Elecia White

Elecia White

I make awesome gadgets!

San Jose, California

Areas of Expertise:

  • Embedded system software
  • Firmware architecture
  • Signal processing
  • Control systems
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • programming
  • training
  • writing
Elecia White has worked on DNA scanners, inertial measurement units for airplanes and race cars, toys for preschoolers, a gunshot location system for catching criminals, and assorted other medical and consumer devices. She is the founder of Logical Elegance, an embedded systems consulting company based in San Jose. Elecia has developed strong skills in signal processing, hardware integration, complex system design, and performance. Having been through FAA and FDA certification processes, she understands the importance of producing quality designs and how they lead to quality implementations.

Elecia has spent several years in management roles but enjoys hands-on engineering and the thrill of delivering excellent products. While continuing to provide leadership and mentoring, she prefers to focus on the technical aspects of a project. A graduate of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA, Elecia enjoys sharing her passion for science, engineering and interesting gizmos, particularly how these things can make the world a better place.

Making Embedded Systems Making Embedded Systems
by Elecia White
November 2011
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $31.99

Elecia blogs at:


Manatee photos

April 23 2014

I usually say that if I am not blogging about my personal projects, I’m not working on them. That isn’t true this week. I’m afraid that if I take the time to write everything that is bursting in my head, I won’t get to continue working. So I’m going to… read more

48: Widgets on the hands of ants

April 23 2014

Dr. Kevin Shaw, CTO of Sensor Platforms, spoke with Elecia about his career progressing from designing MEMS to building a company that makes sensor fusion algorithms. Wandering from the Internet of Things to Singularity University to power management in Android development, Kevin and Elecia had a wide-ranging conversation.Due in July,… read more

In which it becomes obvious that I’m not in marketing

April 18 2014

I want to name my are-you-ok gadget. I mean give it a proper name, something catchy and jingly. Something that takes the awkward description I give and then the example and turns it into a blindingly obvious system. Unfortunately, I am not good at this. If it was up to… read more

47: Bridge of toothpicks

April 16 2014

Nathan Tuck joined Christopher White (@stoneymonster) and Elecia White to chat about varied topics relating to being an embedded (and graphics) engineer (and manager).Nate works at NVidia on the Tegra K1-64. He mentioned some openings in his team at the end of the podcast, email the show to get a… read more

Fuel gauge for batteries

April 16 2014

Lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries are strange beasts. I can’t simply measure the current voltage and tell you how full it is. (You can on throw-away AAs.) Worse, a nearly-full battery and a nearly-empty read about the same voltage until it become really empty and the battery dies. Determining the LiPo… read more

A new set of questions

April 14 2014

My are-you-ok widget is working pretty well. With some help from the folks at Electric Imp, I got the system deepsleeping. Now I can’t calibrate the fuel gauge because I’m not discharging my battery fast enough. (Problems like these, I can fix!) Elizabeth sent me a picture of the prototype… read more

An LED in every plushie

April 10 2014

Happily, one of my co-conspirators in the are-you-ok widget knows how to sew which means that we can progress to the next steps of development: productization. Here is what it looks like now. That is distinctly not cute. The jar of frosted glass is to hide the LED, so it… read more

46: I’m painting the turtle

April 09 2014

Jennelle Crothers (@jkc137) explained to Elecia what a technology evangelist does. Of course, it wasn't an embedded technology but it was still amusing. Plus, Elecia got to play with a Surface Pro.Check out Jennelle's blogJennelle and Elecia met at She's Geeky in Mountain View, CA. read more

I need to sleep but can’t

April 08 2014

In my ayok widget, I have a battery. To make it last, I want the high power things to sleep as much as possible. The Electric Imp is the largest power consumer, followed by the accelerometer, and then the battery-monitoring fuel gauge. Happily, the Imp has a low power mode.… read more

Debate with myself on blogging

April 06 2014

I spoke at the embedded systems conference (EELive!) last week. Things went reasonably well, some events grated on me (and will for a bit though I suspect no one else noticed). On Thursday afternoon, I gave a surprisingly well-attended talk, especially as it was near the end of the conference.… read more

45: Yanking on a cat's tail is the only way to learn

April 02 2014

David Anders (Google+) joined Elecia to chat about open source hardware, what it means, how to do it, and why. Dave will be speaking at the embedded Linux conference in San Jose, CA on April 30th:9:00am: Panel: IoT and the Role of Embedded Linux and Android4:20pm: Hardware Debugging Tools5:20pm: Debugging -… read more

Almost feature complete

March 31 2014

My little are-you-ok widget tweets when it has been tapped or moved. It also tweets if it hasn’t been moved in 10 minutes. (You probably don’t want to follow @ayok_status, the timeouts change when I’m testing; that little guy can tweet a lot.) But that’s the main functionality: tweeting when… read more

Motion sensing tweeter

March 29 2014

Yesterday, much like yesterday’s post here, was an example of scatterbrainedness. Today, I made actual progress on the ayok widget. It now sends a tweet when it gets motion (tap or movement) and it lights the LED based on current orientation. The motion detection comes in via the Electric Imp’s… read more

Step 1: Make a list of steps toward the goal

March 28 2014

I was at a small start up, complaining that they were building a science project instead of a product. They seemed a bit confused by the difference. I made a list of milestones with concrete demos to show what I meant by obvious and measurable progress. The first few focused… read more

Headline: Treasure maps making finding treasure 1000x easier

March 27 2014

I was trying to work with a few other people on the ayok project so I made a map, so they could build their devices. Then they got busy and I got busy and not much happened on our stuffed animal monitoring device. The good part of making documentation is… read more

44: Light Up strikes back

March 26 2014

Josh Chan and Tarun Pondicherry, founders of Light Up (@Lightup or on Facebook), returned to the show. In episode 7, they were midway through their kickstarter, planning to make a product to teach electronics to elementary and middle school students. They've start shipping, even distributing, their MiniKits (other kits will ship soon!). Elecia asks… read more

Nerves of mercury

March 24 2014

One of the most difficult things about being a contractor is not having a job. I recently finished a contract, it was only five months but there was a high learning curve and a ton of drama. I got a bit burnt out. Oh, and it didn’t pay well (mmm…… read more

Tools and parts

March 21 2014

I posted the previous entry because I was talking to Phil about it, didn’t want to lose it to the depths of my folders. He’s working on a tools list but there are a few existing as well. Dangerous Prototypes has a parts list that describes what they commonly stock.… read more

43: A lot of high-falutin’ math

March 19 2014

Tony Rios from MEMSIC spoke with Elecia about inertial systems and tuning algorithms used in sensor fusion (i.e. Kalman). The IMU380 will appear soon, creating a whole line of relatively inexpensive quality inertial measurement and inertial navigation systems. Tony has a  few embedded systems and algorithms positions open, for example, embedded… read more

42: Blocks of gold with LCD displays

March 12 2014

Christopher White (@stoneymonster) and Elecia talk about the failed startups (and projects) they've been through, focusing on identifying how to discern the end is nigh. A nice collection of startups introspecting their failure.Wonderful, in-depth Everpix post-mortem.If you liked this episode, try 24: I AM A TOTAL FRAUD. read more

41: Pink universes die really quickly

March 05 2014

Micah Elizabeth Scott (@scanlime) came to talk about Fadecandy, a really neat way to control smart LEDs (NeoPixel, AdaFruit's term for the WS2812). The conversation ranged from beautiful LED control algorithms and open source embedded projects to triangle tessellations, art, and identity. AdaFruit has a great intro to Fadecandy.Fadecandy is open source… read more

40: Mwahaha session

February 26 2014

Evil Mad Scientist's Lenore Edman (@EMSL) talks about what evil mad scientists do on their path to world domination. Surprisingly, it consists largely of art, education, and soldering. Some EMS items we talked about:LED Menorah kit (solderless breadboard and soldering version).ATtiny2313 Target BoardsBristlebot: a very cute, easy to build mini robot We… read more

39: I blame space

February 19 2014

Jen Costillo (@r0b0ts0nf1r3) joined Elecia to talk about Jen's start-up: Bia Sport (@BiaSport). They discuss the difficulties of being in an underfunded start-up as well as the joys of shipping a new product and their upcoming conference talks.Jen discussed the company's focus on safety and privacy at the DesignCon sponsored Geek Girl Dinner.… read more

Podcast statistics

February 18 2014

I know little blog, you are not getting the attention you deserve. Neither is the are-you-ok device. I’m spending a lot of time working and a lot of time with my podcast. Speaking of my podcast, several people have recently asked for statistics on the listeners. It would make more… read more

38: Blame the monkey

February 12 2014

Producer Chris White (@stoneymonster) and Elecia discuss some insurmountable problems and some strategies for approaching them. Google it (or look on Stack Exchange).Explain the problem to someone else… even if they aren't there (use a stuffed animal or write a really detailed email, anticipating potential questions).Draw a picture (system/subsystem architecture or… read more

37: Surf's up

January 31 2014

Dr. Karen Shell and Elecia talk about modelling vs. building models, ocean albedo vs. ice, climate vs. weather, and science vs. policy. They gloat about being on vacation only intermittently.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)NASA's climate change home Help run climate models on your home computer at climateprediction.netKaren's class will be looking… read more

36: Drive the boat with a Wii mote

January 22 2014

Elecia gushes about her favorite logic (and protocol) analyzer to Saleae co-founder Mark Garrison. They also discuss start-ups, manufacturing, and covering yourself with rum and pretending to be a pirate when harbor patrol arrives. Saleae Logic 8 on Amazon (or from Saleae)Saleae Logic 16 on Amazon (or from Saleae)Space X reusable rocket… read more

35: All these different reasons why you might want to do something

January 15 2014

Want to learn how to get from idea to schematic, through layout, all the way to physical boards? Elecia spoke with Chris Gammell about his Contextual Electronics course to teach the missing steps between what an EE learns in college and what an design engineer's job entails.Chris is co-host of the… read more

Brother gifts

December 25 2013

I had this idea for a way to revolutionize the gift card market, at least for digital media services like Amazon’s ebook or Apple’s iTune. Here is how it would work: 1. I’d buy a bunch of items that I didn’t really care if the receiver wanted but I liked… read more

Webcast: Conducting a Technical Interview
October 25, 2011
Given a 30-45 minutes to select a new colleague, what do you ask? What can you determine in your time slot? How can you decide that this candidate is truly qualified? (Is it your fault if they don't work out?) This webcast answers those questions ...

Webcast: A Gentle Introduction to Embedded Systems Programming
November 16, 2011
Want to do some embedded software? Or worse, did you get handed a project and just want to know what is going on? There are some concepts you'll need to understand: volatile variables, hardware registers, static keywords, memory maps, bit manipulation...

"One of the best-written books I have ever read."
--Joao Carvalho

"This is the book that I have wanted to write for many years, only Elecia has done a better job than I think I ever could. In addition to being an ideal introduction for developers new to embedded systems, you will also find advice for us seasoned practitioners that need some tuning-up of our skills. Kudos."
--Bill Gatliff

"Embedded systems are inherently object-oriented, yet many embedded software developers don't create systems with this methodology in mind. In her new book, Elecia White examines embedded software development with an object-oriented tilt, giving a fresh perspective to embedded firmware design. With her inherently readable writing style, Making Embedded Systems is both approachable and entertaining. For OOP software developers wanting to enter the world of embedded systems, her book is a must read."
--John Catsoulis

"Elecia has a lot to share and she's doing it in style with her book Making Embedded Systems. Making Embedded Systems is loaded with great information and wisdom. Those just learning embedded systems will find many mysteries revealed with lots of definitions and how-to advice. It's also a handbook for the experienced developer with the breadth and depth of the topics covered."
--James W. Grenning

"I'm recommending this book to anyone who wants to become an embedded system developer. Making Embedded Systems is the book for a C programmer who wants to enter the fun (and lucrative) world of embedded systems. What makes embedded different is the synergy of the hardware and software, and this book delves deeply, and almost uniquely, into the integration of the two. It's very well written--entertaining, even--and filled with clear illustrations."
--Jack Ganssle