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Quick Impression of the Embedded Systems Conference ’08

Spent most of the last three days (Apr 14th – 16th) attending the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA. Met with lots of companies, which I’ll report on later. But here’s my quick take on the conference:


  • Technical sessions seemed well attended and interesting.
  • Traffic on the show floor seemed lighter this year over last year. Not bad, just a bit lighter. This made for an easier parking situation.
  • Keynote address started with an entertaining video that highlighted the history of embedded systems. I left shortly after Jack Ganssle started his presentation. Would have liked to stay to listen to Jack and the other speakers, but my publisher had other ideas for my time.
  • No real earth-shaking technology was introduced at the show, which is OK since lots of incremental improvements in existing technology were presented, especially in those products aimed at the mobile, multimedia consumer market.

Here’s a short list of my more interesting meetings (all at the show, except where noted):

  • Xelerated – network proessor technology (not at the show)
  • NXP Semi – ARM9 microcontrollers with tons of peripherals
  • Intel Embedded – demos of Atom processor and more
  • MentorEmbedded Group
  • Moschip – ICs for networking
  • Sidence – memory (had to walk to the “IP? show at the Fairmont for this one)
  • XMOS – Software define silicon. The image below is the XMOS XS1-G Development Kit. Very aesthetic with it’s blue glow.

XMOS XS1-G Development Kit

Coolest technology:

> Met with Brian, one of the inventors/entrepreneurs vying for Google Lunar X-Prize moon rover project. Brain, supported in this effort by his wife, is an ordinary fellow with the drive and daring to bring his idea for a moon rover to fruition. You can also see a Video of the Rover’s first trip outdoors on YouTube.

Moon rover on show floorMoon rover and remote camera display

Oddest sights:

> Eco-lounge at the entrance to the ESC exhibit hall. This “lounge,? was nothing more than a bunch of colorful bean-bag chairs scattered around for attendees benefit. Nice idea, but in all honesty bean bag “chairs? are not all that comfy for anyone over 25. Plus, there is no way to gracefully stand up from the bags.

> Much better than the bean bag chairs – though equally odd – was the “multimedia” chair at the CEVA booth. The multimedia system was powered by CEVA’s DSP technology. Note the weary editor taking a much deserved break.

CEVA multimedia bubble chair

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