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31.10.2014 22:14:22

Pages contain 28 articles and 48 applications

23.6.2011

uC/OS-II port added to simplify development of RT applications for MSP430x.

22.3.2010

RT-app demo running over FreeRTOS ported to MSP430x added.

19.10.2009

The audio codec on FITkit 2.0 is fully functional.

3.9.2009

Debian and Ubuntu packages;latest msp430-gcc attached

25.8.2009

English version

16.6.2009

Game Sokoban added

29.5.2009

QDevKit version 1.1.5 enabling offline view of the documentation issued

28.4.2009

Site map added

23.4.2009

RSS channel added rss.png

26.3.2009

QDevKit version 1.1.3 issued

21.3.2009

New FITkit pages including lots of new tutorials

24.2.2009

Videos added

23.2.2009

Application enabling to send data via Ethernet added

14.2.2009

Support for kits versions 2.x (new QDevKit + SVN update)

Introduction

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The Faculty of Information Technology of the Brno University of Technology (FIT), unlike other universities, is a technical college. The courses taught here are both theoretical and practical. The goal of deploying the FITkit platform into the education process is to enable the students to design and implement not only software, but also hardware projects on a single device.

The knowledge, which the students achieve by using FITkit, encompasses a substantial set of skills and knowledge of modern computer systems design. This knowledge can certainly prove worthy in the global work market. Typical example of informatics' use in practice are the so called 'embedded systems' . These systems dominate in everyday life and their importance grows significantly. To put it simple, it represents all the gadgets with a built-in computer (cellphones, MP3 players, TV sets etc.). A typical embedded system consists of a processor, some sort of specialized hardware (e.g. MP3 encoder/decoder) and an application software. Therefore it is useful to have a notion of hardware design.

Video player

1. FITkit

The FITkit contains a low-power microcontroller and a set of peripherals. The utilization of advanced reconfigurable hardware is an important aspect of the modern hardware design. Therefore the FITkit contains a field programmable gate arrays (FPGA), which - like a computer program - may be modified to suit various tasks. You have a single component (the FPGA) which can act as different circuits in different applications.

The hardware designed in a FPGA can be described using a prescription in a design-entity language - the VHDL (i.e. VHSIC hardware description language, where VHSIC stands for very-high-speed integrated circuit). The hardware design process is similar to writing a computer program. All the necessary design software is free. Microcontroller software is written in the C language and compiled using a GNU C compiler. FPGA configuration data is synthetized from the VHDL code using a professional design tools, which are also available for free.

2. Goals

Each student is provided with his own kit, so he can use it in school or wherever he wants to.

It is important that FITkit is used in several courses and it accompanies the student during the studies in both the bachelor's and master's programme. The knowledge gained in the courses is utilised when solving projects, seminary works and theses. The FITkit strongly supports the education of hardware and some software oriented courses, with the focus on practical realisations. The results are accessible for wide audience, rather than the informatics students only.

This initiative is conceived as open-source (software) and open-core (hardware) which means that all the results of students' work with the FITkit platform are accessible as a source code via the internet. We hope to start a synergism, in which everyone working with the FITkit is going to share the results of his work with other people. As of now, thanks to the development of our own open-source application - the QDevKit, we have a unified multiplatform development environment running on Windows and Linux.

3. How to start

The easiest way, how you can try out the FITkit, is to install the QDevKit application including all dependencies. Then let the application to download the current SVN tree and with a simple mouse click select the application and load it into the FITkit.

4. How to get involved

Although we are constantly trying to increase the comfort and make the work more simple, we are aware of the of the amount of work to be done. If you have the time and you are willing to help us, do not hesitate and contact any member of the team. There are still HW and SW issues to be solved. Besides the collaboration, we also appreciate the comments, opinions and suggestions which you can share in the discussion forum.

What you can participate on:

  • create a Linux live CD FITkit-live

  • remote connection to FITkit (SW, C++)

  • making msp430-gdb work, MSP430 debugging (SW thing, maybe HW)

  • create some tutorials

  • QDevKit plugins (SW thingie, Python/C++)

  • create new interesting FITkit applications (HW/SW, VHDL, C)

  • simple games for FITkit (HW/SW, VHDL, C)

  • create some lectures on MSP430

  • enhancing FITkit modules (HW thingie)

  • simple applications utilizing a custom processor in FPGA (assembler thingie)

  • simple applications utilizing a PicoBlaze processor in FPGA (assembler thingie)

  • development of a simple C compiller for a simple 8-bit processor (C, C++)

  • web support and development (PHP)

  • videos demonstrating the FITkit applications (Flash)

  • 3D model of the kit (Flash)

  • FITkit-online, online access (Linux, Java / Remote Desktop)

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