EDNE February 2013 - (Page 19)
Automatic code generation
The combination is unbeatable for students and practicing engineers alike.
wo complementary concepts—automatic code generaWhat could possibly excite an
tion and the inexpensive, open-source, single-board engineer or engineering student
microcontroller—have reinvigorated innovation in more than solving a real-world
engineering practice and education.
problem? Seeing one’s solution
Automatic code generation from system block diagrams implemented in hardware does
has been around for decades and is an entrenched way of precisely that.
Kevin C Craig, PhD,
developing embedded control systems and performing hardWhile teaching model-based is the Robert C Greenheck
ware-in-the-loop testing at many aerospace and automotive design and controls over the past chairman in engineering
companies; today, it is rapidly moving into other industries. 20 years, I have not seen a more design and a professor of
The Arduino microcontroller debuted in 2005 and has quick- exciting, effective, and accessible mechanical engineering at
problem-solving combination than the College of Engineering
ly become a favorite of inventors and students.
Computer programming and implementation can seem so graphical block-diagram program- at Marquette University.
out of place in engineering problem solving that engineers ming, as is done in the Matlab/ For more mechatronics
often relegate the tasks to a specialist. “Engineer programmer” Simulink environment, and auto- news, visit mechatronics
is an oxymoron.
matic generation of C code for a zone.com.
I have said, however, that the human, the computer tools microcontroller, as is done using
(software and hardware), and the problem should all be in the Arduino microcontroller with
perfect harmony throughout the problem-solving process. the Simulink Coder. Today, all manner of robots and selfThe combination of graphical programming using block dia- balancing transporters are conceived, modeled, simulated,
grams, automatic code generation from the block diagrams, controlled, and virtually prototyped before construction, in
and implementation on an easily understandable yet powerful a way that all engineers embrace.
microcontroller comes close to that ideal.
Ours is an age of diminishing meaningful human interacHoneywell observed in 2005 that the typical software tion. A university engineering program’s value, then, lies in
process injects 100 defects, due to both design and coding demonstrating the importance of such interaction through
errors, per 1000 lines of source
faculty-student mentoring and
code using manual processes.
education in the context of realThe company has automated
world, human-centered, teamsoftware manufacturing through
based problem solving.
automatic code generation and
Automatic code generation
has demonstrated the achieveand the Arduino microconment of six-sigma quality—that
troller should be a part of that
is, not more than 3.4 defects per
strategy from the beginning of
million opportunities. Northropan engineering student’s career.
Grumman, for its part, has fineInnovative concepts, expressed
tuned the process of going from
graphically for all to see and
the desktop directly to flight code
on flight hardware. Rapid protobecome real-time instructions
typing and hardware-in-the-loop
for a computer, and then become
testing are now the rule, rather The Arduino open-source, single-board microcontroller is real-world actions that make a
than the exception.
a favorite of inventors and students.
M AT E R IALS
FRESH IDEAS ON INTEGRATING
ELECTRONICS, CONTROL SYSTEMS,
AND SOFTWARE IN DESIGN
february 2013 | EDN europe 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of EDNE February 2013
Mesago SMT 2013
Test & Measurement World
Rohde & Schwarz
Mesago PCIM 2013
Mechatronics in Design
Hot technologies: trends to watch in 2013
Hot 100 products of 2012
Add LED intelligence to improve light quality, efficiency, and cost
Tales from the Cube
EDNE February 2013