Software provides easy access to embedded FPGAS

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




(2004), "Software provides easy access to embedded FPGAS", Microelectronics International, Vol. 21 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Software provides easy access to embedded FPGAS

Software provides easy access to embedded FPGAS

Keywords: FPGA

Altium's Nexar FPGA development system is currently shipping, along with a new 2004 range of "LiveDesign-enabled" products. The software products commencing shipment include two new product lines, Nexar and CircuitStudio, and updated versions of Altium's existing Protel and CAMtastic products. In addition to these software releases, Altium is launching the industry's first FPGA-based LiveDesign-enabled development board, which Altium calls a NanoBoard (nano- level breadboard).

The NanoBoard (RRP Eur995) will be included free with Nexar and Protel software licences for a limited time. Nexar, the industry's first comprehensive, vendor-independent solution for embedded system-level design on an FPGA platform, introduces a new design methodology for digital systems that Altium calls LiveDesign.

LiveDesign is a real-time, interactive design and development methodology that enables rapid implementation, testing and debugging of digital designs through a combination of FPGA-targeted virtual instruments that are incorporated at the schematic level, JTAG communications technology, and the NanoBoard, which connects to the engineer's PC. LiveDesign provides the engineer with hands on hardware and software environment for on-the-fly development and implementation of a real, physical circuit, including "soft" processor cores, which is directly accessible from their desktop.

Nexar's LiveDesign environment minimises the need for simulation at the system level and enables the development of complete embedded systems on an FPGA without the need for HDL-based entry. "Since we first introduced the concept of Nexar in November 2003, feedback and demand for the product has been overwhelmingly positive. Now that we are ready to ship Nexar, engineers will see that it presents a breakthrough in system- level design on an FPGA platform and allows processors to be easily brought inside the FPGA", says Nick Martin, Joint CEO and Founder, Altium.

"What's more, Nexar's LiveDesign environment together with the NanoBoard provide a design methodology that will be familiar to most engineers, making embedded system design on an FPGA platform readily accessible to mainstream engineers. We believe that now, with Nexar, every engineer can do chip- level design".

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