Board Design Goals:
Our goal was to create a customizable developer board that uses Intel® Architecture and can be easily replicated. It is a simple board layout that lends itself to customization. The hardware design is open. We used open source software as much as possible. We used standard (not cutting edge) components that are in stock and affordable, to keep the cost down. Finally, we designed a small footprint with hopes of making it even smaller.
Software / OS:
The MinnowBoard is powered by the open source Angstrom Linux* Distribution, which provides a variety of software packages that are relevant to and optimized for embedded applications. It is easy to install additional software from the Angstrom package feeds. Angstrom is registered as Yocto Project Compatible which is the most flexible build system for embedded Linux on the open source market.
The MinnowBoard’s UEFI firmware offers a modern, standards-based firmware environment which allows you to develop custom firmware features.
Many Intel Architecture based boards are really focused on the PC market. They are typically missing important features needed by embedded developers. Thus, we targeted clear performance, standards, and flexibility goals to make working with the board easier for makers and hackers. We included as many of these features as we could at a low price point while maintaining fairly low power requirements, which are suitable for embedded and maker use.
Performance / Standards:
The Intel® Atom™ processor and standards provide these benefits:
- Strong performance
- Access to a mature ecosystem
- Standards-based busses (PCIe, USB, SPI, I²C, and CAN)
- SATA, GbE, GPIO, SDIO, UARTs, LVDS, and SDVO
- Generous I/O, video capabilities, and Ethernet throughput
DVI through HDMI and providing headless debug support through a real UART were priorities
Flexibility / Expandibilty:
The “Lure” concept, the daughter card capability, has a flexible expansion connector which is chassis-friendly and stackable. We’ll offer some open source designed Lures starting with some basic functions. You can also design your own Lures.
We hope a MinnowBoard finds a small space on your desk and helps you create something fun or useful. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think of the board and your plans for it in the future.