MikroElektronika has launched Planet Debug, a hardware-as-a-service platform that enables designers to develop and debug embedded systems remotely without investing in hardware. For just $4/day, designers can reserve time on a remote Planet Debug station configured to their requirements, and develop and debug their own applications code remotely through MIKROE’s NECTO Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment) without having to source the hardware, wait for it to arrive and plug it all together.
Says MIKROE CEO Neb Matic, “Software as a service has been with us for decades but this is the first hardware as a service. You don’t need to pay a few hundred dollars for boards. You could try on different microcontrollers, different boards. And obviously, you can do so from any location at any time. It is a fast– there is no setup, no lead time. In this concept, everything works from the first second.”
Matic continues, “For designers who are sure they want to commit to a certain hardware route and stick with it for a long period, then it may be better to buy the appropriate Fusion development boards, SiBRAIN MCU cards and Click peripheral boards costing maybe $400 – they will still benefit from huge design flexibility and fast time to market. But for those still evaluating many different hardware approaches, or if they require, perhaps 10 days development time, they can reserve time on one of over 74 development boards on Planet Debug stations for just $4 a day. We’ll configure it for them with the MCU/peripheral/display combination they want to try and they can begin developing the very next day. The beauty of it is that, through NECTO, you are seeing real images of real boards in real time – this is not a simulation.” The Planet Debug hardware-as-a-service is enabled by MIKROE’s innovative CODEGRIP, the world’s first device which allows programming and debugging to be performed over WiFi.
By using Planet Debug, users save time as well as money. They also get to ‘try before buying’, and can change peripherals, displays or even the MCU without needing to buy any hardware, learn any new software, or write any new code. Planet Debug is great for students and professionals alike. In the education environment, resources can be shared and there is no configuration required to bring up a system. For the working designer, time is the most precious commodity, and Planet Debug, makes it easy to get up and running very quickly, and to respond to changing needs from product marketing. Also, chip shortages will not affect development time.
Currently, there are Planet Debug facilities at MIKROE, in the nearby University of NoviSad, in the USA (Minnesota) and in Mexico. Matic expects an Asian installation in the near future, but all facilities can be reserved by anyone from anywhere in the world. He concludes: “Hardware-as-a-service is the future of design. It’s hard for people to grasp right now because there are so many pieces to the puzzle: the Click peripheral boards and SiBRAIN MCU cards based on standard sockets; the Fusion development boards, CODEGRIP and NECTO. But the logical end-game for us was always to combine them in the Planet Debug platform. It will revolutionize embedded design.”