Freescale holds inaugural Embedded Connectivity Summit

Under the banner of "Discover. Design. Connect," Freescale Semiconductor Inc.—previously known as Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector—held its first annual Embedded Connectivity Summit (ECS) October 4-6, 2004, at the Hilton Austin Hotel in Austin, TX.

By Control Engineering Staff October 14, 2004

Freescale NE64 full-function Web server occupies about one square inch of printed circuit board space. Devices have become smaller than related connectors and I/O hardware, limiting miniaturization in that area, for now.

Under the banner of “Discover. Design. Connect,” Freescale Semiconductor Inc .—previously known as Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector—held its first annual Embedded Connectivity Summit (ECS) October 4-6, 2004, at the Hilton Austin Hotel in Austin, TX. More than 800 people registered for this inaugural event composed of in-depth technology sessions, tutorials, open-forum discussions, as well as product exhibits and demonstrations. About 500 attendees were Freescale customers and staff of sponsor companies, according to Paul Grimme, senior VP and general manager, Freescale Transportation & Standard Products Group, who gave the opening day’s welcome address.

In the Connectivity Showcase at ECS, Freescale demonstrated a variety of its products, among them what the company calls “industry’s first complete, single-chip, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet device.” The 16-bit microcontroller, MC9S12NE64, replaces more complex, multi-chip Ethernet offerings (photo).

See Control Engineering

‘s October 4, 2004, Daily News

for more about this miniature product.

Other exhibitors and sponsors participated in ECS 2004, offering support technology for Freescale processors or products based on these processors. Here’s a sampling:

Accelerated Technology (a division of Mentor Graphics)—real-time operating systems (RTOSs) and compiler suite.

ARC International —real-time software platform.

Divelbiss Corp .—”PLC on a chip” technology for embedding into sensors, drives, and more

Future Electronics –LED driver reference design.

Green Hills Software Inc . and Interpeak AB of Sweden—Internet network-level security. Also demonstrated was Green Hills’ Integrity 5.0 RTOS for protecting CPU and memory resources.

Metrowerks –Linux OS development and analysis tools.

QNX —real-time operating systems.

Wind River —operating systems and development tools.

ECS’ conference side consisted of about 90 sessions, covering areas such as architectures, protocols, and development tools/hot topics. The latter area ranged from hardware development tool support and embedded C programming for various Freescale controllers to advanced debugging software, RTOS in embedded system design, and on-chip real-time emulation. There were 19 hands-on labs among the total sessions.

Daniel Hoste, VP and general manager of Freescale’s 8/16 Bit Products Div., briefed Control Engineering on developments of his division, for example, innovation to obtain extremely high reliability (under 0.2 ppm failure) for 0.25-micron flash products. Hoste mentioned Freescale’s microcontroller (MCU) leadership across the range of products from low- to high-end applications. The same flash technology and development tools extend over the full processor range.

In 2003, Freescale introduced a total of 96 new products, added Hoste. The one-inch square, single-chip NE64 Ethernet Web server mentioned above is one of his division’s newest products. Gartner Dataquest, in a 2004 report, placed Freescale first in the global $5.4 billion 8-bit MCU market with a 15% market share, and third in the $3.3 billion worldwide 16-bit MCU market with 10% share.

Brett Richmond, VP and general manager, Sensor Products Division (part of Transportation & Standard Products Group), spoke to CE about trends in industrial sensors. Two major development areas at Freescale are pressure and inertial sensors. Pressure sensors represent the largest market, in which the automotive segment currently accounts for about 40% of Freescale’s business, explained Richmond. These sensors handle myriad functions from engine manifold and tire pressure to pollution controls.

Other important pressure sensing segments are in industrial, medical, and consumer applications. Industrial sensors are transitioning from piezoresistive methods to CMOS differential capacitive sensing because of lower power requirements and smaller sizes with CMOS.

Sensor and semiconductor solutions are on the rise in automobile applications.

Multi-axis inertial sensors are likewise vital in automotive airbag and related safety applications. However, inertial sensors are also going outside this typical usage to monitor vibration in motors and motion systems, Richmond suggested. Another new application of inertial sensors is in laptop computers and disk players. If the unit experiences high shock or vibration, signal from an x-y axis inertial sensor locks the read/write head, preventing contact with the hard disk and possible damage, Richmond added.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,