Discovery kit with on-board 9-axis MEMS sensors supports STM32 F3 microcontrollers

September 12, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
STMicroelectronics has released an innovative easy-access development platform for projects based on its new high-performance STM32 F3 microcontrollers, which are now starting to enter volume production.

The new development platform, the STM32 F3 Discovery Kit, features built-in MEMS sensors - gyroscope and e-compass - with 9 degrees of freedom (DOF), enabling competitively priced sensor-fusion applications such as Attitude Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) by applying the advanced signal processing and arithmetic capabilities of the new microcontroller family. Sensor fusion and powerful computational capabilities enable designers to realize advanced 3D motion-sensing systems in applications such as mobile gaming, augmented reality, optical image stabilization, portable navigation, robotics and industrial automated systems.

The STM32 F3 Discovery Kit contains everything engineers need to start all types of projects using the STM32 F3 microcontroller. The kit includes a ready-to-use prototype board containing an STM32F303 microcontroller and associated chips, as well as indicator LEDs, push-button controls, I/O pin headers, and a USB connection for the host PC. All of the microcontroller pins are brought out to accessible points, which aids testing and debugging. The MEMS devices provided on the board are the L3GD20 3-axis digital gyroscope and LSM303DLHC 6-axis geomagnetic module from ST’s large MEMS portfolio of sensors and iNEMO inertial modules. The STM32 F3 Discovery Kit is compatible with STM32 software-development environments from leading third-party vendors, including Altium, Atollic, IAR and Keil.
All STM32 F3 devices announced in June 2012 are starting to enter full production in Q3, including the STM32F30x series as well as the STM32F37x.

The STM32F30x microcontrollers combine the high computational resources of the ARM Cortex-M4 processor, which has a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Floating-Point Unit (FPU), with advanced peripherals. This is an ideal processor for use with MEMS sensors in high-performance sensor-fusion applications, providing the ability to perform floating-point matrix operations for efficient execution of 3D orientation software such as AHRS algorithms. Designers can take advantage of this efficiency to implement power-saving strategies or to optimize the execution time of the application.

The peripherals available in STM32F30x devices include four 12-bit 5Msps Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) -