Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Nov 2017 10:23 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

As an embedded design consultant, the diverse collection of projects on my desk need an equally-diverse collection of microcontroller architectures that have the performance, peripheral selection, and power numbers to be the backbone of successful projects. At the same time, we all have our go-to chips - those parts that linger in our toolkit after being picked up in school, through forum posts, or from previous projects.

In 2017, we saw several new MCUs hit the market, as well as general trends continuing in the industry: the migration to open-source, cross-platform development environments and toolchains; new code-generator tools that integrate seamlessly (or not so seamlessly...) into IDEs; and, most notably, the continued invasion of ARM Cortex-M0+ parts into the 8-bit space.

I wanted to take a quick pulse of the industry to see where everything is - and what I've been missing while backed into my corner of DigiKey’s web site.

It's time for a good ol' microcontroller shoot-out.

An amazingly detailed and well-organised resource.

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Tinkering with these simplified systems reawakens nostalgia in those of us who used to hack on their Commodore 64, juggling individual bytes in assembler because that was the only way to get it to do something useful at a reasonable performance. The intriguing effect was that in those days you could still understand your entire computer while todays systems are so complex that individual components alone such as e.g. the USB port would take an absurd amount of time to get intimately familiar with.

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