Altium’s NanoBoard 3000 is a programmable design environment, supplied complete with hardware, software, ready-to-use, royalty-free IP and a dedicated Altium Designer Soft Design license.
Designers have everything they need to explore FPGAs "out of the box ". They are no longer forced to search the web for drivers, peripherals or other software, and then have the hard work of integrating all these elements to make them work together.
"Our NanoBoard 3000 has been built from the ground up for designing, prototyping and deploying the next generation of smart, connected electronic products. Designers can now do this with an easy-to-use graphical solution that dramatically reduces the need to learn specialist skills," said Nick Martin, CEO of Altium.
"Designers can start with a purely 'soft' prototype on the NanoBoard, then deploy it into the field on the NanoBoard, or (with an upgrade to a board-level Altium Designer license) move seamlessly into PCB design. Altium's unified approach to electronics design means they don't have to change design tools or environments.
"Their 'soft' design work completed on the NanoBoard 3000 is simply ready to be used on their custom PCB."
Using the NanoBoard 3000, electronics designers can construct sophisticated ‘soft’ processor-based systems inside FPGAs without any prior FPGA expertise. Engineers do not need any specialist VHDL or Verilog skills. Instead, they can use their existing board layout and systems design skills to construct, test and implement FPGA-based embedded systems. The IP libraries and intuitive graphical editors that are central to Altium Designer mean they can simply add processors, memory controllers, peripheral blocks and software stacks. They have everything they need to create next-generation, FPGA-hosted embedded systems with off-the-shelf components without having to write HDL or low level driver code.
Altium includes a range of reference designs and tutorials to get engineers designing immediately. More IP will be added in the future.
The first NanoBoard 3000 features a Xilinx Spartan 3AN FPGA. Two more NanoBoards, featuring Altera and Lattice FPGAs, are planned. In all three NanoBoard options, the FPGA is fixed. This distinguishes it from Altium’s NanoBoard NB2, which features interchangeable FPGA daughter boards to allow on-the-fly comparisons and testing in a prototype design environment.
Designers using the NanoBoard 3000 will also have the option to deploy their designs in modular commercial enclosures from Altium. Available in a variety of sizes, these will let designers go from prototype to commercial product in one step, simply by snapping the NanoBoard 3000 into the enclosure.
Information on Altium Designer is on Altium’s web site. More detailed information on Altium Designer and the new NanoBoard 3000 is at the Altium Wiki.