Modular Interfacing Ecosystem Provides Wide Range of Options for Dynamic Applications

By Saumitra Jagdale

Freelance Technology Writer

July 27, 2021

Blog

Modular Interfacing Ecosystem Provides Wide Range of Options for Dynamic Applications
Credit: MicroMod Teensy Processor

MicroMod Cards from SparkFun are one of the significant modular interfacing ecosystems. The ecosystem comes with a provision of interchangeable processors and carrier boards, thus allowing rapid prototypes and development for dynamic changes in the projects. The latest MicroMod Teensy processor board enhances the MicroMod applications featuring its Arm Cortex-M7 core.

The integration of the platform in the MicroMod ecosystem provides SparkFun customers free access to all the features of the Teensy processor. Whether an avid electronics enthusiast or a professional engineer, the MicroMod system works to make project and prototype upgrades as seamless as possible.

Teensy has historically been focused on DIY electronics exploration and development, notably with solderless breadboards. While a few shields, such as the audio board, are available, PJRC lacks the resources to develop a broad ecosystem of shields and accessories. 

Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of the MicroMod ecosystem. MicroMod is a modular interface ecosystem for quick embedded development and a solder-free rapid prototyping platform that aims to make the transition from prototypes to products easier and faster.

The MicroMod ecosystem has evolved quickly since its inception, and now it includes a new processor module that transforms any MicroMod carrier board into a Teensy.  The M.2 connector serves as an interface between these two components, allowing you to plug into any compatible MicroMod carrier Board. The carrier boards are for the usage of various peripherals, while the processor board acts as the brain of the application system.

One of the advancements that have been at the forefront of  Teensy is the CPU performance which is much faster than a typical 32-bit microcontroller, allowing developers and end-users to maintain, scale, and upgrade the platform to suit their processing requirements. In general, Teensy is well-suited to polyphonic audio synthesis, moderately complex machine learning algorithms, and real-time audio analysis. It can also accelerate graphics operations by offloading the processor.

As discussed earlier, the ecosystem offers plug and play capability for different processors and MCUs. Hence, the MicroMod Teensy processor can be swapped to a different type of carrier board that is optimized for machine learning, weather monitoring, data logging and GNSS applications. Furthermore, the MicroMod Teensy is compatible with the company's Teensyduino add-on to the Arduino IDE.

Deeper Look on MicroMod Teensy Processor


Credit: Form Factor

The 22x22mm MicroMod Teensy can be easily fitted on carrier boards and harnesses computing power capabilities from the onboard NXP iMXRT1062 embedded application processor. The i.MX RT1062 processor features NXP’s advanced implementation of the Arm Cortex-M7 core, which operates at speeds up to 600MHz to provide high CPU performance and the best real-time response. One of the numerous advantages of the iMXRT1062 is that many of its pins accept multiple signal types, allowing you to tailor it to your project's needs.

Additionally, it features larger flash memory of 16MB, and 1024kB of RAM is available for variables and data. To allow full utilization of the massive computing capacity, the processor comes with a plethora of interfacing options to meet any requirement.  These include serial UART ports as well as I2C buses and SPI ports. 

In addition to these standard interfaces, the board also features USB Host and Device capability up to 480Mbit/s, a CAN-Bus to communicate with CAN devices, and a digital audio interface. The USB Host allows it to interface with USB flash drives, mice, keyboards, and more, while the USB Device enables it to communicate with USB keyboards/mouses/joysticks, MIDI, audio, and other devices.

Thus, MicroMod Teensy processor enables developers to deploy their next-generation industrial and machine learning applications. The M.2 MicroMod add-on card can work with several SparkFun carrier boards in the MicroMod ecosystem for their projects, for example, SparkFun’s ML carrier board that targets voice, gesture, or image recognition. Thus, the integration of the SparkFun MicroMod card with an ML carrier board opens up a vast array of machine learning use cases. Instead, users can also create their carrier board by altering open-source MicroMod carrier board designs. 

Conclusion

Teensy is used in a wide array of vastly different projects which makes its usage within MicroMod so great. As a result, developers can choose any method to enhance Teensy, such as fast processing with the input and display carrier board or sound recognition with the machine learning carrier board. 
 
Hence, developers using the MicroMod with the Teensy technology provide an economical and easy-to-use development platform for applications targeting more processing power with minimal working space. You can head over to the official product page for more information on SparkFun MicroMod Teensy Processor.

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Saumitra Jagdale is a Backend Developer, Freelance Technical Author, Global AI Ambassador (SwissCognitive), Open-source Contributor in Python projects, Leader of Tensorflow Community India, and Passionate AI/ML Enthusiast.

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