Design Automation


Python programming comes to Nordic’s multiprotocol SoCs

30 April 2019 Design Automation

Nordic Semiconductor announced that Zerynth, a New York-based Internet of Things (IoT) software developer, has extended the availability of its ‘Zerynth IoT middleware’ to Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) system-on-chip (SoC). The middleware was previously available for the nRF52832 SoC.

Zerynth comprises a set of software development tools that accelerate IoT product design by simplifying firmware programming of 32-bit microprocessors – such as the nRF52840 SoC’s 64 MHz Arm Cortex device – using Python, or ‘hybrid’ C/Python, which is useful for low-level coding for time-critical tasks while retaining Python’s flexibility and readability for non time-critical tasks.

The product also supports secure connection to leading cloud services and eases hardware integration with sensors, actuators and industrial protocols. Design and development are further simplified by the availability of a growing list of open-source libraries available on GitHub.

The software tools comprise ‘Zerynth Virtual Machine’ and ‘Zerynth Studio’. Zerynth Virtual Machine is a multithreaded, stack-based virtual machine built on top of a real-time operating system (RTOS). The virtual machine is independent of the hardware, allowing code reuse on a wide range of 32-bit microcontrollers. When running on the Nordic nRF52840 SoC, the ­virtual machine uses just 60 to 80 KB of the chip’s 1 MB Flash allocation and 3 to 5 KB of its 256 KB RAM allocation.

Zerynth Studio is a free-to-download integrated development environment (IDE) and toolchain for developing Python or hybrid C/Python applications. The IDE includes a compiler, debugger and an advanced code editor, alongside tutorials and example projects for rapid learning.

Zerynth Virtual Machine has been developed with the aim of bringing the high-level programming language, Python, to the embedded world with support for multithread and cross-board compatibility. The virtual machine supports most high-level features of Python including modules, classes, multithreading, callback, timers and exceptions. In addition, the virtual machine enables the use of custom hardware-related features like interrupts, pulse width modulation (PWM) and digital I/O.

A free licence to access the Zerynth Virtual Machine is granted once the developer creates a Zerynth account. The virtual machine is then installed on the nRF52840 SoC, enabling the developer to start programming using Zerynth Studio. The Nordic SoC’s over-the-air device firmware update (OTA-DFU) feature ensures the embedded virtual machine can be regularly updated. The supported cloud services – for example, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Cloud – enable the developer to view their data using either the Zerynth app or a third-party IoT dashboard.

For more information contact Andrew Hutton, RF Design, +27 21 555 8400, andrew@rfdesign.co.za, www.rfdesign.co.za



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