Category Archives: Projects

Projects i ‘m working/worked on

SCALA (System Convergence in Applications of Location Awareness)

One of the bigger projects which I am working on is the SCALA project.The acronym SCALA stands for System Convergence in Applications of Location Awareness.

This project is a cooperation between the research groups e-lab of Hogeschool Antwerp, DraMCo of KaHo Sint-Lieven and the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences involving my field of study Medical Information Technology.

Location based services, context awareness,… are important components for further development of the ambient assisted living and working surroundings. For this reason, information about the indoor position of the users is necessary. SCALA acts as a middleware layer between the application site and the positioning/sensor systems on the other site.

The convergence layer does not only make positioning technologies more accessible from applications’ side, but also allows selecting and/or combining several technologies, according to their presence, to get more and/or better positioning information. The middleware layer consists of a more or less losely coupled tiers which are interfaced via WCF (Windows Communication Foundation).

Our part in the project is to handle the information transfer between our SMEs (Small Medium Enterprise) and to implement the Stack-Interface from our indoor localization system within the SCALA localization engine system. We are using the CC2431/2430. This is a System-on-Chip (SoC) Solution for ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless Sensor Network development by  Chipcon which was bought up later by TI.

The chip includes a location detection hardware module that can be used in devices which acts as blind nodes (i.e. nodes with unknown location) to receive signals from nodes with known locations. Based on this location engine they are able to calculate their position. The CC2431 consists of a CC2420 RF transceiver and an industry-standard enhanced 8051 MCU with 128 KB flash memory and 8 KB RAM. The ZigBee Stack is also from TI and is called ZStack .

Tiny (Mother)Board for DIMM-PC®/520-IE Part I

A few years ago a fellow worker and I started to work on an education platform for students to familiarize themselves with embedded /low resource systems.

We decided to take a DIMM-PC®/520-IE with AMD® Elan™ SC520 (133MHz) CPU from Kontron.

The Core used for the AMD Elan is a 5×86 processor. This processor is an x86-compatible CPU which was introduced in 1995 by AMD for use in 486-class computer systems.

Due to the internally-set multiplier of 4, the core runs at 133 MHz. The combination of the relatively large 16 KB  write-back L1 cache and 133 MHz clock speed allows the 5×86 to perform >= an Intel Pentium 75 MHz processor in integer arithmetic performance.




The Elan CPU comes with following architecture.









And last but not least the full feature list of our DIMM-PC

CPU AMD® Elan™ SC520 133MHz
Cache 16 kByte Write-Back L1
Common Features JIDA Support, I²C Bus, Programmable / CS Output, Support for alphanumerical displays
Dimensions (H x W x D) 68 x 40 mm (2.7 x 1.6“)
Ethernet 10/100 MBit Ethernet
Flash Disk IDE compatible Flash Disk up to 32 MByte on board
Hard Disk IDE Hard Disk Interface on external device
Humidity Operation: 10% to 90%
Storage: 5% to 95%, (non condensing)
Interface Floppy Interface single drive
JRC / JIDA32 JRC remote control via COM
Keyboard Keyboard Controller integrated with chipset
Main Memory Up to 32 MByte DRAM on board
Operating System Preinstalled DR-DOS®, lol 🙂
Parallel Port 1 x LPT1, EPP support
Power Consumption 2 Watt @ 5V only
Power Supply 5V
Real Time Clock Integrated with chipset
Serial 2 x Serial TTL (16550 compatible)
Special Features EEPROM for CMOS Setup
USB Optional 1x USB 1.1 OHCI
Watchdog Watchdog

Our aim was to build an education system to show our students how PC systems are working and how easy it is to build a Linux OS from scratch for this kind of architecture. Secondly we want also to have a small development platform for third party projects.

With 32MB of DRAM and up to 32MB of IDE compatible hard drive and full featured I/O interfaces like serial port, LPT, IDE interface, Watchdog Timer, I²C Interface, General Purpose Chip Select and last but not least a beautiful Ethernet Interface suit all our needs for an easy to handle development platform.