ARM, NXP Launch Prototyping Tools for 32-bit MCU

DN Staff

September 25, 2009

2 Min Read
ARM, NXP Launch Prototyping Tools for 32-bit MCU

Boston, MA â€” At the Embedded Systems Show (ESC) thisweek, ARM and NXP announced the launch of mbed.organd the mbed microcontroller rapid prototyping tools, which they say willenable new users to get started in just 60 seconds.

Sixty seconds sounds like typical marketing hype. But productManager Simon Ford says the concept behind mbed, the industry's first onlineplatform for rapid prototyping of 32-bit microcontrollers, will help designengineers be more innovative and productive. And come up the learning curve morequickly. In short, they hope to get the tools into the hands of lots of designengineers who will find all sorts of new applications for the technology.

The $99 mbed microcontroller (currently on special for $60) packages an NXP LPC1768Cortex-M3 processor-based MCU and support components in a 40-pin 0.1 inch pitchDIP form factor for easy breadboarding. The mbed Compiler allows users to writeprograms in C++ and download them to run on the microcontroller, while the mbedlibrary gives engineers an API-driven approach to coding.

To illustrate a clever, though silly, use of the mbedmicrocontroller, Ford had on display "Twittering Billy Hack," you know, that obnoxioustalking fish that was so popular a few years back. Engineers replaced Billy'sbrain with an mbed microcontroller connected some of the PWM pins to Billy'smotors, added an SD card to store audio files, and connected the mbed'sEthernet interface to the internet.

Here's how it works: The mbed polls a Web page to check for Tweets, thenrequests the Web server to translate it to a voice and return it as an audiofile when Billy requests it. It also generates a move file on an SD card. OnceBilly has audio and move comments on the SD cards, he plays them out the mbedanalog output to speakers.

"Just ignore the talking fish," Billy wisecracked as I departed from themeeting with Ford.

Click here for more information,to get an mbed, or find out more about Twittering Billy Bass and other projectsusing mbed tools.

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