Design

New plug and play options for Altium’s Innovation Station

15th April 2008
ES Admin
Altium continues to develop and expand the Altium Innovation Station – which combines the award-winning Altium Designer unified design software with the Desktop NanoBoard reconfigurable hardware platform – to bring device intelligence design solutions to electronics engineers.
At ESC, in California’s Silicon Valley, Altium is showing a range of new FPGA daughter boards and additional plug-in peripheral boards for the Altium Innovation Station. This significantly adds to the range of target devices and peripheral functionality already available as part of the Altium Innovation Station.

The new daughter boards have the following programmable devices:
· Xilinx® Virtex™-5
· Xilinx Spartan™-3AN
· Xilinx Spartan™-3A DSP
· Actel® ProASIC3

These join the existing daughter boards that cover Xilinx Virtex-4, Xilinx Spartan-3, Altera ® Cyclone™ II and Lattice ECP™ FPGAs.

Altium is also expanding its range of peripheral boards, which now includes the following:
· 6-channel, single-sized, multi-network interface power control and monitoring board
· 12-channel, double-sized, multi-network interface power control and monitoring board
· Audio/video board targeted at AV connectivity with Apple-compatible VGA-style interface, iPod-compatible AV ports, and composite video in/out
· Quad-band GSM and GPS board
· Bluetooth, Zigbee and 802.11 wireless board.

These add to the Compact flash/ATA/SD board, USB/IrDA/Ethernet board and double-sized VGA/Composite/S-Video board that come standard with the Desktop NanoBoard.

Expanding the range of plug-in boards means that designers will have more options to create device intelligence without being constrained by having to choose a final programmable device and peripheral functionality before the design process begins. The Altium Innovation Station lets designers assess and compare different devices and implementations on the fly – they simply swap plug-in boards, and the Altium Innovation Station auto-configures the design and development platform to accommodate the new devices.

The Altium Innovation Station provides a high level of design abstraction, which allows all designers, even those with limited or no FPGA design experience, to use the potential of programmable devices. For example, they can create functionality by graphically linking ready-to-use functional blocks together. And they can accelerate application execution by transparently moving C-level software functions into dynamically generated FPGA hardware.

“This extended range of programmable devices and peripheral functionality significantly expands the options available to designers using the Innovation Station,” said Nick Martin, CEO and founder of Altium. “It allows designers to experiment with a wider set of deployment options and explore a much greater range of design possibilities before committing to final hardware.”

“The Altium Innovation Station gives designers the development tools and platform they need to rapidly create and define the device intelligence that increasingly differentiates their products and then test, analyze and change that design in real time. And it lets designers do this without locking down their hardware requirements at the start of the design process. “

“The time has gone when companies could sustain product differentiation by putting functionality into fixed hardware. Programming, rather than manufacturing, intelligence into a device is the only way to protect the unique functionality of a product in today’s globalized industry. The Altium Innovation Station lets all designers innovate in this new marketplace by turning traditional electronics design inside out.”

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