RS Components introduces DesignSpark Synergy boards, powered by mbed

February 24, 2012 // By Julien Happich
RS Components has launched a new family of 'DesignSpark Synergy' boards. The boards are part of its ongoing collaboration with ARM for advanced mbed microcontroller module-based embedded development, with the first three members in the new DesignSpark Synergy family being the AnimatronicLab, the AudioCODEC and the DisplayBoard.

Embedded system developers can simply plug their mbed microcontroller module into these ready-made application-specific breakout boards and take full advantage of the interface features available via the NXP LPC1768 Cortex-M3 mbed microcontroller module, providing easy access to peripherals such as I2S, USB and Ethernet. Embedded developers can take the existing Synergy breakout board designs, modify, add and remove sections and re-publish their designs for the DesignSpark community. Particularly useful for experimenting with Animatronics applications, the AnimatronicLab board opens up the mbed module to a whole range of functions by allowing quick and easy access to its features via the I2S, I2C, SPI, Ethernet and USB pin headers. Primarily aimed at rapid prototyping, its feature set makes this a highly functional platform for a wide variety of applications. The inclusion of convenient test points for probes, oscilloscopes and even protocol analysers brings a new dimension of visibility in the lab environment. The on-board half bridge driver allows the easy control of stepper motors, actuators or even LEDs. The board also allows engineers to plug in the AudioCODEC board for high-quality audio via I2S. Based on the popular TLV320AIC23B audio codec from Texas Instruments, the AudioCODEC board allows audio playback and recording at a range of resolutions and sample rates. Together the boards allow experimentation with movement, light and audio all on the same platform.

Using a separately plugged in mbed microcontroller module, the DisplayBoard provides users with a wide range of experimentation options. Offering an array of six large seven-segment display modules and associated drivers, the board’s flexible design means it can display a wide range of data types. The board is ideal for displaying clocks, timers and counters, either stand-alone or via a network.
All the necessary source code and software drivers for the three DesignSpark Synergy boards are available via the mbed Cookbook at, which offers user-contributed libraries and further development resources. Example applications programs for all