By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk
Imagination Technologies has launched a highly integrated low cost 'connected processor' based system designed to help engineers create the next generation of Cloud-connected embedded and consumer solutions.
Minimorph is the first connected processor based development system targeted at enabling the diverse applications using Imagination's MetaFlow connected processor and Flow cloud technologies, enabling engineers to develop connected applications across a wide range of markets including home automation, security systems, smart energy, healthcare and assisted living, connected/educational toys, industrial monitoring and control, M2M and more.
By giving easy access to not only highly integrated Meta-based hardware but also Flow client and portal software frameworks, engineers using Minimorph can now confidently create applications for Cloud connected devices, gain experience with Flow technology, and migrate embedded, industrial and consumer products previously considered 'stand-alone' to take full advantage of Cloud-based connectivity.
Using MetaFlow processors and Flow technologies, highly cost-effective 'client devices' integrating processor cores, high speed connectivity (e.g. Wi-Fi) and ultra-low power communications (e.g. for sensors and M2M) are combined with ready-to-use 'Cloud-side' portal technologies and ecosystems using Flow APIs to create highly portable and upgradeable solutions.
"The rise of Cloud technologies is creating exciting new markets and discontinuities in existing ones as all devices evolve to take advantage of connectivity. New applications in healthcare, home automation, security, smart energy and elsewhere will all increasingly follow the trend of computing and smart phones and begin taking advantage of opportunities the Cloud enables," said Tony King-Smith, VP marketing at Imagination
"Imagination's Flow technology includes highly integrated connected processor based licensable SoC hardware platform IP together with a growing portfolio of processing and connectivity options, complemented by a range of internet-based enabling technologies and a portfolio of cloud-based resources and services from Imagination's ecosystem of partners. Minimorph is the first development system that allows engineers to develop complete production-ready solutions taking full advantage of the hardware and portal benefits of Flow technology utilizing Flow APIs in a powerful and fully documented package."
The Minimorph development platform is powered by MetaFlow processor technology, which combines multithreaded processing and always-available connectivity, and connects to the FlowWorld Cloud portal, Imagination's configurable portal technology for enabling the connection of devices to the Cloud. These two IPs underpin Imagination's Flow technology, a comprehensive IP platform, which establishes a new benchmark for connecting devices to the Cloud utilising both internet and broadcast channels.
The Meta HTP221-dp2 Minimorph development system beta programme is starting now, and will be available for sale from November 2011 from Imagination Technologies for less than $200 in single unit quantities.
With a small form factor of 10cm x 10cm, and capable of being powered from the USB interface, the Meta HTP221-dp2 'Minimorph' offers a convenient and highly portable development platform based on the Xenif TZ1090 SoC from Toumaz Technologies which uses Imagination's Meta HTP 32-bit hardware multi-threaded RISC and DSP CPU core and two Ensigma UCCP310 multi-standard communications IP cores.
The Minimorph development platform includes comprehensive tools and peripherals derived from Imagination's highly respected Codescape SoC development tool suite, to enable project development on leading-edge embedded technology that has shipped in millions of products worldwide.
Minimorph supports the evolving set of Flow technology's powerful and growing, yet simple to implement, APIs which will enable a diverse range of embedded applications supported by web services to be rapidly developed and deployed by Imagination's Flow ecosystem partners.
A rich set of interfaces and peripherals including SD-card, HDMI, USB and Wi-Fi, plus headers for a range of TV or radio tuners, make this one of the most powerful and flexible development systems for multimedia and internet-connected embedded solutions.
Minimorph initially includes a port of the latest open source Linux OS for Meta processors. It enables developers to access both the wealth of application and device support available for Linux based systems, and the real-time 32-bit DSP capabilities of the Meta processor. Other environments, including those based on the lightweight MeOS operating system, are also possible.
The Minimorph SDK includes Codescape Debugger with Linux application debug support. It ships with working tutorials and documentation plus examples that familiarize developers with Meta's architecture and DSP features.
Meta HTP221-dp2 'Minimorph' Specifications
- 400MHz (500MHz planned), Meta HTP221 32-bit, dual (GP and DSP) thread processor
- Linux OS (MeOS RTOS on request; other OS planned)
- Two Ensigma UCCP310 communications processors support simultaneous Wi-Fi and TV/radio demodulation
- RF support for 802.11bg Wi-Fi
- I&Q ADC for TV and radio tuners, plus on-board WLAN AFE
- Optional baseband Ensigma software support available for many radio and TV standards
- 384kB on-chip SRAM
- XGA (1024 x 768) display controller with 2D accelerator and video YUV plane
- High quality audio subsystem with integrated headphone amplifiers, multiple digital audio inputs and outputs - better than 96dB throughout and Class D output
- USB 2.0 OTG interface
- Multiple analogue/digital audio inputs/outputs
- UART, SPI, SDIO, SD Card, I2S, I2C, transport stream