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EETE APRIL 2013

GO mouser.com Primary Logo The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs® Over 3 Million products from over 500 manufacturers Authorized distributor of semiconductors and electronic components for design engineers. Nigel Toon, CEO of XMOS “There’s a layered approach to open source hardware”. This includes the regulated, licensed bands and unlicensed / whitespace spectra. Lime has also beta-launched the Myriad- RF community website and forum, www.myriadrf.org. This resource will also house the board design files and example projects with how-to guides and the ability for users to contribute extra content. Designs hosted on myriadrf.org will initially come from Lime and close partners, but Lime seeks to increase involvement and design contribution from the general RF design community - both hobbyists and professional system designers. “Innovation only really happens when a large number of minds tackle a problem, and by going open-source we can slash the hardware costs and open RF innovation up to as many people as possible,” said Busherhi. “We’re trying to create an Arduino for the RF sector; a board that’s low cost, powerful, exceptionally flexible and easy to use. And, most importantly, we’re trying to let the community determine what’s required, letting them add the functionality they need.” A distribution network is already in place for pre-built boards and components with distributor and board maker Azio Electronics, www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2013 9 GoWidest_UK_93x277.indd 1 3/26/13 6:17 PM and another distributor Eastel is also on board. Links to all available pre-built boards can be found on the Myriad-RF board pages. Although early into the idea of open source hardware, reality has changed the approach for UK-based XMOS, which now has a team of engineers in Chennai in India working on software drivers for its Xcore architecture. The original approach was that the deterministic, low latency cores could be used for any kind of interface, so designers could easily develop code for whatever interface they wanted, from Ethernet to the new Ethernet AVB protocols emerging in audio and automotive to USB, and much of this could be open source. But this has changed. “There’s a layered approach to open source hardware,” said Nigel Toon, CEO of XMOS. “There are still people out there developing open source code for Xcore but for standard interfaces people need to be sure that it meets the spec and it’s up to Xmos to deliver a fixed, working solution. It’s similar to the FPGA market, where higher value IP will be available in a marketplace through a licensing agreement to add emerging interfaces to the eco-system. And of course we have the first Slice boards with Xcore parts now coming from third parties.” Making hardware available openly in the same way as open source software is still facing challenges, but is building on the experience of the software industry. Building a community of users around chips and boards is always a struggle, but companies like Lime, Freescale and XMOS providing IP and encouraging the communities to innovate and distribute the results promises to deliver significant advantages to the industry as a whole.


EETE APRIL 2013
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