July 18, 2024


Unlimited Technology

embedded news week: robotics, rainforests and IoT security

Here’s our weekly snapshot of some of the embedded news that has come through our inbox, covering products, funding and events news.

This week, as part of ROS World 2021, Nvidia announced general availability of the Isaac robotics software platform and its latest efforts to deliver performant perception technologies to the ROS developer community. Its key announcements were focused on accelerate development, improve performance and help simply the incorporation of computer vision and AI/ML functionality into ROS-based robotic applications.

Elsewhere, there were several IoT security related developments including Infineon Technologies launching its CIRRENT Cloud ID, a service that automates cloud certificate provisioning and IoT device-to-cloud authentication, plus IAR Systems and its group company Secure Thingz announcing a complete “development to deployment” solution for Microsoft Azure IoT and RTOS platforms (read Haydn Povey’s article on simplifying IoT onboarding to cloud).

I also looked at OCF-over-Thread, and how with the launch of a new certified module from Cascoda for this technology, it is significant in addressing interoperability and security in smart building IoT.

This week we also posted articles that include topics such as staying data compliant in the IoT, and accelerating atomic synchronization.

News & Products

Wireless charging of smart phone in vehicle.

NXP Semiconductors has announced a new automotive wireless charging reference design, the first to be certified by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the global standard development body for wireless power, for its new Qi 1.3 standard. The reference design consists of a Qi-certified board with an NXP wireless charging MWCT family MCUs, as well as optional NFC, secure element and CAN/LIN transceiver. The solution also features a software package that includes NXP’s wireless charging Qi 1.3 software library and a complete suite of customizable software solutions that help make it easier for developers to bring a Qi-certified wireless charger to market.

Infineon Technologies announced a collaboration with Rainforest Connection (RFCx), a non-profit organization that uses acoustic technology, big data and artificial intelligence / machine learning to save rainforests and monitor biodiversity. In this joint collaboration, RFCx will explore the use of Infineon’s gas sensing technologies to elevate and expand upon the capabilities of their current acoustic listening devices used to monitor and protect vulnerable rainforest ecosystems. This includes monitoring primates, birds, frogs, insects, bats and other organisms, and protecting against threats ranging from illegal logging to what can now also be forest fires with this collaboration.

STMicroelectronics TouchGFX 4.18
STMicroelectronics TouchGFX 4.18

STMicroelectronics has released TouchGFX Version 4.18 for user-interface development with STM32 microcontrollers (MCUs), adding video playback, enhanced tools for multi-developer collaboration, and support for new X-NUCLEO display kits. By allowing playback of Motion-JPEG (MJPEG) video files, TouchGFX brings extra pizzazz to small devices like home-automation products, wearables, medical devices, and industrial sensors, allowing rich features such as instructional guides or entertaining startup and pause screens to enhance the user interface. Developers can use their own MJPEG files or choose from the sample movies provided. A new video widget in TouchGFX Designer, with properties including start, stop, repeat, and go-to-frame, simplifies prototyping and is added to the application by drag and drop.

Microchip Technology is releasing ISO 26262 functional safety packages for its dsPIC33C digital signal controllers (DSCs), PIC18 and AVR microcontrollers (MCUs) that accelerate the development of safety-critical designs targeting ASIL B and ASIL C safety level and certification efforts. In addition, it is also offering a TÜV SÜD-certified design tool package for its MPLAB development tools ecosystem to ease tools qualification. This includes a MPLAB XC functional safety compiler with the TÜV SÜD certificate, a functional safety manual for the compiler along with safety plans and complete tools classification and qualification reports for the compiler, MPLAB X integrated development environment (IDE), MPLAB Code Coverage and all MPLAB development ecosystem programs.

Flex Logix Technologies has announced production availability of its InferX X1P1 PCIe accelerator board, designed to bring high-performance AI inference acceleration to edge servers and industrial vision systems. It offers leading edge performance, while remaining flexible to allow customers to seamlessly migrate to new AI models in the future and adapt to changing system requirements and protocols. The board is available in production quantities starting in November 2021 and priced starting at $399 for single unit quantities, with a software toolkit also offered to support customer model porting to the X1P1 board.

Crypto Quantique has announced a partnership with Macronix to add the QuarkLink IoT security management platform to the Macronix ArmorFlash ecosystem. This will enable Macronix to offer its customers an end-to-end security solution for provisioning, onboarding, and lifetime management of IoT devices that use its secure memory. ArmorFlash memory exploits a physical unclonable function (PUF) to create unique, immutable and unclonable identities for the Macronix chips. These unique identities underpin a secure element within ArmorFlash solutions. This is the memory’s root-of-trust. The QuarkLink platform securely connects the ArmorFlash root-of-trust to applications and services running on in-house or cloud-based servers.

Three Canadian organizations have partnered to provide what they claim is a world first quantum safe public key infrastructure (PKI) solution running on purpose-built hybrid crypto-agile hardware. The Quantum-Safe Now PKI solution integrates ISARA’s Radiate Quantum-safe toolkit and catalyst agile digital certificate methodology, which provide hybrid crypto-agility, with Carillon’s class PKI CertServ ID management suite operating on Crypto4A’s QxEDGE and QxCloud hybrid security platform (HSP).  As part of the partnership, the companies intend to develop and market seamless, easy to use quantum-safe PKI cryptographic solutions that ease digital transformations, enable cryptographic agility and simplify cryptographic management.

Sequans Communications and startup qastle have LTE-enabled qastle’s new smart alarm controller, which allows a DIY homeowner to upgrade their wired alarm system to a smart wired alarm system using all their existing wired sensors and devices, by simply replacing the existing alarm system control panel with the qastle Smart Alarm Controller. For the cellular connection, the qastle smart alarm controller uses the Sequans’ Monarch Go LTE-M/NB-IoT modem component that provides an instant connection to cellular IoT networks.  Monarch Go is an all-in-one connectivity solution, including the modem, optimized antenna, and Verizon SIM, and it comes pre-certified by Verizon.

u-blox has launched its ANNA-B4 module, a feature-rich, ultra-compact Bluetooth 5.1 system-in-package (SiP), targeting applications in harsh environments such as smart lighting networks and industrial circuit breakers as well as indoor positioning use cases in manufacturing sites, warehouses, hospitals, and smart cities. Measuring 6.5 by 6.5 mm including its integrated antenna, ANNA-B4 combines the Nordic nRF52833 chipset’s feature set with u-blox’s expertise in chipset and module design into a compact and powerful component. The SiP supports Bluetooth mesh, long range, and direction finding, Thread and Zigbee, operation up to 105 °C, and is globally certified.

Digital Matter, a developer of GPS and IoT hardware, announced its latest portfolio of ‘edge’ battery-powered asset tracking devices and Location Engine, a new cloud-based location solver, to enable global indoor/outdoor IoT asset tracking and management applications. Supporting multiple location technologies (GNSS, Wi-Fi AP MAC address scanning, and cell tower location or geolocation fallback with LoRaWAN), the new portfolio enables indoor-to-outdoor IoT asset management in key applications including supply chain visibility, high-value pallet and package tracking, kegs and returnables tracking, emergency and hospital equipment management, cart and trolley tracking, and more.


PragmatIC Semiconductor has secured $80 million in funding to build a second FlexLogIC fab with five times the capacity of its existing fab, in order to meet a growing demand for its low-cost flexible integrated circuits (IC) for the internet of things (IoT). The fab supports a production cycle time of less than one day, compared with several months for a typical silicon fab. Due to its compact footprint and self-contained design, FlexLogIC can be located wherever needed around the globe, allowing agile “just-in-time” IC production.

TriLite Glasses white
AR glasses using Trilite projection display

Vienna-based startup Trilite Technologies announced a funding round of €8 million to bring its tiny projection displays to mass market augmented reality (AR) consumer eyewear. The company and its investors, which includes Hermann Hauser, believe that AR glasses are the next big thing after mobile phones, and are banking on the ability for Trilite’s tiny display projectors to enable rapid growth in AR and mixed reality (MR) glasses. Its Trixel 3 is claimed to be the world’s smallest and lightest projection display, with a total volume of just 0.92cm3. It incorporates a micro-optical RGB laser light source and a MEMS mirror, enabling it to generate bright, high-quality images.

MagicCube, a mobile security startup, has raised $15 million in a round led by Mosaik Partners. Its software-based security technology is aimed at replacing all security chips, which are usually used for safely storing sensitive data and authenticating whoever needs access to it. Sam Shawki, who was previously head of Visa’s global remote payments business unit, co-founded the Santa Clara-based startup with his wife Nancy Zayed, who spent years working on the OS group at Apple. The pair started the company in an effort to develop technology that would eliminate the need for hardware when it comes to mobile security.


The CW International Conference (CWIC), one of the key annual events for the wireless industry in the U.K., is back as both a physical live event at IWM Duxford, Europe’s largest air museum, as well being available online. Taking place on 9th November 2021, this year’s theme considers the value of the wireless network within digital and circular economies, exploring innovations and ideas that maximise wireless’ potential to improve the future. Full agenda and details are here.

Nvidia GTC takes place online from 8-11 November 2021, which will include a live-streamed keynote by Jensen Huang, plus talks from AI research and industry leaders on deep learning, data science, high-performance computing, robotics, data center/networking and graphics. Speakers include Fei-Fei Li, professor of computer science, Stanford University, Lindsay Edwards, responsible for AI at in respiratory and immunology, AstraZeneca, and Kay Firth-Butterfield, head of AI and ML, World Economic Forum. Details here.

The 58th DAC (Design Automation Conference) is takes place both physically in San Francisco and virtually between 5-10 December 2021. Keynote speakers include Jeff Dean of Google Research and Google Health, Bill Dally of Nvidia, and Missy Cummings of Duke University. For the first, DAC attendees will also have access to SEMICON West and the RISC-V Summit. Details here.

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