The New Forum is LIVE!
After months of hard word, I am very excited to introduce to you the new forum interface.
Here are the key features:
1 Easily add images to a post by drag & dropping the images in the editor
2 Easily attach files to a post by drag & dropping the files in the editor
3 Add latex equations to a post and they will be rendered with Mathjax (tutorial)
4 Add a code snippet and surround the code with
Running Average
The running average filter is a useful way to reduce noise in a system. One project I recently worked on required a 4 times frequency output from an encoder input. The problem was the encoder is mounted to the wheel of an old truck and bearing noise was making the original algorithm generate way too many pulses. The original algorithm worked, but the noise on the input made it useless.
I first implemented the moving average based on
Ancient History
The other day I was downloading an IDE for a new (to me) OS. When I went to compile some sample code, it failed. I went onto a forum, where I was told "if you read the release notes you'd know that the peripheral libraries are in a legacy download". Well damn! Looking back at my previous versions I realized I must have done that and forgotten about it. Everything changes, and keeping up with it takes time and effort.
When I first started with microprocessors we...
Dealing With Fixed Point Fractions
Fixed point fractional representation always gives me a headache because I screw it up the first time I try to implement an algorithm. The difference between integer operations and fractional operations is in the overflow. If the representation fits in the fixed point result, you can not tell the difference between fixed point integer and fixed point fractions. When integers overflow, they lose data off the most significant bits. When fractions overflow, they lose data off...
Mathematics and Cryptography
The mathematics of number theory and elliptic curves can take a life time to learn because they are very deep subjects. As engineers we don't have time to earn PhD's in math along with all the things we have to learn just to make communications systems work. However, a little learning can go a long way to helping make our communications systems secure  we don't need to know everything. The following articles are broken down into two realms, number theory and elliptic...
Elliptic Curve Digital Signatures
A digital signature is used to prove a message is connected to a specific sender. The sender can not deny they sent that message once signed, and no one can modify the message and maintain the signature. The message itself is not necessarily secret. Certificates of authenticity, digital cash, and software distribution use digital signatures so recipients can verify they are getting what they paid for.
Since messages can be of any length and mathematical algorithms always use fixed...
Elliptic Curve Key Exchange
Elliptic Curve Cryptography is used to create a Public Key system that allows two people (or computers) to exchange public data so that both sides know a secret that no one else can find in a reasonable time. The simplest method uses a fixed public key for each person. Once cracked, every message ever sent with that key is open. More advanced key exchange systems have "perfect forward secrecy" which means that even if one message key is cracked, no other message will...
DiscreteTime PLLs, Part 1: Basics
In this series of tutorials on discretetime PLLs we will be focusing on PhaseLocked Loops that can be implemented in discretetime signal proessors such as FPGAs, DSPs and of course, MATLAB.
Polynomial Inverse
One of the important steps of computing point addition over elliptic curves is a division of two polynomials.
One Clock Cycle Polynomial Math
Error correction codes and cryptographic computations are most easily performed working with GF(2^n)
Went 280km/h (174mph) in a Porsche Panamera in Germany!
Those of you who've been following my blog lately already know that I am going through some sort of midlife crisis that involves going out there to meet people and make videos. It all started with Embedded World early this year, then continued at ESC Boston a couple of months ago and the latest chapter just concluded as I returned from Germany after spending a week at SEGGER's headquarters to produce a video to highlight their 25th anniversary.
StrangeCPU #2. Sliding Window Token Machines
Summary:An indepth exploration of Sliding Window Token Machines; ARM notes.
Table of Contents: Part 1: A new CPU  technology review, reexamination of the premises; StrangeCPU concepts; x86 notes.
 Part 2: SlidingWindow Token Machines, an indepth exploration of this curious technology; ARM notes.
 Part 3. Instruction Slides  The Strangest CPU Yet! Decoding instructions with a Sliding Window...
VGA Output in 7 Slices. Really.
Ridiculous? Read on  I will show you how to generate VGA timing in seven XilinxR Spartan3R slices.Some time ago I needed to output video to a VGA monitor for my Apple ][ FPGA clone. Obviously (I thought), VGA's been done before and all I had to do was find some Verilog code and drop it into my design. As is often the case (with me anyway), the task proved to be very different from my imagined 'couple of hours to integrate the IP'.I found some example code for my board. I...
Data Types for Control & DSP
There's a lot of information out there on what data types to use for digital signal processing, but there's also a lot of confusion, so the topic bears repeating.
I recently posted an entry on PID control. In that article I glossed over the data types used by showing "double" in all of my example code. Numerically, this should work for most control problems, but it can be an extravagant use of processor resources. There ought to be a better way to determine what precision you need...
Learning VHDL  Basics
Since FPGA are becoming more accessible to the hobbyist, learning how to use them can be really useful for certain applications, like DSP and video generation; moreover, engineers that are able to code in VHDL/Verilog are always requested on the job market.
In this tutorial I will cover the basics of Xilinx ISE and VHDL. I willl base my code on the Basys2 board from Digilent: it is really cheap (especially for students) and has a lot of features on board, as you can see from the picture...
Feedback Controllers  Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 6. SelfCalibration Related.
This article will consider the engineering of a selfcalibration & selftest capability to enable the project hardware to be configured and its basic performance evaluated and verified, ready for the development of the lowlatency controller DSP firmware and closedloop applications. Performance specifications will be documented in due course, on the project website here.
 Part 6: SelfCalibration, Measurements and Signalling (this part)
 Part 5:
StrangeCPU #3. Instruction Slides  The Strangest CPU Yet!
Summary:Decoding instructions with a Sliding Window system. 0Bit Sliding Register Windows.
Table of Contents: Part 1: A new CPU  technology review, reexamination of the premises; StrangeCPU concepts; x86 notes.
 Part 2: SlidingWindow Token Machines, an indepth exploration of this curious technology; ARM notes.
 Part 3. Instruction Slides  The Strangest CPU Yet! Decoding instructions with a Sliding...
MyHDL Interface Example
MyHDL Interfaces ExampleWith the next release of MyHDL, version 0.9, conversion of interfaces will be supported. In this context an interface is any object with a Signal attribute. This can be used to simplify connection between modules and port definitions. For example, if I want to define a simple memorymap bus, the Signals for the bus can be defined as follows:
class BareBoneBus: def __init__(self): self.wr = Signal(False) self.rd =...Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part II: libgf2 and Primitive Polynomials
Last time, we looked at the basics of LFSRs and finite fields formed by the quotient ring \( GF(2)[x]/p(x) \).
LFSRs can be described by a list of binary coefficients, sometimes referred as the polynomial, since they correspond directly to the characteristic polynomial of the quotient ring.
Today we’re going to look at how to perform certain practical calculations in these finite fields. I maintain a Python library on bitbucket called...
Embedded World 2018  More Videos!
After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.
For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.
The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.
As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slowmotion footage and...
New Comments System (please help me test it)
I thought it would take me a day or two to implement, it took almost two weeks...
But here it is, the new comments systems for blogs, heavily inspired by the forum system I developed earlier this year.
Which means that:
 You can easily add images, either by drag and drop or through the 'Insert Image' button
 You can add MathML, TeX and ASCIImath equations and they will be rendered with Mathjax
 You can add code snippets and they will be highlighted with highlights.js
 You can edit...
Running Average
The running average filter is a useful way to reduce noise in a system. One project I recently worked on required a 4 times frequency output from an encoder input. The problem was the encoder is mounted to the wheel of an old truck and bearing noise was making the original algorithm generate way too many pulses. The original algorithm worked, but the noise on the input made it useless.
I first implemented the moving average based on
StrangeCPU #4. Microcode
Summary:Sliding windows containing runs of microcode.
Table of Contents:
Part 1: A new CPU  technology review, reexamination of the premises; StrangeCPU concepts; x86 notes.

Part 2: SlidingWindow Token Machines, an indepth exploration of this curious technology; ARM notes.
MyHDL FPGA Tutorial II cont. (Echo, Audio Interface)
IntroductionTo demonstrate the echo on an FPGA board an interface to an audio ADC/DAC chip will be used. The following will explain the connection to the audio codec and the HDL module used to interface.
Audio Codec InterfaceI have two boards with TI AIC23b audio codecs. The AIC23 has a configuration interface (ability to program the registers) and a streaming audio interface. The SPI mode will be used to configure the codec and the I2S interface is used to send and...
Finally got a drone!
As a reader of my blog, you already know that I have been making videos lately and thoroughly enjoying the process. When I was in Germany early this summer (and went 280 km/h in a porsche!) to produce SEGGER's 25th anniversary video, the company bought a drone so we could get an aerial shot of the party (at about the 1:35 mark in this video). Since then, I have been obsessing on buying a drone for myself and finally made the move a few weeks ago  I acquired a used DJI...
The Spartans
The latest release of the Xilinx Spartan family is the Spartan6 line of FPGAs. It has been awhile since the last major Spartan released, the Spartan3, but this last year Xilinx released the Spartan6. The Xilinx Spartan family is the low cost FPGAs compared to the higher cost and high performance Virtex family. The Spartan family is derived from the Virtex architecture with some changes to reduce the cost. The Spartan3 FPGAs were derived from the VirtexII architecture. Since the Spartan3...
The DSP Online Conference  Right Around the Corner!
It is Sunday night as I write this blog post with a few days to go before the virtual doors of the very first DSP Online Conference open..
It all started with a post in the DSPRelated forum about three months ago. We had just had a blast running the 2020 Embedded Online Conference and we thought it could be fun to organize a smaller event dedicated to the DSP community. So my goal with the post in the forum was to see if...
Makefiles for Xilinx Tools
Building a bitstream from an HDL is a complicated process that requires the cooperation of a lot of tools. You can hide behind an IDE or grow a pair and use command line tools and a makefile to tie your build process together. I am not a huge fan of makefiles either (I believe a language should be expressive enough to automate the build process), but the alternatives are dismal.
Commandline driven workflow is easier on the hands and faster. The example...
Embedded World 2018  The Interviews
Once again this year, I had the chance to go to Embedded World in Nuremberg Germany. And once again this year, I brought my video equipment to try and capture some of the most interesting things at the show.
Something new this year, I asked Jacob Beningo if he would partner with me in doing interviews with a few vendors. I would operate the camera while Jacob would ask the right questions to the vendors to make them talk about the key products/features that...
Use Microprogramming to Save Resources and Increase Functionality
IntroductionMicroprogramming is a design approach that every FPGA designer should have in their bag of tricks. I subscribe to the concept that microprogramming is a structured approach to the design of state machines. This is essentially the view of Maurice Wilkes when he first proposed microprogramming in 1951 as an alternative method for the implementation of the control section of a computer. Wilkes was interested in improving the reliability and reducing time needed to implement...