Prototyper

Embed has created a prototyper. This is a platform that allows Embed to perform new projects quick and efficient. Embed has used the prototyper in several project. It is powerful and multi-purpose.

Key features

The prototyper exists of an embedded platform. The key features of the prototyper are:

  • It is running a version of Linux that is customized for Embed.
  • It contains a fast FPGA.
  • This FPGA is connected to the CPU and to a connector.
  • Thanks to the connector, Embed can connect external custom designed hardware to the prototyper.
  • It has an ethernet port and a RS232 port.
  • It is built on a multilayer-PCB.
  • By creating a link, using the connector, it is possible to connect external PCBs; single-layer or more layers.
  • The routing of the external PCB is simplified, because the pin features of the connector can be chosen from the FPGA, by using software.

By linking with a FPGA, it’s possible to implement processor intensive tasks in seperate VHDL hardware blocks. There is a direct link between the FPGA and the main CPU. Therefore it is possible to quickly exhange data between the FPGA and the CPU. The FPGA is for example accessible via ‘direct memory mapping’, allowing Embed to write drivers for a Linux system in quick way. In addition Embed can implement softcores on the FPGA. Dit allows for the usage of microprocessor specific peripherals.

Thanks to these features the prototyper is a porwerful basis for a wide range of developments.

Using the prototyper in projects

Embed has already used the prototyper in several projects. An example is a project in which a complex external PC is controlled. This external PCB reads several datastreams and processes these datastreams. The external PCB contains 8 ARM processors.

The prototyper

As mentioned the prototyper runs an embedded Linux system. This Linux system carries out the following tasks:

  • It composes C firmware.
  • It compiles C firmware;
  • It devides the firmware over the ARM processors.

After these tasks, the prototyper implements a shared memory for the ARM processors. These ARM processors process the data and send the result to the Linux system. In the Linux system the signal is logged and eventually visualized via a website.