MadMachine has developed the first microcontroller development board that runs Apple's Swift programming language on the bare metal, via the Zephyr RTOS, aimed at helping Apple-centric developers make the leap into embedded projects: SwiftIO.
"SwiftIO offers a full Swift compiler and framework environment that runs on the microcontroller," MadMachine explains of the initiative, which it positions as the lowest-cost way to get started with Swift development. "The SwiftIO board is a compact electronic circuit board that runs Swift on the bare metal, giving you a system that can be used to control all kinds of electronic projects."
"Swift is used on Apple devices, servers, in machine learning, now you can use it to control hardware with SwiftIO. Swift is a general-purpose programming language using a modern approach to ensure safety, performance and realize well-built software design patterns. MadMachine IDE is the easy-to-start integrated development environment for use with SwiftIO. It makes it easy to write Swift code and download it to the board. It runs on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux."
The board itself, brought to our attention by CNX Software, is powered by an NXP i.MX RT1052 crossover processor with an Arm Cortex-M7 core running at 600MHz, 8MB of SPI flash, 32MB SDRAM, and an on-board DAPLink debugger, includes a microSD slot for storage, micro-USB connector for power and UART, a total of 46 GPIO pins across two double-stack headers, an on-board RGB LED, 12 12-bit analog to digital converters (ADCs), four UARTs on top of the USB-to-UART, two CAN buses, two I2C, and 2 SPI buses, plus 14 pins supporting pulse-width modulation (PWM).
The SwiftIO platform itself is open-source, published on GitHub under the permissive MIT License. The hardware, meanwhile, can be purchased from MadMachine for $68 board-only or $118 as a "maker kit" bundle — which, the company points out, is considerably cheaper than Apple's entry points to either the Mac or iPad families.
More information is available on the official website.