ARM and NXP have launched the mbed microcontroller rapid prototyping tool, aimed at new users in the 32bit microcontroller market.

The companies say mbed is the industry's first online platform that supports fast, low risk prototyping of microcontroller based systems. The tools launch with integral hardware and software support for the NXP LPC1768 mcu. New users can get started with mbed tools in 60seconds by plugging in an mbed microcontroller, going to mbed.org and downloading and running a binary. Compiling a first program takes a further 60seconds, requiring the user to launch the browser based compiler, create a new template project, and click 'compile' to build and download the binary. Mark Onions, director of marketing for ARM's system design division, noted: "It's the first platform that enables people to do fast proof of concept designs based around the ARM Cortex-M3 processor. mbed sits at the beginning of the concept, where you need a simple prototype to prove or disprove an idea. We're not trying to replace professional tools like Keil or evaluation boards, but these tools don't lend themselves to rapid prototyping." The first mbed microcontroller hardware packages an NXP LPC1768 mcu and support components in a 40pin 0.1in pitch dip format. The mbed C/C++ Libraries build on top of the ARM Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard to provide high level interfaces to microcontroller peripherals, enabling a clean approach to coding. The combination gives immediate connectivity to peripherals and modules for prototyping and iteration of microcontroller-based system designs, providing developers with the freedom to be more innovative and more productive. The parts will be available through Digi-Key and Farnell, as well as through NXP's distribution chain.