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SliceKIT officially enters XMOS into the board market

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sliceKIT? modular development boards? software? multi-core microcontroller? Ethernet?

Fabless semiconductor company XMOS has recently launched a range of modular development boards and software. The development boards and software target designers deploying the company's xCORE range of multi-core microcontrollers in real-time industrial, consumer and automotive applications.

XMOS' sliceKIT consists of a core board powered by a 16-core xCORE multi-core microcontroller and equipped with four expansion slots that can be populated with I/O extension cards. XMOS offers a wide range of standard slices, such as Ethernet, UART, ADC, LCD graphics and digital audio, allowing designers to rapidly develop, prototype and debug their designs.

sliceKIT is closely integrated with the company's recently announced xTIMEcompose Studio integrated design environment, and xSOFTip soft peripherals that are downloaded to the xCore devices to provide flexible interfaces. The xCORE family and associated design tools allow developers to work on real-time embedded applications using a unified design flow that is familiar to any software engineer. xCORE devices are configured with xSOFTip IP blocks and programmed in C, with real-time extensions, via the same flow.

The kit provides a platform for embedded designs that is very flexible," said Nigel Toon, CEO, XMOS. "Our xCORE devices can be configured to support a range of interfaces and peripherals; you can add capabilities that you won't find in other microcontrollers. With XMOS you can put down the interfaces you need to match your exact requirements C sliceKIT provides a hardware development platform that matches your system requirement."

The core board, which is based on the 32bit xCORE L2 multi-core microcontroller, delivers up to 1000 MIPS performance and can be dynamically shared across up to 16 cores. This allows the device to support multiple, concurrent, real-time tasks that are completely deterministic. sliceKIT incorporates unique on-board real-time debugging capabilities that allow designers to perform timing-accurate analysis on the performance of their application code.

Each I/O slice is supplied complete with a demo application, so that engineers can get their hardware configuration up and running quickly and easily. Slices connect to the processor board using low-cost PCIe style connectors, making it a straightforward task for users to interchange and experiment with hardware configurations. XMOS is also encouraging designers to build their own I/O slices if they have custom requirements.

"The development of microcontrollers using traditional techniques has reached a certain impasse in recent years," said Will Strauss, President of analyst house Forward Concepts. "Microcontrollers are being asked to do more and more, and there is a continuing demand for solutions with predictable response times. Yet in attempting to make use of these higher-end capabilities, designers are finding themselves faced with unfamiliar multi-core design techniques and increasing design times.

sliceKIT is initially available as a starter kit costing $139, consisting of the L2 multi-core processor board, GPIO and Ethernet slice cards, plus the xTAG real-time debug adapter. Like all XMOS' development kits and multi-core microcontrollers, it is supported by xTIMEcomposer Studio. This comprises an industry standard integrated design environment, a highly efficient LLVM compiler, debugger, the xSOFTip configuration tool, cycle-accurate simulator with waveform view, and the xScope high speed in-circuit instrumentation and timing analyser. All documentation, tools and xSOFTip are available free of charge on PC-Windows, Mac-OS and Linux platforms.

- Nick Flaherty
??EE Times Europe

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