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Memfault State of IoT Report

ANCS and HID: Controlling Your iPhone From Zephyr

Mohammed Billoo June 11, 2024

In this blog post, we see how certain BLE services can be used to control an iPhone from a Nordic nRF52840 using The Zephyr Project. Specifically, we see how to control certain multimedia functionality using the HID service. Finally, we learn how to use the ANCS client library provided by Nordic in The Zephyr Project to accept or decline an incoming call.


You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 3)

Nathan Jones June 3, 20241 comment

In this third article I'll share with you a few cooperative schedulers (with a mix of both free and commercial licenses) that implement a few of the OS primitives that the "Superduperloop" is currently missing, possibly giving you a ready-to-go solution for your system. On the other hand, I don't think it's all that hard to add thread flags, binary and counting semaphores, event flags, mailboxes/queues, a simple Observer pattern, and something I call a "marquee" to the "Superduperloop"; I'll show you how to do that in the second half of this article and the next. Although it will take a little more work than just using one of the projects above, it will give you the maximum amount of control over your system and it will let you write tasks in ways you could only dream of using an RTOS or other off-the-shelf system.


You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 2)

Nathan Jones May 7, 20246 comments

In this second article, we'll tweak the simple superloop in three critical ways that will improve it's worst-case response time (WCRT) to be nearly as good as a preemptive RTOS ("real-time operating system"). We'll do this by adding task priorities, interrupts, and finite state machines. Additionally, we'll discuss how to incorporate a sleep mode when there's no work to be done and I'll also share with you a different variation on the superloop that can help schedule even the toughest of task sets.


A design non-methodology

Colin Walls April 25, 2024

Although writing an RTOS or kernel may be an interesting project, it is unlikely to be a wise course of action.


You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 1)

Nathan Jones April 11, 20248 comments

In this first article, we'll compare our two contenders, the superloop and the RTOS. We'll define a few terms that help us describe exactly what functions a scheduler does and why an RTOS can help make certain systems work that wouldn't with a superloop. By the end of this article, you'll be able to: - Measure or calculate the deadlines, periods, and worst-case execution times for each task in your system, - Determine, using either a response-time analysis or a utilization test, if that set of tasks is schedulable using either a superloop or an RTOS, and - Assign RTOS task priorities optimally.


The RTOS minefield

Colin Walls February 26, 2024

Choosing an RTOS is challenging both technically and when assessing suppliers.


Getting Started With Zephyr: Bluetooth Low Energy

Mohammed Billoo January 29, 2024

In this blog post, I show how to enable BLE support in a Zephyr application. First, I show the necessary configuration options in Kconfig. Then, I show how to use the Zephyr functions and macros to create a custom service and characteristic for a contrived application.


Optimizing Real-Time Operating Systems for Efficient Edge Devices

Lance Harvie January 11, 2024

Edge computing has become a crucial technology in today's world, requiring real-time operating systems (RTOS) to provide the necessary capabilities for efficient resource management, optimal performance, and reliable operation of edge devices. Let’s have a look at the key features and benefits of RTOS for edge computing, including the challenges, solutions, best practices, and future trends.

Key Features of RTOS in Edge Environments

RTOS provides several essential features that make it...


Getting Started With Zephyr: Writing Data to EEPROM

Mohammed Billoo December 6, 20235 comments

In this blog post, I show how to implement a Zephyr application to interact with EEPROM. I show how the Zephyr device driver model allows application writers to be free of the underlying implementation details. Unfortunately, the application didn't work as expected, and I'm still troubleshooting the cause.


Getting Started With Zephyr: Saving Data To Files

Mohammed Billoo October 31, 2023

In this blog post, I show how to implement a Zephyr application to mount a microSD card, create a new file on the microSD card, and write data to it. The lessons learned from such an application can be helpful for devices out in the field that need to write data to off-board memory periodically, especially in cases where Internet access may be sporadic.


Using the Beaglebone PRU to achieve realtime at low cost

Fabien Le Mentec April 25, 20148 comments
Introduction

I work as an engineer in a synchrotron facility. A few weeks ago, I helped the people in charge of the power supply developments to integrate a realtime control algorithm on a prototype platform: a BeagleBone Black (BBB) running Linux. I had already worked with this board in the past, and I found it very interesting given its excellent resources versus price ratio (around 40 euros). This time, I was impressed by its realtime capabilities. I thought it would be a good idea to...


From Baremetal to RTOS: A review of scheduling techniques

Jacob Beningo June 8, 201617 comments

Transitioning from bare-metal embedded software development to a real-time operating system (RTOS) can be a difficult endeavor. Many developers struggle with the question of whether they should use an RTOS or simply use a bare-metal scheduler. One of the goals of this series is to walk developers through the transition and decision making process of abandoning bare-metal thinking and getting up to speed quickly with RTOSes. Before diving into the details of RTOSes, the appropriate first step...


From bare-metal to RTOS: 5 Reasons to use an RTOS

Jacob Beningo October 18, 20167 comments

Developers can come up with amazing and convoluted reasons to not use an RTOS. I have heard excuses ranging from they are too expensive (despite open source solutions) all the way to they aren’t efficient and use too much memory. In some circumstances some excuses are justified but there are many reasons why a developer should look to an RTOS to help with their real-time scheduling needs.

From bare-metal to RTOS Quick Links
  • Part 1: 

Mutex vs. Semaphore - Part 1

Niall Cooling April 12, 20195 comments

It never ceases to amaze me how often I see postings in forums asking the difference between a semaphore and a mutex. Probably what baffles me more is that over 90% of the time the responses given are either incorrect or missing the key differences. The most often quoted response is that of the “The Toilet Example (c) Copyright 2005, Niclas Winquist” . This summarises the differences as:

  • A mutex is really a semaphore with value 1

No, no, and no again....


Round-robin or RTOS for my embedded system

Manuel Herrera June 9, 20197 comments

First of all, I would like to introduce myself. I am Manuel Herrera. I am starting to write blogs about the situations that I have faced over the years of my career and discussed with colleagues.

To begin, I would like to open a conversation with a dilemma that is present when starting a project ... must I use or not any operating system?

I hope it helps you to form your own criteria and above all that you enjoy it.

Does my embedded system need an...


Review: Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers

Steve Branam September 20, 20202 comments

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book for evaluation.

Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers: Building real-time embedded systems using FreeRTOS, STM32 MCUs, and SEGGER debug tools by Brian Amos is an outstanding book. It lives up to its name, extremely hands-on and practical, taking you from knowing nothing about RTOS's (Real-Time Operating Systems) up to building real multithreaded embedded system applications running on real hardware.

It uses the ST Micro


Modern Embedded Systems Programming: Beyond the RTOS

Miro Samek April 27, 20167 comments

An RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) is the most universally accepted way of designing and implementing embedded software. It is the most sought after component of any system that outgrows the venerable "superloop". But it is also the design strategy that implies a certain programming paradigm, which leads to particularly brittle designs that often work only by chance. I'm talking about sequential programming based on blocking.

Blocking occurs any time you wait explicitly in-line for...


You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 1)

Nathan Jones April 11, 20248 comments

In this first article, we'll compare our two contenders, the superloop and the RTOS. We'll define a few terms that help us describe exactly what functions a scheduler does and why an RTOS can help make certain systems work that wouldn't with a superloop. By the end of this article, you'll be able to: - Measure or calculate the deadlines, periods, and worst-case execution times for each task in your system, - Determine, using either a response-time analysis or a utilization test, if that set of tasks is schedulable using either a superloop or an RTOS, and - Assign RTOS task priorities optimally.


Embedded Programming Video Course Teaches RTOS

Miro Samek January 20, 2019

If you'd like to understand how a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) really works, here is a free video course for you:

RTOS part-1: In this first lesson on RTOS you will see how to extend the foreground/background architecture from the previous lesson, so that you can have multiple background loops running seemingly simultaneously.:

RTOS part-2: In this second lesson on RTOS you will see how to automate the context switch process. Specifically, in this lesson, you will start building...


Memfault State of IoT Report