What's All the Fuss About?
For years developers that wanted to work with real-time signals had to develop their own DSP systems or microprocessor hardware in order to guarantee the timing and reliability of their programming.
In the old days you would write a program in assembler then burn it to a DSP chip to test. More recently there have been a lot of so call development boards that allow you to write your program with a high level language like C++ then download it into the hardware chips flash memory etc. These boards work very well but are still very limited in there connectivity and interoperability.
Then came Embedded PC Systems - low cost mini single board PCs that can run with the latest high speed CPUs (fanless, multicore etc.) These are often much faster than the DSP equivalent, plus they give you all of the motherboard resources available at no extra cost, Networking, USB, VGA Screens, Mouse & Keyboard Input, COM ports, Printers, Sound Cards - all of these features built into one low cost embedded motherboard off the shelf!
Now here’s the secret: Windows Embedded! This is a fully configurable version of Windows allowing you to select only the Windows functions you need in order to make a light weight, reliable, real-time operating system.
A standard Windows install uses about 3Gb of disk space (boot time > 1min). In comparison, a typical kiosk type Windows Embedded operating system takes around 300Kb (Boot time <10s)! This can then be programmed into a solid State hard drive (SSHD) for reliable storage with no moving parts. Also Windows Embedded Images can be programmed to totally bypass Windows as we know it and boot directly into your own EXE application shell. From an outside perspective there is no traditional Windows OS running, just your application.
DSP Robotics has developed a 3 part turnkey OEM Embedded Development System ready to go. This uses an embedded PC called a FitPC, a Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD) called ‘FlowDrive’ which is preinstalled with Windows Embedded and a Micro SD card that contains your FlowStone application that is run automatically on booting.
Simply program your FlowStone application using FlowStone Enterprise or Pro then replace the default FlowStone.exe on the mini SD card with your own - job done! You now have your very own embedded system with access to all the benefits of an embedded PC (screen, keyboard, mouse, networking, USB, Com Port etc.)
What You Need
The FlowDrive is at the heart of the system. It's an 8GB Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD) with no moving parts so it's ultra fast to boot. It has Windows Embedded Standard OS pre-installed and is configured to load straight into the FlowStone generated exe that you supply on your Mini SD card.
2. FitPC 2i
The FitPC 2i is a fully functional PC in an incredibly tiny form factor. It is silent and draws 96% less power than a standard desktop.
NOTE: For FlowStone Embedded it is essential that you buy FitPC 2i Diskless, revision 1.2 as the FlowDrive is only configured to run on that version. This is the 1.6GHz system with 1GB RAM.
- Intel Atom 1.6GHz fanless CPU
- 1GB RAM
- DVI up to 1920×1080
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet with wake-on-LAN support
- S/PDIF 5.1 channels, stereo line-out, line-in and mic
- 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 mini-USB ports on the front with adapters to USB-A included)
- MiniSD Card slot
- Secured power jack
- Serial port
3. MiniSD Card
Readily available Mini SD cards are smaller SD cards (not to be mistaken with Micro SD) that are usually sold with a standard SD adapter to plug into SD slots on your PC. They can be from 1GB up to several GB in size. 1GB is usually more than enough for any FlowStone application.
3 Steps To Your Own Embedded Product
Using the FlowStone Embedded system is extremely easy. You can be up and running with your own bespoke embedded product in just 3 simple steps.
Embedded systems have a vast array of applications. This list below is only just scratching the surface:
- Stand alone autonomous robotics
- Embedded Control systems
- Rapid prototype development
- Mechatronics Systems
- Information Terminals
- Home automation systems
- Security Systems
- Data Logging
- Test and Measurement
- And many more...
For Further information on FlowStone Embedded Systems or FlowStone consultancy please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.