The weekend of November 5th, a few members of the team headed over to Pasadena, Ca to the Hackaday Superconference (aptly tagged the ultimate hardware conference). The conference was a two day event filled with talks and workshops led by people who love hardware. My personal favorite was a talk about reverse engineering analog and digital chips. Since we at Digilent love hardware, we had our very own Sam Bobrowicz give a workshop on FPGAs; Beyond Digital Logic with Microblaze and Arty.
Microblaze allows you to quickly get a softcore microprocessor up and running on an FPGA. This gives you the speed and flexibility of the FPGA, with a simpler design interface. With Microblaze and Pmod IP’s you can do a large variety of rapid prototyping projects, such as the multi- touch display project from the workshop.
The project from the workshop went involved placing the Microblaze processor, setting up the I/O, using the MTDS IP core in Xilinx Vivado, and programming the system in Xilinx SDK. Once all the hardware was set up using the hardware language IP, users were able to program the shield in SDK. The workshop ended with virtual slide switches on the display, controlling the RGB LEDs on the shield.
The workshop was a great success in our opinion, and hopefully each of the 30 attendees left with a new desire to learn FPGA and Microblaze. After all, this technology is inspirational between the power and flexibitly of the Arty and MTDS shield. Plus, we sent attendees home with their very own Arty and multi-touch display shield, as well as the documentation on our Wiki to jump start their FPGA projects.
To learn more about getting started with microblaze, check out the tutorials on the Arty reference page.To keep in touch for more information about the MTDS shield and to request information about future workshops, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter!