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mbed Activity Roundup

There has been a lot going on in the mbed Community lately, so I thought I would take a moment to roundup some of the recent developments, news and some of the upcoming events we’re going to be at. Also, a chance for you to provide some input on our future plans...

Team

A quick look at what Pzemek is up to with mbed test automation.

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News

The new Nordic nRF51822-mKIT Bluetooth Smart kit has started shipping! This is a great solution if you are interested in developing any wearables of appcessories. You can see it in action here: mbed BLE APIs to easily implement a Bluetooth LE Health Thermometer.

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Embedded Know-how interviewed Simon Ford on “ARM’s platform approach to Internet-of-Things device development” whilst at Embedded World. It covers some of the thinking behind mbed and where we might be going.

With the new ST Nucleo boards released, Mihail took the time to do a brief hands-on with how to use the four ST Nucleo boards running mbed with a shield.

A Japanese mbed developer, jksoft, and his team won the highest prize at TBS TV Hack Day with their “Interactive TV - Tere-Boo” which is a small soft toy that acts as a interactive TV control system.

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Freescale launched the new mbed-enabled Freescale FRDM-K64F board based on a Cortex-M4 with 1MB FLASH and 256K RAM! It also includes some other goodies like RF expansion connectors for easier development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

NXP released the next generation of their development board platform, the NXP LPCXpresso Version 2 that are all mbed-enabled.

Projects

Here are some new projects to watch:

Robotiky – Small programmable robotic toy that makes learning to code fun with its drag and drop programming challenges.

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AgIC – With AgIC you can print your own mbed circuit boards with your home printer saving time, money and makes PCB fabrication that much simpler.

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Upcoming Events

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April 27 - May 1, Las Vegas, NV

We’ll be showcasing some of the work we’ve been doing together with IBM. Look out for more soon.

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May 17-18, Bay Area, CA

ARM and the mbed Team will be showcasing a wide variety of ARM-based appcessories, wearables, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices at the show. Stop by our booth (Booth #) to get an up close look that demos and chat with the experts who developed them.

We’re hiring!

We are looking for talented and driven embedded software engineers to join our expanding team in developing an open source platform for ARM Cortex-M based microcontrollers, suitable for use by 100,000s of developers to create Internet of Things devices that ship in the billions! We are recruiting for multiple positions at various grades up to principal engineer in Cambridge, UK and Austin, Texas, USA. See http://mbed.org/jobs and pass it on!

Help guide mbed development!

We are increasing our investment in mbed, and we want to make sure we prioritise the right areas. It'd be great if you could give us some feedback on our potential plans:

Software automation and the start of mbed’s new Testfarm!

Not too long ago, Przemek (sh-em-ek) joined us to lead software automation for mbed. His task is a big one, but he has already made some great strides in developing the next version of our testing framework. I stopped by his desk to chat about how he was getting on, and took a few photos that I thought I might share.

Here is the man himself:

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One of our first goals is to make a really solid automated testing solution for platform SDK ports, so we can be confident mbed is running well on all supported platforms. As the number of companies and individuals contributing ports continues to rise, having a well structured and comprehensive test framework will really help us improve the quality over time.

Up until now, we've had various scripts and tests that have done a reasonable job, coupled with some hardware rigs we have built. Things like:

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But running the tests and interpreting the results was somewhat manual, and with the growth in hardware platforms, rigs on desks was not going to cut it any more. So Przemek has been starting to put together a next version of our testing framework, to make this much more automated from the software side using things like buildbot:

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And some of the tracking for our internal goals - you can see over 100 tests already in place, of which 42 are fully automated.

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Lots more to do here, but the software side is just half of the problem. Luckily, this all coincides with us moving in to much bigger offices, so we've now also allocated a whole wall for us to build a really comprehensive hardware test-farm for these platforms:

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First up is ordering some racking!

There is a long way to go, but thought you might be interested to see the startings of this work. If you are interested in this area and maybe helping out somehow, please feel free to comment below or contact Przemek Wirkus directly.

Print your own mbed circuit board with AgIC

One of the key phases in product development is building your breadboard, however it can be a bit of a wiry mess and replicating it more than once can be one of the many frustrations of prototyping. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just print them on your home printer and each one is identical with no wires to worry about? Well AgIC Inc. has set out to do just that. As a recent Kickstarter that successfully met its funding and exceeded it by 2.6x its goal, you could soon print your circuit boards from an ink jet printer with their ‘magical conductive ink.’

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The AgIC Printer not only makes circuit patter design simpler, but after you have tested your prototype circuit and determined it works as you want, you can send out the same layout file to a PCB fabrication service. This saves you time and money re-ordering PCBs. One of the coolest part of this great invention is that it is while you could make any circuit you want, you can make one for your favorite mbed board! You can see an example of this in the video below where they are using an NXP LPC1114FN28 board.

We got a chance to catch up with the founder and CEO of AgIC Inc., Shinya Shimizu, last week. Shimizu-san says the next development he is working on is enabling the printers to safely print double layers for more complex circuit layouts. AgIC Inc. has created a great invention and we look forward to testing it out for ourselves in the future!

mbed.org SSL certificate change

At around 23:00 UTC (00:00 BST, 18:00 EDT, 16:00 PDT) on April 9th we will be updating our SSL certificate. We anticipate any service disruption to be minimal and to last less than a minute.

This is a precautionary measure in response to the heartbleed bug which has affected many internet services. We have already taken the steps necessary to ensure mbed.org is not affected by this problem.

UPDATE: This work has been completed.

New Freescale FRDM-K64F based on ARM Cortex-M4

Today at the annual Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Dallas, Texas, Freescale is releasing a brand new mbed enabled Freedom development platform, the FRDM-K64F. This development board is based on the ARM Cortex-M4 with FPU and DSP instructions and is the first of its kind in the Kinetis Series K6x MCU family. Best of all, this development board includes a RF expansion connector and a Bluetooth expansion connector allowing easier development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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Additional sensors and connectivity options are USB Host, USBDevice, RGB LED, Freescale FXOS8700CQ Inertial Sensor (accelerometer + magnetometer), Ethernet with PHY and magnetics, SD card and compatibility with Arduino shields.

See all mbed enabled FRDM boards, here.

If you are attending the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) this week, make sure to stop by the Tech Lab and explore the FRDM-K64F platform and mbed enablement in the “Mountain demo”. Also, make sure to register for the Hands-On Workshop with mbed, ‘From Rapid Prototyping to Production’ on Friday, April 11 at 9:30am in Texas Ballroom 5 (session FTF-SDS-F0107).

You can also find out more about the FRDM-K64F from Freescale here.

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