RP2040: Raspberry Pi microcontroller for machine learning

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released more than just SBC boards, along with some interesting hardware add-ons. Perhaps it is not very well known. Raspberry Pi, it’s important to preserve the RP2040 chipInteresting equipment for makers interested in AI and Machine Learning.

In this article we will talk about this in depth. The perfect complement to the famous SBC..


What is RP2040?

Raspberry Pi Ltd designed a circuit named RP2040 which was presented in January 2021 as part of the new Raspberry Pi Pico SBC board that this agency launched in the market. This RP2040 chip is nothing more than a 32-bit microcontroller chip with Dual-core ARM Cortex-M0+.

ARM Cortex-M0+ is a CPU core specially designed for use in Embedded systems and microcontrollersThe 32-bit architecture provides better performance compared to the 8-bit or 16-bit architecture. It also stands out as a low power consumption processor. This makes it ideal for battery-powered devices and other applications. that require efficiency in energy use

This core uses the Thumb-2 instruction extension, a combination of 16- and 32-bit instructions that improve code density and performance in memory-constrained applications. With a three-step pipeline This makes it possible to carry out orders efficiently. By maintaining a balance between efficiency and energy consumption.

ARM Cortex-M0+ consists of Powerful interrupt handler To effectively manage real-time events and tasks Designed to deliver reasonable performance at a competitive price. This core is commonly found in microcontrollers used in a variety of embedded devices. From control systems to home appliances and medical equipment.

It thus became the first microcontroller designed by Raspberry Pi, although the IP core was completely designed by Arm. Its low cost allows it to be integrated into the Raspberry Pi Pico SBC, costing only about $4. Because the IC costs only 1 dollar.

This RP2040 chip can be programmed to work using various programming languages. One of them might be another ARM assembler, C, C++, Free PASCAL, Rust, Go, MicroPython, CircuitPython, Ada, etc. Moreover, which is where it attracts the most attention, it is powerful enough. will do so Run TensorFlow Lite For AI use

TensorFlow Lite is a lightweight and powerful version of the popular TensorFlow. machine learning framework Developed by Google, designed specifically for mobile devices, embedded systems, and resource-constrained environments, TensorFlow Lite enables you to run machine learning models on platforms with memory and processing power constraints. Provides tools for converting models trained on standard TensorFlow into mobile-friendly formats. Makes it easy to deploy AI applications on smartphones Microcontrollers and other equipment With limited computational capabilities, TensorFlow Lite is a versatile solution for deploying machine learning models on Edge and IoT devices, enabling fast and efficient inference locally. without relying on a cloud connection

Continuing with the topic of RP2040, it must be said that this chip has been integrated into many SBC boards from various manufacturers, such as Adafruit, Arduino, SparkFun, Pimoroni, etc. On Raspberry Pi, it has important features at a low price. For example, it is used for Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W, Arduino Nano RP2040, Pimoroni Tiny RP2040, Adafruit Micro, SparkFun Pro Micro, etc.

RP2040 Specifications

for RP2040 Technical SpecificationsWe can find the following:

  • Chips produced with 40nm node or process in TSMC foundry
  • Packaged in 7×7 mm QFN type with 56 contacts and for surface or SMD mounting.
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-M0+ CPU at 133 Mhz with overclocking support Each core has a peripheral integer divider and two estimators.
  • It uses fast SRAM memory with a capacity of 264 KB with six independent banks, four of 64 KB and two of 4 KB.
  • There is no internal flash memory or EEPROM. Therefore, after resetting or shutting down the bootloader is lost and it is loaded through external firmware.
  • The QSPI bus controller supports external flash memory up to 16 MB.
  • DMA or Direct Memory Access Controller
  • AHB crossbar fully connected
  • An LDO (low dropout regulator) is integrated on the chip and can be programmed to generate mains voltage.
  • A pair of PLLs are integrated on the chip to generate the main clock and USB frequency.
  • 30 GPIO with 4 optional analog inputs
  • Peripheral support with controller: 2x UART, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 16x PWM, USB 1.1, PHY and 8 PIO or programmable output pins for machine status.

Usage or application

The RP2040 chip has become the cornerstone of many projects and products. Because of their versatility and outstanding abilities, they have found Applications on a variety of devices and embedded systems It opens up many possibilities to different users.

One common use is in development. electronic projects It is especially admired by enthusiasts and professionals building custom devices. Because of its low cost and computing power, it has also had a significant impact on computer science education. They are used in educational institutions to teach programming and hardware concepts. Helps students gain a practical introduction to computer science.

in the field of Automation and controlThe RP2040 is integrated into systems such as smart home devices and industrial automation projects. It interacts with sensors and actuators to control and monitor the environment. It also finds applications in robotics. It acts as the brain of robots and autonomous vehicles. With the additional ability to run TensorFlow Lite for machine learning applications.

The versatility of the RP2040 has been emphasized in its development. rapid prototypingFacilitate the rapid creation of new products and technologies. Its benefits extend to the Internet of Things (IoT), which is used in network-connected devices to collect data and send it to the cloud. With its compact size and energy efficiency

RP2040 is also integrated into collaborative and open source projects. To promote the community of Open hardwareFrom entertainment applications to interactive art projects, the RP2040 has become a popular choice in the hobby and creative entertainment world.

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