.netcpu Corp, a small startup in Microsoft’s backyard is beginning to ship a tiny, 32-pin chip-like computer module that runs “.NET Embedded”, the same platform developed for use in the SPOT watches. The embedded software stack, called .NET Embedded, (shaded in blue in the architecture diagram below) contains the bootstrap code (to initialise the system on powerup), a Tiny HAL plus device drivers ( to control the underlying system hardware) and a Tiny CLR through which the device is programmed.
The Tiny CLR implements a subset of the .NET clr and occupies under 132kb of memory. It contains enough functionality to be suitable for embedded device applications and is programmable and debugable using Visual Studio.NET (C#). There is also support for all of the things one would expect, like threads, strings, numeric types, date time, fonts, bitmaps, etc. including several domain-specific object libraries for the watch and .netcpu [CPU Module] (VTU, PWM, LCD, I/O, IRQs), etc.”
.NET Embedded also provides a Tiny HAL that implements system-level functions, which interface with the system’s underlying hardware, and a boot-loader. The Tiny HAL takes up less than kb of memory.
The computer module is implemented in the format of a 32-pin “DIP” (dual inline package) chip, allowing the module to conveniently plug into a standard 32-pin DIP socket. In addition to the Ollie SoC, the “.netcpu CPU Module” integrates mb of nonvolatile Flash memory (interfaced via an SPI interface on the SoC). It also provides 24 general purpose digital I/O lines, which are multiplexed with other functions including 8 VTU ports, a USB port, two serial ports, and SPI and I2C interfaces.
But note: “SPOT doesn’t have an OS, just enough ASM/C/C++ to support the TinyCLR”
The .netcpu Corp is also offering a carrier board (pictured below) that provides a 32-pin DIP socket for the CPU module, and routes signals from the CPU module’s 32-pin interface to various connectors that provide easy access for experiments and projects.
More Information: http://tinyurl.com/4jhtp
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