You may recall my mentioning my chum Adam Taylor on occasion. Adam, who is the founder and principal consultant at Adiuvo Engineering and Training, and I both hail from the city of Sheffield in the county of Yorkshire in that paradise on Earth that is known to the bards as Albion.

Furthermore, we both attended Sheffield Hallam University, although Adam graduated two decades after your humble narrator. I’d like to claim that this was because Adam a slow learner, but the grisly truth is that he’s 20 years younger than me (I prefer to think that I’m 20 years wiser than him).

A Visiting Professor of Embedded Systems at the University of Lincoln (he has to have something to do in his spare time), Adam is an expert in embedded systems in general and FPGA-based systems in particular. He also has expertise with regard to deploying these systems in space, as part of which he works with space-related agencies and companies around the world (he likes to boast that he’s the first man from Stannington, which is a suburb of Sheffield, to intentionally launch an FPGA-based system into space).

The reason for my waffling here is that I have some awesome news to impart, which is that — as I discussed in my recent Just Call Me an Indexing Fool column, Adam — and his colleagues Dan Binnun and Saket Srivistava — recently finished writing a book called A Hands-On Guide to Designing Embedded Systems. They’ve presented an early PDF copy to your humble narrator and asked me to read it and share my thoughts before it goes to press.

For your delectation and delight, I’ll be writing a full review, which will be posted on EEJournal on 30 September 2021. In the meantime, there are a few things I’d like to share, such as what differentiates A Hands-On Guide to Designing Embedded Systems from other tomes on this topic.

An early revision of the board that supplements the book (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Max Maxfield)

Well, I’m glad you asked. The vast majority of books in this genre tend to take a somewhat academic approach to things. By comparison, A Hands-On Guide to Designing Embedded Systems describes how things happen in the real world, taking an idea, generating a set of requirements, and using these requirements to develop and produce a product.

What makes this tome truly unique is that, as part of writing it, Adam, Dan, and Saket have followed the techniques described therein to develop a real-world product (board) to supplement their writings. If they wish, readers will be able to purchase the board and do things like installing an operating system, running tests, and performing real-world activities such as uploading data into the cloud. Everything will be open source, so readers will be able to download the design files and fabricate / assemble their own boards if they wish.

I actually have an early revision of the board that just arrived here at my office and — as soon as I’ve posted this blog — I’m going to power it up and take it for a spin. Meanwhile, you might want to mark your calendar for 30 September, on which frabjous day you’ll be able to bounce over to EEJournal to feast your orbs on my full-up review.