Embedded World Impressions: Boards, IDEs, and IoT
Embedded World 2017 saw new microcontrollers on display, plenty of IoT projects, and live demonstrations of the latest tools and technologies.
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This year, I managed to attend the Embedded World in Nürnberg/Germany after missing the 2016 show, and 2017 has been a blast! With more than 1,000 exhibitors and >30,000 visitors, it was huge! There were too many exciting things, so I just picked a few to talk about.
First off, NXP demonstrated the new MCUXpresso Software and Tools with a new Eclipse Neon-based IDE. But there was lots of IoT and Hexiwear, I took a look at the tiny LPC800-DIP board, and I met Alan Hawse in person!
MCUXpresso Software and Tools
The MCUXpresso Pins and Clocks Tool got an update to V3. This means extended device support (both Kinetis and LPC supported), with an improved look and feel. I love the detachable windows that I can use in a multi-monitor system.
The highlight is the new MCUXpresso IDE, which combines the Kinetis Design Studio and LPCXpresso IDE. As the name indicates, it is based on the LPCXpresso IDE, or as Andy worded it: "LPCXpresso on steroids." It is free, code size unlimited, based on Eclipse Neon with the latest GNU ARM Tools and RedLib optimized library, works with P&E, Segger, and NXP (CMSIS-DAP, OpenSDA, LPC-Link, and LPC-Link2) debug probes with automatic probe discovery and configuration. It supports both the MCUXpresso SDK for Kinetis and newer LPC parts, plus it includes support for LPCOpen.
The IDE includes an SDK package manager and a project wizard to create or clone Kinetis and LPC projects. There is full FreeRTOS thread and debug awareness (see Better FreeRTOS Debugging in Eclipse), with peripheral viewers, Live Variable/Expression View, and ARM SWO ETM/ETB Trace and Profiling with probes like the LPC-Link2. The version at the show was "close to the production version," which will come out early April 2017.
With that new IDE, I could now use one environment for both NXP Kinetis and LPC microcontrollers (now I’m using Kinetis Design Studio and LPCXpresso), and I cannot wait to use it in my classes and projects. I plan to publish a series of tutorials in preparation for the next semester.
Student Day With Boards!
The third day at the show was the ‘Student Day’: Lots of other students and teachers, like me, with many giveaways. I managed to get a handful of LPC800-DIP boards:
It has the LPC824M201JHI33 on it (32 bit Cortex-M0+, 32 KByte Flash, 4 KB RAM) in a breadboard friendly pin out:
The microcontroller can be programmed using SWD or through the Silabs CP2102 UART-USB bridge: By pressing the ISP button, I can program the device through the USB connection to the host and the FlashMagic utility. Once the MCUXpresso IDE is available, I plan to write a tutorial, as this tiny board suits many small student projects.
Hexiwear and RFID Everywhere!
The Internet of Things, of course, was present at nearly every booth. The Hexiwear was present in several booths, too. Here is one demonstration with it at the NXP booth:
Another cool usage is with RFID and the NTAG I²C kit: Using a mobile phone or any suitable NFC reader, I can perform energy harvesting and power connected devices. Plus, I can use it with an I²C interface: That makes a nice combination of a microcontroller with NFC, plus energy harvesting:
Meet Alan Hawse!
As for how things were at Embedded World Nürnberg 2017, see the following video (video by RS):
I still need to consolidate all my impressions from Embedded World. it was a huge blast with a lot going on. I also collected a lot of new ideas for projects going forward. I’m sure you will read about them in the coming months!
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