To help address this challenges, and to help businesses focus on faster development and scalability, Google have collaborated with Microchip on the AVR-IoT WG development board (WG is short for “Wi-Fi” and “Google”), the first cloud-connected, 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) development board connected to Google Cloud Platform, making it easier to develop IoT solutions across cost, security, and cloud connectivity.
8-bit MCUs are designed into billions of IoT devices: from medical to smart metering and portable consumer applications. Across multi-processor designs, 8-bit MCUs are often used to offload timing-critical and safety-sensitive workloads. By adding in a secure element and Wi-Fi connectivity, customers with IoT deployments can develop solutions for new applications such as consumer appliances, industrial equipment or retail, or upgrade the billions of existing designs already out there in the market with connectivity to Google Cloud.
The AVR-IoT development board allows designers to connect their new prototypes to Cloud IoT Core, and benefit from Google Cloud services across new and existing projects using Microchip’s free online portal. This gives them access to Microchip’s rapid development tools: MPLAB(R) Code Configurator (MCC) is an integrated developer environment (IDE) for programming and cross-compiling C for the architecture, and Atmel START is a set of libraries that allow easy driver and middleware integration. Both of these enable embedded systems engineers to develop and debug in the cloud.
The AVR-IoT development board brings together smart, connected and secure devices which permit designers to quickly connect their IoT designs to Google Cloud, including:
- Cloud-connected AVR(R) microcontroller (MCU) with integrated peripherals. The ATmega4808 8-bit MCU offers the processing power and simplicity of the AVR architecture with additional sensing and robust actuation features. With the latest Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that reduce power consumption, it offers reliable performance in real-time sensing and control applications.
- An ATECC608A cryptographic co-processor device provides a protected identity for each device that can be securely authenticated. ATECC608A devices come pre-registered on Google Cloud IoT Core.
- Wi-Fi connectivity to Google Cloud. The ATWINC1510 is an industrial-grade, fully certified IEEE 802.11b/g/n IoT network controller that provides an easy connection to an MCU of choice via a flexible SPI interface. This means that designers don’t need to be experts in networking protocols, allowing simple, easy connection to Google Cloud.
“The aim of partnering with Google Cloud on the AVR-IoT WG is to provide engineers with a simplified development process so they can bring IoT designs to market more quickly and reducing barriers,” says Steve Drehobl, vice president of Microchip’s 8-bit MCU business unit. “The board is supported by both MCC and Atmel START so designers can accelerate development using their preferred tool.”
After devices like the AVR-IoT WG connect to Google Cloud, they can access data and analytics services such as BigQuery and machine learning products such as AutoML. With these cloud products, designers can store petabytes of data and make fast queries to gain insights from their IoT solution or customize machine learning models that add autonomous or classification capabilities to low-power endpoint devices, all with a simple REST API call to Google Cloud. The connection to Cloud IoT Core also offers the scalability to manage millions of devices across Google’s high-speed global infrastructure.
"With the AVR-IoT we were able to get sensor data to the cloud and visualize it seamlessly. Google and Microchip have removed all of the issues usually encountered when publishing IoT data securely from the edge. Embedded engineers are going to fall in love with this product." says Eric Conn, CEO and Co-Founder of Leverege, a design firm partner working with Google Cloud and Microchip.