ARM and NXP announced at Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), Boston, mbed.org and the mbed microcontroller rapid prototyping tools.
With the market for 32-bit microcontrollers set for explosive growth, the ability for new markets to adopt and exploit modern microcontroller technology becomes a critical success factor. To maximise these opportunities ARM has developed mbed, the first online platform for fast, low-risk prototyping of microcontroller-based systems. The mbed tools launch with integral hardware and software support for the NXP LPC1768 ARM Cortex-M3 processor-based MCU, making cutting-edge microcontroller technology accessible to a wide audience.
New users can get started with mbed tools in 60 seconds, by plugging in an mbed microcontroller, going to the mbed.org website to signup, and downloading and running a “Hello World!” binary just like saving to a USB Flash Drive. Compiling a first program takes only 60 seconds more: Launch the browser-based compiler, create a new template project, and click ‘compile’ to build and download the binary. A cloud-computing approach delivers the tools online in a browser, so there is nothing to configure or install, and everything works on Windows, Mac or Linux. For developers currently using proprietary 8/16-bit microcontrollers, discrete logic, or even those new to the industry, mbed removes the barriers to the world of modern 32-bit microcontrollers.
Development with mbed tools is focused on rapid prototyping by enabling the creation of proof-of-concept designs that exploit the functionality and cost saving opportunities presented by the inclusion of an advanced microcontroller in the system. The first mbed microcontroller hardware packages an NXP LPC1768 Cortex-M3 processor-based MCU and support components in a practical 40-pin 0.1″ pitch DIP form-factor, ideal for experimenting on solderless breadboard, stripboard and through-hole PCBs. The mbed C/C++ Libraries build on top of the ARM Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) to provide high-level interfaces to microcontroller peripherals, enabling a clean, compact, API-driven approach to coding. The combination gives immediate connectivity to peripherals and modules for prototyping and iteration of microcontroller-based system designs, providing developers with the freedom to be more innovative and more productive.
The focus on rapid prototyping has a broad appeal. Engineers new to embedded applications can use mbed to experiment and test product ideas that could benefit from advanced microcontrollers. Experienced engineers can be more productive and adventurous in the proof-of-concept stages of development. Marketing, Sales, Application Engineers and Distributors can use mbed as a consistent platform for demonstration, evaluation and support of microcontrollers, middleware and associated components. Education, Enthusiasts and Inventors can use mbed as an accessible way to experiment with the application of microcontrollers without worrying about implementation details. As a result, the mbed tools will help a diverse audience exploit the opportunities presented by advanced microcontrollers when introduced to their own area of expertise.