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© luchschen dreamstime.com Components | August 27, 2013

Lattice slashes cost, speeds development of Mobile Devices

On-board hardware supported by design software and reference designs accelerates realization of infrared, sensor applications, and more using low-cost iCE40 FPGAs .
Lattice Semiconductor announced its iCEstick Evaluation Kit, an easy-to-use USB thumb drive form factor development board that allows engineers and system architects to rapidly evaluate and develop mobile solutions based on the company’s iCE40™ mobileFPGA™ family, the world’s first and only FPGAs built to address the mobile devices market. The kit speeds solution development by including, along with the FPGA, hardware features and reference designs targeting infrared and sensor functions for smartphones, tablets, gaming devices and a host of other applications that have demanding requirements for low-cost, low-power and fast-time-to-market.

“The explosion of mobile devices available on the market today is creating challenges for equipment designers, who need to define, implement, and deploy differentiated capabilities in their next generation devices before the next market window closes,” said Ted Marena, Director of Solutions Marketing at Lattice. “The Lattice iCE40 FPGA family provides the programmable technology to enable breakthrough differentiation with the world’s smallest FPGAs. iCEstick development kit takes innovation to a new level by providing a plug-in-and-go development environment that allows designers to innovate and deploy faster than ever before.”

Using the iCEstick Evaluation Kit, designers can implement a solution that replaces virtually any high-end remote control to interface to TVs, LED lighting systems or other infrared-controlled devices. Additionally, the iCEstick Evaluation Kit provides a simple starting point to design infrared data transfer between mobile devices such as PCs, tablets, gaming devices, and more. The iCEstick Evaluation Kit enables this by using the iCE40 FPGA to implement a fully programmable Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) function and bridge to an infrared LED.

To streamline and accelerate development, the kit includes reference designs that enable wireless transmission of data or control signals. This is done via an interface to an IrDA transceiver or a Digilent Pmod™ Compatible peripheral connector, all while using a minimal number of I/O from the iCE40 FPGA. This is just one example of what the iCEstick enables; more reference designs are included as detailed below.

The iCEstick Evaluation Kit’s Pmod™ Compatible peripheral connector also enables designers to connect an accelerometer to the board so that designers can easily develop solutions for senor interfacing, monitoring and data management. This capability is key for mobile platforms as accelerometers are becoming more mainstream in mobile designs to facilitate measurement of speed and impact for context aware applications such as gaming controllers and smartphones.

Getting started with the iCEstick Evaluation Kit is easy because it simply connects to a laptop or PC like a USB thumb drive, giving users immediate access to the onboard iCE40HX-1k FPGA. The kit is supported by Lattice’s iCEcube2™ design software for HDL development and Lattice Lattice Diamond® Programmer software enabling programming via the device's SPI flash.

Reference Designs Accelerate Development

iCEstick customers can download free reference designs that simplify the process of developing complete custom solutions. Along with the user guide, these reference designs are available at www.latticesemi.com/icestick and include:

Self –check default demo: Plugging in the iCEstick automatically configures and performs self-check which blinks the LEDs in a circular pattern. Customers can immediately validate the HDL design template and modify and add functionality as required.

IrDA Tx & Rx reference design: Simplifies the evaluation and development of a wide variety of applications involving wireless transmission of data or control signals.

Accelerometer reference design: This HDL design enables designers to evaluate how the iCE40 device can interface to a sensor using a separately-purchased accelerometer. This can be used as a starting point for integrating additional sensors for their particular requirements.

Pricing and Availability

The iCEstick evaluation kit is available now for purchase from Lattice distributors and costs $24.99. For specific details on where to buy, please go to www.latticesemi.com/icestick and order your iCEstick today.

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