The folks at Actel
are really establishing themselves in the portable market with offerings based on their ultra-low-power IGLOO FPGAs.
First they attacked the storage market. Next they introduced a low-power FPGA-based video demo/development kit (see article #204802038). Now they are expanding their offerings with two new daughter cards that plug-in to their popular IGLOO Icicle Kit (see notes/links for the Icicle Kit below).
These two new cards have been developed to manage human machine interface (HMI) and miniature motor control functionality. Combined with the company's previously announced IGLOO-based storage and display-related development boards, design examples and intellectual property (IP) cores, the folks at Actel believe that these new control-related solutions will increase market penetration for Actel's 5 microwatt (µW) IGLOO FPGAs in the rapidly growing portable market.
Small footprint daughter boards speed control design with turnkey solutions
As keypads, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for backlight and display, and motors have grown commonplace, portable designers have typically relied on microcontrollers, application-specific standard products (ASSPs), or complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs) to handle HMI and miniature motor control functions. However, microcontrollers and ASSPs do not provide adequate flexibility and CPLDs do not offer the levels of integration or sophistication of FPGAs.
Co-developed with partners Ishnatek, a design services company, and Avnet Memec, a division of Avnet, the new HMI and miniature motor control solutions provide a platform-based design approach, enabling designers to quickly and easily address changing requirements, implement custom algorithms, and make design changes through device reprogramming.
The HMI Daughter Card demonstrates keypad control, brightness control for white LEDs, color mixing for red, green blue (RGB) LEDs and tone generation, which is beneficial for applications like smart phones, portable gaming consoles and remote control devices.
Actel's new HMI daughter card.
The Motor Control Daughter Card demonstrates brushless DC and stepper motor control and can support a variety of functions often found in portable medical, industrial and consumer applications, such as respirators, infusion and volumetric pumps, smart phones and security cameras.
Actel's new motor control daughter card
(the motors are under the disks with the arrows).
An attractive low-power platform for portable design, the feature-rich 5µW IGLOO FPGAs can absorb additional glue logic and multiple functions – from storage and display to control – into a single chip, thereby reducing bill of materials, board area, power consumption and cost. And, with IGLOO's power-saving Flash*Freeze function, one of several power modes the IGLOO family offers to optimize power consumption, designers can tap the lowest power solution for HMI and miniature motor control applications.
About the IGLOO Icicle Kit
Leveraging the company's 5µW IGLOO FPGA, the Icicle Kit showcases the ultra low-power attributes, flexible implementation options, and battery-saving advantages of IGLOO FPGAs for portable applications (see articles #204805297 and #206905426).
The $99 kit allows designers to easily and rapidly program, evaluate and modify their low-power IGLOO-based portable designs. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the 1.4" x 3.6" Icicle evaluation board is the size of a small cell phone.
Availability and pricing
Available now, customers can purchase the $99 Icicle Kit from Actel. The HMI and motor control daughter cards can be purchased from Avnet's Design Resource Center by clicking on one of the following links:
http://em.avnet.com/acteligloohmicard (HMI card)
http://em.avnet.com/acteligloomotorcard (Motor Card)
Pricing for the daughter cards is $139 and $229 for the HMI and motor control solutions, respectively. The RTL design files, packaged as design examples, will also be available for free download from Actel's website at www.actel.com.