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ARM University Program and Partners Launch DSP 'Lab-in-a-Box' for Audio Systems

ARM® and its Partners will start shipping a digital signal processing (DSP) 'Lab-in-a-Box' (LiB) to universities worldwide to help boost practical skills development and the creation of new ARM-based audio systems. This will include products such as high definition home media and voice-controlled home automation systems. The LiB kits contain ARM Cortex®-M4-based microcontroller boards by STMicroelectronics and audio cards from Wolfson Microelectronics and Farnell element14.

As the centerpiece of the ARM University Program, LiB packages offer ARM-based technology and high quality teaching and training materials that support electronics and computer engineering courses. DSP courses have traditionally used software simulation packages, or hands-on labs using relatively expensive development kits costing around $300 per student. By comparison, this new DSP LiB being unveiled at the ASEE Annual Conference tomorrow (June 17) will cost around $50 and will allow students to practice theory with advanced hardware sourced from widely-available products.

“Our Lab-in-a-Box offerings are proving hugely popular in universities because of the low-cost access to state-of-the-art technology,” said Khaled Benkrid, manager of the Worldwide University Program, ARM. “The DSP kits, powered by ARM Cortex-M4-based processors, enable high performance yet energy-efficient digital signal processing at a very affordable price. We expect to see them being used by students to create commercially-viable audio applications and it’s another great example of our partnership supporting engineers in training and beyond.”

The DSP LiB will begin shipping to universities in July 2014. It is the latest in a series of initiatives led by ARM which span multiple academic topics including embedded systems design, programming and SoC design. The DSP kits will also be offered to developers outside academia at a later date.

A typical DSP Lab-in-a-Box contains:

  • Hardware boards (ARM Cortex®-M4-based STM32F4 Discovery microcontroller boards from STMicroelectronics and Wolfson Audio Cards from Wolfson Microelectronics and Farnell element14).
  • One-year renewable software licences for the full ARM Keil® MDK-Professional development tool from ARM.
  • Complete teaching materials, including lecture note slides, demonstration codes and hands-on lab manuals with solutions in source.

“Low-cost Cortex-M4-based microcontroller development kits, combined with suitable audio interfaces, represent an exciting new opportunity to spread hands-on DSP teaching to a wider audience,” said Dr. Donald Reay, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK. “These hardware and software tools are similar to those used for teaching and development of microcontroller applications and afford an ideal introduction to real-time and DSP concepts with wide applicability to embedded systems”

Partner Quotes
STMicroelectronics: “Leveraging the STM32F4 MCU that is among the highest performance Cortex-M microcontrollers in the market, the Discovery board in the Lab-in-a-box is the ideal tool for teaching - and doing - audio-system development,” said Laurent Desseignes, Microcontrollers Ecosystem marketing manager, STMicroelectronics. “Students will learn important control and signal-processing design skills that will serve them well throughout their careers.”

Wolfson Microelectronics: Alistair Banham, Senior VP and GM, Custom Solutions at Wolfson Microelectronics, said: “ARM’s Lab-in-a-Box provides the ideal toolkit to help educate and inspire the next generation, and we are delighted to provide the Wolfson Audio Card as part of this innovative package. The Wolfson Audio Card is packed with features including Wolfson’s compelling high definition Audio Hub and digital MEMS microphones, enabling the electronics designers and engineers of the future to easily incorporate outstanding audio playback and audio capture into their applications.”

Farnell element14: Richard Curtin, Global Director of Strategic Alliance, Premier Farnell, said: “I am delighted Farnell element14 is involved in the ARM Lab-in-a-Box program. Our strategy is to support the engineer in the design stage with our leading range of development kits. Our turnkey solutions for suppliers such as Wolfson allow us to design and manufacture collaborative products such as the Wolfson Audio Card to support our customers at the first stage of the design cycle. Having the Wolfson Audio Card represented in the ARM Lab-in-a-Box is great for us and for the students that will be accessing them.”

Notes to Editors:
To find out more about the DSP LiB, please contact the ARM University Program: [email protected].
For more information on ARM’s presence at the ASEE Conference check the program schedule.
For more information on the ARM University Program see www.arm.com/university.

About ARM
ARM is at the heart of the world's most advanced digital products. Our technology enables the creation of new markets and transformation of industries and society. We design scalable, energy efficient-processors and related technologies to deliver the intelligence in applications ranging from sensors to servers, including smartphones, tablets, enterprise infrastructure and the Internet of Things.

Our innovative technology is licensed by ARM Partners who have shipped more than 50 billion Systems on Chip (SoCs) containing our intellectual property since the company began in 1990. Together with our Connected Community, we are breaking down barriers to innovation for developers, designers and engineers, ensuring a fast, reliable route to market for leading electronics companies. Learn more and join the conversation at http://community.arm.com.

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