XMOS and Synapticon partner on robotics, produce development kit

June 05, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
XMOS and Synapticon have entered a partnership that the two companies intend will accelerate the uptake of next-generation motion control technologies in robotics, smart factories and autonomous vehicles.

The partnership includes joint development, support and marketing initiatives that will help designers combine multiple computational elements, sensors and actuators in a new category of applications often known as cyber-physical systems.

As part of the agreement, XMOS will market a range of development platforms based on Synapticon's SOMANET hardware and software modules. These products will allow embedded developers to implement a broad range of intelligent control tasks, ranging from simple and efficient BLDC motor control to sophisticated distributed real-time computing and control systems. Ultimately the companies plan to jointly provide single-chip silicon solutions and system-level intellectual property that will support the next generation of intelligent embedded devices.

Synapticon bases its complete range of SOMANET products on the xCORE range of multicore microcontrollers from XMOS.

The first product produced under the new partnership is available immediately via the worldwide XMOS network of representatives and distributors. It includes everything the designer needs to start designing BLDC motor control and motion control systems with xCORE and SOMANET, with a 120W BLDC motor driver, EtherCAT communications and motion control.

Based on the xCORE range of multicore microcontrollers from XMOS and Synapticon?s SOMANET technology, the new kits enable efficient, standards-compliant and safe motion control applications, ranging from simple single-axis solutions to innovative distributed motion control systems.

The first product in the family includes a SOMANET control subsystem, an EtherCAT communications module, 120W motor driver and an example brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The kit measures 40 x 50 x 15 mm when assembled, making it suitable for use by designers seeking to add intelligence “close to the node” in their automation projects. Options are provided for Hall Sensor and Quadrature Encoder sensing, with support for CiA 402, the CANopen device profile for drives and motion control.

Configured and programmed in a high-level C-based environment via the XMOS xTIMEcomposer integrated development suite, the hardware package features motor control IP modules from Synapticon that implement position, speed and