DSPs speed submarine scanning

MARCH 24--Innov-X Systems (Woburn, MA; www.innov-xsys.com) new portable x-ray system uses the ADSP-BF533 Blackfin processor from Analog Devices (Norwood, MA; www.analog.com) to determine the composition of solid materials.

Mar 24th, 2006

MARCH 24--Innov-X Systems (Woburn, MA; www.innov-xsys.com) new portable x-ray system uses the ADSP-BF533 Blackfin processor from Analog Devices (Norwood, MA; www.analog.com) to determine the composition of solid materials. At present, the x-ray system is being used to examine the recovered hull of the C.S.S. Hunley, the first combat submarine of the American Civil War.

The portable device, which houses an HP iPAQ for instrument calibration, uses x-ray fluorescence to match detected frequencies to specific elements on the periodic table. Using the Blackfin processor eliminated the need for separate digital signal and control processors, reduced costs, and simplified hardware and software design. "Other processors offered similar performance, but none came close to matching the flexibility of Blackfin to handle the tasks inherent in elemental analysis," said Alan Peevers, a consultant to Innov-X's who designed the portable x-ray unit.

The Blackfin DSP features a parallel peripheral interface, DMA controllers to transfer data to on-chip memory, general-purpose I/O pins to communicate with its I2C bus, a UART port to interface with peripherals, and several on-chip timers.

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