Alvie Is The Newest Blogger On All Programmable Planet!

We wanted to congratulate our longtime friend, colleague, and collaborator Alvaro Lopez on being selected as the newest contributor on All Programmable Planet’s list of heavy hitters. Alvie is the man responsible for the ZPUino SoC softcore system, and much more. So, congrats Alvie! Here’s his introduction from APP:

Álvaro Lopes is a Senior Software Engineer at the Critical Software company in Portugal. He works in ASDT (Aeronautics, Space, Defense, and Transportation) and his specialties cover a wide range of areas, from hardware (analog and digital) to software (specification, development, and validation), primarily for embedded systems. He is the creator of several CPU cores and digital systems, such as the ZPUino SoC softcore, whose versions include one that actually runs uCLinux. Although Álvaro mainly does digital design just for fun, he ranked 1st (ex-aequo) in the 2011 “Open 7400” contest by Dangerous Prototypes, with his 7400 Triple Seven Segment Capacitance Meter that could measure from 0.1nF up to 999µF.

You should head on over to APP and check out Alvie’s first article, of which we’ll share an excerpt with you here:

…I started to target the Papilio boards for my ZPUino design. Things went so well that Papilio became the main driver of the ZPUino project. We have been improving the design ever since — supporting more devices, improving the documentation, adding software libraries, and helping all of our users to accomplish their goals.

It’s great to see Alvie on APP – he definitely will add to the greater knowledge base for all who read All Programmable Planet. And here at Gadget Factory, he is certainly an indispensable member of our team, so again our congrats!

(via All Programmable Planet)

Introducing ZAP IDE – ZPUino And AVR8 Together At Last!

Howdy, hacker types!  What’s new, you ask?  Well, I’m happy to say there’s a cool little development coming your way called ZAP IDE.

What’s ZAP IDE you ask? Why, it’s the first version of the ZAP (ZPUino Arduino Papilio) Soft Processor IDE, that’s what! It’s basically ZPUino and AVR8, all in one. How about more of the nuts and bolts? Let’s ask Jack:

The ZAP IDE puts the AVR8 and the ZPUino Soft Processors together in the latest and greatest Arduino IDE (1.5.2) and makes using either one super easy. We’ve cleaned up all of the source code for both the ZAP IDE and the ZPUino HDL and pulled it all together with new documentation. The goal is to make the ZPUino extremely useful for anyone who uses a Papilio, whether you are just starting or an old hat. This is a new beginning for Soft Processors on the Papilio and the first step in making Open Source System on Chip designs as easy as using an Arduino.

New Features:

  • All soft processors together in one release, the ZPUino and AVR8 together and a framework for any future Soft Processors.
  • ZPUino board types are associated with their corresponding bit file. Just select, “Burn Bootloader” and the ZPUino version you need is loaded to your Papilio board. No more searching the website and trying to figure out what ZPUino bit file you need.
  • Code Examples built in that are specific to what Soft Processor you are using.
  • ZPUino code examples specify what kind of board type/ZPUino variant is required. Just select the required board type, burn the bootloader, and run the code.
  • ZPUino documentation for:

    You can find more on the ZAP IDE topic by checking out the ZAP IDE forum thread.  You can find more on the release notes and join in the discussion there!

    (via the forums)

Watch My Pins! Serial Pro Compatible With Papilio, ZPUino

We’ve got a quick resource list for Alvie’s Serial Pro (SerPro) here for you today.  Serial Pro is compatible with Papilio and ZPUino, and is RPC-like, fast, small and useful for when you don’t want your data to be lost or corrupted. Alvie says,

This library (actually a set of C++ templates) was developed for my arduino oscope, but can be used on any project, and used as-is in both arduino and PC, provided you have a C++ compiler.

Some people have been asking me to write better examples on how to use it, so I decided to give it a quick shot at a very simple one yet powerful. The sketch (if you remove the not yet used PWM code) is 90 lines long.

I decided to call it “Watch My Pins”

This is a GTK+ client for it. From this client you can control arduino pins in a very simple way (a more complex way is on the forge) and also watch your arduino digital inputs.

Here are the resources:

Thanks to Alvie for the update!

(via the Arduino.cc forums)

ZPUino Linux Framebuffer

Ah, the start of another week.  Let’s see what’s in the news around here.

Well, we’re getting word from Alvie over at his ZPUino page that we are getting closer to a Linux implementation of ZPUino.  The picture above is an example of a video framebuffer running on physical hardware.  ZPUino also now has video output support for the Papilio.  Nice job!  I’m told that that was a major technical hurdle, and it’s looking like we are that much closer to being able to enjoy the fruits of Alvie’s endless labor. Before this update ZPUino was just outputting data from a serial port. After this update we can now connect a VGA monitor!

(via Alvie’s ZPUino blog)