Entering volume production of the Apollo ultra-low power MCU in 2015 was a major milestone for Ambiq. Perhaps less headline-grabbing, but certainly no less important, was our launch of two development and evaluation kits that allow engineers to gain an insight into the performance of the world’s lowest-power microcontrollers.

Our patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT™) has made news throughout the industry over the last year. And it’s already being deployed in innovative products such as MisFit’s Shine 2. We’re now moving into a phase where we put the technology in developers’ hands and allow them to exercise their creative powers. Well-designed evaluation kits are the simplest, most effective way to do this.

The new evaluation kits – the ‘Apollo EVB’ evaluation board and the ‘Apollo EVK’ evaluation kit – provide fully-featured yet flexible support for engineers starting an investigation of the capabilities of sub-threshold microcontroller technology. The primary kit, the EVB evaluation board, integrates a hardware debugger and complete software development kit (SDK). It is supplied with the FreeRTOS real-time operating system kernel, hardware drivers and a wide selection of code samples that allow evaluation, development, debug and prototyping. FreeRTOS is lightweight, requiring a very small memory footprint, and imposing low processor overhead for fast execution. A “tick-less” mode is included for low-power operation – it’s just the kind of kernel required for emerging applications in the IoT, wearable devices and other ultra-low power products.

The Apollo EVB also gives you a broad range of development environment choices. An Eclipse-based graphical software Integrated Design Environment (IDE) and the Open On-chip (OpenOCD) debugger command-line terminal interface run without any external modules or hardware. A standard 10-pin ARM connector allows debugging with third-party tools such as Keil, IAR, Segger or Lauterbach. The board also includes an AM-Link mode that enables it to operate as a stand-alone debugger for an external target/prototype system for in-circuit debugging. A serial wire output (SWO) channel supports Instruction Trace Macrocell (ITM), for the output of debug information.

The second kit, the Apollo EVK evaluation kit, brings together the EVB processor card itself, along with add-on modules that include a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) card, and a sensor expansion card, both of which interconnect straightforwardly with the EVB via an expansion connector. The BLE card is based on Dialog Semiconductor’s low power DA14581 and includes everything required for basic BLE connectivity, including an on-board 2.4GHz antenna. The sensor expansion card includes three-axis accelerometers and gyroscopes and a magnetometer, along with 128MB of serial Flash memory for storage of sensor data. You can add additional radios and sensors via fly-leads or alternate add-on boards.

The two kits provide the best possible entry-level introduction to the Apollo MCU range. Based on the 32-bit ARM® Cortex-M4 floating point processor, Apollo products redefine ‘low power’ with energy consumption five to ten times lower than competing products. The devices recently made history when they were demonstrated to consume less than half the energy of any other MCU in testing to the industry-standard EEMBC ULPBench benchmark.

So, the simple message is: “what are you waiting for?”  We’ve created the technology required for the next quantum leap in energy consumption.  We’ve made that technology real with volume silicon. And now anyone can access the power of that technology via a cost-effective development platform: the only limit is your imagination!

To order your EVK or EVB, please contact us.