OpenHW Group, a leading player in the open-source hardware community, has recently unveiled its comprehensive Development Kit for an open-source RISC-V Microcontroller Unit (MCU), known as the OpenHW CORE-V MCU DevKit. This announcement marks a significant milestone in the evolution of open-source hardware, offering a robust platform for developers to create innovative solutions for embedded, internet-of-things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven applications.
The OpenHW CORE-V MCU DevKit is a comprehensive package that includes an open-source printed circuit board (PCB) integrating OpenHW’s CORE-V MCU and various peripherals. It also features a software development kit (SDK) with a full-featured Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE). The DevKit is designed to connect seamlessly with Amazon Web Services (AWS) via AWS IoT ExpressLink, providing developers with a powerful tool for creating IoT solutions.
RISC-V development kit
At the heart of the DevKit is the CORE-V MCU, an open-source CV32E40P embedded-class processor. This 32-bit, in-order open-source RISC-V core with a four-stage pipeline is manufactured using GlobalFoundries’ proprietary 22FDX process technology platform. The design and verification of the CV32E40P processor involved contributions from several industry leaders, including Imperas, Siemens EDA, SiLabs, and others, building on the original design from ETH Zurich.
The DevKit’s SDK, developed by an OpenHW team led by Ashling, is a comprehensive suite of tools for developers. It includes an IDE, Debugger, GCC compiler (supplied by Embecosm), FreeRTOS real-time OS, and demo software. Embecosm is also leading OpenHW SW Task Group projects, including GCC compiler tools for the CORE-V cores and MCU.
The CORE-V MCU includes QuickLogic’s eFPGA, designed to accelerate AI/machine learning (ML) and other computationally intensive workloads. This feature underscores the DevKit’s potential as a platform for developing AI-driven applications.
The PCB board design integrating the CORE-V MCU and expansion board for the demo were handled by AWS. Espressif Systems supplied AWS IoT ExpressLink modules for the CORE-V DevKit PCB to provide AWS IoT connectivity, further enhancing the DevKit’s capabilities.
In conclusion, the OpenHW CORE-V MCU DevKit represents a significant step forward in the open-source hardware community. By providing a comprehensive, robust, and versatile platform, OpenHW Group is empowering developers to create innovative solutions for a wide range of applications.
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