Skype runs on Raspberry Pi with a virtual machine

Running x86 apps on a Raspberry Pi

Running x86 apps on a Raspberry Pi

A Moscow-based software start-up is the latest company to come up with a binary translator which allows x86 applications such as windows and Skype to run on Raspberry Pi.

The company called Eltech has developed a binary translator that runs applications for the conventional desktop and server x86 processors on ARM-based embedded CPUs without recompilation.

Existing offerings for this tend to relay on open-source software.

Eltech has developed a virtual machine it calls ExaGear Desktop which runs Intel x86 applications on the ARM-based Raspberry Pi simultaneously with common native applications.

The virtual machine implements virtual x86 Linux container on ARM and makes it possible to run Intel x86 applications directly on ARM.

“It is like QEMU but five times faster,” said Eltech.

As well as Raspberry Pi, the virtual machine will run on any ARM-based computer module with Linux such as ODROID, CubieBoard, CuBox, Utilite, Jetson TK1, Wandboard and Banana Pi.

ExaGear Desktop System Requirements

Hardware requirements:

–          ARMv6 instruction set with VFP32 for Raspberry Pi 1

–          ARMv7 instruction set with VFP32 for other ARM devices

–          for x86 applications that use MMX/SSE support of NEON is also required.

Software requirements:

–          Ubuntu 12.04, Ubuntu 14.04, Debian 7, Raspbian

–          additionally binfmt_misc kernel module is required.

Eltechs ExaGear Desktop will also run user space 32-bit Linux x86 applications. Current version does not support applications that require kernel modules. There is no 3D hardware support for x86 applications.

Also you can run 32-bit Windows applications if you install x86 Wine.

Note that if your ARM device does not have NEON, you cannot run x86 applications that use MMX/SSE on it.


Richard Wilson

Major robot research network launched in UK

Hamlyn Symposium

Hamlyn Symposium

Robotics research in the UK has been given a major boost with the launch of an EPSRC-funded UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network).

The aim of the network is to bring together robotics R&D activities in UK universities and to set up industry collaborations that hopefully will result in commercial products.

Behind the a high-profile launch at the Science Museum in London are engineering bodies including Royal Academy of Engineering, IET, and The Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

The global market for service and industrial robots is estimated to reach $59.5bn by 2020.

Commenting on the launch, the UK government’s Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson said:

“Robotics and autonomous systems have huge growth potential for the UK as one of our Eight Great Technologies.  To get it right we need to draw on the expertise of the UK’s research base and the ambition of industry.”

The founding network members are Imperial College London, Bristol Robotics Lab, University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Loughborough University, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University College London, and University of Warwick.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang PhD, FREng, Director and Co-founder of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London and chair of the UK-RAS Network commented:

“Robotics and Autonomous Systems are set to play an increasingly vital role in the growth of the UK economy across all sectors of industry, from transport and healthcare to manufacturing and unmanned systems.  This dedicated network provides a focus for the UK’s research and engineering excellence for the first time, ensuring that the UK can maintain its competitive edge in RAS innovation.”

The first initiative will be running events such as the UK Robotics conference, symposia and focused workshops, public engagement and exhibitions.

More ambitiously, the expectation is the network will build relationships with industry by supporting interdisciplinary mobility and industrial secondment and developing proof-of-concept (PoC) projects and running design challenges.


Richard Wilson

Leti spin-out gets €5.7m for GaN power switches



Exagan, a French start-up spun out of CEA-Leti and Soitec to develop gallium-nitride (GaN) power semiconductors, has raised €5.7m in first-round financing that will be used to produce high-speed power switching devices on 200mm wafers.

Exagan, which is working with European foundry X-FAB to produce devices on 200mm wafers, is aiming to be Europe’s primary supplier of GaN-based power switches for the solar and automotive markets.

In partnership with CEA-Leti, Grenoble-based Exagan is developing the G-FETTM 650V power-switching platform.

“This significant first round of financing validates our efforts over the past five years with Leti and Soitec to commercialize GaN-on-silicon technology and supports our commitment to provide customers with qualified GaN devices in large volumes,” said Frédéric Dupont, Exagan CEO and co-founder.

According to Soitec CEO Paul Boudre, GAN-on-silicon technology opens interesting opportunities in promising markets such as electronics, automotive and energy.

Exagan is well positioned to drive innovation in power switching technology, due to its location in Grenoble among the strong mix of innovative companies and technology-integration clusters,” said Boudre.

Soitec and CEA Investissement also provided financial support to Exagan prior to the first round of venture-fund backing.

Leti CEO Marie Semeria said Leti has invested many years in developing GaN technologies because it believes they will drive innovation in the power-electronics industry and accelerate development of sustainable-energy technologies.

“We are very excited about the prospects for Exagan, a European source of new GaN power switches for our key industrial partners in the fields of transportation and energy, as well as broader markets,” she said. “Through our partnership with Exagan, Leti will accelerate its investment in this area to further develop our leading expertise in GaN technology and related systems and applications.”

Vincent Deltrieu, a partner at investor Innovacom, said:

“Exagan is well positioned to establish itself as a key technology provider in this high-growth market that has the potential to exceed 1 billion euros in the coming years.”




Richard Wilson

ITF2015: Affordable scaling is the key, says ASML

Affordable scaling is the key to the semiconductor industry, it was said at the Imec Technology Forum in Brussels.

ASML CEO Peter Wennink large“If we are not getting scaling affordable there are trillions at stake,” ASML CEO Peter Wennink told the forum, adding that he is an accountant not a technologist so he understands about costs.

Affordable scaling depends on getting EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) into the manufacturing process at the 7nm node and on a successful
mix-and-match approach with immersion, said Wennink.

Double patterning will get the industry to 10nm but then it needs either multi-patterning or techniques like directed self assembly, Imec’s process senior vice-president An Steegen told the forum.

“At 10nm multi- patterning means exploding complexity, ” said Wennink.

EUV solves that problem, but it is not there yet. The light source which ASML uses from its San Diego subsidiary Cymer is currently 80W, and ASML has demonstrated 110W, but some people are saying 350W is needed.

Wennink said two years of “solid progress” had debunked scepticism about the viability of getting a sufficiently powerful light source.

Up-time for EUV steppers needs improving, he said. Currently it averages 55% and one customer has achieved 86% during one week. Wennink said ASML’s target is to reach 86% average by the end of 2015.

david manners