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Software automation and the start of mbed’s new Testfarm!

Not too long ago, Przemek (sh-em-ek) joined us to lead software automation for mbed. His task is a big one, but he has already made some great strides in developing the next version of our testing framework. I stopped by his desk to chat about how he was getting on, and took a few photos that I thought I might share.

Here is the man himself:

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One of our first goals is to make a really solid automated testing solution for platform SDK ports, so we can be confident mbed is running well on all supported platforms. As the number of companies and individuals contributing ports continues to rise, having a well structured and comprehensive test framework will really help us improve the quality over time.

Up until now, we've had various scripts and tests that have done a reasonable job, coupled with some hardware rigs we have built. Things like:

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But running the tests and interpreting the results was somewhat manual, and with the growth in hardware platforms, rigs on desks was not going to cut it any more. So Przemek has been starting to put together a next version of our testing framework, to make this much more automated from the software side using things like buildbot:

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And some of the tracking for our internal goals - you can see over 100 tests already in place, of which 42 are fully automated.

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Lots more to do here, but the software side is just half of the problem. Luckily, this all coincides with us moving in to much bigger offices, so we've now also allocated a whole wall for us to build a really comprehensive hardware test-farm for these platforms:

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First up is ordering some racking!

There is a long way to go, but thought you might be interested to see the startings of this work. If you are interested in this area and maybe helping out somehow, please feel free to comment below or contact Przemek Wirkus directly.

Print your own mbed circuit board with AgIC

One of the key phases in product development is building your breadboard, however it can be a bit of a wiry mess and replicating it more than once can be one of the many frustrations of prototyping. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just print them on your home printer and each one is identical with no wires to worry about? Well AgIC Inc. has set out to do just that. As a recent Kickstarter that successfully met its funding and exceeded it by 2.6x its goal, you could soon print your circuit boards from an ink jet printer with their ‘magical conductive ink.’

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The AgIC Printer not only makes circuit patter design simpler, but after you have tested your prototype circuit and determined it works as you want, you can send out the same layout file to a PCB fabrication service. This saves you time and money re-ordering PCBs. One of the coolest part of this great invention is that it is while you could make any circuit you want, you can make one for your favorite mbed board! You can see an example of this in the video below where they are using an NXP LPC1114FN28 board.

We got a chance to catch up with the founder and CEO of AgIC Inc., Shinya Shimizu, last week. Shimizu-san says the next development he is working on is enabling the printers to safely print double layers for more complex circuit layouts. AgIC Inc. has created a great invention and we look forward to testing it out for ourselves in the future!

mbed.org SSL certificate change

At around 23:00 UTC (00:00 BST, 18:00 EDT, 16:00 PDT) on April 9th we will be updating our SSL certificate. We anticipate any service disruption to be minimal and to last less than a minute.

This is a precautionary measure in response to the heartbleed bug which has affected many internet services. We have already taken the steps necessary to ensure mbed.org is not affected by this problem.

UPDATE: This work has been completed.

New Freescale FRDM-K64F based on ARM Cortex-M4

Today at the annual Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Dallas, Texas, Freescale is releasing a brand new mbed enabled Freedom development platform, the FRDM-K64F. This development board is based on the ARM Cortex-M4 with FPU and DSP instructions and is the first of its kind in the Kinetis Series K6x MCU family. Best of all, this development board includes a RF expansion connector and a Bluetooth expansion connector allowing easier development of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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Additional sensors and connectivity options are USB Host, USBDevice, RGB LED, Freescale FXOS8700CQ Inertial Sensor (accelerometer + magnetometer), Ethernet with PHY and magnetics, SD card and compatibility with Arduino shields.

See all mbed enabled FRDM boards, here.

If you are attending the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) this week, make sure to stop by the Tech Lab and explore the FRDM-K64F platform and mbed enablement in the “Mountain demo”. Also, make sure to register for the Hands-On Workshop with mbed, ‘From Rapid Prototyping to Production’ on Friday, April 11 at 9:30am in Texas Ballroom 5 (session FTF-SDS-F0107).

You can also find out more about the FRDM-K64F from Freescale here.

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Xively's connected water tank demo with Google Glass and mbed

It is always great to see real-life implementations of connected solutions that utilize mbed! Last week at EE Live! in San Jose, California, Xively was showing off their complete industrial liquids monitor and control system that is using an NXP LPC1768 board running mbed to connect to Xively’s cloud services via the internet, and uses Google Glass to access the application (in the video: the tablet shows the same view as the Google Glass) all to monitor the fluid levels and control the pump filing the tank in real-time. The NXP LPC1768 board is based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor.

Dominic Pajak got a live demo from the Xively team. Watch the video below.

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