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Digi-Key at Embedded World with OpenHardware Group

22nd June 2022
Kiera Sowery

At Embedded World 2022, on the Digi-Key booth, Paige West speaks with Rick O’Connor, President, and CEO at OpenHardware Group about the company's RISC-V-based CORE-V MCU Development Kit for IoT built with open-source hardware.

OpenHardware Group is a non-profit, open source ecoysytem with 88 partners around the world, including Digi-Key. It has collaborators for hardware and software development at chip, board and software level, working on open-source building blocks to create SOCs and boards around those building blocks that are verified to commercial quality standards so you can take them and put them into your high volume production SOCs.

RISC-V-based CORE-V MCU development kit

The CORE-V brand is the name the ecosystem is using for a road map of open-source cores that implement the RISC-V ISA. Currently there are 23 projects underway within the hardware community, of which there are 11 different cores in the CORE-V family.

The comprehensive open-source RISC-V MCU development kit for embedded IoT, and AI drive applications features full-featured integrated development environment, open PCB design and support for AWS via AWS IoT ExpressLink.

It is based on the open-source CV32E40P embedded-class processor, a 32-bit, in-order open-source RISC-V core with a four-stage pipeline that implements the RV32IM[F]C RISC-V instruction extensions.

The companies involved with delivering the elements of the development kit include Ashling, Embecosm, Espressif Systems, Imperas, QuickLogic, and Silicon Labs.

The OpenHW ecosystem worked together to deliver the CORE-V DevKit for IoT developers:

  • The CORE-V MCU is manufactured by GlobalFoundries’ proprietary 22FDXprocess technology platform, suited for efficient single-chip integration of digital and analog signals, delivering cost-effective performance for connected and low-power embedded applications.
  • Design and verification of the CV32E40P processor, the heart of the CORE-V MCU, involved key contributions from Imperas, Siemens EDA, SiLabs and others, building on the original design from ETH Zurich. The CV32E40P core is based on the PULP (parallel ultra-low power) platform RI5CY core, originally developed at ETHZ’s integrated systems laboratory (IIS) and the energy-efficient embedded systems (EEES) group of the University of Bologna. Digital integration and back-end design of the CORE-V MCU was handled by QuickLogic and CMC Microsystems, respectively.
  • The CORE-V MCU includes QuickLogic’s eFPGA, designed to accelerate AI/ machine learning (ML) and other computationally intensive workloads from the CV32E40P processor.
  • Embecosm is leading OpenHW SW Task Group projects including GCC compiler tools for the CORE-V cores and MCU while Ashling has led the development of the CORE-V SDK based on the Eclipse IDE, OpenOCD for debug and example programs.
  • Imperas has released riscvOVPsimCOREV as a free simulator for the CORE-V MCU, based on the Imperas RISC-V reference models used in the verification of CV32E40P, as a starting point for software development tasks.
  • The CORE-V MCU DevKit PCB board design integrating the CORE-V MCU and expansion board for the demo were handled by AWS, using an AWS IoT ExpressLink powered for secure cloud connectivity.
  • Espressif Systems, an IoT connectivity solution provider, supplied AWS IoT ExpressLink modules for the CORE-V DevKit PCB to provide AWS IoT connectivity.
  • Data visualisation for the demo is provided by Amazon Managed Grafana.
  • The CORE-V MCU DevKit early access campaign manufacturing and shipping is being coordinated by GroupGets.

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