Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

LDRA software tools help develop gesture control for wheelchairs

Steve Rogerson
March 5, 2019

More than €200,000 was saved in developing a gesture-controlled wheelchair by using a tool suite from UK firm LDRA to analyse the software, the company revealed at last week’s Embedded World show in Nuremberg.
Hungarian company Now Technologies chose the LDRA tool suite to perform static analysis of software code in its multi-purpose Gyroset Glory headset that enables gesture-based motion control to drive wheelchairs for injured and disabled users.
Although early versions of the headset were not required to comply with functional safety standards, upcoming models will give wheelchairs an autonomous capability and so will be safety critical. For that reason, software was developed in accordance with IEC 62304, while the product as a whole meets the EN 60601 and ISO 7176 standards.
To achieve software code consistency mandated by IEC 62304 and to help ensure functional safety and security in the device, Now Technologies chose to comply with the Misra C: 2012 software development guidelines.
The company picked LDRArules to automate compliance of its headset controller software with the Misra coding standard. LDRArules provides visibility into software flaws and violations of source code that otherwise pass through the build and test process and lead to costly rework and project delays.
Compliance with coding standards such as Misra C: 2012 is crucial in medical devices and, as a member of the Misra C committee, LDRA says it is well placed to help meet the coding standards and safety requirements of medical device software.
“The connected nature of the Gyroset controller inevitably made safety and security of software code a critical requirement,” said Mark Istvan, managing director of Now Technologies. “LDRArules’ SGS-TÜV SAAR certification made the qualification of the safety-critical headset controller far less tedious and has been invaluable to us in providing evidence of our adherence to the IEC 62304 standard. I would estimate that we have saved at least €200,000 by using the tool, which represents a very speedy return on investment for us.”
LDRArules is a stand-alone rules checker that enables embedded designers to adhere to industry-specific and user-defined coding standards and quickly identify potential faults and security vulnerabilities. Developers of safety-critical devices can use the tool to:

  • Drill down into violations in specific coding standards and view a filtered summary report comprising flow graphs and easy-to-read code review reports;
  • Identify code quality, fault detection and avoidance measures with intuitive reporting mechanisms;
  • Enhance collaboration and communications among team members by providing code analysis information in an easy-to-use graphical user interface; and
  • Identify and repair coding flaws so as to reduce overall development costs.
“Many safety-critical standards, whether for medical, automotive or industrial controls, require code analysis in addition to process compliance to ensure no programming errors inadvertently cause failures in how the software functions,” said Ian Hennell, operations director at LDRA.”It is inspiring to hear how Now Technologies has used LDRArules to confirm Misra C compliance for its connected headset. Not only do users of the headset gain far more freedom, but the design team can streamline the debug process, saving cost and reducing risk.”