New Matrix E-Blocks pluggable hardware modules and design environment
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.