I'm constantly chatting to friends who are embedded design engineers. Many of these guys and gals are "black belt gurus" with regard to all things related to microcontrollers, but they really don’t have a clue when it comes to components like field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and design languages like VHDL and Verilog.
This wouldn’t matter so much if it weren't for the fact that so many of these little ragamuffins tell me that they really want to learn more about FPGAs, but they don’t know where to start. Now, of course, I can direct them to the All Programmable Planet
website, where microcontroller expert Duane Benson
is learning FPGAs from scratch and documenting his experiences in a series of Discovering FPGAs
blogs. Meanwhile, Adam Taylor
is explaining VHDL in his Ask Adam VHDL
columns, and Paul Clarke
is using multiple instantiations of the 8-bit FPGA-based soft core PicoBlaze processor to implement the Game of Life
in his Why PicoBlaze?
But the really exciting news is that Jack Gassett
, founder of the Gadget Factory
and creator of the Papilio FPGA development platform,
has pulled together a special offer for members of All Programmable Planet – a Papilio One 250K FPGA Development Platform for only $34.94 plus shipping and handling (which is only $4.95 inside the USA and a flat rate of $7 for international customers).
One really cool thing is that Jack adopted an AVR-compatible soft processor from OpenCores.org and made it Arduino compatible. This provides a familiar and comfortable environment for beginners to ease into using an FPGA, not to mention that there is a huge base of Arduino code that suddenly works on the Papilio FPGA.Click Here
for more information about this offer and Click Here
to become a member of All Programmable Planet (it's free). In addition to all of our other activities, we have a live online chat every Thursday at 10:00am Pacific (1:00pm Eastern) where we bounce around ideas and discuss cool projects and ... well, all sorts of "cool stuff" really.
As for me, I've already ordered my board, which is winging its way to me as we speak…
If you found this article to be interest, visit Microcontroller / MCU Designline
where – in addition to my Max's Cool Beans
blogs on all sorts of "stuff" – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to all aspects of designing and using microcontrollers.
Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here
to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).
Last but certainly not least, make sure you check out all of the discussions and other information resources at All Programmable Planet
. For example, in addition to blogs by yours truly, microcontroller expert Duane Benson is learning how to use FPGAs to augment (sometimes replace) the MCUs in his robot (and other) projects.