ARM announces 'Lab in a Box' for universities

ARM's 'Lab in a Box' aims to boost the development of audio systems and smart home devices.

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ARM has announced the launch of "Lab in a Box," a digital signal processing kit to encourage the next generation of students to develop ARM-based audio systems and smart home applications.

The chip maker's kit, announced on Monday and due to be showcased at the ASEE Annual Conference tomorrow, will be shipped to universities worldwide from July 2014.

The aim of 'Lab in a Box' (LiB) is to boost practical skills in audio systems and voice-controlled home automation systems, and contains ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontroller boards by STMicroelectronics and audio cards from Wolfson Microelectronics and Farnell element14. Each kit also includes renewable software licences for the full ARM Keil MDK-Professional development tool, teaching materials, lecture slides, demonstration codes and lab manuals.

Digital signal processing courses traditionally use development kits which cost roughly $300 per student, but ARM claims that the new DSP LiB will cost only $50 for each college attendee. 

Voice automaton technology is a popular research point for many technology companies in recent times, from mobile assistants such as Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, to smart applications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices used in homes. 

"Low-cost Cortex-M4-based microcontroller development kits, combined with suitable audio interfaces, represent an exciting new opportunity to spread hands-on DSP teaching to a wider audience,” said Dr. Donald Reay of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK. “These hardware and software tools are similar to those used for teaching and development of microcontroller applications and afford an ideal introduction to real-time and DSP concepts with wide applicability to embedded systems."