Issue 110 - Embedded systems newsletter

Embedded systems #110

Happy Friday embedded systems lovers! Did your week went well? Here, it is summer and in full honesty the vacations are well received. Vacations or not, I hope you’ll enjoy issue #110. If you read an interesting article, please, do not hesitate to share it with me.

Thank you to Paul Smith for the header’s picture.

Happy reading!

Articles

How I Hacked my Car Guides: Creating Custom Firmware
Cars are fun targets to mess with. This time the author hacked the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) of his 2021 Hyundai Ioniq SEL. First, he managed to install a backdoor in the system by modifying an update of the firmware. He discovered that the system is running Helix by Wind River Systems and GUI is made with Qt5. He finally managed to code and deploy his own Qt application. The whole series is interesting to read and it finishes on a big achievement. Congratulations to the author!

Rust on Espressif chips - 15-07-2022
This is the quarterly update of the effort to port Rust on Xtensa-based ESP32, ESP32-SXX and ESP8266. It is interesting to follow the work they begun to add async support with the embassy executor. The implementation promises to get power saving automatically when there is no more tasks to execute. Nice!

Lessons from Writing a Compiler
The author of the Austral compiler shares what he learned while he wrote it. As he notes it himself at the beginning of the article, the reading is interesting because it focuses on some practical aspects rarely addressed in classical textbooks.

Microcode decryptor
A team of researchers has released a tool to decrypt and unpack the microcode for some low-power Intel CPUs. This makes possible to understand how Intel has implemented various security fixes and features. Among the security fixes you can find the one about the famous Spectre vulnerability. Among the features you can dig into the implementation of Intel TXT, SGX or VT-x.

The 1802 Membership Card
It is a computer entirely built with 1980’s parts and technology, using only common low-cost through-hole parts. Build around the RCA 1802 microprocessor, it is autonomous: no need of a modern PC or a proprietary software. At a max price tag around $80, it’s the opportunity to build and learn a computer that you can completely understand.

News / Business

Volkswagen’s Software Unit CARIAD to Co-Develop a System-on-Chip With STMicroelectronics for the Automaker’s Future Software-defined Vehicles
Volkswagen strategy for the next 5/10 years looks rock solid. On one hand, it builds a tight cooperation with STMicroelectronics and TSMC to secure its chips supply chain. One the other hand, it bases the VW.OS on the pre-certified QNX OS for safety.

Tools / Libraries

BASIC Interpreter for the Raspberry Pi Pico
The PicoMite is a Raspberry Pi Pico running the free MMBasic interpreter. A compatible implementation of the BASIC language with many additional features.

Misc

CHIPnGo
A custom-built CHIP-8 hand-held gaming console powered by a STM32 microcontroller.