OpenHW Group Unveils the CORE-V MCU DevKit, a Fully-Open Design with RISC-V Core and eFPGA

Demoed at Embedded World, the RISC-V-based dev kit includes an Espressif Wi-Fi module for AWS IoT ExpressLink support.

The OpenHW Group, a not-for-profit formed with the aim of fostering collaboration in the free and open source silicon field, has announced a RISC-V-based development kit with Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT ExpressLink support — all open source, of course.

"The enormous potential of IoT applications requires new ways of thinking about design, and the open source community is delivering hardware, software and development tools to accelerate innovation," claims Rick O'Connor, OpenHW Group's president and chief executive, of the announcement at Embedded World today. "It's truly inspiring to see such a cohesive global collaborative engineering effort to develop open source building blocks enabling embedded MCU designs."

The CORE-V MCU DevKit, as OpenHW Group's bundle is known, is powered by the CORE-V RISC-V-based microcontroller, built atop GlobalFoundries 22FDX process node. Inside the chip is a 32-bit in-order four-stage CV32E40P RISC-V processor, based on the Parallel Ultra Low Power (PULP) Platform's RI5CY core, alongside an ArcticPro embedded field-programmable gate array (eFPGA) from QuickLogic, designed for acceleration of artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads.

The chip is housed on a compact development board with USB Type-C for power, data, and debugging plus JTAG for additional debugging, a mikroBUS expansion socket alongside a Raspberry Pi-style 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, an on-board I2C temperature sensor, and an Espressif Wi-Fi module.

The latter comes into its own with the platform's support of AWS IoT ExpressLink. During Embedded World, the OpenHW Group is demonstrating the development kit with a weather station emulation workload — communicating with multiple devices throughout the world with Amazon Web Services as a back-end.

The CORE-V MCU DevKit is to go up for pre-order on GroupGets soon, with the campaign page ready to accept email addresses for launch notification, and will be in limited supply — but the OpenHW Group has not yet confirmed pricing nor a firm shipping date. Design files for the DevKit PCB are available on the project's GitHub repository under the permissive Solderpad Hardware License 2.0.

Those eager to get started, meanwhile, have the option of beginning software development using Imperas' riscvOVPsimCOREV simulator.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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