Development platform helps students and seasoned designers work with emerging technologies

21-02-2024 | Microchip Technology | Test & Measurement

Microchip Technology has released the PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit. Providing a user-friendly, feature-rich development kit for embedded processing and compute acceleration makes emerging technology more accessible to engineers at all levels. The open-source development kit features a quad-core, RISC-V application-class processor that supports Linux and real-time applications, a rich set of peripherals and 95K of low-power, high-performance FPGA logic elements. This full-featured yet low-cost kit permits rapid testing of application concepts, developing firmware applications, and programming and debugging user code.

"We are dedicated to helping support the growth of embedded systems that require low-power, high-performance FPGA fabrics. The PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit is a pivotal step in our journey towards creating more accessible, smart, secure and high-performing computing solutions for a wide range of applications," said Shakeel Peera, vice president of marketing for Microchip's FPGA business unit. "With the new Discovery Kit, experienced and new design engineers, as well as university students, will have access to a low-cost RISC-V and FPGA development platform for learning and rapid innovation."

As well as traditional sales channels, the kits are being made available through a pilot project as part of the Microchip Academic Program in the second half of 2024. By providing the Discovery Kit to universities at a decreased price, the company ensures that future engineers have direct access to state-of-the-art technology. This approach enhances students' practical learning experience and aligns academic studies with the latest industry trends. This academic program provides resources for educators, researchers, and students worldwide and helps universities incorporate advanced technology into their curriculum.

"Preparing students for the work world, a capstone project is a unique opportunity for students to develop practical applications. Several ASU students are using the PolarFire SoC Discovery Kit in their projects this year, and it's been an invaluable experience for them to have access not only to development boards but also the amazing mentorship provided through Microchip's academic program," said Steven Osburn, professor at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. "The students are getting hands-on experience working with new technology to complete real-world engineering projects, finding innovative solutions to real-world problems."

The kit is built around the PolarFire MPFS095T SoC FPGA that provides an embedded microprocessor subsystem consisting of a quad-core, 64-bit CPU cluster based on the RISC-V ISA. A large L2 memory subsystem can be configured for performance or deterministic operation and supports an AMP mode. The board supports the company's Mi-V ecosystem, a MikroBUS expansion header for Click Boards, a 40-pin Raspberry Pi connector, and an MIPI video connector. The expansion boards can be controlled using protocols like I2C and SPI. An embedded FP5 programmer is included for FPGA fabric programming and debugging, and firmware applications development.


By Seb Springall

Seb Springall is a seasoned editor at Electropages, specialising in the product news sections. With a keen eye for the latest advancements in the tech industry, Seb curates and oversees content that highlights cutting-edge technologies and market trends.