Freescale Vybrid Controllers: Cortex A5 + Cortex M4 Solutions

Freescale announced the new Vybrid platform based on Cortex A5 application processor and Cortex-M4 MCU (VF6xx and VF7xx family only) which targets building/home automation and control, industrial automation, point-of-sale systems, medical devices, smart energy equipment, and appliances. There are 5 families of Vybrid Controllers which support the following common features: Video/Camera Interface Unit + optional OpenVG GPU (except VF3xx) Up to 800 MHz data rate DDR3 and LPDDR2 support (except VF3xx) USB 2.0 OTF with Integrated PHY (1 or 2 depending on model) Ethernet 10/100 MAC (1 or 2 depending on model) Display controller (WQVGA to XGA resolutions) High-assurance boot with Crypto Acceleration Up to 1.5 MB on chip SRAM NAND Flash controller and Dual Quad-SPI with eXecute-In-Place(XIP) Dual 12-bit ADC and DAC Here are the 5 families of Vybrid platforms and key differentiating features: VF3xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up to 266 MHz, 1x USB 2.0 OTG, 2x Ethernet, display up to WQVGA resolution (400 x 240) VF4xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up […]

Microchip Unveils Wi-Fi Comm Demo Board with 32-bit PIC32 MCU

After TI and Qualcomm, here’s another WiFi solution for MCU aimed at the internet of things (IoT).  Yesterday, Microchip Technology announced the Wi-Fi Comm Demo Board, which combines a Microchip 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller (PIC32MX695F512H) with a low-power MRF24WB0MA embedded Wi-Fi radio transceiver module. This small (and cheap) demo board can be used to integrate with existing embedded designs and/or to evaluate Wi-Fi connectivity with a 32-bit MCU. Contrary to TI and Qualcomm, the IP network stack is not implemented in hardware, but Microchip provides a TCP/IP stack that can be freely downloaded at  This TCP/IP stack includes HTML, DHCP, DNS, IPv4/v6, SSL, etc… (See diagram below) The memory footprint is 28-34 KB depending on the modules used. I could not find details about power consumption, but the company claims their solution can also run with just 2 AAA batteries. Microchip explains that this solution can enable the rapid growth of the embedded “Internet of Things” in applications such as […]

Qualcomm Atheros AR4100P Provides WiFi Connectivity to the Internet of Things

In January, Texas Instruments was the first company (to my knowledge) to release a WiFi chip for the internet of things, the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000, where WiFi is mostly implemented in hardware to lower power consumption. Now, the company has some competition with the announcement of Qualcomm Atheros AR4100P, an improved version of its AP4100 WiFi chipset, including IPv4/IPv6 support. The AR4100 targets the home, enterprise, smart grid and home automation and control applications that have lower data rates and transmit or receive data on an infrequent basis. The AR4100 system-in-package (SIP) features the following: Low energy Power saving modes as low as 5 µA Wake-up times as low as 2.2 ms Support for Quad SPI flash for faster wake times Low system resource requirements Low footprint host driver (25K Flash and 8K RAM) Simple, low-cost wireless system integration LGA package simplifies 2- or 4-layer PCB design Near zero RBOM Integrated RF front end, RF shield and clocks Direct connect […]

Energy Micro Announces EFM32G-DK3550 Gecko (Cortex-M3) Development Kit

Energy Micro has just announced the availability of the EFM32G-DK3550 development kit based on ARM Cortex-M3 EFM32G890F128 MCU. The kit (pictured below) is based on the main board from the bigger Leopard and Giant Gecko kits and supports SEGGER J-Trace and J-Link in order to reduce the need for additional debugging tools. Here are the development kit specifications: EFM32G890F128 Gecko Cortex-M3 MCU 4MB PSRAM 16MB NOR-Flash 320 x 240 RGB resistive touch TFT display Ethernet MAC/PHY microSD slot audio I/O and I2S DAC USB debug interface, SEGGER J-Link debugger Advanced Energy Monitoring (AEM) system to monitor the prototype’s energy consumption. 2x RS232,  IrDA Switches, Joystick, LEDs, potentiometer… EXP32 Prototyping area (right side of the picture) For software development, Energy Micro provides Simplicity Studio suite, which includes energyAware Profiler that can interface with the AEM system via USB, gather all relevant system data, and display real-time graphs of current consumption on a computer. Simplicity Studio also contains EFM32 Gecko code examples and […]

ARM Announces ARM Cortex-M0+ Core to Power the Internet of Things

ARM has just unveiled the ARM Cortex-M0+ 32-bit processor optimized to deliver ultra low-power and low-cost MCUs to power the ‘Internet of Things‘ by controlling connected intelligent sensors and smart control systems in a broad range of applications including home appliances, white goods, medical monitoring, metering, lighting and power and motor control devices. ARM claims the Cortex-M0+ consumes just 9µA/MHz on a low-cost 90nm LP process, around one third of the energy of any 8- or 16-bit processor available today, while delivering significantly higher performance (1.77 CoreMark/MHz). Beside the low power consumption, the main advantage of the Cortex-Mo+ over 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs , is that it can provide low power wireless connectivity to a variety of embedded systems such as wireless sensors. The new processor is based on Cortex-M0 processor but has been redesigned to include a few new features such as: Single-cycle IO to speed access to GPIO and peripherals Improved debug and trace capability 2-stage pipeline to […]

Embedded Systems Outlook and Trends for 2012

National Instruments has recently published a report entitled “Embedded Systems Outlook 2012 – Key Technologies and Methodologies Impacting the Embedded Systems Market” which lists technology and business trends for the development of embedded systems. Here are the key findings: Technologies & Architectures: Embedded Platforms Technology providers are developing components, modules, or even complete embedded platforms (software + hardware) with higher levels of integration and increased functionality to speed up time to market. System-on-Chip (SoC) and System-on-Module (SoM) benefit from this trend and some also embed a FPGA. Reconfigurable Computing Previously, designers chose between low-cost microcontroller or high performance CPU based on the expected performance needs of the embedded system. As cost decreases and performance increases, low cost devices such as control and monitoring systems now often come with more features thanks to the use of programmable logic. This type of flexibility can be achieved by adding an FPGA to the MCU / MPU in the embedded systems platform. Mobile Devices and […]

Embedded Artists and NXP Release The First ARM Cortex-M Android Open Accessory Development Kit

Embedded Artists and NXP introduced the TN-20764, a board that can be used with Android Open Accessory Application (AOAA) development kit that features 2 NXP Cortex-M MCUs, at Embedded World 2012. The board includes Ethernet, CAN and IEEE 802.15.4 interfaces as well as a remote CAN node, enabling designers to develop accessories for consumer applications,  as well as home, building and industrial automation applications requiring different types of connectivity. There are already Arduino and PIC-based Android Open Accessories, but this board is the first AOAA kit based on ARM Cortex-M micro-controllers. As mentioned above, the board features 2 Cortex M micro-controllers: The NXP LPC1769, a 120-MHz Cortex-M3 based MCU, provides the interface to the Android mobile device via its full-speed USB transceiver . The LPC1769 also includes 512 KB flash and 64 KB on-chip SRAM, an Ethernet MAC, a CAN 2.0B controller, an 8-channel, a 12-bit ADC, a 10-bit DAC, digital connections including UART/SPI /I2C, numerous timers and PWMs, and […]

Play Angry Birds For Real with Mbed NXP Cortex-M0 Slingshot

If you’re just bored to play Angry Birds with the touchscreen of your smartphone or with your mouse in Angry Birds for Chrome, you can now bring the fun back to the game by playing with a real slingshot ! mbed designed a USB slingshot with an mbed NXP LPC11U24 (Cortex-M0 MCU) board that emulates a USB mouse. mbed measures the angle and strength applied with: An accelerometer that measure the tilt by tracking the gravity vector A rubber stretch sensor used as the sling, and measure how much it is stretched. They built the slingshot with the following hardware components: mbed NXP LPC11U24 board – 59 USD 3-axis Accelerometer – ADXL345 Accelerometer connect via SPI  – 14.95 USD Stretch Sensor connected to pin 15 (analog input) – 9.95 USD USB B connector Handcrafted Slingshot Here’s how mbed describes their NXP board: The mbed NXP LPC11U24 MCU module is a tool for rapid prototyping with micro-controllers. This particular board is […]