Peter Clarke, EETimes
3/31/2016 10:48 AM EDT
Researchers at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) and the University of Bologna have developed PULPino, an open-source processor optimized for low power consumption and application in wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Open-source and collaborative development is now standard practise in the software world – Linux being an example. While there have been hardware efforts, such as OpenRISC and Opencores, open-source hardware has gained the most traction at the board level. Examples include Arduino and Raspberry Pi, for which the PCB designs are publicly available. However, the chips on which those boards are based have remained proprietary.
Now a team led by ETH Professor Luca Benini, has put into the public domain the full design of one of their microprocessor systems, a derivative of the PULP (Parallel ultra low power) project.
The 32-bit PULPino is designed for battery-powered devices with extremely low energy consumption. The arithmetic instructions are also open source: the scientists made the processor compatible with an open-source instruction set – RISC-V – developed at the University of California in Berkeley.
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