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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Instant products from rapid prototyping
Design tool vendor Altium has added an instant deployment option to its FPGA development board. Designers can now take their FPGA-based designs from concept right through to deployment without the need to create a custom PCB by clipping the NanoBoard 3000 into a new range of enclosures designed in-house by Altium.
The modular enclosures let designers deploy FPGA–based designs created and hosted on the NanoBoard 3000 in a number of different ways: on desks, on walls, in either commercial or industrial locations, in extended options for multiple board designs, with or without the TFT display that comes with the enclosures.
Instantly deploying the NanoBoard 3000 in the new modular enclosures gives designers the option of creating small production runs in commercially attractive cases, again without being compelled to manufacture custom enclosures or custom PCBs.
Altium’s NanoBoard 3000 is a programmable design environment supplied complete with hardware, software, ready-to-use, royalty-free IP and a dedicated Altium Designer Soft Design license. This is a complete design environment that lets electronics designers construct sophisticated ‘soft’ processor-based systems inside FPGAs without any prior FPGA expertise, specialist VHDL or Verilog skills. Designers simply use their existing board layout and systems design skills to construct, test and implement FPGA-based embedded systems. The supplied Altium Designer license lets them select, drag and drop the large range of IP blocks to add processors, memory controllers, peripherals and software stacks. Unlike alternative programmable design environments, designers no longer need to search the web for drivers, peripherals or other software, and then have the hard work of integrating all these elements to make them work together.
The new NanoBoard 3000 enclosures mean that designers can now start with a purely 'soft' prototype on the NanoBoard and then deploy it into the field. But Altium Designer’s unified architecture also gives them the option of upgrading to a board-level Altium Designer license and moving into custom PCB design. Their 'soft' design work completed on the NanoBoard 3000 is simply ready to be used on their custom PCB.
Weeks are saved on getting high-quality proof-of-concept prototypes designed without any custom PCB design work required at all. Newcomers to FPGA design have a low-risk, low-cost design environment that has everything they need to get started. Experienced FPGA designers can use their expertise in new ways to focus on creating the intelligence of their products.
Altium’s first NanoBoard 3000 features a Xilinx Spartan 3AN FPGA. Two more NanoBoards, featuring Altera and Lattice FPGAs, are in manufacture and design. The new deployment enclosures at Euro99 will accommodate all these NanoBoard options.
The NanoBoard 3000 is available for a recommended retail price of $295 and includes a 12-month subscription to the Altium Designer Soft Design License.