Virtualised MIPS-based PIC32 microcontroller targets IoT and embedded markets

17-09-2015 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

The new PIC32MZ microcontrollers from Microchip integrate the revolutionary
MIPS M5150 CPU, the company's latest Warrior M-class processor. The PIC32
is an extremely popular family of high-performance, MIPS-based
microcontrollers used in a wide range of embedded and IoT projects.

MIPS M-class CPUs are the only microcontroller-class CPUs to feature full
hardware virtualization. Virtualization is a technology that enables users
to run multiple operating systems or applications on a single physical
machine (e.g. Parallels Desktop or VMware Workstation let consumers run full
copies of Windows, Linux or Mac OS X on the same computer).

MIPS M-class CPUs implement this powerful feature from the desktop and
server world into a microprocessor that is 25x-50x smaller than conventional
mobile chips. In addition, a MIPS M5150 CPU can run up to seven guest
operating systems in parallel, with minimum overhead on overall system
performance and stability.

This technology is designed to help developers create new and innovative
applications for wearables, IoT and other embedded markets. For example, a
MIPS M-class CPU inside a smart home hub can place door and window locks in
separate virtualized containers to avoid compromised security throughout the
home. In addition, a separate container can handle lighting control or the
connectivity stack; any change in the operation of a container would not
affect the others.

There are already multiple development boards and devices in production with
the new MIPS-based PIC32MZ microcontrollers and we should see practical
demonstrations of this technology coming soon to consumer and industrial
devices, says the company.

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