There is no shortage of development platforms these days, from Arduino to mbed to Raspberry Pi, just to name a few. I happen to be a big believer in these boards, as they provide a great way for engineers, even those with little or no design experience, to get their feet wet with some of the available technologies. For the most part, each of the platforms serves a particular need. While there is some overlap in the markets the products serve, it’s not so great that you can’t make a good argument for why each has a place.
A lot of the success (or lack thereof) of these platforms has to do with the communities they’ve been able to build and sustain. For some, you can find all the tools and code you need to build a large number of applications.
Enter the Gizmo 2 platform, an x86-based development board that’s aimed at a slightly higher level of performance. Taking that successful path, the Gizmo 2 was announced and is being supported by a non-profit, open-source community called GizmoSphere.
While it costs a little more than some of the other platforms, priced at $199, it offers a performance level that will serve some of the more demanding applications. The 4″ by 4″ Gizmo 2 is built on the CPU and GPU technology that’s behind some of today’s leading video game consoles, data centers, and PCs. And it’s coupled with a complete open-source development ecosystem. Access to all Gizmo 2 hardware design documents, including schematics, bill of materials, and Gerber files for manufacturing the board are available through the GizmoSphere community and element14.
The Gizmo 2 platform includes a coreboot-based SageBIOS OSP from Sage Electronic Engineering and a Timesys-powered embedded Linux environment showcasing accelerated video, native C/C++, and Python application development, and access to Timesys LinuxLink for building an optimized, deeply embedded Linux platform. In addition to Linux, Gizmo 2 is compatible with Microsoft Windows Embedded 8, and supports the Minoca Corp. operating system. A Debian Linux distribution is expected shortly.