations of the microcontroller.

-We can do more calculations per second. And this will result in faster dynamic. For example, if there are changes in the system: if someone is going up or downhill, the system can react much faster, and there’s higher resolution. And it’s more precise.”

Rohm: The barometric pressure sensor from Rohm

Demonstration of a drone controlled using a barometric pressure sensor from Rohm

The barometric pressure sensor from Rohm gives more accurate control of drones. To showcase its product, Rohm made a demonstration for drone controlling.

For Dr Pauli Tikkanen, algorithm and embedded software engineer at Rohm, “The software is for using an open source system that controls the whole drone. What’s specific is that we’re using a barometric pressure sensor from Rohm to control the drone. We are also using Sony’s Spresence board for that.”

Micron: The launch of 1 TB microSD card

The Micron C200 1TB microSDXC UHS-I card is the world’s first 1TB microSD card

Micron launched world’s first 1TB microSD card. This microSD card can leverage Android Adoptable storage by allowing apps and games installed on the card to charge quicker.

For Gerard Risse, field application engineer at Micron, “This microSD card has the highest density in the world. Instead of storing the data on the cloud, we store it on the smartphone. It’s more secure, safer and you don’t have to transmit data all the time.”

With its high speed (R up to 100Mb/s – W up to 95Mb/s), the microSD card is able to store ~40 hours of 4k HDR video. Thanks to the Micron 96-Layer 3D QLC NAND, the card remains affordable while it still classifies for application performance Class 2 (A2).

Infineon / CEA Leti: Low-power fusion sensor solutions for cars

Leti’s demonstration of it low-consumption security solution for cars

CEA Leti presented its low-power fusion sensor solutions for cars. The combination of Leti SigmaFusion, working with Infineon AURIX, radar and safety power offers low-consumption security solution for vehicles like cars.

For Marie-Sophie Masselot, business development manager, “this system is based on a hardware mix that has an accelerator to process the data coming from the radar, mixes the different sources of data / sensors, and the power of the microcontroller”.

She adds, “Leti’s algorithm has been designed in an optimized way. It is a large number of data that has to be processed in real time to react. We managed to run it just on a microcontroller.”

Echoring: A wireless software technology for the industrial field

Demonstration showing how Echoring is able to control robots over the air even if the Wi-Fi is crowded

Echoring is an innovative wireless software technology for applications that require time-critical performance and high-robustness at the same time.

Mathias Bohge, managing director for Echoring, points out that “today we have a lot of problems with Wireless in the industrial field, because the wi-fi is not reliable and not deterministic enough. It’s hard to have robots control and safety functionality over the air. With Echoring this is possible.”

Mr Bohge gives more details about the product: “we have certain additional algorithms that secure the system to have more reliable behavior on the wireless channel. It’s a cooperation with Texas Industry. We’re using their chips with our own software”

Embedded World was the occasion for companies to reveal multiple exciting trends in the embedded systems industry. And it’s even more interesting to know that the fair broke records in terms of exhibitors’ numbers. In fact, there was an increase of 56 % in the proportion of international exhibitors. Wisebatt was among them, and we’re definitely ready to come back.  

Why we built a new feature to empower hardware engineers’ creativity

Since the creation of Wisebatt in 2016, our goal was always to stimulate hardware makers’s creativity. Six months after launching our beta version, we realized that we could go even further than that. We want to resolve the blank page syndrome. Hardware makers often face it while designing their device. This is mainly due to the complexity of electronics, and the different ways to start a hardware project.

To overcome that, we are launching the Project Creator feature. It empowers hardware makers to boost their creativity. Because we believe that anyone with an engineering vision should be able to create a connected object easily.

A feature that stimulates engineers’ creativity

Engineers can draft the architecture of their device either with pre-established templates or development kits provided by silicon vendors.

To guide the hardware-makers in their device’s draft, we provide them with ready-to-use templates. No need to face the blank page syndrome. Different use cases are available, whether they want to create a device for smart appliances, for home security or for tracking.

Otherwise, engineers can use pre-settled development kits. They can customize those kits just like a Lego game to play with, and test multiple possibilities.

This new feature will allow hardware makers to design devices faster. We are convinced that it will also stimulate engineers’ creativity. Therefore, we want to support our users and offer them the possibility to improve their architecture gradually.
As for the experts who prefer the freedom of the blank page, they still have the possibility to start from scratch.

sign up to WisebatT TO TRY THIS NEW FEATURE

We strongly believe that hardware makers are brilliant. However, they don’t necessarily have the right tools in their hands to create their devices quickly enough. With Wisebatt, engineers will be able to unleash their creativity. All that with the accuracy that comes with scientific results.

About Wisebatt

Wisebatt is a simulation tool for electronics engineers developing IoT devices. They can build virtual prototypes and collaborate to make the optimal choice between cost, battery life and performance, very early in the design cycle. The platform accelerates the design of electronic and IoT devices by automating hardware and software design.

We will be present at Embedded World in Nuremberg to launch this new feature. It will take place from the 26th to the 28th of February. Visit us booth 3A-533.

How to read a potentiometer on a microcontroller

According to Ohm’s law, a resistor is an electrical component that controls or regulates the flow of current in an electronic circuit. Considering a given and fixed supply voltage, the lower the value of a resistor, the greater the flow of current will be.

Increasing or decreasing the resistance requires changes of the resistor itself. Instead, we can “alter” the resistance using a potentiometer.

A potentiometer assembled in a voltage divider topology can be used to control the voltage value read by a microcontroller (and thus, triggers actions). In order to read the potentiometer value on a microcontroller, we require three components.

  1. MCU with ADC peripheral and its available input PINs
  2. A resistor
  3. A potentiometer

This section shows how to hook up a potentiometer to the Analog/Digital converter (ADC)  input of a microcontroller.

Consider a potentiometer that has three pins. The first two pins are connected together to form one end and the last pin will be at the other end.

As shown in the diagram:

  • Connect the resistor ‘R1‘ to the potentiometer ‘P1‘.
  • Ground the other end of potentiometer ‘P1‘.
  • The circuit formed by R in series with P1 is known as “Voltage Divider”.
  • Connect the junction between R1 and P1 to the ADC input pin of the MCU.

Read the ADC value within your firmware.

The voltage at the ADC PIN is defined by the following formula :

VADC = VCC x (a x P1 / ((a x P1) + R1))


a‘ is the potentiometer value between 0 and 1.

P1‘ is the full potentiometer value in Ohm.

A potentiometer position can be derived with the formula:

a = R1 x VADC / (P1 x (VCC – VADC))

Regarding consumption, you may want to choose high value with P1 and R1 as the current within the voltage divider is expressed as follow :

i = VCC / (R1 + P1)

Thus, a potentiometer is used with a voltage divider to provide variable voltages to the ADC pin. They are often used as volume controls in audio equipment, light controls in LED, and cheap rotary controllers in cars.

The electronics industry: behind the scenes

The electronic field is constantly upgrading with innovative products, solutions and fast growing technologies. It’s essential for every electronic engineer to keep track of the revolutionary changes.

Experts spend their quality time researching about electronics by visiting factories, attending conferences and exhibitions. But they can also give interviews where they share their experiences with people interested in this field.

We shortlisted five videos of conversational interviews of the electronic experts that we liked the most. These interviews provide in-depth knowledge in the work-life of electronics, but also the challenges faced in terms of security and privacy.

1. Ladyada interview with Paul Horowitz – The Art of Electronics @adafruit @electronicsbook This interview is led by Ladyada, CEO of Adafruit’s Industries. She interviews Paul Horowitz, co-author of the Art of Electronics. Horowitz is also a Research Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at Harvard University. You may get surprised to know that he never took an electronic course, yet he has a great expertise in electronics. We strongly advise every electronic student and engineer who wishes to have a better understanding of electronics to have his book on their workbench.

2. How it is to work as an electronic engineer? Dan, an electronic engineer from Australia  explains what it means to be a designer of electronic equipment at a radio station. This technically savvy person shares his work-life experience. And it includes software development, circuit design, circuit building and maintenance tasks.

Dan also noted the challenges faced in the maintenance of the system. He didn’t forget to give some advice for electronic career aspirants.

I would suggest you to not just focus on one particular element of engineering but to focus on a broad set of skills. For example, in the radio industry you can’t just focus on transmission or communication. Rather you must also be an IT guy. says DAN JACKSON.
3. Inside a Huge PCB Factory – in China

If you’ve been inquisitive about how circuit boards are made, this video answers probably your questions. Scotty Allen, software engineer and founder of the youtube channel Strange Parts, takes us inside a China-based PCB factory. He wants to show us how simple it is to manufacture a printed circuit board.

Allen takes us on a tour with a technical support representative and an engineer in the factory. The company’s software makes it easy to review the design files of engineers. The goal is to turn this design into a low-cost finished product. The video also shows the working of multi-layer board process, the drilling machines and the solder mask application.

4. IoT is Growing at a Rapid Rate, but has it Neglected Security?

In Dublin Tech Summit 2017, a panel of electronics experts discussed about the security of IoT. They shared different viewpoints about the neglected security of IoT, and suggested measures to solve that. The panel included for instance Rik Ferguson, Vice President Security Research at Trend Micro and Sheila Colclasure, Global Public Policy and Privacy at Acxiom.

Rik Ferguson expresses the fact that IoT systems from different manufacturers have no standard at all. He recommends these companies to have a protected and structured access to the system in order to improve privacy. Sheila Colclasure shares the same opinion. She suggests having a methodology to advance the security system. For that, companies should strengthen their security systems by keeping secured and invulnerable data.

5. IoT World Forum 2015 – CTO Prith Banerjee Interview

On the IoT World Forum 2015, Prith Banerjee, CTO of Schneider Electric, explains how his firm provides value to customers through the Internet of Things.

He believes in these four pillars: Energy Efficiency, Asset Performance, Smart Operations, Mobile Operations and Risk Management. Banerjee argues that this is applicable to their customers in different markets such as home, retail, IT infrastructure and utility industries.

In order to develop a revolutionary industry, we can’t replace entirely the existing products on certain industries like oil and gas

Prith Banerjee.

He explains his approach and how to revolutionize the electronic industry.

At Wisebatt, we will be following the same conversational approach to bring videos of electronic experts sharing their knowledge on electronics. Because watching videos of electronic experts not only improves your knowledge, but also answers the questions you’re facing. So stay tuned!

10 companies that are currently disrupting the electronic industry

Electronic engineers thrive to develop new innovative devices, but they are facing many challenges. These include finding the right prototype, hardware architecture, PCB board or electronic component.

To address these challenges, companies in the electronic sector are continuously developing and enhancing software platforms. Their goal is to help engineers bring their imagination to an optimized output.

Here are some companies that play a significant role in disrupting the electronic industry.

1.       ExpressPCB

In an electronic circuit, the slightest mistake can result in a non-working system or a less efficient one. Even the most expert engineers can miss errors while designing their PCB boards. To avoid that, they can use an online tool to rapidly turn their idea into a physical PCB.

ExpressPCB is a company that provides a range of softwares to help engineers during the design stage.

One of the key feature is “xCheck“. It analyses and identifies the missing pin connections before moving to the manufacturing phase. Users can also get real time pricing of their PCB and shipping information using “Express PCB Plus“.

Express PCB helps beginners to avoid errors during PCB design. It lowers also the number of prototypes needed before manufacturing.

Most of the traditional EDA softwares focus only on the needs of the advanced users. ExpressPCB helps beginners by providing simple tools to support their idea. This can definitely  help in the development of more innovative products in the coming years.

2. Upverter

It’s time consuming to make symbols, footprints and model parts in 3D. It can also be difficult to find and copy attribute data out of PDF datasheets. This can lead to several errors if it is not done with proper care.

Upverter is an online EDA software that allows users to pick up and customize designs from  thousands of hardware designs. They have also created EE Concierge, which creates and verifies schematic symbols for components, footprints for PCBs and 3d models. The company  garanties respect to industry standards.

With its advanced pricing algorithm, the software allows engineers to discover the best price for every requested part. They can then meet the financial requirements of their BOM. In comparison to other tools, Upverter has features to route, create parts and symbols easily. Their “Parts Concierge service”  handles part creation for you from scratch.

Collaborative features allow engineers to interact with overseas experts in real-time. The software company has reduced the PCB manufacturing issues that may occur due to design errors. Their user friendly UI and learning material can develop the industry by educating many young engineers and students.

3. FindChips

Choosing the right component for your electronic design is always a challenging task for engineers.  This is partly due to the high complexity of information in datasheets.

FindChips is a free search engine that helps engineers get instant insights on any electronic component. They provide unique market intelligence and advanced analytics to electronic parts.

4. Particle

Formally called Spark, Particle develops fully integrated IoT platforms that combines hardware, software and connectivity. Users can connect them to the internet in a few minutes using Wifi and cellular network.

The Electron and the Photon are two hardware platforms from Particle. The Photon connects to the cloud via Wifi while the Electron connects via cellular data.

To address the connectivity issue, Particle has launched  “ParticleMesh”. This tool lets developers build local, low-power mesh networks between devices. This helps makers bring the power of the internet to their devices with a simple and easy-to-use platform. As a result, they can handle the complexities of IoT like provisioning and OTA updates. ParticleMesh allows them to focus on the solutions and to be more productive.

5.  EasyEDA

Choosing a manufacturer for prototype manufacturing is time-consuming. EasyEDA is a powerful online PCB software with a spice circuit simulator. The Schematics and PCB Files can be imported from Eagle, Altium Designer, Kicad and LTspice. It provides SVG source to preview the Schematic, the PCB Layout and the Gerber file.

With their “One-Click Feature” EasyEDA connects with JLCPCB to allow engineers to put designs into PCB production in just one click.

It’s a one-stop solution that makes the work of engineers faster. It also has interesting offers such as ‘Big Price Drop’: for $2, 10pcs of 10×10 2 layers PCBs are produced and shipped.

6. Sunstone Circuits

After they’ve worked on their Schematics and PCB design, engineers are usually unsure of the final cost of their PCB design. Sunstone Circuits solves this problem.

Sunstone Circuits has partnered with distributors and assembly lines to get you a working prototype faster. They offer a PCB design tool called PCB123 which comes free for Sunstone customers. The Gerber files are also provided for first-time users at no cost.

With their “One-Quote” form, they can identify the configured components and update the pricing as the user makes his selections. This allows users to have more control over cost.

Sunstone Electronics also developed the DFMplus tool. It’s a free online service that verifies the prototype. It determines which manufacturing service is most appropriate for the design specifications and identifies potential design issues.

7. Fritzing

Fritzing is an open-source hardware initiative that makes electronics accessible as a creative material for anyone. It provides a way to create simple graphics of breadboard circuits.

With “Fritzing Fab”, users can easily and inexpensively create real custom-made PCBs. Fritzing is also a learning tool. It helps makers developing new devices go from a concept to finished and assembled PCB in under 2 weeks.


There are many tools that let users copy already existing electronics projects created by a community.  But some of these projects might have errors. CircuitMaker stands out from other tools by providing tested reference designs to engineers.

It is a free-to-use schematics and PCB design tool from Altium coupled with a community, with a modern interface for the Open Source Hardware community.

Its powerful features include routing, hierarchical schematic entry, auto-routing, and native 3D™ technology.

The company has partnered with key content providers such as David Jones, Robert Feranec and Jay Carlson. This helps find tested reference designs and modify them to our own needs. In addition to that, CircuitMaker provides a great overview  of electronic components such as description, symbols and the projects they are used in.

9. ThingType

The electronics industry may appear to be technically complicated for beginners. Even though there is an immense number of reference designs available, it is usually difficult to select the optimal one. The process of developing the prototype is always time consuming.

Wouldn’t be simpler if you could instantly generate your design based on the intuitive definition of your project?

ThingType is an online tool that enables engineers to build their custom IoT device just like you would do for a custom PC. Using artificial intelligence platform, it can automate the electronic design and check the consistency of the project. The necessary functions (microcontroller, sensors, radio, etc) of  the project must be specified. With an built-in algorithm, it will automatically check your project and design a board.

It acts as a single point of contact that lets users order prototypes from the tool itself, and promises to get them delivered in just a few weeks. It also empowers engineers by providing real-time quotations of their BOM. In addition to manufacturing services, ThingType can also test the functionality of the board, and provide sample code to make software development faster.

10. SnapEDA

Designing PCB footprints and schematic symbols from scratch is tiresome, especially since footprint errors are common in engineering. SnapEDA is an online platform that allows engineers to look for components and access free schematic models, PCB footprints and 3D models. Each part in the SnapEDA library has its own symbol, PCB footprint and parts. The components are available in formats that can be downloaded to a range of PCB platforms. These include Eagle, Altium, KiCad and many more platforms. The parts are made by their in-house engineers and they follow ANSI and IPC standards.

The components’ footprints are auto-verified by their authentication technology to check for quality and manufacturing issues. If the parts are unavailable, users can make a request for free, and the company garanties to handle the issue  in 24 hours if the user pays 29$.

SnapEDA aims to build a massive library of components to help engineers work on their designs quicker. They also have a community to share knowledge with other engineers.

Softwares are the foundation of building IoT devices and defining use cases. To have a quick and effective design, engineers have to choose the tools that best fulfill their needs.

From this article, we can notice that big companies like Altium are getting more powerful thanks to a strong partnerships and acquisition strategy. The famous EDA tool has acquired Upverter, EEconcierge and Fritzing is in partnership with AISLER. They clearly use this strategy to position themselves as global leaders in the electronic industry.

These companies also demonstrate how automation can disrupt traditional EDA tools. It’s done to reduce the time spent on repetitive design tasks and human errors. They focus on decreasing the workload of hardware engineers, enabling them to design innovative devices in a more effective manner.

5 tips for battery life optimization of low-power IoT

For any battery-powered IoT applications, power consumption and battery life optimization are key design requirements.

Battery life must be taken into consideration right at the beginning of the development phase. If not, unexpected circumstances may occur. In fact, battery life is crucial for devices used in the health sector, such as pacemakers, where any failure might cost a life.

“Most companies do not define their use-case and therefore fail to meet market needs. They usually focus on adding extra features for their device and they don’t take battery life into account. Meanwhile, they miss to focus on the primary goal of the device.”

Wilfried Dron, CEO/Founder of Wisebatt.

Before anything else, the use case of your device must be defined precisely.

Here are some of the most effective ways to optimize the battery life of connected devices.

1. Use an LDO regulator

Please take a look at this project for further details.

Our first tip is to place a regulator between the system (sensor, MCU, radio) and the battery. This is used to ensure correct behavior, but diminishing the voltage of the component might also provide longer battery life.

In electronics, a regulator is a component used to maintain a steady voltage. The efficiency of the linear regulator depends on the difference between the input and output voltage. It relies also on the current drawn. The more the difference between input and output voltage, the greater the heat dissipated. To overcome this problem of heat dissipation, LDOs can be used by lowering the voltage drop.

To understand how to use an LDO, consider the following architectures consisting of a battery and a regulator.

Click on the project link to see the architecture.
Click on the project link to see the architecture.
Click on the project link to see the architecture.

The formula to calculate power dissipation is Pdiss= (Vin – Vout) * I.

To calculate the power used by the linear regulator, we need to know these three parameters.

  • Vin – input of the regulator
  • Vout – output of the regulator
  • I – current drawn from the circuit

Let’s say we have a system powered on 3.3V and drawing 140 mA. In order to optimize battery life, we can split the power rails into two as shown in the diagram. Then we can connect the second rail directly to the output of the first rail. By doing so, we can achieve equal dissipation of heat and a more balanced aging of the components.

2. Use a buck regulator

There are three types of switching converters available for stepping up and stepping down DC voltages : the boost converter, the buck converter and the buck-boost regulator.

A Buck is used to stepping down a given input voltage. It is a switching regulator which converts a higher voltage input to lower voltage output.

Using a Buck regulator is a great way to step down voltage  However, it can make a high frequency noise.

Buck boost regulators work when the supply voltage is greater or lower than the output voltage.

You can take a look at this project for further details.
You can take a look at this project for further details.

3. Use a load switch

You can take a look at this project for further details.

Another technique for battery optimization is to consider switching off loads when they are not used. In our example we will use two load switches:

  • One of the switches is placed between the power rail of the radio and the microcontroller.
  • The other one is placed between the power rail of the sensor and the microcontroller.

These two switches are controlled by the microcontroller.

Most load switches have four pins:

  • Input voltage
  • Output voltage
  • Logic level enable
  • Ground

When the load switch is enabled through its ON pin, current flows from the input (source) voltage pin to the output (load) voltage pin. The switch is turned on/off by applying a simple logic level signal.

4. Power down unused peripherals

Turn off the unused peripherals of your microcontroller, pulse-width modulator, ADC converter, and other components. The latter should preferably initialized each time they require an action . Such a measure can minimize power outage and leakage. Therefore, every small saving can lead to a substantial increase of the battery life.

5. Get a bigger battery

With these four techniques, you can achieve a good optimization of your battery life. In case you can’t enhance it enough, you can simply get a bigger battery. We advise you to rely on this only when you have no other option.

Any electronic device should be designed in a way that allows it to save power as much as possible. Engineers must carefully look for the battery drain in every mode of operation of the device. It becomes vital to optimize the battery life of the device to have an increased power saving performance.

Using these basic tips can help improve your hardware design with a low-power consumption and a longer battery life.

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