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.

By Craig Dyball