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New DSP “Lab-in-a-Box” for ARM-Based Audio Systems

by audioXpress Staff
Cambridge, UK-based, ARM and its partners will start shipping a 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 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 ARM Cortex-M4-based STM32F4 Discovery microcontroller boards from STMicroelectronics and Wolfson Audio Cards from Wolfson Microelectronics and Farnell element14. The Wolfson Audio Card is packed with features including Wolfson’s compelling high definition Audio Hub and digital MEMS microphones, enabling to easily incorporate audio playback and audio capture into new applications.
 
The package will also include one-year renewable software licenses for the full ARM Keil MDK-Professional development tool from ARM, and 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,” says 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.”
 
For more information on the ARM University Program, visit www.arm.com/university
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