MIKROE’s SiBRAIN MCU Development Standard Cuts Development Time

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

June 17, 2021


MIKROE’s SiBRAIN MCU Development Standard Cuts Development Time

I sometimes struggle to see the positive side when a new standard is announced, one that claims to “dramatically cut development time.”

But I try my best to see the positives in announcements like these, and I do see the potential upside to the SiBRAIN standard for add-on development boards. The spec claims to facilitate the simple installation and exchanging of a microcontroller (MCU) on a development board equipped with the SiBRAIN socket. The company behind the spec, MikroElektronika (MIKROE) is a provider of hardware boards and modules as well as the associated software.

With SiBRAIN, embedded designers can to try out different MCUs in a prototype system without having to invest in expensive hardware or learn any new tools. Currently, the SiBRAIN cards are available to support MCUs from many major manufacturers, including Microchip, STMicroelectronics, NXP, and Texas Instruments, with others to follow shortly. Because there is little standardization in this particular area, each MCU tends to come with its own idiosyncrasies, including its own tools and potential licenses.

SiBRAIN uses the same ‘plug & play’ concept that underpins MIKROE’s click board products. Depending on the MCU type, its pin count, and the number of required external components, there are different SiBRAIN add-on boards. Each board is a self-contained unit, allowing the development system to operate on a logic level, without having to facilitate the specific requirements of many different MCUs. This gives designers the freedom to choose their favorite MCU, regardless of the pin count or pin compatibility. In addition, this approach enables designers to swap SiBRAIN MCU cards easily during the development phase, without any additional hardware.

Each SiBRAIN card is equipped with two 168-pin mezzanine connectors (one male and one female) with the standard SiBRAIN socket pin-out. Cards can be installed on any development board with the SiBRAIN socket.

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, Embedded.com, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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