Kozio recently developed the ValidationAssistant, a unified, interactive, embedded hardware verification environment that simplifies hardware control, automates test execution, and conveniently maintains test cases in a structure that maximizes reuse across the entire product life cycle. Such a lifecycle typically consists of engineering, production, and field test. This PC-based application interacts with any device under test, executing the company’s bare-metal, in-system diagnostics software. Other capabilities include easily-accessible high-level commands customized for each specific design and an intuitive point and click interface that together accelerate the control and execution of functional board-level tests. Through a single command, an entire board can be tested within minutes, at the hardware's full operating speed.
Previous methods utilize terminal emulators to interface from the target to the host. When using this method, firmware engineers are required to write the embedded code for menu and prompt creation and modify it for each new design. It can be extremely time consuming when engineers have to write new diagnostics and a new user interface for each new design and also when operators have to learn a new interface. Rarely can the same process and interface be leveraged from one project to another, wasting valuable engineering resources. With ValidationAssistant, command-sets for each new design are automatically loaded through a structured file, eliminating the need to learn different commands, options, or user interfaces.
Even infrequent users have an easy way to quickly execute target commands. When a user wants to alter the menu or add new commands, they simply edit the text file and they have instant access to their newly created commands. They only have to learn one user interface and can reuse that knowledge on future projects and devices. In addition, ValidationAssistant exposes all levels of test options including: suites, diagnostics, test methods and low-level commands.
The ValidationAssistant environment provides a convenient, fast and common method for validating and programming components on the target device through the click of a mouse. Key aspects of the hardware design are automatically validated. Regression testing is supported to uncover any new errors after changes have been made to the hardware. The solution uses an interpreter that runs directly on the processor of the target device. Whether users need to program an EEPROM, NAND, NOR, FPGA, CPLD or other programmable logic device, the interface and method makes the task straightforward and fast.