Is Spartixed the lowest cost board for FPGA / Verilog / VHDL learners ?
The idea to create Spartixed was rooted in two things - one, we already had a Verilog Tutorial that is very popular among students as well as casual learners. Rodney Schaerer, Lecturer in University of California took interest into the tutorial and his students were using this tutorial ( Thanks Rodney for pointing out the typos in the tutorial). My Google Analytics tells that the Verilog tutorial page has a really very low bounce rate, a measure of how many people get out of your site after visiting that page. That brings us to the second point - the tutorial is good for theoretical understanding but lacks to really show how the things work in real life.
In my graduation class, I vividly remember our ECE lab where we actually made a small RAM using bread board and components. There is no magic into it, but the interest generated, greatly added the interest to learn more about electronics.
With the Spartixed, we expect to achieve the same for learners. And it is designed in a way that it will be most suitable for new engineer looking at polishing their digital hardware design skill using Verilog / VHDL. The undergraduate students of Electrical, Electronics and Computer Science streams will find it useful for learning as well as for their projects. But more importantly, this board will can also be used by 12 year olds to start learning hardware programming. I will encourage parents take a serious look at this board for their kids.
The board is not going to generate any profit but is not designed for it. However, this is not a philanthropist project. The cost engineering involved, ensures that the BOM cost is kept under control. I am still struggling to find and inexpensive way to ship to international buyers. With typical shipping cost at $20, it will hurt the enthusiasts not living in US. May be, we will ship in bulk to a specific country in bulk and the distributors will take care of regional sale.
The initial response to kickstarter has been lukewarm. I expect it to pick up in coming days. In the meantime take a look at the tutorials presented using the Spartixed. You will learn a lot about Verilog and FPGA programming even if you are not buying this board.
- I2C on Spartixed FPGA Learner board
- Clock Divider in Spartixed using Verilog
- Verilog Xilinx Evaluation board - Getting started
- Verilog Tutorial expanded and future plans
- Spartan 6 learner's evaluation board to be released in Oct 2015