Issue 105 - Embedded systems newsletter

Embedded systems #105

I’m very happy to share with you the first lab inspiration. Thank you very much to Matthew, who opens his lab to us and shares what and how he is doing his work: Inside Matthew’s lab

After a successful USA edition, our sponsor is opening their CFP for the Netherlands edition. If you are based in Europe, it’s a great opportunity to present your research to your peers.

Thank you to Nicolas Thomas for the header’s picture .

Happy reading!


How a Design Battle Between Chip Engineers Led to Polaroid’s Revolutionary SX-70 Camera
A fascinating story which is the result of the (excessive) secrecy wanted by Polaroid. Let’s project ourselves in the Polaroid team shoes during the development phase. The yield of the exposure control first design was 1 percent and some of those remaining cracked before integration. This IC cost was 20 times higher than the needed target. How stressful it must have been!

STxP70/STHORM/P2012 - ST’s secret microcontroller
From one line in the datasheet to the uncover of a microcontroller built-in a sensor.

Demystifying Xtensa ISA
An introduction to the Xtensa microprocessor ISA. The Xtensa was created to be extensible and user-customizable. It can be reduced to build small, low-power and cache-less microcontroller.

Diving into GCC internals
I think the first time I attended a presentation on GCC development process was in 2009. Like many, I always viewed GCC as unapproachable and this feeling became even stronger with the apparition of LLVM. Since its inception, LLVM felt like the tidy kid of GCC. With Diving into GCC internals, David Malcolm is working on making GCC less scary. It gives me the willingness to have a look again on how GCC is built. Maybe you’ll get the same reaction.

Linternals: Memory Allocators [0x01]
An overview of how memory allocation is implemented in the Linux kernel.

LTspice - tips and tricks
Multiple years specialist with LTspice experience discovered things they didn’t know in this video. You must watch it if you are a user too.

Exploiting the Wii U’s USB Descriptor parsing
Wii U embeds an Arm coprocessor called Starbuck which is in charge of Input/Output but as well of security like enforcing code signing. This exploit takes over this coprocessor. It opens the door to new opportunities.

The mysterious behaviour of the Flying Tiger Countdown Clock (and the bug that causes it)
John is the kind of tech person who will dig why the cheap countdown clock he bought is bugged. Curiosity is a common trait of good engineers. Luckily for us, John takes the time to write down is curiosity in his blog.

News / Business

Microchip Pushes First RISC-V-based SoC FPGA to Mass Production
With this news I discovered that Microchip is developing RISC-V-based hardware since at least 2019. It was completely out of my radar.

Ready to transform the enterprise world? We are!
Arduino raised a series B of $32 million to develop is presence into the enterprise.


Taking decent photographs of electronic hardware and PCBAs
This article is a bit out of context but I thought it was great for the Misc section. One of these days, you could find it useful if you want to share your design.