FPGA based Embedded Systems

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FPGA based platforms are a flexible and powerful way to implement a broad range of "Embedded Systems", utilizing different processor cores. Besisdes vendor specific solutions (like Xilinx MCS or MicroBlaze) the ARM-based processor cores are attractive candidates, ranging from the synthesizable Cortex-M0 core (50MHz) up to the Cortex-A9 dual-core hard-IPs (800MHz).

The demonstration platform is built around the ARM Cortex-M0 core, provided by ARM via the University programme and implemented on a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA board. The system can be configured in single and dual processor mode with a number of representative peripherals.


The dual core version has a much higher consumption of FPGA block memory such that the video output is limited to black&white


The ARM cores are programmed using the current version of GCC and Newlib, the "codeblocks" GUI can be used optionally. Different software configurations can be used on these systems, both bare-metal and RT-kernels like COOS and freeRTOS. Typical use cases of embedded systems and peripheral implementation options will be demonstrated using this educational platform.

System demonstration using interrupt-based switching of Mandelbrot computation, Audio-I/O with realtime oscilloscope display and pacman game. Ethernet is available too.

Robotic-arm control application with hardware-in-the-loop (emulated) DC motors and realtime viewer on a host PC.

Arm control is done via a simple inverse kinematic computation, based upon a Arduino project.