New Matrix E-Blocks plug­gable hard­ware mod­ules and de­sign en­vi­ron­ment

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH - For more in­for­ma­tion about the E-Blocks boards and de­sign as­sis­tance, and how to get the right ver­sion of Flow­code 6 go to nz.rs-on­line.com/web/

RS Com­po­nents (RS) has in­tro­duced the lat­est range of E-Blocks elec­tronic mod­ules and the sup­port­ing Flow­code 6 de­vel­op­ment en­vi­ron­ment from Matrix Tech­nol­ogy So­lu­tions.

RS is stock­ing all 50 E-Blocks mod­ules in the range, which users can snap to­gether to build cus­tom elec­tronic sys­tems quickly and eas­ily. Th­ese in­clude an FPGA board and mi­cro­con­troller boards sup­port­ing pop­u­lar CPU ar­chi­tec­tures, as well as a vast num­ber of func­tion-spe­cific boards such as GPS, Blue­tooth, USB, ca­pac­i­tive touch, colour LCD, key­pad, voice codec, MIDI in­ter­face, se­rial mem­ory, RFID, push-pull driver, re­lay, mo­tor con­troller, op­toiso­la­tor, CAN in­ter­face, and many oth­ers. There is also a sen­sor moth­er­board and 16 sen­sor­func­tion boards in­clud­ing ul­tra­sonic, in­frared, touch, hu­mid­ity, mo­tion, tem­per­a­ture, plus po­ten­tiome­ter and trim­mer boards. Pro­gram­ming boards and boards for con­nect­ing an Ar­duino shield or Rasp­berry Pi com­puter are also avail­able.

RS says a large num­ber of teach­ers, stu­dents and pro­fes­sional en­gi­neers are al­ready us­ing E-Blocks and Flow­code to ex­plore ideas, sim­u­late de­signs, and quickly build pro­to­types within a uni­fied en­vi­ron­ment from sys­tem level to chip level. Users can assem­ble a com­plete sys­tem in a mat­ter of min­utes, and can take ad­van­tage of re­sources in­clud­ing guid­ance for de­sign­ing with ZigBee, USB, FPGA, au­dio DSPs or mi­cro­con­trollers, and how to pro­gram in C.

Soft­ware util­i­ties sup­plied with each board sup­port the ap­pro­pri­ate chip pro­gram­ming lan­guage and gen­er­ate na­tive hex code. Up to date driv­ers for all boards, and datasheets in­clud­ing cir­cuit di­a­grams, are also avail­able free of charge.

Us­ing the Flow­code 6 de­vel­op­ment en­vi­ron­ment, users can cre­ate elec­tronic or electro­mechan­i­cal sys­tems us­ing their pre­ferred in­dus­trial in­ter­face or a desk­top PC. An in­te­grated 2D/3D graph­i­cal in­ter­face pro­vides all the fea­tures needed to con­struct a com­plete elec­tronic sys­tem on-screen, de­velop a pro­gram us­ing f lowcharts, sim­u­late the sys­tem, and pro­gram the FPGA or mi­cro­con­troller. The lat­est ver­sion adds ad­vanced sim­u­la­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties, a 3D graph­ics en­gine for modelling electro­mechan­i­cal sys­tems, new test fea­tures to ver­ify and record a sys­tem un­der test, and cus­tom com­po­nent cre­ation. A mi­cro­con­troller com­piler and PC in­ter­preter sep­a­rate the PC-side ac­tiv­i­ties from the chip-side, which sim­pli­fies and ac­cel­er­ates pro­gram de­sign and fa­cil­i­tates a sys­tem-level ap­proach.

Flow­code 6 is avail­able in a va­ri­ety of per­sonal, aca­demic and pro­fes­sional-use ver­sions.

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