On-board debug probes play crucial role in new educational kit

25-01-2021 | Segger | Design & Manufacture

SEGGER’s J-Link on-board debug probes may be seen on hundreds of diverse evaluation boards and single-board computers worldwide. However, few are as prominent as the BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit. This new children’s IoT coding platform is designed by Tynker and RISC-V IP provider SiFive and backed by BBC Studios.


The kit is supplied in a hand-shaped enclosure with a matrix of LEDs on the front. It is powered by a 150MHz SiFive FE310 RISC-V processor and offers built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Guided by Tynker’s educational coding package, students are able to read data from the on-board set of sensors and program on-device decisions to display results employing the fun and colourful LED-matrix display.


“We are very pleased to see our J-Link OB as a key component of the HiFive Inventor Coding Kit. As such, it will reach the desks of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of kids and students, helping to educate the next generation of programmers and software architects,” says Axel Wolf, sr. staff FAE at SEGGER US. “The J-Link OB enables both web-browser-based as well as drag-and-drop programming of executable files to the on-board QSPI flash. It also provides a JTAG interface for debugging the SiFive RISC-V processor. And on top of that, the J-Link OB establishes two virtual COM ports, allowing Windows, macOS, or Linux host computers to communicate with both the FE310 processor and the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi module. It’s a real workhorse in a tiny package.”

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