Actel Enables Human Machine Interface, Miniature Motor Control

Further expanding its offerings for the portable market based on the industry’s lowest power field-programmable gate array (FPGA), Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced two plug-in daughter cards developed to manage human machine interface (HMI) and miniature motor control functionality. The new HMI Daughter Card and the Motor Control Daughter Card are offered as plug-ins to Actel’s popular IGLOO Icicle Kit. Combined with the company’s previously announced IGLOO-based storage and display-related development boards, design examples and intellectual property (IP) cores, the company believes these new control-related solutions will increase market penetration for Actel’s 5 microwatt IGLOO FPGAs in the rapidly growing portable market.

“Over the past year, we have targeted our ultra low-power IGLOO FPGAs at key functions, such as storage, display, and control, within portable designs,” said Actel vice president, Yankin Tanurhan. “A platform-based design approach, our sophisticated and flexible HMI and miniature motor control solutions enable designers to shave months off of their design time and easily meet the most stringent power budgets.”

Small Footprint Daughter Boards Speed Control Design with Turnkey Solutions
As keypads, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for backlight and display, and motors have grown commonplace, portable designers have typically relied on microcontrollers, application-specific standard products (ASSPs) or complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs) to handle HMI and miniature motor control functions. However, microcontrollers and ASSPs do not provide adequate flexibility and CPLDs do not offer the levels of integration or sophistication of FPGAs.

Co-developed with partners Ishnatek, a design services company, and Avnet Memec, a division of Avnet, the new HMI and miniature motor control solutions provide a platform-based design approach, enabling designers to quickly and easily address changing requirements, implement custom algorithms, and make design changes through device reprogramming.

The HMI Daughter Card demonstrates keypad control, brightness control for white LEDs, color mixing for red, green blue (RGB) LEDs and tone generation, which is beneficial for applications like smart phones, portable gaming consoles and remote control devices. The Motor Control Daughter Card demonstrates brushless DC and stepper motor control and can support a variety of functions often found in portable medical, industrial and consumer applications, such as respirators, infusion and volumetric pumps, smart phones and security cameras.

An attractive low-power platform for portable design, the feature-rich microwatt IGLOO FPGAs can absorb additional glue logic and multiple functions — from storage and display to control — into a single chip, thereby reducing bill of materials, board area, power consumption and cost. And, with IGLOO’s power-saving Flash*Freeze function, one of several power modes the IGLOO family offers to optimize power consumption, designers can tap the lowest power solution for HMI and miniature motor control applications-up to 1700 times lower than competing programmable solutions.

According to Marc Gsand, vice president, technical marketing at Avnet Electronics, who will sell the new boards, “Avnet Memec’s customers value solutions which enable them to get to market faster. These daughter cards, which leverage Actel’s award-winning IGLOO FPGAs, provide a complete reference for power-sensitive and portable applications, going beyond just a piece of silicon. Customers further benefit from the knowledge that the complimentary devices on the daughter cards, which are available from the Avnet Memec line card, have been proven to work together.”

About the IGLOO Icicle Kit
Leveraging the company’s microwatt IGLOO FPGA, the Icicle Kit showcases the ultra low-power attributes, flexible implementation options and battery-saving advantages of IGLOO FPGAs for portable applications. The $99 kit allows designers to easily and rapidly program, evaluate and modify their low-power IGLOO-based portable designs. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the 1.4″ x 3.6″ Icicle evaluation board consumes less than one-seventh the power of competitive FPGA development solutions in a design the size of a small cell phone.

Pricing and Availability
Available now, customers can purchase the $99 Icicle Kit from Actel. The HMI and motor control daughter cards can be purchased from Avnet’s Design Resource Center at em.avnet.com/acteligloohmicard and em.avnet.com/acteligloomotorcard, respectively. Pricing for the daughter cards is $139 and $229 for the HMI and motor control solutions, respectively. The RTL design files, packaged as design examples, will also be available for free download from Actel’s website.

About Actel
Attacking power consumption from both the chip and the system levels, Actel Corporation’s innovative FPGAs and programmable system chip solutions enable power-efficient design. The company is traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, Calif., 94043-4655.

The Actel name, logo and Actel IGLOO are trademarks of Actel Corporation.