Challenges – Insidious and Otherwise – for Embedded Systems

“Insidious” is one of those words that seems to punch above its weight. One that a novelist or scriptwriter might use to evoke unseen dangers. But it wasn’t in a novel or movie I came across this word most recently. It was on the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. The site includes a description of the organization’s infusion pump software safety research and uses “insidious” to describe code errors that are tough for flesh and blood reviewers to find. That’s where static code analysis for the software used to control medical devices comes in, as GrammaTech’s Dr. Paul Anderson explains in this issue.

Another kind of pump, the heart, also features in this edition. Monitoring the rate at which this living pump is working poses certain challenges when you want to do so with a wearable device. Optical sensor products are addressing this challenge, and Silicon Labs’ Kevin Kilbane supplies some details.

Another issue for wearables? Flexibility. Sri Peruvemba of Cambrios Technologies Corporation tells us about the role of silver nanowires in making flexible touch displays—helpful when the display features in a device meant to be worn.

Sensors and MEMS are the focus of this issue’s Round Table feature. I like to ask the experts who participate in these Round Tables what topics deserve more attention than they are receiving. Is the world lacking in “gotta have it” applications fuelled by sensors? One of our panelists, Per Slycke of Fairchild, argues this is the case. Meanwhile Freescale’s Ian Chen wants more attention directed to an understanding of “ the application of system data analytics.” Doing so, he believes, could “enable…longer-term sensor operating reliability for industrial installations.”

How sensors on the battlefield relate to the Industrial Internet—and GE Intelligent Platform’s plans for it—is one of the topics editor-in-chief Chris Ciufo explores in his in-depth interview with GE IP’s Rubin Dhillon. It’s a must read if you’re curious about what GE means by “rugged” and what the company’s vision of the Industrial IoT is.
Vision—of the machine type—and viewing—of the type that goes with popcorn—both get a mention in the Q&A with Dave Duncan, TI’s Manager of DLP Enterprise and Cinema Display Products. Duncan sheds light on why TI’s Larry Hornbeck took home an Academy Award of Merit for the invention of the digital micromirror device (DMD), or DLP chip, earlier this year.

Need more light shed on any number of embedded topics? Videos, articles, news and opinion are at

anne_fisherAnne Fisher is managing editor of Her experience has included opportunities to cover a wide range of embedded solutions in the PICMG ecosystem as well as other technologies. Anne enjoys bringing embedded designers and developers solutions to technology challenges as described by their peers as well as insight and analysis from industry leaders. She can be reached at

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