It is not often that I see an embedded product that stands out but Aitech Defense Systems' RIO-NG (Fig. 1) is one that does. It provides a rugged, low power DSP control system based on Freescale Cortex M4 architecture. It is customized using stackable Personality Modules (PM). The system uses less than 5W of power.

Figure 1. Aitech Defense Systems RIO-NG platform is built on stackable Personality Modules (PM)

Aitech starts witih Freescale's low power, 120 MHz Cortex M4 microcontroller with DSP support, 512 Kbytes of RAM and 1 Mbyte of flash memory. It draws less than 300 mW. Its DMA support allows it to handle a wide range of functions concurrently. The system support the common digital processing platform (CDPP) is designed for data acquisition. In addition to a 64-channel ADCs and GPIO, the system supports 10/100 Base-T Ethernet including a Power over Ethernet (POE) option. The system also has RS422 serial ports, LVDS, CANbus and USB interfaces.

The system fits intoe a 4.5- by 3.3- by 4.5-in case. It sits atop one or more PMs. Personality Modules can be add interfaces such as ADCs and DACs, RTD sensors and drive interfaces such as LVDT. PMs can also handle motor applications including servos. Custom PMs can be created as well.

The system uses MIL-DTL 38999 connectors and the it can handle shock and vibration up to 40 G RMS at 11 ms. Versions are designed for low earth orbit and geostationary earth orbit that typically encounter 35 kRAD and 100 kRAD respectively.
These parts are currently scheduled for radiation-tolerance testing and heavy ion Proton characterization up to 200 MeV. The conduction-cooled system can also support external conduction including radiation and free air-cooling.