Cortex-M Development Platforms

ARM Cortex-M 32-bit RISC processors have been specifically developed to provide high-performance, low-cost platforms for a broad range of applications. The Cortex-M processors provide outstanding computational performance and exceptional system response to interrupts while meeting low cost requirements through small processor footprints, industry leading code density enabling smaller memories, reduced pin counts and low power consumption.

 Application notes for help migrating courses and projects from PIC and 8051 microcontrollers to Cortex-M:


 ARM University Program Partnership with Energy Micro

ARM and Energy Micro are official University Program partners providing teaching materials and development tools at a low entry cost. The partnership encourages learning and helps institutions start their own microcontroller training programs quickly.

Who is it for?
The ARM and Energy Micro University Program partnership is primarily intended for universities planning to expand their microcontroller labs. However, the lecture series is also valuable for people wanting to learn more about microcontrollers in general, with special focus on low power application development.

What is included?
The Energy Micro University package contains several parts:

The lectures begin from scratch - explaining the basics, like what a MCU is, what it can be used for, etc. It goes through how to compile simple programs to interfacing registers and modules. Each lesson is complete with small excercises with solutions. The series is made so that each lecture does not depend on the previous lecture, so that you are free to pick and choose the lectures that suit you the best.

The Keil MDK-ARM (Microcontroller Development Kit) Software Tools are available free of charge to qualifying institutions to support teaching, laboratory work and educational research projects. Faculty requests for these materials should be addressed to university@arm.com.  

Simplicity Studio ensures teachers and students always have access to the latest documentation, firmware and kit software to use in conjunction with the kits.

Especially valuable for universities trying to establish a low-power microcontroller lab is the bundle with discounted kits. The package contains 10 EFM32 Giant Gecko Starter Kits. Each kit contains everything you need, including debugging, power monitoring (AEM) and peripherals.

How to get started?

  • Fill out the ordering template
  • Specify the quantity required of product number EMUPK1000. Each package contains 10 EFM32 Giant Gecko STKs, and costs USD399,- excl. shipping.
  • Send your order to orders@energymicro.com

Delivery address needs to be at an accredited university.  

Cortex-M0+ Freedom Development Platform

The FRDM-KL25Z is an ultra-low-cost development platform enabled by Kinetis L Series KL1x and KL2x MCUs families built on ARM® Cortex™-M0+ processor. Features include easy access to MCU I/O, battery-ready, low-power operation, a standard-based form factor with expansion board options and a built-in debug interface for flash programming and run-control. The FRDM-KL25Z is supported by a range of Freescale and third-party development software.

Cortex-M4 Kinetis KwikStik Development Platform

An ultra-low-cost, all-in-one development tool for evaluating, developing and debugging Kinetis MCUs features the K40X256VLQ100 (144LQFP) MCU with USB, touch-sensing and segment LCD functionality. It comes pre-flashed with demonstration software to exercise a small portion of the capabilities of the Kinetis K40X256 device and the KwikStik hardware. The on-board Segger™ J-Link™ debug interface allows the user to evaluate the features of the on-board K40 MCU or to develop, debug and program their own target hardware based on any Kinetis MCU.

Cortex-M0 STM32F0 Discovery

A Full MCU development kit + tools for around $10!

 The STM32F0DISCOVERY helps you to discover the STM32F0 Cortex-M0 features and to develop your applications easily. It includes everything required for beginners and experienced users to get started quickly.

Based on the STM32F051R8T6, it includes an ST-LINK/V2 embedded debug tool, LEDs, pushbuttons and an additional prototyping board for easy connection of additional components and modules.


Cortex-M4 STM32F4 Discovery


 The STM32F4DISCOVERY helps you to discover the STM32F4 high-performance features and to develop your applications easily. It includes everything required for beginners and experienced users to get started quickly.

Based on the STM32F407VGT6, it includes an ST-LINK/V2 embedded debug tool, two ST MEMS, digital accelerometer and digital microphone, one audio DAC with integrated class D speaker driver, LEDs and push buttons and an USB OTG micro-AB connector.


Cortex-M3 STM32F1 Discovery


The STM32 Value line Discovery is the cheapest and quickest way to discover the STM32. It includes everything required for beginners and experienced users to get started quickly. The STM32 Value line Discovery includes an STM32F100 Value line microcontroller in a 64-pin LQFP package and an in-circuit ST-Link debugger/programmer to debug Discovery applications and other target applications. A large number of free, ready-to-run application firmware examples are available on www.st.com/stm32-discovery to support quick evaluation and development using the LEDs, button and extension header to connect to other boards or devices.

Cortex-M NXP mbed Platform

mbed is a tool for rapid prototyping with microcontrollers.

Microcontrollers are getting cheaper, more powerful and more flexible, but there remains a barrier to a host of new applications; someone has to build the first prototype! With mbed, we've focused on getting you there as quickly as possible.

The mbed Compiler lets you write programs in C/C++, and then compile and download them to run on the mbed microcontroller. It's all online, so you don't need to be a sys-admin to start. In fact, you don't have to install or setup anything to get started.

The mbed Sponsorship Program aims to support worthy people doing worthy projects with microcontrollers. We've allocated some mbed microcontrollers for use in projects or activities that go towards an academic qualification or official engineering achievement. Sharing the results of the project with the rest of the mbed community benefits everyone.    

Cortex-M-based NXP LPCXpresso

LPCXpresso is a new, low-cost development platform available from NXP. The platform supports ARM-based LPC microcontrollers and includes a simplified Eclipse-based IDE and a low-cost target board combined with a JTAG debugger.

Designed for simplicity and ease of use, the LPCXpresso IDE (powered by Code Red) will provide software engineers a quick and easy way to develop their applications. The LPCXpresso target board is jointly developed by Embedded Artists, Code Red, and NXP. The initial LPCXpresso target board features the LPC1343 with integrated USB 2.0 Full Speed Device. 

There are plans for future board support of other LPC microcontroller products, including the Cortex-M0 based LPC11xx LPCXpresso

 Cortex-M3-based Arduino Due

The Arduino Due is a microcontroller board based on the Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU (datasheet). It is the first Arduino board based on a 32-bit ARM core microcontroller. It has 54 digital input/output pins (of which 12 can be used as PWM outputs), 12 analog inputs, 4 UARTs (hardware serial ports), a 84 MHz clock, an USB OTG capable connection, 2 DAC (digital to analog), 2 TWI, a power jack, an SPI header, a JTAG header, a reset button and an erase button.

ARM Cortex-M3-based Arduino Due


Cortex-M3-based Cypress Semiconductor PSoC 5

PSoC® 5 is a true programmable embedded system-on-chip integrating configurable analog and digital peripheral functions, memory and a microcontroller on a single chip. The breakthrough new PSoC 5 architecture boosts performance through integrated high-precision 20-bit resolution analog, programmable PLD-based logic, and the  32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M3 CPU up to 67 MHz.

Cortex M3 Cypress Seminconductor PSoC 5


Texas Instruments Cortex-M Stellaris Platforms

Texas Instruments is a leader in bringing 32-bit capabilities and the full benefits of ARM® Cortex-M™-based microcontrollers to the broadest reach of the academic microcontroller needs. Now with over 270 compatible ARM Cortex-M-based Stellaris microcontrollers and over 30 Stellaris evaluation, development, and reference design kits, Stellaris fits the performance, integration, power, and price-point requirements of nearly any university microcontroller need. Universities can now enter the TI/ARM ecosystem with full confidence in a compatible roadmap of processors from $1 to 1 GHz. You will never need to change architectures again.


Texas Instruments Cortex-R4F Hercules Platforms

The scalable Hercules TMS570LS Safety MCU family enables universities to develop easily safety-critical projects for transportation applications. While the underlying architecture looks more familiar to universities used to working with the ARM7-based MCU, Hercules provides a more robust, higher-performance MCU with real-time needs.

Developed to meet the requirements of the ISO 26262 ASIL-D and IEC 61508 SIL-3 safety standards and qualified to the AEC-Q100 automotive specification this ARM® Cortex™-R4F based family offers several options of performance, memory and connectivity. Dual core lockstep CPU architecture, hardware BIST, MPU, ECC and on-chip clock and voltage monitoring are some of the key functional safety features available to meet the needs of automotive, railway and aerospace applications.


Texas Instruments Cortex-M3 Concerto Platforms

Concerto brings together connectivity and control by combining an ARM Cortex-M3™ core with C2000’s C28x core on to one device. With Concerto, projects such as solar inverters and industrial control can keep the benefits of separating the communication and control portions while maintaining a single-chip solution.

In addition, Concerto enables safety certifications in your projects via enhanced hardware and safety features.

LeafLabs Cortex-M3-based STM32 Arduino-like Maple Board

The Maple board consists of the essentials: a fast processor with lots of peripherals. At the center of Maple is a 72MHz ARM Cortex M3 chip, providing the increased computational power desired by more advanced users. LeafLabs aims to promote ARM in the educational and hobbyists sectors by providing this platform with an ARM tool-chain built from open source components and a programming environment that is intuitively easy to use. For those of us who love and are familiar with Arduino, Maple comes in an Arduino-compatible format, complete with Arduino pin layouts and programming environment. In the future, a Cortex native version is available in order to take full advantage of this fantastic micro-controller.

Actel SmartFusion Cortex-M3 Kits

Actel's SmartFusion™ Evaluation Kit offers a simple, low-cost way to try the world's only FPGA with hard ARM Cortex™-M3 and programmable analog.  The device contains on-chip flash and on-chip SRAM memory, as well as additional SPI flash memory. The board can communicate via Ethernet and HyperTerminal. The board also contains LEDs, switches, OLED and various voltage, current, and temperature monitoring functions for analog experimentation on the board.

Actel's SmartFusion™ Development Kit offers a full-featured development board so you can try the world's only FPGA with hard ARM® Cortex™-M3 and programmable analog. The device contains on-chip flash and SRAM memory, as well as additional off-chip memory on the board. The board can communicate via Ethernet and HyperTerminal. The board also contains LEDs, switches, OLED, and extensive analog experimentation, including voltage rail monitoring, current POT, temperature diodes and voltage sweeping using active bipolar prescalers (ABPS). Networking interfaces include Ethernet PHY, EtherCAT, CAN, UART, and RS485. See board details below for more information.

Actel SmartFusion Cortex-M3 Evaluation Board


Steitec Cortex-M0 Stamp Module

The ARM LPC1114 Cortex M0 Stamp module is suitable for low-cost developments because of the low power consumption and low price. It is easy to use as stand-alone or on a breadboard.

Keil Cortex-M Starter Kits

Keil (an ARM company) offers starter kits based on the ARM Cortex-M3-based STMicroelectronics STM32F103 microcontroller. These kits include an evaluation board, a Keil ULINK-ME USB-JTAG interface, as well as the RealView MDK-ARM evaluation software tools. For academic pricing information, please contact ARM or your local Keil distributor.

 ARM Cortex-M3-based STMicroelectronics STM32F103 microcontroller starter kit


Cortex-M3 STM32 Primer 

The STM32 Primer is a fun, innovative evaluation and development tool package that provides a quick, easy introduction to the features of the STM32 and its powerful ARM Cortex™-M3 core. It plugs directly into a host PC's USB port for in-circuit debugging/programming, and comes with Raisonance's Ride software toolset (Debug up to 32K of code) and the GNU C/C++ compiler (unlimited compiling).



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