Silicon Labs has introduced development kits and application software demonstrations for the EFM32 Wonder Gecko microcontroller (MCU) family, which was developed by Energy Micro, and recently acquired by Silicon Labs. The MCU line is based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor core, which provides a full DSP instruction set and includes a hardware floating point unit (FPU) for faster computation performance.
The development kits and software examples are designed to help embedded engineers leverage 32-bit digital signal control with the high-performance CPU and extremely low standby power modes.
“With our focus on energy efficiency, the Wonder Gecko kits give embedded designers access to the most energy-friendly ARM Cortex-M4 based MCU and the lowest standby power modes,” said Geir Førre, senior vice president and general manager of Silicon Labs’ microcontroller business. “The Wonder Gecko development kits and software library provide easy access to advanced signal processing functions and floating point performance. More and more instances of smart sensor and wireless applications benefit from effective analysis locally at the sensor node rather than transmitting large volumes of data over the network for remote processing.”
The EFM32 development kits include a built-in J-Link debugger and come with software examples using each kit’s built-in features: an audio pre-amplifier equalizer that digitizes the audio connector signal with the MCU’s on-chip analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and subsequently generates the output via a digital-to-analog converter (DAC); an audio frequency analyzer using the kit’s audio connector and performing a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) to display a frequency plot on the development kit’s LCD and an application example using the kit’s onboard light sensor for 10-500 Hz FFT analysis.
These software demonstrations enable designers to evaluate the differences between hard and soft floating-point operations and compiler optimization, as well as the CPU cycle count.
The example projects are coded using algorithms that are part of the Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) DSP function library, which includes complex FFT, finite impulse response (FIR) filters, matrix and vector operations, and statistical analysis. CMSIS provides a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for ARM Cortex-M processors.
Silicon Labs’ complimentary Simplicity Studio software suite includes all the necessary CMSIS, board support package (BSP) and documentation for the development kits including a Wonder Gecko white paper highlighting the 32-bit processing, DSP and FPU performance benefits of the EFM32 Wonder Gecko MCU family. The white paper also illustrates how the Wonder Gecko MCUs achieve high levels of 32-bit performance while delivering best-in-class energy efficiency.