Accelerate development of application software

14th October 2015
Nat Bowers

Renesas has released the first products in the company’s Synergy Platform, a qualified, easy-to-use platform designed to accelerate time-to-market, reduce TCO and remove many of the obstacles engineers face when designing IoT and other embedded applications. The platform’s first products include the S7G2 and S3A7 MCU groups, which target connected HMI and power-efficient control applications used in industrial, healthcare, home appliance and metering products.

Development kits featuring the two MCU groups, software development tools and the Renesas Synergy Software Package are available now from the Renesas Synergy Gallery.

The S7G2 and S3A7 are the first MCUs in the Renesas Synergy Platform and the first scalable MCUs in the industry to be optimised for software development. By supporting an API that gives designers direct access to a completely integrated RTOS with communication stacks, middleware, libraries, an application framework and the MCUs' drivers and peripherals, the Renesas Synergy Platform eliminates the design work needed to enable the essential system functions so designers can quickly begin development of their own application software.

Peter Carbone, Vice President, IoT Business Unit, Renesas Electronics America, commented: “With the launch of this beta programme, we are now providing our customers, partners and distributors the tools, hardware and software they’ll need to experience the speed and ease with which they can develop new IoT products using the Renesas Synergy Platform. With mass production parts scheduled for availability in December 2015, we’re excited to see the innovative new IoT products they are creating with the Renesas Synergy Platform.”

Between now and December, developers interested in early access to the latest Synergy hardware and software are encouraged to sign up to participate in the Renesas Synergy Platform Beta Program, here.

Accelerating HMI design

MCUs from the Renesas Synergy S7G2 group feature a 240MHz ARM Cortex-M4 CPU core and high capacity 4MB flash to accommodate the software needs of HMI applications, now and in the future. MCUs from the Renesas Synergy S3A7 group incorporate a 48MHz ARM Cortex-M4 CPU to deliver a hardware solution well suited for HMI applications requiring power efficient operation. The S7G2 and S3A7 MCUs are pin and peripheral compatible so software developed for one MCU group can be used with the other. Future Renesas Synergy MCUs will also support this compatibility feature.

To facilitate the design of HMI applications, the S7G2 and S3A7 MCUs integrate support in silicon to utilise touchscreen LCD displays, including a capacitive touch sensing unit and a highly configurable LCD colour graphics controller (S7G2) and segment LCD controller (S3A7). Design kits for both MCUs are now available with many enabling features.

The DK-S7G2 kit has a detachable 4.3-inch WQVGA colour LCD touch display plus a VGA camera and the DK-S3A7 kit has a detachable custom segment LCD display and extensions for deep evaluation of Renesas’ 3rd gen capacitive touch technology. The kits have a variety of connectivity options including USB-HS and USB-FS, Dual Ethernet, CAN and a Bluetooth 4.0 radio.

A very low-cost starter kit, the SK-S7G2, is also available for S7G2 MCUs that opens complete access to the entire Synergy Platform and all of its software capabilities for well under $100, enabling development of colour graphics, high-speed connectivity and multi-media functions.

Beyond standard development kits, the first product example is available for S7G2 MCUs that provide engineers and developers a complete example of an actual HMI end-product implementation. The PE-HMI1 includes a detailed document that captures how it was developed, giving engineers a step-by-step journey through the design choices made to build the solution so they can reproduce or alter the design themselves for their own end-products. This is the first of many Synergy product examples to come.

High-performance software features

The Renesas Synergy Software Package includes the ThreadX RTOS, X-Ware middleware (NetX, USBX, GUIX, FileX), a rich set of peripheral drivers, and a comprehensive applications framework API. This eliminates the need to source this software from multiple vendors and for compatibility testing between different software elements. The API provides access to underlying silicon features and low-level software drivers, so engineers don’t have to spend valuable development time configuring basic software driver functionality. Smart documentation and verified software add-ons are available online through the Renesas Synergy Gallery to give developers powerful tools to get to market faster. 

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