Parallax releases their Propeller 1 MCU into a fully open-source platform
Parallax has followed suit with the likes of LEON, OpenRISC and LowRISC by making their octo-core MCU Propeller 1 SoC open source for both the hardware and software. Released back in April of 2006, the MCU features eight 32-bit RISC CPU cores (cogs), 32Kb of RAM/ROM and 32 GPIO pins. Each core can access those GPIO pins as well as other shared system resources and since it has its own onboard memory and configurable hardware, users can create and release their own software-based peripherals as they see fit. Parallax has included a host of software to get things moving for user’s projects, including Verilog code, Spin interpreter, PropellerIDE/SimpleIDE programming tools and the required code compilers. All of which was released under the GNU General Public License v.3.0 statute.
Since Parallax made the Verilog code open source, users can now take advantage of two FPGA boards for the Propeller MCU, including the Terasic Cyclone IV DE0-Nano and the Altera DE2-115. Parallax hopes that their ‘open source-ness’ will inspire innovation among its users as well as support higher education and code learning. To that end, the company recently gave away their open source microcontroller to over 13,000 guests at this year’s Defcon conference, which was featured on attendee’s electronic badges.
I always liked the concept behind the Propeller, I hope this makes it more mainstream. To hear more about Parallax check out their twitter feed here