March Madness, Etc.

They may not be running up and down the court, but small form factor-based solutions increasingly run the show for everything from interactive displays to transportation to security.

With March upon us, we find ourselves in another season of March Madness; and so, the great NCAA hoops shoot-out for 2017 is here. As teams stack up against each other in a huge array of brackets, it reminds me of stacking embedded systems in compact form factors. The stackable PC/104 model for computing systems is unlimited in the number of creative solutions that companies offer as the small form factor makes way for embedded designs, as Caroline Hayes mentions in her article, “Processor Options Stack up for Industrial Applications.”

Courtesy Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

Courtesy Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

Dan Demers, congatec, explains in this issue why connected applications need fog servers and how modular fog servers are advancing Industry 4.0.

Eliza Nelson of Technologic Systems brings us a revealing story on SLC NAND, why endurance has been eroding for these devices, and explains FLASH memory construction along the way. The disturbing trend that Nelson discusses is enough to make one sit up and take notice. Why isn’t SLC NAND what it used to be? Find out in “SLC NAND: Secrets Exposed.”

The EECatalog Q&A in this issue is with Brian Sutton of Mercury Systems, who responds to questions about a venerable workhorse, the Controller Area Network, or CAN, in the context of vehicle data security. Mercury Systems’ Secure Processing Solutions division has “an extensive heritage” for creating solutions within a broad range of military and commercial applications. Identifying a secure solution for the CAN bus has been a core competency for developing security in vehicles for Mercury.

PC/104 and other small form factors are no stranger to adopting the latest in peripheral technology. Chris Ciufo discusses the use of redrivers in DisplayPort connectivity. As speeds increase, the distances signals can travel with assured integrity decrease. Redrivers are one solution to maintaining signal integrity, both amplifying signals and allowing improvement in jitter performance. Redrivers improve performance via programmed solutions.

Bernard Carter of Now Micro gives us insight on the trend towards digital signage using a less complex HTML5 with some criteria for evaluating devices and platforms going forward. Digital signage is becoming ubiquitous, with small form factors an aesthetic necessity. Carter discusses the issue in full in “Navigating the HTML5 Digital Signage Operating Ecosystem.”

Dave Lippincott of Chassis Plans relates a truly interesting story on the technology deployed in the security protecting the events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Persistent surveillance from three aerostats provided Wide-Area Motion Imagery. The high-resolution real-time imagery of the large venue used sophisticated computers, cameras, and algorithms for spotting motion and identifying anomalies. Prior systems had only been used outside the U.S. for military applications. Learn more in Lippincott’s article, “Persistent Surveillance for Large-Scale Security.”

Let’s be glad that the “March Madness” of college basketball can be contained in the well-organized chaos that generates hot discussions about favorite players and winning teams with the help of motion-packed imagery. Some truly incredible technology is responsible for delivering a crisp, real-time scene so that those of us who are not courtside can participate in the action by shouting at our TV screens.

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