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DSC apps become more demanding

Posted: 02 Dec 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:real-time control  digital signal controller  digital signal processor 

Development tools to simplify adoption

In addition to adding functionality and performance, vendors are working to make adoption of the DSC design approach easier for conventional microcontroller users. Microchip has made its development tool set usable for all devices in its DSC and related microcontroller families so developers can choose devices based on features, not tool availability.

TI has taken a similar approach, making its Piccolo series code-compatible with other C2000-based devices so its CCStudio toolset can be used for them all.

A key feature of these toolsets is to allow developers to work with high-level languages such as C for creating the bulk of the application while allowing assembly language programming where highest performance is needed. Vendors are also providing extensive libraries to ease software design for developers with little or no DSP experience. These libraries include code for application functions such as power factor correction, motor control and noise suppression. They also provide system code for communications protocols, modems and codecs, encryption and more.

As a growing number of microcontroller users move to DSCs, the products will continue to evolve. "Customers are pushing us on a number of fronts, including new peripherals and capabilities, faster direct memory access and processor speed increases—all while keeping small size," said Microchip's Marsh.

Memory scalability to meet growing software demands, as well as a desire among industrial users for communications protocols such as the control area network protocol, are also pushing DSC evolution, said TI's Ogboenyiya.

The result will be an ever-increasing array of options for the design of embedded real-time digital control systems.

-Richard A. Quinell
EE Times

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