Well, automotive is a bit unique in that it has to work in the hot Arizona sun, and a Michigan winter. It also has to tolerate high EMI/RFI when you drive past a cell tower or a radio station. So, microcontrollers that can handle harsh conditions are a must and an extended temperature range is a must. Beyond that it gets back to what you have for inputs, what you need for outputs, and how much processing power do you need. You also want to take a look at some of the peripheral components like crystals, sensors, hi power transistors, and the like. All have to handle the environment at worst case loads. So again, it depends upon what you have to do and how fast.
For long term applications, I would suggest microcontrollers with reliable supervisory functions. I would also suggest parts that have self programming capabilities for in field upgrades. Also check the endurance of the non-volitile memory. Beyond that, test it as best you can for all the expected, and unexpected, operating conditions that you can think of.
Well, I think you want a microcontroller that has reliable supervisory features such as a watch dog, power down reset, and good EMI/RFI resistance. On top of that, you also need a microcontroller that is approved for medical implantation and a company that will warent their parts for medical.
The question about implantable medical devices is interesting because so many of these devices have to operate for years without intervention. For such applications, are the MCU considerations any different?
Well, again, that depends on what your are trying to do with the system. If you are managing an analog feedback control, then bit sets and bit clears play an important role. If you are implementing filters in software, then multiply accumulate instructions are important. I don't know that you can really say that this instruction is important for mechatronics, and that one is not. It will depend upon what you are trying to do with the system.
Well, a feedback control is basically a low pass filter with the specific poles and zero necessary to stabalize the loop. DSP is how we create fast/efficient filters in software. So, if you are going to do a mechatronics control in software, I think you are going to end up with a DSP, it just makes sense. So, yes, I think DSP has a definite role in mechatronics.
Well, for simple applications it certainly has the processing power, and 8-bit tends to have more in the way of control peripherals (PWM, ADC, comparators). However, 16 bit has more processing power for software based feedback. I would say that most of the current mechatronics apps use an 8-bit, but as complexity grows, they are going to have trouble keeping up so you will probabaly see more 16 and 32 bit in future designs.
Again, the answer is "it depends". It depends on what you are trying to control and what you have for sensors. It will also depend upon how much of the system will be in software and if you want peripherals to do some of the work. Basically you have to make some tradeoffs about the design and then go looking for a microcontroller that fits.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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