Today, you can easily get an off the shelf chip with fully integrated wireless, gyro, temperature, accelerometer, LEDs, and even audio and video capabilities. The software generally works readily out of the box and has canned demos and working examples to get you up and running in a matter of days if not hours. This has all but relegated the hardware to that of a commodity. It's about who has the best software and who can get that product to market the fastest with the right feature sets and the right price points. With new enhanced versions with increased features available every few months, the difficulty we see has been in porting the software and or re-using the software IP. Often the drivers get updated, the memory locations for various features change, control words, instructions change, etc., slowing time to market and introducing inefficiencies.
Yes IPs are very much helpful in reducing the design cycle of electronic prototype development, but matching the IP coding and variable assignment with the existing modules it a bit completed task, Altium has done a very good work on using the IPs in electronic prototypes.
To me the big thing is the need for standards in all aspects of IP development and use. Look at what happens when the ARM standard gets adopted by Xilinx AND Altera. Now we have the ability for third party developers to target just about all the FPGA market with a single development. Now if other IP standards could be similarly extended to test benches and othe pieces of the cycle. Maybe some day...
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.