Last week, Freescale Semiconductor added six more modules to the Tower System, its growing modular and reconfigurable development platform.
I have been really impressed with the Tower System concept. With the aim of rapid prototype development, the system modularizes peripheral sub-systems like Wi-Fi connectivity, memory, LCDs, sensors, and microcontrollers. These 8-, 16-, and 32-bit hardware modules are plugged into a relatively low-cost, PCI-Express-based backplane or—as Freescale calls it—”elevator board.”
Overall, the system depends on standardized software and interconnect to give EE a solid foundation to build upon.
Four New Microcontrollers/Microprocessor Modules
The newest MCU and MPU Tower System modules focus on industrial and medical applications and include the MCF5441X module suitable for network-connected industrial applications; the MCF51MM module for medical applications; the S08MM128 module that provides a graphic display and USB connectivity along with an 8-bit microcontroller; and the 56F8257 Digital Signal Controller module.
New Peripheral Modules Too
Freescale also released a new Electrocardiograph module which works specifically with the aforementioned S08MM128 and MCF51MM modules. As its name indicates, this peripheral module includes an electrocardiographic sensor and relative low-power-use profile, making it a viable starting point for portable, battery-powered medical devices.
Another new Tower System peripheral module enables 802.11n Wi-Fi connections for just about any application you’re developing on the platform. According to Freescale the module will meet U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification requirements, so that going from prototype to production doesn’t have to take long.
As The Tower System Grows
Obviously, the Tower System becomes an even better platform as Freescale and its partners add more available modules and expand the breadth and depth of applications included. These new modules are a step in the proper direction, making an intriguing electronics development platform better by their addition.
For EEs working on new industrial and medical designs, the Tower System is worth a look.