Powerful New Features For Edison
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Thursday, 21 May 2015

Intel has updated the firmware and software for its Edison IoT device. The new features open up the potential for what you can do with this embedded microcontroller.

The major step forward with Release 2.1 is that Edison now has an SDK for the MCU that so far has been inaccessible to the average programmer.

The MCU is a separate small CPU that handles the interfacing with the outside world. Most of the time you can ignore it because the main Atom CPU talks to it on your behalf. The dual core Atom runs the Linux OS and the MCU is the microcontroller in the system running its own RTOS derived operating system. The MCU is a full 32 bit Intel Quark microcontroller running at 100MHz, which makes it more powerful than your average microcontroller. 

 

edisonmcu

 

In many ways it is the MCU that makes the Edison special ;so it has been frustrating for many programmers not to be able to gain access to it. Now you can write programs that let the MCU take some of the processing burden.

For example you can blink an LED using just the MCU:

void mcu_main()
{
 gpio_setup(48,1);
 while(1)
 {
  gpio_write(48,1);
  mcu_sleep(100);
  gpio_write(48,0);
  mcu_sleep(100);
 }
}

Of course not everyone will want or need to program the MCU, but if you have a complex data processing task the MCU can deal with the low level data management and the CPUs can process the data at a higher level. The SDK gives you access to UART, I2C, GPIO, and the PWM pins.

There is also a new integrated Windows 64-bit installer and installers for OS X and Linux systems will be coming soon.  

As well as the star of the show - the MCU there are two other important improvements:

  • Extended Audio Support - Improved support for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), PulseAudio, and GStreamer provides audio support to connect to a variety of headsets and audio devices over USB and Bluetooth. 

  • Flash Tool Lite - This initial release enhances Edison development and production. Windows and Linux versions are available, with Mac OS X to come soon. A command line interface option lets you integrate the tool into a production flow or field device management tools.  

If you've not met the Edison yet this unboxing video provides a beginner's introduction:

 

And see our previous coverage of the Edison and Intel's IoT platform.


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 June 2015 )