Open source development platform speeds IoT designs

16th August 2016
Mick Elliott

Described as a game changer for the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables market, the WaRP7 development platform enhanced by NXP Semiconductors, designed and manufactured in partnership with Farnell element14 is now available to buy. Built from the ground up to address key challenges for design engineers such as size, battery life and connectivity, the open source design and complete software package of WaRP7 allows developers to innovate without licensing restrictions.

It reduces time to market and moving focus to product differentiation in this rapidly growing market. The continual focus on smaller, lighter and more powerful components has expanded this market creating new opportunities for design engineers.

The IoT market presents new challenges and is forcing a change in the industry, pushing design and manufacturing into unchartered territory. WaRP7 is built to meet the needs of a broad range of applications including smart home, sports and heart rate monitors and wearables.

David Shen, group chief technical officer, Farnell element14 said, “Our experience in small form factor design, manufacturing capability and experience in supporting the development community has helped create the WaRP7, a device that we believe addresses today’s most pressing technology challenges and provides the longevity of design to remain relevant as the market continues to develop. We believe this is a game-changing device and will potentially help answer the question of what is needed to be successful in the wearables market.”

The WaRP7 is based on the NXP i.X 7Solo applications processor. The multicore architecture enables low-power modes critical for IoT and wearable designs, and proviodes the power to drive a higher-leveloperating system and a rich user interface

It has a variety of connectivity options enabling a wide range of usage models including near-field communications. The Murata-type 1DX multi-radio module offers 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1, classic and low energy.

The WaRP7 is flexible enough to offer all the advantages of traditional development tools and is free of licensing restrictions due to its open-source design.

It is also one of the smaller development systems with a main CPU board size of approximately 2 x 4 centimetres.

“WaRP7 is one of the most power-efficient processor based development platforms for evaluation and rapid adoption into original small form-factor product designs on the market,” said Steve Tateosian, NXP Microcontrollers Solutions Manager. “By utilising the heterogeneous multicore architecture of the i.MX 7Solo device, WaRP7 allows customers to optimise power efficiency, lower the bill of materials, and benefit from the ultimate in performance flexibility to address the varied usage models for the IoT and wearables market.”

The development platform is based on the NXP i.MX 7Solo applications processor that features an advanced implementation of the ARM Cortex-A7 core, as well as the ARM Cortex-M4 core.

It comes with features such as on-board sensors, connectivity including NFC, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi, and on-board external LPDDR3 memory. 

It offers rich multimedia capability with access to MIPI-DSI display port, on-board camera and audio features. It is highly integrated with on-board sensors, rechargeable battery and power circuitry.

It also eases development effort for software developers with access to Linux and supports extensive UI capabilities and connectivity stacks. It is expandable with the MikroBus expansion socket opening users to over 200 compatible Click Boards. 

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