Tag Archives: IoT

Retail Energy Management through IoT

Most people prefer to visit big stores like Walmart and Costco for buying almost everything from iPhones to ice-creams. But running huge stores is not an easy task, and the superstores are always on the lookout for ways to cut costs by streamlining their operations.

With superstores the size of a city block, streamlining operations is not simple. Substantial resources—time and staff—are necessary to keep store lighting, food court ovens, HVAC systems, and digital displays running at maximum efficiency.

The stores may have hundreds of freezers and refrigeration units operating at the same time. Constantly monitoring them for meeting government regulations, while manually adjusting them, can lead to food safety compromises. A breakdown can halt services and food sales, slashing profits and irritating customers. While the retail sector increasingly adopts sophisticated digital solutions, its inefficient management of energy systems can become an anomaly.

With the recent pandemic causing a worldwide worker shortage and subsequent rise in labor costs, retailers would rather not add people for tracking and monitoring their back-end facility.

Traditional energy management systems available on the market operate in two ways. First, system integrators must build from scratch a software program for managing energy consumption to make the effort feasible, but this is too resource-intensive. The other may require purchasing an off-the-shelf system for building management—such as those that office towers and apartment buildings use. But these systems are usually not customizable, and they do not accommodate retailers. This is where a new platform has become necessary.

IBASE and Novakon have created a new platform for managing energy. They have designed the IBASE platform specifically for retailers. The platform, IBASE IoT Energy Management Platform, can monitor and manage refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning, kiosk signs, food court appliances, and lighting. The IoT system connects everything to the Internet, which allows tracking, monitoring, and controlling them possible in real-time.

Therefore, retailers no longer need a staffer to tend to freezers and refrigerators. Instead, they can concentrate on their own activities. The system does the tracking and data recording from multiple sensors that transmit new information all the time.

The new platform allows retailers to review the status of not only the refrigeration system but also the power that all connected devices and appliances consume. Anything going wrong brings up an immediate alert. The same alert also reaches the servicing company, so they can take up repair and maintenance immediately.

Moreover, the IBASE platform also has the capability to automatically turn HVAC and lighting on and off in synchronization with business hours. Retailers can tweak the system to match their special requirements to further save energy and money. Utility companies often offer discounts to businesses that can keep their power consumption below a certain threshold.

The IBASE platform is a real boon for large retailers—they can really save big on resources and energy. For instance, in a retail operation with 250 lighting devices, 36 air conditioners, and 22 power meters, staffers had to monitor each floor with notebooks, noting down appliance information every hour. The IBASE platform has transformed this.

IoT and DIP Switches

Pre-configuring equipment helps in many ways. In the field, the ability to pre-configure functionality eases installation procedures, helps in diagnostics, and reduces downtime. DIP switches are very popular for pre-configuring devices and an increase in their demand is accelerating the flexibility in their design.

Although designers nowadays prefer to use re-programmable memories and software menus in equipment, DIP switches customizing the behavior of electronic devices was have always been present. DIP switches present an easy-to-use method for changing the functionality that anyone even without software knowledge can use. An added advantage of DIP switches over software menus is the former allows change even when the equipment has no power.

Engineers developed the DIP switch in the 1970s, and their usefulness remains relevant even after five decades, for instance, for changing the modality of a video game or for fine-tuning the operation of a machine on the shop floor. Now, engineers are finding new uses for this proven technology in innovative applications such as the IoT or Internet of Things.

Depending on present requirements, manufacturers now present a large variety of DIP switches for modern applications. It is now easy to find surface mount versions of DIP switches, with SPST or single pole single throw, SPDT or single pole double throw configurations, or multi-pole single and double throw options. Piano type side actuated DIP switches, side DIP switches, and DIP switches in sealed and unsealed versions are also available readily off the shelf.

Originally, DIP switches were a stack of manually operated electric switches available in a compact DIP or dual-in-line package with pins. The configuration of the pins of a DIP switch was the same as that of an IC with leads, which made it easy for a designer to incorporate in the printed circuit board. It was usual for each switch to have two rows of pins, one on each side. The distance between the rows was 0.3”, while the pitch or gap between adjacent pins was 0.1”. By taking advantage of the same mounting technique as that of an IC, the DIP switch provided a compact switching mechanism that designers could place directly on the PCB.

By stacking DIP switches side by side, the designer could add as many switches to the circuit as necessary. The versatility of the DIP switch lay in the numerous configurations achievable. For instance, it is possible to generate an incredible 256 combinations from an eight-position DIP switch. Each switch can assume one of two ways, and an eight switches combination can assume one of 256 ways (2 to the eight power).

Earlier, digital electronics mostly used eight bits to a byte, which made the eight-position DIP switch more of a standard at the time. With advancements, digital electronics now encompasses 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and even 256 bits, generating a great demand for DIP switches with new designs.

DIP switches are easier for the user as they offer a visual indication of the present setup.  For manufacturers, DIP switches make it easier to customize their production, at the same time, allowing the user to make changes as necessary.

Sensors, IoT, and Medical Health

Increasingly, people are looking for preventive care outside of a hospital setting. Medical providers, startups, and Fortune 500 technology companies are all trying out new products and devices for revolutionizing medical care and streamlining costs. While this reduces hospital readmission rates, patients in remote areas are getting the care they need.

The evolving trend is towards remote patient monitoring, which is fundamentally improving the quality of care and patient outcomes right across the medical arena. Moreover, this is happening not only in clinics, onsite in hospitals, and at-home care, but also in remote areas, less populated areas, and in developing countries.

New technologies, new devices, and better results are driving healthcare nowadays. There are several examples of this. For instance, cardiovascular patients can have their heart rates and blood pressure monitored regularly from their homes, with the data feeding back to the cardiologists to allow them to track their patients better. Similarly, doctors are able to track respiration rates, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, cardiac output, and body temperature of their patients.

Sensors are able to track the weight of patients who are suffering from obstructive heart diseases. This allows doctors to detect fluid retention, and decide if the patient requires hospitalization. Similarly, sensors can monitor the asthma medication of a child to be sure family members are offering it the right dosage. This can easily cut down the number of visits to the ER.

IoT can wirelessly link a range of sensors to measure the vitals in intensive care and emergency units. The first step consists of sensors that generate the data. When tools such as artificial intelligence combine with the sensors, it becomes easy to analyze large amounts of data, helping to improve clinical decisions.

Technological advances such as telemedicine offer advantages in rural hospitals that constantly need more physicians. This often includes remote specialist consultations, remote consultations, outsourced diagnostic analysis, and in-home monitoring. With telemedicine, remote physicians can offer consultations more quickly, making the process cheaper and more efficient compared to that offered by traditional healthcare appointments.

Sensor networks within practices and hospitals are helping to monitor patient adherence, thereby optimizing healthcare delivery. The healthcare industry is increasingly focusing on value-based, patient-centric care, and their outcomes.

This is where the new technology and devices are making a big impact. For instance, data sensors are helping health care providers detect potential issues in the prosthetic knee joint of a patient. The use of sensors allows them to summarize the pressure patterns and bilateral force distribution across the prosthetic. This is of immense help to the patient, warning them to the first indication of strain. The provider can monitor the situation 24/7 and adjust the treatment accordingly, while the payer saves additional expenses on prolonged treatment or recovery.

Integration of IoT features into medical devices has improved the quality and effectiveness of healthcare tremendously. It has made high-value care possible for those requiring constant supervision, those with chronic conditions, and for elderly patients. For instance, wearable medical devices now feature sensors, actuators, and communication methods with IoT features that allow continuous monitoring and transmitting of patient data to cloud based platforms.

How does LoRa Benefit IoT?

Cycleo, a part of Semtech since 2012, has developed and patented a physical layer with a modulation type, with the name LoRA or Long Range, where the transmission utilizes the license-free ISM bands. LoRa consumes very low power and is therefore, ideal for IoT for data transmission. Sensor technology is one possible field of application for LoRa, where low bit rates are sufficient, and where the sensor batteries last for months or even years. Other applications are in the industry, environment technology, logistics, smart cities, agriculture, consumption recording, smart homes, and many others.

LoRa uses wireless transmission technology, and consumes very low power to transmit small amounts of data over distances of nearly 15 Km. It uses CSS or Chirp Spread Spectrum modulation, originally meant for radar applications, and developed in the 1940s, with chirp standing for Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse. The name suggests the manner of data transmission by this method.

Many current wireless data transmission applications use the LoRa method, owing to its relative low power consumption, and its robustness against fading, in-band spurious emissions, and Doppler effect. IEEE has taken up the CSS PHY as a standard 802.15.4a for use as low-rate wireless personal area networks.

A correlation mechanism, based on band spreading methods, makes it possible for LoRa to achieve the long ranges. This mechanism permits use of extremely small signals that can disappear in noise. De-spreading allows modulation of these small signals in the transmitter. LoRa receivers are sensitive enough to decode these signals, even when they are more than 19 dB below the noise levels. Unlike the DSSS or direct sequence spread spectrum that the UMTS or WLAN uses, CSS makes use of chirp pulses for frequency spreading rather than using the pseudo-random code sequences.

A chirp pulse, modulated by GFSK or FM, usually has a sine-wave signal characteristic along with a constant envelope. As time passes, this characteristic falls or rises continuously in frequency. That makes the frequency bandwidth of the pulse equivalent to the spectral bandwidth of the signal. CSS uses the signal characteristic as a transmit pulse.

Engineers use LoRaWAN to define the MAC or media access protocol and the architecture of the system for a WAN or wide area network. The special design of LoRaWAN especially targets IoT devices requiring energy efficiency and high transmission range. Additionally, the protocol makes it easier for communications with server-based internet applications.

The architecture of the LoRaWAN MAC is suitable for LoRa devices, because of its influence on their battery life, the network capacity, the service quality, and the level of security it offers. Additionally, it has a number of applications as well.

The LoRa Alliance, a standardization body, defines, develops, and manages the regional factors and the LoRa waveform in the LoRaWAN stack for interaction between the LoRa MAC. The standardization body consists of software companies, semiconductor companies, manufacturers of wireless modules and sensors, mobile network operators, testing institutions, and IT companies, all working towards a harmonized standard for LoRaWAN. Using the wireless technology of LoRa, users can create wireless networks covering an area of several square kilometer using only one single radio cell.

Do It Yourself Blynk Board

Those who have some experience with Do It Yourself (DIY) electronic projects, and are just starting to test the waters in the Internet of Things (IoT), the Blynk Board from SparkFun is an activity filled challenging exercise. Both experienced users as well as beginners will find this fun to set up and learn—the kit comes with more than ten projects.

Of course, you can make this board work without the IoT Starter Kit from SparkFun, but then you will have to buy the sensors and other components separately to complete the projects. The Blynk Board, based on the ESP8266, runs on a 32-bit L106, a RISC microprocessor core running at a speed of 80 MHz. It has 1 MiB flash built-in, and allows single-chip devices to connect with Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n. The board has the TR switch integrated, LNA, balun, power amplifier, matching network WPA/WPA2 or WEP authentication, and can connect to open networks. Other features include 16 GPIO pins, I2C, SPI, I2S, UART with dedicated pins, and a UART (transmit-only) capable of being enabled from GPI02. The board also has a 10-bit successive approximation ADC.

Blynk Boards, based on the ESP8266, come preloaded with projects that are ideal for those just beginning on the Internet of Things and concepts of basic electronics. Arduino boards used it originally for implementing Wi-Fi enabled hardware projects; the ESP8266 has built-in Wi-Fi, making it a cheap, Arduino-compatible, and standalone development board. Many other kits use this board in different shapes and sizes, and you will find it in SparkFun ESP8266 Thing, Adafruit HUZZAH, and NodeMcu.

As the ESP8266 is useful as an open source hardware, it is a useful device for starting with the Internet of Things. It makes the Blynk Board an ideal platform for controlling single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi, and Arduino. Basically, the Blynk consists of three components—a Blynk app for smartphones, the Blynk library, and the Blynk server. The library is compatible with a large number of maker hardware.

While the Blynk library and Blynk server are open source, anyone can use the Blynk app on iOS and Android smartphones. With the Blynk app, you can build a graphical interface for any IoT project—simply drag and drop the widgets. Blynk offers several widgets such as LC display, buttons, and joystick, with which you can start hacking and you need only an IoT development board.

After collaborating with SparkFun, Blynk created the ESP8266 based SparkFun Blynk Board. They offer it fully programmed for more than ten Blynk projects. That makes the IoT Starter Kit from SparkFun with the Blynk Board such a fun project, offering a wonderful introduction to the Internet of Things technology and you do not have to learn any difficult programming.

For those who already have other ESP8266 development boards, simply reprogramming them with the firmware will turn them into DIY Blink Boards. With these, you can easily run boot camps or conduct workshops. Just adding the sensors and a few other components will help you complete the built-in projects, and these you can buy from SparkFun.

Things Gateway Ties IoT Devices Together

Project Things from Mozilla is a framework of software and services. It helps to bridge the communication gap between IoT devices. Project Things does this by giving each IoT device a URL on the web. The latest version of the Things Gateway, also from Mozilla, can directly let you control your home over the web, and manage all your devices through a single secure web interface. Therefore, if you have several smart devices in your home, you will not need different mobile apps to manage each of them. The best part of the Things Gateway is you can easily build one on a single board computer and use the power of the open web to connect off-the-shelf smart home products immediately, even if they are from different brands.

DIY hackers will find many exciting new features in the latest version. It even includes a rules engine, where you can set ‘if this, then that’ style of scenarios for making up rules of how things should interact. Other features include a floor plan view for laying out the devices on a map of your house, an experimental voice control, and it supports several new types of IoT devices. If you have a new device requiring new protocols, there is a brand new add-ons system. Third party applications that want to access your gateway can now do so, as there is a new way to authorize them safely.

On the hardware side, you will need a single board computer. Although Mozilla recommends a Raspberry Pi 3, any single board computer will do, as long as it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support built-in. Access to GPIO ports is also necessary, as you will require direct hardware access. Although a laptop or desktop computer will also work here, using the single board computer will provide the best experience.

If your smart home devices use other protocols such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, you will also need a USB dongle. Things Gateway supports Zigbee with Digi Xstick and for Z-Wave you will have to use a dongle compatible with OpenWave. You will need the proper device suitable for your region, as Z-Wave operating frequencies vary for different countries.

For the software part, you will need at least a 4 GB micro SD card to flash the software. The Gateway already has support for several different smart sensors, plugs, and smart bulbs from various brands, which may be using Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or Zigbee. The Wiki mentions all the tested parts, and you can contribute if you have tested other new devices. However, if you are not yet ready with the actual hardware of IoT devices, and want to try out the Gateway software, the Virtual Things add-on us your friend. Simply install it and start adding virtual IoT things to your Gateway.

Mozilla offers the Things Gateway software image for the Raspberry Pi, which you can download and flash onto the micro SD card. The safest way to do this is to use Etcher, a cross-platform image writer software, useful for Linux, Windows, and the Mac OS.

Boosting Battery Life in IoT Devices

Earlier, the assumption was unused energy from the environment, machines, people, and so on could be used to power valuable devices and this would be done for free. The assumption was based on the convergence of four key technologies to enable mass adoption of energy harvesting—efficient voltage converters, efficient harvesting devices, low-power sensors, and low-power microcontrollers. However, it was soon realized that although energy harvesting does operate for free, the system needs investment, which is not free. That has led to the thinking that perhaps energy harvesting may not be the right technology for powering smart energy applications.

Now, with the growth of IoT devices, more sophisticated sensors, more pervasive connectivity, and secure, low-power microcontrollers, there are more devices to be powered than ever before. With most devices being small and battery powered, design engineers are facing challenges such as energy efficiency and long battery life.

In reality, it is no longer worthwhile using sensors for measuring and analyzing the energy consumption of individual light bulbs, since the cost of such a system would be more compared to the energy cost to run the lamp. In addition, there are numerous low-energy-consuming light sources available.

Development of engineering systems now place more emphasis on maximizing performance and saving energy. This is because most IoT devices spend a significant part of their life sleeping or hibernating, where the part is neither operating nor completely shut down. In this state, the device is actually drawing quiescent current, and this places the maximum impact on battery life, as it contributes to the standby power consumption of the system.

The development of nanoPower technology has led to great advancements in maximizing performance and saving energy. Newer products, with advanced analog CMOS process technology, now operate in their quiescent state with nanoampere currents that are almost immeasurable. The trick in maximizing energy-saving benefits from these products is first by duty-cycling them, and secondly by decentralizing the power-consuming architecture.

Benefits of nanoPower technology also extend to their ability to turn off circuits within the system. For instance, the nanoPower architecture may allow powering critical components such as real-time clocks and battery monitoring, while cutting off power to major consumers such as the RF circuits and the microcontroller, which can either turn off or enter their lowest power-consumption mode.

System monitoring ICs play a huge role here with their small packages and nanoamp quiescent current levels. Comparators, op amps, current sense amplifiers, and more help ensure important issues such as the voltage levels on microcontrollers are at proper levels. For instance, a nanoPower window comparator monitors the battery voltage and provides an alert if the battery voltage goes beyond allowable levels. Apart from being a valuable safety function, this also helps to extend the battery life, as the microcontroller need not operate until it has received an alarm from the comparator.

Another power-saving scheme is OR-ing the battery supply with voltage from a wall wart or an additional battery, using OR-ing diodes. These are Schottky diodes in series with the battery supply for limiting the voltage drop. For instance, MAX402000 diodes can save tens to hundreds of milliWatts of battery power when used in a smart way.

Progress in the World of Internet of Things

Although many in the electronics field lambast the Internet of Things (IoT) as an inappropriate or inadequate acronym, IoT is a space to huge to be confined to these narrow adjectives. In reality, IoT requires a blanket description, as it covers a vast arena. Problems arise from compartmentalization and although various spaces such as industrial and medical have established a big head start, others have yet to launch their true separate identities.

For the electronics designer this means taking the general palette of IoT features and functionalities and tailoring them specifically to the application at hand. The designer must be knowledgeable about state-of-the-art technologies such as those required for cloud connectivity, wireless design infrastructure, interface ergonomics, and internal power management. The designer must be familiar with the methods of manifesting them in their design, as these may be critical aspects.

For instance, there are several suggestions for scaling the IoT from smart factories to smart homes. Although there are blueprints for pollution reduction, city traffic management, and electrical energy distribution, the purveyors of industrial-grade operating systems do not yet have a detailed plan for the smart home.

According to Wei Tong, Product Marketing Manager of Dialog Semiconductors, wearable technologies can do far more than simply functioning as personal items. Using Bluetooth, a communications standard protocol, wearable devices can connect to a larger network, allowing them to communicate with other devices via beacons and sensors, thereby manifesting the larger Internet of Things.

However, despite the birth of the phrase “the Internet of Things” 18 years ago, and the first connected IoT device 35 years ago, consumers are yet to adopt wearable IoT in mass quantities. According to Nick Davis, this is due to two factors—first, ease of use, or lack thereof, and second, lacking the purpose or serving the wrong purpose.

For instance, take the case of “smart” light bulbs. Some are easy to connect to and control with smartphones, while others give users a hard time. According to Nick Davis, once people face such difficulties, they tend to give up on the entire IoT and smart device concept.

Another example Nick Davis gives is that of a smart toaster or smart refrigerator and the purpose they serve. According to Nick, most companies have not done proper market research into the actual requirement of people who use toasters and refrigerators, and what the consumers expect in such smart devices. However, several new products on the market are potentially useful to designers.

Another example of wrong purpose is the video sunglasses from Snap, the parent company of Snapchat. These are basic sunglasses with a video camera attached. They allow users to capture and post videos more easily to Snapchat. According to Nick, Snap is stuck with hundreds of thousands of their unsold spectacles. Apparently, Snap did not realize that people are not very keen on walking around taking videos with their eyewear.

Despite such debacles above, newer products are appearing on the market that help designers achieve better energy-efficient IoT products, voice recognition engines, and flexible and smart motor-control options that are also lightweight and compact.

Tuning an IoT MEMS Switch

Menlo Microsystems, a startup from GE, is making a MEMS-based switch fit into a broad array of systems related to Internet of Things (IoT). Already incorporated into medical systems of GE, they can tune the chip to act as a relay and power actuator for several types of industrial IoT uses, including using it as an RF switch suitable for mobile systems.

Menlo first described their electrostatic switch in 2014. They have designed it with unique metal alloys deposited on a substrate of glass. The arrangement creates a beam that a gate can pull down, making it complete a contact and allow current to flow. Compared to a solid-state switch, this electrostatic switch requires significantly less power to activate and to keep it on. This single proprietary process creates products for several vertical markets.

The low power consumption of the device allows it to handle high currents and power switching. Unlike traditional switches, the MEMS switch does not generate heat, and therefore does not require large, expensive heat sinks to keep cool.

Currently, a tiny research fab run by GE is making the switch. Menlo expects to produce it in larger quantities in mid-2018, through Silex Microsystems, a commercial fab in Sweden. According to Russ Garcia, CEO of Menlo, their biggest challenge is to get the technology qualified in a fab producing commercial items.

The device has huge opportunities as it can replace a wide variety of electromechanical and electromagnetic power switches and solid-state relays. Menlo is planning to roll out several varieties of reference boards incorporating its MEMS chips, which will be helpful in home and building automation, robotics, and industrial automation.

For instance, IoT devices such as the smart thermostat from Nest face an issue of efficiently turning on or off high power systems such as HVACs. According to Garcia, the Menlo switch can do this while drawing almost zero current. Additionally, the Menlo switch offers a two-order reduction in the size of power switches and their power consumption.

It took a 12-year research effort by GE to incubate the design of the MEMS switches. They discovered that reliability issues were related to materials MEMS used, and overcame the issues with alternate unique metal alloys for the beams and contacts of the switch including generating a novel glass substrate. This combination allows billions of on/off switches to handle kilowatts of power reliably.

The medical division of GE will be among the first users of the chip. They will use the chip to replace a complex array of pin diodes in their MRI systems. This replacement by MEMS switches can knock off $10,000 from the cost of each MRI system. This includes the payment to five PhDs who presently tune each of the machines with pin diodes. The new MEMS switch will allow an automatic programming of the system.

Although GE will be an exclusive user for the chips in their MRI systems, Menlo is discussing future uses of the chip with other MRI makers as well. According to Garcia, GE wants to create a new strategic component supplier for the chips. Menlo is also planning to use the chips for RF switches.

Extending IoT with the Raspberry Pi

Recently, the Raspberry Foundation has updated its embedded Compute Module with a faster ARM processor. This will help developers and businesses build new IoT devices. The new Compute Module 3 (CM3) comes with a powerful new option and embedded compute capabilities for device makers interested in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Although not to be confused with the Single Board Computer, the Raspberry Pi (RBPi), with which the CM3 also shared the latest update, is a tiny form-factor ARM-powered SBC originally developed to help both kids and adults learn computer programming.

Launched with the same form factor as that of the RBPi, the CM3 was specifically targeted at business and industrial users. While the RBPi is a completely standalone device, the CM3, on the other hand, is a module intended for plugging into a separate Printed Circuit Board. The primary aim of the Compute Module is to let vendors and developers develop customized products quickly.

The new CM3, like the RBPi3, also uses the same Broadcom system-on-chip (SoC), the ARM BCM2837. The ARM Cortex A53 design forms the base for the SoC BCM2837, which is a 1.2 GHz, quad-core chip running on 64 bits. As a bonus, the standard CM3 has an on-module eMMC flash memory of 4 GB.

Other than the standard CM3, the Raspberry Pi Foundation also has a CM3L or Compute Module 3 Lite version. With the CM3L, users can wire up their choice of an SD card interface or eMMC memory. While the CM3L also comes with the same BCM2837 SoC, the on-board RAM is still restricted to 1 GB only.

Along with the CM3 and the CM3L, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is also releasing the new Compute Module IO Board V3 (CMIO3). This will provide developers with a starter breakout board to which they can connect their Compute Module.

The CMIO3 offers designers a starting template for designing with the Compute Module, providing them with a quick method to experiment with the hardware and to build and test a system. Once the experiment succeeds, they can proceed with the expense of fabricating a custom board. The CMIO3 also provides the necessary USB and HDMI connectors to make up the entire system that boots up and runs the Raspbian OS, or any other OS you select.

Although the Raspberry Pi Foundation has only recently released new Command Modules, next generation large-format displays based on the modules are already available from the consumer electronics vendor NEC, as they had early access to them.

The idea behind the Compute Modules is to provide a cost-effective and easy route to making customized products using the hardware and software platforms of the RBPi. The modules provided the team in the garage the same technology that the big guys already had. The Module takes care of the complexity of routing the core power supply, the high-speed RAM interface, and the processor pins, while allowing a simple carrier board provide the basics in terms of form factor and external interfaces. The form factor of the module follows that of the inexpensive, easily available, standard DDR2 SODIMM.