As an increasing number of developers utilise development boards for prototyping activity, in order to address – amongst others, the opportunity presented by the industrial internet, the demand for cost-effective yet robust prototyping boards is rising.
While several products have filled the space from hobbyist to more complex programming projects, a gap has existed for an affordable, locally produced option with industrial potential.
Enter the Cherry Blossom – Altron Arrow development board based on the AM335x reference design from Texas Instruments. Closely following the low-cost single board computers available today with a good resource base and local assistance.
The Cherry Blossom has been put through its paces in various companies that are innovating through technology, and user testimonials suggest that it has the potential to be a world-class building block for novel ways to solve problems in the industry and enterprise space.
This quick Q&A looks to address the themes that developers have raised about the Cherry Blossom.
What is the Cherry Blossom?
The Cherry Blossom is a pocket-sized single board computer. It is a small PC but without some of the hardware associated with a user interface.
What does the Cherry Blossom do?
From a technical perspective, the Cherry Blossom is a low-cost ARM Cortex A8 processor platform capable of running Linux. The Cherry Blossom can be integrated into any design with ease. It runs at over 3 million Dhrystone operations per second.
Through a few interface boards, functionality can be expanded. The expansion includes interfacing to motor drivers, location or pressure sensors, cameras, HDMI, VGA and LCD displays, Ethernet, USB, RTC, Bluetooth and WiFi.
Our industrial IO board offers a wide range of industrial interfaces. These interfaces include PWM, LAN, UART, ADC, I2C and SPI pins etc. This makes it the best expander board as it covers almost all requirements for most applications.
How scalable is the Cherry Blossom?
Two versions of the board are available, all of which are fully footprint compatible. These include:
- AM3352 running @ 600MHz
- M3358 running @ 1Ghz4. Does the Cherry Blossom have ports?
Yes. It has several IO, MMC interface, LCD interface, UART, analogue inputs, Ethernet MII, USB, PWM, I2C and SPI pins.
What modules are available?
We have a few Modules or Stacker boards available at current, with more on the way. Some of these include – but are not limited to an Ethernet stacker, HDMI Stacker, LCD Stacker, Industrial IO Stacker and GSM/GNSS.
Can a new module be created for a specific project?
Yes, it can, if built upon a solid business case allowing Altron Arrow to offset the development cost against the opportunity.
How does it fit into an IoT solution?
The Cherry Blossom can be used as an intelligent sensor, processing video and making decisions; or it can be used to collect data from multiple smaller sensors, using the various communication interfaces that are available. The collected data can then be easily pushed into the Cloud.
Talk to Conrad Coetzee, on [email protected] for more information.