mbed Blog

Win an Oculus Rift! Hexiwear Design Contest

ARM mbed has joined up with the ‘Hexiwear: The Do-Anything Device!’ contest on Hackster.io. The Hexiwear platform is a wearables Internet of Things (IoT) development platform that is energy efficient, packed with loads of sensors and is designed to reduce time to market for wearables devices. The platform was created collaboratively by NXP and MikroElektronica and is now mbed Enabled™ for mbed OS 5.

Win an Oculus Rift!

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ARM mbed will be giving away an Oculus Rift (valued at $600 USD) to one lucky applicant for the ‘Best design using mbed’ in their development. The contest has already begun so be sure to get your entry in before 30th September 2016!

Free Getting Started Webinar

To help you get started we will also be hosting a webinar on ‘Getting stared with your Hexiwear application development using mbed OS 5’ on Thursday August 25th at 11am CDT (4pm GMT). Sign up for the webinar here!

Webinar Topics:

  • Introduction to mbed OS 5
  • mbed OS development environments and tools
  • Creating applications with mbed OS
  • Using drivers, libraries, stacks available from mbed & the mbed ecosystem
  • Building, testing, debugging
  • Code management and publishing your applications
  • Q&A

Visit the Hackester.io contest page for more information on application requirements.

Introducing mbed OS 5

I'm very pleased to share the newest update to mbed; the introduction of mbed OS 5 and our 5.1 release!

This release marks significant changes and enhancements that have accelerated features of our roadmap, opened up the applicability of mbed OS to many more Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, and unlocked compatibility with our mbed OS 2 (“Classic”) ecosystem.

Here are some of the headline features...

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RTOS

mbed OS now incorporates an RTOS in the core of the operating system. This much-requested feature provides native thread support to the OS and applications, simplifying development and integration of complex and robust application components like networking stacks. It also enables both blocking and non-blocking design patterns. The RTOS requires very limited system overhead.

We've worked to integrate the RTOS with our peripheral drivers, 6LoWPAN and networking stacks, BLE support and uVisor in such a way that most changes are hidden. The RTOS is even initialised ahead of entering the `main()` thread, making it transparent and easy to write composable components even if the application itself is single-threaded. We're also extending the eventing model by re-introducing it as a library such that it can be used within threads of the RTOS.

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Tooling

To simplify the tooling, we are introducing a new Command Line Interface (mbed CLI) that works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux to build the OS and associated developer applications and components.

We've also, added native support for building across the ARM Compiler 5, ARM GCC Embedded and IAR compiler toolchains. We now test all code against these three compilers.

Finally, we've upgraded the mbed Online Compiler to support mbed OS, giving instant access to working development environment in the cloud.

2 + 3 = 5

The introduction of the RTOS and changes in tooling have also allowed us to bring together the original mbed OS 2 (“Classic”) and mbed OS 3 (“Eventing OS”) codelines, re-basing and merging the two development lines so that we now have just one platform.

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As a developer, this means you can take advantage of all the existing and new technology features that have been worked on in mbed OS up till now, the RTOS functionality and the vast component library that has been developed and contributed over the years and that continues to grow. This is also great for the future, as we can all invest in one codebase, website and ecosystem as we develop mbed OS further.

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Board support

A goal for this release was to achieve much wider platform support for mbed OS, and set a target of 15 boards by the time we were ready to share - but thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners, we've more than doubled that to greater than 35 supported boards in this release!

More target support will be picked up in bi-weekly releases as mbed Enabled™ criteria is met, as will refinement and fixes to existing platform support.

And there’s more

While the RTOS, codeline merge and expanded target/toolchain support are definitely headline features, we’ve also been busy on many other improvements.

It is worth a read of the full release note for even more details on what has made it in to this release:

Finally

Enabling all this has taken a lot of innovation, pragmatism, and ultimately plain hard work from all of the mbed team and our mbed partners, and we're really proud of what we've managed to achieve. We hope you like the results!

We'll be sharing more details, explanations and tutorials over the next weeks, and no doubt ironing out problems and issues that are identified. If you have any questions or spot issues, feel free to get in touch.

What next

Join us at your local mbed Connect 2016

mbed Connect 2016

We are excited to announce our new event series, ARM mbed Connect. mbed Connect 2016 is a full day event, featuring expert keynotes, insightful technical workshops and the opportunity to get hands-on training with the latest mbed technology and work alongside the mbed engineers.

At ARM mbed, we're truly proud of how many of you have made mbed your trusted choice for development of IoT and have stuck with us from our early days. Now our amazing community has rapidly spread far and wide and is now over 170,000 strong!

We've put a lot of thought into how we can give our community the latest tools to accelerate their productivity. We decided that we wanted to provide a chance to network, connect and code with the mbed teams in person. That idea quickly became the foundation for the first ever mbed developer summit.

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Meet the expert IoT developers at mbed Connect. Get registered for the event nearest you:

mbed Connect – USA | 24 October 2016 | Bay Area, CA. USA

mbed Connect – Asia | 5 December 2016 | Shenzhen, China

For more information visit https://www.mbed.com/en/about-mbed/events/ or sign up for an mbed developer account visit https://developer.mbed.org/ to stay up-to-date with the latest.

Changes to our GitHub development repository

Over the next week, we're going to be making some organisational changes to our main development repository that is used to generate our mbed 2 ("Classic") Core Library releases.

Will it impact you?

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For most of you who are using the standard mbed 2 ("Classic") Core Library releases, whether from within the mbed Online Compiler or some other command line or IDE environment, you shouldn't see any changes that impact you. If you do experience problems, please shout as that is almost certainly a bug not a feature!

For those who are using the mbed Github repository directly (e.g. partners and developers who work with us on the core itself), these changes will mean at minimum you'll have to review the new layout. In some cases, especially if you have built scripts or dependencies relying on this layout, you may have to make adjustments and updates based on these changes. We'd suggest during this period to simply stick to an existing revision for the next couple of weeks, and analyse and update based on any implications after that.

Why are we making these changes?

These changes only impact a small number of you, but they are in preparation for some much more important changes that should provide a lot of benefit to you all.

We've been undertaking some significant changes and enhancements to our mbed OS 3 architecture, designed to accelerate important aspects of our roadmap and open up some interesting new opportunities. In particular, we have been incorporating an RTOS in to the core of mbed OS that was previously eventing-only, so applications can benefit from native thread support within the OS. This is to both simplify integration of complex application components, and expand the applicability of the OS. But what this also means, combined with some re-basing and tool changes we're making, is that we've unlocked the opportunity for compatibility with our mbed 2 ("Classic") ecosystem!

Hopefully gives you enough of a hint that there are some very interesting developments afoot. I'll be sharing more over the next weeks!

What if I have issues?

If you see any problems or have questions as we make these changes, feel free to comment or ask here, or email us at support@mbed.org.

Build an ARM mbed BLE beacon with Nordic nRF51-DK and Evothings Studio

Evothings has published the tutorial, Nordic Semiconductor nRF51-DK into a Beacon with mbed, on hackster.io. This exercise takes you through the steps to develop your own ARM mbed Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon with Nordic nRF51-DK hardware, and Evothings Studio, to create a mobile phone app that connects to your beacon hardware.

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According to IndustryARC Analysis, "Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled device shipments are forecasted to increase to 8.4 billion units by 2020 at a CAGR of 29%." BLE technology is ideal for resource constrained devices that can run on coin-cell batteries for months or years on end. These tiny devices of the Internet of Things are positioned well to capitalize on the benefits of this efficient wireless technology. BLE beacons are popular within segments such as wearables, smart buildings, and smart retail.

Tutorial Hardware and Software Checklist:

  • FREE mbed.org account
  • Computer (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
  • Nordic Semiconductor nRF51-DK
  • Evothings Studio installed on your computer
  • Mobile phone or device running Evothings Client
  • MicroUSB communications cable

When you are ready to get started, check out the full instruction article here on hackster.io

Also, we used this same technology in our demo at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) 2016, check out this blog to find out how to replicate our interactive BLE beacon demo.