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Embedded systems #120

This week, you’ll find in the issue a small focus on state machines. You’ll find as well a fascinating paper on and demo of a game that runs on an FPGA. No CPU involved!

Happy reading!


Facts about State Machines
When I was a student at the University, I had been introduced to FSMs and to Petri nets. Nobody emphasises how important these tools are (or I don’t remember it) for a career in embedded systems. This article is a good introduction to the StateSmith tool, listed as well in this issue.

Sphery vs. Shapes, the first raytraced game that is not software
With this demo Victor Suarez Rovere and Julian Kemmerer show the potential of their solution to translate C code into a circuit. The effectiveness of the result compared to the same C code executed on a CPU is astonishing. For more details read the paper linked or watched the Sphery vs. Shapes video.

Getting Started With Embedded Linux - From Nothing To A Login Prompt
It’s an entry level step-by-step tutorial that is using the Yocto Project. A good ressource for beginners who are still afraid to start.

A history of ARM, part 1: Building the first chip
Do you know how and why the company once named Acorn Computers started to design its first CPU? Check it out in this article.

Why Rust is actually good for your car
A Volvo employee describes his experience on working on the first node ever coded in Rust at Volvo. I quote the conclusion of the experience: “We want to expand Rust here at Volvo Cars” It’s quite simple to do so because: “There is zero overhead between C and Rust, C can call into Rust and vice versa”

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Tools / Libraries

F Prime
Originally developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it is an open-source flight software framework that has been successfully deployed for several space applications.

StateSmith is a new cross-platform, free and open source tool for generating state machines. The author explains his motivation to develop a new library with this statement: “I couldn’t find a state machine code generator that was suitable for low level embedded application use, had an attractive license, and was enjoyable to use.” We all hope Adam Fraser-Kruck will continue to work on StateSmith and to maintain it.

KiKit v1.1 — What’s New?
It’s a set of tools to automatize common KiCAD tasks. It’s a minor version release, but it comes with a large number of new features.


Element Biosciences, Senior Embedded Software Engineer, Full-time, San Diego
Element Biosciences is a multi-disciplinary startup focused on innovating genetic analysis tools for the research and clinical markets.


Creating an Operating System for the NES
An operating system for the Nintendo NES, and immediately I feel nostalgic. The 80’s styled GUI adds another layer to the pleasure to follow this project.