Prototype Internet Of Things Apps for $20?

May 15, 2014
A new microcontroller from Texas Instruments enables engineers to prototype Internet of Things connectivity ranging from sensor gateways to control networks.

Though it’s barely on the radar for most manufacturers—at least in terms of doing anything concrete with it—the Internet of Things has been a popular concept in the industrial space for the past few years. And as more larger companies experiment with it, it’s adoption rate is likely to increase rapidly among mid-sized manufacturers.

To help manufacturers of all sizes wrap their hands and heads around the Internet of Things in terms of how it can apply to their operations, Texas Instruments has released it newest LaunchPad microcontroller—the Tiva C Series Connected LaunchPad. According to Texas Instruments, this MCU enables engineers to prototype a range of cloud-enabled applications, bringing expansive connectivity to any new or existing LaunchPad-based application. And it retails for $19.99.

The peripherals on this MCU platform can reportedly run multiple communication stacks simultaneously, allowing engineers to develop network gateways that can connect multiple endpoints to the cloud.  Example applications include sensor gateways, industrial communication/control networks and cloud-enabled devices, as well as home automation controllers—in case you want to experiment with this at home before bringing it into the plant.

Features of the Tiva C Series Connected LaunchPad include:
• Onboard 10/100 Ethernet MAC+PHY with advanced-line diagnostics for smart identification of cabling issues.  Integrated CAN and USB provide high-speed connectivity for the creation of gateway applications.
• The ability to control outputs and manage multiple events, such as sensing, motion, display and switching, using sensor aggregation capabilities with 10 I2C ports, two 12-bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), two quadrature encoder inputs, three on-chip comparators, external peripheral interface and advanced pulse-width modulation (PWM) outputs.
• Scalable cloud technologies (such as those from Exosite) and visual analytics enable remote connection through a web browser or custom application to manage the Tiva C Series Connected LaunchPad and real-time data.
• Interconnect to standard breadboards for prototyping with the I/O grid array using industry-standard headers.