At the recent Embedded World Conference in Nuremberg Germany, Digi-Key’s Paige West interviewed Rick O’Connor, the President, and CEO at OpenHW Group, about the organization’s CORE-V MCU Development Kit for IoT applications. As Rick mentions in the interview, OpenHW Group is a non-profit open-source ecosystem with 88 partners and members around the world focused on providing commercial quality building blocks for SoC devices and SOC-based systems.
We should note that QuickLogic is and has been a longtime member of the group, as its mission dovetails perfectly with our explicit support of open-source hardware and software initiatives.
In this interview, Rick discusses the OpenHW Group’s CORE-V MCU Development Kit and talks about its features and applications. The OpenHW Group website also describes this kit, stating that it is a “…turnkey development and prototyping platform for the CORE-V-MCU System on Chip.” The website goes on to say that it “…enables makers of IoT and embedded systems to evaluate the performance of the CORE-V MCU, to interface with peripherals, and to develop and test software using the CORE-V SDK.”
The really interesting part of the interview, though, is around the five-minute mark when Rick discusses the embedded FPGA (eFPGA in QuickLogic terminology) array adjacent to the core processor which he describes as being available to implement AI/ML functionality to accelerate power sensitive yet high-performance edge IoT applications such as pattern recognition, facial recognition, and video processing.
This discussion is a great example of how eFPGA technology complements open-source development approaches by giving SoCs a high degree of post-manufacturing flexibility. eFPGA cores adjacent to processor cores are particularly well-suited for hardware acceleration functions, which can change to fit different applications or evolve as customer requirements change. Adoption of eFPGA is growing fast. As a point of reference, we have signed several eFPGA agreements just in the last 12 months.
The interviewer then goes on to ask about sensor types and use cases and Rick explains how the development kit can handle almost any type of IoT or other embedded application. We completely agree, as the board features a versatile and open-source processor core, embedded FPGA IP which can easily integrate AI/ML or other hardware acceleration functionality, along with various peripherals, connectors, and sensors to provide a flexible, high performance, and low power development platform.